During the relationship, I felt like a cardboard cutout of myself: thin, flimsy, a printed-on smile plastered on my face. After I left, I was a different person. I flinched at loud noises and the sound of footsteps behind me on the street. I cried unpredictably and often. But I was also more intuitive, more empathetic, and much stronger. I didn’t know who this new, post-abuse version of myself was, but truth be told — I thought she was pretty rad.