I am not a person who has a lot of friends. This is I assure you, by design. Having been through all I’ve done and seen I have made as I’ve stated before a concentrated effort to keep my circle small.
Today I spoke with a man I’ve known for over ten years. He asked why a mutual friend and I weren’t speaking, so I explained it to him.
She’s annoyed with me because I was not happy she’s hanging out with my ex’s sister. This particular ex had thrown my head into a wall and had a particular disturbing talent for causing pain and suffering without ever leaving a mark. Often times after spending time with this man I would find it very difficult to use my hands, walk or sometimes even talk.
The level of violence was completely minimal. It was not loud or dramatic, it was slow and deliberate. It was painful as all hell. I am without a doubt more afraid of a man who can take his time hurting a woman – who can thoroughly enjoy it, than I am of a man who loses himself in a rage.
When I made the decision to call the police I broke an unspoken oath in this town. No matter what at all costs, never call the police.
Many of my former girlfriends called me a rat.
I was chased around not one but two night clubs by the women he surrounds himself with all of them trying to convince me to let him take me to a dark corner to talk alone. Four bouncers and threats of more cops later and he and the five or six women he was with that evening finally left me alone.
Was I brave? I don’t think so. I did what I had to do to keep myself safe. That included ending a nearly thirteen year friendship with a woman I absolutely love.
Turns out this friend has been spending time with the man’s sister. This made me feel incredibly uncomfortable. Over the years she and I have had very different groups of friends. Her friends do not now nor have they ever really liked me. I put up with that because I didn’t have to deal with them.
However recently I have become a lot more paranoid, and a lot more terrified that one day this particular former almost lover will return. Given any oppertunity to feel comfortable and welcome around my friends he might decide to come after me – even the idea he might show up one evening while I’m out is something I just cannot handle.
A decision had to be made. I walked away. I feel no anger for this friend I feel no hatred for this friend – in fact I wish her nothing but the best in life. She hasn’t had it easy, and she hasn’t always been the easiest person to love.
Thirteen years is a long time – there are a lot of memories there. In truth however they aren’t all good ones…for either of us. When she and I met we both had our own chaos and we both had our own issues.
Both she and I have had to deal with numerous abusive relationships. One thing has always remained true. No matter what she has been a good friend. That was never my issue.
Sometimes we have to do things that are scary or sad in order to better our own lives. My friend and “Sudo Mom” Jen calls this “Self Care” I call it self preservation. I will protect myself from this man who spends his time around notorious killers and ex convicts. This man who has a daughter of his own and yet sees no issue with causing harm to women. Even at the expense of a thirteen year friendship.
Is this Bravery? I don’t know. I do know that this is the final tie to my past. A past riddled with sadness and anger shame and fear. Saying goodbye to this wonderful kind loving woman is not easy. It’s hard as hell.
Especially knowing that she is as sick as she is and I
cannot will not be there to hold her hand through the hard times. Especially knowing that life for her is only going to get worse.
Sometimes we need to be selfish in order to be safe, to feel safe and protected. That’s okay. I have accepted that I have done something selfish out of fear. That I walked away from someone who loves me because I am afraid, genuinely terrified of her friends. I cannot and will not apologize for it.
I feel no shame in knowing that my actions are about protecting myself because it took me thirteen years to realize that it is okay to protect myself.
Another friend of mine is going back to work on Monday after having some severe health issues of her own.
She is scared, and terrified. Probably of how she might handle the questions the looks and concern. Probably of whether or not she’ll be able to function the same way again. I can promise you, you are one of the strongest women I know.
You have my darling fellow LYL’er changed my life. Every week I am forced to think harder about the decisions I have made in my life – I have been forced and inspired to think of each week as a new cycle in which I can learn something new about myself and the world around me. This is entirely because of Shareen Mansfield and Shawna Ayoub. These two women have had a profound impact on my life without even trying to.
From the first moment I joined our Facebook group my life changed. I began to read stories by other women, and men doing what I am doing. Learning and acting on the need to emotionally and physically protect themselves from a harsh and cruel world. I have learned about self love and more importantly the power of self truth.
I take these lessons with me – even though I do not always comment on your blog posts I do see them, I take them in, and I am proud to be a part of a group of writers that isn’t all about self promotion.
It’s about self identity and creating a network of people just trying to figure this shit out – all this stuff that we deal with on a regular basis.
You don’t need bravery you need to close your eyes and take a deep breath and remember one important fundamental life lesson, something you taught me pretty lady. You’re already as brave as you need to be. When you get scared, take a few minutes, close your eyes, take a deep breath lift your head high and remember we suffer only when we refuse to accept that whatever situation we’re dealing with – at any given moment – is exactly where we are supposed to be.
I may not like knowing I spent last summer chasing after a really great man with the ability and desire to cause me harm just so he could feel like a man – but in doing so I learned that I will never again settle for just anyone so I can be with someone. I am willing to wait it out – to find someone who will accept me as I am and treat me as I deserve.
You went through some hard times recently, really hard times – and yet here you stand. Beating the odds. You’re stronger today than you were two months ago. You literally survived a deadly health scare.
Bravery isn’t about not being afraid. It’s about admitting that you’re scared – isn’t that half the battle?
All my love