Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Let's get a few things straight...

I am going to post a one time statement in response to some behind the scenes communication that has been spread across the internet to many of my family members.  Normally I do not use social media as a forum to spew drama of any sort, and seriously frown upon others that do so.  However, since my brother, Jeremy, decided that social media was the perfect place to spew his version of these issues (I suppose the act of libel means very little to him) I believe it is necessary for me to voice my response using the same media forum.  I will also reiterate that this is a one time statement that I am publicly posting – I will not even respond to any comments posted.  If anyone wants to ask me for more information, feel free to private message me.  I have nothing to hide, I am not trying to “protect” anyone, nor would I ever turn away a loved one who was completely looking out for my best interest.


I am sure that those of you who have no clue what I am talking about are probably massively confused.  Just hold on.  You will get the gist of it in a bit.  And I apologize in advance for including you in this drama – I’m just not sure who all was included in the original “mass message”.


In the not so distant past I chose to walk away from my church life for personal reasons.    It was not an easy decision to make, nor was it made frivolously or overnight.  Let me state, I am still ME!  I still love my family, care about my friends, and work hard at my job.  I still have morals and values in my life.  I still have faith in God.  I am not the first person to make such a change in their life, nor will I be the last.  While I do agree that this is a lifestyle change for me, it does not mean that I have to go to hell in a hand basket.  However, it has become apparent to me that there are those who are willing to judge me as such.  I have not lost my mind, my sense of direction, my ability to be a good judge of character.  I acknowledge the fact that to a degree I am na├»ve, open and accepting.  That does not make me stupid.


After remaining single for 17 years, I have met a man who has become special to me, and I want to pursue a relationship with him – to see where this goes.  I have been advised to not just date one person – to date around, play the field.   I am 43.  Young enough to have much life left to live, yet old enough to know who I am.  Let me just say that I have met a couple other men and we just didn’t click.  My friend and I do.  I have no desire to play the field at my age, but do see the concern, whether necessary or not, of ending up with the first person I meet.  We are not engaged, not getting married, just dating.  At this point, there is no one else I am interested in.  That does not mean that we are a permanent item – only time will tell that.  I had no idea that my dating life would become subject to harassment and scrutiny. I set my own personal desires aside while my children were small and dedicated my life to raising them.  I have done my best by them.  I am not perfect, do not claim to have been a perfect parent, nor that my children are perfect.  We are just our version of normal.  I try to stay out of everyone’s business, and thought I could expect the same.  Evidently I was wrong. 


This man, who does not live locally, and I decided after emailing, texting and talking that we would like to meet in person to see if we wanted to start dating.  This transpired right before the Christmas holidays.  We met, liked each other, and decided to continue pursuing the relationship.  At this time, he informed me that he had a past that was not good and enlightened me with that information.  He wanted me to know that he had a past he could not change, but that he had tried for several years to make his life better.  I took his word that the information he shared with me was the truth, the complete truth, and decided I still wanted to pursue the relationship.  Keep in mind – we are only DATING.  You know…the process where two people get to know each other better?!?


Upon finding out that he was going to be alone until after the Christmas holidays, and asking permission from Mom and Gerard and getting my kids ok, I asked him if he would like to attend our family reunion the Saturday after Christmas.  He accepted.  In retrospect, I realize this was a bad decision.  It gave the impression that we were further along in our relationship than we were.  I am not sorry I brought him, nor am I ashamed of him, but I am sorry that I subjected him to unwanted censorship and speculation.  For this, I owe HIM an apology.  For some reason, I thought my close family would support my new friendship.  It would seem that this was not the case.  (Please do not misunderstand - I had many family members there of whom I am NOT referring to.)


During the day I informed my brother of my friend’s past after his tattoos were commented upon.  I did have one piece of information incorrect and attempted to rectify this later, but it went unheeded.  I mentioned an argument between my friend and his ex-wife, but I had completely misconstrued this information in my mind.  Ask anyone who knows me, I don’t always pay attention to the details and easily get mixed information.  The incident was actually a disorderly conduct situation at a Mardi Gras, where my friend spent overnight in jail.  This happened when his son was 3 months old, and his son is now 17 years old.  This incident does not even show up on any background check or criminal history report.  To be clear, there was NO incident involving my friend and his ex-wife.


