Her mind is racing. Where did I leave my bank statement?

The original author’s name has been withheld by request.

I hope there is nothing on there regarding internet banking – he hates the internet.

He doesn’t know I have internet banking. He would flip out. He would call me a liar.

Now, did I put the CD player remote back where it was when I got up? Did I make sure I took my CD out of it? I hope I adjusted the volume back to normal, or he might accuse me of listening to my “faggy” music again.

I had to put all of my old jewelry away too. He doesn’t like that I used to wear spiky collars, and lots of leather wristbands. He thinks that makes me a whore, and if I wear them again, I would just be going back to who I used to be. And he doesn’t like that. So I don’t wear any of it. I’m lucky that he only complains minimally about my ear jewelry, and my nape piercing.

He also doesn’t know about my secret collection of dreads. I put in three of them myself, one day when he wasn’t home from work yet. Now there are natural ones sprouting all around them. They make me really happy, but I know that He won’t like them at all. He will probably try to brush them out, or call me homeless.

I haven’t written in what seems like forever. Ever since he made me burn my old journals I haven’t put ink to paper. I can’t even recognize my own writing anymore. It’s become normal. At work I sign my name, but it doesn’t feel like my own script; it’s only a signature that has to look neat and tidy, with nothing personal left in it. I miss being able to flip through my old notebooks, reveling in how much I have changed, and how much brighter my life seems to be, compared to the darkness encrypted in the black scrawls on the page.

My phone never rings. When it does it’s either him, or my mother. He has made my world very small. Even when I do speak to my mother, unless he is in the room he interrogates me on what was said, and if that is all, or if I am lying. Or he questions why she would call at all. I hope that my mother cannot tell from the tone of my voice that I am lying. That I am not happy. That I am not looking forward to the days to come. I hope she cannot sense, in the way that mothers do, that I am not being honest with her about my feelings.

He has told all of his friends that I don’t have any friends. He has told them that since I moved out here, I have no friends. That makes me feel completely stupid and alone. As far as he knows, I have not had any contact with any of my friends. They do not care about me. He says anyway. He says that they do not give a shit about where I am or what I am doing, because they have not called.

The truth is, they have called. However it made him so angry that I couldn’t talk for very long, and they haven’t called since. I have been secretly emailing a few of the people I used to know. They tell me I can do better, and that they are worried for my safety. I tell them not to worry, and that hopefully I can see them again someday.

I only work on Sundays because I know it will save me money on my horse’s board. My horse is the most important thing in my life, and he hates it. He makes me feel like I am pure evil, and not even human, because of the time I like to spend at the barn. He makes me feel like I am taking away from his “spending time” hours. (He considers arguing over what to watch on TV “spending time together.”) He doesn’t like to go for walks, or do much of anything.

And slowly I die inside.

Dying of boredom and the black and white of this life.

When I was young people would call me weird, because I dressed differently then they did. It never bothered me one single bit. Now, the person who says he loves me, calls me weird for listening to music when I am by myself. He thinks it weird that I still like to wear some of my old clothes, plaid pants or even a leather wristband. He thinks it’s weird that I want to go for walks. He thinks it’s weird that I have books about feminism. That I’m so interested in separating garbage from recyclables. That I eat salad. That I am happy when the dishes are done or that the laundry has finally been folded.

I feel like I’m becoming the epitome of domestication; preparing his meals, folding his socks, making sure he is up for work in time, and loaning him the money he needs to make his bill payments. Knowing in the back of my mind that I don’t have the money to spare, and that he spent the money I gave him for rent at the bar. If I confront him, it’s a whirlwind of accusations and competition. Immediate anger. Temper tantrum. I’ve suggested anger management. He scoffs in my face.

I don’t know when I became so small and weak. So insufficient. I don’t know how I became so reclusive and afraid of society. Afraid to talk to anybody, afraid of the consequences that come with speaking with another male. I don’t know why I care so much about looking well dressed for work, but not too well dressed because then he calls me a flirt and asks me if I like looking like a whore. I don’t know how I got here, and I don’t know how I’m going to get out.

Being in shitty relationships makes you think twice as hard about who you are and who you ought to be. You edit your own thoughts and feelings to fit into the framework that’s thrown at you.

You don’t realize how much of yourself you’ve given up, until it’s all but gone. And then trying to justify old habits, and seeing old peers, just seems like a lie.

It seems like you’re trying to rebel against the system so strategically set before you, that before you know it you’re standing on your head to avoid another argument. By the time you’re done apologizing for something that you were upset about to begin with, that feels wrong in your gut, you realize that you’re no longer in control of your own feelings. You feel like the bad guy, the “wrong” one, the person who is evil. Things get so twisted that you would rather just keep going, walking on eggshells and holding your breath, than face the conflict and demand a confrontation. Violence doesn’t have to be physical. For me it never has been. It’s been emotional, mental; mind games and the endless mindfuck. For a split second you can see the girl you used to be, and you can revel in her wonderful persona. And then that is all turned to black when you feel the hairs on the back of your neck standing up, and a cloud of anger fills the room.

You constantly have to justify everything, without even a second to question whether or not this is right. Then you end up laying awake at night. Mind reeling with dark thoughts and self deception. Asking yourself who the hell am I? Who the hell does he think I am? Who the hell even gives a shit anymore.

And strength? Confidence? Those are just words made up, that don’t apply to me.

I don’t know if anything I have ever written is what you’re looking for, but I’ll keep thinking, and putting words together. To see if I can justify myself as being in a violent relationship, or whether I’m just an ungrateful witch like he makes me feel.