Once I returned to my regular schedule at work things, were beginning to look up. I no longer needed to report to my supervisor or submit the times that I worked. While work was going well, in the back of my mind, I often thought about the child support order. Although there was a judgment in place for me to pay child support- which was equal to half of my monthly salary- the deductions were not happening at that time.
I remember one night, while I was working overtime, I checked my pay stub. There it was. The child support deductions were in full effect. I wasn’t shocked because I knew it was going to happen sooner or later. I was more upset that we had come to this. There was no reason for me to be placed on child support especially since my children were a priority, in spite of how my ex felt about me. My decision to leave was a decision I made for me. It was no longer about making him happy nor the people who were around me. It was time for me to be happy so I did what I had to do for me and he couldn’t understand that. He took my leaving him and looked at as in I was leaving my children. That was never the case. As a matter of fact, I had the opportunity to move to London and start a new life, and although I did consider it, I could not leave my children behind. I could have ran away because I knew that my life was not about to get any easier but I stayed and I decided I was going to fight back in spite of how I feel.
With the child support payments being deducted from me, my ex felt as though he had sole custody of the children and with the injunction in place he felt like he had all the power. The injunction stated that I had to stay away from him but it did not say that I could not have any contact with my children. Once I was released from jail, he also went to court and tried to file a restraining order on me and made some bogus allegations. One of the allegations were, that he was in fear for his life and he felt as though I would kidnap MY children. The court date arrived and he did not show up causing the judge to throw the case out. After that, most times when I went to pick up my children or when they wanted to spend the night with me, he would tell them things like, “If you go with your mom she will go back to jail”. My children would come and say things like they don’t want to get in trouble with their dad or they didn’t want me to go to jail so they wouldn’t come. I tried to pick my kids up with the police and I was told that as long as my kids are with their father, they couldn’t make him release theme to me. I was taking hit after hit. The thing that hurt me the most was looking at my children knowing there wasn’t a thing that I could do. I honestly felt like I had failed as a mother and for a brief moment I almost regretted leaving. Not because I wanted to be with my ex but because I wanted to be with my children. Those moments of doubts showed me that I could not give in but I had to fight even harder. I knew God was a fair God and it was only a matter of time before the sun would shine on me again. I knew that it was a process that I was going through and I knew that I would make it. I knew that my children and I would be together. It was at that moment that I decided to push forward with the divorce.
But you said you loved me. That must have been a lie…..Paulie
My court day came and left. I officially accepted the program offer and all that came with it. That included going to a parenting class, going to a domestic violence class, and paying fees. I also had to check in once a week with the pretrial release program and report my progress. That too came with a fee. I was paying all these fees because I was arrested for defending myself against a bully who was making it nearly impossible to be with my children. I remember there was a day when one of my daughters wanted to come with me but because it was a church night he would not allow her to come even though she was in tears because she wasn’t feeling well. It wasn’t really about her going to church opposed to him wanting that control in saying what she was allowed to do and what she was not allowed to do. I did what any mother would do. My sisters and myself went to the church and picked my daughter up and took her to where I was living at. This did upset him because it made him look bad in front of his peers. I did not go to the church to start a fight. I respected the leaders of the ministry. I went there to pick my daughter up and that is exactly what I did.
There was also an injunction put in place where I could have no contact with my ex directly or indirectly or go within 500 feet of his property. That small piece of paper was all he needed to keep me in compliance and he would use that as another form of ammunition against myself and my children. The injunction also stated that I could not be around any weapons, therefore, I was put on light duty at my job and I was assigned to work in the mail room. I was of course grateful to still have my job, but because my regular shift was twelve hour shifts, I was losing time because working in the mail room was an eight hour position. I asked around and I learned that I could ask the judge to modify the injunction so that I could go back to working my regular shift. Once my court date came around I did as I was told and even though the prosecutors tried to fight it, the judge granted my request and I was able to work my regular shift. That was a small victory for me.
As I got back on shift I was happy to be working with my co-workers again but I was still in a dark place because the parenting class took place on nights that I worked, I needed to be adjusted so that I was able to keep my same hours and I wouldn’t have it count against me. I am grateful to say the my supervisor at the time was very understanding and he granted my those days as long as I had the proper paperwork. The work aspect of my life was in order but my home life was about to take a turn for the worse.
After I was hit with the news that I was going to be arrested things felt like they were starting to move in slow motion. The arresting officer grabbed my car keys and my cell phone before I could even react or process what it was that she was saying to me. All I could think about were my children, my job and how he had gotten exactly what he wanted. He wanted me to lose everything I was working so hard for. He was trying to destroy me and I really didn’t understand why. I knew that my leaving him hurt him however, I left him because of mistreatment and lack of respect and although I was not perfect I held him to a standard that I had not held any other person to in my life. At that point, sitting in the police station I knew I was going to be forever changed. I knew my life was not going to be the same any longer. What I didn’t know was just how much of a turn my life was about to take.
If I only knew then what I know know I probably would have chosen differentlyPaulie
I really needed to sit back and think about the things that were taking place in that moment. I didn’t want to overreact so all I did was cry. I cried until I had no more tears to shed. I couldn’t be angry, I couldn’t be upset, I was my hurt and devastated more than anything and on top of all of that, I had no one to talk to. I was all alone. I had never been to jail before, I was never handcuffed. I think I just about had a panic attack. In my mind I felt like he was gaining a sense of gratification. Like I said before, he felt like everything that was happening to me was God’s “way of dealing with me” because I left him. In his mind he felt vindicated, he felt like I was getting what I deserved and he was going to ensure that God’s justice for him was going to happen because I left him so I was the one that was out of order. At that time he wanted to play God and he wanted to inflict pain on me be any means necessary. I guess he forgot the scripture Romans 12:19 says. VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY SAYS THE LORD. I knew better than to try to avenge myself, I also knew to never wish hurt or harm to another person because I may find myself in that very position that I am wishing someone else to be in. While he was telling himself that everything that was going on was somehow God’s was of “getting me” he failed to realize that all of his actions were just pushing me closer to a divorce. Seems like those moves were not moves that favored him in saving his “family”.
Once I arrived at the county jail I was escorted to a room by myself and that was due to the type of work I did. I couldn’t be around other people. It was a safety precaution to say the least. I got processed and after hours of sitting in the cell I was told that I was going to be moved to another facility. I was not the happiest, I could not contact anyone. I didn’t have a chance to talk to my mom or anyone else and on top of all of that I was afraid that I was going to have to spend the whole weekend in jail. Thank God that wasn’t my reality. Even though I was in a very bad predicament I met some pretty good people along the way. I was treated very kind while I was in jail. I got brand new clothes and I room to myself. They locked the entire jail down when I arrived there so no inmates could see my face. The room that I had to sleep in had a new mattress as well. I actually slept pretty good. Maybe it was because I was emotionally drained from everything that had taken place or it could have been the fact that it was real quiet and no one bothered me during my stay there. Either way I rested, I felt a sense of calm during the storm. I didn’t think about my ex, all I thought were my children and how me being arrested was going to effect them. Those were the thoughts that brought tears to my eyes and even though I had peace and solitude around me, those were the thoughts I was left with as I cried myself to sleep…..