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Health - Nutrition, Diet, Exercise

In Times Like This

Hello there,

It seems appropriate to start this post with a greeting. So many of us are missing face to face, voice and physical contact these days. While some are going about their lives as normal (don’t get me started on the Spring-breakers in Florida!), others are self quarantined, and still others are somewhere in between.

I have waffled, which is unlike my normal self. I am more of a reactor in general. I see, I hear, I do. Not always the best way to handle things but it is how I do, me. When I received the message midday on a Wednesday that our son’s school would be closing for 2 weeks in an effort to ‘flatten the curve’ (just one of the new buzz word/sayings), I took it in stride. A trickle of joy ran through me as the thought of having our son home for a couple weeks entered my brain.

Imagine my joy when not only school was canceled for 2 weeks, but so was soccer. Don’t get me wrong (yes, I just heard a collective gasp through the cloud slammed back at me), I LOVE watching M play soccer. However, the thought of a couple weeks without school AND soccer, brought visions of the ocean dancing in my head! I quickly began a search for vacation rentals at our favorite WA coast beach town. My hubby, who thinks a lot like me, was doing the same exact thing in another room of the house. We collaborated and booked a house for the following week.

After picking up our ‘son from another mother’, D, we packed up and headed to the coast for 5 days. We called it our spring break. (Now, hold your tongue! We did not party like it’s 1999 or anything of the sort.). We maintained social distancing from other people, ate in our rental home (not in restaurants), went on private walks through the woods, played ping-pong in the garage of the rental, played pickle ball (when no one else was) and did not join in other vacationers gatherings.

That last paragraph, the content of it, was VERY difficult for me (and Laurie). We are social by nature. We see a dog, we go pet it. We see people shooting hoops, we invite ourselves to join in. We see a child playing alone, we ask them to join our group. It’s in our DNA to be inclusive. Needless to say, we struggled, but we heeded all warnings and suggested cautions to maintain social distance. And instead, we had a blast with just our family, D, and Yuto (exchange student from Japan that lives with Laurie). We were our 6 (under 10).

With all this time on my hands I decided to take up an invite to tryout a newly started workout class via Zoom. My long time friend, Jessica Gleason, founder, owner and instructor for SDF (Seattle Dance Fitness) has stretched her creative business skills and is hosting workouts via a video platform. Women who normally went to her live classes at multiple locations throughout North Seattle, needed a way to keep working out and stay connected. I have been so proud of the business Jessica has started, watching it flourish and grow from a guest instructor at local fitness facilities to her own full fledged (FEMALE OWNED AND RAN) business. Talk about BOSS BABE! Just when she was killing it and had added multiple instructors to her booty shaking fleet, the virus hit and through a wrench in her business curve.

Rather than let that knock her out, Jessica picked herself up and began planning. Finding solutions, researching video options and creating a website for access. BOOM! Take that Covid-19. I have now tried a weeknight dance workout, a weekday kid/family hip hop class and a Saturday morning workout. All were fun, physical and made me sweat! Today’s workout unleashed hidden emotion within me, bringing joy and a sense of connection even though I had turned my video part off and knew the others couldn’t see my scary dance moves. We moved, we danced, I’m sure we laughed, we sweated, and we connected through the internet/cloud waves, all because of what Jessica has grown over these past years in her business.

As much as this Blog post did not start out as an advertisement for Seattle Dance Fitness, I guess that is where it has gone. My initial thought was to share what we are doing and how we are fairing so far (which is just fine). We are loosely schooling at home. We are working as much as we can with our real estate clients (email us, call us, text us for real estate advice now and going forward). We are going to church online with Westside Church. We have limited our contact to a small group of about 10 people (our fam, Laurie and her exchange student, D and one other small fam) to keep our social distance responsibility in check. We are getting outside, running, walking, doing workouts at home, yelling at kids to get off screens (not much yelling really), and playing games. And yes, watching some TV.

I am not a gym membership kind of person. Ask my bestie, Dawn, she has tried to get me to join for forever. I am also not much of a go to a workout class kind of person. As much as I am believed to be an extrovert, I do not like group work outs. I am a workout from home, DVD, elliptical, go for a run, kind of gal. I like my group interaction from a distance and without the after workout chat. You heard it here.

