Tag Archive | escape

Goals

goals

It has been close to 30 years since I was first struck by the man who would become my husband. After numerous brutal beatings, three children, non-stop threats of murder if I dare leave, in addition to my own prayers for my life to end so I could be free of the abuse…somehow, I survived.

The depth of my fear, fueled by my hate, gave me a pinpointed focus to raise my children and upon the last turning 18… get the hell out! Well, that time is upon me.

I’ve been counting down the days for way longer than I can remember.  Once they became a realistic number, I thought to myself… this is about to get real.  FAST!  Then before I knew it, the days went from 365 to less than half of that number, to within the same calender year and now… mere weeks.  Now, mental preparation.

There is still so much to get done before I go.  Loose ends to tie up.  People I want to explain my inevitable absence to.  And then there is my family.  I allowed my sister and mother to enter into my secret life and read my blog.  When they had a full understanding of my life thus far they seemed genuinely distressed over what I had been through.  My parents had only known about one episode early on but I did a good enough job hiding the life I endured that they had no idea it continued, most especially not for 25+ years.

Since absorbing that I most definitely do intend to go through with my exit plan, my mother and sister seem (to me) to be more concerned about what they need to do to protect themselves than they are about anything I will be going though.  The words, “how can we help” have yet to be spoken.  As these last days are closing in, these words, or lack thereof, have shaken me.  Although I do have friends that have offered their help, I can’t help but feel very much alone.  I’ve been taken back to a mental state where I need to fend for myself, and fear has kicked in.  Worst of all, every specific I had planned for this exit, I now feel unsure about.  I’m second guessing, feeling anxious and deciding whether or not I need to make changes.

On another note, I work from home.  I guess that being helpful or hurtful is up for debate but the point is, I work.  And I do so for many hours a day.  Yet, like many, many others, I live from check to check.  I have been able to put some money to the side for this event.  However, I did not start doing so until the end date was too close for comfort realizing I was broke.  So yeah, my resolution…save something…anything!  I am very much aware that is not nearly enough.  This has added panic on to every other emotion I’m feeling.

How the hell, where the hell, what the hell…am I going to do?  I do not like borrowing.  I’ve had to in the past and it’s just so uneasy for me.  I know I’m not the only one that feels that way.  Unrelated to financial issues, when asking for help – on any level – I’ve been let down more often than not.  So even being here right now, asking, begging, is surreal.  This is so uncomfortable and I apologize for even attempting to have the audacity to think anyone….everyone… doesn’t have a million other things more important to donate money to than me.

I am not even close to a special case.  There are so many of us.  Abuse victims.  And although I haven’t felt like a “victim” for a long time – due to my abuser’s very painful rheumatoid arthritis (lucky me) – Now, I am just a victim of my own poor financial planning.  I don’t even know where to start in asking people to donate, or what an appropriate amount is to ask for.  All I can think of is that if I can afford to pay rent for at least six months, then maybe I can be less stressed about the initial “hiding” period.  My son will be with me and I am not going to be ready for either one of us to be out and about, at least not for the first month or so.  I need to make sure we are completely safe.

This is going to be the hardest thing I’ve ever pulled off.  If there is just one aspect of it that I don’t have to worry over, I would be beyond appreciative.  Once I am fully free, paying it forward will be in using my voice and being as loud as possible for those of us that are still in hiding.  It has been 30 years since I was abused by someone who claimed to love me, and it is clear that this epidemic is far from over.  It’s not even close to ending with me; there are so many others out there.  Every anonymous account needs a voice.  A new fight I look forward to getting into head on.

For those of you who find it in your heart to donate anything to me… I thank you in advance and will be forever grateful.  If you are unable to donate, please share this on your social media.  XOXO

Click here to read my full story.

Human Shield

Memories pop in and out of my head all the time.  As if playing a game of tag with my consciousness.  Sometimes they fade as quickly as they come in.  Other times they linger and make me ponder and replay scenarios over and over.  Of course, this never happens at a convenient time.  Either I’m in the middle of working and need to concentrate, but my brain has other plans and decides to hijack my thoughts, or I’m exhausted from the day and just want to sleep but can’t because now I’m thinking.

