The Realest Shit I Ever Wrote
There will be people who completely misunderstand why I'm writing this. There will be people who read this as fodder for gossip, and I preface this all by making the full disclosure that this is not about any of that.
On August 22, 2017, I packed three bags and left the man I considered to be the love of my life.
On August 31, 2017, I filed for legal separation from the same man.
A boy I met when I was 16 years old and fell in love with had grown to be a man that was the physical incarnate of the boogeyman in my life. And I hid all of this well.
We picture abuse as women with black eyes and other obvious signs.
It is not.
It's finding that where you once lamented in shared time with friends, you slowly but surely find yourself slipping off the social map. Afraid of the backlash and torment of a partner whose ego is bruised by the time you share with others.
It's losing your hobbies and interests because you're berated with verbal admonishments for daring to spend any energy on anything other than catering to the same empty soul.
It's slaps to the face, pushes, choking and physically threatening outbursts. Even when they don't leave a mark... they leave mental and emotional scars.
It's avoiding work obligations and opportunities for advancement so as not to dwarf a stunted partner.
It's wearing a person so thin that they're conditioned to make excuses for this behavior and modify their own to experience it as little as possible.
It's being told you're trash, worthless, and useless and being called a bitch for so long that you begin to believe it and so you stay. Thinking that you are nothing more than what they say and so you should be grateful for what semblance of love you're given.
And so much more.
But on that day in August, the small still piece of me that refused to die under the pressure - the voice that always rebutted this treatment (and it always did, thank God) finally screamed out.
I had endured more than I could ever sum up in a blog post. For family, for God, for my children's sake, for fear, for my love for this person, no matter how dysfunctional. But on that day, I said enough. On that day I chose me. I chose to remember what I wrote to you all so many years ago when I started writing to the blogosphere. YOU CAN NOT POUR FROM AN EMPTY CUP.
And oh, was I empty. I wouldn't be exaggerating to say that I almost lost my life at my own hands trying to hold on to a person who was broken beyond my ability to repair. To say I lost hope is an understatement, but there is no more eloquent or elaborate way for me to put it. I was a shell of the woman I once was. I could not be the mother, the sister, the daughter, the writer, the artist, or the friend I once was if I continued to hold on with bleeding hands to my role as a wife.
I was drowning. Plain and simple.
Something had to change. And so I changed it.
This is not my tell all. This is me reclaiming my God damn voice from someone who still chooses to see his abuse as a "character flaw."
This is my honest admission that I let people influence me to believe that I was somehow a better wife or woman for enduring subpar treatment.
This is my offer of understanding and compassion to every woman who has subdued herself for the sake of an abuser's ego.
You are so much more than someone's other half and you are worth so much more than what he or she (because this isn't one sided people!) tells you that you bring to the table.
I'm here to let you know that in these kinds of situations you probably are the damn table.
I'm also writing this to freely admit that the woman who looks like she's got all of her shit together and doesn't seem to flinch no matter the weight of the world, even she can be cracking from the foundation up. I don't look like anyone's patsy. I still wouldn't say I am after everything I've been through. But I fell for someone far too young and let them gaslight me into believing that this is what life and love is. It is not.
You can get up from the mat and keep swinging. Even when no one else understands. Read these words and know that I do.
I still don't have all the answers, Sway.
But I can tell you it isn't over. You write the next chapter in your own book.
Even if it means burning the last one and starting anew. I'll even hold the lighter for you.
This is the realest shit I ever wrote. And now that I'm done with my farce, I can get back to telling the whole truth.