This is me: a slightly neurotic but loving, compassionate, strong, and dedicated survivor of four years of endless, malicious, and hateful verbal tirades and physical assault. I have made it through the battlefield more or less in one piece and have discovered a drive to help others like me do the same. Like those of you who have unfortunately lived through the nightmare yourself, or, even worse, still find yourself trapped in it, I have my outwardly visible personae that I have affected as a front to hide the turmoil seething underneath folded up in my back pocket in case I need to pull it out and slap it back on to get through my acquaintances’ and even some family’s incessant commentary and gossip about all things Kevin.
At this point, I feel oblidged to tell you that the smile you see on my face in this picture I took this morning was hard won. How interesting: an obligatory revelation to those who already know the relief I must feel to be able to do all the things the rest among us take for granted: go shopping, not have to obsess about time, who I am with, where I am, how long I am out, what music I am “allowed” to listen to, what foods I should eat… And more major things that are reflective of how you feel about yourself on the inside: wearing makeup, doing my nails, and going to work wearing such “scandalous” things as skirts and sleeveless tops, but still having those moments of panic where you fear what is going to happen for you leaving the house looking like a “whore.” When you really don’t. When there is no one there even waiting to punish you for taking care in how you present yourself.
How you take for granted not knowing of days that you were assaulted and beaten like a man because you did not leave the house looking like Farmer Joe. How you assume the simple pleasure of being able to look like the woman you feel is inside is just extended to and enjoyed by everyone! Fortunate you are if you do not know the feeling of guilt and panic that washes over you in a torrent because you spend money on something new for yourself, because you momentarily forget you won’t have to account for every penny you spent to a raving crackhead who thinks it’s a better deal to spend several hundred dollars of your paycheck on rock that vaporizes in seconds.. every week… than it would be to actually pay your bills, rent, taxes, student loans, car insurance, and purchase groceries… and that monstrous pile of arrears he has for his children that he is not man enough to take care of. Instead of being hounded by the landlord, electric company, the IRS, the state tax department, the loan holders wanting to know when they are going to see the money they are rightfully owed…
How you expect the simple right and dignity of privacy to use the washroom in your own home with the door closed, whenever you need to go. Instead of having to hold it, especially coming home from work, because you spent four years getting tormented about the reason you would need to do so is so you can “clean up.”
Because apparently I don’t have the thoughts run through my head often enough. No, I need them to obsess about him for me and keep trying to drag my thoughts back to where I wanted to flee from. Because I have nothing better to do with my time than spending every waking second trying to field, deflect, and ignore the endless barrage of questions, comments, and gossip I get fed from people who act like they mean well but instead want another thing to talk about like they think they know something.
This craziness has even gone to the point where I have people playing voicemail messages insisting that Kevin is calling, texting, harassing, stalking them. So now, too, they become a victim of his because they know me. And they assault me with an endless barrage of drama and put me in an emotionally agitated state that I truly hoped would disappear after I was away from Kevin long enough. Generally it has. Until certain people open their mouths.
My point? I sometimes have enough trouble keeping my thoughts from wandering to the negativity Kevin dumped on me, and I do not need any assistance in this regard. It is unkind, annoying, and not appreciated when I receive texts late at night about his latest exploits or an interrogation about where he is and what he is doing. Oddly enough, however, I have an answer to the last part, but as long as he is out of my hair, I. Do. Not. Care. The damage he is currently causing and the trouble he is currently finding is not my concern. I am sorry he is letting his life go in that direction, but I have no concern with him whatsoever.
I am happy being free of him, and I have gradually gotten used to living like I should be.. no… Like I deserve to be. The vital, feisty, jovial, and slightly mischievous woman I was before I got sucked into the black hole known as Kevin has returned and becomes a bigger handful with each passing day. I am content. I am satisfied. I have reconnected, found love and some peace, and developed more appreciation for myself, my character, my personality, and my abilities.
And I am going to protect this. Some of you may ask why I would slap on that “personae” I mentioned in the beginning if I had to endure all the silence surrounding Kevin. Well, I am also wiser, and I know that there are some battles that just are not worth the sacrifice of my peace of mind to reply to those trying to sap me of everything I fought to get back. Gone are the days of arguments and stress and drama and negativity. That trench was impossibly deep and ever so difficult to climb out of. So, no, I wont get nasty or allow myself to get sucked into extended conversations with them about it. This doesn’t mean I won’t broach the topic when it needs to be discussed, but if they cannot respect my position or my wishes, then they will slowly just fall off and be relegated to the sidelines. It should be obvious that some of them already have.
If you want to know what he is up to so badly, then you can hunt him down and find out for yourself. And in the meantime, if you please, let me be. I am not that brother’s keeper.