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I used to be very fat, as in I was truly overweight – overly obese even. From 53 kilograms when I was eighteen years old, I became 102 kilos at thirty-six. I used to reason out that in between those eighteen years of gaining weight, it was due to my five children. Each child, I had gained weight and I never really bothered about my looks after I got married. My psychologist said that it was because of my depression.

One of my part-time jobs back then was ramp modeling. Local fashion designer in our city would hire me (and other girls in our agency) to model their custom-made clothes. For a high school girl like me, it was an excellent way to earn during the weekends. For three years, it was a weekly thing, until I met my ex-husband who became my boyfriend at that time.

Let’s say I was in an abusive relationship. He didn’t hit me, like hit me, punch me or something like that regularly. For the whole eighteen years that we’ve been together, I experienced being slapped so hard ONCE that the white part in my eye (I don’t know what it’s called) became bloody red. The doctor said that the vessels in my eye burst and that’s why it looked bloody. It lasted for weeks before my eye came back to normal.

Along with that, my ear also suffered a bit. For ten days or so, it had this ringing sensation. It was so bad that I had difficulty hearing.

He also choked me, once. I was working on my computer at that time, and he was drunk, as usual. That was last year, October 8, to be exact. I will never forget what happened. We were already rocky, and I was telling him that I want a divorce. He didn’t like that and was trying to control me; he has been managing me for the last eighteen years – as my psychologist explained to me.

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So, I got a little side-tracked here, sorry. But that’s how it went with me, on his abuse. If you ask my psychologist, she would say that I have been physically abused, but what I received from him was emotional and mental suffering. That’s what I know and what I believe. She also said that this is half the reason why I let myself go. The other half was because I allowed him to do it to me. It’s time for me to take responsibility for my actions or inactions. I can’t keep blaming him and not take some of the blame myself.

As for the emotional and mental suffering, I allowed him to treat me like shit for almost two decades. He was verbally abusive even early on in the relationship, and I tolerated that. I shouldn’t have – I wasn’t strong enough before to fight for myself and tell him to his face that I am not his dog, his doormat or his pig.

With that, I turned to food for comfort. And so from 53 kilos, I almost doubled the weight. All those years, he abused me, and he cheated on me so many times that I lost count, I let myself go. I ate all those sugary snacks and salty foods. That’s what I chose to do instead of confronting him and stop him from treating me like I am a worthless nobody.

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But I know better now. I am in a much better place. While I may not be 53 kilos again, at least, I am losing weight little by little. I am exercising; actually, I am into martial arts – Muay Thai and Jiu-Jitsu. Not for competition, but for discipline, self-worth, and confidence. I also went to therapy and pursued a new hobby which is reading. My psychologist said that I let everything go about myself because I forgot to love myself first. I should have loved myself first; I should have been the priority.

It’s okay. I have learned from that mistake, and I am rearranging my life now. Of course, I left my husband of eighteen years, and I have started my new life. It is now a life without him, and it is shining brightly.

For me, I don’t need a man to tell me that my life is complete. If only I could persuade battered women to stand up and fight for their human rights, then, there shouldn’t be abusive relationships. All I can do is to start within me and tell those who will listen that “I am more important than him. I have to love myself first before anyone and anything. I deserve everything beautiful in life. I make myself complete.”