“There comes a time when you have to stand up and shout: This is me damn it! I look the way I look, think the way I think, feel the way I feel, love the way I love! I am a whole complex package. Take me – or leave me. Accept me – or walk away! Do not try to make me feel like less of a person, just because I don’t fit your idea of who I should be and don’t try to change me to fit your mold. If I need to change, I alone will make that decision. When you are strong enough to love yourself 100%, good and bad – you will be amazed at the opportunities that life presents you.” —Stacey Charter

There was a period about 7 years ago where I found myself if not at the bottom of the barrel, damn near close to it. I was newly single due to things that could have actually been repaired. I had “friends”. Sure, they were nice and all to my face, and were slowly, quietly sticking the knife deeper in my back.

I kept going back into that same situation with people… with boyfriends, with “friends”. I kept going back to a place where I didn’t feel like I could be who I was. I felt like I had to be whatever it was that they wanted me to be. They wanted me to be this catty, gossipy… well, for lack of a better word, bitch. I was supposed to be like them. I was supposed to be comfortable being friendly to their face and then turning around and just talk epic amounts of shit… regardless of whether that’s true.

I was also supposed to let people use me as a doormat. I was supposed to be the girl who was the plan B. I was also supposed to be the girl that was supposed to be constantly criticized and belittled in a negative way.

It almost seemed like that was meant to be my lot in life with friends and with significant others.

Now, that’s not to say that everyone was like that. I made a couple of friends from that time that were not like that. I’m still friends with them to this day because they were different.

I had dealt with it for longer than I really needed to.

So, I took some time for self-reflection. I spent a year with no one I was in a serious relationship with. I was dating, but nothing that I would consider an actual relationship. I also cut out those “friends” who thought it would be better to tear me down and gossip about me behind my back. I had reached the point of enough.

I took that time seriously. I figured out why it was that I kept getting back into both emotionally and physically abusive relationships. I attribute it to my childhood and adolescent life. Once you start in the cycle of abuse it’s hard to escape. I let it get so bad that it was seeping into my friendships.

More than anything, I concluded that this wasn’t allowing me to be who I was. I was being beaten (emotionally) into this box that they felt I should fit into. That I should be what they thought I should be.

That was no longer was acceptable to me. I can’t be that person. Being a gossipy, catty bitch is simply not me. That’s not my personality… it never was.

It was a very eye-opening time for me. And I am eternally grateful for it. It helped me focus on who I was. It made me realize that I wasn’t this shitty person that they were painting me as. I was this pretty awesome loving person.

And you know what, that’s fucking awesome. I am much happier now that I have figured out who I really am.

I have since seen them do the same thing they used to do… talk behind my back. Of course, they don’t know that I’ve seen them do it. As I’ve read what they’ve said, all I could think is, “Wow. I’m glad that I got away from that.”