“I don’t like your boots. They make you taller than me. If you’re going to kiss me, then those boots are going to be an issue.”
That was one of first things my ex ever said to me, as we walked out of Astronomy 104 together. But every Wednesday, I wore those boots. Maybe because I’m stubborn? Possibly to spite him. I’m not sure which, but I kept wearing those boots… Until one day, I didn’t.
I let him into my life. I let him into the darkest corners of my heart and of my mind. I thought I could trust him, but all he did was cheat on me, lie to, and manipulate me. Every time I called him out on it, I was ‘irrational’, that the smell of perfume on his pillow was mine.
The crazy part is: I stayed.
My mood had become so dependent on his acceptance and validation of my worth, that I didn’t know how to leave.
I stayed through eight women, through his mood swings and snide insults, through lies and deceit; I stayed through my own personal hell: Moments of overwhelming pain, sadness, and depression, among longer bouts of indifference and apathy toward my own life. I didn’t care whether or not I lived one day or died the next.
It wasn’t until he took away my freedom that I started caring again; until I was I was locked in a room for eight hours, unable to move, while he and his then-girlfriend made-out on the couch in the next room because he ‘forgot’ to tell her that I had been living there between apartments—it wasn’t until then that a switch flipped in my head and I started to care about myself again.
But here’s where I fucked up: A month later, we had gotten an apartment together. With his girlfriend. God, I want to bang my head against the wall just saying that, I feel so stupid! But during that period of time: he owned me. That’s such a sick sentence, but he did: he owned me. It took a couple of months, but I finally worked up the courage to end things with him, and while it ended with me snapping and moving out of the apartment around midnight during Finals week– I have never felt stronger or more empowered.
My worth, my identity, my successes, everything I do—I will not compromise any of that for the sake of someone else ever again. I have felt what it’s like to lose my dignity, that feeling of falling sleeping half-drunk on a porch at 3AM because your ‘lover’s’ girlfriend won’t leave the living room.
I’ve felt that. I’ve lost myself.
And there is no way in hell I will ever go back there again. I am so much more than that.