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To say I was apprehensive about the trip to Austin would be an overstatement. I really did think “Textgate” was behind us, and LeeAnne Locken understood that when Tiffany and I communicated after my cocktail party, I was doing it out of concern for her. At Travis’ birthday party, my husband Angel and I had a great time. I spent most of that night visiting with LeeAnne, LeeAnne,Brandi, and Cary. We were all genuinely having a fun time celebrating God’s gift to us (Travis)!
When Brandi floated the idea of a girls trip to Austin, I was happy to be invited. I was looking forward to the trip and was hoping it would bond all of us. We’d be spending lots of time together and celebrating multiple birthdays, and it seemed like everyone was getting along much better than before. An hour into the van ride, someone has to pee, shocker! No one wanted to make a pit stop, and several girls suggested Brandi to just hold it. However, Brandi ultimately showed some road warrior skills and peed in a red solo cup!!!! Crazy but hilarious! LeeAnne was NOT happy and looked-on, horrified by Brandi’s carnival trick. LeeAnne didn't let it go and said something like, "that is disgusting," so Brandi let-fly with her comment “it’s better than shitting in the back of a car - in a bag.” At that point in time, I still had no idea Taylor had told Brandi and Stephanie that LeeAnne “pooped her pants.” So you can imagine my surprise when Brandi told everyone Taylor said I told him all of this!?!? I was completely baffled.
It got a little tense after that, but the mood ultimately lightened and we arrived in Austin at the home that Travis and Bryan built. Wow, such a great getaway!! Once unpacked, I went outside to the pool deck to spend some time with LeeAnne and Tiffany. I am certain LeeAnne was probably still stewing about the poop story from the van and I am sure it didn't help that Brandi, of all people, was the one who brought it up. What really seemed to get LeeAnne worked-up was that Tiffany, doing what she does best, came out and rubbed it in LeeAnne's face saying Brandi and Stephanie were inside and still discussing the matter. Thanks again, Tiffany! Always there to uplift women, and help friends mend with kindness and forgiveness in your heart.
Actually, I thought LeeAnne handled things quite well in the van and I thought the poop story was pretty much over - but when Tiffany brought it up, LeeAnne was pissed and raised her voice at me. I told her I had not told anyone about that night and would take a polygraph but she wasn't listening and said I just need to stop talking about it. I thought, "Sh--, not again!?!?!?". I wasn't talking about it, but Tiffany seemed to be and was happy to pour gasoline on the fire. The LeeAnne volcano was boiling, and so I went inside to give her some space - hoping she would cool down. Little did I know, the "poop deck", I mean "pool deck" conversation was only the beginning.
Everyone was getting ready for bed by 10:00pm, and I was in the kitchen getting water when LeeAnne came into the kitchen with rage filled eyes so intense they could've melted steel!!! The volcano erupted! Damn that Jesus Juice!!! She roared, spitting obscenities at me and threatening to "gut me." I screamed back at her that I didn't say or do the things she was accusing me of - and the tirade went on for what seemed like forever. She went ballistic.
As I have stated before, I am NOT a fighter - and I was frightened, but apparently not as much as I should have been. I was totally caught off-guard by LeeAnne's meltdown, but this was no couch "Textgate". I should have just ran out of the house and called 911 for help - but I didn't, because how does one do that to a friend? Instead, I stayed there trying to convince my friend that "I didn't do" what Tiffany accused me of doing. At the time, I couldn’t for the life of me understand what was going on with LeeAnne and her indiscriminate rage.
It occurred to me later that, once again, Tiffany had pushed LeeAnne's buttons. Wow! What a great, Christian friend. Isn't it ironic how all of the times LeeAnne showed her ass last year, lead back to Tiffany and her “ride or die friendship.” I hope LeeAnne uses her brain and thinks-through how she was being manipulated. LeeAnne is no dummy, and it's clear Tiffany has put all her energy into protecting her LeeAnne "property," helping her talented husband book gigs, and "praying" with a not-so-nice hidden agenda.
The next morning, what should have been coffee and funny stories about a girls weekend, was chaotic and stressful. In Stephanie and Brandi’s lake house, one can hear a pin drop at night. Everyone within the LeeAnne blast radius heard her threaten me, sans Tiffany – who, at dinner the next night, swore on the Bible that she didn't hear LeeAnne screaming and threatening my life. I barely slept that night. I isolated myself for hours in my room the next morning, not wanting to face LeeAnne or the other ladies, but did eventually emerge and went to have coffee. LeeAnne came in with Tiffany and they set upon bullying me again. Tiffany piped in to point the finger.
