One of the great benefits of writing is the catharsis that it can offer. Putting the demons that haunt my mind down into words is an excellent way to begin the process of exorcising them. The written word has a distinct power; it is harder to dismiss an experience that has been put down on paper, somehow. My abusive ex knew the power that writing can have, both to sort out emotions and thoughts, and to serve as a proof of experience. As such, he would not allow me to keep a diary when we were together. He was afraid that the truth of how he treated me would make it out into the world rather than staying caught up between us, a toxic secret meant to be hidden even from ourselves.
When I finally escaped from the prison of that relationship, I began to do many things to celebrate my new-found freedom, and to remind myself just how important it was for my survival and my sanity that I never return. One of those things was writing; I began to vent out all of the pent-up emotions, thoughts, and secrets that had built up over a decade of censorship. This began as a therapeutic journal, but I soon realized that my personal experiences may be useful for others to read, as well. Thus begins my Chronicling project; a memoir detailing scenes from my life, centered around my experiences with abuse, domestic violence, mental health, and chronic illness.
I hope that the snippets of my life that I share in the written vignettes that are my Chronicling posts here will help others to better understand what goes on in abusive relationships, and also to show those who are in or have been through similar conditions that they are not alone. There is a comfort and a strength that comes from the community of knowing that you--what you have suffered, and what you continue to suffer--are seen. I hope, as well, that those still caught within what very much feels like an inescapable situation may be able to recognize that they, too, can move on, can survive.
It is important to note that Chronicling will not shy away from difficult topics. The following content warnings apply: domestic violence, abuse, sexual abuse, suicide, self-harm