Tag Archive | faith

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.

Damaged Goods

Recently, I’ve been noticing a few personality traits that I now realize are related to my being in an abusive relationship for so long.  None of them are new but I am just now seeing how so much of me is netted into this lifestyle.  A little over a year ago, I had written a blog post called Survival Mode after reading another blog post (That Wasn’t Me…This Is Me), which triggered an understanding/clarity of how “we” -the abused- get sucked in so deep to a point where we are almost physically and mentally incapable of getting out.

People who have never experienced Domestic Violence or abuse in any form, are typically the ones spewing all the oh so popular catchphrases, such as…Why didn’t she just leave?  What those people don’t understand is that it’s so much more than a woman saying, I love him, and then all of a sudden – CURSE PUNCH KICK – and her saying, I still love him.  I’m sure there is a percentage of that scenario but it’s not the norm.  At least not for me, and I never understood that mindset.

Once upon a time, I was normal.  I don’t know when exactly because apparently I’ve been carrying the burden of abuse around for such a long time.  Let’s just go with the topic of boyfriends.  Okay.  So, I was normal.  Dated guys.  Never got hit.  Never got mistreated.  Never got spoken down to.  And then I meet HIM.  Once he realizes I liked him, the game begins.  I chase, he ignores.  I ignore, he chases.  I date someone else, now he’s in love and can’t live without me.  Now, this could have all been part of his own personal issues with shyness and not knowing how to relate to females in general, or was it premeditated?

The beginning of the end.

When we officially started dating, we had known each other for about three years.  So, he knew my background, my ex-boyfriends, who I associated with.  Being that he was telling me I was his one and only, he slowly started to manipulate his way into my every day.  And since it was a new relationship, seeing each other every day is normal, right? This is where the manipulation began.  It was slow but very steady.  Convincing me not to talk to other guys because I was his girlfriend now.  Until I didn’t speak to any of my male friends.  Even ones that there was never any romantic involvement with.  Next were my girlfriends.  He either didn’t like them or they didn’t like him and it was easier if I just stopped hanging out with them.

As time went on, the textbook abuse code of behavior was activated and carried through almost methodically which began with the ever so subtle isolation of friends and family, followed by jealousy and control, criticism, sabotage, blame and anger …. just to name a few early warning signs – aka – I wish I knew then what I know now.

“It is not this massive oppressive nature that comes at us all at once. Instead, it innocently seeps into our everyday consciousness until it’s all that we know.  Even though the little things seemed so big as they were happening, by the next “BIG” incident that last one could easily be considered almost nothing. I learned the dos and donts of what makes an abusive man angry and quickly and without conscious knowledge I knew just exactly what would rock the boat and so my main goal from day to day was NOT to rock it.”

People wonder how we get so brainwashed that while all of this abuse is happening years are passing by and we still haven’t left.

Like I said in Survival Mode:

“As the years go by you just learn how to respond. What facial expressions to use and when to just answer yes or no without a story behind it. People wonder how you can live so many years this way…truth is, when you are so busy living from day to day just trying to make it through the day without a hitch, time friggin flies.”

And now here I am, still surviving.  Attempting to heal from within so I can heal once I’m out.  I can tell that it’s working because everything is becoming more clear.  These “traits” I mentioned in opening…are the side effects of my life.  One of which came to the surface last weekend when I snapped at someone I love, telling them to “shut up” because they were suggesting I do something a different way than I was doing it.  My brain heard a command and my defensive reflex took over.  I later apologized, explaining that in order to deal with being spoken to a certain way for so many years, my brain instinctually created a sort of coping mechanism which unfortunately reared it’s ugly head with the “shut up”.

The thing is, I never realized this reflexive response. Or maybe it didn’t strike me the same way before.  This person’s response was a look of hurt and disappointment causing them to walk away from me and leave without saying good-bye, and it hurt.  It hurt me because I hurt them.  It made me realize – which I also explained – that there are so many other things that I’m not even aware of that are ingrained in me because of this and I probably won’t even know until I’m away from it. On top of that, I won’t know how long it’ll take me to undo it all.  At the end of the day, they understood.  And I was left wondering what other attributes will pop up when least expected.

Unfortunately, I’m sure there will be plenty.  I’m aware of some of the PTSD symptoms I already have, which suck.  I have finally become very aware that I suffer from intermittent depression – mostly extreme sadness and episodes of crying spells.  Currently, dissociation seems to be the flavor of the month…past few months…maybe longer.  I’ve been unable to focus (usually when working) for at least six months or longer and daydreaming is another symptom.  I seem to “check out” often – sometimes mid conversation.  I thought that was just selective hearing. 🙂

It seems to be a good thing that I am starting to become more aware of all of these issues.  The more I understand that which ails me hopefully the faster and easier the healing process.  We’ll see.

