We met July 2015. I had recently graduated from college and moved to Atlanta to chase my dreams. I started a new job and that where I met him. We worked together. I was new to my position so he was friendly, helpful, funny...and I was bored with my routine. I had my own place, a new job.but it was missing one thing, LOVE. I wanted to find someone to show me the city. He loved to hang out and party. He was what I thought to be the perfect catch.
We flirted a lot. We would text and call one another all day. Working in the same building, he would send me edible arrangements and lie to everyone in the office and say he didn't send them so there was a big mystery of who sent me things to work. He won me over. He was charming. I started coming around him more, staying at his house, inviting him over to mine, we got very comfortable with one another. He would take me on the most lavish dates. I immediately fell for him. Falling in love with him was natural. Coming from college "situationships" to actually being in a relationship with someone who spoiled me with everything and said all the right things was a huge transition! I was crazy about him. He was perfect.
. . . and then he just changed.
I was 23 when I met him. He was 29. The abuse began small like throwing water on me while I was asleep and going through my phone. We started dating in July and that abuse started towards the end of October so we were 3 months into just dating. We were still FRESH and I hadn't cut off loose ends yet. I was still communicating with a few of my exes from college and he hated it. It wasn't anything as if I was still with them just catch up conversations. He would address it by spraying or throwing cold water on me while I was in bed. We would argue, I would go home but we would always work it out. He would buy me flowers and a card. I had about 23 cards by the end of our relationship. Any time we would fight he would buy my favorite bottle of wine and invite me over, light a hookah and we would make up. We would tell each other how much we thought about each other and just like that it was back like nothing happened.
That November, I went to DC to meet his family. The ride there was perfect. We didn't argue. I wrote in my journal as the sun rose. It was beautiful and I was extremely excited to be doing that with him. When we arrived at his aunt's house, everything changed. His persona was completely different. He wasn't the charming gentleman I had fallen in love with. We were arguing about him touching my phone and the things he was saying to me were so hurtful I wanted to get out of the car. As he was drinking his corona at a light, I opened the car door and was almost out of the car before I felt hands grabbing the back of my jacket and pulling me back in the car. He pulled me so hard I hit my head on the back of the car. I turned to him in shock and opened my mouth to yell and he mushed me so hard in the face my head went back into the glass. That was the first time it ever got physical. It's still fresh in my memory like it happened yesterday.
I replay it from time to time just to remind myself that people are not always who they say they are. Everything changed from that moment on. I went to visit my friend who also lived in DC and he dropped me off but got too drunk to come pick me up. He got too drunk to even answer the phone. When I finally got to him via Uber, I told him we needed to leave to prepare for tomorrow's departure. He said, "Do you know what I could do to you and get away with it? I would just hire some lawyers to get me off..." I stayed. I stayed because he apologized and I loved him that much to stay. I didn't believe in the whole a drunk mind leads to sober thoughts theory....until now. What should have been my wake up call was his mother. His mother was taking us to breakfast before our departure and she turned to me while he was getting our luggage and stated "I'm so sorry. My son really does have a good heart. He just tends to make bad decisions." I never said anything to her about having a bad trip but somehow she already knew.
The abuse continued both years we were together. After our first fight the abuse continued verbally as well as physically. He never wanted me to be in contact with his family. His cousin added me on Facebook and the next day when I went to view her profile he had deleted her as a friend. The only person he allowed me to be in contact with was his mother. I never took those as signs that I needed to remove myself... I just thought it had something to do with who he was as a person.He would embarrass me in public around his bike club. He would lie when we were around them and say that he couldn't hold my hand walking into events because it was bike club rules but the other members would. I would catch him talking to other women which was a clear indication that something was going on. If I got upset about it he would yell and become aggressive in public.He would block me on his phone for 2 months at a time and return when he felt like it. Almost as if he knew I wasn't going anywhere.
I would meet other people during his hiatus and he would get angry if he returned and found others numbers in my phone.He put a gallon of water in my gas tank, broke my phone into 1000 little pieces, he would put sharp objects behind my tires, he put mice in my apartment, sometimes I would come home to him sitting on my couch unannounced, he broke my front door in, and attacked me several times in my living room. All of my friends hated him so if I would be at his house on face time with them he would purposely interrupt the conversation or hang up on them.He disrespected my parents by showing up to their home on several occasions to argue with me and throw things that belonged to me in their front yard. We had planned a trip to Jamaica for a wedding and the week before we were supposed he go, he taped me up and locked me in his basement and beat on me one morning when I attempted to tell him that my opinion and views mattered...that my voice mattered. I never called the police until that day and when they came they couldn't arrest him because I had no bruises. When they questioned him, he told them that he didn't do it and that we fight all the time and that I wanted attention.
PLEASE BE ADVISED THAT ALL OF THESE EVENTS HAPPENED WHILE HE WAS UNDER THE INFLUENCE.
He hid his drinking problem for so long I began to believe there was hope in changing his ways. I didn't know how deep it was. During the day he was charming, sweet, funny and playful but at night he was a showoff, an aggressive, over the top one. And let me add that the next day he would remember none of this. He never remembered the night or the abuse.
The biggest life altering thing done to me was he called 911 and told them I was suicidal. I spent 4 nights in a mental institution on the suicide, depression and drug addiction floor fighting nurses and doctors who had no option but to believe what they were told. He called me while I was there everyday trying to apologize and visit me. By the grace of God, I left that place with my sanity and untreated. I met some amazing women who taught me so much about their depressions, suicide and drug addictions. It was there that I found my calling and what I wanted to do in my life.
