Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Two Words For You

I remember very clearly the day the abuse started. I remember being cornered in the garage, I remember the sound of the zipper coming down, I remember running around the car trying to keep him opposite me, I remember that he was faster than me, and I remember the smell of his breath- like beer, cigarettes, and green beans, a smell that still makes my stomach turn. I remember not being able to comprehend what was happening to me. I was five years old and I was scared, cold, and alone. I remember when it was all over I ran inside and curled up on my mom's lap and buried my face in her shoulder. I remember the drive home. I remember my mom asking me repeated questions like she knew what had happened even though I hadn't told her, and I remember not knowing the words to use to describe what I had just experienced. My mom never brought me there again.
Fast forward to age 14. I woke up one day, put on a purple t-shirt and a pair of black shortalls (which were all the rage then) It was summer and those tiny dark purple flowers were all over the ground in the woods behind my house. My parents were at work and I had the house to myself so I went out to explore and pick some flowers. There was a shadow that came over me, like trees blowing in the wind. The shade felt so good. Then I was grabbed from behind and forced to the ground. I'm not yet ready to share all that I remember from that day and maybe I never will, but I'm ok with that. I remember the feeling of a knife against my rib cage and I remember every detail of a gold watch that was ticking loudly next to my left ear. I remember someone growling at me and telling me to lay there with my eyes closed and count to 100. I did. After I got to 100, I went inside and showered for hours, scrubbing my skin until I bled.
After that go around I sunk into a deep, dark, lasting depression. Where there had once been a vibrant, outgoing, extremely social teenager, there was now a shell of a  person that didn't shower or leave the bedroom. My grades had always been good, but that next school year I started failing classes. My mom again started hounding me- what happened? why the change? did someone hurt you? The same questions over and over again. I didn't answer any of them, even though at age 14 I knew the words, I knew what they called it, I didn't want to be one of "those" girls. One of those untouchables, one of those dirty people. Nobody ever loves those girls, and I desperately needed to believe that someone could love me.
At 15 I met the guy I was sure was going to change my life, and he did. We were blissful and content and everything was perfect. I started to come out of my shell and I felt thisclose to being alive again. I remember the first time he slapped me. My face stung, yes, but what stung more painfully was the realization that even though I had tried to hide it and I never told anyone, I ended up being an unlovable girl anyway.
There was no hope for me. My life was never going to be acceptable, let alone good. Something was very, very wrong with me and that's why everyone wanted to hurt me, because this thing, whatever it was, inside of me that was visible to everyone except me... this thing that let them know that I was no good, it was going to haunt me forever. I would never escape it. So I had two choices- I could accept that and live my entire life as a victim to whomever happened to choose me that day, or I could take control, the only control I would ever have, and I could end my life. It seemed like the easiest decision in the world. I took a handful of pills, but apparently not the right kinds cause I woke up. I took a different handful of pills, but those ones didn't work either. The next time I tried, I used a piece of broken glass. I still wear that scar, and I'm still here. I wasn't meant to die, and trying to make it happen was exhausting. I resigned myself to being used by everyone who crossed my path and I sunk into yet another depression.
For three years I was abused by every man I came in contact with. I was sold like property behind pool halls, I was beaten, I was called names, I was threatened, I had a gun stuck in my face pressed against my forehead, and I never did anything to stop it. In my head I didn't believe it could ever stop, no matter what I or someone else did, so there was no point in fighting it. Just accept my place in this world and suck it up. After all, if I'm too stupid to even figure out how to kill myself, I'm obviously too stupid to get out of this mess.
It hasn't been an easy road, or a short one, but I've made it. I laugh- often even, and I smile even more often than that. I find joy in simple things. I wake up and most days I'm excited about life. This is due to a lot of factors- years of intensive therapy, the right drugs at the right times (although I haven't been on any for a number of years now), cutting just about everyone out of my life, taking self defense classes which taught me that I CAN protect myself, and finding two or three friends, just two or three, but they are the ones that get me. The ones I can freak out in front of, the ones that I can tell this stuff to and their face doesn't get that look on it, the look that says 'you disgust me'.
Eventually I found a man that doesn't want to make me a victim. In fact, he wants me to be strong and he wants me to stand up for myself and fight, and he tells me how proud he is when I do it. He doesn't want me to be powerless, he wants to give me more power than I ever had. He doesn't think I'm stupid, he tells me how smart I am- even smarter than him. He doesn't think I do everything wrong, in fact, it's difficult to get him to list one thing that I don't rock at....  And at first I called him a liar. I told him he just wanted to trick me into feeling safe so that I'd be easier to take advantage of. I told him I would never believe that he wasn't just like them. I told him being with me was pointless and it wouldn't get him anywhere. Do you know what he did? He stayed. He looked me straight in my eyes and told me that he'd wait for as long as it took because I was worth waiting a lifetime for. I told him every detail of my sordid past and I purposefully made it sound as disgusting and shocking as possible so he'd go away, and all he did was sit down next to me, put his hand over mine, and tell me that he loved me. No matter what I tried I couldn't get this man to see how bad I was. He just kept telling me over and over again how incredible and inspiring I am and how he's the luckiest man in the world just because he gets to speak to me, and over time he almost had me believing that too.
I have recovered. I have moved on. It is not due to this man, my husband, but it IS due to who he let me be, or forced me to be at times. When I go out on a limb and I feel like I'm going to fall, I look behind me and he's there, always there, telling me that I can do this, I can do anything. And I can, because even though I fight my own battles and I fight them alone, there's always someone there afterwards to listen to my struggles and my fears and my triumphs, and he never falters. He believes in me and through his conviction, I believe in me too, even when it's hard to do. I laugh often. I smile constantly, I love everyone and I'm working on becoming a driving force for good in this world. I'm excited about life, and I'm on my way to accomplishing great things. So, to all of the people before who tried to hurt me, I have two words for you,

