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The earth is not rumbling. The sky is not falling. There is not fire. There is not rain. Just a door. One simple door.

It could be the door to your house. Or their house. Or somewhere public. It could be a car door, a window, or maybe even the ending of a phone call. Whatever the form, there is a portal to escape. And today, you’re taking it.

Maybe this is your first time. Maybe it’s your third. Maybe it feels like the millionth time. You could be beyond sure that it’s the final time or hoping things will cool down and you can go back tomorrow. Whatever the decision, it wasn’t made easy. Breaking free from the unhealthy home your partner has built for you is going to come with second guessing and anxiety out the roof. The next few steps you take are going to be uneasy, wobbly, like a newborn learning the world around them. You’ll probably fall. That will probably frustrate you. Keep going.

Though the world is continuing to turn outside, you can feel the impending implosion about to happen inside your soul. There is this feeling that everything is lost. Your hands are shaking and your breath is as heavy as the heartbreak pulsing through your chest. The world in front of you is murky, but one thing is certain.

You’re free.

If you’re being completely honest with yourself, you’ll recognize how foreign freedom feels. For a prolonged period of time you have spent your life behind the bars of what your partner has sworn are acts of love and good intentions. You’ve seen the consequences of what happens if you step out of bounds. Maybe you’ve even felt them. You’re used to nursing wounds, internal and external, behind the salt of your silent tears. Excuses and fake smiles have become your daily routine.

You might hear from your partner again. It won’t be the scary one you left, but the one with a voice as smooth as a secret, whispering glittering promises of the house they will rebuild. “I’m sorry,” they’ll say. “I didn’t mean it. Let me fix it. Let me make it up to you.” They’ll relax you, bring back the memories of the great memories the two of you made way back when.

When that doesn’t work, sharp words will poke into your back, a threat spinning you a complete 180 degrees. The shock will lure you back into the same cycle.

Maybe you thought you could fix your partner. Maybe you were just too scared to get out sooner. The reasons aren’t important anymore. You’re free, darling. You’re free to fly.

I don’t know if that sentence terrifies you. Sure, you’re free to fly wherever you’d like. But what does that mean? Where are you going to go? Is anyone going with you? How are you supposed to independently navigate a world you’ve spent so long away from?

Every journey begins with a first step. The step may not be large to the rest of the world, but it’s the biggest step you’ve taken thus far. Today, you’ve taken that step. You’ve realized you are worth more than bruises, manipulation, and the ugly parts of your partner they don’t show to the rest of the world. You’ve recognized your strength and resilience, and you’ve put enough faith in yourself to take a giant leap.

Do not listen to your second thoughts. Don’t turn around and try to romanticize when times were good. Keep going. You can fight this fight.

The first few nights are so dark. You’ll cry, scream, and wonder if going back will be easier than the hell you’re trying to survive now. Eventually, time will remind you that you’ve made the right decision.

As you fight to reclaim your life, there will be so many uphill battles you’ll be forced to fight. Let me be the first to tell you that I’m so sorry you have to. You never deserved the abuse you suffered. But let me also remind you that you deserve the right to heal.

For now, as you explore this brand new world, let me remind you you’ve taken the first big step. That’s worthy of pride. Celebrate each tiny victory as it comes. Seek comfort in the liberty you’ve fought for. Get a good long sleep. Remember to eat and to eat well. Prepare for the upcoming battle. It won’t be easy, but it’s going to be so worth it.

Tomorrow you fly.

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