There is nothing like a daily struggle to keep your head above water, like spending your days paddling furiously beneath the surface just to stay alive, while the enemy reigns down, relentlessly.
Coping with domestic abuse is an enormous and frightening challenge that victims are waking up to every single day and being forced to face in order to simply live.
These are the same people who look forward on New Year’s Day, and see nothing. Who will have watched the clock strike midnight last night and felt hopeless, alone, and certainly felt nothing at the changing of the years. People, weakened by their circumstance, who have absolutely no idea how strong they truly are.
This message is for them – from the other side, from freedom.
Your life can get better.
You can find your sanctuary.
It doesn’t stop here for you.
And it is not too late.
Who you are and what you have suffered at the hands of others does not define you, nor does it define your future. You have every reason and right to live a better life than the one you’re living today, and anyone telling you otherwise is fallacious and cowardly. Stop listening.
I thought I would never, ever feel better. I was so consumed in the life I had accepted that there were days when I didn’t even want to feel better. Even long after he was physically gone, I wanted to be alone in my misery and stay there forever. And ever.
I dipped in and out of those emotions for almost four years until one day my strength rose like a fucking phoenix out of nowhere and hounded me until I looked it in the eye and saw myself staring back.
My clarity had arrived. My hang-on-a-fucking-minute-what-are-you-doing moment.
The moment that I realised I was better and deserved better than the life I was living, in the shadow of something – someone – I couldn’t change or control.
I had done the hard part. Leaving. And the next part. Surviving. But what was I doing now? Merely existing. Drifting lifelessly in and out with the tide, caring about very little, and certainly not at all about myself.
On the same day that I woke up, I realised who I was, and perhaps even more importantly I realised who HE was, and who he WASN’T.
You are not your abuse. You are not what they do to you, nor what they say to you. Please stop listening.
I could never describe in this blog how it feels when you feel free again. There are no words. It’s incredible and emotional, overwhelming and scary too. Letting go of the comfort blanket of grief is surprisingly difficult after so long… But what’s waiting underneath is a real-life human being with dreams and goals and hope and WORTH in abundance. Someone who was there all along. Someone who is within you right now, waiting for you to wake up.
It is time to stop listening, and start living. I am proof that it can be done, and I wallowed in my circumstance like a pig in shit – believe me, if I made it, you can make it too. Let this be the last New Year’s Day that you spend scared of your future.
Come on in, the water’s lovely over here.
National Domestic Violence Freephone Helpline – 0808 2000 247
Men’s Advice Line – 0808 801 0327