We have not met but I know you. Five and a half years ago, I WAS you. After ten years of harsh words, accusations, and strong arms I walked out the door never to return. I would love to say that was the scariest day of my life but the ten years prior to that had contained so much worse. I went to the exact place where you are staying now and stayed the entire month. There are so many things that I learned during that time. Ten years is a long time to let someone else control your every move. It's a long time to give up every feeling or opinion you could possibly have in order to please someone else. I did it and so have you. It may not have been ten years in your case but the time is not relevant to the things I want to share with you in this letter.
I can remember when I first left. It was such a major change that I felt lost. I went from having every single move I made being determined by someone else to making a decision to walk to the "green store" by myself. There were times that I thought it would be easier to just go back home. I knew how to handle being beaten better than I knew how to make choices on my own. I walked into that shelter at 27 years old but I may as well have been 12. Years of doing as I was told had left me with the feeling that I couldn't possibly know how to make the right decisions on my own. It was all of the people who doubted me and were so sure that I would go back to him that kept me from doing so. For so long I had gone back on my word to people and let them down for reasons that were out of my control. I could finally prove that I was not that person. I could finally prove to everyone that I was stronger than they could possibly ever imagine. I urge you to stand strong and not waver on your decision to leave. Take your life back and make it your own.
I remember those group sessions that you have to go to in the office downstairs. At first I hated them because I was so fragile. I hated that every single meeting would result in me breaking down in tears. Then I started realizing that this was the first that I had cried in a long time. I learned to see the healing in my tears and I began to look forward to the meetings. I don't think I realized how bad my situation was until I would share in the meetings and see the other girl's faces as I told my stories. During the course of ten years, I had gotten used to living with the things that took place in my house. To watch the hurt in the eyes of people who had also left abusive homes made me realize that the things I endured were horrific. I learned to use those group sessions to talk about everything. I talked and shared and felt every single word that was shared in that meeting room. They started me on my way to where I am today. Allow them to do the same for you.
During the last five years, I have gone through many changes. I would be lying if I said that I have not struggled. Learning to use the struggles to better myself was when the positive changes began to take place. I made many decisions for this new life that I intended to lead. I made a conscious decision that I was not going to allow anyone to ever have control over my life or my decisions ever again. I made a decision to love myself. I made a decision to show my daughter how to never fall prey to the things that I had. I made a decision to make sure that she thinks so much of herself that no one could ever possibly find a way to make her question herself. I made a choice to share as much of my experiences as possible in order to help others see that they do not have to endure the same. I made a decision to forgive which took any lingering power away from anyone who had ever hurt me. I made a decision to see the positive in every single moment of every day. Please consider what you want your life to be like from here on out. Make decisions that will make that life a reality.
Most importantly, I am sending you this letter to tell you that I am proud of you. I do not need to meet you to know that you have taken a step that so many others are afraid to take. You found the strength inside of you to walk away from the possibility of winding up being a statistic. I wish this same strength for every woman who is victimized, yet many never find it in themselves to make a change. Many more make the choice to walk away and wind up returning. I hope that you do not choose to take steps backwards. Put one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward. I promise you that there are people out there who will become a part of your life and will treat you in the way that you deserve to be treated. There are people who will love you in the way that you deserve to be loved. Redefine love for your own life. Let it be all that it should be. There is no love in abuse. Do not settle for anything less than what you deserve.
I have started a blog. My writings all pertain to using the bad things that have happened to better yourself. They are about seeing the positive in every single moment. I would love if you took a few moments to read some of what I have written. I am currently working on a 30 day challenge and sharing it with my readers. Many of us are writing 30 letters in 30 days to people with which we have important things to discuss. A stranger (day 3) could have been anyone but I chose you. I want you to know that you are strong and special and you deserve nothing but the best. I also want you to know that if you choose to, you can contact me if you ever feel that you need to speak to someone who knows exactly what you are going through. This is a major way in which I have been able to make my ten years less hurtful.
Good luck on your journey. You have taken the first step to becoming a better you.