What are you Afraid of?

Photo by JT GazePhoto by JT Gaze

Photo by JT Gaze

Written by PresidentELLA

I’m afraid of not being afraid enough. I’m the type of person who confronts battles alone and face first. I would be the type of leader who would walk the front lines with with army and raise my sword when it’s time to attack. Sometimes, I think I’m too strong for my own good.

The most bizarre part about being choked until you pass out is when you wake up and it doesn’t hurt. The most devious of men learn to choke a woman instead of swinging at her, to avoid marks. 1 in 4 women are victims of domestic violence and while some are afraid, I believe that some are not afraid enough. “Why did it take you so long to report him?” the detectives like to ask and my unfortunate answer is that I was more concerned about my belongings and my bills than my life. “Te podía matar, mija,” my mom says in the most painful voice I’ve ever heard. He could have killed you, is a difficult statement to digest (especially from your mother) when you feel like you’re ok because your not dead. I don’t share much with my mother because she’s 4 hours away and that’s a long distance to have to worry about whether or not your youngest child is in at the bottom of a river. I don’t communicate much with anyone, now I have to make sure I at least send her a text a day so she knows I’m not just OK, but alive. 

He was arrested on Tuesday, so now I take a new way home. “Why don’t you move?” my mother asks. “It’s not that easy,” I reply and I suppose she takes into account that NYC housing is tough to come by, especially not at an astronomical price. I like my apartment, it’s a good price and spacious for NYC, so I don’t want to move. I also feel like I shouldn’t have to move. I shouldn’t have to uproot my life because I was vocal about what he did to me and he’s now facing the consequence.  “No one should go through what you went through,” is what the detectives and DAs continue to tell me, and I agree. It took me some time to understand that even though I’m strong enough to deal, and even though God was watching close enough over me wake me up… someone else’s daughter might not be so lucky. 


Combining the feelings of “don’t snitch” with “hold your man down” lead me down the darkest path of my life. I like to think that if my big brother were alive, I would have told him, but I know that I wouldn’t have. My father passed away when I was 9 months old, so my brother was my father. I always knew that if I told my brother something, his reaction would land him in trouble — he loved me, my sister & my mom like we were his last breath. What I learned from that is that I need to tell someone. Eventually, legal action is all that is left to take. The worst part is dealing with the “Why did it take you so long?” question. I shouldn’t have been so loyal or devoted. That devotion ruined me while I tried to fix him. The warrant detectives had asked me to try and meet up with him, so that they could catch him, but he didn’t bite. He just offered to send me money western union because he definitely knew how he financially fucked me over and, unfortunately, I made a bigger deal of the financial issues in our relationship than I did the physical. He’d been posting a flier on his social networks for a supposed new “signing” deal he had… and I assume that’s how the police found him. Imagine posting pictures online with captions saying “Tonight is gonna be ah good night,” only to find yourself behind bars in the morning. Imagine that right before you get locked up, you spend all this money on clothes and sneakers… and less than a week later you need that money to post bail. Imagine that you’ve suddenly come into money, but you still don’t want to reimburse your ex for the 3 months rent you owe her and you won’t admit that you almost took her life, but you have the nerve to send her an Instagram direct message talking about “imy frfr now”… and you get locked up on the domestic violence charges she filed later that same day. That’s God, though. 

Abuse isn’t just physical, which I’m sure you’ve heard before. Manipulation is the worst of abuse — like when you ask a man to simply move your car for alternate side parking but he spends the days riding around in it like he can afford the car note, or the insurance, or the gas, or an oil change, or a car wash. It’s when someone isn’t contributing a cent to your household, but you’ve fed and clothed them and they continue to say you’re not doing anything to help them although you work a full-time job for them to live comfortably off of you. It’s when you can’t put the spare change from your pocket into a jar for laundry because it’ll be used on cigarettes. It’s when someone continues to tell you that no one else wants to, so you start to think that maybe you are supposed to settle… and that maybe your life is a movie and one day they’ll find you in your apartment because you haven’t shown up to work in a week. I was almost ok with that. I almost saw no other purpose in my life because somehow I had gotten involved with a man who was good for nothing so maybe I was good for nothing, too. 

I’m afraid of not being scared enough to prepare myself for a situation I should be afraid of. I have such great faith in that God will help me pull through, that perhaps I’m not arming myself for the cold, human world. I have to change my perception of carrying around pepper spray or a taser like a scared girl, to carrying around pepper spray and a taser because I’m a woman not to be fucked with. I suppose I fear the aftermath of it all… Consequences are tough to anticipate. I didn’t know that “trying” to make things better with this loser would leave scars to the point where I don’t want to communicate with anyone. I don’t want to be alone with men. I don’t let anyone into my house, even if I know you. I don’t trust anyone with anything. My focus has been rearranged. I still bust my ass at work each day, and I still love my art… but this has affected me beyond my average work day or writing a song. Now, I question what I’m working for. In my art, my pen always veers off to these feelings because I haven’t fully gotten them out because this still isn’t over. I know that I have to express my feelings in order to understand them but I don’t want pity — I don’t want to be scared. For that reason, I write. This is not a secret. 

I fear that someone reading this would think that I’m looking for pity. I’m not even looking for understanding. I wish no one would be able to relate to this. There are still so many things I don’t understand — tomorrow is my first court date as a victim and I have absolutely no idea what to expect or bring (aside from the shirt that’s ripped along the back from the first time he choked me and dragged me along the cement), luckily I can just tell the truth. I fear that someone will read this and think that they are ok to go through this because “someone else has” when that’s not the point I’m trying to get across. I’m trying to show how much of a shit-show it is when you allow someone who is not worth your time into your life because you “accept” people for who they are. Now, I judge people for exactly who they are and what they’ve done.  It might be a negative thing that I’m less willing to accept advances or invites out, but I also think that’s a good thing. “What’s a girl like you doing single,” is what guys like to ask, and my new reply is “enjoying life”. Thinking that having a man in my life validated me was my biggest mistake. Thinking I had some responsibility to support, fix or forgive him were my others.

1 in 4 women over the age of 18 have reported abuse… that number needs to go down. The way to get that number to go down is not in avoiding reporting the incidents (because it might actually be higher; I’m sure there are plenty unreported incidents) but in changing the expectations we have of relationships and the things we allow in our private lives. I hope my daughters never stand for anything less than the best, queen treatment they deserve and that my sons are the righteous kings deserving of respect that I pray they will be…

Just my thoughts… whatever I’m feeling at the time.  

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