I don’t hate you. That’s the first thing I want to say to you. As I look at my TimeHop and I’m reminded of the six short years that have passed since I left you, I realise I don’t hate you. I don’t hate you at all. I want to but I just don’t.
I don’t hate you because hate takes up so much energy and you’re not really worth that. I barely even think about you and when I do, I don’t really feel much. I laugh when I remember the good times, I feel a small stab of sentimental sadness when I remember the bad, but that’s about it.
You tried to destroy me. In fact, you did destroy me a little but I’m stronger than that. You picked the wrong girl to do those horrid things to. Not because I wouldn’t put up with your bullshit because I did, over and over and over again, but because I’m the kind of girl who learned from those experiences. I’m no longer innocent or naive. I know. I know because I’ve been there. If a man lays his hands on me now, I know that leopard will never change his violent spots. I know that because as much as you gave me great pain, you gave me wisdom and experience and that, my friend, is priceless.
You never learned from your mistakes. You never got into trouble for repeatedly causing me harm. You never had to suffer the repercussions of your actions whereas I did.
I have paid.
I’m still paying.
Those nights I cut myself with the razor blade because you encouraged my problem, because you told me to do it again, because you told me it would make me feel better, I now pay for. I can’t wear shorts or flirty little dresses. I can’t show my legs from the knee up. I can’t wear a bikini or bathing suit. It’s tough. I love water. I’m a water baby who can’t get in the water because of the now-fading deep gouges on my legs.
But I’ve learned. Whenever I feel that familiar pang, that desire to pull apart a brand new razor and run my fingertip down the sharp edge, I remember I’ve learned. I remember how it feels when someone catches a glimpse of those scars and I try to come up with some bullshit lie. I know how difficult and painful it is to explain them to the new person I take to my bed. I know that in a year’s time, two year’s time, five year’s time, I’m going to regret cutting myself. I’ve learned that lesson. I might think about doing it but I don’t. All those years of therapy and it took me leaving you to finally realise that self-harm wasn’t the right choice for me. Go figure.
What have you learned though? Nothing. I bet you’ve learned nothing. Except perhaps never to hit any future girlfriends in the face. Face and neck injuries are the hardest battery-marks to cover up. But you’ve neither suffered nor learned from your experiences therefore they will always be a violent, abusive pattern for you. They will always destroy every relationship you ever have.
Whenever I have a fight with a man and he raises his voice, I cower, falling apart, sobbing. Still, six years on, I’m paying for your actions. Those things you did to me, they’ve had life-long repercussions. I try to keep you a secret, I try not to bring you up to new men in my life but it’s not possible. I have so many little “quirks” now, quirks I blame on you.
I can’t stand it when a man shouts at me. That’s because of you. That’s only happened since you. I used to scream and shout at anyone and now, it makes me wince. I start to shake. My breathing changes.
Just like when someone touches my throat. As soon as anyone touches my throat / neck, I cry and freak out and that’s all because of you. I don’t even like wearing necklaces because of you. I was the accessory girl and now look at me. All the bling and I can’t wear any of it.
I’m claustrophobic because of those times you shut me in the broom closet and turned the key. I’m so paranoid every guy is out to cheat on me and give me an STD, I’m in the clinic if a man so much as glances in my direction. I push men too far in fights to see whether or not they’ll punch me. All because of you. After years of counselling, we’ve established this is to see how far I can push the new man in my life before he breaks. I expect every man to have a breaking point. I expect every man to throw some punches my way. I just need to know that breaking point so I can live safely within the lines.
That’s not how a twenty-something girl is meant to live her dating life, constantly suspicious and wary, never quite letting a man in, never quite letting herself be happy. You ruined my twenties for me in so many ways. Yet still, I can’t quite hate you. I still won’t give you that part of me.
Everything you did to me, and Lord knows it was enough, it made me stronger. It made me wiser. I gained experience. I gained pretty horrific memories along the way and every now and then, I get a little solemnly nostalgic about the life I once led, but it made me a smarter person, a smarter girl, and in this life that’s fucking important.
You may have cheated on me and hospitalised me and made sure I had no chance of accessing money for months on end, but you won’t break me. You won’t destroy me. I won’t let you. Living my life with you hasn’t hindered me. It has made certain things difficult and your actions definitely had a negative long-lasting impression, but look at me now. I’m a million miles away from the girl you smashed in the face so hard, you left a piece of your bone behind. I’m so much better, smarter, wiser, funnier, more confident, richer, skinnier, prettier… And I know I’m a much better person than you’ll ever be.
Because of you, I found a job where I could work from home. You made work so difficult for me, constantly covering me in bruises. When you left me battered and bruised, snapping our bank cards right in front of my face, I had to find a way to survive. It was then that I became a writer.
I have so many ways of accessing money now, no man will ever get the chance to screw me over. I would never trust a man to have control over our / my finances ever again. I’ve created the life of MY dreams, a life where I can do whatever I want, whenever I want, wherever the hell I want. All that… It’s because of you. Without you I wouldn’t have gone on my adventures, any of them. You were both the best and worst thing to ever happen to me.
But I don’t hate you. I won’t ever hate you. You’re not worthy of that much emotion. You’re nothing to me. Nothing but a handful of bad memories with too many scars along the way.
I just hope you can sleep with yourself at night, knowing what you did to me. I also hope, one day, Karma comes around and bites you on the ass like you deserve. I don’t need to exact my revenge on you. You’re not worthy of anything I could deliver best served cold. Everything you did will catch up with you and you won’t be able to charm or fuck your way out of it.
I might not hate you, or feel much for you at all, but the thought of that makes my heart feel a little lighter.