I found a picture album with a lot of old photos of myself yesterday. It had been heaped into a pile of other things, and I was quite surprised to see them. Many of them I have not seen since before Bug was born.
I'll share one of them with you.
This is one of my favorite pictures of myself. (No, his face is not blacked out in the original photograph.) I was young and pretty, with my hair the shade of red that it's supposed to be. Look at me smiling - I look very happy and in love, don't I?
There is a secret behind the picture. Two nights before this was taken, the guy on the right beat the crap out of me. After an evening of verbal abuse, admissions of cheating on me with multiple other women, and drinking, he decided that I was being disrespectful to him. It started with him dragging me out of a bar and backhanding me in the cab. The highlight of the evening was me bleeding on the sidewalk in front of his cousin's town house. The neighbors called the police and what I remember as a SWAT team trying to haul him off to jail while I hid under his cousin's bed because I felt like I had done something wrong. The night wrapped up with us in a motel room in another state that he made ME pay for because his cousin kicked him out. I woke up that morning with him on the phone with his ex-fiance telling her how much he missed her.
No, you're not reading this incorrectly. That all happened before this picture was taken. The girl in that picture was completely ruled by the guy next to her from the way her makeup is done, to the clothes she is wearing, to the way she is standing. Needless to say, that guy is no longer in the picture, figuratively and literally.
The woman I am now would say that I would give up everything I possess in that picture - youth, beauty, clothes, etc. - to never be in that picture again. In a way, I have. I may not be as young or pretty or dress in stylish clothes, but I am now strong enough to break things off with a guy who respects me and treats me kindly (that I also care about) as opposed to being someone to stay with an abusive, hateful twat for a month after he gave me a concussion.
I think being who I am versus who I was is a fair trade.