I have a confession to make.
Life over this past year has been difficult. Scrap that – life over the past few years has been difficult. Mentally I’ve been struggling; yet, I’ve not talked about it. And, I should’ve talked about it. At the end of the day, the only way anything will get better is if you’re open and honest about things and get the help you need. It has been complicated. It’s not that I didn’t reach out for help because I didn’t want to but rather I felt like I couldn’t. And for that reason, The Cookieraptor and my wonderful world of dinosaurs has been suffering. I haven’t had the energy or motivation to do what I truly love. I would apologise at this point but I’m told that I do that too much so instead I’ll explain why it’s happened and how things are going to change.
As some of you may already know there have been some extenuating circumstances in my life over the past few months as to why I’ve been quiet on all social media. The business has still been running and I’ve still been shipping out orders but I haven’t been able to dedicate my usual time and energy to the true love of my life – dinosaurs. Obviously we’ve all been coping with the messed up year that is 2020 and all the absolute wonders it has brought. However, on top of that I’ve just crashed out of a seven year relationship and it has been messy. Now, I won’t bore anyone with the full on details or the ins and outs of the whole thing as they are complicated, personal and I doubt that anyone wants to read a blog of me ranting about what’s happened. Instead, I’ll give a vague overview.
I’m realising that the reason I’ve been mentally not well over the last couple of years is because I have been in an abusive relationship. Physically abusive but mainly emotionally. The issue with control and manipulation is that you don’t truly appreciate what is happening until you take a step back from the situation. Until you regain your freedom. At this point, the realisation strikes. It’s hard to explain but it is difficult to know where the manipulation ends and real life begins. It’s like the rug has been pulled out from underneath me and however many years of my life suddenly feel like a lie. It’s murky and there’s a lot of self guilt and blame swimming around in my head at the moment. I’m not someone who enjoys attention or likes to play the victim or pity myself so having to admit that I have been a victim of a form of domestic abuse is challenging. It does not feel real.
I kicked him out a month ago today. I caught him cheating. Again, I’ll spare the details here as no one wants to read the utterly sick and twisted way he did it. But, since then, I’ve discovered that two years ago he had sex with another girl. It turns out that he has led me on in that time just so he had a roof over his head and a nice, cushy lifestyle. Meanwhile, he has made me completely and utterly miserable. He has made me feel awful about myself whilst simultaneously distancing me from the people I love so I felt like I had no one to turn to.
It’s easy at this point to question why I didn’t walk away years ago. I wish I had. However, hindsight is a wonderful thing and the problem with manipulation is that you don’t see it as it is happening. Unfortunately, I have been protecting him for years. Part of the reason that I’m writing this now is that I refuse to be silenced any longer. He now cannot take away my voice and how I choose to use it. He cannot control me anymore. My silence would be his final victory and I will not give him that.
How does this relate to dinosaurs? This after all is a blog about dinosaurs. I plan on dinosaurs being one of my many steps to recovery. I want to get back into reading my non fiction palaeontology books. I want to start designing and creating again. I want my business to blossom by putting some actual hard work into it. I’ve let my love and passion for dinosaurs go on the back burner but I won’t let it happen for one second more.
All I ask is you bear with me for the time being. I’m still trying to find my feet and navigate through this mess. I might be a bit lousy at replying to messages and emails for a while. But, with each day that goes by I hope that I get one step closer to getting The Cookieraptor to be better than it has ever been before. I can’t wait to just be able to fully geek out about dinosaurs with you all again.
Right now, I am celebrating being single for a month. My one month anniversary with me, myself and I. I feel free. I feel liberated. Each day brings new challenges at the moment but they also bring endless possibilities and adventures. Reading that back it sounds super cheesy but it is true. I feel like I’m waking up to all the abuse I’ve faced but also to all the good that I have ahead of me. I won’t be beaten by this and I will come back stronger and better than ever before. I’m not asking for any sort of sympathy for what I’ve been through. To be honest, during these four weeks of freedom I have been happier than I have been in years.
If there’s one thing you take from reading this: please always talk to people when you’re feeling low. Doesn’t matter if you don’t fully understand the reason – I can safely say I did not fully comprehend what was happening to me – but talking always helps. Don’t be like me and wait until it’s all a little bit late. I’m acutely aware that it could’ve ended up a lot worse. I don’t know who needs to hear it right now but I hope that someone out there reads this and gets the help they need.
And, if you ever want a distraction from the messed up world we live in then drop me a line and we can geek out about dinosaurs together. Life is too short to take it seriously.
Here’s to one month of being free and to many more amazing, dinosaur filled months to come.
Em a.k.a. The Cookieraptor x