I used to be innocent, but things changed. I spent nine months under your power, not once questioning you—at least, not to your face. Looking back, not defending myself earlier than when I did is my sole regret in life.
You had no right to do those things to me. Don’t you dare ask where you went wrong. You know what you did, but if it will really help you understand, I’ll go through it again. It’s not like I don’t relive it every day, anyway.
I understand that people have their own ways of dealing with issues; we all have demons, and it’s important to face them in a way that is effective. Was taking them out on me really as effective as you thought? You would always say, “You’re the best thing that’s ever happened to me,” and the funny thing was, I believed you. The cycle was relentless; I let you hurt me continuously for months because you convinced me that I deserved to be treated that way. From time to time, there wouldn’t be bruises—perhaps only a few stinging words—but those hurt just as much. I would hide the feelings and marks and brush it all off, still having a flicker of hope in my eyes that we would reconcile.
Do you know what that does to a person? Just holding everything in, just so that she will have a sliver of proof that what’s happening is reality and not just an awful dream? It has the ability to kill, but I didn’t reach that unfortunate fate. I just live with the memories and continue on with my life. I have yet to figure out of that is a blessing or a curse.
It wasn’t just me I let you hurt, though. I lied to our families and friends for you because everyone adored you. I acted thrilled when you gave me gifts—the ones that came conveniently after the fights that occurred while no one else was looking. Everyone thought it was so sweet of you to buy me flowers or strawberries or the brand new Taylor Swift CD the day it came out. The same goes for the stuffed animals, candy, and jewelry. They were like rewards for me for not saying anything about what you were really doing. If I don’t talk, I get hurt anyway, but if I do, I get hurt much, much worse. Nobody would have ever guessed that you were a guy who would abuse his girlfriend. I’m not even afraid to say that anymore; it was abuse. It wasn’t love, like you tried to tell me, nor was it deserved or a lesson or any of those manipulative tricks you tried to use in order to justify all the things you did. I never had to apologize to you, but I always did, hoping the attacks would stop, even though I knew they were inevitable. You were a hopeless case, but I never lost faith in either of us.
I used to be innocent, but maybe that hasn’t really changed, after all. I’m innocent in the sense that I did nothing wrong. There’s so much I still want to say. Actually, I want to scream it all in your face, just like you did to me so many times. You stole my voice and my courage, and those are things you should never deny a person. Thankfully, all of the horrible impulses you acted on weren’t enough to end me. I’m still here, and I’ve gone a whole year without you. Leaving you and moving on were the two best things I’ve ever done in my life. I will forever be better than the punching bag you made me out to be, because I deserve to be happy and respected. So, thank you, for helping me discover my self-worth. If that’s the silver lining in this, I’ll gladly take it.