Becoming more who I am supposed to be everyday

Note: This is is a real story written by someone who experienced - and survived - domestic violence. Please note potential triggers in this powerful piece.

When I was 18 I couldn't have been more excited to start my adult life. I was in my first semester in college, everything was great, until one June night the guy I was seeing broke up with me so my favorite cousin invited me to a party her bf was having because she wanted me to meet his friend. well, that was the beginning of a recipe for disaster. he was tall tan and covered in tattoos, my dream man. so much so I was willing to overlook the fact he was 16 years older than me. in fact, he made it seem exciting, flaunted money, had his own house, took me on vacations swept me off my feet. before I knew it I was moving in with him in our very own house. the holidays rolled around and we looked like ken and barbie wrapping presents and hanging lights. then things started to unravel. little by little things he said started to not make sense. bills stopped being paid. fights became frequent. to cheer me up he bought me to kittens and they did for a while. the first glimpse I saw of the devil was when he got sick and had to spend a week in the hospital, which caused the mask he wore to start to slip. back home from the hospital things were getting bad he started abusing our cats and making me watch. then on January 16th, the man I fell in love with never came home. one petty argument turned into me on the floor screaming in pain, telling myself this can't be happening as I looked up to see my prince charming standing over me with his fist drawn back. I spent the next 3 weeks lying to my family. telling them I fell down the icy front steps, every time I was questioned about the bruises and the limp. idk why I stayed, shock I suppose but as the months went by and the beatings, stranglings, and intimidation got worse I started to lose who I was. he was an evil person who did unspeakable things to me. i"m not sure what finally lit my fire back, the daughter he had I didn't know about, the day he killed ur cats or the day he stared in my eyes while strangling me but something finally clicked. honestly I thought of my dad and what he would think he knew what he was doing to me and that thought, that reminder, this is not who I am pushed me to tell my sisters and with that, a month of escape plans ensued. May 9th 2013 was the day he finally beat me so bad he saved me. the cable men coming to fix our television came at the best and worst time to hear my screams and call the police. just like that, he was being taken to jail and I was off to the hospital. it hurt like hell to watch the man I loved to be taken away it was the pain of a breakup times a thousand. I honestly don't know where I found the strength to press charges, get a restraining order, and file for restitution, god knows it wasn't easy, but I like to accredit it to god and my family. I experienced every emotion possible during those few months of court dates, continuations, and trails, but in the end, he spent 2 years in prison for the damage he caused me. Now here I am finally becoming my self again. with a hell of a survivor story. those 5 years damn near killed me, I suffered from depression, PTSD, and drug addiction, but nothing and no one can take my strength. I'm currently 5 years a survivor of domestic violence, 2 years sober from heroin, and becoming more who I am supposed to be everyday.