Tag Archive | hiding

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.

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Compassion and Understanding

For some reason, I feel that I need to comment on this issue.

When something resonates with a person, there is usually a reason why.  Either they are going through or have gone through the same exact thing or they know someone, whether it be a friend or family member, who is going through or have gone through the same exact thing.  To me, those reasons are a very simple way to say…I understand what you’re going through.  Because you can relate…you understand.

There is also being empathetic / sympathetic to a person’s situation.  Which, to me, means that person may not really understand or get it because they’ve never been in that situation.  However, because the person is (hopefully) kind and compassionate their heart can go out to another and say…I can only imagine what you must be going through.

This is how we interact with one another on a daily basis – through our hearts, minds, bodies and souls.  Whether it be at work, at home, in the street, on line at the bank or via phone, text or social media – with friends, family or strangers.  No matter your race, religion, ethnicity, gender or sexual preference…at the end of the day we are human.

Being human has its advantages and disadvantages.  The crux of being human is that we all have problems.  This is our lot in life.  We all have them.  No matter your station in life.  And, as stated above, those around you either understand or they don’t.  If you are very lucky, you have surrounded yourself with people that fall into one of the two categories above, those people being your inner circle, your safety net, your support system.

And then there are…the others.  People who don’t know you from a hole in the wall yet they judge you anyway.  People who hate solely based on one’s race, religion, ethnicity, gender or sexual preference.  They don’t, they can’t and/or they won’t understand another person’s differences and so the only way they know is to spew hateful vicious words or even worse, physically harm someone because of these differences.

For those of you that might fall into the “other” category, I don’t know who you are but I hope you will continue to read this to the end just to see what other people are thinking.

Here is where we come to the heart of this post.

Of course, I can only speak for myself when it comes to this.  I’m not sure if my opinions on the matter are formed from being a woman, a mother or from being involved in a violent marriage for the better part of my life – a part of my life that had to be hidden away.  A part of me that I kept secret from everyone I knew, for as long as possible – until it was just too much for me to hold in anymore.

As is the same for Caitlyn Jenner.

I waited for the Diane Sawyer interview to see if the gossip was true.  Prior to that I thought, could this be true?  Yes, we all saw the tabloids and pictures plastered all over the internet of his ever changing appearance.  Still, I thought, it had to be a stunt.  I thought for sure Bruce Jenner was pulling a Joaquin Phoenix and leading the paparazzi on so that he could have the last laugh.  After all, prior to the Kardashians, for all of us “older folk” we knew him in his heyday.  His greatest accomplishment was winning the Decathlon in the 1976 Olympics.  This was who he was.  Infamy that carried him through four decades without ever losing the respect and admiration of anyone who recognized him or knew his name.  I thought, Bruce Jenner holds this title with such esteem, no way he’d disappoint his adoring fans with such news of becoming a woman.  Can’t be.

And then he spoke.

My heart broke.  I didn’t equate it initially to my story.  I don’t know anyone else in my own personal life who is transgender.  I was just an empathetic human being listening to this story.  I could only imagine how hard his life must have been coping with what he was feeling inside and how hard it had to be to hide this secret from family, friends and the public.  By the end of the interview with Diane Sawyer my heart felt such a relief for Bruce Jenner because I know exactly how he felt getting such a huge secret off of his chest and letting go of that burden.  I was just a human being…sitting there being proud of someone that was able to use their voice and tell their story.

Now, I know people have a serious hate for the Kardashians.  The way they rose to fame and the fact that they have a insane legion of followers who have kept the entire family in the public eye since the beginning.  I personally love the show.  Why?  I happen to be a fan of Reality TV.  Not all of it but a decent amount and a wide variety.  When I started watching this show, I didn’t really know much about any of them.  But I knew Bruce Jenner.  When you watch Reality TV, you feel like you know these people.  And to me, fame and fortune aside, the shenanigans that go on can be part of almost any family, which is why I think they have remained relevant for so long.  No matter how much money is in anyone’s bank account, we all have ups and downs.  Watching someone else’s family issues can help you to see everyone deals with the same crap.

Unfortunately, being part of this show heaped a load of negativity onto Bruce Jenner, so that when he told his story, the others, figured this was more about publicity and ratings than anything else – aside from now hating him solely for coming out as transgender.

In addition to the interview with Dianne Sawyer, there was a two part special that aired as part of KUWTK called…About Bruce.  That too, was thought to be only about the ratings for the Kardashians.  However, if you took the time to watch it, it was not at all.  It was all about Bruce (and filmed before the DS interview) discussing with his children how he felt his entire life, making sure they understood what he was doing and why he was doing it.  Most of them didn’t know this was a transgender issue.  They thought he just had a fetish for wearing women’s clothes.  It was sad to watch the kids try to grasp the reality that their dad in the physical male sense that they’ve known their entire lives would cease to exist.  They were all pretty much in mourning.  At the same time, hearing him go further into how this secret was eating away at him and how he would be so upset with himself if he died before getting to live the life that was inside of him – in his heart, in his mind or in his soul, wherever those feelings may come from.

Then the light went on.  I realized why I could not only imagine what he must have been going through his whole life but now I understood where he was coming from.  I got it.  Not the transgender part of it.  The need to let go of the secrets.  To stop hiding the truth.  To stop pretending everything is alright on the outside when there is a war going on inside of you.  The need to tell your story and speak your truth in order for you to be happy and thrive far outweighs what others might think, do or say.

