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So many of us share this story. We met the man of our dreams. He was everything we had always hoped for and more then we had ever imagined. In just a few short weeks we felt as though we knew him forever, he was our soulmate, what was life without him?
We shared common interests, sensibilities, hobbies, had the same life goals. So we progressed... quickly. It didn't feel as though things were moving too fast when were, "in love" and it didn't feel like we were isolating ourselves when we quickly and subtly began just faintly dropping the pieces of ourselves that made us who we are. The very things they loved about us were the first to go and so mildly, quietly, almost as if our absence was a one-off. Our absence from our own lives grew more pronounced over time.
His insults were "jokes" in the beginning. We must have heard him wrong. Did he say that under his breath? He wouldn't do that. Not this man. Not this model of perfection. Did he not text me all day? That's quite strange, he is always in contact? Has he not texted in two days? I wonder where he is, something must have happened? Were you feeling very worried? Maybe it was this time, the time he came returned from his silent departure that you asked him, "What happened to you, I was so worried?" and he snapped. Devalued you for the first time. The very first time that you could no longer say it was a mistake, a joke, a miscommunication. This time he outright pierced you with his words, insults, secrecy, refusal to be reasonable and then the blame.
Did he blame you? Did he complain that he did all this because of something you said, or did? That explained it all, didn't it. You were almost thankful to have cleared it up so easily. To have found the cause of his sudden shift in behavior. It was all your fault wasn't it. Sort of a good thing. All you have to do is NOT upset, aggravate, behave that way again and you will both be good.
You will go right back to the bliss you enjoyed in the beginning, during the honeymoon phase when you knew with certainty that he was your soulmate, not just because of how much you had in common or how well you got along, how much time you spent together but because he told you. And you believed him. Other women before you were "crazy" or "bipolar." They didn't appreciate him. They hurt him, they wronged him, they were not right for him. You were perfect for him and you will go right back to that blissful state. Not for long you won't.
You got back to the wonderful state for a short term. He held you and told you how much he missed you. How much he missed the two of you together, happy and content and needing no one but each other. But the hair on your arms stood out straight, something inside you whispered "GO" but you didn't. You hung on, in that happy time, hoping it would never end again. But it did. This time it was because you dared to put a passcode on your computer. Why did you want to keep him out?
"Client files?" he snapped with his teeth barred. "How would your clients even know I was in your files? They wouldn't know. You are hiding something from me. If you weren't your computer wouldn't be locked. Are you seeing someone else?"
You could feel the disapproval of your best friend as you logged onto your FB, gave him the code. So you didn't tell her. You didn't tell anyone about this "blip" in your perfect relationship.
You read every one of your messages on messenger out loud to him as he sat glaring over your shoulder.
"There you see? I am not hiding anything?" You felt an easy glee over the bold faced evidence that you did nothing secretive at all. He looked right at you, eyes piercing and backhanded you across the face. Your tears were more of shock then pain. The horror stung and choked you. You wiped your face in silence. He said nothing. He did not move. You nose began bleeding from the impact. Neither of you moved to wipe it. It was never discussed again. A part of you began to die.
Your self loathing began in that moment.
It would be easy to convince you that you had everything all wrong.
Look at what you already misjudged. You mistook a monster for a prince. But you wouldn't know that for a long time to come.
Did it all change? Did he tell you it was your fault? With each new infraction of his rules, each new "illogical," "selfish," "uncaring," "secret" thing you did? Did he tell you that you aren't the person he thought you were?
Until he disappeared completely.
Were you on edge, stomach turning, head spinning, tears flowing freely and uncontrollably for the three days he was gone? Were you so preoccupied with the absence of your soul mate, so aching for him to return that you forgot to be angry by the way he treated you? Or had he already programmed you to believe that you deserved this? Did you believe it was all your fault? Most do.
When he came back did he say he was sorry? Did he have to say he was sorry or were you so happy to see him, heart racing and frozen that in that flickering second of recognition did you see the old love, the honey moon phase, the syrupy sweet trickle of "love" and you forgave him instantly. When you saw his face, was all that mattered was that he had come back?
The next time did you try harder? Did you leave your computer unlocked, keep the children quieter, make the house cleaner, be what he wanted more often? Did you forget yourself enough so that all he could see was the person he searched for within you? Or were you already gone?
No. You are not already gone. Deep down below the shell of the person you have become, beneath the tumultuous armor you pieced together to weather the storms of his cycles, is you. Shrunken and tiny, weathered and sad, the small aching part of yourself is STILL THERE.
With each step that you walk away from the shell of the man, creator of turbulence, caught in a cycle of torture, she grows bigger. Even in the two steps forward, two steps back scenario, she grows. Keep walking. You have to hurl yourself directly into the storm to find her. She is there. She is cold, wet, shriveled by the anger, tiny from being squashed, scared of the darkness but she is in there, in the midst of the most deadly of places. You will find her. Once you weather the craziest, most chaotic, scariest storm of your life, you will see her grow; braver, louder and stronger then ever before. You will never lose yourself again.