I am 36-years-old. I am a woman. A mother. A daughter. A sister. A cousin. A niece. A grand-daughter. An aunt. A friend. A girlfriend. A co-worker. A paralegal. A student. A writer. I am a fighter. A survivor. A warrior. A beautifully broken soul.
It took fourteen years, five months, and eight days to “break” me. Nearly fifteen years of domestic abuse. Fifteen years of shame. Fifteen years of guilt. Fifteen years of lies, infidelity, control, degradation, humiliation. Fifteen years of mental, emotional, physical and sexual abuse.
I slid down the rabbit hole slowly, losing pieces of myself along the way. I did not realize what was happening. I didn’t know I was being abused. I had no idea that the trap had been set for me. That I was prey and would quickly become the supply for a man who had thrived on victimizing women most of his life. I did not want to be abused. I did not ask for or provoke it. I did not wake up one morning, at the age of nineteen and decide I wanted to spend the next almost-15-years losing pieces of myself to a man who would never make me feel loved or cherished or wanted.
I did not save myself. I could never quite find the courage or strength required to extract myself from the hell I had put myself in (acceptance of blame for my abuse is still part of the struggle). The phrase “you made your bed” comes to mind quite frequently, and is one of the hardest ideas to redefine.
No, it was the littlest hero – a tiny, green-eyed SuperGirl that gave me hope, that forced me to stand up for her when I couldn’t stand up for myself.
Two years later, I am (mostly) free. I no longer live under the constant control of my abuser. That battle has ended. Now, I must be the warrior, the champion – the one who will protect my daughter (SuperGirl) from living even a moment down the rabbit hole … now, I must gather the courage required to break my silence … to tell my story in the hopes that I can prevent another’s from being written. This … this is my story, one page at a time.