TW: mentions suicide, assault, and abusive relationships

New year, new… oh, shut the f*ck up.

At the beginning of each new year, those of us on social media see our timelines bombarded with the same old, “New Year, New Me” proclamations that last all of 90 days, before the truths of our natures settle in. By Q2, most of us realise that the “new us” we are trying to embrace either doesn’t exist, or that the work required to create this person is far too great in comparison to the comfort of staying the person we already are.

And there is nothing wrong with that.

Because, objectively speaking, what we are asking of ourselves is that over the course of a night, a week, or even a month, we completely change who we have been our entire lives.

A little example, pre-2019, I fell into the “New Year, New Me” trap and tried to be more of a person I never was. More patient, more affectionate, more focused. But that never worked for me because I didn’t understand the steps I needed to take in order to make it work. Even after years of various different forms of therapy, it was only during my pregnancy that I realised I couldn’t let go of my past self because I wouldn’t let go of my past self.

And, naturally, that included coming to terms with the abuse I endured growing up, and continued to accept in early adulthood. In mid-2020, at the height of the UK lockdowns, my hopelessness and loneliness allowed room for my brain to conjure up fears that my own child would experience the same upbringing that I did. And then it was clear, I had to do something that would change the way I perceived myself, my past, and my future.

I started this blog with the hope of reckoning with that part of me that I’d shoved to the very depths of my mind for decades, the part of me that accepted mistreatment, that sacrificed my own happiness in order to make others comfortable in my presence. And I spoke out about it.

At the end of last year, I opened up about a relationship I had been in with a man who, in every meaning of the word, was wrong for me. Why? Because we worked for the same company. He was a manager, and one of the popular ones at that. All of his friends, my colleagues, other managers, and, apparently, the entire Head Office, seemed to loooove him, and only extended that love to me because my man was smitten like a kitten.

p.s. I actually hate this saying, but this White man was incredibly open about his obsession with Black women, and made a point of mentioning it almost every single day during our year-long relationship.

On my Instagram stories, I mentioned this ex in response to a post about emotional manipulation in relationships (romantic or otherwise) and spoke lightly about how I’d felt trapped in that relationship because of how he and his friends treated me in the workplace. On four separate occasions, I’d tried to end our relationship, each time explaining that I was unhappy, we were unhappy, and after a sudden assault by someone I’d met on Tinder prior to our relationship starting, I really needed to be alone.

But each time I brought it up, I was met with the dreaded, “I’ll change… I’ll do better… I love you”. And, each time, I accepted it, because at some point in my life, I was taught that my own feelings don’t matter as long as someone needs something from me.

On attempt number 3, he’d promised that my leaving him would result in his suicide so I stayed a few more miserable months until I could take no more.

But then something really weird happened. A few days after I shared this to my stories, his friend, who I hadn’t spoken to since I left the company two years prior, decided to DM me in his defense. In his messages, he complained that by opening up and speaking on his abusive actions, my ex had gone into another emotional breakdown.

My attempts at having a conversation about this topic with this guy were met with contempt, instead, he continued to attack my character, blame me for causing more harm to my ex, and laughed at me for trying to further explain that the topic I was discussing was unhealthy relationships in general, using my (unnamed) ex as an example.