Loving my life

It’s been a while since I posted and well a lot has happened and all of it good!

I know I know that’s not quite in keeping with this blog but I’m happy, my life is in a good place despite M’s recent attempt to drag me back into dispair.

I completed my 2nd marathon 10 days ago and ouch it was painful but I did it! It was hilly, windy and warm. Not the best race but I did beat my time from London last year! A new PB!!!!

Then there is my new job which I love it’s early days but it feels like I can be me and enjoy my work!

I am still waiting on what is to happen in the new case against M it’s not easy to wait and I still get nervous.

My sleep is returning to normal which is a miracle and it feels great! I realise all this isn’t as good a read as my past.

Happy maybe be a boring read but it’s where I am now and it feels like it has been a long time coming!

I still run I have one more race booked in this year in June and I am determined to get to my goal weight which is 8lbs away still.

i have received so many kind words of support for this blog which hasn’t been easy to write. So I say a big thank you!

I guess I shall post again when I know if I am to go to court again to try to protect my life, my freedom and to hopefully once and for all rid my life of the poison that is M.

I posted my story online to try to help anyone going through domestic violence or stalking, it’s a horribly lonely ordeal.

The law  is changing to protect victims but not fast enough it’s a terrifying world to be in when you look over your shoulder in fear at the slightest noise, when you lay awake cause sleep is impossible and when you feel like it will never end.

I am living proof you can get through it all and be able to be happy and live life again.

C xo

©2015 C xo

 

The Fallout

After the party, I drove W and I back to London, he had planned to stay at my home that night but on the way home changed his mind saying he had a few things he must do the following day. He was quiet and I was scared that today had got to him.

Was the drama too much? Would he leave me? He kissed me goodbye and told me he loved me.

I laid in my bed that night, awake for hours, trying to push away thoughts of how M could get to me. But I couldn’t, I wanted to be curled up in W’s arms but he was half way across London asleep in his bed.

I felt very alone, the next day I sat down with W and talked about M and the situation. He said he had taken my initial description of my past with M with a pinch of salt- most girls tend to say that their exs are dicks after all.

But yesterday had opened up his eyes, and it had worried him. He was angry at M and as I had predicted wanted to take matters into his own hands.

We talked for an hour or so before curling up to watch a movie, I wasn’t going to lose him but I would have to keep him in check on his avenging urges.

I felt the presence of M in our relationship for days after the interview and it saddened me. W didn’t deserve to be sucked into this but what could I do?

Then matters got worse, the police were in contact with my housemates about the case and one of them decided she would stop talking to me because of it.

I couldn’t do anything about the situation, I was helpless I apologised and tried to explain but she ignored me. I had thought we were friends after all I had known her for almost 3 years now and we had spent lots of time together merrily trying to cook healthily and to beat our weight demons.

Then there was my own inner panic. I started to worry that my fundraising page for the marathon would somehow lead M to me, should I cancel it? I didn’t see how I could not when I had promised the charity I would raise £500 for them.

Amongst all of this I was still job hunting and had gone through two interviews for a job I really wanted. I had been off my game during the second interview and now I had the agonising wait to see what the outcome would be.

M was invading my life again, from all corners he was managing to make things difficult and unpleasant for me.

I had little else option but to just carry on with things and try my best.

This dear reader’s was  4 weeks ago almost to the day.

I have since carried on my training for the marathon and completed my 2nd ½ marathon of this year- I love getting the medals!

I got the job, which was a huge surprise to me and I start it in a few days!

W has gotten used to the reality of being with a victim of stalking and domestic abuse, he doesn’t like that I am in danger or that M can still hurt me.

The reality is that whilst M is walking free I will always have to be careful and whether I like it or not I will have to be strong if he attacks me again.

I have worked hard to rebuild my life more than once from the scrapes that were left when I walked away from M. I won’t let him take it, it is mine to live as I want and I choose to be happy, strong, in control and in love.

I don’t know what will happen next in my story with M but I do know I will stand tall and tell the truth and deal with whatever I have to.

But the story I want to know and to experience is the story of my life not my past, I have a marathon to run and a new job to start and many amazing friends and family members who all support me.

All in all, life can be hard, but I am still here, I am still standing.