The day that I was released from the hospital, I lost my job. Later on... my apartment. All because of a relationship, I was too attached too and wasn't self-affirmed enough to know my worth. I feel as though my purpose in life is to remind other women that your voice matters. Your self worth and being self-affirmed is so important not to forget while in relationships because it reflects in the way others treat you. I do not feel I knew how powerful, beautiful, and amazing incredible I am during that period.
I never found my breaking point. I prayed and cried. And prayed and cried and never found my strength to walk away. But he did. The final month of our relationship, we had been broken up for 2 months, he called me out of the blue one day at work and told me he wanted me to testify for him during a DUI court case he had. It was the 2nd one he had gotten and was pending a 3rd one. Because I still loved him I allowed him to come back in my life and I supported him by being there up until the 60 day sentence he received. During those few weeks of supporting him, he told me he had been seeing a girl for 6 months and was going to take her to visit his family in DC before he decided to work things out with me. He told me he had broken it off with her but she continued to call his phone every day that I was with him. On the day he was to turn himself in, my friends wanted to take me out to a hookah lounge to catch up and I told him. He broke up with me and told me he didn't want to be with me any longer. I was so hurt and broken that I had decided that I had been through enough. I simply responded back and said "OK". The next day he blew my phone up calling me from jail and because I wasn't answering he had his mother text me. She stated that he was sorry and didn't mean what he said. I attempted to answer the phone one time that he called and for some reason I couldn't. I believe that was God. I believe God wanted it to finally be over. He never called again.
I have not heard from him since October but he has made his presence known. He was released two weeks later. I found out on social media when an old coworker of ours posted a photo of him stating he had come to her church. I called him and he didn't answer. The following week he added me on Snapchat for me to see that he was on a cruise and took the girl he had told me he left alone with him. He then sent me pictures of her in DC visiting his family, and then a photo of them at the beach together. I never felt so broken, empty and depressed. I felt that God was punishing me for abandoning him during his time of need and was allowing his new relationship to flourish. I felt like God allowed me to have the broken him and he was showing her all the parts of him that I fought to have. I blamed myself for the entire relationship failing. My mother had to remind me that people don't change overnight and the same way he was abusing me, he is probably doing the same to her. I still couldn't snap out of my depression. I couldn't eat, I couldn't sleep. I questioned God thinking maybe it was me...
My help came in the form of my family and friends. They prayed with me, reaffirmed me, and supported me. I purchased books and journals to help me get through the days. Journaling helped me. I was able to write out every thing that had happened to me and finally process it...2 years later. I held my frustrations with him in for 2 years and it felt damn good to feel again! I cried for the young girl who was 23 years old who had no idea what real love was supposed to be like. I cried for the 24 year old girl who allowed a man to define what she deserved. I cried for the 25 year old woman who had to watch the person she thought she would marry fall in love with someone else.
I am currently not dating! 6 months later, I simply want to celebrate my peace. I want to celebrate what I know, what I've learned, and how much I have gained. At 23, I was searching for something I thought I lacked.
Now at 25, I want to focus more on what I have ; my friends, family, goals, and the woman that I am becoming. I spent two years focusing on a relationship that didn't work. I neglected my friends, family, God and myself. I had a fear of being alone. I hated watching my friend's in positive relationships, or getting on social media and seeing all these positive representations of black love that I longed for. Everyone's story is going to be different. I've been less active on social media as sometimes what you see can cloud what's in front of you. The main goal is to stay focused! I want to gain a closer relationship to God so that he can send me the man he has destined for me. It may not happen this year or next but I have decided to wait on God.
Alexis originally sent me this article on November 11, 2016. I couldn't write the article because I knew that I wasn't done with him but I constantly revisited it because I felt that I had a story to tell I just wasn't strong enough to tell it. I was afraid of what people who knew me would think about me. I want readers to know who have a story similar to mine that God chose YOU for a reason. Yes! YOU! You can make it through your broken pieces. Anything that happens to you is NOT about YOU. Life was never designed to be perfect. It is filled with challenges and adversary to build you into the woman you were meant to be! These past 6 months have been a journey of redefining who I am as a woman and as Iyanla Vanzant would say, "Finding peace from broken pieces." I cannot express how God has restored me since my ex's departure but I'm grateful. I have a new place after having to move in with my parents for a year, God blessed me with financial stability, and a job that I was under qualified for which I will be celebrating my year anniversary next week.
I have also decided to use my story to speak public ally at events for people who are going through what I went through. It is so important to be self-affirmed. I wasn't self-affirmed and because of that I allowed him to dictate the love he felt I was to supposed to receive. My ticket to peace was forgiveness. Forgive who has hurt you so you can get started on the healing process and become the person you want to be. I can confirm that it won't be an easy process but to take your mind off things and to make it a little easier on you, do things that make you happy; go to church, pray, meditate, dance, laugh, workout, visit your friends and family.
Set goals and conquer them! Everyone is not meant to be in your life for a lifetime. Some people are simply in your life for a season and the goal is to learn from them. The way the universe works is you will receive the exact same lesson in different ways over and over until you master it. You master it by standing up for yourself and acknowledging that this is not what you deserve and CHANGE. Let me be the one to say that I know it is easier said than done but it's possible! Brian Tracy once said, "You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you, and in that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you." Find your happiness and your peace and know that adversary is only temporary. I have faith in you.