“You’ve changed. You’re not what you used to be,” he said in the most monotonous tone ever. I drew a long breath, to stop myself from snapping at him, to stop myself from breaking down. I knew exactly what he meant.
I watched him as he stood up to leave. He didn’t hug me. I didn’t receive the usual peck on my cheek. My brain – exhausted. My heart – ached. I wanted him to stay. I knew it was the last time I would see him, ever.
Yes, I changed. I’m not what I used to be.
I don’t let you push me around anymore.
I don’t let you press the ends of your cigarette against my wrist. I’m tired of being questioned about the burns all over my arms.
Yes, I changed.
I don’t pretend to not know anything about the other women you’ve been seeing. I confront you instead. I tell you I know.
Yes, I changed.
I don’t let you strike a blow at my face and a moment later, allow you to tell me you love me while I foolishly believe you, even when all of me knows you’re lying. I don’t forgive you like I used to for your ritualistic violence of beating me black and blue and then, showering me with meaningless kisses and cuddles with the facade of innocence.
Yes, I changed. You don’t own me because you can’t. I’m not your ashtray to push a burning cigarette butt against my skin. I’m not your standby option when the other women you’ve been texting cannot meet you in the night. I’m not your punching bag to be punched whenever I questioned you of the love you robotically claimed you had for me, whenever I questioned you of the feminine fragrance that wafted around as you entered the apartment.
I am human, and I changed for me.
It hurts to let you go because love makes everything painful seem worthy of pain, but I cannot do this anymore because I love myself more than I thought I do. I cannot do this anymore because love needs to be felt and with you, there’s no feeling, but hurt and pain.
I changed, but for the better.
I changed, to be stronger.
I changed, to be independent.
I changed. I changed for me.
Domestic violence is everywhere. If you are a victim or know a victim, seek help immediately. It’s your life; no one has the right to make you feel less human than you are.