Life in A Box
I live my life in a box.
On all sides rise sheer walls of fear. A roof of humiliation presses down on my head so I’m forced to crouch, to curl up in a ball. Bound across my mouth is a gag of shame. I cannot speak about what the person who is supposed to love me the most in the world does to me.
And I cannot escape.
My husband, Jackson, hits me in all the places no one else can see—the ribs, my lower back, my thighs.
Each time it happens he comes to me, curls up behind me, pressing his body against mine. ‘I’m so sorry,’ he tells me. ‘Why do you make me do these things to you?’ As though this is my fault.
Yet in many ways I feel responsible. The abuse didn’t start until after I lost our first pregnancy.
We’d both been so excited, but then I woke one morning with blood in my underwear—too much blood—and a visit to the doctor confirmed our worst fear, I’d lost the baby.
I blamed myself and saw the accusations in Jackson’s eyes. Ruining one of our pans while cooking dinner was enough of an excuse for him to take his loss out on me.
Afterward, he’d been so apologetic. We cried in each other’s arms and he promised it would never happen again. Except I would hear those words many times in the years to come.
Then I fell pregnant a second time and, once again, lost the baby. With the next I managed to reach twenty weeks gestation but, at the twenty-week scan, the technicians were unable to locate a heartbeat. That one had been the worst. I gave birth to the child, an impossibly tiny, doll-like baby my body had killed.
The next time I became pregnant, I kept the pregnancy a secret. When I lost that one at eight weeks, I sobbed in private and tried to act like nothing was wrong.
My life has no meaning. Incapable of nurturing a child inside of me, what is the point in my existence? My body kills my own babies; as though I’m poisonous, toxic. I hate myself for it.
Consequently, the beatings I receive on a regular basis are nothing less than I deserved. I can’t blame Jackson for hating me. After all, my body has denied him a family.
Ironically, Jackson doesn’t tell me he hates me. If anything he is vocal about his adoration. ‘I love you, I love you, I love you’, he tells me over and over, as though those three little words will heal my wounds.
I start each day judging the mood of my husband. If he’s in a bad place, his temper radiates from him like heat. On those days I do everything I can to avoid setting him off, but he’s a tightly wound spring and looking for a fight, a release to purge his anger.
One time, he dragged me out of the shower by the hair and beat me with the shower head until I passed out. I woke up naked and freezing on the bathroom floor. In so much pain, I had to drag myself to the bedroom. I couldn’t even get on the bed, so I just lay on the floor with a towel over me, trying to stay warm until Jackson came home. When he finally rolled back from the bar, I asked him to help me and he laughed. He told me if I behaved like a dog, I should sleep on the floor like one.
Do you know what really got to me?
To this day, I have absolutely no idea what I did to deserve that beating. I wracked my brains for weeks wondering if I’d left the breakfast dishes out or if I hadn’t cleaned the floor well enough. I was so paranoid, whatever cleaning I did, I checked, and checked, and checked it again to make sure I had done the job right. I didn’t question my husband’s state of mind to beat me as he did; I questioned my own ability to do the God-damned cleaning!
I know people will never understand my position. You’re probably thinking yourself, ‘Why doesn’t she get out? Why doesn’t she leave?’
All I can do is bring you back to that box, the one I’m trapped inside. I cannot see a way out so I hide here; hoping and praying one day things will change.
That one day, someone will help me out.