I’ve been quiet in this space for a while, taking an unintentional hiatus through the last months of this school year. I think I’ve had such a hard time writing anything because in my heart I knew the words I needed to write, but I was too afraid to let them go out into the world. Today, it’s time.
I moved to this city in a mix of excitement and feelings of absolute terror. I was lost in the beginning stages of a completely unhealthy relationship. The “I’m so sorry” and “It’ll never happen again” sayings were plentiful and I believed it. I didn’t see the push to move here as the isolating move that it was- I couldn’t have. And I was silent about it, unable to tell anyone what was happening. In public we had the perfect relationship. In public, he treated me like the only woman in the world. I felt ashamed of myself and it got worse as time passed and his words and actions made me feel more small and insignificant.
After moving here it all became more frequent and more severe. He became a man I no longer knew, but would fight for all the same. His actions became unspeakable, and yet I stayed. I stayed and fought for too long. And he controlled and hurt again and again until I finally was able to stand up. To drive away and not go back. To tell small pieces of what happened to close friends. To live again.
Now, I refuse to live in the shadow of his abuse. I refuse to live in this city in fear or seeing him or being reminded that he had that kind of control. He doesn’t have it anymore.
I moved here because of one of the greatest opportunities I could ask for. A prestigious program that allows me to get this master’s degree while still teaching the children that I love. I am in a city full of beauty and culture and am surrounded by people who I love and who love me back.
I may have come to Chicago partially under the worst of circumstances, but now, a year later, I’m ok. This city is not his. I am not his.
This is mine.