Do you need to follow Maya Jane Clark’s story from the beginning? Start Intentionally Fearless: The Liberation of Maya Jane Clark here!
(Trigger warnings: Homelessness, anxiety, multiple affairs and sex partners)
So, here is what my life has become, honey. I attend group therapy at the local battered women’s shelter and weekly individual therapy with a great counselor. I’ve started putting Outlook calendar reminders in my iPhone; affirmations that pop up to remind me all day long and through the night (I rarely sleep) just how lucky I am and just how strong I am. Really, I thought this was a stupid idea when a Safe| In Harm’s Way team member suggested it. Really stupid. Turns out, it’s smart. I think everyone should do it.
My current favorite comes up at 5:05 pm every day. It is a text message from my cousin Tabitha. Tabitha is quite a bit older than me and lives on the other side of the world. Tabitha, has no idea what happened but reached out because my Facebook page looked different. (There will also be an essay about how to delete a decade of history from Facebook. It will take an entire weekend, but it will be a step by step process that will allow anyone to cut my entire weekend time into about four hours.) Anyway, Tabitha sent this to me one day:
You know that saying? God works in strange ways? It’s true. He knows just what we need at the exact time we need it. Today our connecting was meant for you. You Have lots on your mind with life that may seems out of your control. I don’t know what’s going on nor do I need to know but life is full of things we cannot control. Those things that seem to discourage us can be used to build character and strength as hard as it seems at the time. Also, event sin life (good or bad) can be used to help others because we know their hurts and understand. Nothing happens that god cannot change not us as much we we may try, but God can change them. He then takes that very thing and uses it to bring glory to Him in His perfect timing. I don’t know what you are feeling but I do know “you” and you are powerful, strong, beautiful, loving, kind and used by God. We have p purpose on this earth and God sees you right where you are. Look up because these trials her eon earth serve a purpose that will not only bring you joy but bring Him all the glory. You are used by God and He won’t let go of your hand.
Reading that every day at 3:05 pm helps. A lot. So does my 10:15 pm by Ronda Rousey: “I am not a do-nothing BITCH!”
I’ve turned over relevant information to the FBI. It took about 14 phone calls to reach the right person. He has the same name as my youngest child’s best friend in grade school, which I took as a good sign. The one thing that has really caught the FBI’s attention is the incest porn sites I found on Marc’s computer.
Plus, as most good humans are, they are really disgusted by him offering me up for sex with strangers without my knowledge or consent. Turns out- folks don’t think that’s cool, and if they can find any evidence where he offered me for trade or money then it’s human trafficking, and they can prosecute. They’re looking for anything they can gather.
My kids and I have a new saying which goes like this, “You’re never allowed to say ‘it can’t get any worse’.” In the Maya Jane family, you better not slip up and say it or you face a wave of anger and shouting from all present.
The last time my middle child, Austin, uttered the words, I received documentation of Marc texting me about how he was a really good man, with just a couple tiny flaws……..at the exact time he was looking up incest related porn on his computer. There’s my first-born status at work again! Really, it’s kinda my fault. I shouldn’t have started comparing Marc’s times and dates of texts to his computer search history.
75% my bad. 25% Austin.
Shortly after that, I messed up and said the forbidden words to my friend Misty, and wouldn’t you know it? Pictures, text messages and email documentation of Marc’s long standing sexual relationship with a male family friend, Mr. James Neighbors. How many times Mr. James Neighbors had been in my own home? Came to family dinners and events? Hung out with my kids? How many times had we all gone to dinner and Marc and Mr. Neighbors exchange sexually charged text messages back and forth to each other? Little did I know, and little did Mrs. Neighbors know, that her husband and my boyfriend had been having a sexual relationship for years. Years!
Marc and Mr. James Neighbors. Together. With other women. With other men. Secret sex groups. Apparently, they both think they’re Tom Cruise circa 1999, but without a Nicole Kidman co-star as a partner. Again, dear friend, let me connect some dots for you to have the picture really pop.
I will pose a question. Who have they really angered in their secret sex group that one (maybe more, it’s hard to tell) member has risked taking pictures and SENDING THEM TO THE WIFE?