Several days ago I caught a small portion of a Facebook Live from my friend Jessica, Owner of SDF (Seattle Dance Fitness). She was sharing her heart with her dance family. Many women (and a few men) go to her classes on the weekly. Some a few times a week. They are seriously a family. I’ve seen the way they interact (from the comfort and safety of my home sneaking a peek on Facebook). With the shut down of groups larger than 50, which stretched out to include Restaurants, Churches, Gyms, and pretty much everywhere except grocery markets and pharmacies, SDF lost their ability to get together and workout. More so, Jess lost her income. Fitness instruction is her bread and butter. No workouts, no money, no paycheck. It broke my heart.

In her video Jess let them all know she was going to start Live classes via a platform called Zoom. Many of us in the business industry and writing world have been using Zoom for meetings for quite a while now. It turns out it can be used for workouts as well! SDF would be offering a limited schedule of classes while they roll it out and add more as the need and ability arises should the need for us to stay home continue. There was a link to her website (which I have linked anywhere you see ‘SDF‘ in this post) and I went to check it out. As well as offering classes via Zoom she was offering the first week free for newbies (like me). I decided to take her up on the offer.

My boys and I attended the Kids/Family Hip Hop last week and I attended a Thursday night as well as a class this morning. Our first two classes we did while we were off on a family trip on the WA coast from our rental. This morning I logged in from home. Both times I was able to connect my laptop to my TV with an HDMI cable. Very cool to follow Jess/SDF on the big screen right in my home! The classes are fun, the music is engaging and Jess does a fantastic job keeping you going for 50 minutes. The moves are somewhat difficult, but she gives you tips and you are able to muddle your way through. I will add, now that I’ve done 3 classes, many of the moves/songs are repeated class to class so you will get the hang of it. Most importantly, YOU WILL SWEAT! And, you will have fun!

Near the end of today’s workout I found myself a little emotional. I really didn’t think I was feeling anything about the situation we are in, the virus, Covid-19 other than caution in regards to germs. I have felt blessed to have the time with my family, the ability to be home, the means to stock up and even to getaway. As I worked out and heard Jess, saw the ladies dancing and having fun, I felt the love, the encouragement coming through the internet/cloud waves directly into my heart, and it felt good. I shed a couple tears, sucked in a big breath and kept moving. The workout wasn’t over!

I want to encourage you to do what you can to help others around you during this time. If you can run to the store for a neighbor, do it. If you have supplies to give, offer them up. If you have the means to order take-out/food from a restaurant, do it. If you have the financial ability to join Seattle Dance Fitness Live Classes during this time, DO IT! I would love to see this small business stay a float during this time, and be able to pick back up strong when we all recover going forward.

So, go to SDF.

Check out the schedule.

Sign up for a punch pass or a monthly membership.

Support this business AND…….

Get ready to shaky your Boo-tay, burn some calories, catch a smile and FEEL the love!

Much love,

Kristi Lyn Reddy
Reddy Real Estate Team – Owner/Broker
Reddy2Write – Author, Blogger
Work-from-home-real-estate-broker-home-school-soccer-mom-wife-work-outer-with-SDF

Uncategorized, Warrior's Voice

Temporary Relief

I entered the court house my daughter now a grown woman, at my side. The bursting file I held in my hand, evidence. What was supposed to empower me hindered by my thoughts of doubt. Were his words harsh enough? Would the judge read between the lines and hear the threatening tone ringing in my ears? Was the one threat against my husband enough? Had I filled the papers out correctly.

Certain I would be turned away, again, my hands began to quiver. My stomach all a flutter, not in the good way as is when anticipating a date’s arrival or the phone to ring when your lover calls. The slight flutter before the churning begins. My spirit trying to tell my mind to remain calm, stick to the facts. Trust the process. Trust the system.

I assured myself I had done things right this time around. Eighteen years later, each time the verbal harassment ensued, I wrote it down, printed it out, and called the police to file a report. Each incident a separate packet complete with the officer’s card and incident number. And yet, doubt filled my mind. My heart torn between beating fast and holding its breath, waiting.. My body, fight or flight, on high alert. One moment the urge to flee out the courthouse door before the judge could say the words I dreaded to hear. The words condoning his actions and making a mockery of my fear.

