It's all a blur, the months flew into years and suddenly I'm some washed out version of who I used to be. Insecure, nervous, and angry. My story begins like the happily ever after stories I fixated on so distinctly in my mind.. it just doesn't end that way. He was handsome, kind, and affectionate. He wore a disguise like a tailored suit. He invested time and energy into manipulating me and I believed him because I really wanted it to be true. I was young and naive. I made excuses, somehow I started blatantly lying to my loved ones to cover up his actions. Isolating myself. I knew he needed help but I was comfortable. I figured the devil you know is better than the devil you do not. Sometimes the comfortable isn't so comforting. I thought it was love & with more effort & time we could make it work. The night he became physically abusive will be etched into my mind forever.

It was my birthday. We went out to a local bar with his brother & his girlfriend for some drinks and pool. I had the best night, my smile couldn't have been bigger. We didn't drink often so we were both very intoxicated as we stumbled into the house that night. I went into the bathroom and heard a knock on the door, before I could reach the handle it flew open knocking me over. I went to stand but my effort was blocked by a blow to my face. Next came the kicking. I was being brutally beaten by the man I loved for absolutely no reason. For a moment it stopped and I stumbled to my feet, I went into the kitchen and placed a knife on the counter. I was desperate to find my phone to call for help. In hindsight I should have ran, I don't know why I didn't run in that moment. My mind was clouded, overwhelmed, and confused. Hearing the bathroom door open, I grabbed the knife and rushed for the stairs to exit out my upstairs apartment. He grabbed me by my hair and that's when I sucked in every bit of breath I could & I plunged the knife toward his stomach. The knife broke at the base, the metal hit the floor. It didn't even break his skin. When he shouted "You were going to stab me?!" Two thoughts rang clear in my cloudy mind-1. Those are cheap knives 2. I'm going to die. He pulled me into the living room and continued. I was fighting back, but he was much larger than me. I passed out after multiple blows to my face, when I awoke I darted for the stairs again. I flew down them, he bolted from the bedroom and reached over the railing. He caught my arm but I let all my weight drop- my arm was pulled from the socket but I was free. I bolted out that door and ran as fast as I could screaming for help. Nobody helped me, he caught up to me and slowly dragged me up the stairs by my hair. He hit me a few more times and than he told me to lay down. I prayed it was over. I felt his arms wrap around me. He held me closely almost like he was attempting to comfort me. Patting my hair until I fell asleep. When I awoke I thought it was a terrifying nightmare. When I moved i was quickly reminded how real the painful night had been. He wasn't in the bed- he was doing the dishes.

The aftermath of last nights disaster was neatly packed in a garbage bag at the bottom of the stairs. I wish I could tell you I left that morning, I wish I could tell you I had woke up and raced out of that apartment. I did not. I sought confidence that morning in the only person I hadn't been isolated from- his brothers girlfriend. I spilt my heart out to her, she told me to "milk it". She believed this gave me power in our relationship for the next couple weeks (until my wounds healed). In her opinion, my leverage for him to treat me properly was the potential of him being made accountable for his actions in a court of law. I felt so worthless in those moments. I never told anybody else. I had my twins a few years later. Two months after they were born, he left. He tried coming back two weeks later & I never allowed it. A close family member who had no idea the extent of how broken my family truly was gave me these encouraging words "Id rather come from a broken home than live in one ". Those words gave me so much comfort when I fought a war in my head if I'd made the right decision. He has not raised them & they're much better off without him. It took until I had children to protect to firmly stand on my feet. I still didn't tell a soul until I recently learned he brutally attacked another woman in front of her children. I was instantly sick to my stomach. I feel incredibly responsible that she was not warned he was abusive. I told my mother that day. I told my sister too. I told the incredibly amazing man I now share my life with and now I'm telling you. I hope if you're reading this and you're in an abusive relationship that you find firm ground to plant your feet. I hope if you have children and you're fighting the same war in your mind that I have fought that you find comfort in my uncles words. I hope you find safety.