What have they done in their tiny secret world that one (maybe more, it’s hard to tell) member would out them and risk their own status within the secret sex group? Could it be a bad herpes outbreak? Could it be bad sex? Could it be their physique doesn’t live up to Mr. Cruise. We may never know, but the now former wife and I just keep hoping to be fed additional information via good ol’ Facebook messenger and email.
How does anyone process this life altering event and move forward? You don’t. At least in my experience you fester, and cry and rot from the inside out.
Life became a routine far different than I ever imagined it would be. I am lucky since I work from home and spend other days traveling. It takes me about six full weeks to make my rounds to every account across six states. Consequently, when I didn’t have a home, I just washed (sometimes, honestly……not a lot of washing going on) the same dress and wore it every day. I would drive around six states calling on accounts and in between those visits I would have to pull over my car and sob.
I’d have to pull over to the shoulder of highways because I couldn’t breathe. I would be broken out in hives. I’d think to myself, “How could my doctor release me to drive? Surely, my heart beating so fast is going to kill me and I will drive my car into a ditch.” I’d drive to the nearest hospital and sit in the parking lot willing my heart to stop racing, but hoping that if I did die I would be found in an ER parking lot. Once I could calm down, I’d re-apply my mascara and start to the next account.
Repeat. Every. Hour. All day long.
A three day meeting with my boss meant I would have to unpack all my personal belongings from the car and into a storage unit so he wouldn’t know I was living in my car. Oh! And find two more dresses to wear so I didn’t wear the same thing every day while with him. I was thrilled when I had to attend a week long mandatory training class. Out of town for a full seven days with my own bed every night in my own room.; felt like a slice of heaven! Plus, I could expense meals and have my own fridge to keep leftovers. WOW! That week was an oasis in the insanity of my life. Where was the good man, Marc, during this time? In our 6,000 square foot house with all the food he wanted and an open bed for his guests to come and “play.”
I’ve learned a few things about what it feels like to not have a home, live in your car, or seek out daily shelter. The damage that does to a person’s soul I think changes their DNA. I now operate with a hum of uncertainty. What will happen next and where will my life take me? Constant anxiety. I went through a phase where I overate all the time when I was in my new home. I finally figured out I was SCARED. Where and when could I eat again? I had to eat a lot now because what if I sleep in my car (no, wait! I have a bed now) and got hungry. Where would I go? Start the car and hit a Taco Bell? The fear and painful struggle of being homeless was hard to shake off. I still work hard to breath deep and know I have a bed and I have a home. Simple things I never knew could so easily be taken away from me.
What else is left over from those times? I now make sure to always carry cash in my purse. I don’t care why someone stands on the side of the road asking for money- I know what that feels like; not to know where you will sleep and to be hungry and fear where to go. You need $10? BOOM! It’s yours. No questions asked. Please take care of yourself.
Nights consisted of trying to decide where I was going to sleep. A few times it was my car for naps since I feared Marc could find me if I repeated the same friend’s couch/bed too often.
I would hit the closest grocery store or gas station and get a bag of tortilla chips and vodka, extra limes. I’d decide which friend I’d ask to house me, where my bed was for the night, and arrive on the doorstep with all my belongings still packed in the car. I always hated to impose so I’d immediately climb on a bed or couch and drink until I fell asleep. I was going through a couple Xanax a night. On weekends, I would stay in bed from Friday night until Monday morning whenever I could. This pattern lasted about 10 weeks until the beautiful Julie at my ultimate new home called to tell me she had done a bit of rearranging and found me a place to stay.
Now I could start to create a home for myself and the kids. It was wonderful. We moved in on Mother’s Day and the kids presented me with a wall mounted picture proclaiming, “This place is safe.” Now I could get drunk every night in the safety and privacy of my own home.
I have discovered this is the easiest thing to do. The easiest choice is to stay in bed. The easiest choice is to wear the same dress every day and not shower. The easiest choice is to cry and sob and rail at the world in complete and total fear. The harder choice is to make changes that require you to do one small thing differently a day. Maybe every other day. But something different than chips and queso. I only decided to make these changes after a visit to another city and a good cry with my friend, Marcie.
And I would prove
That all along the
Problem was me
With all my bitterness gone
Happy, I’d be