The device on her wrist buzzed, and she took a second to tap the screen to see who was texting her.
And when she saw his name cross the small screen, she paused. Physically and mentally, she paused.
She never imagined seeing his name again. And she wondered what it could possibly be that he could want after this long. Her mind ticked and whirred past the why’s and wondered at the implications. And when she took the time to open and read the text and the only thing it said was ‘hi.’, she wondered some more.
Now, let’s stop.
Let’s back it up and add some changes, some more detail.
Because this story isn’t about me. Or about you. Or about Lindsay down the street.
This story is about any person. Any person who has been lied to, cheated on, betrayed. Any person who has been abused – mentally, physically, emotionally, sexually. This story isn’t about a 30 something white female who is the single mother to two children. It’s about the 20 something single woman living alone with her cat. Or dog. Or still at home. Who’s in college or travelling the world. The 40 something who is working a 9-5. The woman who has a family and who is married. The white, black, Hispanic, Japanese American woman with the sad eyes. It’s you. It’s me. It’s all of us.
And it’s about them. The user and the cheater and the abuser. It’s about them because they always always come back. Wanting more. Wanting to do more damage, to break you down more. To see how far they can take it, what more they can get away with. Yes. It’s about them too.
She tapped the device on her wrist and maybe it wasn’t a text, maybe it was a phone call. Or maybe it wasn’t either of those things. Maybe it was him walking through her door, or knocking on her door, apology gift in hand and sorrowful look on his face. Maybe it wasn’t a she and him, but a him and she. Because a liar, cheating, abusive individual isn’t necessarily always a man and a victim isn’t always a woman. Maybe it’s two women and two men. Because Lord knows that this type of thing doesn’t have a sexuality preference. Maybe it was more than a simple hi. Maybe it was a seemingly heartfelt confession and apology. Maybe they ran into each other in the grocery store and he tried to strike up a conversation, asked her to get together for old times sake. . .
The who and the where, the how, none of it matters, however.
The key point here is this:
She didn’t answer.
She looked at her wrist and she kept cooking, gardening, reading, sketching. She kept helping her child with their homework or continued her conversation with her friend as they ate dinner. She kept writing her term paper or building her case for her client or watching the tv program as her cat or dog lay in her lap. She peeped through the peephole and walked away from the door. She ordered him to leave. She answered the text “fuck you and the horse you rode in on.” She hit ignore. She kept walking.
She looked at her attorney in the courtroom and testified, “Yes. He did rape me. Yes. He did hit me.”
She stood up for herself.
That’s the key point.
It’s you, and me, and her and him.
It’s abuse in all its shapes and forms.
Maybe he told you you shouldn’t wear tank tops because then everyone could see your tits, and those are for his eyes only. So you wore a t-shirt instead, making yourself uncomfortable in the summer heat just to please him and make him feel important.
Maybe when you realized that it is you who’s important, that it’s your body and your comfort was the most important you bought and wore as many tank tops as you could. Like a big middle finger in his face. And he didn’t stick around for much longer because you grew a figurative set of balls.
Maybe when she questioned you about the money you spent and about your whereabouts, you finally stopped feeling guilty and realized it was she who was probably guilty and started asking her the same questions. And she didn’t stick around because you were “being controlling”, when really you were just giving what you were getting.
Maybe the last time he hit you and came home with flowers to apologize, you said enough is enough and you were tired of being such a bad example for your children. So you asked him to leave. And maybe you cried as he walked out the door, because it’s hard to let go. Even if that person is no good for you, it’s hard. But you did it.
Maybe this person made you feel like you were the most important individual on the planet, and as soon as someone they thought to be more beautiful and interesting caught their eye, they left you high and dry. Or the minute their ex showed an interest in rekindling the flame, they came up with an excuse – it’s not you, it’s me – and went back to the old familiar life. Afraid of change, seeing that this new relationship would take work and dedication. And in leaving made you feel worthless and insignificant. In all actuality it is them that is insignificant, sweetheart. Because they used you as a placeholder. Until something “better” came along.
And in any if these scenarios, something happens. Something happens and the liar, the cheat, the abuser, the weak individual that had you questioning your worth comes back. The grass wasn’t greener. They come back. Saying they miss you. Saying they love you. Saying this time will be different. They won’t hit you or yell at you or call you names. You’re free to be yourself, or that they just weren’t ready for the realness of the relationship, that they weren’t mature enough and now they are.
And let me tell you something, you amazing, beautiful soul.
It’s all bullshit.
Every fucking word is complete and utter bullshit.
They don’t love you. Not even a little bit. They love watching you break.
They don’t miss you. They miss feeling the power they had over you.
They haven’t matured. They just got bored with the new pussy or the ex.
Its ugly and it’s sad and it is reality.
And reality is, you are worth so goddamn much more than what they have to offer you. You deserve to be free. To wear what you’re comfortable in, to go where you want, spend what you want. To not have to answer to anyone but yourself. You deserve to know your worth and not have someone else determine it for you.
This is about me. And maybe you. Or your mother or sister or friend. Maybe about the guy who greets you with a smile at your favorite deli, or the cashier who always compliments you.
This is about us standing up for ourselves. Not giving into the head games and cutting those strings.
So hit that ignore button, love. Ignore that knock, that text. Testify for his crimes. Walk the fuck away and do not look back.
See, I know you, because I know me. And every step away is a step in finding yourself, and is making you stronger.
Tell him to fuck off. Him and the horse he rode in on. It may seem hard now, but you’ll be so happy you did.