This I Believe

paulina - san francisco, California
Entered on December 19, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: courage, hope

I remember walking through those opening sliding glass doors and telling the lady in the front desk what happened. She told me to go take a seat and to wait for my name to be called. Once I walked into the room all eyes were on me. I kept my head down shamefully and found a chair to sit in. tears continued to run down my face because I felt I had no one and no one could ever understand what I just went through. I simply just lifted my legs off the ground and curled myself into a ball and laid my head against my knees and continued to weep. I had so much pain running through my body I honestly felt I had nothing more in life. All I could think is how I could let it get to this point. Where my boyfriend who said he loved me could abuse me in such a way that it just lost all control. Many women have experienced some type of abuse in their life. As a young girl at the age of 14 years old I had experienced both physical and mental abuse.

I remember the day he first laid a hand on me. It was a sunny Saturday morning. The Blue Angels were in town and I was excited to go with my boyfriend. I remember walking down the pier holding his hand. It felt so romantic hearing the roaring over our heads and being around so many couples like us. We walked to the arcade and there was a photo booth. I wanted to take a picture with him. He honestly didn’t want to but he came along. I sat down waiting for him to come inside but instead I felt a hand come across my face. I was in disbelief and in shock. I don’t know what went wrong but all I remember is walking away crying. I made myself believe this would never happen again and so I decided to stay and forgive him. Now I know I should have walked away and never looked back because the abuse only escalated into something bigger and more uncontrollable. Being in this relationship led me to three trips to the hospital. Growing up I never thought I would be put in this situation.

Bernice Johnson Reagon once said “Life challenges are not suppose to paralyze you; they’re supposed to help discover who you are”. This has become true for me now at the age of 16 years old. I have experienced many challenges that others haven’t. I am stronger now because of it. I know now I can be whatever I choose to be and no man or woman could ever hold be back. Having overcome this abuse for over two years I will always view relationships differently. I won’t ever let a man put me down or make me feel like I’m worthless. I believe now I am a strong powerful young woman who has finally found her own self worth. It was difficult enough for me to break the cycle of abuse but it was harder for me to discover who I am.