Why I Almost Left the Country

We’ve all been through some tough as nails shit in our life.  Each and every one of us has fought some type of battle that has caused us to rise from the ashes like a phoenix.  My ordeal wasn’t an easy one to deal with.  I’ve repressed a lot of painful memories.  And to be honest, I had planned to keep them buried forever.  I didn’t think I’d ever reach a point in my life where I’d be able to share one of the most horrific moments of my life.  Here I am–two years later digging up memories that have reminded me of how I never gave up when I could have, and why I almost left the country.  

You should know that I have this unique talent of constantly burying things and dealing with them later till it blows up in my face.  (Not healthy.  Don’t do it).  I just cant bring myself to feel/look weak.  I’ve always had this mentality to persevere no matter how shitty things got and how negative the results may be.

 “Just bury it beneath the surface.”

(Again, super unhealthy). 

The summer of 2015 was probably the shittiest season on record.  That summer  (to date) was the worst time of my life.  Although it’s been quite some time, I don’t think I could ever forget what has happened.  It will always be there in the back of my mind.  And I’m constantly wondering if it will rise back up from the dead only to repeat its’ ugly history.  Someone who I love more than words had started to experience severe moments of mental and emotional anguish.  Their behavior was extremely manic.   They were enduring the crisis of the century right under my roof.  I was constantly in the middle of violent behavior which resulted in serious verbal and emotional abuse.  Sudden crying spells, screaming, and death threats happened nearly every day.

I’d leave my house just to get some fresh air from the coal mine that I was trapped in just to feel brief gusts of relief.  My yellow canary wings that once burned brightly were covered in soot and ash.  I didn’t feel like my bubbly self.  This entire situation was changing me to my core.  My mind was still trapped in the toxic wasteland that was my home.  Papers were constantly being riffled through.  Pictures of our family were boxed up and stored away at a storage facility.  Freedom ceased to exist under our roof.  You had to watch your step.  You had to watch what you said.  Every move I made felt like I had delicate eggshells beneath my feet.  I was just waiting for a land mine to fire off.  I felt like I was under attack the majority of the time I was there.  It was as if some demon had taken residence in our home.  I felt broken, lost and above all–scared.

Finding refuge was difficult sometimes.  I didn’t want to use someone else as a crutch.  I’d hop in my car and drive over to a local diner just so I could gain some sort of peace.   Eating my feelings alone, I’d sit there for hours wondering where I could go next.  I was trying to figure out how long I could avoid my house (on a budget).  I couldn’t bring myself to stay in my home while this person was there.  As a source of therapy, I’d sit with a pen and paper and jot down all the heinous shit I was enduring just to free my mind.  Writing it down seemed to release the pain (momentarily).  Sometimes I couldn’t write anything at all.  Sometimes I would just doodle pointless artwork while zoning out.  It became a regular thing.  I would frequent the same diner and sit in the same spot.  And I’d get service from the same waiter who practically memorized my order by heart…  

Veggie Omelette, No Cheese, Side of Bacon and Fruit with a Cup of Coffee.

Before I’d drive home only to endure a verbal lashing all over again, my mind would start unraveling.  Would life get any better?  Was I constantly going to be the target of emotional abuse?  And how much longer would I be able to last?  More often than I’d like to admit, I’d lay in my bed wondering if I should even fall asleep.  My eyes would be pinned to the ceiling.  I was afraid I’d wake up with all my hair shaved off.  I was constantly told that my long hair was a nuisance.  And that one evening I’d get it all shaved off whether I liked it or not.  I was even more afraid that I’d wake up to a gun pressed up against my temple…

 Each and every moment spent in that house made me wonder if I’d wind up dead.

I felt worthless every time this person was around me.  They had made it a point to let me know that I was nothing.  They made it a point that they were starting over and they were going to leave me.  And they didn’t care how it would impact me or the rest of our family.  One evening as I was driving home from work, I had to pull over to the side of the road.  My phone had started to blow up with text messages.  Fighting tears, I struggled to scroll through them…

“I want you out of the house.”
“I don’t care if you’re homeless.”
“Each time you lie to me, you’re going to pay me $500.00”
“You’re a bitch.”
“I don’t give a shit about you.”

But those messages seemed like sunshine and rainbows in comparison to the one thing that I’ll never forget.  One day as I was helping remodel our bathroom,  I was struggling to help install our new bathtub.  First off–bathtubs are heavy as fuck.  I don’t have a whole lot of upper body strength either.  I had misplaced my footing slightly and had positioned the now ‘airborne’ bathtub awkwardly.  My hands began to feel slippery as my grip became weaker.  The moment I expressed having a difficult time moving, I received the most chilling response…

“I’m going to kill you.”

My hair stood on my neck.  An unwavering amount of fear began to rush through me.  I couldn’t feel my face.  I couldn’t move.  The only thing I could hear was white noise.    How do you process something like that?  How do you forget it?  And how could you not take it seriously?  I no longer felt safe in my own home.  I knew that it was a strong possibility that I could die at any moment by the hands of someone I thought would always protect me… 

I know what you must have been thinking.  Why not just call the police and let them handle it?  I could have called the police.  I could have gotten a protective order.  But how do you do that to someone you love?  How can you do that to someone who you know isn’t right mentally

I was in my own horror film and not the kind I’ve dreamed of being in.  It was as if I was in a nightmare and I knew at some point I’d wake up and everything would be fine.  But each time things got worse, I was in constant shock and worry that maybe things would never go back to the way they were.  In an effort to continuously bury things,  I ran away a lotSeriously.  I’d pack a bag, stay at my girlfriend’s house for a bit until my mind and soul was ready to conquer another day in the bloody war zone. 