This is what happened last night. So bizarre how our brains work. It’s a never ending game of word association…or actually, thought association.  Layer after layer of one thought linking to another.  All I wanted to do was sleep when I started thinking about what I have going on this weekend and boom, I’m back there.  Not sure why.  When they say everything happens for a reason, does it also mean your thoughts too?  Is this a post I was supposed to write? In all honesty, I have been meaning to write about this.

As part of my self-healing process, I had began meditating a while ago. Almost immediately, I started becoming very aware of things. Things from the past. Unexpectedly, meditation was cleaning the dirty windows in my mind and I was able to get a good look inside. And here I thought it was going to be all about peace and tranquility. Ha!  I remember all of a sudden understanding why I made certain decisions that I did.  Just like that, clarity.

In the early days of my situation, while I was still dating my abuser, there had been incidents that happened outside.  He usually didn’t do anything in front of a crowd, since obviously his behavior was a secret.  Although, that doesn’t necessarily mean people didn’t see what was happening.  Could they have been walking by and thought we were just rolling around in the grass lovingly?  I guess.  Although, being punched and strangled doesn’t fall into the same category, maybe they blinked during the more aggressive and less loving moments.  Regardless, I’m sure some people saw and knew just what was happening.  Even more so than I did at the time.

I remember telling my Ex once, that if he ever saw anything going on NOT to approach the situation.  My abuser always, carried a knife on him.  And he was never afraid to use it.  In fact, I think using it turned him on just a little.  Maybe even a lot.  My fear was deep and I was scared to death that if anyone I knew approached him in the heat of battle he would use it on them. Most especially because when he was in a rage, he was no longer there.  It was something else within him that took over. Almost like he was fighting his own demons. So imagine being in some blackout state and someone approaches you telling you to stop? No.  I was not having him possibly hurt someone I cared about.  Not gonna happen.  Continue hitting.  I got this.

As time went on, after we were married, his threats became more specific.  He now was threatening me with harming family members if I ever attempted to leave.  Once, he made a threat towards my family members who lived out of state. I laughed. What an idiot. He doesn’t even know where they live or how to get there. Really? He clued me in to the map I had hidden in my drawer that he took and made a copy of, which was now safely tucked in his work locker. So yes, now I believed him.  He could get there if he truly wanted to. They never even met him.  Why would I contemplate leaving and possibly have him think I was hiding out of state and go there and hurt my innocent family?  Not gonna happen.  Continue hitting.  I got this.

Easier targets were my immediate family that lived locally. He knew were they all lived.  He made his threats. Always vicious. Always during a heated battle. Always believable. There was never a reason to brush off what he said as -all talk no action- because he was indeed THAT GUY. He only calmed down from what he was known to be once our first child was born.  It’s laughably sad that this life I was living with him, was him…calm. Calmer than what?  Hannibal Lecter?  Hitler?  All I know is, I didn’t want to know.  No need to hoist psychotic threats towards my family because no one is leaving.  Not gonna happen.  Continue hitting.  I got this.

Unaware of my own actions at the time, I had started distancing myself from people.  My friends, my family.  Anyone who he would have the chance to use against me.  Plus, in keeping a distance, I could also keep my secret.  After all these years, only now have I come to realize that I had made myself into a human shield.  In order to protect those I loved, I blocked the threat.  Even if they were only words, I believed him.  So I did what I thought was necessary.  I was young and had never heard someone spew such hateful and vindictive words.  Especially to a person who they claimed to love.  All I knew was, I could handle it.  I could take the pain.  Just leave everyone else alone.

I guess…well, actually, I can’t guess what his tactics were. I mean, in the grand scheme of things, his threats worked. I stayed put. He got his punching bag and dinner on the table too. Eventually though, the verbal threats got closer to home. It now stayed within the home.  He always threatened to kill me. That was a given. The easy go to.  However, on a few occasions, he threatened to kill me and the kids. And of course himself.  But who cares about that if we’re all already dead, right?  Here’s the strange thing.  Although I believed he was capable of these new and improved threats, a mother can’t distance herself from her children.  Now that I’m writing about this…this may actually be the turning point in where I became the one he now fears.

