I really don't want to write this one.
I have thought and thought about it. Trying to remember a bully from school or the playground. But there really weren't any that I remember. I went through school as invisibly as possible. The cool people didn't notice me or know that I was alive, but that went for the mean people too.
Brothers don't count... it's actually their job to make your life hell from time to time - though I have to say that MY brothers didn't even do that. The most hell they made for me was worry about various things... relationships, jobs, hazardous duty, illness. That kind of hell is just part of being alive and loving people. It comes and goes, but there's no malice in it. No intent to harm.
But there was one person who made my life hell - and he was someone who was supposed to love me.
I guess we started out okay. I was young and pretty naive. He was older but immature. Looking back, we didn't have much in common. I can't think of anything we actually did together for fun. But we got married anyway.
It was okay as long as we lived where I had family and friends, but he got a job halfway across the country and we packed all our belongings into a little U-haul trailer and left on a chilly day Thanksgiving weekend. I was a little scared - my safety net was gone. He was impatient with me - we were going to better our lives! Why didn't I want to go?
Because he was a stranger. Really. And once he started his job, I was left alone. I'd never been alone before. No one to talk to, no job to occupy my time. I didn't know what to do with myself but cook and clean. I gained some weight. I felt trapped. I finally got a job and had something to do - something I was really good at. I felt appreciated at work and took on more and more, then a different job in the same organization. But he remained a stranger. He didn't care about anything I had to say, would rather watch football and drink beer than do anything with me.
Eventually, loneliness won out. There was a guy at work who talked to me and seemed to care about what I had to say, what I thought... and eventually there was an affair. It wasn't fun. It actually made me feel much worse than I did before and it wasn't long before I ended it. But the damage had been done and somehow he realized something was different.
One day, he asked me straight out if I'd been unfaithful and I answered honestly. For my honesty, I earned a black eye and a few bruises. I suppose I'd be a different person if I'd bailed then, but I didn't realize it was possible to walk away and over the next year I wore dark glasses to work more often than not and wore long sleeves to hide the grab marks on my arms and swallowed plenty of aspirin to counteract the aching in the back of my head from having it banged against the wall. My self-esteem plunged. I attempted suicide twice. Another thing I wasn't good at, apparently, as I am still here.
One day, I left. I went to a battered women's shelter and stayed for two weeks. While I was there, I saw women and children who were missing patches of hair or teeth, with arms in casts and mulitcolored skin. They were broken in ways I'd never dreamed of. And I felt like my problems were much smaller than theirs, so I left. I went back home to a repentant husband who never hit me again. There are other ways to hurt though and while the physical punishment was over, the emotional punishment began in earnest.
I hated myself more than I hated him. I used to whip myself in the face with a belt. It felt cleansing and released a frustration inside of me that couldn't be addressed in any other way without reprecussions. I can understand cutters and self-flagelents in a way I never could before. Sometimes the physical pain is a great relief from emotional anguish.
I can't tell you what made me do it, but one morning I woke up and knew I had to leave. Someone would die if I didn't. And I did. I drove home because I wasn't sure where else to go, did what I had to to cut the ties to my married life and began again.
I am who I am in part because of what I went through. And while I would never choose to do that again, I like who I became when I came out the other side. I have since forgiven both myself and my ex-husband for being young, immature and stupid, hateful people.
I am strong. I know what I want. I also know what I don't want. I have grown up. I have a lot to give. And I appreciate the life I have now more than you will ever know.