Why are you participating in Unconventional Apology Project?
"I want people to see that it doesn’t have a face…it could be anyone..."
I’m participating in this project because when I first heard about it…your grandmother’s story, it touched me. Obviously I’m doing this because I’m from a domestic violence situation myself and I think I want people to see that it doesn’t have a face…it could be anyone and I find that when I talk to people sometimes about it, they just would never imagine I guess coming from me. So, I thought that this would be nice.
Had you ever had the opportunity to discuss the story you are sharing with us today?
"...two years ago, I shared briefly...but not in this way."
A little bit via social network. October is domestic violence awareness, so two years ago, I shared briefly, a little bit of my one and a half year relationship…so a little bit, but not in this way.
What kind of impact did it have on you when you shared?
"Oh man [laughs], it was amazing. I had no idea the amount of people that it would touch."
Oh man [laughs], it was amazing. I had no idea the amount of people that it would touch. One of my followers from New York…actually, that picture out of all of my pictures to this day got the most likes and feedback. One of my followers reached out to me and we exchanged numbers and I talked to her all night. She was currently in an abusive relationship, so it felt nice that I was able to kind of talk to someone and help them through…a stranger.
What domestic abuse experience do you want to share?
"she had a HUGE window in her apartment, she hit it and it slit the skin and blood just started gushing. And uh [audible exhale], she wiped it over my new clothes."
There were so many, I can’t just pick and pull one. I’m kind of scatterbrained right now even thinking about it. It just feels like a movie just playing out in my head really fast, so I can’t grab and just pick one thing. I’ll just do an overview of it if that’s what you would call it [laughs].
I was 22 and a half (I always say that) [smiles] when I met my first girlfriend. She was great. It was great. I fell in love with her very fast. The first time that it got out of control…and I had never expected or seen it coming…we were in San Diego and we were shopping and I guess I was taking too long and she was getting impatient. So I hurried up and we were driving back and I could tell that she was like moving very fast like sudden movements when she was talking…like her hand gestures. And I had never seen that before. I had two of my sisters with me and we were planning on going out to like a club or something that night. And we got back to her house and I could just tell that she was extremely upset with me. And so I just said it would be best if she didn’t come. When I said that she just got up and she hit…she had a HUGE window in her apartment, she hit it and it slit the skin and blood just started gushing. And uh [audible exhale], she wiped it over my new clothes. She told me that I had ten minutes [cries, but continues to speak]…that I had ten minutes to pack my stuff. I had two huge suitcases because usually when I would go I would pack a lot because I would stay for a very long period of time. She said I had ten minutes, so I started packing everything and right before I zipped it up, she took my suitcase and she opened her door and she flung all of my stuff up and down the hallway and stood over me and started screaming and flinching at me. That was the beginning. And I had never experienced that. And that’s just…that was just the beginning.
"...she hit me right here [points to her left temple] and it just split in half and my muscle was showing."
It went from there to biting my face...and I still sometimes, I have a little knot [points to her left temple] from her hitting me. We were coming from a club…and I would notice a lot, it seemed to come easier when we were drinking…and she hit me right here [points to her left temple] and it just split in half and my muscle was showing. My sister was with me and she had to call the ambulance and they rushed me to emergency and they gave me stitches and I just…I couldn’t seem to get out and you know, I live with my dad and that was my safe place and my dad just could never understand why. He said that I had always been like a fighter and I just didn’t seem to fight anymore [cries, short break].
It was a lot of that. A lot. I overheard one of your friends talking and mentioning his mother was…either him or his mother’s head was split and I got sad because it happened to me too. And I think it’s just so important to find a safe place.
"And it just…literally was the most blood that I had ever seen…just all down my face. And she didn’t care, she spit in my face."