C xo

©2015 C xo

The Interview

I was lead into a windowless room and asked to sit down, the first thing that I was told was that I should not touch the strip that ran around the wall at waist height as it is there for officers to alert the station of a physical attack. If I touch it several officers will run in and I will be pinned down and arrested for assault.

I folded my arms around my waist and said that I understood.

Next I was told that I wasn’t being arrested however I was being interviewed under caution so the interview would be recorded and I had to speak loudly and clearly and avoid hand gestures or nods.

Once again I said that I understood.

She then read out the caution, I felt so humiliated and guilty, despite knowing I was the wronged party here. She then begun the interview asking my name and address, I told her clearly and explained about my name change.

She cut me off as I started to explain why I had changed my name and said we could get to that later.

I fidgeted in the chair, I felt hot all of a sudden and I could feel my heart banging in my chest, my breathing sounded too loud and I wondered if the tape would pick it up.

As she read out the accusation M had made in full, I marvelled at the absurdity of it. I would never go near him voluntarily. I was terrified of what he would do to me.

I answered each question as clearly as I could, but as the minutes ticked by I began to wonder if the police really thought I had done this.

It was horrible, I can’t think why anyone would do anything voluntarily to be put in this room to be interviewed like this, I felt like I was being judged and that I was a criminal.

The fact was I was still a victim, and M had somehow managed to get the police to do his dirty work this time.

After an hour or so of answering questions relating to M’s claims I was asked about my past relationship with him.

I looked up at the officer and asked her how much detail should I go into and where should I start? Us together or the stalking?

She said from the beginning and so I started the story.

I hated having to say the words out loud again, to see the distaste on her face as I described my life with M. But that was nothing to having to relive the events of the past 3 years, the phone calls, the emails, M following me, waiting outside my house, leaving slashed and broken ‘gifts’, hacking my Facebook and posting naked images of me, petrol on my car, the attack outside my office, leaving my job, the Valentines cards to my co-workers with naked images of me on them, the complaints to my managers, the adult gifts with my business cards, the post card, changing my name, having to change it again when he found me, him turning my website into a prostitution site, the court case, the arson threats, turning up at the marathon, him being let out of prison early…

I tried to give as much detail as I could and but I felt so exposed, so alone sitting in that chair in a dark room. All the time worrying that charges were about to be brought against me.

After over two hours the interview concluded. I felt a stab of fear as to what was coming next, I was asked to go outside and wait as the officer went to speak to her superiors.

I went outside and found my Mum exactly where I had left her, and W who had clearly popped out to get drinks was reading the paper. They jumped up hopeful that we could leave. Their faces fell as I told them that I had to wait.

15 minutes creeped by, and then the officer was back she asked me to come into another room and there she explained what her sergeant had said.

As she spoke, I realised they knew exactly what M was, and what he was trying to do. Relief flooded through me and my shoulders relaxed for the first time in days.

I was free to leave they knew I was innocent and what was more they were looking into what M had done. She apologised to me and explained that they had to follow procedure.

I understood this; M was the sort of person that would make a big thing about a complaint if they hadn’t. I was told to wait for a phone call on further news and with that I left.

My mum and W both grabbed a hand each as we walked out of the station; tears of relief mingled with pain and pity for myself fell down my face. Both of them squeezed my hands and told me it was going to be ok. I was safe, I was loved and M would get what he deserved.

I tried to smile; I didn’t want to ruin my brother’s birthday meal and had to get it together in the next 40 minutes.

But I was scared, I had known M could go to my mum house, but we were prepared for that. I hadn’t thought he could get to me personally like this again not with my new name, unknown address and unknown workplace. I wasn’t online on social media save for this very blog and as you know my lovely readers you don’t know my real name or where I live or work.

I walked to the car led by two of my favourite people in the whole world, on my way to a birthday party, with my ordeal over. But I couldn’t shake the feeling that it wasn’t the end. There was more and I couldn’t get away from it.

C xo

©2015 C xo

Waiting

I couldn’t stop thinking about the interview; I was scared the police thought M had a case. I had not had any indication that they knew what he was and how he operated, or that they knew exactly what had happened in the past.

My mum and W both said they were coming with me and my mum pointed out that this might be a trap to somehow find me. So it would be a good idea to park a few miles away from the station and then she would pick me up.

