I’ve been kicked

I’ve been punched

I’ve been spit on

I’ve been knocked across the head so hard, it confused me

I’ve been shoved so violently, I broke the dresser across the room

I’ve had a marriage counselor tell me to run

I’ve been backhanded in the car for looking into the next car over

I’ve feared for my life

I’ve screamed so hard the neighbors couldn’t figure out where the sound was coming from

I’ve been choked out

I’ve been yanked out of the shower by my hair for turning the hot water up too much

I’ve left and come back – more than once

I’ve been dragged to the dryer and beaten because the top part of his socks weren’t dry yet

I’ve been pinned to the floor with his foot on my neck

I’ve been denied access to public transit because my face was covered in my own blood

I’ve been attacked by his family for destroying him

I’ve had broken ribs many times

I’ve had my head stepped on and stomped

I’ve ducked televisions, tables, beer bottles, tools and stereo components hurled across the room

I’ve told myself he loved me

I’ve had a loaded gun placed to my forehead and told I was about to die

I’ve been yanked off my feet by my hair

I’ve jumped out of a fast moving car because I knew it wouldn’t injure me as much as the beating I was about to get

I’ve had teeth knocked loose

I’ve been slapped for speaking to his daughter – she was 9

I’ve covered black eyes and bruises with makeup

I’ve lied to my friends, my coworkers, my boss and my family

I’ve defended him in public

I have also kicked, bitten, shoved, punched, spit, pulled hair, scratched, wished him dead, been jailed, begged for my life and utterly given up

Then I found the strength to get away

I am the survivor of an abusive marriage

It is not who I am

It is merely a part of my story