By the time I filed the papers with the clerk, court was in recess. We were asked to return to the courthouse at 1:30 PM for the afternoon session. Two hours to kill. We, my daughter and I, left the building. Now 27 years old, she was here to help me, strengthen me. Eighteen years ago, I took her and ran in the night. I was protecting her then. I went to court then as well, in hopes of obtaining a Protection Order. It was denied. Having never called the Police, it was his word against mine. Not once had I so much as lifted the phone when he destroyed our home, barraged me with verbal insults, nor the times that he hit me so hard and told me I was lucky to be alive. Too afraid to call, ashamed to call, embarrassed of my life, my marriage, my failures. And confused, always so confused. His words of condemnation swarming my brain, blaming me. Followed by acceptance when I resorted to apologizing for my behavior, my lack of submission.

“We’ll be back.” The security guard was less than amused by my lame attempt of Arnold Schwarzenegger impression.

We contemplated lunch knowing full well what we both wanted to do. Drive to the neighborhood my ex had been parked in the night before to see if he was still there. Not in hopes of seeing him, just to make certain he was not somewhere else. Somewhere we couldn’t find him. If we couldn’t find him, how would the police find him? How could he be served if I obtained a Protection Order?. Without service the order was moot.

“I want to drive by where his van was parked. As much as I want him gone, I want him there so I know where he is. If I get this order, I want to be sure he can be served.” Laurie nodded at my words, she had known, expected them.

She drove. I focused on my breathing pressing out my thoughts of doubt and rejection. Court houses still fill me with fear. The day my divorce was final, I fully believed until the judge hit his gavel of decision, he would deny my divorce and make me stay married to Don. Divorce was wrong. I had been told this since I was a small child. A wife is to cling to her husband. Honor him. Obey him. Follow his leadership as he is the head of the home as Christ is the head of the church.

Oh, the crazy insane things my husband had made me do in honor of his leadership In the name of submission. The sins he justified as long as they stayed in the marital bedroom. The abuse he claimed was his ‘right to lead’ and my ‘duty to submit’ to. The blame ever ending on my shoulders when choices turned out bad and life as we knew it fell apart. If only….. If only I would try harder, be a better wife, love him, honor him, be more submissive, not question his authority, believe in him as my husband. If only, then we would have a successful marriage and life. God would be pleased.

Laurie and I drove around Ravenna. Street by street. Looking for the van Seattle Police had confirmed was registered to him. Our hope dwindling, stomachs growling, we gave in and headed north for sustenance.

“It’s such a sunny day, he probably went to Green Lake or something.” Laurie steered the car towards the lake. We would drive by on the way home. Just in case.

We sat on her front porch and ate our lunch. The sun soaked into our winter clothes warming our bodies. Laurie shed her sweatshirt as I unzipped my black coat to let the breeze in. The tension in my body reminding me I was on high alert. The sound of tires bringing my gaze to the street. A car, not a van, passed by.

The minutes ticked off my watch. Time to head back to the court house.

I wish I could say when I sat down in Court Room 1 I felt certain the order would be accepted. I didn’t. As much as logic supported the motion, at least a temporary order, my experience did not. I quickly realized we were in Traffic Court, we werethe only non traffic related order.

‘Ms Reddy, are you in the court room?” The judge scanned the nearly full benches.

“Yes”, I raised my hand as his eyes followed my voice.

“Okay, I have a fairly full docket today which I will start with, but I will get to you soon. I will not make you wait until the end.”

“Thank you, your honor.” I massaged my hands, twisting my ring. A reminder I am happily married now. I am not alone in this.

A little more than an hour passed. the judge explained that he had finished the 1:30 docket and would begin the 2:30 docket shortly. He let us know he had online court from 3:00 PM to 3:30 PM. Due to the nature being an attorney and clients in jail it was a set time and no matter what he was doing at 2:59 PM he had to log-in to the online court at 3:00 PM. He thanked us for our patience.

“At this time I would like to call Ms. Reddy up. I will begin with your order and see how far we get before 3:00 PM. I highly doubt we will finish, so I may need to ask you to wait and we will finish as soon as the online court is complete. I apologize.”

I nodded and headed up to the table and two seats where I had seen others contesting their traffic ticket sit when representing themselves.

I was sworn in and the judge proceeded.

“First I want you to know I have reviewed your Petition for a Protection Order. And – “

He paused to make eye contact with me. His eyes held my gaze as I held my breath. The compassion in his eyes sent a flutter of hope through me.

