Updated: Jan 4
WARNING! IF YOU ARE READING THIS TO SEEK IMMEDIATE HELP AND THIS IS AN EMERGENCY, CALL 911 NOW!
Safety Alert: Computer use can be monitored and is impossible to completely clear. If you are afraid your internet usage might be monitored, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233 or TTY 1−800−787−3224. My Blog is to share my story and give your inspiration to leave, but if you are experiencing an emergency, you need to call 911.
If you saw my TexCalGrl Instagram post earlier this year, you'll know that this is one of the most challenging posts I've ever made also why it is coming five months late. There are so many reasons why. The obvious is that it's such a vulnerable piece of my personal life for me to put out there in a very public way. And another is that the worry I have for the family, including my husband. I worry about what they will think of me for sharing this personal era of my life because I worry about how it will affect them.
But, again, this is not really for them. It is partly for me but mostly for anyone out there who will benefit from my story, which will be able to hear this and use it to safely leave their abuser and find the help they need to survive and live again. As much as I worry for my family and feel raw with vulnerability, I know that this will be doing more good for others than harm for me and mine. And honestly, that is the whole reason behind my website, and for this blog, Wilkie's Works/Wilkie's Words.
So while this story may be mine, it is the story of so many friends and classmates that I've grown up with for many years, and the same story for men and women that I've met throughout my adult life after my small-town life. It is the same story for many of you who I don't even know. But I will share my own, be an inspiration to those who need it to be now, and help others of you not feel alone. Maybe give some of you that little bit of oomph to help you take a stance, and perhaps help provide some of you some insight into what you are living right now, that what you are living is not happy or healthy and that you need to watch for signs and get ready.
I graduated from high school on a Friday and started junior college on that following Monday. An entire 72 hours off for summer, yeehaw! I thought I'd get a head start. Yeah, right, LOL! Junior college, that's where it all began, the beginning to an almost end.
I lived 45 minutes away from school, and I liked sitting in my classes' front row. But if I came in late to my first class because I was a 17 year old trying to get used to the commute, I'd sit in the back row so I wouldn't interrupt the professor. That's where this guy was, who sat in the back who loved when I came in late so he could flirt with me (and I loved him flirting with me too). So I allowed myself to get caught up in his flirtatious behavior and sweet lines, of "you should come to sit with me every day." Crazy that this guy was actually from my high school but four years older than me, and we didn't even recognize each other.
There were signs that he didn't want me to do well or be better than him from the very beginning. As we progressed, I would help him with his papers all night long, working on his mostly until 3 am, then have a little time for mine, and I’d still get a better grade, and that pissed him off more than anything.
As we progressed even more and I lived with him (long story that wasn't my own choice, a story we shall save for another time) is when the awful fighting started.
While working, going to school, and training for a cross country full time while dealing with significant heart conditions, I was hiding a very ugly home-life. Well, at least to those who didn't know me.
There are so many stories and details and pain that go in between the previous paragraph and the next, but I don't think I am ready for my family to read them yet.
I am fortunate, though, I will say that. I left with only three physical scars that you can see today if you are looking. I was dating a guy who asked about my right ear; he thought it was a congenital disability, LOL! The cartilage is broken down in the middle from top to bottom. I have a tiny scar the size of a pencil eraser on the top of my right hand where he stabbed me with his car key and another one about the size of a raisin on my right thigh where he also stabbed me with his car key. Then, of course, the emotional scars lingered for years, and I am thankful that they have been gone for even more, so I can now speak openly about what I experienced to help others.
In July, we celebrated the day that all victims gained independence from their abusers. I will never forget that day I "left" and was confident enough to do so with the help of one of my BFF's. He was living with me, so I had to go through the motions of making him leave, but first, I had to tell my mom everything finally. Do you think things are official when they're Facebook official? No way dude. They're official when you TELL MY MOM official!
While one of my BFF's Yvette, and I were at work, we called my mom together, which was MY first actual day to independence. I was six months into my 21st year of age. But honestly, it took a village of my friends to get me through those awful years. Lots of rides down dirt roads listening to Delilah and a lot of nights out dancing, and whether it seemed like it helped or not, it did. They may not have always been the healthiest of therapy sessions, they got me through, and I am forever thankful for my friends. I sought refuge in them more than my own family because I felt like they were less to judge, less to feel brokenhearted over what I had experienced. Mostly since my mom was so strict, I knew my friends were the right tribe for me. When you need to break away, you will know who the right people are you can turn to if you have people to turn to. It may be co-workers, friends, family, extended family, social workers, a local shelter, or even a stranger to talk to.
Jumping back to how I got myself in a mess, as my mother would say, I was just so torn between my initial stupid 17-year-old ego wanting him because a few semi-popular girls were now jealous of me, my young inexperienced heart yearning to be loved. My parents were so strict I didn't have a social life in high school other than the band or school stuff. Hence, I felt like this was the first opportunity at semi-adulthood. The first time I was getting proper attention, I needed to accept it, or it might not be there tomorrow, especially if it came from someone other people thought was "cool." I think many young, naive, small-town kids feel this way and probably get sucked into similar situations. JUST DON'T DO IT! If it doesn't feel right to you, don't listen to what other people say. Regardless of how cool you need to feel right now, that feeling will come back, and with better people.
Of course, later on, after we were together, I was already sucked in and just felt the need to fix him because I just knew "he was a good person and he didn't mean to hurt me, and I knew I could fix him if I just stayed a little longer." Then I just kept believing ALL of his lies. Like "I was the only one," "he was easier on me than his previous girlfriend," whatever that meant at the time, or even from his mother telling me that "he is so much better now that he is with you"... Really? Oh yeah. Here's the kicker. After I left and filed for a restraining order, I found out at the courthouse that he'd been in jail for domestic violence with his previous girlfriend before we ever met. Well, I guess that's what THAT meant. Sadly, we never saw the inside of a court for his abuse. Texas sees so many domestic violence cases like many other states that most of them get thrown out. I can't even remember how many times the police were called out to our apartment in San Antonio by other neighbors, not even from myself. When the police would come, I usually didn't have anywhere to go, so I would pack up my car with my cat Tabitha Ann and say I was going to a friend's. Then I would drive all over San Antonio all night until I could go back home without fear I'd be seen sneaking into my apartment. Besides, he'd usually be asleep or passed out by then, without a care in the world.
Remember my Achy Breaky Heart Blog? I almost didn't even make it to the doctor's office in time; I could have died because he cut the phone cord so that I couldn't call the police on him during our fight. I just wanted to call into work! Instead, I had to drive to "call-in," and my heart rate had been elevated for so long I was lucky to have stayed conscious long enough to drive myself in.
In this photo, I was 20 years old. Later that night, we got into an awful fight after his cousin's wedding. During this era, I was just on the other side of the hump of the worst four years of my life that I'm thankful I can look back on and say was just a piece of my life that's now over, and I survived.
Maybe we do not speak of our story and do not want to, but it will always remain a part of our life that we are fortunate to have survived or are still struggling to survive.
If you're a survivor, here's to you, and I am so thankful you are safe! But if you are still battling to stay alive every day, I want you to know that you can leave!
If you are still struggling to stay safe, please find a safe place. Find comfort with a close friend or a shelter. He or She is NOT worth losing your life for!
If you have pets and don't want to leave them, there are more foster programs and sheltering services for people with pets now; check the Safe Havens Mapping Project. Please get the help you need. Your friends, family, colleagues, and I want to help you stay alive!
Here is the Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-7233, 1-800-787-3224 (TTY)
I want you to safely find your way to the rest of your life, free of your abuser.