I see your threat and I raise you a…go right the fuck ahead.

Reverse psychology.  It seriously works.  Especially with the weak minded.  This guy is out of his ever loving mind if he thinks he’s going to continue this game. So I one up’d him. Guess what loser, if you kill us no one has to hear your mouth ever again! Helloo…bonus!  Bet you didn’t think of that one.  So I played that card.  At this point in time, he was definitely running out of steam.  He was getting older.  His rheumatoid arthritis was setting in.  And I was halfway to the finish line.  His words no longer frightened me like they once did.  It’s not that he lacked intensity or imagination with what he tossed my way but I was tired of it.

Never did I hold back from speaking my mind over the course of the marriage because it might result in bodily harm.  My armor was strengthened with each blow.  The more that came my way, the more I survived, the more I could take.  Holding my tongue was never an option.  In fact, that may be the one thing that has truly kept me alive all of these years.  Verbal abuse would now work both ways.  It may not be the right thing to do but it got done.  An idiot flinging wild threats every which way eventually bounces off of this human shield.  Being a knowledgeable and calculating user of words has it’s benefits.  Mind games.

Present day. He fears me more than I fear him. My inner Italian Mobster is present daily and he never knows what I’m capable of. I’m partial to the phrase, what goes around comes around and karma is coming to collect.  I enjoy the confused look on his face. He has been playing very nice for a while now as I remind him of the choices he made. For example, he might say to me, I love you. And I’ll say, I’m sorry to hear you have that problem. He’ll say how that hurts his feelings and I’ll say, aww it did…now imagine I said that as I punch you in the head with my knuckles.  He then puts his head down and walks away.

The good news is, he is fully aware that I’m leaving.  I’ve thrown it out there in random conversations almost in a way that seemed as if I misspoke.  He too has brought it up in a matter-of-fact sort of way, saying he knows what I have planned.  In a very non-aggressive manner.  As of late, the bulk of my days have been non-aggressive, thankfully.  So I’m leaning toward the belief that this will be a peaceful exit.  At least until he realizes there will be no return.

Not gonna happen.  Not this time.  I got this.

Inside The Mind Of A Domestic Violence Victim

As usual, Kendra Lynn does what she does best.  She has an amazing talent and shares beautifully worded insight into the world of a Domestic Violence victim.  This was originally posted on VoElla | Inside The Mind Of A Domestic Violence Victim

First and foremost, let me remind everyone that victims are strong, intelligent people. They were chosen by their abuser because of their strength and intelligence.

The insecure abuser worked every charm to pull in the victim and then methodically and meticulously worked on tearing down that strength and intelligence. They feel threatened by it. Their ability to pull the victim in and then down gives them a sense of power and temporarily sustains the beast. I say “temporarily” because the beast will always need to be fed through violence. Always. It is their disease.

It’s our strength and sensitivity in the beginning days of the charming honeymoon that gets us caught up and sucked in; loving, charming phrases. We miss the subtle oddities. The change in tone of voice. The harsh non-verbal actions. The way the abuser speaks of his past relationships. When we do notice it, we think our strength and faith can somehow fix him. He immediately starts picking away at our self-esteem and then injecting words of praise.


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A tug-of-war purposely designed to confuse. A tyrannical brain washing that destroys our self-worth. We are now in the tornadic storm without any real sense of direction. The building up phase becomes less and less; more infrequent until all that’s left is a complete tear down of a human soul.

Now picture that once bright, vibrant, exciting woman crumbled on the floor – crying. Picture her not being able to look at herself. The tearing down phase happens quicker than people realize and the victim is left wondering if she is in a bad dream. She does everything to make the “bad spells” go away, all because he makes her feel like she isn’t doing her part.

He chastises her like an errant child. Yes. That strong, bright, vibrant, exciting woman is now gone, lost in the nightmare, right where her abuser intended her to be from the very beginning.

Now we’re going to delve deeper in the mind of the victim as she dreams of escape. Her metamorphism into a survivor.

Why Does She Stay?

