What happened the other day.

May 10th. It was a good day? I’m convincing myself that it was a good day.

I’m just trying to survive. Surviving off of Charmin toilet paper instead of tissue because it was more accessible, and Ativan. And Larabars from friends who can tell I haven’t eaten in 9 hours and most likely will not do so on my own anytime soon.

I don’t know how it started the night before. I don’t know how it spilled over into the next day. All I know is that by 11am I was writing his name above the “respondent” line. I won’t mention his name because it doesn’t matter.

This is it. Here we are.

4 years of dating this now stranger on/off again, and then on/off AGAIN, he didn’t leave me any other choice.

And all I am is the petitioner. And he the respondent.

Petitioner. Respondent.

A truck drives down my alley and my immediate instinct is to look up and check to see if it’s a black Nissan.

Every time I drive home I have to glance at my red mailbox in front before I swing into my alley to anticipate if anything unwanted that has been left at my door. Returned gifts, receipts from meals past with nasty words scribbled on them, or worse, flowers.

The flowers are the worst. Why? Because they are the first stage in the “making it ok again” phase.

Make it right again.

The phrase that came out of his mouth WAY more times than “I love you”. By a long shot.

I used to look at graphics of the “cycle of abuse” and try to skip over phases and parts of abuse I didn’t think applied to us.

On Tuesday I had an office of angel women who were there to circle those phases in red for me and say “It’s not ok. And it’s not normal.”

So now comes the “ick” part. Where the rollercoaster comes to a stop and it’s time to exit to your left.

“Restraining order granted” was the text that those closest to me received on Tuesday. Funny how it has a superficial positive tone. “Granted”. But underneath is 4 years of shame, fear, and manipulation.

I would like to say thank you to the wonderfully winged women who lifted me to safety. Each taking a task to make sure my out of office was on, to loop in my manager, to physically drive me into the depths of Downtown St. Paul, and to just look me in the eye and say “I’m proud of you, this is a big day.”

The only thing I can do now is look for the signs of what I now know are abuse, and offer to be someone’s ride to write their name on the “Petitioner” line.