Once is more than enough

on June 15, 2014 in My memoir

Some people have asked me why it is taking me so long to write my memoir.  I don’t have just one answer.

  • Life gets in the way.
  • Writing is hard work.
  • Bringing up those memories is painful.
  • The legalities are confusing.
  • I’m scared.

I’m scared.  That’s the strongest reason.  I can’t just pick and choose who reads my story.  I’m writing it because reading about a strong woman helped me gain the strength to leave my first husband.  If reading my story gives just one woman the courage to leave an abusive relationship, it will be worth it.

But anyone will be able to read it.  Family, friends, enemies, strangers.  I will be judged.  That’s a tough decision to stand tall and walk into.

My first husband hit me.  He hit me before I married him.  He continued to hit me throughout our marriage.  He threatened to kill me if I ever left him.  So I stayed and he tried to kill me anyway.  But I survived.  I escaped.

I looked over my shoulder for years, expecting him to show up.  And he did.  He proudly showed me his new girlfriend.  He pointed out that she was prettier and skinnier than I was.  But he didn’t hurt me.  I didn’t give him the chance.  I just smiled to show him that I was better off without him. And I walked away, knowing that he was hurting her.

Like me, she stayed.  I’m sure he filled her head with the same lies he told me.  I do not know her story, but I know that she’s the strongest woman I have ever met.  Neither one of us knew that when we met all those years ago.

Why did I stay?  Why did she?  Why do millions of women (and men) stay and allow themselves to be abused?  I don’t know the answer to that.  But I do know that it will never happen to me again.

I did not deserve to be hit, to be called names, to be controlled, to be locked up, to be laughed at, to be abused.  Once was more than enough.  I often wish that I had left after he hit me that first time.  I would not have the same story to tell, and I would not be the same woman I am today, but I would leave.  The first time.

If you live in fear, it’s time to move.  There are agencies out there to help you.  I had help.  I had to learn that it was okay to ask for help.   Once is more than enough.  I promise you, you are worth more than you know.

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