It’s everyone’s favorite question and I’m going to answer that. You need to know, so open your heart fully and swim a little in the abyss. It’s the only way you’ll understand.

It starts out as a dream; the escape. She fights back. Gets her pounding of pain, either through words or fists, but she fights back. The mush in her back starting to become a steely spine. Why the hell do you think her eyes are puffy and bruised? She dared to look the monster in the face and now that she sees him, she repudiates it emphatically.

All with a cost, that alone will surely stall any chance of escape. He sees she’s still alive in her spirit and his punishments ramp up further with more pound for pound pain. He methodically stalks her every move, counting each rise of her chest. He is fully aware she’s dreaming of her escape.


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Her steps, actions, and words are all now metered. He frantically checks her phone, gives more bruises to her face and soul so she’ll be too embarrassed to run to her friends. He’ll even say something asinine to any friend that calls, making them think she no longer wants their friendship. Complete isolation like caged animal. She’s wounded – feral and wild. Still insanely dreaming she can actually escape. So she sets out to meter her own steps and words and actions. That’s when she’s reborn.

A survivor is born in the hurricane long before they actually leave their abuser; in the eye of the storm. In that false calm, she’s planning methodically her escape. It takes time. She learns to become patient. Her impatience has taught her that he will nearly break her completely. When he snidely says he will kill her before he’ll let anyone else have her, she now knows the brevity of that statement. So she patiently studies his movements as she sits huddled in the corner of her rusty cage.

There’ll be that moment when he’ll be away long enough for her to actually leave. She counts the money she has hidden away in a place she knows he would never think to look because he checks to make sure she’s not stealing his money. The beast is smarter than you think. She knows it’s not enough money. Not nearly enough. It might be enough to buy 3 meals for her and her children, if she’s lucky.

She finds the name and number to the nearest Women’s Shelter for Domestic Violence Victims. She packs one bag, just enough stuff for her to carry. She looks at her children, calming them – telling them they’re going somewhere nice. They’re scared and worried. Mommy is not allowed to leave the house without daddy knowing.

Her children could wreck the whole plan if they panic. They know the consequences when mommy steps out of line and she doesn’t have time to sit them down and explain it all. She rushes them out, they’re going to have to walk there is no car. They need to get far enough ahead of the beast to ensure a semblance of safety. If they walk fast, they can actually make it to the Women’s Shelter before nightfall.

They arrive at the shelter in good time but the woman at the desk explains they have no available rooms. Twelve people total in that shelter. That’s it. The secretary arranges for them to go to another shelter in another county. Her and her children are bathed and fed. They’re allowed to sleep in a makeshift room and will leave in the morning for the new shelter. Her children don’t sleep. They cry through the night. A new trauma that she feels she’s caused. They beg to go back home.


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The mind can be a terrible thing. In the dark abyss in a foreign place, it starts questioning everything. She’s been conditioned to pick herself apart until nothing feels right and all choices she makes will always be wrong and stupid. She feels homeless. Not just her but now her children too. She has no money as she was never allowed to work.

The counselor reassured her right away that she would be given a chance. They would give her and her children clothing and food and a place to rest in safety. At that late hour, though, her mind twists the offer into a meaningless hand-out. Plus, her abuser swore he would kill himself if she left. Is he dead right now? Guilt bears down heavily. She stares at the phone in the hallway.

Three hours in the shelter. She calls her abuser and pleads for him to pick her up. She’s crying. Her children are crying. The shelter can’t keep her if she doesn’t want to stay. They offer her a business card with all of the important phone numbers she would need in another emergency. They tell her she’s so brave. She cries harder

Her abuser appears at the shelter – a face of utter calm. One would think he would actually punish her when they get home, but he doesn’t. He rewards her for coming back. He’s full of compliments and offers to help her better. He’s full of apology. Full of the love she once knew when they first met. He even makes her laugh. A strange feeling.

A week later, when she’s least expecting it, the punishment is doled out. Fisted out ten-fold with her children watching and listening. Her abuser actually explains in between punches to the watching children that “This is what happens when mommy thinks she’s smarter than daddy.” Open wounds on her forehead and cheeks – enough for stitches. She slinks to the back bedroom. An emergency room visit would only raise questions. More punishment she didn’t need at that moment.