The next morning I received a phone call from my brother advising me that a background check was being performed and already tons of information was flooding in and this guy was a habitual offender and I needed to get away from him asap.  What I was NOT informed of is that this information was also forwarded to my family members, most of who have NO DESIRE to hear about my love life!  I was told this was being done out of care and love and concern for me…but if that were the case – I would have been given the information privately, no one else would have been privy to it and I would have been treated like the adult I am and given the space to make my own conclusions and decisions.  Instead, I feel as though I have been railroaded, isolated, and degraded.  To make sure that we are all on the same page – my friend gave me his Louisiana drivers license # to give to my brother, Jeremy, and offered to give his TDC#.  I informed my brother that I had already been made aware of the information he found, but that if any additional information was found, or anything recent, ANYTHING that would prove my friend was not up front and honest with me about his past, to please contact me.  I did not receive any further communication from my brother that provided additional criminal misconduct or deceit.


To catch you up, the “claims” against my friend are as follows – in my brothers private message to various other family members (I was conveniently left out of this) on December 31, 2013 – 2 DWI’s, 2 Class B Driving while license suspended, Fail to Identify-fugitive from justice, False report to a police officer, Class B Criminal Mischief, Motor vehicle theft, 2 burglary of a habitation with intent to commit theft, 2 unspecified charges, a felony fatality accident where the details are unclear as to whether it was DWI or fleeing from police.  In total 6 misdemeanors and 4 felonies in TX alone – no telling where else there were violations as he evidently lived in at least 3 other states (LA, KY, and FL), had 11 aliases and at least 3 different dates of birth.  My brother claimed to have proof of ALL of these violations and accusations.


I will take this moment to state that people who live in glass houses should not cast stones.  Everyone has something in their past they are not proud of.  My friend has no history of child molestation, spousal abuse, domestic violence, sexual crimes of any nature, weapons, drugs, or alcohol violations.  I know that my brother has a past.  Just because your past is wiped away because you committed your sins before you were 18, or because someone had enough money to help them disappear does NOT mean that your past did not happen.  It did – don’t forget it.  Restraining orders, shop-lifting, family violence, AWOL.  And let’s not leave out verbal & emotional abuse– these are issues that people do not easily forget.  Especially when you have been at the receiving end a time or two.  And remember, you are who you are – youth is NOT an excuse…right?


His private message to me had basically the same information, but included some “persuasion”.  First of all, my friend has been accused of “marking his territory” by liking things on my page and tagging me in posts on his page since we became FB friends.  Isn’t that what friends do?  I have been informed that he makes my sister’s ex-husband look like a saint.  I won’t even go into details about him (my sister’s ex) for the sake of my family’s privacy.  I was told how concerned that my father and grandfather were – and I have no reason to NOT believe this – however, they never contacted me with their concerns.  I was informed that my church family has been calling my dad and texting my brother out of their concern for my personal well being and safety in light of all this information.  I can see how one or two might call my dad just to check on me, but texting my brother?  How would my personal church friends have my brother’s cell phone # when he hasn’t been a member of that church since he was about 12 years old?  My true church friends have taken the time to contact me on MY cell phone – and I have kept in contact with them.  I will just add that I had not told one of my friends from church about my friend.  Again – we just were not THERE in our relationship!!!


When I responded to my brothers private message asking him to forward me the information he had, I was told to call him – not text him because I am afraid of confrontation.  It didn’t matter that I was merely hitting “reply” to his private message to me on FB.  I was accused of changing my phone # because I don’t want to hear the truth.  The misinformation in that statement is that my father had purchased a cell phone for me as a birthday present a couple of years ago and I received a text from him notifying me that my phone would be disconnected by 4pm that afternoon and if I wanted to keep my number I needed to go take care of it.  I opted to use a different provider, therefore had to get a new number.  It’s really that simple.  I’m NOT hiding, I’m NOT afraid!  Seriously, get real!  And get a life!  I had no choice but to get a new phone #.


