Dear “If I Was You, I would have:”
Since you have the benefit of having the story in its totality but none of the intimate personal experience with the abuse I endured and the snap decisions I made on a daily basis just to survive into the next twenty-four hours of destruction, your opinions, assumptions, suppositions, advice, and criticism are not welcome here. I know you feel the choices in the moment should have been obvious to me in all my intelligence, but never for one moment forget that you have the benefit of something that, at the time when I really could have used it, I did not have. I have drawn you a picture of the entire 1,551 days in such detail that there is nothing omitted. I have withheld nothing from you as I brought you into my story and shared vulnerability that you were, as it turns out, not worthy to receive. You know where the darkness started wrestling the rays of light into submission. You know where the traps were laid, how, and when. You are able navigate the quicksand, cliffs, and minefields with eerie precision. But for all the things you do know, you conveniently cannot remember that you are not bound and shackled by the fear wielded about by the monster that I was able to survive. You were gifted with what I was not: benefit of my hindsight.
Your vantage point into the dynamics of what I endured is skewed and stretched and warped like the most distorted fun house mirror. The environment from which you look back into my past and so thoroughly point out all the times I made the wrong choice is entirely devoid of the stress and chaos that I shouldered day in and day out alone, buried and smothered in blind fear and desperation so thick I could barely breathe. I was in the lion’s den, shackled to the cold, bare cement floor with fetters and chains forged by his deft manipulation and conditioning and left in urgent expectancy of pain as I watched the beast circling, lurking, and stalking about me like a deadly predator in the wild hunting its next meal. A specially heinous solitary confinement in which I spent my days wrestling against the brainwashing and threats and fear and panic and pain that sprang loose from the belly of the monster and lodged its destructive parasite deep within my brain to erase every last part of me and my ability to maintain my objectivity. A plot to erase my humanity, render me empty for the filling of garbage and self-loathing so thick and viscous that my legs and feet plodded and dragged drudgingly under me until they finally gave way and collapsed. A vile act of desecration against a vessel of value, worth, and honor. A plunder of a woman capable of immeasurable levels of compassion, love, mercy, and kindness until her vulnerability was forcefully stripped from the most intimate reaches of her heart and impaled on the blade of the Devil. A malicious and despicably torturous emotional death for the sake of a greedy hand demanding control over a being he had no right to subjugate to the status of an animal.
There is none of this weighing you down and pulling and clawing and tearing at your flesh and heart day after day. You do not have to attempt to escape the anger and destruction of the monster I battled against incessantly and feverishly until the point of being worn away to nothing. A shell. For all intents and purposes, invisible. No, instead you sit sprawled out upon your overstuffed sofa as though you were royalty lounging upon a plush divan of velvet with handmaids and servants catering to your every whim, looking down the bridge of your nose at me in a suffocating haughtiness as you wag your finger in my face and call me stupid. There is no strangulation marks upon your neck, no bruises, no cuts, no welts, no swelling, no breakages, and no ripped out clumps of hair strewn across the bedroom carpet like a cat shedding its winter coat. You have not been cut off from all your friends and family. You are not monitored and watched and followed and threatened every waking hour of your life. You have not looked into the eyes of the demon and faced imminent death at the end of a tire iron or a butcher knife. You have not been mocked and ridiculed as you desperately plead for your life. You have not felt the despair of piece after piece of your soul falling to the floor and shattering with each hateful word about your worthlessness as it oozes its way into your heart and incites you to hate yourself more than you ever imagined possible.
You can keep your “What you should have done is…..”
You can selfishly hoard away all your “But what I can’t believe is why you didn’t just…..”
You can take and wrap up in pretty paper and bows all your “Well how did you think it was going to turn out if…..”
And you can wrap yourself in the comfort of all your “How could you be so stupid!”
Your words are irrelevant. Your suppositions and judgment and accusations are pointless. Your advice is worthless. Meanwhile, I’m trying to pick myself back up, and you keep beating me back down into that rut of hopelessness with that rafter jutting out of your eye. Splinters. You waste time scrutinizing me for splinters when that beam is so cumbersome you can’t even deign to criticize how I lived, the choices I made. The fact is, whether or not you approve, whether or not you find fault with me, my life has worked out the way it has worked out. Your lack of compassion won’t change it. Your lack of mercy and decency won’t erase it, and your impatience and arrogance won’t vanquish the beast that still dwells in the shadows. Your insistence and forcefulness and attempts to shame me leaves me unmoved.
Take it somewhere else. I’m all stocked up on criticism. I don’t need anymore.