dakotawitch (dakotawitch) wrote,
dakotawitch
dakotawitch

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Week 5: Inconceivable

I never thought I'd be here

Huddled in the shower, listening to him rage outside the door. Whispering into my cell phone, desperately willing the person on the other end to believe me, to help me, or to jolt me awake from the nightmare that had suddenly become my life. This isn't supposed to happen to me. I'm not one of those women, my life is not one of those lives. No. I'm a feminist, I'm empowered, I'm educated. I'm not supposed to be hiding in my bathroom ready to vomit with fear. I'm not supposed to be the one trying to convince the woman on the other end of the phone that yes, the noise she hears is yelling and no, I didn't do anything to bring it on myself. I'm not supposed to be here.

I never thought I'd be here

Little back street office in an industrial side of town. You'll miss it if you don't know it's there, and that's by design. There's no sign, no banner out front. You have to know where your'e going. Waiting room full of comfortable though clearly second-hand furniture. Women, some of them with children, sitting on the couches and chairs. Some reading, some filling out forms, some staring at their hands. Black eyes. Resigned faces. The lucky ones. I sit and wait, flip idly though the book I've brought, as if I'm going to read.

I never thought I'd be here

"I did everything I was supposed to do to keep this from happening. I got an education. I know the warning signs. Hell, I educate women about the warning signs. I thought I was so careful."

"It's not about being careful, Susan. I know what you're going to say -- that you have a degree, you've taken Women's Studies, you're a feminist. That's the thing, it happens to us, too. What would you say to a woman who came into your office and said she wasn't careful enough?"

I know what I would say to that hypothetical woman.

But she's not me. I'm not supposed to be here.

I never thought I'd be here

Tiny, dark apartment. No A/C in the hot Texas summer, hardly any heat in the winter. Three-quarters sized stove that works most of the time. $400 a month and it's a stretch. Late night grocery shopping to get all the products that are marked down ahead of their expiration date. Cooking meals ahead from discount chicken and day-old produce and bakery goods. Making the dollars stretch until they scream. Still sometimes afraid I won't make it. But always making it, somehow. Sleeping with a Bowie knife on the nightstand. Just in case.

I never thought I'd be here

Tears pouring, watching her walk out the door. The one that I thought rescued me is walking out of my life, but not before making a total wreckage of it. Decimated, devastated, on the living room floor. I had to believe she was forever, otherwise I don't know if I'd have had the courage to walk away. She leaves without a backward glance and I'm finally, truly, for the first time, utterly alone.

I never thought I'd be here

Careful baby steps, like learning to walk again. Bright, treehouse apartment slowly becomes mine, all mine, as I remove the last traces of her. No knife on the nightstand. No fear at the knock on the door. Me, my cats, my guinea pigs, our home. My home. The first I've ever had all by myself. Sometimes making the bills, sometimes not. Three jobs. Everything I have is mine and mine alone. No one can take it from me.

I never thought I'd be here

Slow healing, like recovering from a bad burn. Assembling the pieces of myself into a new mosaic. Finding an untapped well of resourcefulness and strength, and at the bottom of that, beneat the steely resolve to survive, something that approaches joy. Opening my eyes each day with wonder about what the day will bring rather than dread of what will happen to me.

I never thought I'd be here

Soft grey eyes and shy smile hide an incisive, wicked wit. Laughing harder than I've ever laughed with anyone in my life, being able to cry and talk without fear of censure. Tentative handholdings and hesitant kisses giving way to connection and passion and understanding. A deep peace that fills my being even as the thrill of falling in love -- maybe for the first time -- without giving up myself. Knowing.

I never thought I'd be here

Constable at the door, handing me papers. I stare blankly, realizing what they are. Finally. After nearly three years. Signing my name on the line, seeing the once-familiar scrawl on the other line. Knowing that I'm finally free of him legally, and knowing that on some level I am finally free of him, period. I do not cry. I literally dance across the apartment.

I never thought I'd be here

Every day is a new adventure. School, writing, crafting, friends, dancing, yoga, cooking. Me, my partner, our cats, our guinea pigs, in a safe haven that we've created. Not to keep the outside world out or to protect ourselves from some unseen danger, but instead a place in which to create our life. Fresh farmer's market food and home cooked dinners. Comfortable spaces for reading, for snuggling, for knitting, for just being together. A bright, sunny office where I do the work that stirs my soul -- and pays the bills, even if it doesn't exactly fire my passion. A sense of possibility and future and expansiveness.

I am amazed every day that I get to rise out of my bed and live this life. There are goals I am working towards, but there is not a single thing I would change. I have everything I want, everything that I need. I am doing work that matters. I am loved and I am giving love, not just to my partner, but to everyone around me. Even when things are hard, even when there is uncertainty, I am solid in this. My life amazes me. It doesnt' look anything like what I thought my life would look like at 37, anything like the plan I set out for myself when I was a naive 22. But it doesn't look anything like it looked on that bleak December day 4 years ago, and it doesn't look like it could have had events taken their natural course in my marriage.

My life looks like nothing I could ever have dared to dream.

I never thought I'd be here  
Tags: don't be alarmed this is an lj idol entr, lj idol
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  • LJ Idol: Patchwork Heart

    The blue piece with the grey pinstripes? I got that from a Nebraska boy with brown hair and soulful hazel eyes. We spent a humid Midwestern summer…

  • LJ Idol: Campfire Stories

    Anthropologists don't know exactly when we did it, but it seems that one of the earliest things that our human ancestors did was master fire.…

  • LJ Idol: Abandon Hope, All Ye Who Enter Here

    It's easy to say that I should have seen it coming. Looking back now, the signs were clear. But you know what they say about hindsight.…