Listen to the latest episode here.
I think the most humiliating thing about having a black eye is that it shows the world what you didn’t do. When you have two black eyes, you’re showing the world what you didn’t do twice. You didn’t fight back well enough, you didn’t run fast enough, you didn’t leave, you didn’t call the police, and hey, maybe you didn’t see it coming. As a black eyed individual and connoisseur in all the things that I didn’t do, I can tell you that there were things that I did do as well. I fought back, I tried to leave, I ran, I told the police, and I’ve seen those fist coming on more than one occasion.
I don’t think anyone ever grows up imagining that they will be consistently abused by someone they love. Some of us come from homes where abuse was common, others come from homes where love was abundant. Also, strangely enough, an abundance of love does not mean there is an absence of abuse. In fact, I’d argue, in my own situation at least, that abuse was tolerated because of love. I loved my kids, my spouse, my home, and my community. To leave them, to leave the life of which I was accustomed to felt selfish. I’m sure many people believe that I didn’t love myself. Can anyone love themselves completely? Do you love yourself completely? There are things about myself that I loved. I was smart, a good parent, forgiving, and an abundance of other things. My identity isn’t solely wrapped in my status as a battered spouse, I was more than that. Although now, I’m not so sure. You’re judging me aren’t you?
Its’ funny to me how some of our biggest fears aren’t realized until we are unable to experience them. I always contemplated, what will people say about me when I’m gone? Never, did I imagine that my entire identity would be contributed to a man who I loved and who hurt me. Even in my death, what he has done has overshadowed who I am. That is perhaps the most agonizing component of it all. In death I am free from the abuse I experienced, but the world still sees me as chained. Even after life, I am known as a victim. Why not a martyr?
One in every four women
It's difficult for me not to blame myself for my own fate. Blaming society, my upbringing, and other social factors feels irresponsible. However, I suppose that, with the exception of suicide, no murder is the result of any one singular factor rather there is an accumulation of factors and occurrences that have lead up to that moment. I imagine that my death was no different. Ironically, I view my death as a testimony of courage. One day, I decided that I wanted more for myself, that I wanted to change my life and experience a love unaccompanied by physical pain. Despite the obstacles mounted against me, I managed to gather my belongings, calm my heartbeat, and take my last first step out of a home that no longer served me. My black and blue eyes showed the world all the things that I did not do. My death has illustrated the one thing that I did: I left.