I’M A MOTHER. I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy when I too was a child. Only nineteen years old. It’s funny because when I was nineteen years old I thought I was so grown and mature. Now, as I look back years later, I know that I wasn’t ready. And, is it bad to say I was never ready for this responsibility? It doesn’t take away from the present.
I only regret that I used my child as my scapegoat. I used my child as an excuse to stay with him. With the man that abused me for years. Verbally. Physically. Emotionally… That man was a monster, but I wanted the best for my baby boy. So I stayed there slap after slap…the striking right hook to my face. Again and again for not agreeing with his archaic, misogynist, and racist ideals that he wanted to instill into my baby. How I hated this man so much and was so used to pain…constant pain…being treated like a crumbled piece of paper in the wastebasket that was not even worth recycling. I had hoped my tears and bruises would serve as visual reminders that what he was doing was wrong.
This was all I knew. When I finally got the strength to leave him, he would use flowers, the “ I love you’s, I never meant it’s, and I’m sorry’s” to try to force me back to his dungeon. He thought we were in a game of poker and I would eventually fold, but he didn’t know I had four of a kind. I won. I won.
But why, why did it feel like I didn’t? This emptiness, these insecurities that fog the mirror and my self-worth… I didn’t feel like a winner. My son only saw a champion that wore her smile. He’d ask why his father was gone and why we stayed with abuela… but how could I be the one to tell him his father wasn’t the superhero he believed him to be. He was the antagonist in this story. And because of him, I couldn’t allow another man to actually love me. Abuse was my normal and I don’t know how to separate my normal from realistic expectations. I’m broken.