? The Fairytale
It was Saturday, December 12, 2010, and I was getting married. The church was decorated in Lavender, Silver, and Gold as music and laughter filled the air. With butterflies in my stomach, I drank my peppermint tea and began to get ready for the ceremony. The bridesmaids joked about my having “cold feet” because I was shaking unable to put on my jewelry. “Take a deep breath,” my mother-n-law to be said, “everything’s going to be alright.” I stood arm and arm with my stepfather, asking him, “Are your ready to give me away?” The doors opened as I marched down the aisle to Shania Twain’s ‘From This Moment.’ After our “I dos” we danced around the altar with glee. Leading on to our happily ever after.
? The Fairytale”s Ending
We slept on an air mattress in the middle of the basement of his mother’s home, with a total of eight people living in the house. One evening my husband asked me to prepare dinner. I, trying to be the obedient wife, went upstairs. We had two cans of salmon and six potatoes. I thought to myself, “How am I going to feed a family of eight with this?” Salmon crockets and fried taters popped into mind but we were missing eggs. So I asked my husband if he wouldn’t mind borrowing the eggs from our neighbor, so I could finish dinner. To my surprise, my left ear began ringing, as I heard a muffling sound of his anger, “don’t you dare disrespect me ever again!” It then hit me, this man hauled off and slapped me upside my head! Running through the house, trying to escape his blows, I ran out of breath, feeling his hands now choking me in a fit of rage. “You are not allowed to do this to me, ” I whispered going out of consciousness. His grip loosened as he replied, “You’re my wife, I’m the man, and I can treat you any way I please!”
I stayed with him for a miserable ten months, praying God would sustain me to keep my vows, cringing each time he touched me, afraid when I heard his key unlocking the door. I convinced myself that I was not being abused. Even though he would not buy my sanitary napkins, I wasn’t allowed to leave the house without his permission, and he controlled all the money. Every day, I was an “unworthy whore,” “the worst wife ever,” “the mistake that God made.” Yet and still I would fix his lunches, wash his clothes, keep the house clean, and have his dinner on the table every evening at 5:00 pm as demanded.
October 12, 2011. I rebelled and returned home late without his permission for leaving the house in the first place, had not cooked dinner, and he was livid. He calmly spoke with me for a moment, until the ‘passcode of safety’ was cleared by a dear friend, who recognized I was being abused. Soon as I hung up the phone, the attack began. The neighbors above and below heard my screams and pleas of “Stop! You’re hurting me!” and called the police.
? The Battle
I found a battered women’s shelter, staying only a month (the allotted time that was given). Now homeless, I then relocated to live with my God-parents in Mississippi. It was hard, embarrassing to say the least, returning with only one suitcase. This meant I had to admit that I was not wanted or loved. My childhood was full of inescapable words of failure and even though my God-family did not see me this way. I could not get past the abuse I suffered for years by the hands of my bloodline, by the actions of ex-boyfriends, and now by the man who I thought was supposed to protect and love me until death do us part. I blamed myself. Why hadn’t I taken heed to the red-flags? Was I so desperate to prove to everyone who said, “no one would ever want or love me,” that I looked beyond what I was facing directly in front of me? Taking years to get over the anger, resentment, and embarrassment I had trapped inside of me for so long. And if I’m honest with myself, with you, I still have moments when I feel unworthy.
? The Reality
Make no mistakes, not all domestic violence situations are physical. There’s also emotional and financial abuse to name a few. The majority of the time, most victims do not realize they’re in an abusive relationship. Please refer to the article by Emily Lockhart, Active Beat, ’10 Telling Signs You’re Trapped In An Abusive Relationship.’
Before I left my ex-husband, a wise woman once shared with me, “God will never place you in a situation you cannot escape. It may take time, but He will give you the strength and provision needed if you are willing to trust in Him.” I reflect on her words often, especially in times of difficulty. Those words have assisted me in swallowing my pride and seeking the guidance of a therapist to get the help that was/is needed. Now moving forward, I’m much stronger than what I used to be. Realizing everyday given is a journey of testimony. I found the courage to trust and marry a wonderful man who is my heart, my rock, my love, and outside of God, my everything. It’s not perfect, we have our share of ups and downs, just like any marriage, but we’re complete. There’s life beyond the struggle. There’s hope beyond the battles. There’s love beyond the brokenness. And I am not ashamed!
Oh no, he loves me, he really does,
He just had a hard day’s work, or at least I think that’s what it was.
He’s not always this way; I just caught him at a bad time,
I’m sure if I do everything right from now on, then things will work out fine.
No, he really loves me; he just had too much to drink,
I know once the swelling goes down, then I’ll be able to blink.
I shouldn’t have upset him by bringing up the bills we have to pay,
But, once he sobers up, I’m sure that everything will be okay.
Oh, what these bruises? No, no, I just fell down:
I was texting when I was walking and tripped over a rock on the ground.
Clumsy me, you know I never watch where I’m going,
I’m just a little bit sore right now, but I’ll be fine in the morning.
No, please officer, don’t arrest him like he said we were just having a lovers spat,
During our argument, I was lifting something heavy and accidentally pulled out my back,
Things have been so hard on him lately, having to look for a new job and all,
But thank you for your inquiry and the next time this happens, I will be sure to give you a call,
No mama, no need to worry, I’ll be released from the hospital soon,
But the doctor said that it may be a while before I’m able to eat with a spoon.
I told him back home I wasn’t going unless he’s willing to change,
He said he was sorry for everything he’s done and never meant to cause me any pain.
I know that I’ve left him before, but it’s different this time because he’s gone the extra mile,
He’s taking anger management classes now and he’s also been sober for quite a while.
I understand how concerned you are, but I really want this relationship to work,
It took you a moment before you left daddy; I remember you going through years of getting hurt.
No! I never saw this one coming; I never even noticed the sign,
The body that the mortician’s preparing, is the life that used to be mine.
~From Exposed Poetry Memoirs
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No one should have to suffer alone if you are being abused please contact The National Domestic Violence Hotline or dial 1-800-799-7233[/message]