I know the title may have thrown you a little, but hear me out. I know no one asks permission to bring danger into their lives. But, for conversational purposes, let’s say you did. When you met the man or woman that you thought you would marry and be with for the rest of your life, did you take in consideration your mother’s opinion of him? If your mother didn’t like him or her, was that a deal breaker for you? Or, were you hard-headed like me and ignored it?
I still remember every word my mother ever said about him. I can remember her first reaction to him. She knew from the word “hello” that he was no good. And I ignored it because I really liked him and I felt that my mother really never gave him a chance. I would always tell her “you don’t know him like I do.” When in fact, I was the one that didn’t know him.
Like everyone else who has encountered danger, I wish that I had listened to my mother and ignored his smile and his kind words. I wish I had run in the house and blocked the doors and windows. But alas, I didn’t. I listened when he spoke, I smiled when he was kind, and in the end I fell in love. Well, I fell in damn in fool. For those of you that don’t know what “in damn fool” is, here’s what I mean.
The only problem with that is that if they ever do change, it is usually for the worst. I can only speak from my own life’s example, but the change that came was not a good one. After the first slap, I actually thought that maybe I had provoked it in some way. I didn't even fight back. Maybe he took that as fear. Maybe I was afraid.
I knew it was wrong to stay after that first time. Something said that it would only get worse. For two and a half years I put up with unspeakable acts of violence, that even now, at times still make me shudder. Recently, through a situation that I did not see coming, I found out that life does imitate art. Or is it the other way around?
When I sit back and think about everything I have been through, I find that I feel stronger than I did before. And even though I recently had an altercation with my abuser, I refuse to let him win. I am no longer the woman that needed to make sure that he was happy and never upset, while I lived in hell. I know now that I don’t have to go back to that place in my life when I thought about him before I thought about myself.
During that relationship I always needed someone to talk too. But I felt there was no one I could reach out too. I felt that I didn't have anyone that would understand what I was going through. I thought that being in an abusive relationship excluded me from the groups of friends that I had. That they would think I was stupid for allowing this to go on. So I kept my mouth shut.
I stayed quiet even when my days brought me to wishing that I was dead. Wishing that he would just kill me instead of letting it linger. That just maybe if I was dead everything would be better. But alas, this was not to be. Luckily for me! I fought to win back my life and I will continue to fight if I have too. So, next time I see danger, I won’t have to ask my mother. I will already know to walk on by.
Published with permission from The Thoughts of Laura T. Johnson