Last week, as I was rummaging around, searching for an old recipe I had written, I found a journal. In this journal I found a picture of myself. A picture in words. A picture of the girl I once was, that not many of you know. And since this is Women’s Month and I think one of the greatest gifts we can give to each other is wisdom, encouragement and strength, I’ve decided to share with you. Please be patient with me. I am not a writer, and it’s been a long time since I’ve talked about any of this.
10 years ago this month, I ended a physically abusive relationship. The less physical events were things like being shoved, full force, into walls, or being knocked down the stairs so he could get out of the apartment. The worst of it was the night that he came home home drunk at 6am. He woke me up out of my sleep, ripping and tearing at my underwear and tank top and tried to sexually assault me. When I fought, he literally kicked me in my back, out of the bed and onto the floor where I knocked my head on the night stand. The following week, I attempted to commit suicide. It was a feeble attempt. Maybe more of a cry for help, a desperate plea for him to see what his actions were doing to me. Either way, I downed a bottle of over the counter sleep aids with half a bottle of cheap white wine, made some final phone calls and waited for it to be over. One of those phone calls was to a cousin who knew my then boyfriend and called him worried that something wasn’t right. He begrudgingly came home, carried me to the bathroom, put his finger down my throat and made me throw up. After a cold shower and a glass of milk, he left and went to his mothers house. I moved out a couple weeks later, and a month later, at my fathers request, I moved back to California. Okay, I’m lying. My father DEMANDED I move back. If I recall correctly his words were “You need to come home NOW, because you guys don’t want me to come there. It won’t be pretty. For him, at least.”. So I moved. I stayed in California for almost a year. I surrounded myself with family and friends that loved me. I got stronger, mentally and physically. When I moved back to NYC, I still struggled with relationships. I still had my fair share of heartbreaks. However, I would never again be the girl lying at the bottom of the stairs. I got up. I started a company. I found a career that I’m wildly passionate about and I love myself more than any man could.
I’m not writing this to vilify or condemn my ex boyfriend. I actually forgave him a long time ago and we’re even pretty chill with each other these days. We aren’t friends, but we are by no means enemies. I didn’t write this essay to expose abuse or sexual assault either. I wrote this to inspire strength and hope in women who don’t always feel strong or hopeful. I want every woman and girl who’s ever felt powerless to see my purple mohawk and neon spandex and know that at one point, I felt just like them. I fought tho. I learned to love myself. And here I am now. telling you that it wasn’t always sugar and spice, but ten years later, life sure is everything nice.
I’ve attached those pictures to this essay. They’re painful. They scream of hurt and desperation. They are images of a person I never want to be and they are images of a person none of you ever have to be. Fight to be whole, fight to love yourself. be better than I was then.
Happy Women’s Month to everyone out there! Just like I hope this essay (poorly written as it may be) inspires you guys, you all inspire me every day to be the person I am. I love you all.