Welcome back Conglomerates! Today, we have another brave & courageous Guest Inspiration, Tejal, who opted to share her testimony with us as a domestic violence survivor. Despite what her story looks like she exudes self-love & loves the skin she is in. She is forthcoming with her story to remind others that they are not alone & survival can be accomplished. It is with much gratitude, appreciation & respect that I present to you today, Conglomerate Tejal…
Hello my name is Tejal also known as the makeup artist, lifestyle blogger, @brightdollface & writer of BloomingKiss Poetry, @bloomingkisspoetry. I recently ended my eleven year relationship with my ex-fiancé about two years ago. I was twenty-five years old at the time. I met him while I was dealing with my parent’s situation at home with domestic violence (D.V.). I came from a household of alcohol not drugs. When I met him; he was seventeen years old & I started dating him at the age of fourteen. I decided to share my testimony as a domestic violence survivor because I know this will resonate with someone, somewhere.
When we began our relationship I recognized that he would smoke cigarettes but I did not know of his drinking nor of him smoking marijuana. I was never exposed to drugs so I was naive & was not able to comprehend the use of substances or the consequences other than alcohol. When I began to notice his heavy drinking and marijuana use, I became upset & told him he needed to stop using. I realized it was a coping mechanism for him to deal with his life issues — being an undocumented immigrant without hardly any family here & helping his family back in Honduras, Central America.
In the first couple years of our relationship, he was sweet & kind. But then he began to use cocaine, which I did not realize until later on when we moved from his father’s apartment to our own; in the next building over. I began to notice he became angrier & aggressive but I questioned why if I did nothing but help both of us out. I remember one night he became so angry, he must have been high; all I could recall was being on the floor in my kitchen crying with him on top of me. He hit me & the next day he apologized. I blacked out in that instant. I sustained an injury by him. My neighbors overheard & they wanted to call the police but I did not want to because he was undocumented & I did not want to see him deported. I forgave him because I loved him & I could not go back home to the situation with my parents.
As we moved back to his father’s, I could see that something had changed in him for the worse. This was when I was almost finished with my bachelor’s degree in 2013. I could tell he was using a stronger substance. Subsequently, I then noticed he would be out late for hours & I assumed he was cheating. He confessed one night & told me he was not cheating; he was addicted to Crack Cocaine. He then lost his job as a Baker & was out of work for two years. I graduated from College with my Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology & minor in Sociology in 2013, despite the struggles & issues I faced overall in life –at home & in our relationship, but most of all throughout all the abuse I succumbed. I obtained a fulltime job in social services as a Case Planner in New York City at a foster care agency. I was able to remain resilient despite being verbally, physically mentally & emotionally abused. It became harder & harder to leave him.
I maintained us both for those two years until I decided to leave one night. He had hit me so hard while I fought back because he tried to steal my cellphone, once again, to pawn it like he did my engagement ring, my jewelry my father gave me, tablets I had to purchase multiple times & my computer I needed while in Grad School, etc. I had family support & left to my other father’s home in Queens. I remained there until I obtained my own apartment in Jersey. Throughout his addiction in the last four to five years of our relationship, the first two years were the worst, it felt as if I was in hell, literally. He would take my cards, my money, steal my phone, tell me drug dealers were trying to kill him if he did not pay. I did not know how the streets functioned regarding drugs so, I believed him. I lost so much money but I lost him the day he began addicted to crack & I lost him even before as he transitioned from alcohol to marijuana to cocaine and to crack.
But my life was more important to me than losing him. I had lost myself so deep over the years. I hated who I had become. I was angry & I had hurt myself by overeating. I believed every word he would tell me. I was angry that I was abandoned by my parents & had to fend for myself. I entered such a toxic relationship after leaving a toxic home where I needed the love directly from my parents & no one else. I ended our relationship so many times. I moved away & he moved with me to the new apartment & so forth, but this time it was for good. I enabled him so much & I relied on his presence. I became so co-dependent on him which resulted by him always manipulating me, even when it came to my friends & family by making me think they did not care for me. It took time to heal. It took everything to fight to be here today, to love myself whole heartedly, to love who I am & not be ashamed (because boy, oh, boy, was I ashamed of myself for staying in this relationship). I was ashamed of being a domestic violence victim like my mother who stayed with my father until he passed away 7 years ago due to his alcoholism.
I broke the cycle & I say that with so much courage & bravery. It took me to unlearn everything I became & all the negative learned behaviors & thoughts to be here today. I was in therapy during & after leaving the eleven year relationship. My support system– my previous supervisors, friends & family would tell me to leave. I tried but I thought he would change for us & for him but he could not. He had me believe he would but he never did. He tried, we went to Narcotics Anonymous groups but he stopped attending. He believed he could become sober on his own but he just could not. I had to become “sick & tired of being sick & tired” of hurting myself & staying in that relationship.
It took so much strength that I had to find within me & my faith in God. I prayed every night for strength to continue on. I felt so trapped. And here I am. Tejal, shining bright. Using her voice to tell her testimony to remind you all that YOU CAN OVERCOME. I believe in you! Understand that it will take time to heal. You must put the work in for YOU because at the end of the day, this is for YOU. Leaving a domestic violence situation is never easy but know you have support even if you feel alone. Trust, I felt so alone especially because I hardly have family that are not toxic.
So if you feel alone, please contact your local precinct or the National Domestic Violence Hotline 1−800−799−7233 or TTY 1−800−787−3224. Please know, you are important, loved & not alone. I use to think this only happened to me until I met a woman in Graduate school who also went through the same as I did, as a domestic violence survivor. My nurse at my clinic also disclosed that she too, was/is a domestic violence survivor. As I began to speak up & tell my story, I no longer felt alone.
Today I stand before you as Tejal, a recent graduate with my Masters Degree in Social Work from Rutgers University, graduating class of 2018. Living & breathing in peace. and No longer living in chaos, as well as, loving myself so much harder each every day than ever before.
Love & Light to you all, beautiful souls