Memoir Writing Contest: Independence Day by Jennifer Pownall

by Matilda Butler on February 9, 2012

catnav-scrapmoir-active-3Post #169 – Women’s Memoirs, ScrapMoir – Matilda Butler and Kendra Bonnett

July 2011 Memoir Contest – Final Honorable Mention Story

Women’s Memoirs is pleased to publish the third and final Honorable Mention winner in our July Memoir Writing Contest, Independence Category. Jennifer Pownall is a stirring storyteller who takes us on a journey to a terrible time in her life, a time she escaped. Congratulations Jennifer on winning an Honorable Mention in our memoir contest.

Memoir Contest Honorable Mention
MARCH 29, 2008, INDEPENDENCE DAY
By Jennifer Pownall

Freedom 
My birthday is February 27, 1973—but I feel like I was not really born until March 29, 2008.  You see, March 29, 2008 was my Independence Day.  It was a day that I woke up, got out of bed and said, “Enough.”   I needed to escape and I had to do it then and there and do it fast. 
 
My entire life, for as far back as I can remember, was nothing but sadness, trauma, drama, violence, guilt, depression, anxiety, withdrawal.  In 1994, I met a man I will call “Mr. Hyde.”  Mr. Hyde and I started dating. He treated me and my son Ryan, a two-year-old from a previous relationship, so wonderfully. He was the perfect man to me.  In 1998, Mr. Hyde and I purchased a house together. The three of us had a home and I thought maybe—just maybe—for the first time in my life—I could be happy.  You see, my childhood was difficult, filled with violence. I lived in a home where the cops coming to the house was a normal occurrence.
 
Things were good for the first eight months—then Mr. Hyde showed his monster side.  The monster side was unleashed and my son and I had were tortured and abused physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially by this monster.  Yet I stayed with Mr. Hyde for 14 years.  I was so afraid to leave him—I had no where to go and I was worried that he would kill me and my son.  He always told me he would kill us if I left him—and I believed him.  Mr. Hyde had a badge of authority—he was an officer of the law and he let me know that he would always get away with the abuse because of his badge.  I believed this. Why? On numerous occasions I called the police to help me and my son, my face would be bleeding, my son would be hysterically crying. When the police arrived Mr. Hyde would show his badge and the police would do nothing for me.

They would tell me to leave my home.  I could not leave my home—I had nowhere to go.  I would try to make peace with Mr. Hyde by handing over my paychecks that I worked hard for.  He controlled all money, all finances, all aspects of my life.  My life was living in fear, walking on eggshells, and praying that one day I could leave him.
 
Well—-that day came. Months before I left Mr. Hyde, I send my son to stay with my mother on a temporary basis and I told Mr. Hyde that my son was staying with her because his high school was within walking distance of my mother.  Then one beautiful Saturday morning- March 29, 2008 – I woke up and had a feeling come over me unlike anything I ever felt. Today was it—today was the day I found the courage to leave.  Mr. Hyde was out of the house and working – I had to get out and I had to get out quickly.
 
I jumped out of bed-got dressed and grabbed a few trash bags.  I packed some of my clothes and my sons clothes. I grabbed all my important documents like birth certificates, social security cards, etc.  I had a friend come to the house and pick me up and take me and my belongings to my mother’s home.
 
That night Mr. Hyde came home and realized I had left. He called me a million times on my cell phone; he texted me; and he threatened to kill me and my family. He found me at my mother’s house, followed me, waited behind a building and pulled a gun on me saying I was going to die.  I calmly talked to him and as I talked I kept walking backwards until I reached the steps of a bar that was on the corner—I then ran into the bar and called for help.  Mr. Hyde took off.  I had to go to court five times just to get a restraining order on Mr. Hyde because Mr. Hyde and his lawyer tried to bully me and harass me into dropping the restraining order that I so desperately needed.  Well—I fought and I fought and and I fought. I stood my ground all the while fearing for my  life.  But I did get the restraining order and I did get Mr. Hyde to leave me and my son alone for good eventually.
 
storytelling, memoir, memoir writing contest, memoir writing contest winner, memoir writing, memoir and abuseLater, I met a loving, caring, man who is great to my son. We got married in August 2010.  I know that if it were not for my Independence Day—I most likely would not be writing this story, I would either be dead, too afraid to expose the monster, or too mentally destroyed to even form a sentence.  My experiences made me a strong person who appreciates everything about life and finds that happiness, joy, and peace and a sense of independence is all I need.
 

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