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To Speak My Peace
I want the chance to speak my peace…
It always hurts me to hear girls talk about abusive men, how they would never put up with their actions. It almost makes my stomach turn, mostly because at an abrupt point in my young life I was one of them. I would never let a man put his hands on me. I would leave him in a heartbeat! The words that I once proudly boasted now ring in my head, mocking me steadily. It’s a sensitive topic that you’re only allowed to criticize if you’ve ever experienced the trauma, the struggle, the complete breakdown of your individuality and character, and unfortunately your life.
It’s something that I’m allowed to speak on…
It was less than a year’s past. This guy… he appeared more charming than most guys I had ever met. He entranced me. But as Lady Macbeth would describe it, appear as the flower but be the serpent underneath it. This spell he had entranced me in had eventually become the puppet strings on my body and mind.
His venomous nature slowly but surely seeped into me and interfered in my life. I had been pressured, maybe somewhat forced, into doing things outside of my once-innocent nature--- I gave him my most sacred gift in a month’s span, not even with a second thought; I had become increasingly distant from my friends and disrespectful towards my family; even the life I once had for cheerleading took a critical hit.
Yet that was only the beginning…
My wardrobe had changed dramatically. I don’t want you wearing those clothes. You’ll look like a wh**e, he would say. The male companions that were in my life were to be ejected immediately. They’re going to try and take you away from me, he would say. The girls I kept super close were now distant figures. I don’t want you hanging out with her. She’s gonna make you cheat on me, he would accuse.
Yet somehow I would overlook these things. ..
With terrible grades and a less-than-flattering record (smoking, selling, run-ins with the police), I felt as though he needed me. I was the only one that could keep him stable. Anything otherwise would cause him to fall over the edge. Fear was the only thing keeping me there; fear for him and of him.
Phone calls everyday were a must; it was almost as if I were “checking in” with him. Whenever we were together I couldn’t leave his side. I couldn’t mention another guy’s name within a single breath I took in front of him--- not even his own brother. It became ridiculous to the extent that his own mother told me I would be better off if I broke up with him. It was the hardest thing I had ever done, and it soon escalated into a night I wouldn’t forget for a very long time…
I didn’t see it for myself, but hearing the commotion downstairs put my emotions into a jumble that fateful night. Never before had I heard such anger, such spite… it was unreal. His fury caused him to push my mother into the door. My MOTHER. After she informed me of this, I didn’t know whether to cry for running upstairs or take a knife from the kitchen and search for him myself. I suddenly became the tiny infuriated cub that wanted to defend her mother from a lurking predator. This wasn’t something I was going to look over with ease.
But yet… it’s strange. Two days later, I took him back.
Our reunion on the first day of 2009 proved to be the lowest point that I would face shortly before obtaining my freedom. For months he slowly broke me down, even more than he had before. He rewired my mindset to make me believe without him, there is no me. Without him I’m worth nothing. Without me, he said, I would find no one else better.
The funny thing is, I actually believed him…
It would be two months, seven days, fifteen hours and thirty-one minutes later that I would soon be free from the emotional and mental breakdown. By this point I had been so stripped of my former character it was nothing short of a miracle that I found my sanity and self-respect again. He called me and flatly stated, I don’t think we should be together anymore.
No explanation. No reason.
I felt my stomach drop. I was actually… heartbroken.
For about an hour, I cried. Hurt and anger filled me. Why did he all of a sudden want to break up? More than anything I cried because I still had believed that I would never find anyone “better” than him. It’s what I had been believing for six months. Eight days. Fifteen hours and thirty-one minutes… and now it was over.
The puppet strings were cut loose. The enchanting spell was broken. My individuality slowly restored over time, but nevertheless I practically reformed back into the girl I once was: happy, cheery, carefree. The hurt still lingers inside me, but each day I choose to wear a smile and mask my pain from those who never notice it at first glance. I would much rather people laugh with me until it hurts than for the world to pity me for what I have gone through.
Smile. They won’t notice the scars.
Now, I have spoken my peace.