The other day Facebook sent me one of those friendaversary notifications they’re so very fond of. Only, this time around, it sort of stuck with me. In fact, it’s been playing out in my mind for the past couple of weeks.
It was a notification that my husband and I had been Facebook friends for 10 years. That seems pretty arbitrary, but 2017 is a year of big numbers for me and that friendaversary moment is as good a marker of the start of a lot of change in me as any.
See, back in April of 2007, I was a very different woman from the one I am today. I was timid, skittish, down on myself and rather lost. I was in a 5 year relationship that had become ever more emotionally abusive and was fast reaching a make or break moment. I considered myself useless, worthless and undesirable and was fairly convinced I deserved the crap that was thrown at me daily behind closed doors. See, like many abusers, my partner was inches away from sainthood in public and generally I felt very alone.
But, in March and April of 2007, I slowly started clawing my way out of that abyss. I won’t lie, working a fair distance away from my partner’s prying presence and spending time with people who were interested in me, outside of my link to him helped. As did the judgementless and flattering attention of two other men. I’m human, I’m happy to admit that.
The end, for me, was not one big thing, but three. One was a disagreement that somehow resulted in his mother showering her special brand of abuse on me (all abusers learn somewhere), two was his brother telling me that nobody deserved that sort of treatment and three was having him empty my wardrobe on my birthday and ordering me to tidy it up like an errant child. And so, I finally reached the end of my tether and started regenerating a spine.
After 5 years and one month, I finally walked away. I still faced a lot of crap from him, but I finally stood my ground. I made a lot of mistakes in that first year, but I could finally be me.
So, 2017 marks 10 years abuse free for me. It also marks 10 years with a supportive, loving and equal partner. 10 years of growth and rediscovery. And 10 years of healing.
2017 also marks 7 years of living with my husband, 5 years of marriage and 2 years of parenting. Each number holding special significance to me. So 2017 is a big year for us, by the numbers, but also for me.
For 5 years I lived in a sort of darkness, but I have doubled that time in the light.