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If you have been in an abusive relationship, you should read Effects of Domestic Violence posted on The Joyful Heart Foundation website.  It is very informative.

My story starts here.

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.

31 Facts in 31 Days – Day 13

howtohelp

You Don’t Have To Be An Expert To Be Able To Help!

Many people struggle with how to help a friend or other loved one who is in an unsafe, abusive relationship. Talking to a friend who you are worried about can be daunting.  The fear of interfering, being wrong, or possibly driving them away can keep many people from reaching out.  If you are concerned for someone’s safety in a relationship, you can turn to many available resources that may help you start the conversation. According to Domestic Abuse Intervention Services (2014), some important things to consider when talking to a friend include the following:

  1. Pick a time that won’t cause you two to be rushed.
  2. Find a safe location where you can talk and not be disturbed or overheard by others.
  3. Offer your support, including suggestions for resources and practical support, such as calling a local domestic violence hotline together. It can be scary to make the first step in leaving or to even acknowledge there is a problem, so make sure your friend knows you are there to support them through the process.

There are some important things to try to avoid when helping a friend. These include the following:

  1. Avoid accusing, judging, or diagnosing your friend or their abuser. You don’t want to raise walls between you and your friend by getting their defenses up. Rather, you want to open lines of communication and offer them your support. Most likely, there are several reasons your friend is staying with this person. Striking an accusatory tone is going to get them on the defense when you are trying to have an open conversation. 
  2. Don’t pressure your friend into leaving the relationship.  There are so many reasons a victim might stay with an abuser.  You likely don’t know many of the ins and outs of the person’s relationship. Be open to hearing some good things about your friend’s partner.  Validate where they are coming from.

FACT: You don’t have to be an expert to help someone who is in an abusive relationship. What’s important is to show them that you’re concerned and deeply care about the happiness and safety of your friend. That is important enough. Be there when they need support, and help them reach out to support systems and resources as they are ready. If they’re not ready to hear you or are not ready to leave, make yourself available to be there when they become ready.

Remember to be patient.

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Fact Source:  See The Triumph

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To read from the beginning… #MyStory starts here.

Purposeful Poetry

My intent was to write. To take “pen to paper” and finally be honest. To say it all and let go of everything.  Never expecting the whirlwind of emotional baggage I would truly be dumping out.  After letting go of so much you’d think that’s it.  All that has led me to today is out.  I’ve purged.  So I’m good, right?

It doesn’t seem to be that easy.  Just in the same way you clean out your attic or your basement, ridding it of all the junk you’ve accumulated over the years, standing back and seeing it clean and empty…you sigh…finally.  Then you get close up into the corners and crevices and you see all the residual dust, dirt and spider webs that are still there.

Then you realize…you’re not done.  And so I’ve realized – I’m not done.  This is where the writing from a different viewpoint came into play.  I figured I must have some dusty corners in my mind that need to be wiped clean.  Coming from that same place, since poetry has always been a healing outlet for me, I decided to finally participate in some of the Haiku Challenges I was noticing on Twitter.  If I was going to do it though, I wanted to do it as part of my healing process and not just for the fun of it.

What I didn’t realize was how much it was going to take to dig down and write a measly Haiku.  I mean, three sentences written in 5/7/5 syllable format. How easy this would be, right?  Not really.  I don’t write anything (whether posting it or not) that isn’t something meaningful to me.  I just can’t do it – from an emotional standpoint.  If I don’t feel it, I literally can’t write it – AKA – the zone.  Participating in these poetry sessions (if you will) is, for me, another form of therapy.  And, it keeps me writing.

If you’re interested in reading some of my work, please click on my Healing Haiku and Micropoetry pages to see what I’ve been up to.

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To read from the beginning… my story starts here.

The Kindness of Strangers

 

“Whenever you find yourself doubting how far you have come, remember everything you have faced, all the battles you have won, and all the fears you have overcome.” — Unknown

Every once in a while I will look back on posts I have written, usually when I notice a random page has been accessed, and when I read the comment section I’m always taken aback.  When I started this blog, I had no idea what to expect.  I think I leaned more towards the belief that no one would see it or read it and honestly, that was just fine with me.  That belief was my safety blanket in telling my story.  I figured if no one read it, I could pour it all out.  Get out every last drop that was pushed way down deep inside.  All of the things I kept hidden, things I never told a soul, things I pretended didn’t happen because I had to keep going.

