Always know the difference between what you are getting and what you deserve.
I sit here, on this January 1st, and meditate through writing. Maybe, as in the past, writing will help to clear my thoughts and reinvent my perception, while providing you – the abused, the recovering, the loved one of a suffering victim – with important insights I did not consider at that time.
You, who are reading this, are my therapist, hearing my thoughts and my reflections. It has been a while since we talked. I have not used my writing therapy in several years. Just recently, in the past month, have I picked up my pen and started closing my story. And with reopening that chapter of my life, I have learned so much more about me, both good and bad.
I have learned that I can write about my past life, my marriage and emotional prison, and not cry. I have learned that my heart feels for the girl I once was and does not carry as much bitterness as it once had. I have learned that I have come a long way in being myself and accepting who I am. I now know, with certainty, that I can beat this negativity he cultivated in my mind and heart and I can be happy in my life; imperfections and all.
There is still growing to be done on this path to “living with me and for me.” This will always be true as we never stop growing until we are no longer a part of this life. And that is ok. Life is an evolution of sorts, where we bend and twist, soften and harden, learn and relearn; and with each step forward, we shine brighter and are more able to project our love and support on others.
Today I reflect on one very tough choice; one I made several times over. Today I reflect on the times I never pressed charges against my husband for his abusive treatment of me.
As I read the news this morning, something I rarely do anymore, I cannot make heads or tales of the system. As I go to my day job, in the field of criminal law, I cannot understand our process. Why do some pay dearly for their mistakes, while others destroy lives and go on living free?
People are doing years in prison for financial crimes, while rapist and batterers do little to no time because they are not reported or caught. Those who can pay for high ranking attorneys, or who have bright and shiny titles, are feared by those responsible for holding them accountable, while those who are the media’s new target or do not have the means to defend much lesser crimes are smeared and their lives destroyed. We look the other why while sport and movie stars create upheaval, but we arrest the parent who is trying their best and made poor choices to support their family or their sickness. These are the things that make me question my past decisions; the things that make me feel out of place and hurt.
According to statute, my husband committed a number of crimes against me. If charged, his world would be a very different place. And yet, he is free. He is free to commit these crimes against another. He lives his life without a mark on his character. He is free to make a life with another and continue a cycle of abuse. I often wonder about his current wife. Does he treat her like he did me? Do they have children? Are they learning that way of life? Does he still own a gun?
Had I reported him, he would have done time, lost his job, and been labelled a felon. But…I did not. So, he lives free. He lives free while others do not. He lives free to terrorize another soul, perhaps more. He lives free because I was fearful and simply wanted out. I did not think beyond leaving. I did not think beyond my freedom. I did not think about who else he could potentially hurt.
There is still much to consider and come to terms with. Sometimes I am shocked at what comes to the surface of my mind. How much more is buried deep in the recesses of my better off forgotten memories. Although we can reflect on our choices, we cannot change them. Those choices, good or bad, will be a part of our lives in various ways. It is our responsibility, to ourselves and others, to right any wrongs we can and move past what we cannot change.
Hopefully, by sharing my struggle to learn and grow, my words will touch someone in need. Perhaps my regrets and hindsight will speak to them as they decide whether pressing charges is the right thing to do. It is, in no way, an easy decision. Life can be a challenge for sure. But we must move forward, digest, come to peace, and I believe, share, to help ourselves and others find their path.