I got married at 17. Yeah, that’s the whole joke. I got married at 17.
You’re an IDIOT if you get married at 17. You’re not even a fully formed person at 17. You’re still developing lungs for Christ’s sake. And, I was particularly ridiculous. I was goth, and, yet, I was into the Bloodhound Gang. I had a Savage Garden CD. I was still watching ‘Clarissa Explains It All’ in earnest. I was an IDIOT child. You know, 17.
But, I was pregnant. So… We got married.
A quick note about my background: I’m half Mexican, from Albuquerque, New Mexico, and my parents were raised strictly Catholic. In 1984, after they had my sister, they converted to non-denominational Protestant Christians, which was a huge leap for my father.
Catholic and Protestant are the same religion, but don’t mention that because you'll get murdered. You’d think they’d be able to set aside their differences in a general appreciation of ‘we worship from the same book; it’s more about the author kind of way.’ But, it’s just not like that, at all. It’s not too far from if when JK Rowling had written Harry Potter, we all loved it so much that half of us went to war over the other half not loving it enough in the right way. Like, “You don’t denounce Voldemort passionately enough!” And, then you stab them, or put them on racks, or whatever. “Acknowledge Ginny Weasley's true diety!” Slice ‘em with a sword! Bowels everywhere. They gasp, “I swear, I have always loved the Weasleys,” as they pass into the great beyond. It’s effing nuts… But, suffice to say, my parents are religious. So, at 17, and pregnant, I got married.
His parents boycotted the wedding, because “I was a bad influence.” Now, I was no blushing virgin bride at this point, but he was an 18-year-old high school boy, so… it’s not like he hadn’t thought about it. I didn’t have to twist his arm too hard… I didn’t exactly ‘lead him down the primrose path…’ but, they hated me. Probably still do.
Imagine, if you can: You’re in high-school, you’re 18, you live in your parents’ house, and and you’ve just gotten a tattooed, chubby girl pregnant. What do you do? You join the US ARMY. So, you graduate on Wednesday, get married on Friday, and leave for basic training on Monday. I wasn’t surprised when he was a dick. That’s a sick downshift, for anyone.
And, it was this belief --that the stress of this epic of life change would crack anyone-- I clung to when it first went badly...
I’m a mouthy piece. I know that, you know that… And, you can imagine the horror when all 200lbs. of my pissed ass is yelling at you. I know I’m more than most when angry. I’ve been told I have a ‘masculine energy.’ I don’t mind. I’ve got a vagina, but I’m not particularly girly. I don’t have a favorite princess or anything… Okay, I do. Grace of Monaco, guys, she was just effervescent -- but that’s a different thing…
So, I didn’t hold it against him the five times my idiot husband beat me up. Four of them were halfway my fault for staying with a man who had beaten me up. I could have left. I should have left. I’m not without fault. And, he was a fucking KID, dealing with things that were a decade beyond his depth. But, that’s where my particular sympathy for that devil ends.
Our daughter was born exactly one week before my 18th birthday. He didn’t get me a present, because “He just gave me a baby.” Turns out, she’s the best present ever. She’s totally weird. She’s a fangirl, and she writes fan fiction. She’s a greasy, nerdy, sensitive, amazing mess, and we’ve grown up together. I’m very lucky. But, damn, she’s effing weird.
She makes these sandwiches – it’s just bread and ketchup. She calls them ‘ketchup sandwiches.’ Yeah. And, I was a cook for years, at a lovely Italian place, then a gorgeous French place, and my daughter eats ‘Ramen Spaghetti.’ It’s got two ingredients, and I bet you can guess them both: Ramen noodles, and jarred Spaghetti sauce. It kills me a bit inside… She eats it almost every day.
I worry that it might be my fault that she’s so weird, ‘cause I know it’s 50% environment, and 50% genetics, so she’s… screwed. Screwed is the official ruling on that. And, then, there’s this one time, when she was about two that she was toddling down the driveway out towards the street, and I could see an oncoming car in the distance. So, I ran over there, and grabbed her midget jeans at the belt, just before she stepped off the curb, and onto road. The only problem with this is that she – like all toddlers – was top heavy. They have these really huge heads. You cannot grab them at the waist and stop them. You need to grab a shoulder, because they are so head-heavy that if you grab them by the waist, they will tip over, face first, and crunch their little face bones into the pavement. This is exactly what happened. My daughter’s nose swelled like Marcia Brady’s in that one with the football? Yeah. Like that. And it was so bruised it was black. She looked like a koala. I had to keep her inside for a week so the neighbors wouldn’t call child services.
I'm Jane Malone.