If you find yourself lying to everyone that everything is fine, and having to put on a smile, you need to leave.
If you find yourself trying to breathe so quietly that the covers don’t move because it will enrage him, you need to leave.
If you find yourself nodding in agreement when he says that the hole in the wall is where he slipped, knowing full well that he hit it during a rage, you need to leave.
If you find yourself cut off from everyone who really knows you because you cannot look them in the eye anymore, you need to leave.
If you find yourself apologizing when he doesn’t do anything for your birthday and gets mad at you for being hurt, you need to leave.
If you find yourself slipping water into his drinks to slow down the coming alcohol soaked explosion, you need to leave.
If you find yourself dreading the weekends because he will start drinking with his morning coffee, you need to leave.
If you find yourself piling chairs and dog kennels in front of the door to avoid his terrifying rage, you need to leave.
If you start recording his rages in case something happens, you need to leave.
If you text your best friend while he is raging in case something happens to you, you need to leave.
If you text your kids to lock their doors while he is raging, you need to leave.
If you have changed and changed and changed some more to try to make things better, and he still rages and says it is your fault, you need to leave.
If it crosses your mind to call 911, but you don’t out of embarassment, you need to leave.
If he never blackens your eye, but leaves marks where others won’t see them, you need to leave.
If he belittles you and makes you feel like less than with every word you say, you need to leave.
If you plan everything around not making him mad and not invoking a rage, you need to leave.
If he’s not nice to dogs, you need to leave.
If he is not nice to children, you need to leave.
If he belittles people who can do nothing for him, you need to leave.
If he blames you for his inadequacies, you need to leave.
Image: Cristian Ştefănescu via Fickr
Leaving will be hard. So fucking hard. Especially if you have been beaten down and worn down and made to feel like a nothing. You will probably believe all of it. You will probably feel like leaving requires someone much stronger and better than you are. You will feel like there is no way that a weak person like you could ever be that brave. You will look at the emotional part of leaving and feel like it is a mountain that you cannot even begin to climb. You will look at the logistics of leaving, the down payments and deposits and bills, and think that there is no way that someone like you can ever accomplish that. You will keep your head down, because you can not possibly make eye contact. You will even feel bad for him, and hesitate to leave him, because you have learned to identify with him.
Here’s the thing though, dearie. You matter. You matter more than you know. You. You deserve to let the sheets rise and fall as you breathe freely, without fear. You deserve to look forward to weekends, the freedom that they hold. You deserve to truly smile. You deserve to sleep without things piled against your door. You deserve to be you, without fear of being punished or terrorized for it. You deserve so much more than the scraps you have been settling for. You deserve authenticity and joy and safety.
You can do it. Those mountains, those insurmountable beasts, you just take em one step at a time. You just do it. You leave. You live with piles of clothes in your car. You have a bag of groceries in your car that travel well, granola bars and crackers and apples. You apologize to your kiddos for how this is, but promise them that their safety comes first now. You live on your friends’ couches and futons and spare bedrooms as you breathe freely. You ask for help, and slowly start to feel yourself unfurl. You look people in the eye as you tell your truths. You realize that this patchwork of couches and futons and hotels and floors is better than the perfect horror that you left behind.
And you keep doing it. Because you can. You are strong and brave. you have been beaten down, but you are more than this. You are a warrior and a survivor. And you are more than this, you are a story meant to be told. You are wings, free and waiting to soar.