I realised she was right, but the thought made me so angry, I was having to go through this ordeal and my family were trying to be strong but I know it was stressful and I was having to hide my car for fear M would find out my number plate and somehow trace it to me and my address.

I had no choice but I didn’t like it one bit.

To top it off that day was supposed to be a celebration of my brothers birthday, I was making his cake and felt rushed all morning as I baked and decorated the cake. I hurried it and it wasn’t up to my normal standards.

I couldn’t help it, my hands was shaking and I felt on edge. I had hardly slept for the past few nights and so I looked awful. I packed the car and got on the road, picking up W on my way.

It was an odd journey we were both jittery and I was very worried we were late and any sign of traffic was making me twitchy and irritated. I felt bad for W this wasn’t what he had signed up for.

Although I had told him in brief about my past, I hadn’t gone into detail and I had thought that I would never have to go into a police station again, let alone with W accompanying me. It was so dark and I knew he would feel angry and want to hurt M.

I understood the feeling but I didn’t want that, it couldn’t ever happen as M would delight in any injury and go to the police. I wanted M out of my life forever. I wanted W and me to be normal and happy and to not have to factor in police interviews into our time together.

Despite my earlier worries of traffic we reached the meeting point early. So we sat and waited and soon I saw my Mum’s car, my step dad was with her and was taking my car to my brothers, where we would all join him for the party later.

We parked up and I got out of the car. I fiddled with my top and my bag and wanted nothing more than to get back in and drive far away. My stomach was churning and I felt sick.

As I stepped into the station I felt cold, I approached the desk and rang the bell and waited.

After a few minutes an officer appeared and I gave my name and was asked to take a seat and wait, I was 10 minutes early.

There was only two seats so W stood and my Mum and I sat. W hovered by my shoulder as he and my mum made polite conversation. They were both trying to calm me but it was no good.

Thirty minutes went by and no one had come out to meet me, forty minutes went past and still nothing.

The whole time my leg was jiggling and my heart was hammering. Then after nearly an hours wait an officer appeared. She told my mum and W that we would be some time so it might be best to head off and get a coffee or look around the shops.

I looked over my shoulder as I was lead through a secure door and my mum waved and W blew me a kiss. The corridor was dark and cold as with most police stations I had been in- which sadly was too many.

C xo

©2015 C xo

The Turnaround

I had found my balance, and got to my happy place, I was at last ok with M being out of prison.

My running was improving and I had entered several ½ marathon races around London to do during my training for the big race in April. W was brilliant, he came to my first race at the end of February which meant getting up at 6.30am on a Sunday and standing around waiting to cheer me on in the freezing cold.

I was in my last mile going through a very muddy forest lane when a guy next to me went down. I don’t mean he fell; he just went down without his hands out and fell face first into the mud.

I stopped and so did a lady behind him, together we pulled him out of the way and yelled for help. But people were just running past- intent on finishing the race. I was a full 5 minutes before any help came.

The man wasn’t old, he looked about 25 and fit, but he was out of it, we cleaned his face with water and got him to drink what was left in our bottles. His eyes were rolling back, it was so scary.

Then help arrived and we left him to be wrapped in a warm blanket and put on a stretcher.

Off I went, thinking can I not do a race without any drama???

I finished in 2.06.57, so I was happy! I had wanted to do 2.00 but I stopped for about 6 mins so really I did do it in 2.00.57…

Doing the race and all the training was making me healthy and helping me to lose the weight I had gained. I was getting to my fully content place and I knew it was just a matter of time to heal me.

Then everything changed, all it took was one phone call.

On the 4th of March I got a call from the Essex police, they told me that they had sent officers to my address earlier that day to arrest me, but having not found me there, they were calling to ask me to voluntarily come to the Harlow police station to answer to accusations made against me.

I almost dropped the phone.

I hadn’t done anything wrong, the officer on the line wouldn’t tell me who had made the accusation only that it was for Burglary. I tried not to cry as I agreed to come in to be interviewed.

When the phone call ended, I rushed to the loos. I was at work and tears were streaming down my face. I shakily dialled my mum and haltingly I told her about the call.

She thought as I did, this had to be M. He had found a new way to get to me.

