Typically, this is the time of year when my energy level hits an all-time low. It seems this year is no exception. I couldn’t force a new post out this week. It wasn’t that I was void of material; but rather, I had no desire to write my thoughts down. Last night, something shifted– suddenly, I feel so inclined to share.
Firstly, I’d like to wish a very happy birthday to my dad who has been and will always be my best friend. Although my emotional honesty, dating, and growing affinity for astrology intimidate him– he continues to commit to my passions and support me with everything he has. I’m not sure how I was blessed with the quality of parents I have. I am endlessly grateful for them.
Speaking of dating and astrology, get pumped for an update on my thoughts on each next week. I’ve met another new dude and I’m finding myself in a predicament that I am WAY unfamiliar with. I planned to share that with you today, but then “Grey’s Anatomy” happened and my words were pulled in a different direction.
Television is, perhaps, my most significant guilty pleasure. There are very few shows that I’ve not seen or am not caught up on. Though I’m anticipating eye-rolls for this, “Grey’s Anatomy” happens to be one of these programs. Before I continue, please know that I detest spoilers and am going to try my best not to give them while honoring my reaction. I got this– trust me.
Now, it’s also pertinent that I let you into this week’s therapy session. Though this may surprise you, my therapist and I don’t talk about my ex often. We absolutely used to, but as I’ve healed, I haven’t needed as much help processing it. But, somehow, we found ourselves on the subject this week. Rather than talk myself out of whatever self-hating-irrational-infection he poisoned me with, I got caught up in my fury. My therapist tried to encourage me by reminding me of all that I’ve accomplished, and that he can never take that from me. For some reason, when she said that, I heard his voice clearly in my head. He was taking credit for my growth and, you guys– he absolutely, undoubtedly, 100% would. I could hear him telling me that I wouldn’t have this blog without him. I heard him tell me that he brought me to Chicago, that he’s responsible for my job, that without him I never would have become this person.
From here, I found myself having too many flashbacks and becoming too overwhelmed. I said that I wasn’t sure how I would react if I ever saw him again. My therapist pushed me to think through it. Long story short, I wouldn’t let myself. We decided that we need to make a plan, but were out of time for the session. After I left, I went on a date and tried to move on with my week. I was succeeding in this, planning my post on dating and astrology, then remembered that the mid-season premiere of “Grey’s” was on Thursday night. In my excitement for new TV, I forgot where the finale had left us.
See– there’s this character who is in hiding from her abusive husband, and when the last episode ended, we found her face to face with him for the first time in years. The episode last night picked up at the moment of the meeting, and I quickly realized that I was going to have to watch the reunion that I couldn’t imagine for myself.
It was horrible. And, I don’t mean the storyline or quality. I mean, they must have done their research on charming sociopathic assholes because this character epitomized my ex. I was living the scenario I fear most. It was incredibly difficult to watch. I thought about everyone else watching the episode, about how many people relished its entertainment, but didn’t have to empathize with the characters. I thought about every viewer who had been abused and wondered if their abusers were this character too. I thought about writing the script and how I would have written my own story in the same way. I buckled up and I watched the whole thing, alone, trying to process everything that it forced me to feel.
Though I imagine I’ll be working through these feelings for the time being, my favorite part of the episode was the message at end. The actress playing the abusee shared the hotline for victims of domestic violence that I have and will continue to share. She ended her monologue by reminding viewers that domestic violence or abuse isn’t limited to physical torment, but that any person forcing another to live in fear is abusive. Every time I share my story or say that I’m a victim of abuse, I hear my ex remind me that he didn’t put his hands on me that often, or that it wasn’t rape, or that I’m being dramatic. I can feel him reading this and it’s terrifying. I’ve not seen him in a year and a half and I continue to live in fear.
While I wasn’t thrilled to watch my life on television last night, hearing my fear and experiences validated in that final message made it all worth it. Sometimes we all need to be reminded of reality, that our experiences were real, and that we are not alone. I hope that I’m able to do that for someone else who needs it. You are brave, you are smart, and you are strong.
You’ll find the National Domestic Violence Hotline here. If you’d prefer to reach them by phone, the number is 1-800-799-7233.
I hope that your weekends are more chipper than this post. Thank you for reading!