Recently I read an article that a co-worker of mine wrote, Out of Darkness, about a young lady who, on the outside, was a breath of fresh air and the light in a room, but on the inside, struggled with demons that she couldn’t shake. Reading this article left me feeling many different things, but one of those feelings made me sit down and write this.
I am a private person. I am shy and a little awkward around strangers, but with my friends, I am comfortable and more outgoing. One of the decisions I made in my life was to go to college out of state to gain my independence. I chose New York because it was still only 3 hours away from my family if I wanted to go home, but it was like nowhere I had ever been before. I loved it.
I was a collegiate athlete who did my best to keep good grades and always stayed out of trouble. I had made new friends that I will have for the rest of my life and was making the most out of my experience. Fast forward to senior year of college…
I met a guy, that at first, made me laugh, made me feel special, and I was able to be myself around him. After a few months went by, I was seeing less of that guy and more of someone who was angry all the time, distant, and abusive both physically and verbally. As a young girl growing up, you hear about domestic violence cases and your immediate reaction is “that will never be me, why wouldn’t the girl just leave and get out of it?” Well, when you are in it, there feels like no way out.
A year had gone by, I graduated college and I was starting a job and decided to stay in New York, still in my abusive relationship. I had tried to get out. I had tried to leave, but he was good with his words and knew what to say to get me to come back. It felt like a cycle that just wouldn’t end. He threatened me with anything he could. I was done.
Sunday November 19th, 2017, I woke up in the back of an ambulance. I was told that my mom was on her way up from Maryland and I was being transported to the nearest hospital. I wanted everything to end. I wanted out of a relationship that was toxic. Wednesday, November 22nd, 2017, I was released to go home and I moved back to Maryland. I walked in the door and my father immediately broke down. I have never seen my father cry. He embraced me like never before and that is when I knew, I was meant to be here.
I look back on my experience and think about everything that happened. I should have told someone. I should have asked for help before it went too far. I should have put my embarrassment aside and spoken up. That is my only regret. Going through something like this made me realize just how lucky I am to have a second chance and help someone who may be going through similar feelings. With such a traumatic experience, I have to look at the positives that came out of it.
Now, I speak up. I say how I feel, when I feel it. I am a stronger person because of what I went through. I know that there is more for me to accomplish. There is truly something special in every day. I now know what I want in a relationship and what signs to look for with others who may be “stuck” in a similar situation. I am now in a great relationship with a guy who I believe is my soul mate and treats me the way I should be treated.
It has taken me a few years to speak up about this. It’s not my proudest moment, but it’s real life. If my story can help just one person, then I did my job. I am so thankful to everyone that helped me through such a hard time in my life. Please, continue to spread positivity and know that if you notice someone struggling or you yourself are struggling, speak up. You can do it.