Last night, as I was out walking with Beaumont, it struck me what day today is. May 21.
It was on this morning in 2003 that I got the miracle that set me free.
For the final 3 and a half months of an almost five year relationship that had been killing me, I was missing. My daughters, family, friends, even the police didn’t know where I was. And I was too afraid to let anyone know.
I only had one job in those dark days, and that was to be the person he told me I had to be. To do the things he told me I had to do. Say the things he told me I must.
And so I did.
I was lost.
To myself. To those I loved and who loved me. To the world. I was lost.
And then, at 9:14am, on this day in 2003 a police car drove up and arrested the man who’d promised to love me ’til death do us part and was taking the death part into his own hands.
And I let him.
I didn’t want to live. Didn’t believe I deserved to live. I only believed what he told me. I was worthless. Nothing. Garbage. I didn’t deserve to live.
I write those words this morning and I embrace that woman who was so lost. I embrace her and love her and remind her, she is so worthy. Of love. Of joy. Of LIFE.
And my heart knows it’s true. I am worthy.
Recently someone asked me about what they should do about someone they know, not well, but whom they believe is in an abusive relationship. Should I intervene they asked?
I remember my friends who tried to intervene. Their care and concern, their love hurt. How could they still love me when he told me every day how worthless I was? Could they not see their love was wasted on me?
It isn’t just our sense of direction, our knowing of self and our worth that is lost when we are in the darkness of an abusive relatiopship, I told this person. It is our hearing and our capacity to understand that what is happening to us is not happening because we deserve it, or caused it. It’s because the abuser is choosing to use violence and emotional blackmail to ensnare us and keep us trapped in the web of their lies and manipulation and fear.
And in our deafness, even when someone who loves us tells us we deserve a life without the abuser, we cannot hear them because to hear them would mean the love we imagined in those first fairy-tale days of our romance is not true.
It wasn’t until I was released from that living hell that I realized the truth. I wasn’t healing from a love gone wrong. I was healing from abuse.
I was very, very fortunate. Because of friends who did not give up on making sure the police kept looking for me, the police found me and I was set free.
That is not the case for other women. Every 2.5 days one woman or girl is killed in Canada. The majority by someone they know intimtely or well, which is the opposite for men, the majority of whom, the data shows, are killed by casual acquaintances. Source
Today is May 21. It is a day like any other. A day to laugh and smile. To spend time with friends and family. To work. To play. To be free.
And for me, it is a day to embrace the woman within me who once upon a time was so lost she didn’t believe she deserved to live. And in that embrace, to tell myself the truth. I am so loveable and deserving of joy. I am a woman of worth. A woman of integrity. A woman who didn’t just survive an abuser but who has gone on to live her life fearlessly in love with everyone and everything in it, daring boldly to live brave, love fiercely, and dance joyfully in each new day dawning.
I am so blessed.