Congratulations to Kim B. on winning my first giveaway! Email me back as soon as possible so I can send you your prize. XOXO!
The best part about this giveaway was that I got to hear so many wonderful “getting inside the arena” stories. Y’all are some brave folks. I feel inspired and honored to receive your vulnerability. That said, I wanted to share an arena moment as well. I figure it’s only fair.
Trigger warning for abuse and language
One night in December, many years ago, I spoke to my ex-boyfriend on the phone. He sounded weird, like how he used to sound when he was using. It made me very nervous.
He asked me to pick him up at a friend’s house, which, of course, I did immediately. I parked outside and waited in the car for what seemed like forever. When he finally came outside, I knew as soon as I saw his face. The man I loved…who had put me through hell and back…who promised me being clean was ALL he cared about, second to only me…
He was high again.
As I drove to my apartment, I felt completely numb. Every so often he would open his eyes and try to convince he was fine, but we both knew better. When we arrived, he walked inside and instantly fell asleep on my bed.
It took me awhile to find the pills and when I did, I flushed them. I wanted them out of my house and I wanted him out of my house. I woke him up and told him I needed to take him home. He soon realized that I had found pills and that I was probably hiding them, or even worse, that I had flushed them. This realization sparked the scariest moment of my life.
He tore my apartment apart. My entire apartment. He threw everything, from my books to my dresser to my bed. He was like a monster and I could hardly get out of his way.
“Where are they?!” he yelled, while smashing me up against the wall. “What the fuck did you do? Why did you go through my shit? You are such a bitch. I will fucking kill you!”
Somehow I managed to escape his grip and left the apartment fast. With nowhere to go, I drove around aimlessly. Half an hour later I cautiously went back home, but the drugs had taken over. He was calm again. I counted my blessings, got him in the car, and rushed to take him to his house.
When I got back to my apartment, I tended to the destruction. I wasn’t exactly sure when my roommates would come back home, so even though I was exhausted, I cleaned up everything. I would need a new dresser, but it was still usable. My bookcase and bed were okay.
I wanted to be okay too…
When I was done, I called off work and let myself cry for hours. I wasn’t enough for him to change. He wasn’t enough for me to be happy. In four years I did all I could to make our relationship work. Somehow, I still failed.
Terrified and heartbroken, I got inside the arena and decided to end the relationship. That night wasn’t the first time he used aggression to control and manipulate me, but I knew it needed to be the last.
The light bulb came on. And in that very moment my quest for self-love began.
It began inside the arena.