Part of It

It still amazes me every day how social media brings people together from all over the world in such meaningful and lasting ways. Through #fireworkpeople Twitter parties, I met an absolute gem of a PR pro/poet named Kayla Hollatz. Kayla began her own Twitter party called #createlounge, and through that chat, I met another gem named Rebecca DeLuca. We chatted all night as Kayla prompted us with questions about how we write online and our authenticity and vulnerability there.

I kept loving things Rebecca was tweeting, and she kept replying to my tweets with similar feelings, and I knew I had to follow her and stay connected to her beyond just that one hour on Twitter.

At some point during that hour, my Story Seeker project was brought up. Rebecca jumped on it instantly, saying she was glad someone brought it up because she saw it on my site and wanted to know more. What?! So cool! I'm constantly blown away by people who want to dive into my little project headfirst and boldly share their story with a total stranger. It's incredibly.

Rebecca and I began emailing about it, and I loved her enthusiasm for her story before I had even heard it. She's truly a communications genius in her work, but as I got to know her a little better, I realized she's full of that same kind of passion in her heart too. She's a girl that is full of courage and a "go get em" attitude that I know will be world-changing.

I'm honored to share Rebecca's story with you today. Here it is.

My name is Rebecca DeLuca, I’m a 24 year old Canadian who fell in love with Boston. I’m a communications pro, a chocolate lover, a die-hard Toronto Maple Leafs fan, a proud feminist, and am still waiting for my Hogwarts acceptance letter

When you first asked me if I had any idea what my story would be, he was the first thing that popped into my mind. Naturally, I fought it. As a proud feminist, no man will be my story. I wracked my mind for the many other things I’ve experienced in my life - graduating the top of my class, moving to a different country all alone, falling in love and earning my Master’s, but it all came back to him. I realized that he’s the reason I’m so passionate about women’s rights and ending violence against women. He’s the reason I was determined to move to Boston. He’s the reason I’m so clearly able to see the difference not only between a bad man and a good man, but a good man and a great man.

I met him when I was 17. I never yearned for a boyfriend. I was satisfied with “boys that were friends.” But, meeting him was so grown up, it was hard to resist. We met at a halloween party - me a hockey player, him an escaped convict. He added to his costume with my name on his arm minutes after we met - that should have been my first clue. Our best friends left the party together and he stayed behind to “watch me.” Red flag number two. He kissed me outside, and it began.

The first few months of our relationship were normal. He lived an hour away, and would drive to see me on weekends. He met my family and my friends. About three months into our relationship, he told me he was falling in love with me. It was exactly what I wanted to hear at the time. Little did I know what “falling in love” meant to him.

In his mind, it was us against the world. Any time we spent apart needed to be made up. If we watched a movie with my sister, we needed to spend extra time alone. If I went out with my friends, I had to stay home with him an extra day. Gradually this wasn’t enough. He’d take away my keys so I couldn’t go out, read my messages while I was asleep, show up at my work to make sure I was there, tell me who I could and couldn’t hang around with, and arrive at my house unannounced. When he found out I applied to a University two hours away, he threatened to finish a bottle of vodka and drive off a cliff.

One night in May he decided one of my closest male friends was gay. He mocked him, and questioned my motives for defending him. Realizing he wasn’t getting enough out of words, he moved on to destroying my things - and when I say “things” I mean possessions I’ve had since I was a child. I cried and begged him to stop. He stared right into my eyes while he finished. Finally something snapped, and he threw himself onto the floor crying, begging for my forgiveness. Scared for my life, I told him I forgave him and let him fall asleep.

My parents were right upstairs the entire time, not only that evening but for our entire relationship. They love me, and would have protected me from this entire situation. But I never called on them. I never called on my siblings, my friends, or anyone in my life. I was confused, ashamed, and I thought this was natural. It wasn’t until that evening, when I wondered if he would hurt me while we slept side by side in my twin bed, that I realized I needed to get help. I ended it the next morning. He still texted me after that, and I know I saw his car a few times outside of my work and home, but I was free.

I’ve had one boyfriend - my current boyfriend - since that moment. He knows about him, he knows about my fears and my triggers, and he’s the greatest man I know. I volunteer with women’s activist groups, organizations fighting to end violence against women, and sexual response centers. I’ve moved on, and I’m living a life I’m proud of. He isn’t my story, but he’s part of it.