That’s my story.

It’s everyone’s story who is holding in a secret.  Who is afraid or ashamed to speak the truth.  I don’t know how any of the other Domestic Violence victims/survivors who have come forward and shared their stories feel about this topic.  I can only speak for what I see, hear and feel.

I do not think Caitlyn Jenner is the greatest American hero of our time.  But she is for the transgender community.  She is a voice for those that can’t yet speak.  She has this platform because she was already famous.  She didn’t become famous because she told the world she is transgender.  With fame there is a certain level of responsibility and there is also a huge burden.  Your privacy is gone.  This is why the Caitlin Jenner story is on the news, and in magazines and on award shows.  You have to live out loud.

You will never read about my story of Domestic Violence in People Magazine but you will read about and see pictures of Rhianna’s bruises because she is famous.  She is in the public eye.  These are the people we need to step forward and tell their story.  We need to know we are not alone in this battle.  The Ray Rice incident brought some other famous woman out of the shadows and they too told of their history with Domestic Violence.  This is the way we as human beings know we are not in this thing alone.  You don’t have to understand why I made the decisions I made in my life but you shouldn’t hate me for them.  You shouldn’t judge me for them.  I found my voice.  I’m using it to the best of my ability.

There are so many other human beings stepping forward telling their stories.  Finding their strength and their courage to come forward and inspire someone else dealing with the same issues to do the same.  We are all different but we are also all human.  For those of us that are not in the same battle as another human being, the answer is simple…

Compassion and understanding.

Domestic Violence victim regrets registering to vote after address posted on web

Something to Think About

On this Election Day, while preparing to go flex my suffrage muscles, a right that was finally institutionalized after years of protest by women who refused to take no for an answer, I came across this article. It reminded me that although the 19th Amendment grants all American women the right to vote, there are so many other rights we are not guaranteed. The right to privacy being one.

With my brain working overtime in how to stay off the grid once I leave, I’m grateful that I came across this article.  It goes to show you can never be 100% sure your information is not floating around out there, most especially in this digital era.

For Domestic Violence survivors who are already living a peaceful and serene life, and for those to follow in your footsteps, being hyper-vigilant about your safety is never off the table.

FOX31 Denver

[ooyala code=”hocnVocTqLXEqf45O87pDGQiWWmRJe38″ player_id=”47658b6fe4a043a48f5296392ce1db7f”]

DENVER — Theresa VanDerhoof has spent the past 14 years avoiding her violent ex-husband.

“He`s thrown me down the stairs, he`s punched me so hard that it`s broken ribs,” said VanDerhoof, adding, “He’d put notes on my car.  He would follow me, he`d figure out where I was.”

Even now, Vanderhoof sleeps with mace under her pillow and every few months she Googles herself, to make sure her address and phone number don’t appear online.

Her stomach sank three weeks ago when she discovered all her personal information on the website “ColoradoVoters.Info.”

“I`ve never felt that violated in all my life.  My information is out there now, my ex-husband does one search of my name, he`s going to find me,” said VandDerhoof.

The Denver area woman never guessed that registering to vote for the first time in more than a decade would make her feel…

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Quietly Hiding

I’ve been thinking a lot lately. More than usual, I guess. In doing so, what I have come to realize is that for more than half of my life, I’ve been in hiding. It sounds ridiculous, I know. Just the overall general statement of it…I’ve been in hiding. What does that even mean?

How can someone be in hiding if they go to work everyday, have friends and family that they speak to regularly, go out with said friends and family – shopping, for lunch or dinner, visit at their house, eventually mingling with parents at school and having play dates and birthday parties for their children. To me, none of these things go hand in hand with someone who is – in hiding.

The problem is, I had no idea. It never occurred to me. Even if someone came up to me back then and called me right out on it, I’d think they were nuts. My response would likely have been, “Who the hell am I hiding from…and why?” Heck, if someone would have called me out on it last year my reaction would probably have been the same.

Here is the sad truth…

The definition of the word hiding (as per Merriam Webster Dictionary):

1. a) To put out of sight: secrete
    b) To conceal for shelter or protection: shield
2. To keep secret.
3. To screen from or as if from view: obscure
4. To turn (the eyes or face) away in shame or anger.

Wow. I don’t think it really sunk in – not even until this very moment – when I read the legit definition. All of that…has been the story of my life. That’s pretty sad. Admitting to it really doesn’t make it any better. It’s still sad.

No matter how outgoing and happy and funny the “real me” was on the outside to everyone who knew ME – the [other me] was always hyper vigilant to keep the signs of what was happening at home under wraps.

It’s funny, as children we keep secrets all the time. Whispering in the ears of our friends…”Shh, don’t tell.” Little minor baby secrets. Harmless stuff. Who can even remember what secrets we told that we thought were such a matter of life and death back then…”If you tell I won’t ever speak to you again!

Barely out of that secret telling stage of life, at 17 years old, here I was keeping a whole new set of secrets. Adult sized secrets. But these, these were not being shared. No one was allowed in. I kept my new secrets to myself and I never thought I’d share them with anyone, let alone…everyone.

It’s been almost a year since I (anonymously) came out of hiding. I anxiously dumped all of my secrets out and let you rummage through them. I wouldn’t change that decision – ever. It was a heavy burden lifted and…they needed to be dusted off anyway.

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To read from the beginning… my story starts here.