I was warned by my brother to stay away from my father and his family, my grandfather, and my brother and his family, for as long as I continued to make such bad judgment calls.  Clearly my friend smeared his OWN name and what my brother was doing was completely justifiable.  I was told to have my daughter give my grandfather his garage door opener and the keys to his house back (she stays the nights with him often), and to get my daughters to quit lying to my grandfather-what they are lying about I do not know.  My brother stated he had sent me paper work and I had refused it.  (I will notate here that he did provide me proof that he had sent me an email (it did not show any attachment), but I never received it and when I went to check my spam…too much time had passed and that date of emails was gone).  He wanted to know why I didn’t bring my friend to my grandfather’s house for Christmas Eve – doesn’t matter that we hadn’t gotten that far in our relationship yet.  He wanted to know why I will sit down with certain family members, and not others?  I can answer that.  The family members that I have sat down and spoken with came to ME when my brother made his accusations to hear my side of the story, and my friend’s side of the story.  And even though my friend has had the same job for multiple years, he has now been accused of being unemployed.  To make matters worse – it is now assumed that my friend lives with me since he has been seen at my house on several occasions.  REALLY???  Come on!  This no longer borders on ridiculousness – it is full blown obsessive crazy.


Let me tell you what I have done and what the cold hard truth really is.  My friend volunteered his drivers license number and his TDC# to me to check him out.  I took the information that my brother sent to other family members and gave it to another friend of mine who is in law enforcement.  That friend was able to take it to someone who could read it and they were able to obtain a full blown National FBI Criminal Report on my friend.  It completely matches up with the information that my friend gave me up front when we first met.  It’s bad…I don’t deny that – auto theft and a one, not two, burglary of a habitation, driving while license suspended, and a false report to a police officer.  What you need to be aware of – if it even matters to you (it did to me) is that most of this is one incident and the most RECENT offense was in 1993!!!  He was 23 years old.


All the other charges?  Not him!  The aliases – I was informed are not truly aliases.  And there are no multiple dates of birth.  The report my friend obtained is the report of all reports – no one can obtain a more conclusive, current, or accurate report.  It is not Texas only – it is FBI – covers every state.


I have given this information to my brother in the hopes that he would let this go.  He will not.  His obsessiveness over this issue, which I remind you is absolutely NONE of his business, is harassment.  The private messages to my friend, which are poorly concealed threats for him to stay away, and the ones to me including warnings that he WILL soon be arrested, are beyond care and compassion.  It's unhealthy and I want it to stop.  I am of the opinion that every one deserves a second chance.  I have received second chances, and so has Jeremy, my brother – many of them.  And don’t even pretend that there has been no criminal mischief on his part ever.  We all know better.  I would use the excuse that it was all when he was young and immature, but as my brother so clearly stated – once a criminal (or convict) always one.  Age has no bearing on the stupidity of a man (or woman).   Apparently he never heard the story of Saul in the Bible.  A man who tortured and persecuted Christians, yet was forgiven by Christ and became a disciple.  I could go on and on, but I digress.  What point is there in trying to talk to the deaf?  Or the dumb?


Now things have become more personal…my daughter unfriended certain family members and was informed that this was disrespectful.  I can assure you it was not done out of disrespect, but out of an attempt to keep my brother from nit picking every pic, post and comment she makes.  He has made it his personal goal to make rude, hurtful and sarcastic comments on several of my children’s posts.  I assume he believes it is okay for him to bully others, but don’t pick on him or his.  Typical bully small-minded mentality.  Nevertheless, my brother has informed me that he has another family member (I will not name) that is keeping him informed of our activities and postings.  He has advised me to tell my children to stop posting their smart A** S&^% on FB – but let’s not ask the same of him!  I have given my children permission – and will take this liberty myself once this post is made public – to unfriend anyone who chooses to use facebook as a tool to bully, ridicule, or belittle us OR who chooses to use their friend status to keep my brother informed.  Not only will you be unfriended, you will be blocked.  I don’t need this kind of drama.  At first I contemplated getting rid of my FB page in its entirety – but why should I?  Just because one or two people choose to use FB as a weapon instead of a tool, I should not have to cut myself off from my friends and family members that I love and who I wish to remain in contact with.  Let’s not forget that my brother, Jeremy, their uncle, has made it clear that he no longer wishes to have any form of relationship with my children – they are no longer a part of his life.  His words – I have the private message to prove it.