She’ll do this 3 or 4 more times; leave and then come right back. Each time she leaves, the danger escalates beyond our ability to fully comprehend. I’m sure you see the travesty. I’m asking you to dig deeper and see what is not so plainly written or seen. Her absolute strength and courage. The first escape was a test run; the caged animal testing her limbs as she runs for the very first time. Now she knows she can do it. Running back was actually part of her survival.

She’ll return home. She was born in the middle of a hurricane and now she’s a wolf quietly howling. She’ll scrounge even more money away. She has the card with all of the emergency numbers she never thought of before in her numb haze. She’ll delicately prepare her children better. She’ll quietly and secretly search for a job.

She’ll retrain her thinking of going to a women’s shelter for domestic violence victims. She’ll no longer see it as the end. Instead, she’ll see it as the open door to the life she now knows she deserves. She’ll disassociate; quiet her racing mind while he’s abusing her. Her eyes are even more focused on the prize of escape.

I’ve done my research. I did not have to go to a women’s shelter when I escaped but I forced myself to step inside one. It’s full of inexplicable emotions. Strength. Fear. Bravery. And a deep love that made me fall to my knees – weeping. Now I volunteer there. The most healing decision I have made, thus far.

The resources for abused women are still limited. It’s no wonder she runs back to her abuser. She’s trying to save her life and sometimes the only way to quiet the raging beast is to run right back into hell. We should never ask “Why did you stay?” That puts all the blame on the victim. We should ask the abuser “Whatever made you think your actions are anywhere near acceptable?”

This story was in no way derived from my own personal experience. My heart simply bleeds for the women who feel they have no other choice but to return to their abuser. My life is now dedicated to not merely asking empty questions. I am determined to find answers.

The first hours of a victim’s escape are the most dangerous. She is literally on the edge of hell and it is our duty to help pull her to full safety. We must embrace her and continually remind her how brave she is. Remind her until that becomes her new silent mantra. “I am brave. I am strong.” We owe her that much at the very least.

By Kendra Lynn | Blog | Twitter |

Minime-Camille-Wylde

Suppressing Fear

A while back, I attempted meditation.  I only did it a couple of times but it was an enjoyable experience and it seemed like something that would be helpful if I could continue it regularly.  Of course, I didn’t continue. No specific reason as to why. Just stopped. You know how it goes, too busy with work, family, blogging…etc.  Plus, it’s hard to get a quiet time to really focus.  I have a small window before my day gets going and phones start ringing and if I forget then there’s no time to squeeze it in.  Also, there are things that I do for me and my own peace of mind (such as writing) that I’m not into the rest of the household knowing – therefore, less comments from the peanut gallery – and meditation is on that list.

So, out of the blue, I decided on Monday to start again.  I’m working on “realigning my chakras” and I have to say, I’m enjoying it.  Monday happened to be a noisy morning so I put in ear plugs, which really helped me focus, and so I have been using them every day.  For me, it’s a smart move because I can tune right into my breathing and clearing my mind.

This week I’ve been working on my Red Chakra which represents my base aka my foundation. The meditative exercises I’ve been employing deal with understanding the source of my life energy.  Not only from my current state but what has been passed down to me through the generations.  I’ve been focusing on Renewal; change and new beginnings.  This is part of the book I’m reading, sort of a Chakra guideline.  To my surprise and yet not a shock, apropos my life, part of the meditation was to feel fear, sadness and let my mind journey to that place I want to inevitably be.

Pleasantly, my consciousness has quickly adapted to letting my thoughts and visuals go where I need to in order to conjure these very real feelings.  It’s only Thursday, and I’m already feeling a clarity about certain things, so I’m interested to see where this goes.  Here’s the thing.  This week brought up a feeling I always knew existed but I’ve been so determined to suppress it that when it showed up in my meditation it was very emotional.  Very emotional.

Fear.

