As a warning, this whole story won’t be very pleasant, but it will probably at least be interesting. Okay, just a small part of it, but keep in mind this is the hardest story I have to tell.
First off, I really love Harry Potter. I grew up with the series like most people in my generation, and really connected with the characters since they were always the same age as me.
By the time the Goblet of Fire (the fourth book) movie came out, my parents gave me permission to see it at midnight with my friends. I even got to start going to the book releases at midnight. I remember when the last part of the series came out and I not only went to the Barnes and Noble release but I snuck the book into Safeway so I could read it during my shift the next day. I also avoided the internet and my phone completely because I wasn’t going to let any part of it get spoiled.
Before the last movie came out I didn’t even want to think about seeing it without my best friend who shared the same love for the series that I did, so I actually flew home to Seattle from Orlando to make sure not to miss it. Usually when we’d see the movies, I would arrange a huge group of over 20 people to see the midnight release, collecting money for tickets and getting everything from seats to snacks arranged. But for the last one we wanted it to be just us so that 1) We wouldn’t be annoyed and 2) I was trying to keep it a secret that I was returning to Seattle for two weeks.
One of the last things I did with my best friend (whose pictured above in the matching scarf) is attend the Harry Potter Exhibit at the Pacific Science Center (before my huge move to Florida in winter of 2010).
Anyway, it may be pretty obvious that it is one of my favorite stories. But beside being an escape into my imagination, it became an outlet for me to escape pain. A kind of pain I wouldn’t wish on anyone, or want to ever go through again.
When I was about to start my senior year in high school, I started dating this boy- let’s call him “Guy”.
He was a year older than me, graduating the year before mine (I graduated in 2009), so I was 18 and he was 19. Things started off okay, although I wasn’t really set in being in a relationship. I wasn’t sure of how to be a girlfriend, I loved meeting new people, and I was also very terrified. But, I took the chance! He would go out to parties all the time and ask if I wanted to come with, and I’d tell him to go have fun while I hang out with my family or some of my friends. Sometimes he would even stay the night at the parties, half of the time being girl’s houses. He’d call me either drunk or high, and that started bothering me but I ignored it.
On Halloween of 2008, “Guy” and I made plans to see each other later. I first wanted to do my last treat-or-trick experience ever, so he told me we could meet up at this party after I did that– but that we would be going there together. After trick-or-treating, we were ready to head to the party, so I call him to find out where he is and… he’s already there and drunk out of his mind. Honestly, I was upset at the time because I figured we’d be going together, but I tried to brush it off. So, I go, my friends also coming with me, and I just don’t want to stay there at all. Parties aren’t my kind of thing when they’re crowded and full of illegal activity just asking for the police to swing by. I’m feeling completely out of my comfort zone, upset at my boyfriend, and we end up having our first ever fight. We eventually make up, and I end up leaving after an hour because one of my good friends, let’s call her “Elle” has had too much to drink and needs a ride home.
Next day I go to work, “Guy” comes into my work place during my hour lunch and starts crying. I figured he’s upset about the fight we have. I tell him it’s okay and that we can hang out when I get off. He keeps crying. He has bruises all over his body, telling me how he was so drunk and clumsy last night. I go back to work and he leaves. I come home, he messages me that we need to talk when I come over, and I ask if everything is okay and he says,
“I cheated on you.”
I never thought something like that would ever happen to me. I was actually so shocked that I went over there to find out what had happened. He cried the entire night and told me about the girl. Her name. How he couldn’t stop anything from happening because he didn’t know what was going on until “it was too late” (which turned out to be a lie), and the worst part was the part I found out on my own–
She was about to turn 16.
And she was attending an alternative high school. Apparently “Guy” had left the party we were all at to go to his friend’s house, he spent the night there, and met this other girl. They also had a talk after about both of their relationships and how they messed up.
So, being the young and naive girl I was, I stayed with him to work it out.
Our relationship escalated quickly after that. I didn’t trust him at all. No more parties without me was our new rule. He started becoming friends with girls left and right at work that I later found out (after we had finally broken up) weren’t actually friends. After a month or so of me still being in pain from the cheating, he got so annoyed with it that he started blaming it on me.
“You aren’t good enough.”
“You’re a terrible girlfriend.”
“You deserved it.”
He moved on to insult me on everything level soon after. “Guy” would be upset if I didn’t put make-up on, said it offended him that I would put it on to go out with my girlfriends but not put it on for him while lounging around the house. Same with sweatpants- they weren’t “allowed”.
There were certain times when he told me I wasn’t allowed to eat sweets because,
“I’m not going to date you when you get fat.”
On our way to go see our friends he would spend the whole car ride telling me why I’m not enough for anyone to like me and how lucky I am to have him because no one else would ever have me. By the time we’d get somewhere I’d be so upset, but so embarrassed that I never told a soul. He’d tell my friends how I don’t want to be there, give the illusion that I’m ruining his good night, and would tell me how I’m losing all my friends because of my behavior.
He threw a party at his place one night and I told him I didn’t want to drink. He told me if I didn’t, I wasn’t allowed to stay. He actually took me outside and locked me out because I wouldn’t have any alcohol.
I think you may get the point.
The crazy thing was I stayed with him through all of that. Because I believed him. He made me believe I wasn’t good enough. That I deserved to be treated that way. He got into my head so well that I believed I was worthless.
Eventually June 11th, 2009 came around, and I graduated from high school. With my four chords, three awards, and acceptances in all five colleges I applied to (University of Washington, Seattle University, Gonzaga University, Western Washington University, and Chapman University), I still felt like I was worth nothing.
After getting my diploma, I ran up to see my family once we were dismissed, gave my sister the biggest hug, and he actually got so upset that he wanted to leave because I said hello to my family first.
