My first relationship was toxic. But I didn’t know that it was simply because I thought that was how all relationships were supposed to be like. Always walking on eggshells, having no privacy, being afraid of making him mad and saying no.

I was always questioning my self worth. My confidence was gone and I had lost all my friends. For a year and a half I was abused emotionally and sexually. Towards the end I began to realize that I deserved more than what little he gave me. I deserved more than him.

So I left him. It wasn’t easy, I didn’t want to. Despite what he put me through I was scared to end it. But I did. My sister and a few friends that I had helped me get through it. But I had to learn to love myself again. I had to learn how to look in the mirror and think “I’m worth everything.” I had to cope with the nightmares that I had for months afterwards.

But I did it. I picked myself up off that bathroom floor. I wiped my own tears. Then I met this other boy and I decided to give love another chance. And now I know what real love feels like. It’s not tearing each other down and holding them back from their potential.

It’s growing with each other and helping each other be better. It’s being with someone who makes you feel beautiful no matter what. It’s being home.