He had hit me so many times. Each blow instilled a sense of fear that was completely paralyzing.
I did what he wanted me to do.
I thought how he wanted me to think.
I spoke how he wanted me to speak.
The very first time he beat me, I was fifteen years old and our infant daughter was sleeping in her crib. It was a torturous session that lasted about three hours. I thought I was going to die that day.
He closed fist punched me all over my body including my face. He even punched me in my stomach; the same stomach that had just carried his daughter for nine months. When I keeled over in pain, he pounded on my back. When I stood erect and arched my back in agony, he let loose on my face.
I had never felt so afraid… except as a child when I witnessed my mother being beaten.
He stole something from me that day.
I had taken photos of my bruises, but “we” decided that they should be destroyed.
I was destroyed.
Fast forward seven years, and many more beatings…
I had left him; quite literally with the clothes on my back, and totally out of fear for my life. The tension had reached an unlivable level. I had even walked in on him pointing a gun at a portrait of mine. I was petrified.
He continued to control me though. The fear he had instilled over our ten years together kept me paralyzed. The tone of his voice… his threats… they were still very real to me.
I remember one day specifically, he wanted me to do something. I had begun dating someone that he didn’t approve of for various ridiculous reasons, and he wanted me to end it. I was sitting in my bathroom on the toilet with my head resting on the cold porcelain sink. It was daytime; I always felt safer during the day. I guess it’s kind of like the boogie man theory; you think he’s more likely to get you at night. Anyway, I was sitting there with the phone to my ear while I slumped lifelessly over the edge of the sink. He bombarded me with a series of threats ranging from slitting my throat, to beating me beyond recognition.
I was frozen.
I don’t remember why, but I had a marble notebook and a pen with me, and I began doodling. I remember feeling so helpless and vulnerable. I scribbled down the word “strength” and traced it over and over again. I wrote down some other empowering words as well, in an attempt to give myself a boost of courage. A voice inside me began speaking, telling me to be strong, and that everything was going to be okay.
Vanessa, be strong… be strong… don’t be afraid.
After a while, his voice and soul piercing words just started to sound like inaudible noise. Then, all I could hear was my voice telling me to have faith; to focus and stay strong.
I didn’t do what he wanted me to do that day. I wouldn’t always be that strong, but it was a start. I loosened the shackles of fear that day; and one day I would remove them completely.
I had tapped into my faith… I wasn’t alone and I felt a sense of peace even in the face of fear and danger.
Was God with me that day, or had I just had enough?
I believe… someone was with me… holding my hand and guiding me through it.
I am not religious; instead I see myself as extremely spiritual. It has been during my most vulnerable times that I have felt God with me. I think we need to allow ourselves to be vulnerable in order to feel his presence. I am thankful for even the most painful of times in which I have experienced that overwhelming sense of peace that lets me know, there is something so much greater than us out there. It gives me hope.
This post was written by: Vanessa V.