2016 was not kind to me. Medical crises, surgery, abuse, divorce, and my mother nearly dying. Honestly, I would take a mulligan on it if I could.
But you know what? The divorce, at least, was the best worst thing that ever happened to me. It forced me to strike out on my own and see just what I could do – and it turns out that I can do pretty okay so far. My life hit rock bottom in July 2016 and didn’t start getting better until about December. Since then, it’s only going up from there. Sure, it had nowhere to go but up for a time there, but it’s really improving now.
I’ve got a new job, my beloved birds, a cute apartment, a wonderful support network of friends, and the love of a family that believes in me. I’m going to be okay.
But I wasn’t okay for a very long time.
The thing about emotional abuse that most people don’t understand is that it is insidious. You so often don’t know that it’s even happening because you’re being gaslighted and manipulated into no longer trusting your own instincts. For years, I was treated like I was only worthwhile when I was bringing any money into the household (no easy feat when you’re disabled and in pain all the time) and even when I did, it was somehow not good enough.
My partner never believed in me. He stopped emotionally supporting me at some point – and I was so busy denying that things were bad that I don’t even know when that point actually was. But I was all alone in my marriage for a long time and it ate away at me like a gnawing worm in my core.
He didn’t believe in me as a writer. He didn’t seem impressed when I completed a project or got something published or learned a new skill. I could never be good enough. Maybe if I had been healthy, maybe he could have loved me. But I wasn’t and nothing can change that. We had already agreed that a divorce was imminent.
When he snapped one night in July, he hurt me in a way that can never be repaired or forgiven. There was no going back from that point – only forward and upward. There was no longer a single thought in my mind of reconciliation – which is good. That was not a relationship that was healthy to be in. I’m almost grateful for the turning point because it meant I would never be tempted to go back to him.
And now? Now I’m almost free. I July, I will be able to close that chapter of my life and begin to write the next one. The better one. The one in which I thrive.