Would you have the strength to walk away if someone was physically hurting you?
Would you have the strength to walk away if someone was emotionally hurting you?
Would you have the strength to walk away if someone was mentally hurting you?
And by hurting you, I mean abusing you?
Abuse is never a subject to be taken likely. I’ve tip-toed around it for my entire life. Hitting, kicking, punching…hurting…those are the words that are substituted for abuse. But that’s what it was. It’s hard to admit it to myself, yet alone anyone else. No one likes to think of themselves in that manner, but to be clear, when you lay a hand on a child with the intention of causing pain and you continue to hurt them, it’s not punishing them for what they did. Punishing them with a smack on the bottom is different from a child huddled up in a corner while continuously being kicked. I know. I was that child in the corner.
I was also that child who learned how to fight back. And while I was never proud of it, I did what I had to do. I learned how to survive. I learned how to separate who I was a home from who I was everywhere else. As an adult, I learned to put what happened in the past behind me and try to make amends. I also learned how to set boundaries in order to keep myself safe.
Those boundaries have taken the form of concrete walls that work 24/7 to keep people out and protect me from anything and everything that could potentially harm me. A few friends have been able to break past them and I’ve opened up to them. It took a lot of trust building and be realizing that maybe, just maybe, these people were not going to run for the hills. Maybe they would stick by me through all the ups and downs and tears. And there have been a lot of tears.
I’ve worked my entire adult life to get away from the things I grew up around. It was all part of my childhood promise to myself – this is not how families behave, this is not how people behave, this is not how the children I want to have will behave, this is not how my future spouse will behave, this is not how I will behave.
Yet, I sometimes feel as though I’m sliding back down that spider web in my head of what if this and what if that. If everyone else I grew up with has been unable to escape it, why do I think I will be any different? Why do I think I can change it? Why do I think I won’t fall back into that hole?
Because I know myself. I know myself better than anyone else. I’ve spent years learning about myself and understanding myself. I know when something is bothering me and why. I know when a situation doesn’t feel right and why. I know I would be able to pinpoint a bad situation to me in and I know I would leave it. I know because I’ve lived through it all before and I will not put myself through it again.
Just like I know what I will fight to never have a relationship like my parents had – I will not spent the rest of my life fighting with someone and yelling at him all the time.
I will not treat my children the way my mother treated me – I can’t imagine ever laying a single hand on any child’s head and would protect them from anyone who tried to hurt them.
And perhaps one day, maybe someday soon, maybe someday not so soon, someone will walk into my life. Someone who I will feel comfortable opening up to and perhaps I could even love. Someone who will understand the past but not hold it against me and help me while I fight to have a healthy relationship. The concrete walls I have built so high and strong might just start to crumble overtime. I know they have to come down at some point. It’s a matter of if I trust the other person to not hurt me.
And do I trust myself to have the strength to walk away if I need to?
Yes. Yes I do. Because I am not my mom. I am not my dad. I am not one of my brothers.
I am strong even when that word brings tears to my eyes. I am independent and can take care of myself. I trust myself and my instincts to take care of me. I trust my concrete wall to protect me until the time comes that I start to chip away at it – maybe will a little help. I believe that God will take care of me even when I drift from Him because I am His Child. I know that certain people will always be there for me and will never look at me differently. I am certain that I will have the strength because I am made of it.
I am Chelsea.