“And, as difficult as it was, I read all of the documentation that you provided. All of it.” Tears welled up in my eyes at his words. I heard them correctly and yet, this is what I actually heard.

‘I believe you. I read the papers you submitted. I read the words your ex husband wrote to you. I believe he did it. I believe it is NOT OKAY that he did this to you and to your family. I believe that what he has done, and is doing, is wrong. I believe you.’

He didn’t say those words, but I heard them. My shoulders relaxed. My chin lifted.

For the record he read my petition and then told me he would have to ask me a few questions. My full name, my date of birth, my relationship to the respondent. He asked me about the timeline of the incidents that I had documented.

“It does appear his behavour is escalating.” The judge confirmed it was getting worse, not better.

He glanced at the clock on the wall.

“You have my full attention. My apologies for looking at the clock. I do not want you to think in any way what we are looking at is not serious or does not have my attention. I just cannot miss online court.” Again, the judge look directly into my eyes.

‘I hear you. I see you. Your abuse is valid’, His words, the ones said and the ones I interpreted, causing a flooding sensation through my body.

I wanted to cry, full on, shed the tears welling up inside me. For years held back knowing I needed to remain strong. Unable, un-allowed by myself, to give in. I would carry on. I would live my life. His words, the Judge’s words, opening a crack in the dam I had built to protect my spirit, that his words, my abuser’s, sought to destroy. Words past and present spewed at me through the waves of technology, hit upon hit, blow upon blow, attacking when I least expected it, when vulnerability left me susceptible. Once again be pulled back into the depths of his rage. His manipulation powerful, threatened to strip me of who I had become, my growth.

Not today. Today, I was heard. Today, I was believed.

“My apologies, I must set this aside and log-in to the online court system for the jail. I sincerely apologize. Please take your seat and we will continue with your Order upon my completion. I do not want to rush and make any errors on your Order. Again, I am sorry.” His words exemplified the compassion seen in his eyes. As much as he hated to make me wait, he also hated to rush something of great importance.

That’s what I heard. My Order was of great importance. My request deserved to be heard. I deserved to be protected. He, my abuser, deserved to be stopped.

I took my seat and waited. I half listened to the online court. Case after case of request for bail or for charges to be dropped. My thoughts trailed off, I couldn’t help but wish for every woman, everywhere who has experienced or was currently being abused to be me in that moment. I knew, the Protection Order would not in fact completely protect me from potential harm from my ex husband. I knew it was an Order, one like any other boundary, rule, law, only works if it is in fact obeyed. One that if broken comes with legal ramifications, but also great risk for the victim as the result of it being broken could bring physical pain or even death. Even with that knowledge, the joy of being heard, in this moment, out weighed the impending possibility that my Protection Order could be ignored.

“Okay, Ms Reddy, let’s continue your Order for Protection. Thank you for your patience.”

He continued asking questions to clarify locations where we worked, went to church, etc. to indicate in the Order location where Don would not be allowed to come within 500 feet of. The judge went to the extent of hand writing the address of our home, the schools of my children, each place of employment and our church. He added ‘anywhere any person listed in this Order works, attends school, plays sports or worships’ to the hand written details.

“I know this is taking a lot of time, but I want to be certain I leave no detail to misinterpretation. Please bare with me.” He continued writing on the Order.

Bare with you? If ever I questioned my hearing, it was now. If ever I felt more validated, it was now. If ever I wanted to jump up, run over and hug a judge, it was now. My heart was bursting with joy rather than squeezed with anguish.

“Okay, I believe I have all of the pertinent details of the locations. Just so you know in the legal realm I could just have wrote ‘schools’ and ‘ church’ in general and all schools and churches you attend going forward will in fact be covered, but for the sake of expressing my sincere agreement that you are to be protected, I wanted to be specific.” The length of which he was going to make me feel heard was more than I could absorb. Every nerve of my body was tingling.

“Thank you Your Honor. I can’t express what this means to me. Thank you, for everything, from the bottom of my heart.”

“You are welcome. Okay, two more things. One is to determine the length of the Protection Order. And the other, well it is the more difficult one.” Tension crept back in as I felt the hesitation in his voice.

“In as much as I fully believe you have a right to this Protection Order, and I have written all of this out, what I have written is only temporary.” He paused, letting it sink in, or to gather his thoughts. Likely that latter, but it did sink in, to the pit of my stomach. I nodded my understanding.

