This is really hard for me to write… so I apologize in advance if it is scattered and incomprehensible.

As a teenager, I had a boyfriend. The sort of normal teenage girl thing. Even though I wasn’t your typical teenager.

So I dated this guy (his name was James). We started going out when we were both freshmen. He was so cute. Curly red hair and green eyes. And when we started dating he was the nicest guy I’d ever met.

But things quickly changed. It wasn’t more than a few weeks when he started screaming at me. All the time. Telling me I was a worthless pile of crap. Telling me that I was stupid. Telling me I was so ugly that I was lucky to have him because no other guy would date me.

Within a few months, the yelling escalated into physical violence. He gave me a black eye on more than one occasion. I would have bruises all over my arms from when he hit me.

I used every excuse in the book to cover it up. I got elbowed in the face while playing volleyball at my church’s youth group. I fell on the steps. I walked into a doorway because I wasn’t paying attention. I’m not known to be the most graceful person in the world, so nobody ever questioned me about the bruises. And I got pretty good at covering it up with make-up too.

I was so ashamed of what was happening to me. I had it coming from all directions. Home sucked. School sucked. My personal life sucked. I thought constantly about killing myself (it’s actually a miracle I’m still around).

We dated for three years. Up until the end of our junior year when he and his family moved to California.

There’s more to the story, but right now I’m shaking so badly it’s better I stop.

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