A year in three memories

When I walked into the library to write this today, it smelled uncomfortably familiar. It is ironic that in exactly the moment, I try to distance myself from the past and the hurt to reflect on it, your perfume fills the room and my lungs. There seems to be a pattern in relics from the past popping up whenever I feel secure in the present. Recently, while searching for photos from school, I stumbled over pictures and screenshots that must have backed themselves up into my iCloud in the damned year of grade 10. My phone was stolen half a year after I managed to break up with my abuser (still feels weird and wrong to say that) so I thought that there was no evidence of the time. But now they are here. Roughly 50 photos. A fraction of a year really yet so representative of everything in it.

  1. The first few months are like a haze. I barely remember anything concrete about them. Partly because beginnings are always too exciting to pay attention to details. Partly because it is too painful to think about how convinced I was of your goodness and of a love that later turned out to be control.
  1. The relevance of these images at that particular time – two months into the relationship and the initial magic wearing off – is unbelievable. And the fact that I do not remember when or where I took them directly mirrors the message: power of denial. Seeing these gives me strength and rebuilds trust in my judgment of people and situations. I knew something was up but was manipulated into disregarding my feelings to serve yours.
  1. It took me too long to realize that something was fundamentally wrong. I do not know why you were like that. Today, I don’t care. Having terminology like gaslighting, love bombing, etc finally gave me the perspective needed. Looking back I am no longer frustrated about how late I opened my eyes to reality but proud that I found the strength to cut myself free.

Disclaimer: YouTube makes a business of the shocking and unexpected. While it is not necessarily the place for guidance or definitive information, the attention seeking side of it first exposed me to ideas like unhealthy power imbalance in relationships, which made me feel validated and not alone.