Freedom Living

by Vanessa Gee

Today was a big day. I finally deleted the file of pictures of my abuse. I deleted them with a smile. The only evidence left of almost four years ago is my twisted ring finger. I chose not to let them re-set it after it broke. It wasn’t the first time but it was the last time.


I didn’t know if I was dead, or dying or what, but I couldn’t move or talk or open my eyes. I could hear him screaming at me, hitting me, trying to get me up after he strangled me, pulling me down the stairs by his huge hands. I don’t remember much anymore. I like to think I processed it and let it go. I’m not sure. 


I don’t sleep well at night. I wake often. Every sound, every little sound I hear.  And if anyone touches me while I’m sleeping I almost have a heart attack. I hate being touched at night. I wake instantly ready to fight. But I’m getting better. I’ll take that though. He is not turning on the lights, screaming at me. The rants usually lasted over an hour till he fully passed out drunk. I no longer sleep with some sort of weapon placed somewhere in my room for easy access. I put away the knife I kept in the dining room. I was going to be protecting myself. I may not sleep well. But I’m safe.  

I enjoy the quiet. Complete silence. No listening for his truck coming home late, listening for how he would slam the door or how heavy his footsteps in his construction boots were, knowing for sure he stopped for his 6 or 12 pack. I don’t have to listen to the tone in his voice,  or listen to what he says to try and figure out if I was going to trigger him somehow. I like the still. It’s comforting. I like to just hear the blood in veins because I’m still here. 


You will always love and hate your abuser. I love him to this day. I love the side that cooked with me. And the side who would make me laugh so hard and do the running man and try to twerk. The hours of endless conversations, hours in the garden. Hours walking the creek and hours just being us, maybe with no words or flying kites in a hurricane, like two little kids. 


Then I hated the monster, the lies. I hated how he used his size to put me down, corner my 5,1’ self and keep me there. I hated that I loved whatever he was. I hated him for it. I hated him for two black eyes. I hated the taste of my own blood from a split lip. I hated him for pulling me back through a window I was trying to escape from. I hated him for holding me down. I hated him for not listening when I said no, yet I stayed. I couldn’t take care of my children alone or my boys father always saying I’ll never get support from him. Working under the table, I couldn’t apply for services. I had no one. I had two boys. 


Everyone deserves support, love,and  safety. I crave those now. It’s been almost four years. Life does get easier. I still have triggers, but that lil ring bent ring finger always reminds me I may be broken, but I’ll heal just fine. Just a touch bent. I love myself so much more now. I forget my words at times and stutter. My head trauma will always be there and ear drums won’t heal. Whenever I feel like I can’t do this, I think I’m not a good enough mom, employee,  or friend, I try to remind myself it wasn’t my time to check out. And I’m damn sure I wasn’t going to leave here by his hands and twisted idea of a relationship.  


If you need help or think you’re a victim, there is help!


NYS Domestic and Sexual Violence Hotline

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