And then…it happened…

Someone read one of my posts.  I panicked.  I remember seeing the notification and kind of just freezing up like…oh no, someone read this.  Now what?  Who are they?  What do they think of me?  I went through the emotions of feeling embarrassed and humiliated.  I felt so small and ashamed.  Of course, I followed the link back to their blog and tried to see if I could figure out where they were from.  What are the odds of someone I know happening upon my blog, let alone the first person?  Probably one in a zillion.  Eventually, I took a breath and calmed down.  Realizing…they didn’t know me and I didn’t know them.

Eventually, more people read and after about two weeks, someone made a comment.  Kind and compassionate words that made me realize…wait a minute, I’m not alone.  Being as I was brand new to blogging, I was still in my own little bubble.  I wasn’t really venturing out into the WordPress society and looking for other blogs.  As people liked and followed me, I would in turn check out and read their blogs and in no time I found a slew of others writing about the same horrific experiences.  I was stunned.  Honestly.  I just couldn’t believe people were talking about…abuse.  I started reading other stories and I felt like I just walked into a place where everyone knew my secret and no one cared because they all had the same exact secret.

As more people started to comment on what I was writing about it made me feel … I don’t even know, it’s indescribable.  There was a calmness about it.  Just in knowing that other people totally understood and didn’t judge me.  One such comment was from my girl Abbbz from The Left Side, who said the following:

I will stand with you throughout. There is no judgment here. I understand that it is not an easy time you are going through and I understand that it is not always easy to up and leave. Be as safe as you can be. I look forward to the time when you will be a survivor as well. It will happen. Just remember. No matter what he says, You are strong. You are important. You are beautiful. You matter. Be safe. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Simple words like that from someone I didn’t even know were such an amazing gift.  Especially in the beginning.  Not knowing what to expect or how to react to people now reading and reaching out to me, showing such empathy.  Another comment came from The Power of Wisdom and really hit home, making me feel like I was definitely doing the right thing in telling my story.  She said:

I read your post and just had to comment. You don’t deserve anything you are going through, period. I am an abuse survivor but I will be the first to admit that my level of fear was no where near what you must be dealing with. I was threatened, but deep inside I knew I was with a coward who would never follow through with such violence. When I read your posts…God I just wanted to hug you. You are hands down one of the strongest women I know. His threats are horrifying and you are still able to keep your head up for the sake of your children. You are an amazing woman. I recently started a blog to help women escape abuse by working on themselves first. Although I believe it’s still possible for all of us to take our lives back, with a situation like yours you can’t just stand up to him and leave – he has no conscience or remorse and this is a dangerous combination. I completely, 100% agree with you that the only reason to stay with someone like this has nothing to do with self-worth, self-esteem, etc. It truly does come down to fear – it would for me as well. I am going to follow your posts because I want to see you make it out. You are too tough, too inspiring, too amazing not to make it out. There has to be a way and continuing to blog will connect you with other amazing, kick-a** women that overcome monsters like these. Hang in there. Starting tonight, you will be in my nightly prayers – I promise. I’m rooting for you. :)”

I noticed the more that I heard from others – mostly survivors – the more I felt, possibly for the first time, that I am truly capable of doing this.  I’ve come a long way and have been through way too much to succumb to it all.  I didn’t really notice at first the confidence and strength I was feeling because of the kindness of strangers.  It just sort of snuck up on me as I continued to write.  As people voiced their views on my abilities, it made me feel inspired.  Wary, Contrary & No Virgin Mary told me:

What you are doing is intelligent. It’s also possibly going to save your life.  When you leave, you need to go somewhere with other people who can physically protect you.  If your husband has no idea this is coming, his reaction is going to be terrifying. He may not be violent right now, but he has been in the past it seems, and losing control of you to this extent is going to send him off his rocker.  You are incredible. You are strong and brave and intuitive. You are going to be okay.  And that really makes me happy. I don’t think you’re in danger of continuing in the abuse cycle the way I did, because you’re aware of what was done to you and that it was wrong.  I am excited for your future.

With all that I have read on other blogs from people who have been through this, found the courage to leave and survived to tell about it gave me the courage to start letting people I know in to my world.  I found the strength to let people in one at a time and Aussa, of Hacker.Ninja.Hooker.Spy, said to me:

It is so scary when you finally confide a dark secret to a close friend… especially when it is one that you have kept for a long time. But it can also feel amazing. I’m glad that you are taking so many steps in the direction towards “Happily Ever After.” 2014 is barely here and you’re already winning at it!

