One day, I woke up different. One morning, I saw things differently.
For years, I’d tried to think my way out of you. You’d tricked me into believing that our goals were aligned, that you wanted what was best for me, that I needed you not only to survive but to be okay, safe, and whole. You’d become part of me, my identity was inextricably defined by and associated with you, we’d become one and the same. I didn’t know who I was outside of you and I couldn’t imagine life without you. You were the devil and my angel. All these years, I thought we were dancing but really we were merely swaying on a tightrope, you pulling me this way and that, trying to balance me. I thought you were keeping me from falling to danger and death but really, all along, you had me blindfolded and we were feet from the ground. You were keeping me in. You’d hid all the mirrors, closed every blind, blacked out all the windows, and locked me in a box that looked like a home. There were moments of clarity, of course, when I questioned your intentions but like any good abuser, you played on my ability to reason, you made me question my own logic, you had your answers ready, you made me doubt myself, you had me so wrapped up in your lies, you had me convinced, you manipulated me and played me for a fool, and I’d become resigned to the fact that I’d never be rid of you. It was classic Stockholm syndrome. If you hear a lie repeated loud and long enough, eventually it becomes the only sound you hear and you begin to believe it (and start making excuses for it). And that’s when you dusted your hands, took a bow and a seat, crossed your legs, leaned back, interlocked your hands behind your head, and began to watch the puppet show. Because your work was done here.
Well, fasten your seatbelt and hold on tight because consider this your exposé. How does it feel to be naked, discredited, and have all your true colors splattered across the floor for everyone to see? How does it feel to have the wind knocked out of you and rug pulled from underneath you? How does it feel to break and suffocate? How does it feel when no one hears you scream? How does it feel to be alone? Because consider this me leaving you. Consider this me escaping and taking back the power. Consider this me remembering who I am, recognizing my own face, and rediscovering my voice rather than mistaking yours for my own. Consider this you losing. And you better believe you can consider this me winning. You locked me in but finally, I’ve realized I’m the one holding the key.