“These documents, which include all of the pages you submitted, will need to be served to him in person. My understanding is he lives in a van, correct?” He rifled through the pages to find the one with the street coordinates penciled in the place requesting a Physical Address for the Defendant.

“Yes, he does.” I confirmed.

The judge cleared his throat and shuffled the pages back into order before looking at me.

“I will sign this Temporary Order of Protection. In doing so, the local Police will received instructions to serve the defendant with the order and a date of appearance which you will set with the clerk. Detectives will do their best to find him and serve him, however, all they will be able to go off of are these cross streets.” Once again he paused before continuing.

“It will be difficult at best, and quite honestly highly unlikely they will find him. As much as I hate to say that, it is true. It is doubtful the police will in fact be able to serve him.” Silence filled the courthouse. The others awaiting their turn with the judge gripped by the motion at hand, sat intently listening.

“I’m going to tell you what some have done to help the service be successful. It may not be something you can or are willing to do, but well, who knows. Some people drive around and locate the automobile and once having found it they call 9-1-1 and let them know they have found an individual that has an Order to be Served. They then request an officer come to the location and provide that officer with the papers to be served. I am going to give you extra copies of the paperwork and the court for the officer would need to fill out upon serving the packet.” Once again, he paused in the silence.

“I have to warn you, you might call 9-1-1 only to find they are experiencing a busy time and be unable to send an officer for an hour or two or more. Or while you are waiting, he may drive away at which time you would need to call 9-1-1 back and cancel the request. It’s definitely not easy or convenient, but some individuals have had success with service this way. You may want to consider it.”

“Thank you Your Honor. I appreciate the advice.” The tension returning to my body battled with the sense of peace pushing back.

“Okay, now for the duration of the Order. Today I will sign a Temporary Order into effect. You will then have 2 weeks to have him served. Now, I know 2 weeks is a very short period of time and it is very unlikely to happen. I will set your return date for 3 weeks out so the temporary will hold until then. When you return and in the event he has not been served I will extend the Temporary for an additional 30 days. Hopefully in that time, with some luck, you will be able to have him served. Okay?” I nodded my understanding once again.

The judge signed the Temporary Order and handed it to the clerk. I was instructed to proceed to the clerk’s desk for my documents and to set my date of return.

A battle raged within, each emotion fighting for Alpha position. I had been heard, believed, confirmed, validated, and empowered. And then I been heeded, cautioned, more was yet to come. More was needed to finalize what I had set out to obtain. For today I would take hold of the strengthening sense of success, even if it was only Temporary.

Kristi Lyn Reddy, Author, published in True Stories Volume 1 is in the process of writing her Memior (Untitled). Through trauma, uncertainty and the burden of secrets, Kristi Lyn found the strength to carry her towards her ultimate redemption, Living Loved – beyond and in spite of ongoing fear.

Uncategorized, Warrior's Voice

Grieving in Silence

I attended a Zoom conference today with the author of, ‘Motherless Daughters’, Hope Edelman. I wasn’t exactly sure of what to expect from the conversation as I have not yet read her book. As I logged in, others were logging in as well. Women from all over the world. Many from the United States, others from India, UK, Singapore, and other countries. Women of all ages raging from early 20’s to late 80’s joined the Zoom connection to hear what Hope had to say.

Hope shared a brief synopsis of her story in how she lost her mom when she was quite young and how she has found the process of grief varies in many ways. Whether due to the age you are when you lose your mother, the circumstances around her passing, how you, your father, and other family members processed or didn’t process the loss, all may effect how you have grieved and continue to grieve. She also introduced an online course she will be launching in January for a fee of $197.

What stood out to me the most was actually my lack of grief in the loss of my mother comparatively to the comments being typed into the chat portion of the Zoom conversation. I was devastated when my mother died suddenly after a very short battle with breast cancer. One that we thought she was actually winning. I can still see, feel and hear conversations in her hospital room in the couple days before her vocal chords were paralyzed. The day she gave her last breath will never leave my memory. I cried, long and hard. I spent the entire summer focused on my nieces and nephews, to surround myself with what mattered most to my mother.

And yet, as summer came to a close, it was back to life as it was. While sitting and listening to the women on this conference video still grieving, I connected to my lack of long term grief. Not lack of love for my mother, but lack off allowing myself the space and ability to continue to bring her memory with me today.