That same night, we had to give our families our electronic devices and depart onto our senior party which would go until 6AM. I was completely disconnected from “Guy”, and only with my friends. I remember sitting next to “Elle” on the bus and telling her how much happier I felt being away from him and how happy I was to just be with them.
It turned out to be one of the best nights of my senior year.
Realizing how much happier I was without him, he started losing his control over me. He called me pretty soon after, as he’s with his friends, and he starts laughing. A lot. And as he’s laughing he tells me he wants to break up. And somehow, this kills me, and pulls me in again. What if he’s right? What if he’s what I deserve, and the best I’ll get? I’m devastated. We’re no longer together but we still try to talk and remain friends.
Shortly after this and graduation, I did probably the dumbest thing I could do (and I’m so sorry mom and dad), and threw a party while my parents were gone. Now, it was only supposed to be girl’s only, but the guys really, really wanted to be invited so they all crashed it. And once that happened, “Guy” also decided to show up. Now, it is definitely a mess in my house. Way too many people are there. In the midst of all this, “Guy” finds my cellphone on the counter and takes it outside. I realize I don’t have it so I go searching for it, and that’s when it hit me that both him and it were missing. Go figure.
I find him outside on the bench on my porch, reading through my texts. He sees one from one of my guy friends and it says, “:)”. Yup. Just a smiley face. Immediately, he accuses me of cheating on him, which 1) Wasn’t happening and 2) Didn’t matter anyway because we weren’t together. However I still had feelings for him and didn’t want him to think anything was wrong, so as I’m trying to explain to him who I was talking to, he throws his beer can at my face, and runs away.
“Guy” is completed hammered. And he’s going to his car. I bolt after him yelling at him to talk to me and to not drive anywhere because it wouldn’t be safe. As he gets into the car, I go inside into the passenger seat, hoping to get him to calm down and try to tell him it’s nothing to worry about and not to go anywhere. He’s screaming at me to get out, and I am telling him I will only if he won’t drive. He yells “Get out!” one more time, and that’s when it happens.
He hits me right across the face, and then immediately reaches over me to push open the door.
I remember just sitting there, holding myself, completely shocked and trying to figure out what the hell happened. He runs to the other side and grabs me out of the car and pushes me into my ditch, leaves me there, and drives away.
It was the most out of body, and terrifying thing, I have ever gone through. I start walking up my driveway, shaking, and I don’t really remember much but going into my house and running into my friend, “Rhi”. I’m embarrassed, like I have always been, but I tell her what happened because I am scared. She tells some of the boys and I remember a certain ginger running after him to catch him, angry out of his mind. “Rhi” gets me some ice (or maybe it was frozen peas) and tells me it’s going to be okay.
But it’s not the end of it.
He comes back later, after about maybe an hour, while I’m upstairs, and tells my friends that I’m lying. That I’m doing it for attention. It was all made up to get them to pay attention to me.
And people believe him.
The rest of the week was filled with graduation parties, and nothing is worst than walking into one with all eyes on you. You know they’ve been talking about you, but no one wants to make sure you’re okay. When something like that happens, no one wants to get involved. No one believes your side of the story.
After months of things I probably shouldn’t get into, we eventually sever all ties. And somehow, we were still together.
I remember going to my friend’s house, a boy’s house, and “Guy” tells me, “If you go there, I will never talk to you again.” I tell my friends this, and they say, “Andrea. Break it off.”
So, I text him to tell him that is exactly what I am doing, turn my phone off, and rejoice with my friends who make sure I don’t talk to him at all. I will never forget that moment when they did that for me.
I did it. I finally did it.
I turned back into this person. I was bubbly again. But how did I get through all of that pain?
I read Harry Potter. I reread the entire series again and again because every time I started to slip towards a place that wasn’t good, I would dive into one of the books in order to escape. It was my safe haven. It saved me from going down a dark path and I don’t think I would have been able to bounce back if it wasn’t for it.
Events were fun again. I loved being around people again. Harry Potter helped bring me out of the funk of an abusive relationship. It even pushed me to follow my dreams so I applied for this thing called the Disney College Program and somehow ended up in Florida for four years.
It’s weird, going through an experience like that one. You lose a lot of yourself, and so much of your life; I spent almost two years with this guy, one of them being my senior year which was supposed to be fun and exciting. There was one point when I realized I had it bad was when I turned 18 and my friend wrote me a fake essay on why I was so wonderful. It was the kindest gift I had ever received, and it made me realize that I’m not a terrible person just because I stayed with some guy who tried to convince me of it. But you snap out of it real quick when that “Guy” is shoving everything he can at you to make you feel worthless.
I lost so many friends because they either thought it was awkward to be around or because I wasn’t so great myself. Being in that situation I ignored a lot of my friendships because I was too embarrassed to let people know what was going on. I avoided them all.
I left Washington to go to Florida to escape the hell I went through there.
I left Florida in August to start over in Nevada.
It’s very difficult being with anyone after going through an experience like that. After moving to Nevada I started going to therapy, and she told me it was so bad (the pain I was in) that I had to have sessions once a week. It took awhile, but I eventually stopped needing to go at all, which is why it is now so easy for me to tell my story.
Now I tell this story for two reasons:
- To help others know that they are not alone, and they may think they’re trapped but there is a way out. And it WILL be okay.
- And because most people think it’s silly that I have a Harry Potter tattoo because they don’t realize just why it means so much to me.
I realize this is quite the novel, but I think it’s the most important part of my story. I went through this and I ended up being okay.
The tattoo that I have is chapter art from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, from the chapter “The Lightning Struck Tower”. It is a very dark scene in the book, and also a dark image. I chose it because I went through a dark time, but I was able to rise up from it. And because I just really love Harry Potter. 😉