I like to fancy myself a strong, resilient woman who has survived a lot. Not like “human trafficking in a war torn country” stuff but a lot. Actually, I’m a coward. Some parts of my story read like something you’d see on the Hallmark channel or something Oprah would sit across from and thoughtfully nod. I have survived abuse, rape and multiple bad relationships. Each relationship was a different bad from the last. The kind of bad that might have killed me if I hadn’t finally taken the kids and run. When someone convinces you that no matter what you do, how good you are, how careful, how quiet, he IS going to kill you and your children, he leaves you with nothing to loose. Once you have nothing left to loose, you either die or run. It took a nearly year of planning, squirreling away odds and ends of money, enough to buy a little rattle trap car that didn’t get far, but got just far enough. (That year long, 42 mile journey is a story in itself!) I ran. I kept running. He walked through restraining orders and hiding out with family. He showed up at jobs. He attacked me in the WalMart parking lot. He tried to take the kids from school. I kept running. All that exercise builds strength. After a while, I could stand and face him even though I was terrified and trembling. Time, however, stops everyone. Time caught up with him even if the law never did. Even so, with all that new found strength, I was a coward. I ran right into the next bad (but different bad) relationship. Even through all that, through all the fear and pain, I was and still am a coward. Yes, I’ve managed to extract myself from the worst of the bad relationships. Yes, I’m still not in a good relationship. Not good for me anyway. I suppose it’s great for the person I’m emotionally, physically, spiritually, financially supporting. But it is such a one way street, there isn’t even room to make a turn. Thus shines brightly my cowardice. Part me of me is so very afraid of being alone. The man in my house was once friend, companion and lover is gone. In place of those roles, I’m rearing a 47 year old teenager. WTF. After everything I’ve been through, you would think that I could stand up to simple usury. He isn’t blatantly violent toward me, he isn’t likely to kill me, he also isn’t likely to be supportive or caring or anything other that patently selfish. But I’m a coward. I’m longing for the life I see myself having. But the longing isn’t strong enough. I cower from what might be! I wallow in the guilt of my foolish promise to him to help him be the best version of himself he can become. That was years ago, I’ve worked at his life harder than he has yet I’m still here, doing the same crazy shit over and over. WTF is wrong with me! I KNOW I can’t fix this, fix him, he doesn’t want to fix himself! I know I need to kick his ass to the curb but then cowardice sets in, wraps itself in a blanket of guilt, stokes up the fires of duty and compassion and settles in again. It’s not like I have something loose… oh wait…perhaps the time is here. I want to be the person I see myself as being, strong ad resilient. Anything other than a coward.