                                          I WIN!!


  1. That was the most amazing story. I want to be your friend now lol How incredible you are. I've had a rough time in my own way, and that was so uplifting to read. Bless you and your wonderful family :)

  2. I think you are amazing. You are strong, you are a fighter and you are courageous. You are an inspiration. Thank You for sharing your story, your hope, and your strength.

  3. I WIN! (ME, too!) What a powerful affirmation! Thank you so much for sharing your story. Your courage and strength are so inspiring. Bless you and your family always!

  4. Thank you for sharing your story!

  5. what a wonderful way to view things now. "I WIN!" i love it. i have had similar experiences and it is empowering to read that you have overcome your past and moved on!

  6. It is sooo important to tell your story. I've told mine, not publicly (I'm not as brave as you), but to the people that matter in my life. Thank you for sharing, and I hope it lifts a bit more of the burden for you.

  7. Wow, MM. Congratulations on your win. You kick ass. Thank you for being a fighter. Without you here, we all lose. Tell MD thank you, from us, for seeing the woman inside.

  8. I understand and appreciate what happened to you, and I admire your bravery. Your husband sounds like my husband--they are real men, truly good men, and in this world they are rarer and more precious than the choicest of exotic gemstones. We are blessed indeed! Thank you for sharing your story!

  9. You are an inspiration!!! I saw myself at times while reading this! After being in quite a few abusive relationships, I too have found a man that encourages me to be the person I was meant to be. I have grown stronger, and finally feel truly loved. Thank you for sharing your past with us! :)

  10. Thank you....we survivors can and do play a large role in stopping sharing our painful experiences and thru the telling of how we got out, got help, and our path of healing we give hope and courage to our sisters still living the Hellish nightmares...Somewhere a woman is reading your story, and will decide to end the nightmare she lives because your story has given her the courage to....
    I have shared my almost 30 yr long nightmare of rape, depression, PTSD, anorexia, abusive relationships, etc., many times. I was shocked last year when a very happy, seemingly successful woman, "Katie", approached me, stating that my story gave her the courage to stand up and say NO, I WIN!! and start the healing process. At first I didn't recognize her. Then she showed me a picture of herself taken 3 years earlier, the day before I, as a guest speaker, stood in front of half a dozen residents at a shelter, I remember she sat in the center of the front row....she was so tiny(I'm only 5'1", so bruised, one eye swollen shut, I was about to chicken out-I thought I was going to puke, I was terrified to actually speak of those horrors that I'd only told my therapist..but the second she looked up at me & made eye contact I just let it all out even details I had not yet been able to in my therapy sessions. I remember crying myself to sleep that night, not for myself, for her. I had feared she would go back to him. She gave me the courage to speak, I had hoped she would see that she too could have a happy, safe, love filled life. Happily she did and today we are not just friends, we actively share our stories, speaking to many area groups,hoping to inspire as many as possible :)
    YOU ARE A WINNER!! We all are :)

  11. I am a winner too. My level was not as extreme as yours, and I wish I could be half the mom and survivor you are. You are amazing, and thanks for sharing your story with us. <3 Mom T

  12. Your amazing and very brave wish I could do what you just did