I have been down this road before!

20140128_095239I come from a place where you don’t dirty out your laundry; you don’t tell your business; you keep things private. I mean, who wants to be the bunt of whispers? No one, especially me!

The case transpired from a friend’s posting on Facebook regarding Rihanna’s interview on 20/20. I do not condone domestic violence.  I hope Chris emerges as a better person after the incident.

I have issue with how the whole “Beating of Rihanna” became so salaciously played out, and commend Tiger Woods with his fight for the right to privacy, as the public inquisitively and salaciously salivates for juicy details.

It is hard for me to comprehend how some parents infuse pain and malice on their kids who than grow up to inflate that pain unto others most likely, their mates.

Growing up, I seldom recall being stricken by my father. Although, I got a taste of some ole mighty spank every time I misbehaved, infringing corporal punishment as a form of discipline was never his stance. He preferred discussions, talking over spanking. These days whenever I turn, another woman has been beaten or sexually assaulted or violated or murdered by her boyfriend or husband or stranger. We seldom hear that a man was sexually assaulted by a woman or a man was beaten by a woman or a man was mutilated by a woman. God forbid, if that ever occurs, the detail will never be shared or exhibited as they wouldn’t dare tell or make the abuse public. He will deny it, attempt to hide it; he will be horrified of the truth, of becoming prey or object of mockery. Men are supposed to be man, macho, tough, person in charge and woman is supposed to be just that, woman. Man gets no pleasure on being embarrassed. Therefore, the chances of that ever occurring is rare and newsworthy. Just ask Tiger Woods!

Ladies, we need to stop being princesses and become owners of our domain. We need to stop using aggression as a means of self defense. When we whack a man or throw things at him, we are perpetuating the situation, we are not making it better, we are adding fire to the fuel. We need to learn to walk away, control our emotions. We need to protest and repudiate the behavior that surrounds us instead of supporting the sensationalization or glamorization of our victimess as if we are pleading with others to eternally feel sorry for us. We need to take control and empower ourselves so that we don’t become repeat nonoffenders. It is time for us to stop portraying ourselves as eternal and perpetual victims, and get with it.

Let’s face it, no one invites violence; no woman looks forward to be assaulted or beaten; it falls in our laps but we don’t have to be paralysis to it either; we don’t have to sit and watch it coming towards us. We can put a period on it.

I have been down this road before and I am not ashamed of saying it.

Long before I became the person I am today and away from my home, family and friends, I met this guy while in college. I was young and naive, and thought he was it. In my eyes, he was my Knight in Shining Armor; my muse. Cute he wasn’t, just perfect; the guy who would do no harm, my future husband.

I leaned wholly on him; he became my IT; my friend and partner. His daily life became mine, a segment of As The World Turns. I wouldn’t go to the bathroom without “announcing” to my IT where I was heading. I would stay up until 2:00AM typing his term papers. I cosigned for his car. I bought him a VCR, a microwave, you name it. Yeah, I was stupid.

He had a field day with my brain. He manipulated his way with me, played mind games and I believe it; I failed pray to it all.

I believe I was spending too much time with my sister, I should not listen to what she had to say. I believed I should not wear this but that, so, I begun dressing “appropriately.  I believed my roommates were spreading rumors about me; to whom I have no idea but I believed it enough for me to stop talking and rooming with them. As soon as school was over, I moved to the home IT was sharing with his brother and friend. I mean, everyone and everything was poisonous; no one had good things to say about me; they were all against me so matters as well move to a “secure and safe” environment where I was free and at peace.

There were no friends coming to visit. Movies, dinners or theater was only with him and no one else but I wised up. I began building myself up. I got a new job and it demanded a lot of me; so, I spent countless hours at work and made beautiful friendships. I bought a car and began visiting and spending weekends with friends which did not sit well with IT. He always wanted to know who the person was on the phone and were I was going. So, tired of it all, I would just keep mum.

Soon things began to change, however.

I remember sitting at the bed’s edge one day when things got a little heated. I don’t recall what the topic of the conversation was but I remember feeling this “furious” wind blustering too close to my right cheek. I bent forward and the “object”, his hands, landed elsewhere narrowingly skipping my face.

As if it was not enough, frustrated, he began shouting (“you foolish girl”, his tag word for me; “you foolish girl”) while shoving and pushing me so hard that I fell backwardson the bed.

I was in chock, surprised, shaken. The behavior was foreigner to me. I am my father’s princess.

I didn’t know what to do, where to begun, what to sa, where to go. I brushed the incident aside but the relationship was forever damaged. Perhaps as pretext and to skip the atmosphere, I began working more and more, arriving home late.

We were standing on the kitchen one day, conversing, when one thing led to another and I saw “the hands” coming towards me again. “I was like oh no, not this time my friend.” I wasn’t going to be rattled by this guy once again. I buckled and luckily, his favorite weapon did not land on its target once again but it fired my quick wits up. With my brain racing a mile a minute, adrenaline on high gear, I pulled out a knife and held it this close to his neck. “If you try this again, I swear the God one of us will end up in prison or hospital. Pick and choose; what do you prefer?!” I said firmly.

