Stop Saying I’m Strong Because I Left Him
Sometimes, I want to record the things people say. They act as the basis of my strength that I didn’t choose to stay.
That’s not a compliment.
If domestic violence was so simple, don’t you think we would have solved it by now? Women don’t enjoy being slapped around, and this one’s for the men who their women have beaten. I know you’re out there, and you’re not forgotten.
Is she weaker than me because she’s dead? Because she couldn’t run and so she never got to see tomorrow? Is she pathetic because she has kids? No decision’s easy when it feels like every second is borrowed from the next day and the next next day; eventually, we run out of time. Stop telling me I’m strong because I left him. Did you know he still lives in my mind?
I’m done with the comparisons to other survivors; when it comes to abuse, there’s no first prize, no blue ribbon, no trophy, no gold star. Some of us made it out, but we all have scars. I didn’t run away just so an acquaintance could tell me that I was something special because I chose to leave.
Chose to leave?
Now I grieve for lost years when people saw and heard, stood by, and did nothing. It took me eight years to leave my man; I was thirteen when I met him. You don’t understand.
I went to court with my whole body shaking, terrified, jaundiced, bald-headed, and couldn’t even drive. The cop told me to take my hat off, and I almost cried. Should I be proud of myself because I hadn’t died?
Pride is not the feeling that I’d use to describe my situation, I’m too traumatised to cope with downtime or a vacation, and right after I see people, I need five times the separation due to exhaustion from hypervigilance and excessive patience.
Just because I walk with heavy boots and my head held high doesn’t mean I’m not tired. I keep it shut because nobody wants to hear my mouth. They just want to praise me because I made it out; that’s a cop-out. I call friends, but nobody’s around.
Maybe if I weren’t like this, people would hear me out, but it’s really not like this is a choice for me. When I speak, I know I’m not…