“Stop wearing leggings to school.” Wait… what? Was I just being told what to do by someone other than my mother? I talked a big game, but I always listened. From the moment he said it, leggings were no longer in my wardrobe. If he felt they were too revealing for me to wear, then he was right. I didn’t do anything to change his mind. Not only that, I didn’t do anything to prove that he wasn’t in charge of me or my decisions. I just let it happen and day by day, it worsened. “Your hair doesn’t need to be done all the time. Make-up is a no. Stop smiling at everyone.” Okay, check. What else? I’m listening.
I started waiting for his demands like they were something I couldn’t live without. But sure enough, I followed his rules. Doing my hair was something I always put effort into. I didn’t feel like me if I woke up and threw it in a bun. But if I went a whole week looking like I was trying to impress someone, it was because I really was (according to him). Someone must’ve been getting my attention that I wanted to look decent for. Make-up? I wouldn’t dare. I was never really into putting loads of crap on my face that I didn’t even know the names of. But once in a while I liked a little eye liner just to change things up. That too was quickly put to a stop. Sure enough, I started caring less about what I looked like and caring more about what he approved of. Who was I turning into?
I was being molded into someone I didn’t recognize. I woke up every morning asking myself, would he be okay with this? And every decision after that became questionable. I was afraid to breathe without knowing that he was okay with it. But the crazy part about all of this? I became so used to being treated this way that I thought it was normal. If my friends wanted to hang out after school I told them I had to ask my boyfriend, and didn’t think twice about doing so. I didn’t understand their looks then because I thought it was the right thing to do. I was respecting his wishes, what was wrong with that? Little did I know… everything about it was wrong and I was just digging myself a deeper hole.
I didn’t have any friends left to lean on when I needed them most. They stopped asking me to hang out because they were tired of hearing my excuse of why I couldn’t this time. But just a shrug of a shoulder was enough for me to move on and think, it must be them. My relationship was perfect and headed in the right direction. People were jealous of the bond we created. They wanted what we had, didn’t they?
No, Courtney. Snap out of it! This isn’t normal, this isn’t okay. But it took me a long, long time to come to this realization. Without being told what to do I was like a lost puppy… so again, I let him do it.
Again and again…. and again.