The day we met you did me a favor; the last you’d ever grant me. I loved you from then until years past when I should have known better.
Maybe when you stopped using my name and started calling me one of a few derogatory terms instead, I should’ve left.
Maybe when you started making me think of myself as worthless I should’ve left.
Maybe when you started hitting me I should’ve left.
Maybe when you started hurting me I should’ve left.
Maybe when you started making me hurt myself I should’ve left.
But I finally did leave.
And I still think of myself with those words. And I still hurt myself.
I ignored you for a long time. I blocked you online and deleted your texts. I have a new phone now and I don’t live at the same address.
For months, I didn’t talk to people that I genuinely loved because they were too close to you.
When I talk to my grandmother, she still tells me how many times she’s talked to you since the last time I called. The last time I went to visit her, you’d been there a few hours before I got there. I know she tells you that I still see her. I hope that hurts.
Someone asked me if I used the word abuse. I told her that I don’t to protect you. But I do.
Some things are still the same.
I still feel uncomfortable putting my hair up because you said I looked too much like a man with short hair.
I still can’t stand prolonged contact because I’m afraid I’ll do something wrong.
I still sleep with a novelty bat in my bed in case someone comes in while I’m asleep to hurt me.
I still have nightmares about you.
I still feel bad about flirting with women.
I still worry that you can hurt me because I can’t remember a time when I was safe from you.
Some things have gotten better.
I don’t flinch when people hug me anymore, because I know they won’t hit me a few minutes later.
I don’t go to bed hungry anymore because I’m afraid I’m gaining too much weight.
I don’t feel bad about all of my body anymore, just some parts that I can’t change.
It’s been a year since I slept outside.
I don’t always wear scarves or bracelets anymore because I don’t feel vulnerable without them.
I don’t have to pretend to love anyone that I genuinely hate.