Battlefields of the mind, it’s like a game of war to see who will win. To find out who is the strongest and who can or will endure. I’ve adapted, or rather I should say – I’ve acquired the skills needed in this contest that I’ve take on. It’s almost like a game of charades, but more so – it’s masquerade. Or maybe it’s a little of both, one present and one hiding.
I’ve become an expert at lying and pretending, and covering up when I shouldn’t. I’ve become insecure and timid. Because I know the price of having a voice and the cost of being silent, with the voice inside me ever screaming to be heard. But it knows that quiet sometimes has it’s own reward, especially when you are furious. I know how to keep quiet, and if you’ve been drinking – I try my hardest to be invisible, but I know in reality that I can’t hide. I can’t hide, even though I want to. You tell me how I’m nothing, and how I was trash. How you made me into who I am. You threaten me with poverty as if I’d never experienced it before. But what hurts more than your words – are the mind games you play. I know your goal is to break me, to destroy me. But you can’t. Or at least I hope you can’t.
No one knows the beatings I’ve endured, some say it’s like when a prisoner of war is tortured and you develop dual personality as a means of survival. The scars underneath my makeup are the hidden scars. But the ones so deep inside my soul – makeup can’t hide those – and no one can understand them, unless they’ve endured the same hell. Because after every beating and every fight, you say, “I’m sorry” – and then have the balls to tell me that you love me. Then I feel guilty and confused, because I want to leave – but then I remember your threats, so I stay. So I endure this endless torture that my soul knows this isn’t love. It can’t be!
My momma asks why we don’t come over for Sunday dinners any more? The reason is that I’m too ashamed for her to know truth. It would kill her if she knew. My sister suspects, but I deny it and accuse her of being paranoid. She sees the traces of the scars left behind. My friends see the injuries but I just deflect their questions – I can’t handle those questions. But the worst of all – is that our baby notices how mommy has changed, that I’m not my old self. I’m this new version of me. Have you ever had to explain why you are lying on the floor in a pool of blood to your child? Or why there are choke marks around your neck where someone has left his fingerprints? Have you ever tried running away only to be found the next day? Because if you thought the last beating was bad, the one you are about to get for running away is going to be the mother of all beatings. Or have you ever been kicked or spat on as if you were trash on the street? It’s hard, almost impossible to regain one’s self-esteem through all of this.
When people talk of fear I wonder if they’ve ever had someone place a loaded gun to your head and say, “Bitch, if you say anything, let out as much as a peep – and I’ll kill you.” Only to find out that this time it’s a game of Russian roulette, except without a bullet – but the next time, there might be one. War games are mind games. All you can do is pray that it’s stops. Being held hostage isn’t a joke. The reality is that a hostage knows their freedom comes at a cost. And I know my price is death, or at least that’s my hope, as sad and pathetic as that is.
I hear people say you have that I need to save myself, but the truth is that you first have to actually ‘want’ to save yourself. Do I really want to live is the question that resonates in my mind? I moved from my parent’s home to college, then from the sorority house to the matrimonial home – and being a prisoner of war. If I had to do over again, I would have listened when my mother who said, “If you are not unequally yoked, you will never have to compromise your values.” Because compromise, always comes at a price. And now I’m paying the price, but this isn’t the price she was referring to. Lord knows she has no idea about what was truly going on.
I feel like a pig who is being slathered to barbeque slowly. I’d rather just be shot – please just kill me and get it over with – and maybe I’ll find some peace. But who says death is peaceful? Because somehow I feel as if you would probably haunt me there too. I tried suicide because I thought it would be easier, but even that was a cruel joke. I even got cheated out of death. The pills didn’t work, hell they didn’t even ease the pain. It’s hard praying and asking God to just let you die. You want to know that this pain that you keep hidden, within the silences of your own house, would finally come to an end. But God won’t let you die. Why? Because you have to escape – to tell your story! To save your child and to save others. Even though you think death still seems like a reward, especially when you are living in this hell – it isn’t. So I can’t let her see me lying in a coffin, thinking this is what real love is. I still have time to save her! So I pray. You pray and you hope.
It’s hard trusting a man when you’ve been hurt by one. I never thought I’d end up here. I should have seen the signs when we were dating. You wanted to control everything, from the way I dress to who my friends were. I thought it was love, that you were so in love with me that you just didn’t want to share me with the world. Because when little girls dream of their prince charming, their happily ever after, she never thinks she will be at war in her own home with her husband – the very person who said he would love her ‘until death do us part’. Hmmm, sometimes I think it might take my dying to get out of this hell. I never dreamed that the person I prayed for night after night would turn me into his prey, his prisoner. God, I ask you – am I not worthy of love? What did I do in my life that was so bad that I deserved this?
The ‘Battlefield of the Mind’ affects people you don’t think it would. My daughter thinks it’s normal. But it’s not – my normal isn’t normal. If I don’t leave, this will forever affect her relationships also? I don’t want her to think this is normal. This is not of God, it’s of the devil. Her Dad is ill, and he needs help, and now – so do I. Because this disease is very dangerous. The same force it takes to break a person’s spirit could be used to build it. But when love has left the building, all you have is desperation and regrets. I realize that my prayers, even the ones whispered and muffled through the pain and tears were heard by Him. God paid the price, He was beaten for my transgressions. He said that I am loved and that I am worthy of His blood. He said that our enemies are sometimes in our own home. But He also said that He would make a foot stool out of them.
This isn’t the love story He choose for me. I choose my ‘Caesar’ husband, I was young and naive and impressionable. I thought I knew what love was, but I was wrong. I didn’t realize who he really was. True love is patient and it is kind. It’s never jealous or judgmental. Real love does not want to hurt you, true love comforts and protects and blesses. It’s so easy to settle for something or someone you know. Especially when you’ve never experienced true love or haven’t ever observed a relationship of true Godly love to base it on. But I do realize this – that love conquered the grave for me and that the ultimate price was paid. He was beaten for all my sins so that I wouldn’t have to be beaten. He loved me enough to die for me so that I wouldn’t have to die for love.
My Father told me it was time to spread my wings and leave. He told me to get ready for battle and to put on the whole armor. To gird my loins with truth. And the truth is that he has beaten me for the last time. He told me to put on the breastplate of righteousness, and the helmet of salvation. He said. “You see My daughter, you are not fighting against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers that rule the darkness. So My beloved, guard yourself with the shield of faith, and take up the sword of My Spirit, which is My Word. And I will protect you, I’ve got your back with My Glory as you move forward in victory.”
My Father said that my soon to be ‘Ex’ needs healing, and love that I can’t give him. It’s a supernatural love and a supernatural healing that only He can provide. So as I walk away from you with my freedom, I pray that you find the peace you need. And that God takes away the anger and rage that lies within you. For even though our love story was hell on earth, I will forever be changed for the better because of my experience. I don’t hate you, because hating you gives you power over my future. But forgiveness and love gives me power to move on and to be able to be loved unconditionally – the way my Father intended. Somewhere out there is someone who has been praying for someone like me to love and adore. But I have to be whole and complete, and that starts with the Father – and forgiving my enemy. So as an act of my will, I say this before God – “I forgive you for hurting me.” You didn’t break my spirit, you forced me to find my Father and return home. I am a survivor. And the lesson is this – that we all can use what the enemy meant for harm, and instead let our heavenly Father use it as a platform to create something good for us. For it is written, “No weapon formed against you shall prosper!”