April 21-24

Dear Diary,

Easter was good. The kids were home. We did a whole thing with the neighbors and the other kids. We hid about 400 eggs. They found them all surprisingly quickly. We had lots of food, and the kids got in the pool for a little while. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. Even the moody tween/teen older kids. (Funny how putting money in eggs motivates them to participate, isn’t it?)

Monday was mostly uneventful. With school out for Spring Break, we took advantage of the opportunity to sleep late and binge watch some shows. I think we were all just mostly recovering from all the cooking and socializing the day before. Truly, only one of us is an extrovert. The rest of us require substantial downtime after such an event, and the extrovert enjoys lazy days sometimes too. (Who doesn’t?) We did run to a couple of stores to check for post-Easter candy sales and things, but those stops proved fruitless. (We don’t buy much candy for Easter baskets. This year, we didn’t even do baskets. Everyone got clothes. I scored at a $1 sale at some local thrift shops so it was quite a haul.)

Yesterday, we lounged about a bit and did a few things around the house. We dyed some hair and watched some shows. My mom took me shopping with her. We did manage to catch a decent post-Easter sale where we found two pre-filled baskets that were perfect for the kids. (Themes they love with mostly on-candy items.) They were very happy with them. This was good for them, and a little mom victory for me. This was not, however, the most important thing that happened in my day.

Yesterday, I met a friend for coffee. I haven’t seen her in almost two years. She was collateral damage in this Lifetime movie I’ve been calling life. I’d been slowly reaching out to her as this has been unraveling. Just trying to reconnect. She messaged me some weeks ago asking me what happened and all I could really say was that the short answer was him. The last time I saw her was at my dad’s funeral (which she came to even though we weren’t really talking and she couldn’t really stay because of work. How I wish I’d seen the other people in my life who genuinely love me more clearly!) Then, we just never really talked again. He spent the next few months after that trying to convince me that she’d been trying to sleep with him. (I knew this was a lie.) I learned from her yesterday that he was simultaneously trying to convince her that I had been sleeping with her (at the time) boyfriend. (I’ve been alone with that guy once, and it wasn’t for sex.) She also knew this wasn’t true. I’m pretty sure I just convinced myself that it would be better for her to not have to deal with the drama and let our relationship fade out. In retrospect, I remember him pushing me to end the friendship not just let it fade. This is when he got adamant about her trying to sleep with him. The fact that he basically demanded that I not ask her about it made it clear that he was lying. I was so caught up in trying to make him feel more secure and see how much I loved him, that I chose him. I let him win that one. I didn’t push to end the friendship, but I definitely let it fade.

This coffee date gave me the push I needed to finally pull the trigger and block him from contacting me. I have been in off and on communication with him since this all happened. You know this. Well, sort of. I haven’t really been broadcasting it which tells me that I know I shouldn’t be doing it. After talking to her though, I started to remember who I was before him. Before all of this. I’ll never be that person again, and there are plenty of reasons that I don’t want to be that person again. She did have some strong and beautiful qualities that I would like to nurture though.

I wish I could say that throwing me down stairs or preventing me from calling the police or any number of the other things he did were enough to make me break free. They weren’t. Living in fear wasn’t enough. Physical violence wasn’t even really enough. I have a container of his alcohol of choice just sitting on my counter as a reminder to myself of what happened, and what will happen again. He is unapologetic. He turns every conversation to the list of ways I wronged him and how my actions drove him to his. Yes, that’s right. It’s my fault that he drinks, uses drugs, and treats me like garbage. Pretty textbook, right?

I know that I’m a smart and capable woman. I know that I gave my love freely to this man who twisted and abused it into something else. I know it says some things about where I was/am in life about myself. I know that these things happen slowly over time. I know that the fear can outweigh any other feeling. I have a couple of friends who told me they wished I would’ve felt safe saying something sooner, but never in a way that make me feel like I did something wrong. They just wish they’d known so they could try to help me get out before it got to where it did. People who know him say they can’t believe he’s like that. I understand. It wasn’t until days after that I really believed what happened. I looked at the bruises. I touched them. I felt the pain in my body. Still I couldn’t believe it. I’m happy that I’m free of it. The more I step back, the more I see. I can’t even really say that I wish these wishes I’ve expressed here are true. I’m not sure anything less than exactly what has happened would have given me what I needed to break free completely. I’ll have to tell you more later, Diary. It’s time for work.

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