I realised I had to tell my manager, I didn’t want to tell anyone it was so embarrassing and so unprofessional but he was good about it. Although startled he told me to take my time and calm myself and if I wanted to go home that was ok.

I didn’t want to muck up another job through M actions so I said I was ok and sat for 10 minutes before cleaning my face up and returning to my desk.

That night I went home feeling shocked and angry. I had just gotten used to being ok, I was happy I had made a life for myself and M was doing his best to ruin it again.

I got home to find my housemates all knew about the police’s visits earlier in the day, I shut myself off up in my room and tried to keep calm. My mind was racing as to what on earth I was meant to have stolen!

I realised I could think and guess all I liked, but M’s mind wasn’t normal I wouldn’t get it. I would have to wait for my interview, it was just a couple of days, a few sleeps and then I could get this over and done with and get back to normal again.

I decided to go to bed early and got snuggled in with a DVD then at 9.42pm one of my housemates knocked on the door and told me there were officers downstairs for me.

Confused I got dressed hurriedly and went down the stairs as I came down the last flight I got a shock.

There was 4 officers standing in my hall way and they had come to arrest me. I walked down the last few steps and over to them.

I confirmed who I was and launched into an explanation of my phone call with the officer earlier that day and my booked interview later that week.

One officer peeled off and went outside, clearly calling Harlow to confirm my story. The other 3 stood looking at me, and I wanted to back away but I hadn’t done anything wrong so I stood my ground, this was after all my home!

I figured I had nothing to lose and asked if this was M, they confirmed who had contacted them- of course who else could it possible be? Breathing a little lighter I asked what I was supposed to have stolen. They couldn’t tell me anything and just then the 4th officer came back with conformation of my story.

They all left, without an apology or an explanation as to why they had sent 4 officers to arrest me! Was I supposed to be dangerous?

I didn’t sleep well for the rest of the week, my mind raced and I looked like an extra from night of the living dead. My work suffered, I couldn’t concentrate.

I didn’t need this I wanted so badly to wake up and find out this was just a bad dream.

But it wasn’t.

C xo

©2015 C xo

Being Brave

I spent a long time trying to deal with my fears after that text, knowing M was out. I had experienced the terror of thinking that M had somehow found me by bad luck and poor judgment of others at Christmas, and I was still standing.

I was so happy moving on and so sure that M wouldn’t be let out for a good while I hadn’t prepared myself. Now I thought of the time M had spent in prison and what he may have learnt there.

I tried hard to just forget it when I could, but I was struggling at work again, I didn’t want to talk to people there and have to hide what I felt so I was withdrawn.

Then a guy at work started sending me messages that were sexual. I didn’t want to make a big thing about it; I was already the quiet girl who went to court against her ex to many people in the office.

So I asked him to stop.

He didn’t, I asked again.

He didn’t.

So I talked to a friend in the office, someone I trusted. She told the HR manager and I got a call asking me how I wanted to deal with this. She had seen the e mails and if I wanted to she would make a formal warning against him.

I thought about it and asked if she could just talk to him and warn him verbally. I didn’t want to go through the process of the formal compliment.

That stopped him, but I still had to walk passed him every morning, he looked up at me but never said anything.

I started walking in the office with my head down, looking away, feeling bad about it, when it wasn’t even my fault.

I wasn’t happy at work and thought a new start would be good for me; I started looking for jobs again which made me think of my future not my past.

I had also been offered a place to run the Brighton Marathon for my charity from London last year and I had taken it up. So once again I threw myself into training, and the physical exertion was good for me. It helped my stress levels and I remembered how I had felt a year ago and a year before that.

This helped me get out of my funk, I wasn’t the girl who wanted to end things any more, I wasn’t the girl waiting for court, dreading the day I had to stand up and speak out in front of M. I had come a long way from there and I had W with me now.

Slowly with my running, job interviews and W by my side I got past my fears and by Valentine’s Day I felt back to my happy self from summer last year.

I had realised that I had to live with this and I could let the fear eat away at me, and eventually there would be nothing left or I could enjoy my life day by day and try to be brave.

I wanted to be brave so that is what I did.

C xo

©2015 C xo

The Text

At W’s mum I relaxed more, I was definitely safe here and I was excited to meet his dad, eldest sister and her family. W’s mum gave me a big hug and W’s dad was as W had described but a lot nicer and warmer. I had a lovely couple of days playing with the kids and sneaking off for stolen kisses with W.

