Fresh out of high school, I was on a journey to find out what I wanted to do in life. I had no idea, no direction, or any goals. My oldest brother lived in Houston, TX, and he talked me into staying with him for the summer. When I arrived in June of 2005, my brother drove me crazy with all the college pamphlets he would give me. He had college pamphlets taped on my wall and door when I first arrived. I didn’t have any interest in going to college, so my brother suggested I look into a trade. I ultimately went to a trade school to get my certification in forklifting and metal fabrication in August. I completed my certification for forklifting, but I got kicked out of the metal fabrication program because I got caught smoking weed on campus. During this time, Hurricane Katrina hit Orleans, LA, and some people from New Orleans were moving to Houston. During this time, I would meet my best friend and my future wife. Both of them were from New Orleans, but my future wife was already living in New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina happened.
My brother helped me get a job at a factory as a forklifter in October. This is where I met my best friend. The factory job had random drug testing, and the day before Halloween I had to get drug tested. I knew I was going to test dirty because I got high before my shift started, so I asked my co-worker, who said he was clean, to take the test for me. Long story short, we both got fired for testing dirty. I was mad at first, but he later helped me get a job at a pizza pillar that didn’t require any drug testing. So we would smoke weed almost every day, and this is where we built our friendship. At the pizza pillar is where I would meet my future wife. She was a frequent customer because her dance studio was nearby the pizza pillar. The moment I laid eyes on her, I knew there was something special about her. I tried to talk to her, but she never gave me a chance because she said I smelled like weed.
Ultimately, my brother grew tired of me coming into his house smelling like weed, so he gave me the option to go into rehab or get out of his house. This led me to get an apartment with my best friend, which would end up being a bad decision. We came to work every day high, and my future wife would end up giving me a pamphlet for a drug treatment center that she worked at. My best friend and I eventually got fired because customers started complaining about us smelling like weed. We had no job and no way to pay our rent. My best friend sold weed on the side so he brought me in on his hustle. We had false dreams of being major drug dealers, but we smoked most of the weed and got evicted. I arrived at my brother's doorstep with a pamphlet in my hand to a rehab treatment center that my future wife gave to me previously. My brother accepted me into his house and helped me get enrolled in rehab. Going to rehab I had the opportunity to get closer to my future wife. During my time in rehab, I learned a lot about her dance experiences but she wouldn’t get personal with me. When I finished my treatment, I was able to get a job as a Peer Advocate at the rehab treatment center.
While working as a Peer Advocate, I had the opportunity to get to know my future wife more on a personal level. She still played hard to get because we were co-workers. My future wife was working on her Master's Degree at Texas Southern University, which she encouraged me to go to. I ultimately did and majored in social work. By this time, two years had passed. During spring break, I decided to go back home to Alton to visit my family. When I went back to work, my job was having a going-away party for my future wife. I found out she landed a gig in a play in Atlanta, GA. I was happy for her and sad at the same time because I knew it was over and I would never get to see her again. We both moved on with our lives, and I met the mother of my children while in college. She would end up four months pregnant at our college graduation. Soon later, we would move in together and both continue our education to get our master's degrees. After having my daughter, we would end up having another girl shortly after. My children’s mother and I would ultimately break up after six years together.
Two years would pass, and my best friend and I decided to go to our old job at the pizza pillar to eat and laugh with our old manager. While at the pizza pillar, my former manager showed me a flyer for a dance and poetry recital featuring my future wife. My best friend and I went to see her performance, and I was blown away. I’ve never seen the mixture of traditional ballet infused with hip-hop, but it was wonderful to see.
After the performance, my best friend encouraged me to talk to her, but I was too nervous and feared being rejected again. So my best friend decided to speak for me, he screamed her name across the room to get her attention. She walked over to us, and I immediately turned my back, feeling embarrassed. She walked up to him, and he said, "Do you remember me?" and she replied, "Yeah, you actually smell good for once." My friend turned me around, and we all laughed. During our laughter, Me and her locked eyes. We gazed at each other for about 20 seconds, and she gave me one of the best hugs I’ve ever felt in my life. It reminded me of the hugs my grandmother used to give me. At that moment, my heart skipped a beat, and my mouth couldn’t form any words. So my best friend stepped in to save me again and asked her how long she was in town. My best friend then set up a date for us. He stated that y'all should go out for coffee, then walked away. She then looked at me in my eyes and said, "There’s a coffee house nearby that stays open late. Do you want to go there? " I said, "yes," and we proceeded. At that moment, she finally opened up to me, and months later, we were dating.