I am an ‘out of sight out of mind’ kind of person. It became evident to me when I traveled with a girlfriend to visit another girlfriend who was battling cancer in 2017. We had all been through our own battle with breast cancer around the same time with varied diagnosis. Now this friend was fighting colon cancer, stage IV. While I was away from my family, I noticed my friend calling home a few times each day to say hi to her husband and her daughters. It was then I realized I don’t do that. Have never done that. I thought long and hard about all the times Tom and I had gone away on a overnight getaway and determined I never once called to say goodnight to my children while I was away.

It’s not that I didn’t miss them. Many moments I would think, “Oh, I wish Tom was here to walk on this beach with me.” Or, “I wish M was here to play in the pool, he would love this!” Or, “Laurie and I should go here some time.’ And upon returning home, I would grab hold of them, give them hugs and kisses, and say, “I missed you so much!” I was very happy to see them indeed. It just never occurred to me to call them while I was away. (On another note, I also have not been prone to bring home gifts/souvenirs when I have been away.)

In giving this more thought I noticed this to be true in other areas of my life as well. If I left a job, I did not keep in touch with co-workers. When a friend has moved away, I have easily lost contact with that friend. Facebook has allowed for the most recent friendships to remain superficially connected, yet without it the relationship would be lost.

I did not grieve when my father passed shortly after my mother. I felt the lack of grief in his passing was for very different reasons. The zoom meeting today touched on how grief or lack thereof can vary based on the relationship you had with the loved one before their passing. This has always made sense to me. With a tumultuous at best relationship with m y father, a heart of pain, misunderstanding, memories of physical and emotional abuse over shadowed his death.

Today I found myself pondering about my childhood and how our family functioned in high stress times. Times, where I believe now, a therapist would say were traumatic, life altering moments. What I can recall is a great deal of silence. Our home became full of silence. Rooms that were meant to be shared, living spaces designed for the family to gather, empty. Each person went to their private space, including our mother, closed the door, creating a sea of silence throughout the home.

I spent a large amount of time at home, seemingly alone, even though others were there. And when our mother left for work, to visit our father who was living elsewhere at the time, the phone never rang. She didn’t call to check on me, to see how we were doing, to say good night. I don’t recall waiting for a phone call, or wishing I had received a phone call. It just didn’t happen. Not from her, not from friends, not from anyone. This was my normal.

After my trip to CA with my girlfriends, I began making a point of calling home or sending photos to my son with a text letting him know I missed him. I have even called my adult daughter and my best friend a couple times recently to check-in. It feels odd, and yet oddly right. I am beginning to acknowledge I have been trapped living a life of ‘out of sight, out of mind’ for a very long time. It was and is my coping mechanism to loss. Whether that be grief for loss, or guilt for being away and thus causing my children a sense of loss, or guilt for being away from my partner and leaving them alone taking care of everything. It seems as though it all connects back to how I felt as a child, but was unable to voice it. No one voiced it.

We grieved in silence. All we were going through. All we were battling in our minds and our hearts. All of the pain, hurt, fear, worry, was held in silence. I carried this into my abusive marriage. It was furthered by the notion that our problems were private and thus should not be discussed with others. Furthered still by the belief wherein all of our cares should be taken to the Lord in prayer. Don’t get me wrong, I am a firm believer in prayer. I believe in a God who heals and provides and loves me, for me. I also believe in a God who wants us to carry each others burdens, love one another, and care for and grieve with one another. It has taken years to get past, to get over, to forgive and heal from what was taught to me for decades. To break through the silence I was held captive in.

I am uncertain of how to grieve in a healthy way, one that will hold the love I have for who or what I have lost, without holding me in a space of sadness or pain. I desire to incorporate sharing memories of the good times along with expressing the pain and hurt in a way of processing through all which was lost before my parents died and after. With the inability to share what was lost before, due to the learned nature of holding it all in silence, I have developed the habit of doing nothing rather than something.

And I believe I have continued this method of living in silence in other areas of my adult life. The uncertainty of what can and cannot be spoken about. The idea of if I do not talk about it, do not call home while I am away, then being away will have been okay and will not have caused any harm (real or imagined). My child, my spouse, my relationship will not be changed, altered or affected, as long as the time away (and fear of what being away may have done to those I left) is kept in silence.