Then on our last night before we were due to head back to London I got a text. We were all cosied up in the lounge watching a fabulous old black and white movie. I was snuggled up close with W happily feeling sleepy and very full from all the sumptuous food over the last week.

My phone vibrated in my pocket but I left it thinking I was too comfortable to move I would look later. 30 minutes went by and W got up to go to the loo, I sat up and pulled out my phone to see the message I had gotten.

‘You might not want to hear from me again, but I have spoken to someone who knows you and I know you are happy. I am sorry for all that I have done, be happy C, you deserve to be happy xxx’

Instantly my phone felt like a snake I wanted to throw it away, M had texted me, the number it was sent from wasn’t stored in my phone but it looked familiar to me.

Who had he spoken to? How did he have my mobile number? Had he looked on what’s app? There was a picture of me and W would he go after W too?

My mind raced what should I do? Before I could think of anything useful W came back. I couldn’t say anything in front of everyone and I didn’t want to ask for a private word it would look a little odd. So I cosied into W’s arms again and waited.

I missed the rest of the movie, my mind was in a panic and I could only think of one course of action; call back If M answered hang up and call the police. I waited and it seemed like the longest film ever. Finally the credits rolled and everyone made noises about going to bed.

15 minutes later W and I were alone, I had thought about not telling him but I was a terrible liar and he saw something was wrong as soon as he looked at me sitting on the bed. So I told him about the text and my thoughts on who had sent it.

He agreed I should call and see who it was then if it was M block the number and then call the police. So I dialled the number and held the phone close to my ear, I was dreading hearing his voice but W was holding my other hand tightly and I knew he was there for me.

The line answered after 8 rings,

‘Hello’ It was a sleepy male voice which sounded familiar but I wasn’t certain if it was M or not, panicked I hung up.

‘I don’t know if it’s him, I’m not sure it could be but…’

My phone light up with a text at that moment,

‘Now you know who I am.’

I dropped my phone, and buried myself into W’s shoulder tears were falling hard and I held on to him panicked that it was M and he had found me. All the people that know me know about M they know what I have been through and they wouldn’t message me like that.

‘It’s going to be ok. Look we should be sure before calling the police, maybe you could text back and get a name?’

I realised W was right I couldn’t call the police until I knew for sure. I retrieved my phone from the floor and slowly typed out,

‘Sorry I don’t. Who is this please?’

We both stared at my phone waiting for the reply. After 10 minutes I lost my nerve and was about to text again when a message came through,

‘Its X!’

Relief flooded through me it wasn’t M, swiftly followed by anger, it was my ex from a while ago who knew full well what I had been through I had deleted his number and we hadn’t been in contact for ages.

I put my phone to one side and told W who it was, and that I had worried for nothing. Again M was wheedling his way into my world with lifting a finger.

I was furious with X for sending such creep texts and would deal with him in the morning. For now I turned my phone off and curled up into W’s arms. I didn’t want to live like this afraid of an unknown text.

I hated M; I had been scared of him for so long it never occurred to me to hate him.

Hate is a strong feeling and I realised if I would let go of my fear then his hold might lessen. I slept badly that night my dreams were a strange mix of my life now and my old life with M.

Going home felt odd that day, I opened the door to my home and I felt like a stranger I hadn’t been there for over a week and it seemed like I was a different person returning.

I had expected something bad to happen at my mums and it hadn’t come about. Instead a stupid careless text from an ex had ruined my last night in Norfolk and made me face up to the very real fear that still clung to me.

I had thought I would be strong if he attacked again but that text made me feel like my world had been turned upside down and that M was in charge.

I didn’t feel strong I felt like a sitting target.

C xo

©2015 C xo

Learning to Live Again

That e mail was a big shock to me, when I investigated further into M’s release I was apologised to by the prison authorities for them missing protocol on my case. That was helpful in no way at all. My trust in the court and prison system was waning.

I stuck by my decision to get on with it and to push M out of my mind. Nothing had changed with my happy content life all the amazing loving people who had helped me to be alive again were still there and were still helping me.

So I tried to balance my fear of another attack with my life as I wanted it. I was still cautious online and still off of social media. W knew about M but not in detail so I tried to shield him from my panic as best I could.

I went back to changing passwords frequently and I was a wary of my surroundings again, but it was better than before, like I have said I was not the same girl I had more to loose and to live for and I had beaten this once already.

So time went on and gradually I fell into my routine again, I was getting on with it. But secretly I still worried that M would strike again, he knew where my mum’s house is and he knew I would be there at Christmas.

It seemed obvious to me that if he was going to do anything it would be then, I didn’t tell anyone and instead I smiled and laughed as though everything was normal and safe.

Christmas Eve came and I left London for Essex, the whole time I was driving I checked to see if I was being followed. When I arrived safely without a tail, I breathed a sigh of relief.

I was spending 3 days at my mums and then driving to W’s mum’s house to stay with his family for a few days. So I had lots of family Christmas time to look forward to and enjoy. I should be happy I love Christmas, but I was on edge.

I looked out the window at 1am, 2.35am and 3am on Christmas morning, scared I would see M standing across the road, or my car on fire since last time he only got as far as pouring petrol on it.

I feel into a restless sleep at about 3.20am and awoke again to the early morning light, I rushed to the window but everything seemed normal.

I tried to mentally shake myself, it was ok. I was safe I was in the house, my Mum had already told me the police had told them to dial 999 if anything happened concerning M and a 999 call from their address would trigger a report- they would know exactly what was going on straight away.

Christmas day and Boxing Day passed without any M incidents. I slowly relaxed and let most of my fears go.

On the 27th I packed my bag and said goodbye to my Mum, as I hugged her she whispered to me,

‘I thought he might try to ruin this for you, I am so happy it was just us.’

My Mum had been on edge the whole time too.

I hated that he could still have this impact on me but more so on my family. The depth of his abuse seemed bottomless and I wondered if I could be truly happy and safe when M wasn’t behind bars?

C xo

©2015 C xo

My Late Birthday ‘Gift’

Summer was drawing to a close, but I was still merrily enjoying my freedom. I had had a lot of fun with my friends and W since May and I was looking forward to cosy Sunday afternoons in the pub and playing board games and my birthday now.

I happily introduced W to my brother at my birthday meal and they got on like a house on fire. So much so they switched seats so that us ladies weren’t in the way! Despite W having already brought me my new phone 5 weeks earlier he surprised me with a box of macaroons from my favourite shop in Covent Garden.

That was lovely but gosh it’s hard to be good when you’re having so much fun! I had enjoyed myself a lot and not kept up with my fitness and I could see my happy content in a relationship tummy, it wasn’t welcome!

So I set about trying to be better and W did too.

Then came a very surprising invite, we were invited to the wedding of one of W’s school friends up in Norfolk. Which was very nice, but very unexpected especially since I was named!

It also meant meeting his mum and staying at her house for the weekend! Oh my! Well I wasn’t going to turn that down so off we went and she was lovely.

You might remember me referring to M’s mum as a battle-axe; well W’s mum couldn’t be more different. She made me feel very welcome in her home and I instantly liked her. Besides I got the chance to see pictures of W as a child and a teenager in the many pictures that adorned her walls.

His friend’s wedding was a lot of fun. It was nice to get dressed up together and dance, also by now I was used to W snapping pictures of me and us all the time. At first it was a little odd to me. M had never wanted pictures taken, of course I know why now- he had other girlfriends.

But W took pictures all the time, that weekend was no exception and we now had some really nice pictures of us all smart and loved up. I was so content it was unreal.

Then in mid-October I got an email from R, my case officer. I hadn’t heard from him since I sent my thank you note, and as nice and amazing as he was to me I had hoped I wouldn’t need to be in contact again.

So it was with a heavy heart that I opened the e mail, he was writing to ask if I was aware that M had been released from prison.

My heart dropped and my head felt dizzy, I sat down with a bump, M was free?

I hurriedly read on, R explained that he had just found out that M was released on the 19th August and that a judge had taken all the time he had worn an anklet and had a curfew into account and put that towards his sentence.

I was finding it hard to breathe, this couldn’t be true, how could he be free already? And how could I not have been told? The courts had told me I would have 2 weeks warning of his release but here I was 2 months down the line finding out by chance from my old case officer!

I looked around my room and suddenly my home didn’t feel as safe, I had been wondering around without a care for the last few months and I had stopped looking over my shoulder. Stopped changing passwords weekly and god knows what other things I had done thinking I wasn’t at risk from M hurting me again.

I struggled to get my breathing under control, and tried to think straight. I hadn’t gotten any emails and I hadn’t seen him. He still didn’t know my new name or where I work or where I live.

I repeated those facts in my head again and again until I could feel my chest loosen.

I had to find a way to be ok with this, it was way before I had thought I would need to but I wasn’t about to let M ruin my life. I had come so far since that day I stood up in court and I wasn’t the girl who had let M hit her anymore.

I was strong now, I was in shock, but I could do this. I had to do this, it was my life and he wasn’t going to take it from me again.

C xo

©2015 C xo

Stronger Now

I could clearly remember how I felt during every step of my journey, the pain, the stress, the fear, the loneliness, the feeling of hopelessness and my relief when I heard M was in prison.

It was all there in my head and I knew it would stay there and it was important not to forget, I didn’t want to make the same mistake again.

M might be one of a few but there were other men like him out there and I knew what to look for I knew the signs now and that was an important thing for me to keep.

With M in jail I had grown a lot and become more confident and outgoing, I had run a marathon to beat back my stress of the trial and I had built a new life for myself. I felt stronger than ever before.

But I also could see the impact this had had on my family and friends. My mum was with me every step of the way on the phone or in person and that stress had been awful.

At the time I had found it hard to talk about the jumble of feelings in my head, to explain the fear and to share my grief with anyone.

There must be thousands of women just like me out there, and maybe they haven’t found their own inner strength yet. So I decided to write my story down and see if I could get it published.

Maybe reading what happened to me and the positive end may help another victim of abuse and stalking or help someone understand what it is like for their friend or loved one to go through this.

Now I am no writer so I wasn’t confident enough to put pen to paper myself, after a little digging I found an agency that puts stories forward to magazines and I contacted them.

I was reassured that I wouldn’t have to give any of my current contact details to any publications and I spent an afternoon telling my story.

I was amazed when it was picked up by two magazines- Take a Break and Cosmopolitan! I thought of how many stories I had read in magazines that I had related to or shown to a friend in the past.

I scared to be putting myself out there but it seemed fate was gunning for it, revenge porn crimes was making headlines and was big news and as you will know M put images of me into the public 3 times without my consent and he still has those images, I had to live with that and hope that my restraining order which prevents him from owning images of me was enough of a deterrent this time.

The stories would both come out in late October or Early November, which to me seemed ages away, I was happily enjoying the gorgeous August sunshine!

I was aware there was a risk of M reading the articles, but I had been very careful not to reveal any current details about myself and the magazines didn’t know my real name.

A small part of me thought that if M did read them then maybe hearing it in that way, seeing it in print might stop him from doing anything more when he was released. I was acutely aware that his time in prison and my feeling of safety was not permeant and that it would end.

I didn’t want to think about that yet, it was far off and I had plenty to enjoy and to do before that day dawned.

Starting with a photoshoot! This was an unexpected bonus; I had supplied the only images I could find of myself with M for the stories and a me now photo (M knows what I look like that hasn’t changed!). I had to dig through old cd’s of images boxed in my nana’s garage to find any since I had burned everything else.

So when Cosmopolitan requested I do a photoshoot I was surprised and nervous and excited because ohhhh hair and make-up!

Ladies it was as fun as it sounds having a professional make artist, who as she does your face talks with the photographer about the shoot they did last week with Florence and the machine!

They even brought clothes and shoes for me! It was a lot of fun playing dress up, the photoshoot itself was a little less fun. I was nervous and I wasn’t supposed to look happy.

My default camera pose is a huge smile, so trying to look sad and thoughtful on request was really hard. I ended up trying to do difficult sums in my head.

I would have to wait for the resulting pictures, I was glad I had done it. I had stood up tall and told my story and I was proud to be where I was now, it wasn’t easy to pull myself out of the darkness M had created for me.

But I had I was still here and it was me that was standing out in the sunshine enjoying life. M was in a prison cell and that was his own doing.

C xo

©2015 C xo