Think back to who you were before the abuse began. Was I ever that person? Did I appreciate who she was, or did I just take her for granted? A lot has changed since the fall of 2008 when he put his hands on me for the first of thousands of times to come, including how I view myself and the world around me. I have learned a lot about myself and more than I ever cared to learn about the lives of people who live in the darkness, deliberately hidden away from view, expertly tucking themselves in the folds of thick black nothingness.
Here is where my life hung precariously in the balance waiting for someone to just give me some light. Just enough light to make my way out. For me, abuse was like being in the lowest abyss with barely enough light to see shadows. He moved around freely there, and as I clung to the walls trying to find an escape, he would lunge at me in a furious attack and recoil, sometimes before I really had the chance to know he was there. At first it was occasional, but as time progressed it became incessant. Relentless. In the beginning, I thought it could change, and I tried my best to make things right. But it was not to be. He spiraled out of control, and little by little, I lost hope.
When I left in December, I had been stripped of the ability to trust, to dream, to want, to live. I was on perpetual autopilot and out of options. Or so I thought. It turns out all those prayers cast out urgently from a heart that was about to fail did not fall upon deaf ears, and with all I prayed for, I still received way more than my share. I have hope today because I asked and Jehovah answered. He gave me the courage and strength to break my silence, and in doing so, He flooded the darkness in blinding light. I reached out for help to preserve my life. I am blessed to have such an extensive group of support.
Now I have to be clear: it did not save me from having to go through the emotional wreckage like every one of us inevitably does after escaping something so traumatic. If you are getting ready to leave or have just left and feel overwhelmed, it will get easier. But you have get down on your hands and knees in the muck and mire. You have to face it, and you have to give the turmoil and chaos within you a voice. The numbness you succumbed to just to survive is going to wear off. There will be pain, disappointment, anger, fear, sadness, sleepless nights, and horrible nightmares. You will doubt yourself and question every decision you made in your life that led up your being abused. You will struggle with forgiveness and hate like you have never known. And some of you may even find after all the hurt and pain, you still miss your abuser! I guess in this respect, I am fortunate that I do not have to wrestle with this confusion. He took me so far past anything I ever thought I would experience that he killed every last bit of love I had for him. I am unequivocally finished with him.
I have been able to relearn hope and dreams. The numbness wore off, and I cleared the fog from my eyes. I am starting over from zero. No more being told what I think, who I like, what I should wear, who I should be, where I should go or when. Those are all my decisions, and I can make them and then turn around and change them as much as I want without fear of being punished. I can begin to revisit former hobbies and rekindle my geeky love for them. I can go out with my friends and stay out as late as I want. I can finish all the things I started and had to put on hold. The possibilities of who can become are now endless, and I have dreams of something better.