If I call, then I am acknowledging that I am away, that I have left them, that I am having fun without them. For some reason, that has always felt wrong. Thinking back to when my mom would go away in the evenings to see my dad, that is exactly what it felt like. I was abandoned. Left alone, to fend for myself, tuck myself in bed, say my prayers in silence. We didn’t ever talk about it. And as long as we didn’t talk about it, it was okay. Without realizing it, I carried this with me as I grew, developing a part of my character. Silence became my grieving process and silence expanded and grew into many areas of my life in which I felt uncertain whether or not should be spoken of. I have kept myself from truly experiencing grief, rest, pleasure, fear, joy, separation, instead remaining silent.

Silence became something I dreaded. I found ways to not be in silence whenever possible, not knowing all I was doing was covering up what I needed to hear, feel, say. I have come to a place in my life where I rejoice in silence. I long for silence and cherish moments, if not hours in silence. And it is in this silence where I am hearing my grief, feeling my hurts, gaining understanding and the strength to voice it all.

Uncategorized

Current Read: Carry On Warrior

I will begin this blog post with the fact that I know very little about Glennon Doyle Melton. Not an avid follower of her blog, in fact I do not believe I have once opened the page. Now that I mention it, I will open it once I am done here. I have read one book of hers previously, LOVE Warrior. I think I liked it. Like many books I read, I soon forget the details after having put it down. The good thing is, I can pick it up and read it again and gain new insight. It does not mean it wasn’t a good book. If it were not a good book (in my opinion), I would not have finished reading it. Those I set aside, return to the library, pass off to a local free library before nearing the middle, let alone the end.

Last week I went to the library with the goal in mind of checking out a book to take with me on a trip to Miami. Visions of reading by the pool danced in my head. Little did I know, I would spend very limited time reading. There was more fun to be had, and I would enjoy it. Now that I am back home, I have opened the book and consumed 19 pages. A bit of Glennon’s story is coming back to me. Which either means, I know more of her than I thought, or she repeats her story in her subsequent books. Maybe both.

I do recall the one thing in particular I liked about her book, the one I previously read. Her honesty. Not honesty as in, I am impressed she is speaking the truth. Honesty, in the sense of baring ones soul in an effort to expose yourself to yourself in an open forum. We can call ourselves out in our own minds and never change, but speaking our truth out loud, holds us accountable for what we have done, what we are saying, and what we will then do. I can appreciate the baring of her soul. I have sat down at my computer many times and began to do the same only to stop myself and delete it.

What would people think? It’s not my friends I worry about. It’s our clients. Our son’s friend’s parents. The soccer moms and dads. Those who would send us business, our current livelihood. One day, when I retire, I will speak (write) my mind freely. And so, with that in mind, I admire the way Glennon shares her thoughts, her truths, her life, as if no one is watching. Or at last as if she does not care who is watching, who is listening. Well done.

My truth for today is this, I am ever a work in process when it comes to my temper. My past aside, I stand up for myself far too quickly. I jump before being jumped on. I trample before being trampled. Words of edification are heard as accusation. Feedback heard as criticism. Suggestions imply I am incapable. Some would say, my reaction is justified or explained by how I was mistreated as a child and a wife. I choose to say, I must hold myself accountable for my actions no matter my past. I must reveal them to myself, own them, learn from them, grow and desire change. I refuse to remain a victim. I must be the change I want to see in the world. It starts with me.

Warrior's Voice

Giving Way to My Voice

‘Daddy, why are you so angry? Why do you have to hit me with a belt? If I promise I won’t do it again, do you have to hit me with the belt?’

‘Why does mommy lock herself in the bathroom and cry?’

‘Mommy, what’s wrong? I’m sorry that daddy hit Bill. I’m sorry that Bill made him mad.’

‘Mommy, why does daddy hit us with a belt? It hurts when he hits our backs and our legs.’

‘Get married? I don’t want to get married. I don’t even know if I want to keep the baby.’

‘I don’t want to look at porn. Aren’t I enough? Why do you want to look at that woman instead of at me while we are making love? How is it love, if you need to look at them having sex?’

‘I believe you are the head of the home, the man of the family. I believe that God put you there for a reason. You can make all of the big decisions, but why does that mean I have no say? Can’t I tell you how I feel, why I think what you are about to do is not a good decision for our family?’

‘Wait, you want me to do what?’

‘You want me to be naked in front of a camera that other men are going to be watching?’

