The new life… It’s a new year. Everyone is celebrating. This year is truly a new one for me. This year is my first that I can truly remember being free. The changes over the last year were hard. Last New Year’s I was in a hell that is hard to describe. On the evening of the thirty-first of December of 2014 I knew already that I wanted freedom. I knew then that I needed that freedom like everyone needs air to breathe. I yearned for it, I dreamed of it, I ached for a chance to be free. My entire being was begging for freedom. I knew the source of my pain, of my prison. I knew some of the depths of the rabbit hole that I was in. I already knew then that I deserved, needed, to be free. Yet, at that time almost no one else knew, only a select few people who I could trust and who I knew would support me no matter what. These few people and family were my life line. These people did not just offer their support but also their encouragement, their time and their resources. These people are part of the reason I am still living and breathing now. Without them I would have never left and if I had never left I would certainly be dying. My abuser was mostly not physical. I prayed sometimes that he would just hit me so that others could see my pain. My need for freedom and peace and safety pushed me forward. My love for my children kept me from quitting. What others saw was a happy marriage with a happy wife. What I saw was despair in every corner. I could name the symptoms, I could show you the dead dreams and the missed opportunities. The hardest part was the feeling of being completely and utterly alone. Each time I told someone was a challenge. I firmly believed that no one would believe me and that I deserved to be treated the way I was treated. I believed it was all my fault and I was embarrassed to not have the perfect marriage that everyone “thought” I had. I felt like such a failure. If I had only done my job right, behaved the right way, spent money just so, or cooked and cleaned as I was supposed to then everything would be fine. I believed that my husband stayed with me out of pity and that no one else could possibly love me the way he did because no one would ever be able to put up with my faults the way he did. The thoughts of an abused person make no sense but they are so very real. I fight these thoughts still, but thankfully they are less intense.
So, now it is a new year. A brand spanking new year. It’s 2016. It’s been a long ride coming from the end of 2014. The last year is one that will go down in my history as one of the toughest and one of the best years of my life. At no time have I regretted moving out. At no time, since I have left, have I wanted to move back in. I have not once wanted to speak with him. I have not once wanted to have anything to do with him. I am required to deal with him because of our kids, but minimally. I have grown so much during this season of transition. I have learned that I am worthy of respect. That I am lovable and even pretty. I have learned that I am deserving and that I am a good mother. I am having to rewrite my past with truth to correct for all of the lies that I have believed. I am learning to trust again, myself first and then others. I am learning to take care of myself.
New challenges come frequently. How do I have the electricity turned on and in my name? How do I pay for groceries when I have no money? How do I let a bill go unpaid so that we can eat? How do I explain to friends why I left? Do I explain? How do I stay sane? How do I take care of the kids without his “support”? How do I get medical insurance, dental, eye insurance? Who do I have fix the air conditioner? The car? Why do I need new tires? How do I stop and take a break? I have met all of these challenges. I have excelled despite his promise that I’d never survive without him. How do I face him? That was the hardest. How do you face your abuser? His presence could be smelled in everything. Like a rat, he was always pissing on my life. Even when he wasn’t around me his ghost would remind me of my faults and failures. Every time I can’t pay a bill I am reminded of him. Every time the children have to go without I am reminded of him. Every time I have to say no because of finances, I am reminded of him. Even when I make decisions that have nothing to do with him, I am second guessing myself. I’m not trusting my own judgement. My judgement obviously had some faults, right? I mean, why on earth did I stay with him so long? Right? Wrong. My judgement is good. I made the changes that I made when I was able and ready to make them. I had to be careful for the safety of my children and myself. I had to be prepared to leave. I also had to understand the rabbit hole that I was in. For someone who has never been in that hole, it must seem difficult to understand. Good. I pray you never do! That hole is full of twists and turns. It’s dark and scary. It has no logic to it and it will make you crazy.
So, this is a new year in a new season of my life and I am free. This year should bring the absolute divorce that I look forward to. This year will bring me closer to completing my goal of becoming a pharmacist. This year will bring many more new beginnings and many more chances to learn and to love and to live. I look forward to his hold on me slackening. I already am basking in the sunlight and I am already breathing fresh, clean, uncontaminated air. The bars to my prison cell are gone. The prison, a memory. I no longer fear going home and I no longer fear the future. My future and my children’s future will get better. Already I have proof. I am not just thinking wistfully. I know my life is better now and continues to improve. I am grateful. I count my blessings continually.
Thank you, dear reader, for being a part of my story.