Here are some questions I have:
Have you ever been afraid of something? I'm not talking about a scary movie. I mean really afraid? How do you stop being afraid? How long does it hold on until you can let it go [or it lets go of you]... to not remember... When do you stop trying to forget?
I realize that I am afraid. I'm afraid of something that could happen. I'm afraid he will find me, hurt me, make me remember. Are the memories worse than the reality? Have I somehow made it worse than it was?... I really don't think so... it was ALL so horrible there are portions of black in my memory that block so much.
I realize in my adult life, I've lived with the panic of those years.... I realize that my every day is marked with the memory. I check the locks on the doors. Twice. Every. Night. I refuse to sleep with a door open. I have, over time, sold every piece of furniture, nick-nack, [read: memory], purposefully, that was around when he was. I cut, grew, cut, grew, and changed the color of my hair - all in an effort to disappear. I hate the fact that facebook can find me. Social media location tags haunt me. I break into a cold sweat and literally hyperventilate driving into Atlanta. I've broken all ties with anything that reminds me of the past - of those days. I duck my head from white Jeep wranglers. The smell of beer makes me physically sick. I have security detail at church and I scan the congregation before setting foot on the Platform. I jump when someone grabs my wrist - even if unintentional. My number is unlisted. I felt an underlying need to move for 17 years - knowing he knew where I lived. I don't ever use my maiden name. I have a hard time trusting - anyone. It's always right there.. under the radar...I'm always looking over my shoulder.
Even though there aren't physical scars, the scars on my memory are very real. I feel the necklace chain cutting into my throat. I hear the sound of him breaking the chair trying to get to me. I remember the bruises on my wrists. I can hear the sound of the windshield breaking and seeing the blood on his hands. I smell the drunken rants. I taste the tears, hear myself crying, begging. I hear myself apologizing, taking him back time and time again, knowing if I didn't, he'd hurt me worse. I hear him pounding the door. I can't run hard enough, fast enough, far enough to leave it all behind. it was only Four years... and now it's 20 later... and it. AlL. Still.. scares. me.
I REALIZE I HAVE NO CONTROL OVER THE PLACE OR TIME OR EVENT WHERE He might be. In an effort to control that - to control anything - I organize, clean, obsess over making things feel 'safe' for me. Dishes can't be in the sink, clutter can't be undone, house must be picked up before bed - for whatever reason - that is something I can control. That is Safe. I'd rather be alone than with a group because Groups don't feel safe. The fun-loving, let's throw caution to the wind, Life of the party extrovert in me died. The introvert arose out of panic. I fear he will be where I am. That I'll be somehow caught off guard.
It only happened once in 20 years, but it could again.
How unfair is it that I have lived the last 20 years like it revolved around 4. How unfair to my incredibly faithful, loving, rescuer-husband, that I have lived in this kind of fear.... when all he's done is love me, given me reason to trust him, given me an opportunity to really live? He touches the small of my back, I jump. Every. time. He grabs my wrist to protect me from stepping into the street - I turn on him and hiss... 'don't grab my wrist'. He tells me that he loves me - every day - and even though I respond in kind.. I wonder, does he really? When will he leave? Why is he saying that? He's never given me any indication of ANYTING but of undying love, complete devotion, passionate romance, a fairy tale life... and yet I doubt that it's real. As if someone has put him up to it... that he can't really feel that way. All of that because of 4 little years with one fool who still, probably to this day, rarely thinks of me.
I want to not remember. I want to trust. I want to start over - 20 years ago... and do it all again, but this time, believing my lover every time he tells me he loves me. Believing he wants the best for me and that he will never leave. Believing that the past is gone - and all that matters is our life now. I just don't know how to not be afraid. I've stuffed it so far down and tried to just forget... I don't want to remember... to talk about it, but would it make it better if I did? Drug it all up?
How do you live without fear, when it wants to define who I am? When so much of it is All I know to be....