‘It’s okay, because it is in our marital room and we both agree to it? What if I don’t agree?’

A running list scrolls through my mind as I lay awake at night. I should be sleeping, but I cannot.

Why do I want to write this book?

The question people ask me. The question I ask myself. The need for a simple answer haunting me again. ‘I need to create an elevator speech’, I tell myself for the umpteenth time. A well thought, canned response to the burning question everyone asks.

‘You deserve better than him.’

‘He shouldn’t speak to you that way.’

‘Don’t listen to his words. You are smart. You are beautiful. You have the potential to do great things.’

I have said these things to girls, women I have come across while out for a walk. From a distance I hear her boyfriend, her partner, ridicule her, defiling her with words of hatred. Tearing her down, beating her into submission, not for the first time nor for the last.

I should remain quiet. Mind my own business. I can’t.

I must speak out. I have to defend her. I need to be that person who will speak up for her, to her. Oh, how I longed for someone to speak up for me. To tell me, he was wrong. His words were wrong, I didn’t deserve to be treated that way. No woman deserved to be treated that way. It was not because of my sin. It was not because my heart was not right with God.

If I don’t speak up, who will?

If I give it too much thought, it overwhelms me. I cannot possibly save them all. I understand many do not want to be saved. Some do not know, yet, their need to be saved. Rescued. Many, so many, have tried to leave, only to return. Leaving is hard, unbelievably hard. Going back is easier. I know. How do you help those who do not want to be helped? How do you find those who need and want to be helped? Once you find them, how do you possibly help them? Their needs, all very different, are more than I could take on.

It would be easier to go forward in my own life. To count my blessings and move on. To accept if I am needed, if they come to me, then I will help, if I am able.

Easier.

It was easier to go back. It was easier to stay. Easier to live with the hidden knowledge that I would most likely die. By his hand or my own.

It was harder to leave. Scarier to step out. Difficult to accept that leaving was my only chance to ever know if what I believed, what I questioned, was right, or wrong.

I left. I survived. I am alive.

That should be enough. Only, it’s not.  A purpose burns within me. It began as the smoldering embers of the fire that destroyed me. The fire of his words. The fire of his beatings. The destruction, the mayhem my daughter and I endured. Furniture broken, plates smashed against walls, hair pulled, evil spewed from his mouth, day after day. The flames put out when we escaped, not turning back, in the middle of the night, one last leaving, never to return.

The embers remain, smoldering, white hot, a reminder of all we survived. His words, his abuse reduced to ash, still there, in our hearts and our minds. For years a reminder, giving me strength to continue on, no turning back. The flames sparked when fear crept in, only to be put out once again through therapy sessions, through new found understanding, healing and love. Fear turned to anger a less vulnerable emotion. Anger raged within, crying out for resolution. Resolution, brought healing, forgiveness. Forgiveness, releasing me from the grip of my past. My pain, my hurt, my shame.

And yet, the embers, the ash remain. Eighteen years later, still there. Time heals all wounds, they say. My physical wounds have healed. Much of my emotional wounds have healed. The embers there, inside my heart, lingering inside my soul are giving way to my voice. They glow when I see abuse, when I fall into my own anger, they ignite when I write. The cries within me, silenced for years, rising up, longing to be heard, to be shared, to fulfill a purpose I have shied away from.

Telling my story, is not to shame my ex-husband. It is not to destroy him. He is but a human with faults and pain of his own. Telling my story is not to hurt his parents, his family, those who knew him. Many of them are family to me, to this day, people I admire, people I love, deeply. Telling my story is not to shame my family, my parents who are deceased, my siblings, who are alive and do not understand my need to share, to tell our family secrets. Telling my story is not for sympathy. I do not long for any one to feel sorry for me.

Telling my story, sharing my life, is to give way to my voice. If my voice can help one woman, awaken her inner voice, strengthen her to get help, to leave, to live. If my voice can help one child, open the eyes and ears of someone in their life who can extend the help they need. If my voice can awaken a young girl seeking love in all the wrong places. If my voice can open the eyes of an abuser to seek help, or a friend to call the abuser out. If my voice can open your eyes to the abuse around you and compel you to use your voice to help even one victim. If my voice can do that, then I must give way to my voice.

 

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May the embers of my soul never go out. May they spark in me the fire to speak up, to speak out. May them embolden me extend help to someone in need. May they live on, in others, long after I am gone.