The other girls emerged and started-in on the conversation with LeeAnne, Tiffany, and me. Cary, Stephanie, Brandi, and Courtney didn’t think I took the threats seriously enough - and in hindsight, I agree. Internally, my brain and body froze up in the heat of the moment while pleading for LeeAnne to believe me. LeeAnne accepting my innocence became paramount, even in the face of threats NO ONE should endure.
For the life of me, I cannot understand why I didn’t pack up and leave immediately after LeeAnne exploded and threatened my life. Cary was right to ask me what I thought “kill” meant. I was still so emotionally overwhelmed, that I was unable to articulate my words when she asked me, mumbling something very enabling about “it means she was very angry.” When Cary asked LeeAnne what she meant by "kill," she downplayed her threat and said her meaning of “kill” wasn’t the same as what others think, even suggesting she meant it as slang. Yes, I let LeeAnne bully me. I didn't want the entire trip to be ruined by one explosive and regrettable moment. I did vow that I wouldn't let it happen again. I have never been afraid of LeeAnne before, although I have been afraid for her. I am left hoping LeeAnne is growing into a better person who controls her anger, even when it's brought about by past hurt and can be hard to do.
Around mid-morning after "Carnygate," Stephanie said she’d arranged for a spa day and, despite the emotional turmoil from the previous night, I decided to suck it up, take a deep breath, and put an optimistic smile. I figured, if ANYTHING could take my mind off of the insanity of the night before, a spa day would since anyone that knows me knows that I absolutely love massages and spas. My love of spas and the joy of helping people have more healthy skin and look their best is what drove me to create SkinSpaMED and my RAGS2Riches skincare line. When I opened SkinSpaMED medical spa 12 years ago, my passion and dreams were realized. Everyday, I get to spend my time doing the thing I love most. Helping people look and feel better about themselves is truly a joy of mine.
After we checked into our hotel suite, I decided to make the first move and went to the hotel room where LeeAnne and Tiffany were staying. I wanted to diffuse some of the tension and initiated a conversation hoping LeeAnne would tell me she loved me and was sorry for the horrible things she said to me. I also wanted reassurance there would be no more threats. I did get some of that, but she never fully apologized to me directly. I told her I had forgiven her and I asked for a hug. We hugged and with that I released the sadness and fear of the previous night. It upsets me to write this regarding Stephanie’s interview comment of, “Marie is the a--hole, who takes it up the rear and then asks for a hug,” but I can see looking back, it sure looks like that’s what I did. Note to self: Don’t be the a--hole – even with a 20-year friend.
I have never ever suffered through a worse dinner, let alone birthday dinner, than that night. The entire lot of us were tired, hungry, at the end of our fuse, miserable and just OVER the ladies trip to Austin. It started with such good intentions oh, and Jeezus Juice. I was happy we were talking about things other than the situation from the previous night, but our lighthearted dinner conversation didn't last long.
Brandi and Stephanie addressed "the elephant in the room." I guess Stephanie and Brandi were getting wise to what had been going on for a long time; Tiffany egging LeeAnne into conflicts and sometimes fitful screaming rage-a-thons, and then being the voice in LeeAnne's head while helping her 'clean up' the messes she helped instigate. It pains me to admit that Tiffany and I enabled LeeAnne's bad behavior, by making excuses for her or because we didn’t want to lose our friend. I was slow to the reckoning, but I get it now. Tiffany pushes LeeAnne's buttons and then is the shoulder to cry on and the “hero” who takes-up for LeeAnne, all the while being super manipulative with s hidden agenda.
Brandi, wanting everyone to own their part, was trying to get Tiffany to walk in her own shoes and not always put herself in LeeAnne's shoes. Between Tiffany making excuses and Brandi interrupting, Tiffany got frustrated and insulted Brandi - claiming she needed to talk down to a level that Brandi could actually understand. When Brandi excused herself, Tiffany actually looked happy she had hurt Brandi. I could tell Stephanie was at the end of her rope and, before going to check on Brandi, told Tiffany she thinks she is a nice person but her friend (LeeAnne) was not “bringing her up, she was bringing down another friend." Tiffany tried to shrug it off, but Stephanie ended it by declaring she shouldn’t bring it into her house. I had all the mean girl drama I could stand by this point and I was relieved when Cary suggested we call it a night. I will say the food and rooftop table was amazing. Perhaps another night the mood could match the venue.