“I would ruin myself to fix you.”
And that’s what I did. I lost my mind trying to understand yours. Over the past year, my life has been a whole whirlwind of emotions. I was lost, unbothered, confident yet damaged all at the same time. If you think I’m referring to a boy, think again. I’m referring to a love which has taken a toll on my life and will haunt me forever. My father. I have been trying to view life with an open lense, a clearer view. How can I, when I was abused so much verbally as a child and attacked so many times that I struggle to even look people right in the eyes. For real though, it’s the truth, I can’t look people straight in the eyes without a wave of fear circulating my insides. It’s true what they say and only real once you’ve experienced it, family violence is a courageous struggle of survival. I’m ruined.
For a while, school was my escape. I would thrive off going to school, leaving the miserable torture at home so I could be with people that would make me laugh and bring me back to a happier place. But what hurt most, was seeing peoples fathers drop them off at school, showing them affection and love, when I just never received that. I never knew what that felt like.
I still have scars, physically and mentally. I’ve seen things no 15 year old (at the time) would imagine. To this day, I still can’t comprehend that I’m alive and writing this. They say you should cry until there are no more tears left, but I can tell you that I have made this sorrowful attempt. Did it work? No. Am I still crying? Yes. Growing up in an environment where you are scared to share your thoughts and lie to your friends – hiding what’s really going on at home, hurt my heart. Trying to explain to your teachers that the reason for your poor grades and minimal focus in class was purely a result of being a child trying to grow up normally and function normally when you just. can’t.
I’m the type of girl that doesn’t really complain. I keep everything to myself, especially personal issues. I have found it has saved me from a lot of questions, but also caused me to remain stuck in an unhealthy headspace where I’m unable to heal. However, I was brought up like that because everything I knew was kept undercover as a secret and only within the immediate families knowledge. It was forbidden to tell others who my ‘so called father’ really was – a human with multiple personalities and a mind full of hate and control. Additionally, as I began opening up to people, I learnt that I have the right to voice my story. What they don’t tell you is that maybe the reason for their aggressive actions is due to their own upbringing. To this day, I still have no hate in my heart for what he did to me. He wasn’t my father. Sure I’m still hurt and upset, but I can’t help but be grateful that I’m free from his cruelty. I’m out of that dark place and now the world is at my feet.
It’s been 3 years now since I’ve seen your face and had a decent talk with you. I feel sorry for you, but not the guilty type of sorry, the sorry that means ‘you fucked up and got caught.’ Because the truth is, you’re only sorry because you got caught. I know you have many problems but you also had many chances to change and get help. I hope you find peace in your life and heart so that you can learn how to love and treat those who care about you right.
I don’t know what real love is. But I know what pain is. I know what change is. I’m a lonely soul but I’m remarkably complete at the same time. I’m sad but I’m also optimistic. I get back on my feet and regain strength, but I’m pulled back down even harder. I have lost my true self and I want it back. I had my heart broken into pieces from the one person I never thought would. The world has made me a drier, colder person. They say it takes a life to know how to live and I can confirm that. Funny fact about me is that I’ve always been told I am an old soul, which I inevitably am. I was even born on old soul’s day. I am proud that I am an old soul, because I envision things, I understand things and I crave authenticity.
Listen, I have something to say. If you have parents that are still together and treat each other with the utmost respect, then let me tell you, you are very lucky. Appreciate it, hold onto it and never take it for granted. Another thing- when someone is acting abrupt, rude, judgemental or negative always be kind because you never know what’s happening at home. You just don’t know what goes on behind closed doors. Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.
Today I am grateful, for all the people that are loving and kind to me. I would continue talking about the importance of real love, but that’s for another time…
Extended message from Natalie Julia:
Family Violence is a global issue experienced by many people in society today. This is a story of my struggle but how I now see life in a hopeful light filled with endless opportunities. My experience was my greatest blessing in disguise. I hope to reach out to those who need reassurance that things do get better eventually. You never really know what goes on behind closed doors. Life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. Although some people may appear to be the happiest souls, they often have stories that have broken them and transformed how they view everyday life. They have become fighters and survivors. My story has taken me years to sum up the courage to write about publicly. In saying that, it is definitely a topic that is completely swept under the rug despite the real hardships. Our stories should never make us feel ashamed, only empowered. Furthermore, I also hope I can encourage others to be more understanding, compassionate and better people towards others. It’s important to realize as a survivor of DV that the pain always lingers and has a life-long effect. However, time does heal. Writing my story has brought me peace of mind and I hope I can encourage and inspire others to share their story to. “Our greatest inner beauty often arises from our deepest and darkest ashes.”
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