I had a pretty crappy day yesterday.
I'm not going to go into the specifics of the situation, because they aren't necessarily important. Suffice it to say that I was involved in an argument in the middle of my driveway and it was loud and it was heated and I lost my cool over the whole thing. It wasn't pretty, but at the same time, I managed to say what I wanted to say (something that I have kept in check for a very long time) and at that point in time I didn't give a crap who heard me.
But, while I was getting everything off of my chest, so was he (no, not The Dude). The insults were flung at lightning speed, and every one that he threw at me was returned.
Until he puffed up his chest and got in my face and hit me with the zinger. The one that brings it all back up to the surface.
"I have to work for a living. I don't get to just sit around on my ass all day like you do."
Suddenly, it all came flashing back.
His voice wasn't his anymore, but instead changed to a voice from my past and I swore I could smell the booze even though I knew there was none there. I snarked something back at him and went back inside the house and did what I had to do until he was gone, and then I lost it. The Dude held me while I sobbed and until I could catch my breath again. I wanted him to stay for the day but he had to go and so I stayed here with Jared and Daniel. They kept themselves amused with toys and games while I drowned in my thoughts.
We always hear the phrase "domestic violence survivor" (or something similar to that). I survived it. I got through the physical violence with nothing more than a pair of bent glasses, some handprints on my neck, and a few minor bruises now and then. The physical stuff, in my case, was easy.
The emotional violence was so much more. The insults - about my housekeeping, my cooking, my parenting, my weight, my hair, and yes, even the fact that I got to sit around on my ass all day and do nothing - were thrown at me on a far more regular basis than the punches were. I knew even then that I was doing my best, but it wasn't good enough.
Then I realized that my best was never going to be good enough, so I quit doing much of anything. I survived by doing the bare minimum, and I got lazy. The kids were always fed and they always had clean clothes, but the house was always a disaster. I didn't care - because even if I cleaned it, I'd still get yelled at - most likely because in order to get the house clean enough, supper would be later than usual or something equally ridiculous.
I'm not perfect. Not even close. But I'm so much better than what I used to be.
But yet, that one insult being yelled at me in my driveway yesterday brought all of that pain back to me like it had never even gone anywhere. I wanted to yell back, to tell him how his idea of me sitting around on my ass was drastically different than my reality, but I couldn't do it. I couldn't say a word.
That one insult hit me like a punch to the gut and a kick to the head all at the same time. It knocked the wind out of me and took me back to one of the darkest times in my life, a time that I have talked about and written about and analyzed and replayed millions of times. A time that I thought I had "survived".
In reality, I honestly don't consider myself to be a survivor. I'm not "over it". It's not done and gone and buried somewhere so that it can never come back to haunt me again. It's still a part of me and it always will be, no matter how much time passes.
I'm not a survivor, but I'm surviving.
Please, do not ask who it was. Other than referring to him as "he", I've intentionally kept this vague, because it's really not important who "he" is. "He" could be anyone, and "he" has been multiple people in the past - I only chose to write about this particular incident because of my own personal reasons.