One day during one of my lonely diner visits, I started to do a lot of thinking.  And for some odd reason, one of my (many) cousins had popped into my brain.  This cousin in particular has disappeared.  And I don’t blame her.  Her home life was in absolute turmoil and she couldn’t take it anymore.  (In fact, I think it was ten times worse than mine).  She told them she was leaving, and she did.  One day, she left home and never went back.  Nobody knows where she is.  She’s completely off the grid.  I don’t even know if she’s okay.  In fact, I never even got to know her… 

And then it slowly began to dawn on me–I could leave too.  I could do the exact same thing my cousin did.  I wouldn’t be in the midst of danger anymore.  I could be free to do what I want when I wanted.  I could pack my things, get a one way ticket and just disappear.  And in an effort to remain completely invisible, I could change my name.  I could start fresh…

“You don’t need this.  You really don’t.  You could start fresh and leave this all behind…”

Although it sounded so amazing, I couldn’t be selfish and leave my family behind with the constant turmoil that was clouding our home with such grief.  I wasn’t raised to abandon the very people who raised me and molded me into who I am.  No matter how much pain I endured at the hands of my abuser, I couldn’t leave.  I’d be their shoulder they’d cry on.  And although I felt completely helpless the majority of the time, I’d fall asleep to screaming that could be heard from down the street.  I became the sponge in my family.  I was just going to continue to soak up all grease until I became brown and grease ridden with toxins…

 This toxic environment wasn’t boding well with my mother.  The majority of the nights I stayed at my home were comprised of pressing my face against my bedroom floor in an attempt to eavesdrop.  I had to be sure my mother was okay.  I was afraid to leave my mother alone.  And to make matters worse, she wasn’t eating and when she did it made her physically ill.  It felt absolutely nauseating to watch her take a small bite into some yogurt only to push the rest of it away…

I needed to feel like I was in control in an out of control environment.  I started to eat healthier.  Exercise became a daily thing.  I felt emotionally unbalanced but if I could keep my physical health in check then my mind had a chance of being healthy too.  After a long day at work I’d come home, throw on my gym clothes and go for a run after the street lamps flickered on.  It felt good to take the edge off.  I needed to take the edge off…

Throughout this entire time, I couldn’t bring myself to cry.  In fact, let me clarify for a second.  I hardly ever cry.  Not even at really sad movies (okay, maybe ‘A Walk to Remember..’ whatever, don’t judge me).  I just sit there and soak it all in without a drop to spare.  I just can’t do it.  Although the rest of my family members were falling apart around me, I still had to remain this pillar of indestructible strength.  I had to be strong for them–not myself.

I don’t know what happened, but I got this second wind.  I started to fight back.  The threats continued.  And the threat that became common was how they were going to leave and never come back.  I finally snapped;

“Fine. Leave.  But you know what?  If you do leave, don’t ever come back.  You will be dead to me.”

It felt so refreshing.  It felt refreshing to not be afraid any longer.  I think I just had enough.  I was done being the target.  I was tired of being told I couldn’t cook my food in the kitchen.  I was done being told that I was a lying bitch.  I was done with the simple fact that this person was continuing to make me feel shitty.  Putting my foot down, I took on the bullshit that needed to stop. 

This month marks the 2 year anniversary when all this shit hit the fan at full speed. I could have said to ‘to hell with this’ and left.  But I didn’t.   I stayed.  I remained strong.  I was resilient.  And believe me, nothing feels better than realizing how far you’ve come and how much you’ve slayed.  Nothing.

As for my family member, they’ve received medical attention and treatment.  We’ve both come a long way.  And when I was ready, I forgave.  It took time for me to fully process everything and to truly forgive.  I wasn’t about to sugar coat it with ribbons and rainbows–‘oh yeah sure, I forgive you, whatever.’ No.  That moment suddenly hit me one day over a cup of coffee, I came full circle and forgave.

Although that part of my life was hell, I don’t regret it for a second.  I know what you must be thinking–have you gone to talk to someone about this?  And the answer is–no.  I’ve denied getting therapy.  What good would it do at this point?  All I can do is recognize this part of my life as being the challenge that defined my strength.  I have to honor that moment as a triumph.  Through the toughest battles, we realize how truly amazing we all are in our own way.  Through swords and knives, sticks and stones, we are unbreakable.  Looking back on this moment, I can just feel this weight being lifted off my shoulders (even better than the first time).  Now, I’m not saying to dig up any ol bag of bones and to constantly be in a ‘woe is me’ state.  Absolutely not (in fact, I frown on that type of shit).  Just let your mind drift and allow your soul to admire your strength and endurance.  I’m almost certain you’ll surprise yourself.

I revisit the times where I kicked ass hell of a lot more than the moments that tried their hardest to snap me in half.

In those moments where I barely recognized you, I know you never meant it.  You and I have an unbreakable bond.  No mental illness could ever come between it.  I’m glad you never left.  And I think if you did, my heart would have been shattered beyond repair.  I’d fall even further into the darkest hole and it would become even harder to come out…  

If you’re reading this (and you know who you are) I need you to know one simple thing;
None of this was your fault.  You behaved beyond what you could control.  You have come a long way, and I’m so very proud of you.  If I would have left, I would have made the biggest mistake of my life.  And please remember this:  I love you with every fiber of my being from now until forever.




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