I was a 16 year old straight A student. Then I met him, and that all changed. Abuse happens slowly and then all at once. I met the new boy at school. He was this hot, mysterious guy and one night at a party. I unknowingly became his. That sounds sweet but as time continued, the bitterer it got. It started out with isolation. I dropped out of school so I could stay home with him. Then my friends became untrustworthy to him. He couldn’t “trust” me while I was with them. So I ended up not hanging out with them anymore. Then my family was next to be turned against me.

The arguments started and I would always end up being in the wrong... I was crazy and insecure and making a big deal out of irrelevant things. My family would tell me to calm down and to stop acting the way I was. I don’t know what he told them, but he was a good sweet talker. Shortly after everyone was turned on me, the physical abuse started. I mean it was just pushing each other, saying that we couldn’t leave. We couldn’t break up. He would always threaten to leave... any time I did something “wrong” including taking too long to get out of work, taking too long to reply to text messages while I was working, or simply looking at someone the wrong way. That’s when I became a whore, a cunt, useless, worthless.

That’s when he would make me feel like I was even ranked less than the dirt underneath his feet. So I would get upset and he would try to leave me and so I would push him away from the door, trying to make him stay. All I wanted was for him to stay. And so he did. He stayed. He stayed to punish me. Slap me. Throw me down on the ground and kick me. “How could you do this to me?” “See what you do to me?!” He would yell at me, as blood poured out of my freshly broken nose. I thought this was love and that I deserved this. He made me believe that. I was ALWAYS wrong. I couldn’t lie but I also couldn’t tell the truth. I couldn’t let him walk away but I couldn’t make him stay. The world revolved around him.

Even if I said no, he would make me have sex with him. What he wanted he had. I just didn’t want to start an argument. I would have let him kill me. That’s how intense the abuse got. My mind was not right anymore. And so when he broke my femur, the strongest bone in the human body, my family and the doctors helped wake up my soul that had been hiding for a long time from him. I yelled at them and said I loved him. As soon as I turned 18(2 weeks) I was going to move out and be with him. 2 weeks.

That is the amount of time my family had to convince their teenage daughter not to go back to the boy who had hurt her. I don’t know why it was so hard to pierce it through my skull, but it took every last ounce of strength I had to not go to him. I slowly regained confidence in myself. I was no longer isolated. I no longer had someone driving it into my brain that I was dirt. It was my beginning.

And now, I still think of him. I see signs of abuse all the time in life. I sometimes worry that I’ll run into him. Sometimes I’ll get on someone’s Facebook and try to see what he’s up too. Abuse is crazy. He could have killed me, and yet, I still miss him. That’s what it did to me mentally. I was far too weak to see how wrong it was. But the experience taught me how strong I can be. How strong my family bond is. That I wasn’t alone.

Life goes on, and I still suffer from extreme anxiety and also depression, but I am alive. I am a survivor. I know what Love is not. It’s not the flowers after he hits you. It’s not the “I’m sorry you make me get so upset thinking I’m going to lose you.” “Or you’re mine, I don’t want you to leave me.” It’s not the make up to cover your bruises or the lies you have to tell your family. It’s not unwanted sex to make him happy. Love is pure. It is hectic. It is indeed crazy, but it is kind. It is the patience that one gives to you because you can’t tell them the nightmare you had of him hitting you. It’s acceptance that what happened has changed you forever. It is understanding and compassion.

Just remember that you must love yourself first. You and I, we are survivors. And we are worthy of love.

S. Contreras