I want you to know that this isn’t a love letter. I don’t want you to think that this gives you any power over me. I want you to read this and walk away thinking only of how lucky I am to have made it out alive.
You met me when I was so young; I was barely a person of my own accord. I often think back to this particular moment I remember, a time shortly before we first spoke. This is my “square one,” the starting point where it all could have gone so differently. If I hadn’t met you, who would I be now?
You took me and turned me into someone I can’t now fathom. What was once an untarnished block of clay became your personal project, molding me to your pleasure.
I was young and naive, thinking that life wouldn’t be so bad with someone in my corner. I didn’t understand that I was in your corner, and it was your ring too.
You made me believe that someone else could decide my worth. You convinced me that you were all I had. When you made me feel lower than ever before, all I could do was wait for you to bring me back up. The entirety of my existence was shaped to surround you; your fragile ego, your desire for control. I sat awake on hard nights, telling myself that love isn’t easy and that I was lucky I had you. I told myself that I was lucky. Lucky.
I lived this way for years, acting as your shadow. I developed a sense of self that required a counterpart. I reduced myself to give you more room to shine, feeling smaller and smaller each time I fed into your never-ending need for companionship. As trite as it sounds, I felt like a wild mustang that had been broken. I felt numb to my own desires.
During those years, I was selfless to a fault. Yet that same selflessness was what finally saved me. The lines had blurred between your emotional and physical abuse, leaving me pained in either case. But once my body held host to two souls, my allegiance was shifted. Your words were my world but my body was hers. A punch would leave me bruised and sore, but it would be life threatening for her.
The spell had been broken. Having once been the object of my affection, you were now my enemy, posing a threat to my greatest treasure. All the feelings of fear that silenced me before returned as feelings of anger. You had never seen who I could become and you felt threatened, I could tell.
Even if you’ve forgotten everything else, I know you’ll never forget the day I left.
You had hurt me over and over again just to keep me by your side, and you couldn’t accept that I was through. Feeling so terrified, so threatened, you acted out of desperation alone that day, doing the only thing you felt would keep me from leaving. In that moment, what you lacked in logic, you made up for in force.
It’s been years now, and I’ve come so far. All the hospital trips, restraining orders, therapy sessions, and tearful family reunions couldn’t undo what happened, but they helped in other ways. I live a happy life now. I have learned about myself, becoming a person of my own right. I lead my life with confidence, having developed wisdom beyond my years. I don’t confuse pain with love and I don’t let anyone tell me who I am.
Most importantly, I don’t see myself as broken. I don’t live each day in the shadow of what I’ve gone through. On my darkest days, I look in the mirror and realize now what lucky looks like. On those days, I think for only a second about could have been. I don’t waste my time hating you or debating if I ever loved you. At the very most, I thank you for teaching me what it means to be a strong person with love for myself.