I remember sitting in a room with tears running down my face, hoping he would turn around and talk to me. I sat there for hours, shamed for expressing my feelings of discontent. Being silenced was my punishment. This dysfunctional behavior was a norm of my previous relationship. I was invisible during those moments. I was unrecognizable to myself.
It didn't start off this way; my relationship was once fun and light, followed with flirtatious behavior. Like any new couple, the honeymoon stage was a dream blurring out any signs of erratic behavior. Dates were frequent. Kisses were often. All seemed, well normal. Then comfort set in and he realized I was just a woman; his misogynistic tendencies became dominating. I was just a woman that wanted to be loved. I was just a woman who didn't understand the power I exuded. He saw my neediness and preyed on it. At 18-years-old, I wasn't a fully developed woman. He was five years my senior. My naivety had me believe that as my senior he would show me what love was.
It started off with, "Where you at?" Then turned into "Let me see your phone." Which moved onto, "Tell them not to call you." At first, I thought it was him caring about my well-being, but then the truth hit me like a ton of bricks. I was stuck. I didn't know how to leave, I thought I could love him harder and that would change his actions. It didn't. Instead, I saw myself as a human pawn. Act right, and I'll be kind to you. Act up, and I will punch the steering wheel as if it's your face. Wait, what did you say? Get out my car! I suffered in silence. I was too afraid to use my voice. I thought I was grown enough to handle an adult relationship when I wasn't. I wasn't prepared for the ugly side of love. The side of love where you get so caught up in the other person that you couldn’t see the value of yourself. Where you ALLOW others to walk all over you, because of the fear of being alone.
With the help of my friends, and many, many private conversations alone, I finally worked up the nerve to say enough. I kept saying it until I strengthened the bass in my voice. I said it until I yelled it at the top of my lungs. I said it until I believed it. I put my foot down and built my faith up. I was ready to give myself the love I deserved, without the permission from a man.
Walking away was one of the smartest things I did in that relationship. At that time, I didn't realize he was afraid of me, and the possibility of me tapping into my potential. When people are weak, they will try to tear down others with their actions. That’s not the power they control; I gave him permission by staying, I know that now. I thank him for that experience and stand today a fully realized person, a grown woman. Love doesn't have to be painful, and shouldn't exist within chaos. When it's time to go, let go. I found my voice, and I've been exercising ever since. I’m not afraid anymore.