This I Believe

AnneMarie - Dallas, Texas
Entered on January 5, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: setbacks
  • Listen to This I Believe on RadioPublic

  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

It was after he’d broken every window in the back of the house, after he’d broken down the door to our room where I’d locked myself away from his endless rantings, after he’d hit me while I sat in the bathtub because I wouldn’t listen to him ‘good enough’, it was after all of that when I finally realized I was worth more. And this I believe… that in the depth of each of us is the voice that knows something can be better, something should be more decent and we each as a living being have value and don’t have to put up with such tyranny. Because whether in a marriage, as mine was, or from a family, such as his family treated me after I finally got the courage to leave him, tyranny is untenable and each of us deserve better. And the moment of clarity can arrive at the oddest times. For me it was standing at the kitchen sink, while he stood behind me defaming me, finally grabbing the water sprayer out of my hand because I was a failure at dishes as well. But his next act of covering me with water cleansed my soul, ironically perhaps, enough to see what was really happening in my life, in my children’s lives. And so it ended. Sure there were times between that moment and the clarity and safety I feel now, when life was more rocky, less sure, but what happened in that moment was the unveiling of my right to selfhood and an existence free of abusive tyranny. We all have a right to demand and receive common decency and respect, in whatever fashion best suits us. And no woman, no man, no child should live in fear and unease, afraid of the person who shares their bed, their life, their workspace.

So in the end, I was left alone but not lonely. I have my dreams, my peace to fill me up and show me a world I’d lost. I remember the day my divorce was final, feeling the relief of freedom return to me. I had spent far too long trying to fix the unfixable. What in the end seemed most obvious was that once I made peace with choices already made, I was free to see the true options that lay before me.

Some may believe it is wrong to share such personal experience, that it makes me sound weak and foolish. But I am a strong woman, always was. I just didn’t realize my true value. We each no matter the circumstance have an intrinsic value and should demand that our life choices demonstrate that value.

For every woman afraid to leave, afraid of the unknown, let me promise you that any fear or doubt of what may come pales in comparison to the pain of knowing you are allowing another person to drain the life from within you by acts of tyranny, manipulation and control. You are worth so much more. And this I believe.