In less than two week I’ll be uprooting my life from Ohio and replanting myself in my new home in Michigan.
I’ll be saying goodbye to all my friends and family but I will see them again soon. Thankfully it’s only a few hours drive and they are all welcome.
Ohio has given me many memories. Some good and some bad but I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it weren’t for all the things I’ve been through and accomplished here.
I’ve graduated with two degrees from two different colleges and now I’m pursuing my dream of writing. I feel like I’m finally in control of my life and it feels good to be stable. I don’t doubt myself anymore. I believe that things will work out. I trust myself and I know that at the end of the day I am safe.
I found my second family just when I needed them during a time in my childhood that was dark and ugly.
Across the street from my house was a horse barn with about 30 horses in total. I would race over after enduring eight hours of high school hell and enter the magical world of the horse. I loved the bond and connection I got with every single horse. They all have their own dementors and personalities. I also met some incredible people who have become my family.
High school was horrible for me not just because of bullying but because my home life was also chaotic.
It started out when I met this guy at this party I went to with a friend. And by party I mean the kind if party where you sneak out at night when your parents are asleep. I was a 16 year old virgin who didn’t know anything about parties or sex or drugs. So here I was in the middle of this crazy party I shouldn’t have never agreed to go to.
There was this guy there that I thought was cute and he actually liked me back too. I thought to myself, “Wow, a cute boy wants to hang out with me at this part. It’s not so bad after all”.
Right? Well I was wrong.
This guy was older than me and only had one thing on his mind which I was oblivious to. I was also on my period and far from ready to consent to my first sexual encounter. I’ll admit we kissed a lot and I somehow found myself on my back with him inside me feeling very uncomfortable and scared. All I kept thinking was, ‘Is this going to be over soon and why does he hurt so much?’ I was afraid from the very beginning and should have went back to find my friend and go back home but something inside me wanted to do this maybe to prove that I was grown up and my parents didn’t have to treat me like a child anymore.
He seemed disgusted and annoyed that I was on my period and finally got off me. I quickly put my clothes back on to find my friend. I tried to play it off like I was okay and act playful but as soon as he started getting dressed I ran to go find my friend.
When I came downstairs there was an older man, probably in his fifties, stumbling around and I immediately felt uncomfortable when he saw me. He looked me up and down like I was a piece of meat. I also remember a fat little wiener dog being there too. The room was filled with smoke and beer cans and bottles of dark liquid were being passed around. I passed on the booze when the bottle reached me. Instead I watched as everyone stewed in their drunkenness.
I heard the front door of the party house open and in walks the guy my friend left me for. His back was covered in scratches and now they’re probably scars. Blood was prickling at the nail marks across his pale backside. I remember thinking how strange it was that he was pridefully showing off like his wounds. I quickly decided this place was officially giving me the creeps and I needed to find my friend and get out.
She was walking in as I was walking out and I told her I wanted to go home so we left and walked the half mile or so up the street to sneak back into her bedroom.
On the way back I told my friend that what happened wasn’t something I wanted and I felt pressured. She didn’t have much to say since she was out having her own fun, except mine wasn’t fun at all. We stopped talking slowly like a fire burning out. I lost my best friend and the beginning of the worst two years of my life began.
I felt strange like I was holding a secret. Everyone at school knew another secret since everyone who was at the party was in my class. Fortunately, the guy I had the encounter with went to a local secondary school miles away.
The torment started with my ex best friend’s sister and her friends. She was the class below me and was daddy’s little angel. I was almost almost pushed down the stairs multiple times and practically everyone shunned me and knew a story that wasn’t true.
What happened to me is still up for debate by many but my truth is that I felt extremely pressured and violated in that moment. I didn’t want to have sex with that guy. At school I was the whore and martyr and at home I was a lying little cunt.
Months went by of this torture and I held it in and hid it from my parents because I felt ashamed for what happened to me. I knew they wouldn’t understand and holding into that secret was killing me. I was acting out at home and my grades were slipping. They knew something was up.
The day I told them what happened was the day I signed my death certificate. My mother told me I was lying and that what happened was consensual. I didn’t even know wish that word meant at that age. I remember feeling so betrayed by my family. When my dad found out through my mom, he refused to talk to me for a whole week. He was silent and wouldn’t even look in my direction. His punishment was by far the worst. I wanted to reach out to him but felt so scared at what he would think of me. They believed a story that wasn’t true and the same torment at school spread to my home. I was surrounded by people who hated me and treated me like I was trash. I didn’t feel safe in my own house where I lived with my parents. Things were really bad then.
When I would get home from school I would change into my barn clothes which consisted of old jeans and my rattiest t-shirt and boots on my feet. I would race down the long driveway and cross the two lane road that separated my favorite place from my prison.
At the barn no one judged you. You came as you are and are accepted no matter what. The friends I made at the barn took me under their wing and supported me through the abuse of my parents and the bullying I went through at school.
