As an intelligent woman, it feels shameful to have been in an abusive relationship. We are taught to think things through.
As a butch woman, it feels shameful to have been in an abusive relationship. We are known for our quiet strength.
She is thin and petite with a conservative haircut and conservative clothing. Like a Republican. Except for the lesbian factor.
She tells you no one will ever believe you.
“Look at you,” she says. “A big, strapping butch.”
She frowns when she says it, as if she’s more disgusted with me than I am.
Even as she curls her fingers into a fist, I’m not sure it is abuse because we are both women and this does not fit the mold of anything I’ve seen or heard about.
I still carry around the battle scars although the relationship ended almost a decade ago.
I am still healing. I wonder if I will always be healing.
I am just starting to write about it.
I carry a lot of debt from that period of my life. It costs a lot of money to sneak away from your home in the middle of the day and start a new life in another state.
Abuse feels shameful. Debt feels shameful, too. Especially when you have a college degree, a professional job, children.
Deep inside, I believed the debt was my penance, my monthly cross to bear for being in the relationship.
I’m not so sure anymore.
Today, I finally made a call to a debt counseling firm and consolidated all of my debt.
It will no longer take me 20-plus years to pay off the money I owe.
It will take me about four years to pay off everything. I will be paying less money per month than I had been.
“Oh no, your chin is starting to quiver,” W says when I tell her about my phone call to the debt counseling company.
My chin always quivers right before I start to cry.
No one wants to see a crying butch. It is not a pretty sight.
But it was such a big step for me, and I was feeling such a huge release.
It’s time to let go.
My penance is done.
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If you need help with debt, contact the National Foundation for Credit Counseling or the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies.