By the time I was 15 years old I already knew all of the secret parts of me. I knew what made me laugh. I knew what made me cry. I knew what I was good at and what and who I wanted to be.
Over the last nine years I let someone etch away at my soul. It sounds dramatic, but it really isn't. Not when you look at it in black and white.
I died. My soul, it was dead. I lost so much of myself to him. I let him crush my wings and he laughed about it. He took things from me. Parts of myself that I freely gave. I wanted so badly to fit in to the mold. I wanted to be married, to have a little house, a little fence, a couple of kids and an SUV. I knew I was not supposed to be that person. I knew that the thought of being intimate with him repulsed me. I knew that I was supposed to feel butterflies when he touched me, instead of the urge to pull away. I knew it wasn't right. I still tried so hard to cram myself in to that mold. The mold of the life my parents told me I should have.
I had a lovely fake wedding. I was sick. I was living in a world that simply was not there. I put my mind above my body. I watched myself laughing when the train went by. I loved it when people told me that my wedding was the nicest they had ever been to.
But at what price? Cinderella went to the ball and almost died in the process. Because she was at the wrong dance.
Every single day now, I am getting closer to the person I used to be. I have a spine now. He can no longer manipulate me like he used to. Yesterday was proof of it. I didn't feel the slightest bit guilty because "he can't possibly get a job because he has to call bank for 5 minutes." Instead I rolled my eyes. And I laughed at him. Because, no matter what he told me over the last 9 years, it is he who is the idiot, not me.
And idiot would have stayed with him for 8 years and 89 days, instead of 8 years and 88 days. He is the idiot. Not me.
Today I went to the bank and I closed our joint account. When I called my Dad to tell him, he said "It seems like you are making good progress in getting him out of your life. You made a mistake with him and now you can move on."
And that made me feel good. I am getting rid of him, slowly but surely. Eventually he will just be a bad memory.
My students walked around the nature trail at work today. It broke my heart when my favorite chicken said "Miss J, why are you not going with us?"
It felt like a knife when my coworker jumped in to say "Oh there is work to be done here, Miss J will stay and do that work. It is important work."
But it really isn't. I am glad she interrupted me, because I would have probably told her the truth. Miss J can't go with you because Miss J can't walk around the trail. Nine years of overeating and a slow suicide has made that impossible for me.
And I watched them leave. My chickens. All excited with their wagon full of water and snacks and the first aid kit. Walking single file in to the sunshine, while I stayed behind and tried to pretend that it didn't bother me.
And I feel like this trail is my demon. The devil on my shoulder that mocks me. So many people 200 pounds lighter than me can't even get around the damn thing. So in a way, I shouldn't feel bad for not trying it. It is supposedly pretty brutal. But I feel somehow inadequate for not being able to do it. For being too weak to put down the fork. For cutting out strips of paper for the bulletin board border, instead of making memories with the people I love the most in this world. The people who kept me alive during the darkest part of my world.
I believe that I would have killed myself if I had stayed with my husband. I remember the night that he doused me with crystal light. Standing in the shower, dripping with red. Knowing that it would take days to get the stains out of the carpet, off of the walls, off of my curtains. I stood in the shower and I decided how I would kill myself. I knew in my heart that it would never, ever be better for me. I was never going to be loved or even treated as good as the cats. He had broken me and I couldn't imagine living one more day in that kind of pain.
But I somehow knew that my work wasn't done here. There is important work to be done and I had to do it. It was about my little Buggy, who no one thought was mentally there until I started working with him. It was about love changing your heart and making you want to get out of bed in the mornings. It was about not wanting to hurt any of the people who might actually care for me. It isn't quite the same love that I craved- but it is still love.
So I lived. And that was the night it all changed for me. That was the night I started my plan to get out. And I did get out. And although I have looked back at times and doubted myself, I know that I made the right decision.