I laid the knife on the kitchen counter and walked away.

I wanted to leave the relationship but found myself boxed, unable to. I was not financially able to go it alone, so I decided to stick around. I made my intentions clear but he was not having it. He was not ready to let me go, so in the interim, he began stalking me.

He showed up at my workplace one day ready to battle. The guy was beside himself, displaying a massive case of testosterone in the company’s parking lot. He had a fit; he went ballistic. He appeared possessed, transformed. His face intense, his eyes rolling and he was shaking. He yelled. He screamed.  He called me names. He lashed out, banged my car. He wanted to see me at all costs, so he demanded I come out and talk to him. He blocked my car and moved it only after my then boss and colleagues threatened to call the police if he did not leave the premises.

It was one scary scene to say the least and it gave me pause.

I was escorted to my car as his brothers arrived to restrain and drive him home. The people at my office offered to put me up in a hotel but I declined. I took my chances anyway praying that all would die down and I would be fine. I felt certain that he would not try to pull anything with his brothers around, who learned of their brother’s behavior for the very first time. Off course the fingers were pointed at me; I was not believed; it was predicted, it hurt and I did not care.

I found myself silently planning my way out of the junction one day. I was no longer in love. I have had enough and wanted out at all costs yet hopeful that things could change.

The last straw came on my birthday.

We were celebrating three birthdays that day. It was a great party, everyone and everybody was dancing like there was no tomorrow but him. He stood in a corner just staring at everyone and specially me. I didn’t care; I was having too much fun to stop as the party went on until wee hours of the morning. The brothers were uncomfortable for some reason; perhaps, it was the music or they just didn’t fit in.

He didn’t say a word to me on the elevator after the party but the music began once we were in the car. I was insulted, called prostitute, foolish, disgusting, all sorts of names in the presence of his brothers and they did not say a word. They didn’t even demand he stop. They did not howl a thing. They just sat motionless in the back seat. It was humiliating, hurtful and denigrating but I promised myself never to thorugh it again.

The experience was all I could bear; all I could take. That did it for me.

Unbeknownst to me, my trips to our basement was no longer a trip down a flight of stairs but a gathering of thoughts. I began packing my things, little by little. I had not lined up a place to stay and yet I began packing. Luckily, I found a place a few weeks later with a friend who was searching for a housemate. I packed E V E RY L I T T L E thing that belonged to me and had my name attached to it. I did not leave one stone unturned or an ounce behind. I had no intention of returning. I packed my belongings, hopped in a van and gone I was.

I heard IT was livid when he learned I had moved out. He was so furious that smoke was jetting through every corner of his nostrils. He could have eaten a hyena and not even realizing it, that’s how mad the dude was. As his brother said it best, “you could have at least left him a pillow”. Yeah right!

Still we were not done. We were still schmoozing, attached at the hips like Miss Pig and Kermit months later. Even half way across the state border, he came calling after me. He found out where I was living and down he came professing his undying love and I blindly accepted. We were not ready to break it off for good as yet. The fire was still burning. Gee, one would have thought that I learned my lessons?!

He pursued me and with my insecurities playing the best of me, I reciprocated. I could not let go of his tentacles and he not of mine – God it must have been good. He showed up at my doorstep one day with a peace offer, a ring; apparently, we became “engaged” and I didn’t even know it.

There was no fanfare, no celebration or nothing. The enthusiasm that should have  accompanied the event wasn’t there.  I did not make “the” phone call home. I announced it to my friends later and the joke was that the ring wasn’t big enough; they could hardly see it. Nevertheless, I proudly wore it. I did not scream, dance on the ceiling or parade it in the magazine. I was not over the moon. It was just like “ok, whatever, if we could just settle on a damn date for the shindig, it would be perfect” as I was trying to satisfy my own selfish and secret crave.

I waited and waited for the big day and nothing came, not even a bird flying over the tombstone. The signal was clearly there as the wind began to die down. I don’t really recall when it happened but it was done and gone with it. This time for good.

My spirit was destroyed but not my resolve. I walked to the bookstore and devoured self books. I bought and read, bought and read, and read most of the books on the shelves. I was determined to rebuild myself, take autonomy and control of me, and shove my shuttered self-esteem down the drain.

I came home from work one day to a notice that I was late on my car taxes. I was not aware that I even owned a second car least late on paying its dues. I checked and realized that it was my name alright but it wasn’t my vehicle. Apparently, Mr. IT “forgot” to remove my name as I had asked him to nor intended to do it anytime soon. Go figure!

But my new me wasn’t having it and took action. This time the tears were for something else. I armed my self and went commando. I walked to the DMV, filled out the paperwork and ding dong, my name was removed. My excuse was that I had sold the car and the new person forgot to add his name; at least that’s what I sold to the lady beyond the counter and she bought it. Things were easier back then, besides, I was not about to pay any fines for something that obviously did not belong to me.

I was home sitting on my couch one day, relaxing after a days’ work, watching TV when the phone rang. I picked it up to the sound of an ornery scream, “what did you do you foolish girl? What did you …”. Click. I hang up the phone and with that, the hideous chapter of my life.

I was lucky. I did not become a statistic.

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