The last thing that I'll share, (which I sometimes still wake up in the middle of the night and I think about it, or it just comes to mind), is...I had gotten a foot surgery, and I had to have a cast on my foot for a month. And at this time, the violent stuff had just kind of faded out. It would fade out for like a month and then it would come back heavy. I had crutches and we had gotten into an argument about, I think, a different woman or something and I just said I was gonna leave. And anytime I was gonna leave…if I said I was gonna leave, it was kind of like it was going to be hell to pay unless she wanted me to leave. So, I had a bag, a plastic bag that I had a bunch of personal hygiene stuff in. Huge bottles of conditioner, shampoo and I had it in one hand, my purse in the other, and I was crutching out of the door. And as I got out the door, she came and she opened the door and she got in my face and just started calling me a bitch and just very vulgar stuff. And at this point, I was just very nervous and flinchy, so I backed up, but then she just got closer and closer and closer. And something inside of me just snapped. I remember yelling back at her that she was a bitch and that this was not ok. And she took the bag out of my hand…she snatched the bag and she took it and she flung it and it hit the back of my head. And all I felt was just fluids coming down. I think that was the worst. It was blood. And it just…literally was the most blood that I had ever seen…just all down my face. And she didn’t care, she spit in my face. And I had fallen down from the impact, and she didn’t care. She drug me by my hair with my cast on and blood everywhere and damn near threw me down the stairs and I never…even now that I’m out of that situation, that plays in my mind…that’s one of the hardest times because I feel like I was the most vulnerable and I didn’t protect the most vulnerable part of me…I allowed somebody to abuse me. So I still sometimes think about that. I think that’s the answer. It was very long, but I think that’s the answer.
What no longer lingers in your heart and mind about your experience? What has opened up for you as a result?
"I’ve allowed myself to be loved [cries, long pause] and not really question it or be so afraid. I was TERRIFIED."
I think that what no longer lingers is that I’m not worth anything. For the longest, I felt smaller than an ant. Just, probably that I didn’t even need to be here anymore. So, that no longer lingers.
It’s been about 2 years now, and I’ve allowed myself to be loved [cries, long pause] and not really question it or be so afraid. I was TERRIFIED. Coming from an experience like that, you just…everything becomes a blur, and you don’t…I didn’t see people as individuals. I always felt that it was gonna come…the abuse would come. So now, it’s really nice to just have someone that loves me unconditionally. And I NEVER have to question or think if I say the wrong thing, there’s consequences [laughs]. It’s nice on my end too, I just never thought that I would have that again and I do. And I’m blessed and it’s, it’s unbelievable to have that back [smiles].
What is the definition of love and how does that love feel?
"...on a cold day when you’re bundled up in blankets…that’s what it feels like for me. Just being bundled in something warm and you feel safe."
When I think about love, I think of the word unconditional. So I think, just very simple, that’s my definition of love…it’s unconditional no matter what…up or down, in or out, here or gone. It’s just a deep care…always wanting the best for you, even maybe more than oneself I think.
Well it feels good [laughs]. With my girlfriend now, it’s unconditional and it’s warm. And it feels like it just…it’s kind of like, on a cold day when you’re bundled up in blankets…that’s what it feels like for me. Just being bundled in something warm and you feel safe. I think that’s what it is.
What does leaving a Trail of Existence mean to you?
"I found the light; my inner light has been found."
Leaving a Trail of Existence to me means…leaving parts of myself behind for others. So they can somehow know that they’re not alone in such unfortunate circumstances. So that they can see that we’re all human, and no one is immune to life’s lessons. No matter how hard. So that they can see that I was also in a dark place, but I got out. I found the light; my inner light has been found. That’s what leaving a Trail of Existence means to me.
Do you have any parting thoughts?
"...if anyone is going through it right now, it’s very important to try and find an outlet and know that you are loved...I don’t know you but, I love you [nods head]."
My parting thoughts…and I think this is kind of how I opened it with my first answer…that domestic violence has no face, no age, no gender. It happens to everyone and I really...you know, if anyone is going through it right now, it’s very important to try and find an outlet and know that you are loved. And not to ever be ashamed and try and hide, although I know that it could feel so easy to feel ashamed and to wanna hide and maybe not even wanna be here. I struggled with that, so now that I’m out of it and I look back on it, I’m proud of myself that I made it and I didn’t let it overtake me and take me all the way down. So, just know that you’re loved and I love you [laughs], I mean, I don’t know you but, I love you [nods head].