I wrote this post back in June, published it, then unpublished it after a moment of panic that people would think I was oversharing or that my past situation made them feel uncomfortable. Except I've come to realise that those are my issues and the uncomfortable feeling is mine. A feeling that I will appear vulnerable when I am (mostly) fixed. A feeling that people reading might lose respect for me because of the situation I allowed myself to be in.
A blogger friend of mine asked on Facebook what song makes you feel emotional? It was easy for me to answer the question but my response may have seemed odd and a little vague so I thought I’d explain the reasons behind the song that has such a profound effect on me. My answer to Hannah’s question was that this particular song, the one that evoked such emotion, is the song that changed my life...
Years ago back when I was 20 I was in a very bad relationship. So dreadful in fact it was completely toxic. Each day that went by I lost another piece of myself. The person I was with was devious and dark and treated me appallingly. I lost my confidence, my self-worth, my personality. All of it stolen away bit, by bit, by bit.
It wasn’t unusual for me to be alone in the evenings once the children were in bed and this particular night I had a film to watch. The film was Moulin Rouge and the song, my song, is ‘Come What May’
I had never seen a film quite like it; quirky and unusually shot with an incredible musical score. What I fell for the most was the utter devotion between the main characters Satine and Christian, that all-consuming, powerful and tangible love.
The sort of love that you learn about as you get older.
Heady, intoxicating makes you swoon kind of love. Something I had certainly never felt before and wouldn’t for a few years to come.
When they sang that song to one another I thought to myself who is going to love ME like that until MY dying day?
Certainly not him, the one who’s name even now after all these years I can not even bear to speak aloud.
The one who's voice still rings in my ears as I sleep.
The one who's breath I can still feel too close to my face.
And this song, it stopped me right there in my tracks.
My defining moment.
Of course to any normal person this might sound completely insane but I promise you it is the truth. I was so moved by the music and the emotion of the film. I made up my mind right there and then.
I had been burnt, beaten, left in a crumpled soggy pile on the floor. Spat at, urinated on and humiliated. What the hell am I doing? Get out and get out now.
And so I did.
It seems so ludicrously simple and even writing this I feel so ashamed, I may not even be brave enough to hit publish. I am ashamed that I let this person stay in my life for even a single moment longer than when the first alarm bells started ringing. Devastated for my children but eternally thankful that they were too young to remember all the ways in which their young lives were wronged and corrupted by violence.
It almost sounds ridiculous that Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman singing a love song in a fictitious film was what it took to give me the impetus to stand up for myself, but there you have it and that’s the truth.
That’s my song, part of the musical score of my life.
If you are in a situation similar to mine I hope from somewhere you find the courage to leave. Talk to someone and if you have nobody, you have me. I promise you I am here to be your confidante if you need me.
I know what it's like to have to pretend to be someone you are not.
I know how hard it is to walk away.
I know you are afraid.
I want you to see that life doesn’t have to be that way, that there is light at the end of your tunnel too.
You will learn to accept yourself. You can be happy. You can dream and have ambition and live a full life.
Please find the strength from somewhere within like I did.
Come what may...