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My journey

Becoming Who I am

By Monika ZalewskiPublished 2 years ago Updated 2 years ago 5 min read

I was just washing dishes and listening to country music, happily singing out of tune and blowing on soap bubbles, when I realized how much I have done in recent years and how little my problems sound to those before. Yes, I'm not perfect and far from what I want to achieve, but I'm here able to enjoy those silly little moments even while doing household chores in my own company.

I met him online on a dating site back at the end of 2004 and wasn't sure if I wanted to see him again after the first date. My gut was telling me to run, but my family and friends said that I was too picky and should give him a try. So, I did, and on a second date, I got smitten by his love for his dogs, whom he introduced to me. I thought: "Wow. He loves his dogs so much and treats them so well, he will be a good father". And our relationship started. Things seemed to be good, and we had lots of fun, but I was young and inexperienced and ignored signs of his aggression toward me and others. The yelling and throwing things weren't that unfamiliar to me, and my father did that my whole childhood. Name-calling was something that I also experienced as a child and thought it was just his way of expressing his frustration. I ignored the red flags, and we got married in October of 2007. I thought I got a guy who would give me security and a family home that I dreamed of. I was so wrong. Three months after we got married, on my 28th birthday, he broke my nose in an argument. I was so shocked that I didn't know what to do and covered it up in lies from family and friends. I worked with kids, and I am clumsy by nature, so it was easy for me to say I got hit in my nose with a toy by one of the kids. Still, he made it my fault, and me being confused and scared, I just let it go. Big mistake. He showered me with presents and apologized until the next time when it happened again and again. He made me feel worthless with time, keeping my immigration status over my head. Calling the police did not help either. They took his side as he had connections. I was told to "shut up and listen to my husband." I was trapped. Years passed, he got addicted to pain killers and marijuana, lost our home, lost the money, and we both survived cancers, but the physical and psychological abuse continued. I got to the point in life where I started praying, asking God, a universe, that the next blow he gave me would kill me.

And then a miracle had happened. My prayers were answered in the most unexpected way. I became pregnant while on birth control and after cervical cancer. In a heartbeat, something broke inside of me and made room for something new. I became stronger and stopped being afraid of him. Pregnancy was stressful, especially with psychological abuse and control, but at least he was scared to use force and kept his hands to himself. I started to look forward to a brighter future and waited for a perfect moment to run. My son was born in March of 2012, and he is my angel and my greatest joy. There is no stronger love than a mother's love for her child. No matter what, I would never have allowed my then-husband or anybody else to harm my child. The first time he picked his hand on me while I held his son was the last he had ever touched me. This time police arrested him and gave me time to run. God, the universe created opportunities for me, and within hours I had a place to move into, located within walking distance from the fire department and police department. I left only with a suitcase and a newborn, but shortly after, people in my neighborhood and people for whom I worked as a housekeeper organized a collection of goods for my son and me. It was close to Christmas, and suddenly my whole living room was filled up with household supplies, furniture, clothes, and toys. My child and I were ok and, to this day, are doing well. For nine months, I was in hiding until we got divorced and set visitation rights in a public place with supervision every other Sunday. He lost all his parental rights at some point as he never really cared to show up or pay child support, and he still cannot be within 10 feet from both of us, which he doesn't manage or plan to do. One thing is sure my child is growing happily, healthy, and very much loved. He is my world, and I try to be the best mom I could ever be. He saved my life, and I do not know if I will ever be able to repay him for that. Our life goes on. My child has autism, so we face challenges daily. With time, he is getting better and better, and I will do my best to fight for him to ensure he gets the best treatment possible, the best education, and the best possible future. Every day teaches us something new, and I am becoming a better person every day. I have a long road ahead of me, but I finally learned how to love myself and take better care of myself as well. I can finally follow my dreams and know that I am worthy of being alive. I am proud of what I have become so far, and I look forward to an even brighter and better future.

fact or fiction

About the Creator

Monika Zalewski

I am a writer, copywriter, creator, entrepreneur, and photographer. I was born and raised in Poland and spent most of my adulthood in the United States of America. I am also a mother to a 10-year-old autistic boy. Writing is my passion.

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