I never knew his love was abuse.
I wouldn’t know it for a long time.
It was “normal.”
Monsters wear beautiful masks.
Ones meant to fool and deceive.
He could be kind.
He could be human.
He could be nice.
But the days he wasn’t…
The moments his rage came out.
The times he scared me.
The nights I cried myself to sleep.
Those stay with me.
Those still leave scars.
It would be easy if someone was always cruel.
You could pick them out in a crowd.
Point your finger and label them.
But when they’re kind and cruel.
Hurtful and helpful.
Scary and comforting.
Your mind cannot accept reality.
Layers and layers of denial.
I kept the real him locked away.
I only wanted to see the hero.
The one decorated in medals and honor.
But the truth has a way of always…showing up.
No matter how hard I tried to bury it.
To turn away from what really happened…
My heart wouldn’t heal without facing the worst of my fears.
When a stranger wrongs you, it’s a clear offense.
But when someone you love wrongs you, you lose all confidence.
And I have emotions of everything in between.
Underneath the pain is…
The knowledge he never knew love.
So he gave me fear instead.
And I can’t change the past.
I can’t make it disappear.
There’s no way to get back those childhood years.
All I can do is take a step forward.
A little at a time.
Leave the shadows and nightmares far behind.
Open my heart to love when it feels right.
Welcome those who encourage me to shine a little more bright.
Because with him…
He wanted to put me in a cage.
Keep me at a wholesome, innocent age.
And it wasn’t love.
No, it wasn’t love.
My heart now ready to turn the page.