This We Believe 2nd Place Essay Winner

By 2019 This We Believe Winner Zoe Diana Plante

Ownership

Mine: a possession, a descriptor, a word of sentiment, or a word of control?

I was yours. Your Object. I was not in control. You owned me. You swallowed me whole.

My life was centered around yours.

Ownership can be a twisted thing in a relationship. Not only physical ownership, mental ownership too. Branding me with your kisses, your sweatshirt, and your idea of how I should appear. I was brainwashed to believe that you were incapable of wrongdoings. Because you provided me with “unconditional, true love.”

Once you reeled me in with flattery, I was hooked. Then you contrived my happiness from your constant affection and agreement. You had me at the snap of your fingers, and you made everyone else in my life disappear. You gaslighted me so that I felt guilty and at fault for your lies, affairs, and abuse.

I was powerless.

Oh how you could do anything you wanted to. And after you lowered my self-esteem with your back-ended compliments and comparisons. I felt devoted. Why? Because you “loved” me. Thus I was indebted to you with my life.

My old life had vanished and once I realized that what you were doing was abnormal, I wanted out from your trap. You discarded me, abandoned me, left me emotionally scarred. I was consumed by insecurities, paranoia, insomnia, isolation, depression, self-depreciation, loneliness, and a lack of trust.

Then the stalking began. Phone tracking, vandalism, slashed tires, tailgating, property damage, and reputation damage had me horrified. When I finally met your gaze,you stared emptily into my eyes; right through my shaken soul with no remorse.

But I made it out of your web. You could not keep me trapped forever. I am not your prey anymore. I am mine now.

I have learned that you do not need a partner. There is no missing puzzle piece. One person is already complete. However, I found it hard to replace empty space with my own happiness. There was a hole in my life; for he had taken up all the space that my close friends once filled. Most people (even good friends) did not understand what had happened to me and blamed me for being isolated from the rest of my peers. But I have learned that it is important to acknowledge that not everyone is meant to be in your life.

Falling in love with someone else is so much easier than falling in love with yourself. I am still trying to accept myself. To own my imperfections and flaws instead of trying to change my appearance for another person. Self-love is a tough journey. I remind myself that: It is important to know that everyone deserves love and no one should feel uncomfortable in their own skin. Growth is not necessarily immediate, and patience is required to blossom into the person you strive to be. I try my best to avoid seeking validation for my existence. I want to be enough for myself and no one else. I want to believe in myself.

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