I just can’t shake it.  It’s this shadow that is living inside of me and no matter how hard I push it down it still pops up.  Strangely, the fear is not in being here or in the actual act of leaving.  I’m very aware of the process I’ve outlined and what needs to be taken care of in order to accomplish this.  I’m confident in my ability to get out.  However, every action has a reaction.  The fear is in the unknown response of what leaving will snowball into.

At this point in “our” lives, I know on some level he knows I’m leaving or at least suspects it but doubts I’d actually do it.  He still plans for a future of growing old together – as if.  But I know, as with any change, there are going to be stages he goes through.  Of course, we’re both going to go through stages but they’ll be vastly different.  I already know how he reacts when he’s angry so I anticipate promises, threats, and destruction.  I think it’s the hunting down part that keeps me in a certain head space.  I mean, he’s turning 50 – does he really still have the chase in him?  I tell him continually that I don’t love him and that I’m not happy, and in giving the benefit of the doubt, I feel like that will click (at some point) and he’ll accept the fact that I’m not coming back.

It’s not even fear about what he’ll do to me.  That’s pretty much the least of it.  It’s more of the lengths will he go to in order for me to come back.  Who will he harass?  What will he do?  Where will he show up?  When will he give up?  And of course there is – why.  I know he’s going to play this pathetic…Why did I leave?  Why didn’t I give him another chance?  Why didn’t I let go of the past?  And whatever else his brain can muster to dump all of this on me, as if it’s my fault.  I guess the fear is that he will actually come through on one or more of his threats made over the span of this marriage.

Fear of the unknown is horrifically cruel.  It plays every single scenario over and over, each time making the outcome worse and worse.  This gut wrenching fear is paralyzing.  I was talking to a friend of mine about all of this yesterday, and they said that [since I’m aware] I can start to detach from the fear and start really confronting it.  That I’m, moving away from it but it’s a process and I have to move through the process, which has already begun.  My friend said, the control needs to shift to me now. The battle is in my heart.  The battle is with the fear. That I’m already bigger than that fear at the deepest level and ready to take it on. Now it just has to reach the surface.  “When you decide it’s time to go, you’ll be ready for whatever he brings your way.”

I know that’s all true. It makes sense. I guess it’s just that after all these years, now that the end is so close, all the suppressed trepidation is bubbling up. Maybe that’s the point of starting back on this road of meditation.  Maybe it was a subconscious decision that is meant to lead me down the path of self realization and enlightenment in order to finish this part of my life.  I guess I’ll learn more as I continue on this journey – through darkness, dawn and light.

Prevent Domestic Violence ~ Power Punch Words by Kendra Lynn

This is the only way I feel I can properly thank Kendra for writing such an amazing piece.

As exciting as it is for those of us who have been a victim of Domestic Violence to see the PSA commercials air on television or actors/actresses and public figures speak up about their own stories or use their fame in ads to say this behavior will no longer be tolerated – we’re left wondering… What happens when the camera is no longer rolling?  Is the thrill gone?  That rush of thinking – this is it – this topic is now mainstream – is kind of lackluster.

I’ve said it numerous times before, the fact that there are so many women sharing their Domestic Violence story truly amazes me.  From those who have made it out and those who are still in, the numbers and stories are staggering.  And as she discusses, the word courageous gets thrown around a lot.  Courageous for enduring it, escaping it, and speaking about it.  The real courage is surviving the aftermath once you’re out.

Kendra describes her own feelings about the approach Hollywood has taken, as well as her brush with the judicial system in her own battle with her abusive ex.  And damn, if it doesn’t strike a chord.  Although she is out of her relationship for 5 years and I’m on my way out – every word she writes I can feel deeply and agree with wholeheartedly.  There is something about being in this “club” that unites us in a way no one should be united.  I don’t want to know how it feels to be beaten but it’s too late for that.  The deed is done.  Now all I want is to know is how the hell are we going to stop it from happening to my sister…or your daughter…or your best friend?

Here’s what Kendra Lynn has to say about it:

Hush.

Now the Public Service Announcement (PSA) commercials on domestic violence (DV) have gone silent.

