This Is My Life
I appreciate the glorious normalcy of my life these days. Sometimes my friends think my optimism, energy and drive verge on the ridiculous. I can’t really help it. I still feel lucky, more than six years after the last time I saw my ex-husband, that I can do regular things like have friends and hang out without getting trouble or being accused of . . . anything.
I don’t want to paint an unrealistic picture here. I spent the first few of these last six years not believing this shift would happen, but now the scales are tipping. I am coming up on having been out of my abusive relationship for as long as I was in it.
Back then, I felt like my life just wasn’t real— like I wasn’t real. (This had started even before I met my ex-husband. My therapist tells me this sort of denial is a common way for people to cope with trauma.) The thought, “this is not my life,” played on loop in my mind for decades. I clung to that idea.
Now, I don’t take for granted the realness I feel in every bit of my life. The new thought, “this is my life,” has fully replaced my old desperation.
Gratitude Gets To Me
I don’t actively compare things now to my old day-to-day because they differ so much. Every once in awhile, though, realization of the contrast smacks me in the face. This weekend was one of those times.
I went camping for a couple nights with a group of friends. At a few different points, around the campfire and traipsing around the woods, it hit me hard enough to bring tears to my eyes. I act goofy. I have friends. I do things that are important to me and not some violent manipulator. These normal things feel extraordinary to me — I can’t help but feel happy and excited. I look around, and everything in my life has surpassed my wildest dreams.
I Live A Full Life
Recovering from domestic violence isn’t the only thing I’ve done over the past few years. I’ve forged many meaningful relationships. I’ve gotten through some heartbreak. I’ve learned a lot. I’ve gotten to know myself. I’ve run and closed a few businesses. I’ve had countless new and wonderful experiences. Did I mentions I’ve made friends? (Maybe this isn’t a huge deal for some of you reading, but for those like me, who have been severely isolated, this is mega.)
I went from being so debilitated by PTSD that I couldn’t leave my house, to this person who lives her life according to her own terms. I went from being so unsure of myself that I needed help with every decision to being a person friends come to for advice, understanding, inspiration, and motivation. They know that if they want an honest, caring, thoughtful response, I’m a good person to see.
Years might seem like a long time to wait to be happy, but for me it almost felt short because I never expected it to actually happen. I can tell you, five or six years is a whole lot sooner than never. My life is full and rich and shows no signs of stopping. If I can come this far in the last six years, I am excited to see where I go in the rest of this decade.
When was the last time your new life felt overwhelmingly awesome? Have you gotten there, or are you still working on it?
Enjoy the rest of your Memorial Day Weekend.
Rebecca encourages survivors of domestic to speak about their experiences and to lean on each other for support.