Gasp for Life: Waking Up After Abuse

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by Christin Webb

I took two big gasps of air hoping to regain my breathing. It seemed as though my breathing was stuck in another life trying to catch up with my efforts to live on in this one. My shifty eyes were blood shot red and practically swelling from my head once I regained consciousness. I took more gasps of air because it didn’t seem like the oxygen was getting to my brain fast enough. I looked around the room, shaking, wondering what had just happened to me. 

To my left and right was nothing for me to grab a hold of. The wooden floor beneath me was sweaty and sticking to my swelled skin. Above me was a male figure cradling my body. I could smell the stench of sadness and confusion from his body. As my vision began to clear, I could see that he was crying profusely. His crying made me cry. I was still unaware of what our tears were for, but it must have been something serious. As my heart was pounding against his chest, he repeated, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry,” while rocking my body back and forth. After a few more gasps of air, I began to remember what may have just taken place.

“Look Jonathan, I’m leaving you! I’m sick of this situation!” I said to him with so much conviction. We sat across from each other in the brick walled room. I was in one chair and he in the other. The conversation was tense, but I never expected it to escalate the way it did.

“But why?! You can’t just leave like this. We can make this work!” he screamed back at me disgusted at my idea of leaving. “I won’t let you!” He sat to the edge of his chair with his chest poked out and veins bulging from his neck with aggression.

“I don’t care what you say this time, I’m tired. This just isn’t working.” I stood up in attempt to begin grabbing my clothes from the closet.

“I won’t let you take her from me!” Jonathan responded grabbing my wrist as he sprung from his seat.

“You can still see her. I would never take her away from you. We just need to move on. The constant cheating; the lies. It’s just not necessary.”

“So, you think you’re innocent in this? You’ve never done anything to me?!” I tried to pull away from him, but my strength was nothing compared to what he was mustering up inside.

“That’s not the point. If I have been wrong then that’s all the more reason we’re not making one another happy and we both need to just move on!”

“Did you hear what I said?” he questioned me. Those were the last words I heard before I awakened to him lying on top of my almost lifeless body.

I loved this man. Or so I believed. No one could have ever told me that he would be the one that would attempt to end my life. Always known for being guarded and keeping my heart to myself, I had given him all of me. I wasn’t scared of him until that moment. Yet, in the same breath I can say that from time to time I remember not speaking my mind fully on things that didn’t sit well with me. I remember sometimes walking on eggshells not to upset him because of what I viewed as my emotional rollercoaster. I can clearly say that there were signs of an abusive relationship. I wasn’t myself when I was around him. I allowed him to do things that were not nurturing of a healthy relationship. I was reluctant some days and reclusive to my family and friends.

This moment of almost meeting my maker was the tip of the iceberg. It was my wake up call that I was in an abusive relationship. I was in a situation that I was the first to say in my past that I would never find myself in. I now know I can never say, “Never”. I also know I can now say that I’m more aware of my relationships. I know that I must feel completely free; accepting of myself and my feelings and thoughts and not reluctant in sharing them. Any man that has come in my life since Jonathan or will come in the future will know who I am in my rawest form. I am stronger and I think more clear about who I am. I know what I will and won’t accept. I’m just thankful that I was able to walk away alive. I am breathing and will continue to do so. I no longer have to reach for those gasps of life.


Enough: Breaking the Silence of Domestic Violence 

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