June 18, 2017: I would like to tell you that this was the first time, but it wasn’t; it was just the worst…
Two and half years later, I still remember what it felt like to have his hands around my throat, the sound my dog, Buddy made as he kicked him into the wall for trying to protect me, the terror I felt as his fists hit my face, and how it felt as my bones broke. I prayed to God for mercy. Was there a Heaven? Would I go there? Most importantly, I remember breaking free and horror washing over me as I dialed 9-1-1 and begged for help as I lay on the floor, bloody and broken.
That was the moment that I knew the final piece of our marriage had crumbled; every hope, dream and plan for our future had shattered. However, the strongest recollection from that night was the instant I had decided to no longer be his victim.
It’s overwhelming sometimes the feelings of anger, regret and fear that rush over me still: anger at his constant verbal and physical abuse; anger at myself for falling into this trap; finally, and seemingly innocuous at the time, I am angry that he took everything of value. . . my home, savings, property, friends, family, but most gut-wrenchingly any sense of safety or security, and my self-efficacy: how I see myself and my own value. Deeply, there is so much regret for tolerating him for so long, and now I have to carry this burden within myself, and I am afraid that I will never be able to trust or love anyone the same as I was before.
Choosing to leave was one of the hardest decisions I ever made and my post-marriage life has been anything but easy; I was left homeless, penniless and thousands of miles away from everyone and everything I knew; however, I also knew in the deepest parts of myself that I was trapped in a never-ending cycle of abuse. No matter how many times he apologized and made countless empty promises to be better, it would never get better if I was with him.
The road back to myself has been difficult, painful, filled few triumphs and many defeats. If I’m being honest, most days are a struggle and I carry sadness, fear, loss, courage, and love strapped to my back. This experience is something no person should ever have to live through, but it has made me a stronger and more well-rounded person. It has made me appreciate my friends (old and new), it has forced me to find an independence and drive that I never knew existed within myself, created a support system of people who recognized my pain but refused to let me surrender to it and made me realize that I am worthy of love and happiness.
Today marks 2.5 years since I left… 913 days of courage, 913 days of figuring out this thing called life on my own… I wake up every day grateful that I never have to be called a bitch or cunt, I will not be smacked, beaten or humiliated, and above all I am grateful to be the architect of my own life. I have literally walked through the darkest places in Hell to be where I am today and most of the time it’s not pretty, but I am here and that makes me lucky because I made it out the other side.
People have told me that I am brave, but I don’t really feel that way… I feel like a shattered porcelain doll slowly being put back together and I fear I’ll never be as beautiful as I was when I was shiny and new. I don’t know what 913 days from now will look like, but I hope the years to come bring Buddy and I solace, financial stability and an abundance of love and joy.
The greatest lesson I learned through this ordeal is that you are in charge of your own fate. So, today in honor of this important milestone, I ask that you choose to be happy, find the positive in the hardships you may be facing and choose to live your life for you. And the moment you think you deserve better, you do.
IF YOU ARE IN A DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SITUATION PLEASE VISIT http://www.thehotline.org FOR RESOURCES OR CALL THE CONFIDENTIAL HOTLINE AT 1-800-799-7233