Ever since I heard that my ex was living back in Boulder in the Ponderosa trailer park, I felt like I was tempting fate by my excursions into the university town. I told myself that I had been in and out of that town for over a year and had seen only one person from the old circle and they hadn’t seen me, and that when I saw Julie who used to run the NBC in NoBo she didn’t even recognize me, so why should I worry about the ex? I should know better. You think I’d know better.
My husband and I drove out to Boulder because I really do love the view of the mountains and I have basically been cooped up in the house for the past week. We hadn’t even been on Broadway more than five minutes and as we’re driving past the gas station north of Violet, I see him. His stature is unmistakable, the way he carries himself while walking, hell, I’d even venture saying his aura is unmistakable. As we drove past him, I looked him in the eyes, knowing that if he recognized me and saw me turn my head in avoidance, I knew that that would give him this sense of him having power over me still, all these years later. I have come too damn far in my life since then to give him an inkling of power over me again so I refused to avert my eyes. He saw me. I know he saw me. It almost seemed as if there was that flicker of recognition as the look on his face shifted just an iota, his smile suddenly wasn’t as big; it was very interesting to see someone’s mood shift so suddenly and so visibly, at least it was visible to someone who once studied every little thing about him.
But while I felt my heart stop for a moment as I looked into the face of my abuser, I felt a new feeling beginning to take root within me, and the only word I can ascribe to this new feeling is “empowered”. I feel like I can finally shut the book on that part of my past. I left my ex a broken mess, a shell of a person that I had once been, just barely holding my own head up because I felt so beat down, so defeated. And today, not even a decade later, I am worlds above what I was before. I have regained my self-esteem and it continues to grow stronger every day. I have picked up the pieces of my broken life and I have forged them into this new life, stronger and better than before. I am no longer that weak girl desperate for someone to love her. I am now a strong woman who has weathered storm after storm and still is standing. I know my worth. I know that I am loved and loved by many. While I still have my battles, I know that I will survive because of where I have been already.
“It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll;
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.” (Invictus, W. E. Henley)