I have been informed that I shot 20 years of good away in only 3 weeks!  My life is in shambles and the ruins are falling all about my feet.   It is of no apparent consequence that I am not the one bringing the drama and chaos to my life – my brother is.  Did any of you know that my friend refused to let me out of my house on New Years?  My brother did.  Let’s not take into consideration that there are pics of me OUTSIDE, or the fact that I went SHOPPING!  I know where that information came from and I promise you that I set the record straight on that point.  But did he ASK me if this was true?  No.  He stated it as fact.  I have been notified that while I am being beaten to death over the next 6 months, and can no longer pay my bills, to not come to certain family members to borrow money (because this is evidently something I do).  I will just have to remember that I turned MY back on my family…not the other way around!  Are you kidding me?  You really need to ask yourself how close you are to me.  How well do you know me?  Or my children?  If you think that spending a few hours 3 or 4 times a year at family holidays or events constitutes a close relationship – you need to look the word up in the dictionary.  I believe an investment in TIME is required to develop a real relationship.  And as much as I realize I am partially to blame for that deficiency, it is a two way street. 


Please remember, and take into consideration, that everything in my post would not have been necessary if my brother, Jeremy, had chosen to take the high road and be an adult.  If he would not have posted any of this on social media, and had given me the right to choose for myself, even if my decision went against his better judgment – I would NEVER have taken this route to get my point across.  I believe in keeping quiet – that usually you do not need to say anything at all – time shows all things as they are.  However, after he posted, I realized I needed to have a voice – even if for just this one time.  I wanted people to know the truth – the entire truth – and to be given the opportunity to make their own conclusions.  I realize there are those who love me unconditionally and who will stand beside me no matter what choice I make.  There are those that will see this post for what it is and let bygones be bygones.  And I realize there are those that will use this as another tool in their tactics for bullying.  It’s time to let it go.  Everyone has a life and I am certain that mine is not important or interesting enough to capture everyone’s or anyone’s attention for the amount of time it has taken to read my “novel”.


All I have left to say is to my friend.  I apologize.  I am so sorry that a past that you have worked 2 DECADES (A GENERATION!) to make better has been dug up and slung back into your face.  I apologize that it was at the hands of my family, thereby ME, that caused you to suffer through this.   I am sincerely regretful that I had to post the intimate details of your past to alleviate the false accusations being slung around.  I also want to thank you.  For being honest and upfront with me from the beginning.  For freely disclosing such personal information and volunteering to give me what I needed to obtain such private information about you so that my family and I might have some peace of mind.  For granting me permission to make a bad situation a little bit better – even at your own expense.  And most of all, for your patience and understanding throughout it all.


In conclusion allow me the opportunity to say that regardless, this is MY life, MY decision, and I will be the one to either reap the benefits or pay the consequences.  Someone else’s misguided approval or disapproval will have no bearing upon that.  I am fully aware of what he fails to give me credit for – having a sound mind, an ability to make good judgment calls, and of standing up for myself, my friend, my children, my family, and what is right. 


To those of you who opted to believe the rants and false accusations without giving me any consideration – your loss.  Evidently you had little faith in me to begin with and this situation only emphasized that fact.  To those of you who have contacted me to hear my side, or who have sat back to see what truth comes forth without passing judgment based on libelous, over exaggerated accusations and mud-slinging - thank you all for taking the time to read this entire posting – I am certain it was trying – but your persistence and patience gives me courage and hope!