“You’re a chump! GET OUTTA HERE,” he said.
With tears streaming down my face, I glanced over my shoulder knowing it would be the last time I would ever step foot in that house again. It was a hell-hole. And, as gut-wrenching as it was to leave, I refused to live under the same roof with a man who devalued my life.
“Are you kidding me?” I thought. And, although I was frightened, ashamed, disoriented and fragile—I had resolved that preserving my life, my purpose, and my destiny—were worth the price I would pay for walking away.
I had agonized over my decision for some time because of my religious beliefs.
And then I had an epiphany—“What right do I have to allow another human being to systematically destroy me when there was One who died to give me life in the first place?” He was abused so I didn’t have to be.
About forty-five days after the “I do’s”, the madness began to show itself in periodic and reasonably explicable ways. Over time, the trauma became relentless. Near the end, I was afraid, for my life had become utterly surreal.
I was raised to believe that if you treated people well, they would in turn treat you well. I was taught to first do no harm. Sometime later, I realized that most of what I was taught was about how to treat others, but never about what to require of them. Living in a state of shock, I was tormented by thoughts like:
How did I get here? This can’t be happening to me!
What will people think of me? I’m too intelligent for this! What did I do to deserve this?
How can I make it stop? If I stay, I will surely die.
What will my son think of me if I stay?
How could I let another human being abuse the privilege of being in my life?
Worse yet, what kind of message would this impress upon my son about manhood?
Because surely—what he observed, discerned, and experienced—was a perversion of the real thing.
My mind was losing its grip. All I had to hold on to was the fact that I knew I was created for something greater.
I fought to counteract every lie spoken to me by a small man. I fought to hold on to the real truth about me that seemed to be fading under the weight of extreme cruelty.
The irony was that in the midst of this nightmare, I had to keep showing up on the earth giving to others. It seemed too great a paradox to endure for any length of time; eventually, I could take it no more and made the decision that saved my life.
I had to go!
No matter the cost to my reputation, my image, my ministry, my whatever. What mattered most was that I lived and did not die. Sometimes you just have to boil a thing down to its essence.
I thought about my vision for my life and the impact I was born to make in the world.
Although I died a thousand deaths by walking away from the illusion of love, nothing is more sublime than advocating for one’s self. It all started with a single gut-wrenching, death-defying decision that went against every religious belief and tenet of my faith.
Eventually, I began to see that even in the worst of times society puts a burden on women. We’re expected to fix things, hold things together and make them right for everyone else at the expense of ourselves. Our true selves. Our authentic selves.
In the end, I simply could not shake this one thought; why would The One who died for me to live—put more value on the institution of marriage—than MY LIFE itself.
Some women choose to stay and never become who they were created to become. Well, you know what? Not this sister!
I had value long before I became a wife or a mother.
I had a divine call on my life long before I said “I do.” I was created to make a global impact long before he put a ring on it. And, being in relationship with another should have a multiplier effect of the good that is already in my life. But, that was clearly not the case, and I paid a price for it. Please don’t feel sorry for me. This experience served to confirm my life’s work.
In the midst of the trauma, I was a student of my own life. I began to see that in spite of my professional success I privately moved among the earth like a victim. It’s overrated and I had had enough. Once I transitioned to my refuge, I became obsessed with soul-work. It was grueling to say the least but worth the eventual metamorphosis.
I reprogrammed my thoughts to develop a power mindset.
I methodically established order in my world to create an environment for unleashing my potential.
I painstakingly constructed the base of personal power from which I operate today.
I nurtured my authentic voice and watched the world respond to me in a completely different way.
The pain served its purpose.
I fear no man.
Too high a price to pay
I don’t know about you, but I’ve come to believe that anything that costs us our health, our sanity, our dreams, our intrinsic value, our authentic selves, our potential, our self-worth, and ultimately our lives is too high a price to pay. My magnificent obsession is to share with you the concepts, strategies and resources I’ve developed for living a “power-full” life; I pray that yours becomes the pursuit.
Now it’s your turn
Have you ever walked away? Be it a relationship, job, addiction…
What was in your way? What was your ultimate vision? How did/do you achieve that goal?
Write your thoughts in the comments section below.
A dynamic speaker and community leader, Cheryl Carter is known for making impact. A former IT Sales Account Executive, Ms. Carter has spent the last twenty-five years speaking nationally and internationally to audiences on leadership, human potential and personal empowerment. Through the power of the spoken word, she inspires audiences to embrace higher dimensions of thought and action; leading to individual and organizational transformation.
Ms. Carter currently serves as the Special Assistant to the President of North Central State College. To book Ms. Carter for conferences, seminars or professional development, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.