I know what the absence of freedom feels like. This Petite Warrior spent many years, living in an oppressive environment, created by someone who maintained control of every aspect of my life.
It wasn’t until I learned the dynamics of domestic abuse that I fully realized the depth of the control he had over me. He was a highly intelligent man who knew how to manipulate things in such a subtle way, knowing just how far he could go without incriminating himself.
At my lowest point, I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. In retrospect, I know he was carefully, subtly pushing me toward that edge because he wanted me institutionalized, on medication ~ under his ultimate control. I fought my way back from that edge and, eventually, I fought my way out of that situation. It took careful, secret planning which was extremely difficult, due to the fact that he watched me like a hawk.
My freedom came in stages: First, I successfully moved myself and my children out of his home; second, I concentrated on everything I needed to do to be legally free, which was a very long process, due to complications every step of the way; lastly, I returned to the U.S. to start my life over in the familiar surroundings of my home. The entire process, from start to finish, took seven years.
It didn’t end there.
In June, 2013, I returned to the country I’d spent seven years fighting to leave. My daughter opted to remain there, with her father, to finish her education before joining her brother and me in the U.S. Her father suddenly passed away, leaving me her sole legal guardian, and I made the trip to bring her back with live with me.
Originally, I’d planned to be away for 4 days because I felt that it was a sufficient amount of time to tie up loose ends and briefly meet up with some friends of mine. Although I remained as positive as possible about going back, a small part of me felt apprehensive about being there again. On the day, we were scheduled to fly back to the U.S., we discovered that the documentation I had, clearly declaring her a U.S. Citizen was not sufficient to gain her entry into the U.S. on her existing passport. We were denied the right to fly home until we acquired a U.S. Passport from the U.S. Embassy. At the time we left the airport, we had no idea how long it would take to get a passport and we didn’t have a place to stay. I had concerns for my son who was being looked after by a friend, as well as a close family member who was scheduled for surgery shortly after we were due to arrive home. I didn’t know what I was going to do, being stranded so far from home with limited (budgeted) funds.
Miraculously, a friend of mine came to my rescue and found us a place to stay. She offered us use of her internet connection so that I could research how to resolve the circumstances. I emailed the Embassy, requesting an emergency appointment, booked train tickets to get there and gathered all of the necessary paperwork. We received a response from the Embassy, granting us an appointment two days later. Armed with the paperwork, we went, got an emergency passport and returned to my friend’s to contact the airline for a flight reschedule and managed to get a flight home the next day.
It doesn’t matter where one is or what the circumstances are, but being denied the right or freedom to return to one’s place of birth is an indescribable, distressing experience and it’s one that I wouldn’t wish upon anyone. It doesn’t matter if we were only delayed a few days; I did not like not knowing how long we were going to be stranded. It doesn’t matter that we eventually resolved the problem; I did not like being told I couldn’t go home because it was so damned reminiscent of my previous experiences and I was amazed by the fact that I had to fight for my freedom. Again.
My daughter told me how proud she was of the fact that I managed to get her a passport in only 2 days and get us home in 3. She thinks I’m SuperWoman.
Actually, I’m just a petite Warrior Woman, who appreciates that freedom is precious and should be protected.
At all costs.