Off Guard

Its 3am in the morning, I have an early start, I should be fast asleep. Instead my emotions have been caught off guard and I’m stuck thinking about my ex, everything about him.

As I lay here in my bed I close my eyes and try to imagine the feeling of his mattress beneath me, the heaviness of his duvet. The smell of his room, of this aftershave. The feeling of his soft skin against my cheek as I lay with my head on his chest. I used to do that every weekend. That was my home. See the truth is, nowhere has ever really felt like home to me before.

My first house, where I grew up, was ruined by memories of my first abuser. I can’t think back and picture my bedroom without picturing him there with me. No matter what memory I have, it always ends up coming back to him. I remember being in the front attick room of our house, I had always shared with my brother on the floor below but the lodger had moved out and I could finally have my own room. All girly. I remember that room, one Christmas Eve, I thought I would be able to hear santa land on my roof because I was so close. A little girl excited for Christmas. But then I remember that same room, that same bed. I remember being completely naked laying on the bed beneath him completely naked. I didn’t have that room for long, so now that I think about it, my sexual journey started before I stopped believing in Santa Claus. What kind of a childhood is that?

The next house I lived in he also visited once or twice, and whilst not much happened there it was were I was living when I first spoke up about what had happened. My memories of that house are surrounded by police interviews and interrogation and upset within my family. It seems like all of the good memories I ever had in either house only come back very rarely but these ones I could relive every moment, every fine detail at any point.

The house I lived in after that, during my teenage years, where my mum still lives now. That was where I was living during my second episode of abuse. The bed that I layed in when I was 13 years old, with a man who was 24. The convincing rapist, the groomer. It’s no wonder I have no self esteem, and no ability to believe in myself when I let that happen to me. Why didn’t I stop it? Why didn’t I see that it was wrong?

I moved to my father’s house for a little while, which is where I currently live now. It doesn’t feel like home, not one bit. I think that’s just because I am not close to anyone here, apart from my son, but he will be with me wherever I go. It’s not mine, I’ve not been able to decorate my room, I’m bound by rules, I don’t feel free. More than anything I feel lonely, and when I’m lonely, like this very moment, my thoughts consume me. And I cry, I cry until I fall asleep.

Before returning here, I lived in a flat with my ex and my baby. It would have felt like home if it wasn’t the very place that I was attacked whilst pregnant. Full of raging arguments, a place where I often felt low and didn’t want to live anymore.

My ex’s house started to feel like home. Whilst we bickered about things and had disagreements we never had a fight, he never physically hurt me, he never raped me. It was the only bed that I layed my head to sleep on where I was safe. Whilst I never felt safe mentally, because I felt like the whole world was attacking me, him included. Compared to the rest of my life this was a safe haven. With more happy memories than bad ones. With more positives than negatives. One place that I actually felt loved and welcomed. I felt like I was actually wanted there.

I think of the feeling of his teeny tight curls between my fingers. I loved playing with his hair, it felt so different to any other head I’d touched. That’s why I liked it so much. As I squished the strands in my fingers I dreamt of having little babies with the same hair, that I would play with in the same way until it wasn’t cool for me to do it anymore. I think of how our lips met when we kissed, his were like a big soft cushion. Never had a kiss that felt so right before.

Now I can’t even reply to a text. Every time I engage in conversation with him I feel at rock bottom, and I don’t want to live anymore. I’ve had a long time to work out why my head is so messed up, and I know the causes of most of my struggles and emotions, but not this one. The only thing I know is that not talking to him at all has helped me to start seeing a future for myself, but clearly it does not mean that I do not think about him. It does not mean that I do not miss him. My councillor asked me last week what I wanted and I said I don’t know. She likes to remind me that I may well find someone else who treats me better than I have ever been treated before. Fills me with optimism. It’s true, I could. But how do I know? I’m afraid. I’m afraid to ever let anyone in again. I’m afraid to date, I’m afraid to let anyone fall in love with me because they may no longer want me when they find out what I’ve been through and how it affects my life. I’m afraid of abondonment. My ex felt like I caught him under false pretences. Clearly the way I was acting when he fell for me, the person I was then, I am not able to manage all the time. How long can it last? I may find someone else, I may be able to be the good me for a week, a month, a year. Long enough to attract them. But what happens if I come back to this place, what happens when I’m struggling, when I’m hurting. Even though it’s not their fault, they may leave me, again, because I’m not the person they thought I was. How will I ever attract someone if I’m honest with them at the start? How do you say to someone.. oh by the way, before you fall in love with me, i was abused as a child, as a teenager, subject to domestic violence when I was just an adult and that has made me fragile. I have issues with trust and sometimes i just may not want to be alive. Be lucky if they even pay half the bill and don’t run from the restaurant before finishing their food.

I don’t know. It’s all I keep saying, to everyone, to myself. I don’t know what to make of the situation. I don’t know what I want for the future. I don’t know if I’ll ever love again. I’m just stuck here in limbo.

Until next time.


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