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This Woman

I remember my teen years and the attitude I had.
I always said, “I’ll never let a guy hit me or treat me bad.”
The first time it happened, the first time I was hit;
I couldn’t believe he did that to me, it was bullshit.
I felt immediate pain, disrespected, and degraded;
feeling like my mind, heart and soul had been invaded
with anger, tears, and genuine disbelief,
quickly turning to confusion, terror, and grief.
I remember crying out “Why did you hit me?”
He was drunk and so angry, he couldn’t see
the tears streaming down my face and the pain so deep.
He just ignored me and went to the bedroom to sleep.
I stayed up that night replaying that moment
when he first beat me, like a drum…an instrument.

That was the beginning of an abusive relationship
in which I received bumps, bruises and a busted lip.
The shame I felt with a black eye and bruised cheek;
calling in sick to work for two days that week.
Returning to work with makeup caked on the bruise;
coworkers saw through the mask, they saw abuse.

I was only 21 with a secret I couldn’t tell.
My life with my boyfriend was a living hell.
What happened to that strong Chicana who didn’t take shit?
Where did she go?  Why was she getting hit?
He made me question the woman I had become.
Maybe I did deserve to be battered, maybe I was scum.
I thought if I learned to cook better meals,
stopped wearing sexy clothes and high heels,
if I looked down when we went out,
maybe, just maybe, he wouldn’t shout.
I feared his anger and rage
it was too much for a young woman my age.

How could I allow this monster to abuse me verbally and physically?
I had allowed him to strip away my pride, he controlled me totally.
I knew not how to escape from my new horrible life.
I was raised with a loving family, now all I knew was strife.
Even when I was seven months pregnant with our first child,
I was still being abused; a punch in the belly, that was mild.
The verbal abuse and hurtful names pained me even more.
I was called ugly, fat, slut, *****, and whore.
Each name and every slap or punch tore away at my heart.
I needed to leave, take my baby and go, but I didn’t know where to start.

The shame of being a battered woman was too much to handle.
If I confided in my family or friends, it would be a huge scandal.
How could I tell them that the strong confident girl was long gone.
I had become some guy’s doormat to be thrown and walked on.
I had lost my joy, my laugh and my smile.
I had become an abused woman suffering silently, yet in denial.
I thought I deserved the abuse; I didn’t make him happy, it was my fault.
Maybe if I lost weight and worked two jobs the abuse would come to a halt.
That didn’t work; he still beat me and cussed me out.
I knew he didn’t love me, there was no doubt.
I began to believe everything he told me…
He said I was disgusting, fat, and ugly.
He said no other man would ever want me and my children.
He told me I could never be attractive to any men.
I believed his bull*****and all of his bold faced lies.
My smile became a frown; gone was the sparkle in my eyes.

Fast forward my life, 26 years after the nightmare began.
Divorced for four years and living a happy life without that man.
I wish I’d known then, all that I now know.
Never settle for a man who’s abusive and love he doesn’t show.
If he doesn’t care and respect you from the start,
don’t allow that man any place in your heart.
Life goes on, the bruises fade, but the memories never do.
You can get away and find happiness by learning to love YOU!

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