The award show has ended and most people no longer think about the speech against domestic abuse. Janay Palmer-Rice and Patricia Driscoll (Kurt Busch’s ex-girlfriend) are silent. There’s still no word on the progress of either Ray Rice or Kurt Busch.

What stays the same? The statistics of DV do:

  • A woman is beaten every 9 seconds in the U.S.
  • 1 in 4 women are victims of domestic violence.
  • 3 women in the U.S. are murdered by their partner every day.
  • 15 million children are exposed to domestic violence each year.
  • The median age for a female to become exposed to an abusive relationship is between 18 – 29.

Real numbers gathered every year by the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence.

Nice to know there’s at least a task force.

While social media and Hollywood are great ways to reach a multitude of people, I fear the message is lost. I fear the actresses speaking out against domestic violence aren’t taken seriously because they typically portray a fantasy. In the mind of the median aged target group (females between the ages of 18 – 29), the actress is a glamorous fantasy. Why are the statistics remaining the same? Perhaps because we have unknowingly glamourized the idea of being a survivor of this terrible thing.

If you look at the family history of any domestic abuse survivor, you will find a family tree riddled with various forms of dysfunctional family dynamics and abuse. The 18 year old female precariously hanging from this thin limb sees the notoriety; the center stage presence of the actress courageously speaking out against domestic abuse. A low self-esteem and poor outlook on her future – the young victim of domestic violence perhaps sees only the glory in the story. The roaring applause at an award show and the gleaming lights and the perfectly coiffured actress; a chance for a survivor to be honorably mentioned in front of millions of people. I fear the stage lights are blinding the crux of the words and message of the actresses providing the speeches to end DV.

We all know the reality of any one survivor telling her story on center stage is rare. The real survivors of domestic abuse are sitting at home – still too afraid to speak out and up against domestic violence because of the stigma, the shame, the horror, and the hell that still echoes in our mind. The real survivors speak of our story with a catch in our throat, stuttering words, and tears that spill of their own volition as the story hits the core of our soul.

I am a survivor of DV of almost 5 years and I still cry at odd times while telling my story to those who genuinely care to know. I’ll tell you right now, being a survivor is not glamorous in any sense of rational thinking. It’s taken me nearly all my time of being a survivor to *not* look at all men as abusers.

I remember insomnia clutching my hand with a fearful grip. I remember going through motions; pretending to have it all together but inside feeling like an absolute failure. I remember the heavy sledge hammer memories invoking my first real symptoms of PTSD. I remember finding my voice – a voice that growled and screamed and yelled and cussed vehemently for the simple joy of being able to finally do so (but inadvertently pushing people away).

I remember the cringe I felt when someone hugged me for the first time after leaving my abuser; the foreign feeling that surrounded me in waves of nausea. It’s taken me nearly 5 years to finally learn to love myself and forgive myself for my past choices.

I become silent when someone calls me courageous. It’s at that exact moment I hear my screeching hell hounds – remembering as they chased me during my escape from my hell. I think of the countless victims too afraid and beaten down to leave their abusive partner. To me, that is the heart of every survivor of DV. We don’t categorize ourselves as courageous. We learned very early that labels have a not so funny way of causing a deep bruise. We are our own existence – renaming ourselves outside of our riddled and decaying family tree and relational history. Glamorous? Honey, it’s far from it. It’s its own hell being a survivor.

So what’s my point? Hollywood needs to stop its current form of PSA against domestic violence. It’s not working. The world needs to see more real survivors speaking out against it. The world needs to see a petite girl being punched in the face. The world needs to see real blood, real bruises, real tears, and real fear. It needs to be a power-packed PSA that rocks the core of everyone daring to watch. If I’m going to see a commercial about ending domestic abuse, I need to see a real survivor – someone I and every other survivor can relate to.

Birds of a feather flock together and more survivors will speak up. Everyone watching such a commercial should have tears rolling down their cheeks – much the same thing that happens whenever I decide to speak the harsh truth of my story to someone that wants to really know. The voice of a survivor is a hushed, cracking voice welling up in tears that the listener has to lean into to hear clearly. She’s not dressed up in her finery standing proud. Her voice continues to tell her story but she winces, thinking of any backlash that might occur in doing so. When the world can read past her shame and feel her fear maybe we will begin to make progress in ending domestic violence and Hollywood will become a strategic partner in this fight.

