Because I Can

Tuesday, 22 September 2020

Yesterday morning after finishing the final letter to my husband, I took a shower. I got dressed in something that I love and feel pretty in. I put on some makeup, and then happily straightened my hair. I prepared myself to make a TikTok about my latest masterpiece. Often, I find myself marveling at my newfound freedom. It's amazing. I am absolutely fascinated that I can do things just because I can.

I've been dipping my toes in the freedom and dabbling with it here and there. The first thing I did when we first separated was to stop eating pork. Now, I don't really have anything against pork. I stopped eating pork just because I can. It's so great to be able to cook and eat what I want. I know pork is a silly stand to take. I needed something I could take control of quickly. There were pork chops in the freezer, so pork got the ax. I stopped eating pork because I can.

I've also started doing things that I enjoy. I really like writing. Writing allows me a safe space to work through my feelings. What I love most about writing is sharing what I've written with others. I love knowing that I can give people hope while they are living in their darkest time. I write so others know
that they too can get out. I always keep my phone with me so I'm available to respond to the messages I get from men and women who are not yet safe. I reply as quickly as I can. I do it so that the trauma I endured was not for nothing.
I do it because I can.

For 7 years, I was not allowed to get dressed or put on makeup or straighten my hair. Putting on something other than pjs, sweats, or leggings 95% of the time resulted in a fight and absurd accusations. Add some makeup and hair styling to the mix, and suddenly I’ve done something terribly wrong. I put on a pair of shorts to go to the store that were a little short, and was told to change. I now put on the shorts because I can.

Yesterday I put on these short, cute shorts and had a photo session on my bed. It’s a strange place, but it was so freeing! Now I’m sharing them with the world. I did it because it felt good and I wanted to do it. I am free to photograph myself how I want to. I photograph myself often. I do it because it makes me feel good. I do it because I can.

As I'm embracing this new free, single life, I'm learning what "normal" people do. I've learned so far that people go to the gym. Today will be my first time in a gym since before my abuser came into my life. I was not allowed to go to the gym before. He never said, "You can't go to the gym," but I knew better than to go. Self-care just wasn't worth fighting about. Today, I'm going to the gym. And I'm going to go tomorrow too. It's going to hurt, but I'm going to do it because I can.

I’m excited to continue this journey. I’m excited to look back at my progression of photos in a few weeks, months, and years. I’m excited to be learning who I am and what makes me happy. I’m excited to have the freedom and capacity to love myself for the first time in my 35 years of existence. I’m excited because I can be; just because I can.

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