After about six months, we were in a relationship. After a year of being together, I introduced her to my daughters, and they loved her. My children’s mom was especially fond of her as well, and she told me she was a keeper and not to mess it up. During Thanksgiving, my family got together at my mother's house in Alton, and my future wife attended. My mom loved her, and all my family spoke highly of her. For Christmas, we decided to meet with her family in New Orleans. After dinner, I had a private conversation with her father and spoke to him about marrying his daughter. He approved of the marriage and was excited to have me as part of the family. On New Year's Eve, at 11:59 pm, I asked her to marry me, and at midnight she said yes.
We prepared for our wedding at the end of July. My best friend, who was my best man, got all the guys together for my bachelor party in Atlanta. We went club-hopping, going to some of the most popular strip clubs in Atlanta. While at one of the strip clubs, a former friend of mine spoke highly of a dancer that did unbelievable stunts at the strip club we were at. He asked the waitress about her, and we were informed she no longer worked for the club. My former friend then pulls his phone out and shows us a video of her performance, and it was mind-blowing. However, as I took a deeper look at the video, I recognized the dancer as my fiancé. At first, it was hard to tell because she had a costume on. But I wasn’t exactly sure and nobody else in our group recognized her.
Once the trip was over, I had to have a taught conversation with my Fiancé and I showed her the video and she admitted it was her. My heart immediately sunk to the floor and felt embarrassed as she tried to explain herself I felt disguised. My ear was completely turned off and the only thing I could think is she lied to me. This would turn into a heated argument which would ultimately lead to me canceling the wedding. I left our house and moved into my brother's basement. By this time my brother was married with kids. I would go three months without speaking to my Fiancé. When the fourth month came, we began speaking to each other indirectly using my brother to pass messages to each other. This would go on for another six months. During this course of time, my brother and my best friend recommended that we should go to counseling. Though it was a good idea, I still refused to go. Nobody knew why I called off the wedding I was too embarrassed to speak about it.
Ten months later she started showing up at my brother's house trying to talk, and we would argue every time. Eventually, my brother's wife stepped in to mediate the conversation we were both too embarrassed to speak the truth so the conversation was filled with sugar coating. My brother's wife looked me in the eyes and said, "We all wear scars you may not see it but we all have it. Some scars run deep, so deep that we are afraid to share them with the people we love. But all our scares will heal in time." Then my brother followed up and said, "you changed your entire life for this woman. You had no goals, and endless weed smoker and then you met her. She was your motivation, and she helped you change your ways, she helped you find your purpose. If you can make the change for her then let her show you that she’s willing to make the change for you." I held those words near to my heart and shortly after we started couples counseling. On our one-year anniversary from when we called off our wedding, we decided to go to the courthouse and get married. It was extremely hard to get married at the courthouse because the covid-19 pandemic started and quarantining began. But we found a way to make it happen.
April of 2020 felt like the worst time of my life. My wife and I both got laid off from our jobs. I decided to do Door Dash to make ends meet. My wife worked as an Uber and Lyft driver and did hair on the side. During this time, it was incredibly hard to find work. My best friend sent me a link to a job that was hiring. My laptop was completely dead, so I decided to use my wife's laptop to fill out the application. When I opened her laptop, I saw the most gut-wrenching things you could ever imagine. She had several live stream accounts and an OnlyFans page open. I decided to browse through the contents and found out she’s been live streaming since 2003 and posting videos and streams consistently on OnlyFans since 2018. As I’m browsing through all the provocative content she has been posting, she walks into the room. And the look of shock on her face spoke volumes. The beautiful flower that I thought I had married turned out to be poison ivy. The only thing she could say is, "I’m not completely naked and I’m not having sex with anyone in those videos." You can’t even see my face, and no one knows it’s me. I’m just dancing provocatively, and it’s helping to pay our bills during this pandemic. " With all, she said I knew I was done. I packed my things, got in my car, and drove for an hour. Then the mother of my children called me, telling me about a job I might be interested in. She could tell from my voice that I was stressed. I simply told her that I needed to see her, and she replied, "Meet me at my house." I talked to her, and I told her about everything, and she helped me put my mind at peace. She allowed me to stay in her basement until I got myself together.
In January 2021 I got a divorce and the mother of my now three children we got back together. She gave birth to our son in September of 2021. I eventually applied to the job my best friend sent me and I ended up getting the job on the spot back in June of 2020. A year later I realized I allowed immaturity and fear of being a father to disrupt my relationship with my children’s mother. Though we were able to co-parent without any problems, I wasn’t in the mental space to be the man that she deserved. When I realized that, I had the time to mature and defeat my fears. I was ready to be that man she deserves, though I’m not ready to remarry just yet, I will not keep her waiting...
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Keyshawn Jordan MSW – Guest Writer
Social Work Specialist