Show me your Darkness Pt 1 – The Wound
And he kept spitting.
Spitting blood and saliva and hatred,
Mixed into one congealed mess.
I deserved it, he said.
Crouched at his feet
Scalp on fire, hair tangled around his fist.
He lets me go. Throws me down on the floor
The rage rises in me again
I argue inside:
‘I will not be treated like this’
‘No, leave it alone, leave it alone.’
‘I will not.’
I get up.
Hands claw-like, they tear blindly at his flesh
I bite. Taste his blood in my mouth.
I am pinned again,
Head to the floor,
Neck twisted to some unearthly angle
I am expecting a snap that never comes.
Instead I am thrown against a wall
My head strikes it and the rooms spins.
Dark and stars, and dark and bright lights whiz past.
I have fallen.
No match for him, of course, like he said.
Like he always says.
His ugly mouth, shaping ugly words,
They pour into my ears.
Profanity after insult after curse.
Maybe I deserve it.
Everyone has stories; the ones they’re afraid to tell. Or embarrassed to admit to. Or ashamed to say that it happened to them. One such story for me is this one about abuse. This is a story of 2 parts, The Wound and The Healing.
I was 22 and at Uni. I met a 31-yr old guy online. We’ll call him M. He was 15 mins late meeting me the first time when we went for coffee in town. When M arrived he was full of apology and manners and he swept me off my feet with intelligent conversation (I’m a Gemini), impromptu poetry and passionate demands to see me again the next day. Twenty-two-yr old me was hooked.
Weeks turned into months, and there were warning signs but of course I explained them away; he wasn’t possessive, he was just insecure because of his ex, he wouldn’t get a steady job but it was ok because he was just ‘fighting the system’, he didn’t like me wearing certain clothes, or talking to my male friends, or talking to certain female friends, or going certain places by myself. Why wouldn’t I let him see my phone whenever he asked? Didn’t I know that makes him feel insecure? He’s not checking up on me, he just wants to protect me. Didn’t I think that’s rather a lot of make-up for the day time, why don’t I just go and take it off, I don’t need to wear it as I’ll just attract attention from other guys which I don’t need because I’m with him.
Gradually it became more and more. M didn’t like me talking to my Mum so much, he didn’t like me to wear nail varnish or too much make-up as it looked slutty, don’t talk to him first thing in the morning as he doesn’t like mornings, have his coffee and toast ready exactly how he likes it and then he won’t be cross with me, don’t wake him up when I have to get up early, come straight home from work, call if I’m detouring to the shops or to my Mums, don’t answer back because it’s unladylike, don’t question his decisions, don’t scrape my spoon so loudly in my cereal bowl, don’t look other men in the eye because it’s flirting, don’t ask him where he’s been if he stays out all night, don’t show people that bruise, don’t tell people about our arguments because it’s our business, and so it went on. Impossible rules but woe-betide me if I fell foul.
This spiral got worse and worse. I got pregnant unexpectedly and had a miscarriage because we got into a physical altercation. He demanded sex 2 days after I lost that baby and I subsequently got an infection. He cheated on me repeatedly yet always accused me of cheating. We moved away from all my friends and family for a ‘fresh start’ (read isolation). At one point my only friend was my pet hamster (I’m literally not joking).
I left a couple of times but always came crawling back to him. I started self-harming. I didn’t eat or care for myself properly. I became pregnant again and decided to have a termination because I couldn’t look after myself let alone another life. He spat at me because I was just being selfish. He crashed my car. He nearly broke my neck one night during a fight after he’d been drinking yet again. I had to hide all the bruises with concealer.
Everyone said I was acting strange. I denied it. It just meant I had to work harder to be happy and normal. Unsurprisingly none of my friends stuck around. It was a struggle to function in my day job. Being spat at, called a ‘cunt’, having my hair pulled, being ridiculed, having to walk on eggshells every single day was my reality. Why didn’t I just leave?
I stayed. I wasn’t myself. I didn’t know who I was anymore. I couldn’t meditate or connect to Spirit. I couldn’t even read Tarot. I was a mess of guilt and shame and bruises. Two and a half years of utter misery. There is much, much more that I have not written here, and things I’m sure I’ve kept even from myself. Every now and then some memory pops up and I work hard to heal. I take my own advice.
I was saved by Divine Intervention. Someone heard me that Saturday night, sitting alone in the car on the way back from my Nan’s, breaking my heart, “Please can someone help me...” That Monday I had an email from an old friend from Uni. M must not have checked my emails yet as it was still there and I hadn’t been torn a new one. I replied and told my friend to email me at my work email. That week we devised a plan for me to go and visit him that weekend. I told M I was staying at my Nan’s.
My friend was so shocked at the version of me that greeted him that weekend. I still don’t know how he did it but he gave me the final push of strength I needed to finally end things with M.
Recovery was slow at first, building bridges with others, picking up the pieces of my life. My life. Being able to make decisions for myself again. Making friends on my own terms. Finding joy in things. Forgiving myself. Releasing the guilt and shame of it all. Trying to make peace with it all. It’s been on-going.
This all happened over 10 years ago. I don’t often talk about it because that’s not who I am. I am not defined by what happened to me even though I am forever changed by it. I am who I am despite what happened to me.
There will always be ghosts and echoes. Sometimes certain phrases or words or gestures will spark a rush of unpleasant memories, or I catch myself running a behaviour cycle that used to keep me safe but is now unnecessary. Time is healing everything. I am healing myself. I hold space for myself. I love myself.
Those of you who have worked with me in the past know that I am always saying to you to show me your blood and guts, to bring out your skeletons, to face your darkness. In doing so, it ceases to control you, and becomes a source of strength. Evidence that you survived even that.
I am sharing this with you because I want you to know that I understand what it's like to carry this kind of heaviness. I am showing something of my vulnerable underbelly to you here. Whenever someone shares something of their darkness with me I feel humbled and honoured. I feel blessed that they have trusted me enough to let me see this vulnerable part of themselves. This darkness is sacred.
No matter what your ‘story’ is, it is not YOU. You are not what happened to you. You move from victim to survivor. You can heal from anything. With love and patience, I believe you can and you will.
In my next post, I will share how I was able to heal mentally, physically and spiritually to process and accept my experiences, as well as how you can also totally do this for yourself whatever your darkness may be.
Love and blessings,