Not healing, because I know I have come a long way since the following happened. I have grown, I have move beyond the past and the injuries of that time. I am stronger, bigger, better than I was then. I had allowed something to happen that I should not have. I had done something, I should not. I ignored red flags. I allowed myself to be treated in ways that I never should have allowed. I had no understanding of boundaries and their importance. I want, to forget the nightmare, the pain, the abuse, but not the lesson. I want to remember, so that should I ever be in conversation with one being abused, I can in all honesty say I understand. I have been there.
Closing the door to the U-Haul she smiled. They had managed to get everything in there after all. One thing was for sure, there was no worry about anything falling and breaking, you couldn’t have slid a sheet of paper in that trailer. Turning, she crossed the driveway and entered the mobile home. This was what she had called home for the last year, now she was leaving. Wandering through the empty rooms she checked one final time to make sure that they hadn’t left anything. Her steps echoed along the hallway. It was an odd feeling walking through here now. Empty as it was it felt different, foreign. The memories she had made her weren’t all good, but there were enough of them that she would not forget this place. Hearing the car horn blowing she turned and walked out. Pulling the door closed behind her she crossed to the car. Louisiana, here we come, she thought as she opened the car door and slipped into her seat.
As the car pulled out of the drive she waved good-bye to the few people that were out in their yards. A few of these folks she would honestly miss, they had been good to her. By the time they had reached the interstate she had settled back and was watching the familiar landscape passing by. Soon all that she knew as home would be behind her. It had been a long time since she had lived anywhere but here.
By the time they reached the North Carolina- South Carolina state line he was tired of driving. Pulling the car over he instructed her to take his place, she was driving the rest of the way. Having learned by now not to argue she switched places with him. She had never driven a vehicle pulling a trailer, nor had she ever driven as far as they were going. Grasping the steering wheel she checked traffic and then pulled out onto the highway.
It was dark by the time they reached Atlanta, Georgia. Trying her best to follow directions that were nothing less than confusing she watched the road signs. When a convertible Mustang loaded with teenagers came barreling onto the interstate without looking she jerked the wheel. She realized her mistake immediately as the car and trailer swerved dangerously. She ignored the cursing coming from the seat beside her as she regained control of the car. The teenagers long gone she took a deep breath and continued driving. Somewhere in Alabama she took a wrong turn when she missed a road detour. In the middle of nowhere with nowhere to turn around he woke. It had been much more peaceful with just the sound of his snoring beside her. Ranting and raging now at her mistake he demanded she turn around. The word ‘where?’ screamed through her mind but she did not verbalize it. She scanned the roadway as best that she could. It was well past midnight, she was beyond tired and tears were threatening. In the pitch black of the night there was nowhere to turn around on this back country road. When he bellowed out again for her to just turn the damn car around she had no choice. Pulling over to the side of the road as far as she could she began to maneuver her turn. She ignored the cursing coming from the seat beside her as she finally managed to get turned around without getting stuck or damaging anything.
Going back in the direction she had come she was overjoyed to find a gas station still open. She was even more happy to find out that she hadn’t really gone that far out of the way. Listening carefully to directions she paid for the gas and got back in the car. Reluctantly she took hold of the steering wheel and pulled back onto the road.
Time meant nothing. Miles and hours passed and she grew numb to everything. She somehow managed to remain awake as she drove through the night. He had fallen asleep again and it was quiet but for his snoring and the radio playing softly. She watched road signs and white lines passing. Home was so far away now, somewhere in the back of her mind lurked regrets. How and why had it come to this..but this had been her choice and she would somehow make the best of it.
Sunlight was streaking across the sky as they crossed Louisiana. She rolled her shoulders as she drove. They had passed New Orleans, crossed many bridges and passed acres of fields lining the roads. He was watching the road, telling her it wasn’t far now. Crossing the I-10 bridge in Lake Charles they left the interstate and entered Westlake, Louisiana. Following his directions she pulled into a gravel parking area. Stopping the car where he told her she watched as he got out and climbed a set of stairs. Exhaustion swept over her but she couldn’t give in, not yet. It was all she could do to release the steering wheel. Her fingers refused to open. Mentally she forced them to move, crying out in the ensuing pain. Opening and closing her hands she fought to get the feeling back in her fingers. She refused to look at her watch, she didn’t want to know just yet how long she had driven.
She watched as he crossed back to the car. He was angry. His stiff walk and loud cursing making his mood obvious. She watched as he yanked the car door open. Dropping into the seat he pointed at the mobile home that was now their home. She didn’t ask what had angered him, she didn’t want to know, and yet she knew before long she would know. Carefully following directions she moved the car. Hopefully soon she would be able to rest, but somehow she doubted it.
in an abusive relationship– there is no making the best of it. If someone is abusing you- get out. There is help available. No one is meant to live without respect, no one is meant to live a life where they are mistreated in any form- get out- there are people, there are places that are there willing, ready and able to help.
The above was originally written in 2010. The only changes I made were to correct misspelled words. I left North Carolina in 1981 with my then husband for Louisiana and a promised better life. One that swiftly became a living nightmare. Yet, forty years later, healed but refusing to forget. No one, no matter their age,no matter the gender, no matter the education, the financial or social status, no matter any identifiers or titles that may be tagged to them, no one should be abused or allow abuse. No one should stand idly by and allow abuse to happen. And yes, children bullying children is abuse. A so called adult, insulting and ridiculing a child, is abuse. Knowledge that we should not ever forget.
This is not the blog I was trying to write. I have three starts tucked away as drafts. Instead of being able to finish either of them, I was drawn to my other blog. One started before this one, but one I do not visit as often. Today, I did. Today, I scrolled down past many posts, all the way back to this one. All the way back to the writing of my leaving home and safety and into a horror story. Some how, I feel that someone is needing to see this, and understand that they are not the only one who has found themselves in a bad situation.
The above was me forty years ago. It lasted until January of 1983 when I escaped-literally- and came home to North Carolina. Slowly over time, I have learned many lessons. I have grown as an individual. I have found the understanding of what it means to be respected and that boundaries are important.
I chose the path I took, I walked into that time period of my own free will. I walked away from all I had been taught. Even as I turned away from God, He never abandoned me. All that I dealt with, could have been so much worse. I was allowed to hit bottom, but it was at the bottom that He waited, and He brought me out of the storm and into His shelter. Each storm and struggle I have faced over the course of time has made my life and understanding stronger. Has made my faith stronger. Has showed me in many ways, it is not religion, it is a relationship. The drive to Louisiana was but one step of the journey. One I do not wish to forget.