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three years ago tonight

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Tonight was different than this night three years ago. I was at a fetish event as a model and a submissive masochist, and living with the most dangerous man I've ever known. I was drinking, probably stoned, and rail thin.

It seems like another lifetime.

Tonight, I went to belly dancing class. I talked with my mom and my neighbors and watched as our dogs played together. I am sober. I am clean from alcohol, from pot, and from my pervasive addiction to pain.

I could still be there. Or maybe I wouldn't have made it this long.

I am just glad that it's over.

I'm ashamed to admit, I still talk to the man. But I talk to him not as my fictional alter ego, but as myself. I tell him, "You don't have to go. You're not missing anything but a bunch of nerds hiding behind a whip."

But he will go. He's not my problem anymore.

What's sad is that here I am, at 28, longing to be whole and stable so I can have a husband and kids and a white picket fence. And he's three years behind me at the same age. I told him, "Sometime you're going to wake up and wonder where your life went. Eventually, you have to grow up."

But he never will. He will be lonely forever. He doesn't have the capacity to learn.

I don't pity him. I don't even pity myself.

I'm just... Glad that it's over.

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Thanks. It did take years after the relationship ended to be free from him, emotionally and mentally.

I don't know why I still talk to him, except for that I understand him. I often give him advice because we've walked such similar paths. I know I don't owe him anything. I guess I can just lead by example, whether or not he will follow. I just want him to know theres a better way to live. I want him to see I am happier now.

I don't feel that he has any power over me anymore. I'm sure that he is talking out of his ass 99.9% of the time. He just goes along with what I say in the hopes that he may ever be with me again. Our time together has come to an end. The two of us together was incredibly destructive not only for us, but for the people in our lives.

Part of me is just being selfish, because telling him my truth is something I've never been able to do with any of my previous abusers. It's a gentle sort of vindication to let him know that I've outgrown him and don't need him anymore. I am showing him my strength and conviction.

He said last night, "You're about you." I smiled inside and said, "It's about time, isn't it?"

Tori Amos said it best. "She's been everybody else's girl. Maybe one day she'll be her own."

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Last night, my aunt came over and I helped her learn to scan pictures. Our goal is to scan all of my childhood pictures. I saw only a few from the first album, and a little while later, I began to cry. The thing is, that was the best time of my life. I'd forgotten how happy I was. Happy, confident, beautiful inside and out. I was magnetic, a born leader. I had everything going for me. Life was so beautiful.

And I was sad that someone took that away. My dad left, and my mom didn't know how to protect me. It was the beginning of the digital age where people were just starting to get computers in their home. The dangers of pedophiles scouring the chat rooms was not yet known. But one found me, and guilted me into giving him my phone number at 12 years old. He would ask me to do things on the phone, and when he would orgasm, he would always ask, "How old are you again?" And then he would either fall asleep or pretend to fall asleep on the phone. This went on for years. It changed the course of my life. It swallowed my self esteem. It started me on this dark path.

Some guy ruined my life just to get off. I was so precious. I wonder if he had any idea what's become of me, or if he would even care. It's such an incredulous injustice. It's so wrong. It's so sad.

One day, I'll look back and find our chat logs, and have to decide what to do with them. I could take them to the police to see if there was any way to find him from his screen name after all these years. I wouldn't do it for me. I would do it so I could save another child's life. Another beautiful, precious child, before he takes her life and her dreams and her sense of self.

It hurts to look back. But I know as I move forward, I will learn what happiness is again.

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What happened to you was incredibly wrong and sad. No child should ever experience that. I also find it hard to look at childhood pictures of myself. I have some in my house but it is hard to see them and wonder why things had to go so wrong.

You have a lot of courage and strength and you are moving on with your life and that is something to be very proud of.

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