I started as an intern for Safe Harbor in the fall semester of 2018. I didn’t know how much this program was going to impact my life, considering I was trying to be the one to make an impact on others. However, it helped me heal from my own past, and I’m so incredibly grateful.
You see, 2018 was a hard year for me. To sum it up, I was trying to deal with some trauma due to an ex of mine, but I wasn’t doing a good job at it. I was drinking a lot, partying a lot, simply loosing my way. I remember a certain Safe Harbor employee was talking to us at a meeting about physical violence when suddenly my body felt like it was on fire. I thought I was going to pass out. There were several times when shadowing or facilitating for the REP project made me feel as if I was right back in my past, reliving certain moments over and over again. So, I know how hard it can be to listen to random people lecture you about dating violence. But I wish that when I was in middle school and high school, we had a program like the REP. Maybe things would have been different for me.
You would think that as an intern for REP, I would be able to steer clear from abusive partners. I mean, you would think that I would be able to steer clear from bad people based off of my history with my ex. But it’s true what they say, people will always surprise you. I met another ex of mine, the most recent one, and he was as sweet as can be. Me, wanting to feel loved and important, and also not having dealt with what I had been through previously, I fell for him, and I fell hard. In fact, he was the one that would always drop me off to my weekly meetings for this project, and he would pick me up. Every time. I’ll refrain from going in to any detail about how things unfolded with him, but let me say this: He fooled me. But does that make me the fool? No. Not at all. And at this point in my life, I felt like I kept getting knocked down. But I prevailed. I got back up every time. And when it mattered most, I got back up.
No matter how hard your life is at any moment, no matter what you are going through, keep fighting. Don’t let your partner, or anyone for that matter, make you lose your voice. My voice was taken away from me, and I promise that is something that I will never let happen again. I am Me, I am the boss of Me, and I can wear what I want, do what I want, be friends with who I want, and most importantly, I get to choose who I am going to be. I fought to get my voice back, twice. Although some will argue that that was two times too many, life can really throw you a curve ball sometimes. It’s important for me to remember that what I have been through was not my fault. And now that I’ve grown so much from my past, I’ll never let anyone take my voice away from me again.
To whomever is reading this, I want you to know how special you are to this world and to the people around you.
If you are in an abusive relationship, or if you know someone who is in an abusive relationship, here are some hotlines:
Love is Respect – 1-866-331-9474 OR Text “loveis” to 22522
SH Crisis Line: 1.800.291.2139
Nicole, Clemson intern