It wasn’t until my second semester of sophomore year in college that I finally got what I always wanted: a boyfriend. My whole life was turned upside down, and would never be the same. I even knew back then—the very moment that I met him—that he would end up being my husband. He was unexpected; something I desired, but never imagined would throw a monkey wrench into my life plan. I was going to be a businesswoman—a successful executive who traveled the world; marriage and maybe kids was something I would think about later in my 20s, if I got around to it.
But all that changed when I met him.
And he wasn’t the type of guy you would expect a straight-A “golden girl” who was nauseatingly well-behaved to end up with. Not the doctor or lawyer my parents had banked on for me. Oh no—apparently I had as much yearning for adventure in relationships as I did in my travels: I found me a professional wrestler.
Oh, it shocked me at first, too. When I met him and he talked about being a wrestler, I assumed he meant college wrestling on a mat. I soon came to realize that he meant television, in-the-ring wrestling. Say what? I had no idea what kind of adventure I was really about to go on. Unbeknownst to me at the time, it actually activated a very crucial part of my soul that had been locked up since birth.
Enter my first experience at his wrestling arena in Philadelphia. The spotlights on the ring. The being escorted through the locker room to meet the “boys” (many of whom were extremely famous wrestlers). Seeing all of the behind-the-scenes action. Watching my man enter the ring like a rockstar as fans chanted his name and cheered.
But for me, what shocked me most was how much I loved being “his” girl, with everyone wondering who I was. I was in my own kind of spotlight, with fans instantly curious about me and associating with me as if I was a first lady celebrity myself.
I gotta say, that kind of attention was extremely intoxicating.
But my adventures as his girl were not always so amazing. In fact, many were downright horrifying. My very first trip with him to the arena, I sat in horror alongside strangers in the audience as I watched the leg of a chair go through his chin and blood spurt out all over the ring. I knew no one there, and I had to wait patiently in the arena, without any communication about how he was doing, while he was rushed to the hospital for stitches.
Suddenly, what happened to be a very cool profession turned awfully real and terribly frightening. What the hell was this guy into? But by this time, I had already developed feelings for him, and for me, there was no turning back. I was with him all the way. For every ladder match. Every beating of the Singapore cane that left him with bruises all over his back. Every cut to the forehead to make it bloody for an exciting match. Every kiss of another woman I had to stomach because it was part of the storyline. Every new ring partner he had, and his innovation to take things to the next level, from barbed wire matches to playing with fire.
Every fake “friend” I had to put up with because he needed them for a ride somewhere. Every betrayal from these fake friends, as they only wanted to get close to me to feel closer to him. Every after party—one of which almost put my life into danger when a female fan of his (admittedly) wanted to put a roofie in my drink so that she could take advantage of me sexually. He did everything he could to protect me from all this; he really did, and it made me love him more.
But eventually, I learned that the spotlight was not worth all of this. At least not this way.
Eventually, I stopped going to the shows. I stopped asking about the bruises, concussions and perverted storylines. I stopped wanting to take care of the wounds, or deal with the after-effects. I
became so resentful of his profession, and how it (and my attitude towards it) was destroying our relationship, and our family— but most importantly, how I thought it was destroying him. Physically, mentally, emotionally.
The tour of the wrestling world certainly opened my eyes to a lot. I left my world of innocence and saw what “street smarts” were really all about at times. I learned that I really did love and crave that spotlight, and loved being that center of attention. But I also saw firsthand the price one pays for the spotlight. And I’m still not entirely sure what—if anything—made all of it worth it.
Want to get a new chapter each week? Subscribe here: https://mailchi.mp/f803e64bd5da/subscribejennydee