Muscle Memory

Everyone has a story, whether good or bad, and random things throughout the day can trigger memories of what happened. We hear all these stories of abuse and kidnappings, thinking that it will never happen to us. We feel so bad for those people, and we view them as broken or damaged. And maybe that is true, in a sense. These individuals hate talking about what they went through, and I understand why now. They don’t want to be seen as damaged goods that cannot be fixed.

I honestly thought that I would never talk, let alone write about this, but I figured this is something that I need to get off my chest. Today I was at work, and it was a pretty slow day. So, my coworker (who is male) and I were just hanging out and picking on each other. He decides to pretend like he’s about to kick me, to scare me a little, but he didn’t know about my past. No one does.

When he does this, I flinch to protect myself and move away as fast as possible. To most people, my reaction would have been overboard, but to me it was right. All of a sudden these memories come rushing back to a past relationship, that wasn’t the best. This coworker sees how scared I was, and said, “You know I would never hurt you right?” I apologized and said it was just muscle memory. He didn’t know about the bruises, and marks I used to have hidden under clothing and makeup. He didn’t know about the relationship I was scared to be in, but also scared to leave. He didn’t know anything.

After work, he made me talk about what happened and he did what any other person would do….look at me differently. There is a certain look people give you when they pity you, and I cannot stand it. I am not disabled, I am not broken. Yes, I flinch when I think people will hit me or harm me, in some way. But, I am still me, and if anything, I am stronger than I was before. This relationship shouldn’t have lasted as long as it did. People think, “well why wouldn’t they get out faster, and leave this sorry person behind?” One word: terrified. I have seen what it is like when they get mad, and by that, I didn’t want to see when I decided to leave him.

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