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I got my life back

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By Sudeepa Perera

People, my parents and actually the whole world told me he is not for you. They all saw through him. I did not. I believed in the beautiful lie. I lived that lie. He said everything I wanted to hear, did everything that made me laugh, spent all his time with me.

Then my money ran out. 

I bruise very easily. It was a nightmare trying to cover those marks. I would just cower and cover my face when he attacked because I could hide bodily damage but my face, I could not cover-up even with makeup. Once I was dragged out of a moving tuk tuk and kicked really hard in the face. I was happy that it only swelled a bit and there were no marks but the next day my right eye suddenly ballooned in to an ugly black ball. 

Even if my boss and colleagues knew but they never commented on it or discussed it. Except for one girl – she dared to question me. She asked, “If you tripped and fell down a step, how are you not scratched? Just bruised? Why are there bruises all over? And how is it possible that you specifically hit your eye on the side mirror of your van?” That was the story I said. 

It was tough living a creative lie. 

I depression ate till I was about 90 kg. But I still persevered. I was scared and ashamed to tell anyone this was my crazy individual decision. 

This year he showed up at my door step with some “Underworld” character so he said and had a nice display in front of my doorstep. The gate was unlocked unfortunately. For the first time in my life I stood up for myself when he abused me in front of other people. I slapped the underworld character four times while he was seated on the bike. If he was brought to intimidate me I did not care. They came in and I manage to slap my husband twice and I would have toppled the bike too but they sped off. By this time my strength was back, I was doing exercises and I had lost 14 kg. 

Well, nothing nice lasts in my life. I have accepted that now. This is apparently a taboo topic and when I slightly mentioned bits and pieces I got a whole lot of ‘do not post on social media, people are waiting to laugh’ types of comments and warnings. But this does happen. All the time, daily, every second, every minute. 

You never absolutely recover. You may slowly learn to trust someone or be a bit daring and try to go a step further. I refuse to be a victim. But you never recover and no one fully understands. I personally do not care anymore. It’s my life. I took it back. I lost all the weight and if I wanted to I can look really good. I can do what I want, go where I want, with whomever I want. And the funny part is that this is the summarized version. Oh, he is around. But now he does not mess with me. He knows I am not scared anymore and neither do I care anymore. 

I took my life back. But I find myself alone thinking, all the time just thinking…  

(This prose is written to commemorate the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence, a global campaign taking place from 25 November to 10 December. It was written by a member of the Kavithé Collective – a platform for socially and politically engaged writing by Sri Lankans across the world. To see the rest of this piece and for more information visit www.kavithecollective.com. Submit your own creative writing to admin@kavithecollective.com.)

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