This is the last week I’ll be telling my story, at least for awhile. Not that I have any intention of it stopping here, but I really don’t KNOW where I’m going from here, obviously…I only know where I currently AM and where I hope to be one day. Here’s where you can read Part 1 and Part 2. This part is LONG. I don’t know how to shorten it though, because…well. Not that I personally am very important, but this story is important, because emotional and mental abuse is real and the damage just as lasting as other types of abuse. Also, just this part alone took place over about 5 years. The real reason though, is so that maybe other people in bad relationships can know: it is possible to break free, to be free, and to live and love again. While my relationship was the traditional one of marriage between a man and a woman, abusive relationships take all forms – between parents and children, between people of all sexual orientations – and it’s not just men that can be abusive. If you recognize yourself in any of this, please look for help. You are worthy of so much more.
Oh, and the title? My love affair with words. Written by others, written by myself…I’ve finally come to call it what it is. 😉
The little girl moved to Virginia, husband in tow. Her best friend moved from California at the same time. She was tired of living somewhere she hated, with no friends and no family. Somehow she and her husband agreed to move. Virginia was close to her grandparents and extended family, and with her best friend there, it felt as close to perfect as she had ever been. It didn’t take her long to find a job at a blood bank. It was long hours, but she was good at it, the people who came to donate blood loved her, and she loved her job.
Before too long though, that was the only part of her life that she loved. Her relationship was becoming more and more unhealthy. Every time she walked into her house, it was like a cloud descended on her head and stayed there, threatening to smother her. She was afraid. Afraid to be herself, afraid to do the things she loved. The only safe place was at work, where she knew it was okay to be good – she definitely wasn’t hurting anyone’s feelings by trying to be better or even the best. At work she was strong, independent, should could take care of other people, not just herself.
At home everything had to be just how he wanted. Her feelings were always wrong or unjustified. Her husband started to say things now and then that genuinely frightened her, both for his safety and her own. She silently resented that his choices always had to be THEIR choices, from what hung on the walls, to when they had sex, to how often they could visit her family. He didn’t like going places with her. When he did go out, he usually wanted to go alone. Her coworkers sometimes teased her that she had a pretend husband, because he would never even come inside her workplace, even to give her the keys she locked inside her vehicle one day. The last birthday gift she got him, she had planned and saved for months to be able to buy. She gave it to him, and he told her to return it. All the little hurts added up, over and over again, until she was just one big hurt. When she tried to tell him…well, obviously, she was wrong.
She could be a statue of liberty
She could be a Joan of Arc
But he’s scared of the light that’s inside of her
So he keeps her in the dark.
It was the night of her birthday party at a friend’s house that she told him she couldn’t do it. If things didn’t change, she wanted a divorce. He had just torn apart the bathroom she had finally decorated. It had taken her months to decide to do anything because she was so afraid he wouldn’t like it, and felt so guilty about spending the money on it. Her mom had sent her some birthday money a few days early, and so she had finally done it. In 30 seconds, it was destroyed and what little bit of her heart was left was broken.
It was that summer before she finally found the courage to break free. She spent almost an entire weekend out with friends, and something finally snapped – she couldn’t keep going home. She felt like she no longer had a home. She was terrified. She was afraid he would hurt her, or her cat. The entire time she forced the words out, she shook from head to toe and her only thought beyond getting through her speech was to keep the couch between them. She never spent another night in the same house with him.
Her friends and family welcomed her with open arms. She discovered they had been worried about her for a long time, but afraid that she would shut them out if they tried to point out all the red flags that were so obvious to the rest of the world. She lived with her best friend for awhile, then managed, with a lot of help from her family, to get her own place.
She was so happy. At last, she answered to no one except herself. At last, she was free to feel – feel anything she wanted. Free to follow her heart. Free to eat whatever she wanted – or not at all. Free to climb mountains if she wanted. Free to spend the night on a boat on a lake with a guy she barely knew. Free to stay out until 2 in the morning and only have people call to check on her, not demand things from her. Free to explore. Free to go out or stay in, and not feel influenced or obligated to anyone. She decorated her little apartment and didn’t ask anyone for permission. She went to see her grandmother. She reclaimed her cat, who had had to stay with her ex-husband until she found a place.
She made some new, rather drastic career choices. Her friends and new boyfriend supported her 100%. She was free to make her own mistakes. Not that no one cared, but for the first time ever in her life, no one was trying to control her.
It took awhile for the creative muse to come back. Buried and discouraged for so long…but it still wasn’t dead. It took awhile for her love of WORDS to come back…she had almost stopped reading as well. That too, came back to her, along with her heart. She moved overseas, got married again…read piles and piles of books.
And now she’s here. The muse took a long time to move beyond the look of colors, the texture of fabric and yarn, to move back into words. She feels them stirring, deep in her brain. Maybe they’ll come back into story form one day. But for now…she’s here. Buried in the depths of books, writing – writing SO MUCH. Not stories yet…but writing again. And it brings her joy, even if the words are just for her. Or one other person. Or the people that read this blog. It brings her joy.
Do you know that there’s a way out,
there’s a way out
there’s a way out
there’s a way out
You don’t have to be held down,
be held down
be held down
be held down
‘Cause I used to be a shell
Yeah, I let him rule my world
my world, oh, yeah
But I woke up and grew strong
And I can still go on
And no one can take my pearl
You don’t have to be a shell, no
YoU’RE THE ONE THAT RULES YOUR WORLD, OH
You are strong and you’ll learn
that you can still go on
And you’ll always be a—a pearl
She is unstoppable
Lyrics from Katy Perry’s “Pearl.”