With each friend that I have let in to my world (5 at the moment), I have felt overwhelming strength in my heart letting me know I am doing the right thing and I am on the right path.  As Michael of The I Am said to me:

You have the perfect attitude to manifest everything good that’s coming to you. It’s truly perfect! :)”

And I can feel that he is right.  However, all of this may not have come so quickly and effortlessly without the kindness of strangers, who are not really strangers anymore.  Never would I have thought I’d ever tell my story, admit to the abuse, admit to the fear but in the middle of doing it and because of doing it, I evolved.  As Omtatjuan once said to me:

It took everything you went thru to get you to this exact moment in time… I am glad you are right here… Right now.

I’m glad too.  With every page written, a layer of shame, guilt, and burden has been peeled off of my soul and with every kind and supportive word I know I’ve come so far.  And as the picture above says, whenever I find myself doubting how far I can go, I just remember how far I have come…and that is because of you.  So, thank you for reading.  Thank you for following my story.  Thank you for your ridiculously kind words.  It has all been beyond helpful.  I am looking forward to getting to the part of blogging my happily ever after story to all of you…once strangers, now friends.

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To read from the beginning… my story starts here.

I’m Not Dead

Every once in a while the numbers game takes a toll on me.  I guess because of my last post (Silver Anniversary), that daunting number – 25 years – has been lingering in my head.  When thinking back over all that time, bits and pieces of memories make their way to the front of my mind.  And sometimes, I can clearly remember moments when I thought I’d never make it this far.

I’m not really sure how long after I made the decision to stay did I think about my own mortality.  I don’t think it was an immediate thought, in respect to when the abuse started, because in the very early stages, as I’ve said before, there was always a logical reason.  So I don’t think I feared for my life at the very beginning.  It may very well have been the first time he clenched a knife in his fist holding it up in the air above me, ready to plunge it wherever he needed to for me to learn my lesson.  If not then – maybe it was when he pulled a gun on me for the first time.  Supposedly, unloaded but how many times have “unloaded” guns killed someone?

There were times over the first five years, before having my second child that I thought who am I kidding…I’m never going to see this kid make 18.  It was something I would think about, panic about, grieve about and then push down deep inside and move on.  With my second pregnancy I was so depressed.  I really couldn’t believe I was going to be stuck for 5 years extra.  This may have been the time frame in which I became determined to survive.  At all cost, I needed to make it out of this hell.

Of course, there were many, many times when I lay there crying after an incident and prayed for God to take me.  Please, please…just let me die.  I would go through phases of just giving up.  Who cares?  People die everyday.  Their kids and families are left behind along with everything they worried about while they were alive and you know what…life goes one.  People mourn them and then get back to life.  There were times I didn’t care if that turned out to be my story.  But there was something else going on.  Nothing that I really noticed until I was far past those dark days.

I’m not really sure how to explain it.  In a simple term…I survived.  I just kept going.  I sucked it up…took each day as it came and kept going.  I’m not sure how and I’m not sure why.  It just happened.  And each year that passed was tallied quietly in my mind.  I’d think, oh my God, I’m doing it.  I’m gonna see these kids to 18 and then get the hell out.  On my own, on their own, on his own.  Done.  Then…bam.  Kid #3.  Geez, I could not catch a break.  Although, strangely enough, with no birth control my kids are all 5 years apart.  So bizarre.  I always wanted to have kids close in age so they’d be close with each other but this way seemed to work out for me well because as one started school full time, I was home with the baby while he was at work.  So there was silence and bonding.  Maybe that was all part of the bigger picture.

Moving forward…over the years my emotions would ping pong back and forth with deciding on jail, praying for death (his or mine), or being plagued with the fear of actually never making it out.  However, now that I have made it all the way to the end – even more so after coming to terms with and purging my secret life of abuse – I sometimes still wonder why…I’m not dead.  It actually amazes me…makes me wonder why.  What is so special about me?  Was I supposed to tell this story?  Are my kids going to play some important role in the future?  I can’t even grasp on to what it could be.  I’m just amazed that – even though I burdened myself with this timeline – that I have come within reach of it.  It’s not to say I don’t have my days when I still want to just give up but as a friend of mine said to me…”You’re 3 feet from gold…don’t stop now.

So, I continue to forge ahead.

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To read from the beginning… my story starts here.