As teenagers, we are blinded by the pressure to be happy, the pressure to be good, the pressure to be effortlessly perfect. We will not allow ourselves to see our own flaws or to see the flaws in others. And we live out these seemingly perfect lives, without any signs of pain or weakness. Abuse is not a topic anyone likes to think about. It's a topic full of stigma, full of stereotypes and negative connotations for all parties involved. "It will never happen to me." But what if it does happen to you? What happens then? I didn't think it could happen to me. I didn't want to believe that it was happening to me. I hid the imperfections with a smile and make up. I covered up the bruises, and I suppressed the memories. I turned to alcohol, trying to make myself forget the past and stop feeling the present. I walked around forcing that smile, hiding my biggest problem from the world...and from myself. I pretended to be invincible...until it was almost too late. I was too scared to show any kind of weakness, so I kept it a secret, packed it up and tucked it away, hoping it would just go away. I was hiding unbearable pain. I was hiding bruises. I was hiding scrapes. I was hiding a weakness that I was ashamed of. Ashamed of an imperfection. Ashamed of a failure. I became so ashamed of myself that I became not only a victim of him, but I was a victim of everyone I knew. I was isolated, isolated from the world with only his fist and that bottle to turn to. But that bottle...that bottle that I thought was my friend...it was also his weapon, his wing-man, his strength to throw that punch. It wasn't anybody's friend. When we are faced with abuse, be it mental or physical, we lose ourselves. And we lose everyone around us. We become a victim to everyone and everything. We are too scared to get out, too scared of being weak, too scared of being imperfect, too scared of losing that one person who we think understands us. But do they understand? Is that pain worth it? I spent a year of my life not knowing if I would make it through the next day. Not knowing whether the alcohol had gotten to his temper again. Not knowing whether it would decide to let me live another second, another hour. It took a year of my life ticking away to give me the strength and the courage to face my imperfections. It took a lot of pain. It took a lot of tears. It took a lot of reconstruction. But being able to walk out my front door in the morning with the sun shining on my face, that is what makes it worth it. YOU are worth it.
Alcohol and abuse are two of the most dangerous weapons out there. Together, they are a deadly combination. It takes strength and it takes courage to face them. But you are worth it.