It’s been two years this week since I escaped. That sounds dramatic, as if I busted out of Alcatraz, or fled a Soviet Bloc nation or something, but it’s how I feel. In March of 2012 I was living in Vancouver with S., although it didn’t seem like living, really. The walls were closing in; isolation, pain, fear, and anger were my constant companions.
This week I heard from yet another family member how glad they are that I didn’t marry S., because they really didn’t like him, or the way he treated me. While I agree wholeheartedly with this, I do wish that these people had said something then, rather than waiting. I’ve made my sister, Jolene, swear to me that, on the off-chance I ever date again, she’ll be honest about any of my beaus she might meet.
It would be easy to blame everything that went wrong on S, and I’d be happy to do that. But I won’t. It was my fault, too, because I am a woman with a brain, and I made the decisions to move in with him, to stay for much too long, and to let him get away with way too much. For that, I blame myself. Looking back, I am astounded at my own actions. I’ve never allowed anyone to boss me around, yet somehow I willingly let him control so much of my life without even questioning. From how much money I could spend (which makes no sense, because it was MY money we were living on), to when we visited my family, to even my clothing choices sometimes. A few other things that I will never speak of to anyone, other than to say I’d like to kick his ass from here to Texas and back every time I think about them.
One of the most annoying things he did was taking me to the grocery store with a huge list, and then staying in the car, and telling me I had twenty minutes to get everything done. Ever tried to get through Costco in 20 minutes? Not possible. He left once, leaving me stranded in the parking lot for nearly an hour before he decided to come back and get me. And he expected me to apologize for not being on time.
You have to realize, I was trapped. I don’t drive, and bus service in Vancouver sucks, so I was dependent on him for transportation. If I wanted to go to the library, or just get out of the house, I needed him. And he liked it that way. The only reasons I ever walked the dog were because she & I both needed to get out of that teeny tiny apartment, get some freedom. Even after she pulled me down the stairs, and nearly dislocated my arm, I still walked her. She was his dog, and yet I walked her every day, because he wouldn’t. Stupid man, and dumb dog.
He is still the only person to ever make me feel stupid, simply by the way he talked down to me. That probably makes me angrier than anything else. If there is one thing I know about myself, it is this: I am NOT a stupid person. There are areas I know very little about, or don’t do well in (maths, or sports, and I’m not great at technology), but I am a pretty smart girl. Two college degrees to my name, and I’ve read at least two books a week since I was old enough to hold a book (talking big books, here). So when he, who never actually reads, tried to tell me things, like what “Lord of The Rings” is about, or how the Baz Luhrmann movie version of Romeo and Juliet is better than Shakespeare’s version, I wanted to scream. And when he began “writing,” telling me he was going to be the next J K Rowling, I was stunned. Then livid, because he basically just stole ideas from movies and television shows he’s seen, stuck them together and believes he’s a great writer. One whose never read any of the novels he’s stealing. But try telling him that.
The last straw for me came two years ago this week. We’d been fighting all the time. I was stressed, knowing that in Toronto, Michele was in hospital, and was unlikely to come out. One morning, I spoke to her mother on the phone, and after, was sitting on the sofa, cradling my cup of coffee, trying not to cry, when he looked at me and said “What is wrong with you?” He’d heard the entire conversation, so he knew; but I answered him, telling him I was sad. He glared at me. Then, he rose and walked past me, and smacked the bottom of my coffee cup, just as I’d put it to my mouth. The rim hit my front tooth, chipping it, and cup my lip. I looked up at him, bleeding, covered in spilled coffee, and he just grinned at me and walked away. I was done. Called my sister to come and get me, packed a bag, and left. I’ve never been sorry.
Now, two years later, I’m here, in my parents house, and while I may not have the grand life I’d like, I’m not scared, or angry. Yes, I’m a bit isolated, but that is something I am working on fixing. I am aware of the fact that he denies all of these things; as far as he is concerned, he was an angel, and I destroyed his life. Whatever.
Freedom comes at a price. I’ve spent the last two years battling fear, depression, and anxiety, not to mention heartache and anger. I’m still not sure I’ll ever be able to trust any man again, or if I even want to try. Emotions, at least those involved in relationships, don’t come easily to me anymore. My scars run deep, and may never be healed. And dammit, I have a chipped tooth, too. But freedom is still sweet. Happy anniversary to me.