I remember the day things got better for me at school and at home. It was a turning point and I owe all the thanks for my school counselor. I was having an especially horrible day and my teacher told me to go take a visit to Mr Cumberlander’s office. I don’t remember the conversation but I do remember him calling my parents and feeling so anxious that I was in trouble.
My counselor sat my parents down and talked to them and explained how much pain I was in. I felt so alone and unhappy. I thought my parents hated me. I remember my father crying and my mother sitting there looking pissed. She still didn’t believe, after all that time, that I was telling the truth. Our relationship has suffered then and now it’s actually better than I could imagine, but it took years to get to that point.
I finally graduated high school, enrolled at Columbus State and got a full time job. Things were starting to look up for me.
There was a point on my life where I had no voice and my freedom was taken away. My boyfriend at the time was a horrible angry drunk who took pleasure in seeing me cry. He reminded me a lot of my grandfather, my mother’s father. He too, was a violent alcoholic who liked to put his hands on innocent women like my grandmother.
I remember one night we were fighting about the girls he was talking to online and he acted careless and unphased that I had seen his conversation and called him out on his infidelity. In fact his excuse was that he wanted to ‘keep his options open, like our relationship didn’t matter. Like my feelings didn’t matter. And still I share with him.
We were together for four and a half years and most of that time he was cruel and abusive. He would call me a whore and a bitch almost everyday but then would flip his whole demeanor and become sweet and affectionate. The only example that I can give to best describe him is: sociopathic.
It really is true what they say about women who are abused and stay with their partners. It’s true because those kinds of people will do everything they can to strip your freedom away. They’ll wreck your car so you can go see your family and blackmail you if you don’t sleep with them. It’s the worst type of abuse. Overtime it breaks you until you no longer care and just accept that this is your life now. That’s what I did for those years. I accepted that I wasn’t going to find anyone else to love me. I believed what my ex told me about myself.
It was only when I adopted my two cats from an neighbors’ back yard that I started making plans to escape and finally be free of his abuse.
Once he started seeing the signs that I was leaving he would threaten to harm my cats Olivia and Jade frequently. If I didn’t sleep with him or do whatever he wanted he would threaten to throw them outside and never let them back in. I finally decided enough was enough and saved up enough money to buy a car in cash and, one day when he was at work, I grabbed as much stuff as I could (I left my mattress, dresser and my microwave because nothing else would fit and I was terrified to make two trips just in case he showed up and caught me).
I showed up with what I could fit in my rusty Nissan Sentra and my cats and showed up to my parents’ house. I was grateful to be welcomed with love and kindness even before I told them my story. They knew he wasn’t any good. He wouldn’t even accept their Christmas gifts that previous year. I confessed to my mother how bad it was and I’ll never forget her reaction. She wrapped her arms around me and wept.
The decision to leave Ohio has been on my heart for awhile but I haven’t had the opportunity until now. I’ve been with my boyfriend for eleven months and I couldn’t be happier. We have three fur babies and just bought a new bed and furniture for our new home. We’re building a life together.
When I first met my boyfriend I wasn’t expecting to meet someone so comfortable in their own skin. We were supposed to meet at a park to walk and get to know each other more but we ran into a speed bump when his motorcycle broke down on the way to our meetup.
So I became the knight in shining armor in my red Ford Fiesta coming to rescue him on the side of the road. I remember it being a scorching day in May and I wore shorts, a tank top and my long blonde hair pulled back. When I rolled up I saw his bike on the side of the road and his scraggly beard. It wasn’t until I got closer to him that I noticed his ‘go’ tattoo on his arm. He had conveniently placed by a freckle so it looked like a period.
After the tow truck came to deliver the bike we decided the best thing to do now was go with the flow like we had been doing. Our next stop was the dollar store to pick up a kiddie pool to cool our feet off in and a six pack of Miller Lite. We spent the next few hours talking about our dreams and our fears and what’s brought us to this exact moment. We connected on a deep, intellectual moment and it was refreshing to talk to someone who truly saw me and heard me. I didn’t realize how hard I was falling for him already.
When I think of all the men I’ve been with none of them compare or come anywhere close to how amazing he is. With him I know I’m safe. I know I can trust him and he’ll never betray me. He’s the kind of man who wants to grow a family and a life. He’s a hardworking man and he holds me to the same standards that he holds himself. He challenges me to be better than I am. He’s always pushing me out of my comfort zone and helping me try new things. He’s my biggest cheerleader and my best friend. He makes me smile and laugh everyday. He dries my eyes when I cry and always lends a listening ear. I’m very blessed.
Here we are now moving to Michigan and leaving all these bad memories and energies behind. I’m so excited for my new fresh start. I deserve it after everything I’ve been through.
If you’re looking for a sign outside of yourself, stop now. Ask yourself what you really want. What sets your soul on fire? What makes you want to get out of bed in the morning?
Sometimes you need change to grow and I believe in you.