One week from today will quite simply be one of the best days of my life. I have a small group of them: the day I met Kerwyn, my first meeting at the Kingdom Hall, the first day of my study, the day I broke free from Kevin (even if it was also horrible *lol*), the day I got back in contact with Kerwyn, the day I was approved as an unbaptized publisher in my congregation, and now this! I have so much to do to prepare… Hey, don’t ask, this girl isn’t revealing anything until next week, no matter how much you ask. Nope, don’t think it; I will not cave!
I have been reflecting on this all week since I received the news. Most thoughts have been good, but there have been some straying off into that place I like to avoid, because it doesn’t do me any good. But in this case, it’s difficult for this not to happen, because so much of it is related to things I have gone through at his hand.
I do not have many regrets in my life, but there are times when I wonder if there was anything else I should have done then so it wouldn’t have taken me as long to reach where I am at now spiritually. It’s frustrating, because I know that if someone approached me about the very same issue, I would have had to tell them they did what they could at the time and to cut themselves some slack. So why can I not give myself the same courtesy?
When I first started going to the meetings in 2008, Kevin did his best to look like he was agreeable, even attending meetings with me and talking to others in the congregation about how well I was doing with my studies, how proud he was, and how surprising it was to see someone from the outside take hold of it so enthusiastically. This was always followed about how he was brought up in it, and he always wondered what would be like to watch someone like me come in.
Then he started missing meetings but allowed me to continue going by myself, initially without argument, much to my surprise. There were some days he decided to go along out of the blue, but he pretty much stayed away from the Hall. Without warning, he started interrogating me about who was at the meetings, who did I talk to, what did I say… So naturally, I assumed he would start being physical about this as well.
And it started with denying me sleep, taking my Bible and literature, interrupting my studies, forcing me to cancel them, hiding the phones when I started studying with a sister over the phone. One unavoidable day when I was getting ready to get in the shower, it happened. He followed me into the bathroom, started an argument about me going without him, and when I wouldn’t comply and tell him I would stay home, he slammed my head into the doorframe of the bathroom door, several times. He made quite a few attempts with this tactic, and when saw that I would simply clean up the blood, get in the shower, and go to the meeting anyway, he adapted.
Have to give him credit for persistence, but even after he started dragging me around by my hair, pushing me into the corner, kicking me in the side, and punching me in the head, I would still stand up, get dressed, and go to the meeting. After a few tries at this, he started to combine things by denying me sleep for several days at a time and using physical force to get me to stay home. I did not relent.
By this point, many of you would say that studying and going to the meetings wasn’t worth this type of torture. You would probably stop going and tell yourself that believing in God is enough. That he couldn’t keep you from doing that, and that it would be enough. But it isn’t! It wasn’t for me! And I couldn’t stop myself even if I tried. There are some things in life you know you need to do for yourself, and this was mine. He was trying to destroy the relationship I was building with Jehovah over some need to exert power and control over me. Kevin wanted me to stop, because he was losing control. I was changing what I needed to in order to be living acceptably according to Jehovah’s standards, and he was willing to do whatever he needed to keep me from going any further.
Eventually, of course, he found a winning combination. It wasn’t always effective, but it’s hard to beat being kept up for four days straight, being repeatedly hit in the head, and being repeatedly struck in the legs with wood (which he broke on me) and the metal bar. When there were visible marks I couldn’t hide with clothing or makeup, or if I was falling asleep standing up, and in too much pain to the point where I couldn’t even think about walking downstairs, I stayed home. Sometimes, I was somehow able to get myself around and go, but he made it extremely difficult, and some days I just didn’t want to have to explain away the black eyes, welts, red marks, bruises, cuts, limping, or busted, swollen, and bruised lips.
Kevin obviously underestimated a few things about me: I can be extremely tenacious when challenged on something important to me, and my love and appreciation for Jehovah are stronger than any blow from his fists ever could be.
The day I left Kevin was both the scariest and most freeing day of my life at the same time. Deep down I knew that Jehovah had seen me that far, and he would the rest of the way. Everything I prayed to him for, he supplied one hundred fold what I asked. He put me exactly where I needed to be to heal, and he gave me the people I needed. Between Jehovah, my congregation, and Kerwyn, I am one blessed woman. Some days I feel that I have more than my share, but I also believe that I would not be where I am now had any one of those components been missing.
This coming weekend is going to be emotionally overwhelming for me. I have managed to keep myself in check thus far, but I have a sneaking suspicion that all the grief, suffering, and difficulty I faced just to get to where I am right now is going to smack me in the face. Guess I should plan on getting some waterproof mascara. Really, look at my picture on the right and tell me that wouldn’t be a mess! 🙂