Saving Face | Day 8 of #30Layers30Days / #WhyIStayed

Today’s Prompt – Saving Face: What is a lie you have told to save face? If the same situation presented itself today, would you still tell the lie? Saving Face signifies a desire — or defines a strategy — to avoid humiliation or embarrassment, to maintain dignity or preserve reputation.

#WhyIStayed (stories in 140 characters from women & men on domestic violence)

Because the definition of love changed over the course of a few years. 

Unsure of its meaning, the one I know to be true today, I accepted what I was given. I didn’t want to feel alone anymore. I took it because I was a “big girl”. Because I needed to know the consequences of my piss-poor behavior in my relationship. I had to be held accountable. I had to take the blame.

I went to work with visible marks on me. No one stepped to me to ask me questions and why would they? I couldn’t even step up to my abuser without being stepped on and pushed down. And then it happened; I was pulled to the side by a supervisor who questioned me. I laughed it off, told her the bruises weren’t what she thought they were, although she never made a reference to physical abuse. I blew my cover but the smile threw her off. The confidence in my voice, the same confidence I prayed I had that night, defended me. I turned it around and questioned my own manager, asking her if she believed I was the type of girl to be bullied around. 

I was one of the few employees with the courage to approach customers daily, why wouldn’t I have the courage to leave if it happened to me?

I was assertive and bold during meetings, why wouldn’t I be just as forward in demanding respect as a woman in a relationship?

I was scared. My God, I was afraid. The apologies told through his tears changed my mind because men don’t cry. The promises of doing better next time with an adult on his knees, begging as if his life depended on it, even if it cost me mine, made me forgive him — again, and again, and again.

And I wouldn’t put myself through that again. Mentally, I’m stronger, my skin is tougher, but I will never participate in victim-blaming as I was once that woman who stayed, the one that juggled what I thought to be love in one hand, my life in the other. I saved face until I was tired. I had to wake up.

I left.

3 Comments

  1. Yetti 09.12.2014

    Erica. This was beyond powerful, my words can not express this enough.

    Love.

    Reply
  2. Chymere Anais 09.13.2014

    This is power, indeed and I’m sorry you ever had to go through that kind of pain, but I thank you for sharing it. I think you for finally waking up to the courage to leave and realize your external and internal beauty. Thank you for stating what role you played, rather than throwing all the blame on someone who abused love and abused you. Wow. Continue to thrive in that.

    Reply
  3. This is such a powerful, compelling, emotional piece. Thank you for sharing this piece of your story with us – thank you for confronting judgments & shattering illusions & showing people a little bit more about the real, human personalities behind the anonymous faces of domestic abuse. I already knew you were strong-spirited, but this seals the deal. I’m in awe of this piece of writing.

    Reply

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