In retrospect, I feel like I was in shock for years following the abuse. I was in a fog when in dating scenarios and I was completely asleep to reality. My desperation for love, affection and companionship resulted in a string of unhealthy relationships. I moved away to attend University. I had decided to dedicate my life to my passion, my escape and my source of healing: art. I found my voice and saw strength when I looked in the mirror. I didn’t believe in love, but tried to fill that yearning with dating.
This led me to, one day, ending up in Taiwan, in an empty apartment where I was going to be spending five weeks with my supposed boyfriend, who had promised me a house and garden, just like I always dreamt of. Instead, I was left without food and money in a high-rise with a man suffering from multiple personality disorder and schizophrenia, who, all of a sudden, acted as if we were just acquaintances. There was nothing left of the love we had in Canada. This is a whole story of its own, but darkest night that winter, was when he left with a prostitute right in front of me, and later came back to the apartment, in an episode of schizophrenia, attacked me. He pursued me until he got me and cut off my airways so he could rape me in the early morning hours. I was twenty-two years old. Inside I felt like that numb eleven year old girl again. It was during this time of feeling imprisoned in an apartment with no means or connections to get out, that I felt closer to the spiritual world than I ever had before. The darker it got, the stronger my hope became. There was not a single person that could stand by me through any of these tragedies, but there was always a constant presence in my life, a will to live and a feeling that there was comfort coming to me from an unseen source. I had a dream of being an inspiring woman. I returned from Taiwan feeling hollow and lifeless but I painted from the depths of my soul and thanked my angels every day for being with me.
The demons returned, once again, for more trials only a few months later. This time they came in the form of another charming man that promised me the world and treated me like a queen. I was still sleepwalking through life, in thirst for love, and I walked right into the greatest deception of my life, thus far. I married a man who I later found out was a different person all together. My marriage would be a long tale in itself but its true purpose was to bring me the blow, literally, that finally made me wake up out of the warped world I had been stuck in. It was as a mother, of a two year old and a three month old girl, when I finally stood up for myself. I called the police when the domestic abuse turned to physical violence. I triple locked the doors on my husband, which now seemed to be an extension or different manifestation of the first man that ever kissed me. It’s been over 8 years since the day when I left my marriage and I am still battling this man in family court, in a desperate effort to get my girls out of an abusive environment. I am now fighting with a stronger will than I ever knew I possessed. When I sit back and objectively look at all I’ve come through, I know that I am a fighter. I will fight for my girls until my last breath.
It’s been about twenty-five years since the abuse first started in my life and I feel I am just now truly able to heal. I have changed a lot. It is at age thirty-six that I have found myself again. It wasn’t until a few years ago, after many failed attempts at counselling, that I was finally given insights on how to start coping with my emotional state. To me PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) was only an affliction for war veterans. But when I was handed literature about it and told that I need to understand this because I had it, I cried with relief. For the first time in my life I felt understood and, more importantly, like I could start understanding myself. Knowing gave me a way of moving forward and a way to truly start healing, rather than just being strong and getting on with life.
I am utterly amazed by the man that I now have by my side. Although I prayed with an aching heart for so long for my love and protector, I really didn’t believe that love would be in the cards for me in this life time. It is through my relationship with my partner that I am able to complete the healing and it is with him by my side that I feel safe for the first time. I am now excited for the future. I can now look back at my life thus far with a sense of humble honour. I once heard a quote that said something like “God only gives you what you can carry”. I must be strong if God entrusted me with all this. I have not only come through all this and more, but I am here, raising amazing children and finding the life I’ve dreamt of as a girl. I took to heart the saying that our life is what we make of it and I decided a few years ago that I was worth more than being a victim and that no one could take my spirit away. I have my spirit and I am loved for it. The blessings hidden in my many trials were impossible to see until much later. Today I feel invincible and proud to have made a life of love from out of the darkness. I know there is a purpose for me and I am now at the turning point of my life, where instead of taking all the pain the world has to give, I am going to give to the world all the strengths I have to offer.