It’s worth your time – please continue to read the rest of her article here: Prevent Domestic Violence ~ Power Punch Words by Kendra Lynn | VoElla

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Wildflower

“When you’re happy, you enjoy the music.  But when you’re sad, you understand the lyrics.” – Frank Ocean

This quote circulates on social media quite often, and each time I see it I like, share, and retweet.  There is something about it that makes me feel, I don’t know…justified?  That’s definitely the wrong word.  All I know is that when I first read these words I thought YESSS this is SO true.  I’ve known as much for a long time.

I guess it resonated with me because over the years, I’ve been sad more than I’ve been happy and music has always been one of my escapes.  I’d put on my walkman, cd player or iPod and tune out real life.  When alone, I’ll listen to the music and love every rhythmic sound which will usually be anything with an upbeat tempo.  And on those not so alone days, I’ll put on my headphones and get lost in every single lyric of the slow songs that have some meaning and depth.

Being a child of the 70’s, and being lucky enough to have had young parents who also enjoyed music, I had the opportunity to listen to quite an assortment.  My father had an extensive album collection and there was always music playing.  So much variety in general plus the musical changes over the decades and then add to it the music my own kids listen to, I’d say my tastes vary in extremes.  My iPod holds everything from Dean Martin to Run DMC to Frankie Valli to Celia Cruz to the Spice Girls, NSync and anything Motown.  Needless to say…there’s diversity, and I enjoy all of it.

Every song sparks a specific memory or takes me to a certain place in time, which can range from extreme happiness or bring me to tears, and I’m sure the same holds true for mostly everyone else on the planet who listens to music.  I guess that’s the entire point – and the same song can mean something entirely different for each person.

This song, Wildflower by Skylark, happened to pop up on my iPod the other day.  I’ve heard it many times before and love it which is why it’s part of my playlist.  The last time I heard it, I remember thinking…wow, this song really fits [my] story.  This time around, I really took a listen to the lyrics – not because I was feeling melancholy or anything of that sort.  There’s just something about the melody that calls your attention to the words.

The first and last verses are particularly meaningful to me.  The first one is pretty much self explanatory and can bring on a heaviness alone just in the breakdown of the words.  It’s that last verse that hits home.  “And when you walk into her eyes, you won’t believe the way she’s always paying for a debt she never owes…”  In the beginning of this godforsaken journey, there was a very long time when I believed I deserved it and that I was being punished for making the decisions that I did…thus, paying for a debt I never owed.  Luckily, since blogging, I’ve worked through that and know now that none of this was deserved or my fault.

Geez, I didn’t mean to get heavy with this post.  I hope you can still sit back and enjoy the song.  It really is beautiful.  No matter the genre or our personal favorites, music is indeed the universal language.

She’s faced the hardest times you could imagine
And many times her eyes fought back the tears
And when her youthful world was about to fall in
Each time her slender shoulders bore the weight of all her fears
And a sorrow no one hears still rings in midnight silence, in her ears

Let her cry, for she’s a lady
Let her dream, for she’s a child
Let the rain fall down upon her
She’s a free and gentle flower, growing wild

And if by chance I should hold her
Let me hold her for a time
But if allowed just one possession
I would pick her from the garden, to be mine

Be careful how you touch her, for she’ll awaken
And sleep’s the only freedom that she knows
And when you walk into her eyes, you won’t believe
The way she’s always paying for a debt she never owes
And a silent wind still blows that only she can hear and so she goes

Let her cry, for she’s a lady
Let her dream, for she’s a child
Let the rain fall down upon her
She’s a free and gentle flower, growing wild

Your Voice Will Save You

First the Super Bowl and now the Grammys?  Say it ain’t so!

Many thanks to Brooke Axtell for this:

Your Voice Will Save You

Two in one night no less: #ItsOnUs

It's On Us

We are coming a long way and it’s starting to pick up speed.  If this would only become the norm when watching television on every station on any given day.