Every week, I challenge myself to a Monday Dare. Click on the link to see the complete list of Monday Dares or learn more about its origin.
This week: Speak out
I once gave away my last ounce of dignity and pride while begging on my knees to save a poorly-assembled IKEA lamp, a pink Starbucks mug, and two cushions. The cushions had, at one time, belonged to a couch marked for the donations truck by a rich-as-fuck family because it was the wrong color. I didn’t have enough space for the couch, but I asked for the cushions because, well, they were from Pottery Barn, and I love fancy shit.
I spent most of my teens and twenties giving my power away to people who didn’t deserve it. Not that anyone ever really deserves your power. Sure, a small circle of people may deserve your loyalty or attention or assistance or companionship or love or friendship, but power is a tricky beast to own and tame, and it’s not something that should be given away freely, if at all.
The more I gave away my power, the less control I had over my life. And the less control I had over my life, the harder it became.
And because I gave away so much of my power, I guess it was no surprise that I ended up on my knees one night begging my boyfriend not to destroy the few things I had in the dingy fuckhole I called “home.” I loved those things because they were mine. They weren’t pretty, and they certainly weren’t valuable, but they brought me immense pleasure.
Getting on my knees wasn’t my idea. It was his. I didn’t invite him along when a girlfriend came over for coffee, and he was angry. He had already taken all the power from my insides, and now, he wanted an outward display of what my broken emptiness looked like.
I did it. I begged. I cried. I asked for forgiveness. I could hear some small part of the Me that still remained hissing quietly in my head, “Ain’t no motherfucka your king, bitch. This is some BULLSHIT,” but my sobs were louder. It’s often the loudest voices that get their way, even if those voices are wrong.
He isolated me from the people I loved the most. Even when we weren’t together, he told me that every one of my moves could be tracked. He reminded me often that he could listen in on any of my phone calls, that he had a tracking device installed on my car, and that each of my keystrokes was being logged. For years I saved a threatening voice message he left on my home answering machine. In case I just didn’t show up for something one day.
I spent most of my free time watching Snapped. If you’ve never watched it, I can break it down for you in one sentence: It’s a show about angry women who kill (mostly) men. I don’t watch that show anymore. It makes me uneasy, and it’s only now that I understand why I needed it so much. I didn’t have the balls to break out of the tiny prison of my own life, so I watched these women do the things I fantasized about doing. Not that I advocate murder. Really, don’t kill people, you guys.
I sent my five-year-old daughter away and made up some excuse about a better school district. I’ve never really talked about that before, but there it is. He wouldn’t let me leave. He said if I did, he would kill my mother, and then my daughter. So I stayed, but I sent her to live with my brother across the country.
I spent so many years cowering in fear of you coming after me. You told me never to tell anyone about what you did. But I don’t keep the promises I make to evil people like you. I will never be like you.
NEVER give away your power, friends. And never keep the secrets of those that betray you. Speak out.
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