I didn't exactly have a privileged childhood. Far from it. However, I did have a (single) father who loved me and raised his four girls to believe in themselves and not take shit from anyone.
And maybe because of him, or maybe it's an inbuilt ...thing. Or the arrogance of youth. Either way: I grew into a young woman who didn't take crap from ANYONE. When you are twenty-something, with your own company, living in a nice place, driving a nice car and expecting significant return on hard work and ambitions, you really start to think you're invincible.
...until an enraged, six-foot man thunders towards you in your own living room, fist raised, ready to strike your 98lb (at the time) self with all his weight and strength.
I had never thought I would be a victim of domestic violence. I had always thought that if anyone raised their fist to me, I would simply reach for the nearest heavy object and smash in their skull. I thought I would take a stand; angry, screaming and fight. And even if I didn't win (unlikely, given my size), I would try bloody hard to do him as much damage as I could before he incapacitated me.
Yes. I was a feisty wee thing.
But of course, when it actually happened, it didn't work out that way. He came at me fast with fist raised and I reacted completey instinctually: I cowered; face covered, head down, waiting for the blow.
The blow never came. Instead, he checked himself and left the house, incandescent with rage, the tyres of his BMW tearing up the gravel driveway of our nice place, leaving me huddled on the floor by the window.
I have never felt so betrayed in my entire life. I was shaking; shocked, horrified by what had just happened. The interesting thing is that I didn't feel too much shocked and betrayed by my then-partner. I felt betrayed by myself and shocked by my own reaction. Never in a million years, would I have predicted this:
I, who had once -as a skinny 13yo- faced down a snarling Rottweiler to retrieve a dropped purse, who had fearlessly handled German Shepherds and terriers alike (but not cocker spaniels. They mental).
I, who had gotten between a violent person and their intended victim on more than one occasion, who had pulled a six-foot-something karate kicking man off an unconscious guy in Cork while a crowd of people had gathered and done nothing (regretted it when the guy regained conscioussness -he WAS a dick, I felt like knocking him back out meself!)
And I, there on the floor of the darkened living roon, with the moonlight creeping in, sat and faced a new and previously unimagined version of myself: