light 1The thing I remember most about my ex-fiance hitting me (strangely enough) is the light. Or, as I officially refer to it, “The Light”.

RVB de baseThat’s not to say I don’t remember other things. I remember him yelling at me. I remember him calling me names, using all the things he knew about my weaknesses against me, to tear me down and make me feel small. I remember feeling ill-equipped to deal with these things. I grew up in a home where voices were NEVER raised, where I was never physically disciplined at all for any reason. I was totally unfamiliar with this kind of rage, with this kind of fear, with this kind of harsh and violent response to anything. I had not been taught to fight as a child – I never had to. I never had to protect myself from anything or anyone – at least not my close loved ones. So when he cursed and yelled and accused me of all sorts of things I hadn’t done, it was like a foreign language to me. But his raised fist crashing down on my face always broke through the language barrier.

And that was always when The Light came.

light 3It was a tremendous flash of the brightest light that would come as I squeezed my eyes tightly just before he would strike me. Just as the force of the blow took place, the burst of brilliance would leap from my brain and explode in front of the insides of my eyelids. It was as if the impact of him hitting me was a light switch, and just as my eyelids pressed themselves as tightly together as they could, The Light flooded in. It was a thousand times brighter than any lightning I had ever seen, much brighter than any spotlight or any explosion or anything I had ever seen or heard about. Sometimes the burst would be full of bright colors like some kind of discordant rainbow that had gone horribly astray, but when he hit me the hardest it was always sharp super-white bright light. And he always made a point to hit me hard, so usually the bright white light was what I saw when I shut my eyes. In fact I could shut my eyes so tightly even tears couldn’t escape them, and I could see the light through the tears trapped inside my eyelids, and the tears seemed to magnify The Light, and it would seem to grow bigger and brighter, and it seemed to move towards me as if it was trying to swallow me whole.light 5

The Light was how I knew he’d hit me. It was never the pain that immediately followed, or the blood that would begin pouring from whatever wounds he inflicted. It was the light. The light was what frightened me. Because I knew on the other side of The Light was pain, and hurt, and bruises, and swelling and lies about what had happened to me. Sometimes if he’d hit me hard enough The Light would seem like it was leading to me the other side of some great divide, almost as if I was dying and heading towards Heaven. But I never died, ever. At least not permanently. The Light never took me away from the horrors being inflicted on me. The Light never freed me from my hurt. It just illuminated it, and made me fearful and afraid and unwilling to even try to defend myself by fighting back.

light 4 with person

As the abuse continued, I found that bright light to be what I was most afraid of. The Light was what I wanted to keep away from me. When I would cry out, it wasn’t always in pain – it was often in fear of The Light consuming me. To this day, when a man yells at me, I can see The Light in my mind’s eye, and it still frightens me as much as it ever did.

To this day, I am still fearful of The Light.