I’ve debated writing this post over the last couple of month’s, truthfully every time I’ve sat down to write it a wave of anxiety has washed over me. I am a very private person so opening up about one of the hardest topics in my life has been a personal struggle for me. I’ve been so proud watching Rechelle open up over the past couple of months and have been wanting to open up more personally but haven’t gotten the confidence to. Back in March we got an email from Kelley at the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence asking if we wanted to partner to promote Refuse to Abuse 5K and it felt like fate. It seemed like the perfect idea at the time that aligned with a long time goal to become more honest with you about my experience and I hope you find my journey to be real, honest and you get more of an insight as to who I am.
Ok so let’s rewind- I will start back to 10 years ago. At the time I was fresh out of high school and attending my first year of college. I was lost at the time, I had just broken up with my high school sweetheart and had no idea what I wanted out of life. I was young vulnerable and ready to experience life. That first fall of my freshman year I met a guy who swept me off my feet. When I was with him he made me feel like I was the most special person in the world, or at least I thought. It was one night after a long argument where I had pushed him over the edge (I wanted to bold this because even as I wrote this I am still taking blame for his horrid actions- rereading this put so much into perspective) that he hit me for the first time. My immediate reaction was shock, I couldn’t believe what had just happened and I didn’t know what to do next. He immediately broke down into tears and explained that he endured a lot of abuse as a child that resulted in this reaction and how he promised it would never happen again. He said he would go and seek help and he wanted to get better for me. Over and over again he explained how much he loved me and couldn’t imagine a day without me in his life. In this instance I sympathized with him and believed he would take action to his promise. After some time passed things continued to progress worse. It first started with the emotional abuse and overtime it wore me down. I went from feeling like the most special person in the world to living with the idea I was nothing without him. I alienated myself and stopped talking to most of my close friends and family. He started following me to and from work and I was almost never left alone. I eventually had to quit my job and stayed indoors speaking to almost no one during some of the most difficult times. I was called fat and was told often times to skip meals to make sure I was maintaining an appealing figure. It didn’t just stop with the emotional, but the physical abuse continued to get worse and I continued to get better at hiding it, afraid of what was going to happen if anyone did find out.
Despite my alienation my friends and family were worried about me and continued to reach out even though I neglected their help. I lived in a delusional world that sadly 1 out of 4 women like me currently or have lived. When I finally realized I needed to get out of my relationship, it was nearly too late and almost cost my life. The day I got the courage to finally leave I had gone home in the middle of the night (where I knew he was out drinking) to pack my bags. I had a friend that was going to take me to Seattle where I would then call my family the following day to let them know I had finally escaped. Unfortunately, that exact night he came home and things had escalated quickly. He realized I was packing to leave and that pushed him over the edge- he desperately wanted to cling on to me- so much so he was willing to go to extreme measures so I wouldn’t leave him ever again. I knew in this instance I had to fight back and fight hard or I wouldn’t be here today. I ended up getting away and running through thick snow until I could hide behind a shed to call the police. As I write this I feel an overwhelming emotion of sadness and happiness having to relive it all. I am so thankful to be alive, truthfully some days I can’t believe it and sad thinking about all of the women that have had to or are currently experiencing emotional and physical abuse.
Although now my life is better than I ever imagined- married to the love of my life, with the best job in the world, getting to travel often and have an incredible group of friends, it was a long path of “recovery” to get here. I still experience PTSD, anxiety and depression, but I have an amazing husband and best friend who have been patient throughout the last 10 years and I truthfully wouldn’t be here without them. I am hoping for those of you that can relate to find community in the strength we’ve built from surviving. I would love to connect with each of you and I hope you get the courage to share your experience. My hope is that with education and the right platforms such as WSCADV & the Refuse to Abuse 5K that we can continue to spread the word and importance of having a healthy relationship. I am proud to be partnering with them in running the 5K this summer and hope you all join me either physically or emotionally to stand up against the abuse for every women out there that currently can’t.