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.

 

Image result for my voice quotes

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.

Warrior's Voice

My Dilemma

The battle rages between my mind, my heart and my fingers as I sit here ready to type. Three blog posts started, words flowing, fingers flying across the keys. One click is all it would take. In that moment, finger hovering over the button, the arrow floating above the word, ‘Publish’. My heart says yes. My mind says no. My finger, waits.

And so I ask, What Would You Do?

Or even better, What Would You Tell Me To Do?

I am compelled to post so many thoughts, truths of my past, current happenings, many of which would reveal circumstances that some would prefer left unknown.

What holds me back: 

  1. A desire not to hurt those I love, who while related, are themselves innocent.
  2. Fear of retaliation. Until now (if I do this), I have ignored, not engaged with my abuser.
  3. I know my abuser follows this blog, my business and author facebook pages.

Why am I compelled to write about these things:

  1. I believe my purpose is to use my story, my past, my present, all I have lived through to help others be able to speak, speak out against abuse.
  2. A survivor of domestic violence I cannot be silent.
  3. I believe if something is Not Okay, we have an obligation to say so.
  4. My abuser thinks if he hides behind the internet, pseudo names, he can continue to get away with abuse.

What do I want to do:

  1. Speak the truth
  2. Reveal the past
  3. Expose my abuser and all he has done and continues to do.

Why:

To live up to what I say and believe, That is NOT OKAY! To take a stand for myself and for others like me. To put a stop to abuse. One life,one post, at a time.

 

So, my question is, What would you do?

 

Book Reviews

Book Blurb – Five Men Who Broke My Heart

I have sat with this book in front of me, next to me, within eyesight for three days. To write a review or not, that is the question I wrestled with. The battle was real. I cannot write a true review as I have read but 90 of the over 200 pages. And yet, maybe that is the review. I was unable, unwilling to continue reading for the sake of finishing the book.

A writer myself, it pains me to type this. How would I feel if someone were to post, for all to see, that they were unable, unwilling to read my words to the end, as bitter as it may be. First of all, I do not have a full book in print as of yet, for one to read, let alone review. And second, who am I to think that my review bears weight of any kind to another auther. (cue laughter)

I love to read and am reading a large amount of books as of late. Mostly memoir, but not entirely. I throw in a bit of fiction and creative nonfiction as well. I’d love to read a book per week, which could be possible if the book met my longing. I long for a book to grab hold of me, so much so, I hate to put it down. I want to find myself reading at night until the black type blurs turning to grey as it mixes with the whiteness of the page it sits on. To wake in the morning rushing through my responsibilities sneaking 5 minutes here and there with the book, Each turn of the page better than the one before.

Five Men Who Broke My heart was not to be, not for me. I was intrigued by the idea of a woman going back to meet, find, connect with the men who had first captured her heart before breaking it. I made it through the chance meet up with #1 and #2 with great effort and a bit of skin reading here and there. I kept waiting for that moment when the story would grab hold of me and pull me throught to the end. After 7 chapters, more than I give most books, it just wasn’t doing it.

That said, I can’t tell you if the book is good, great, or terribly bad. All I can say is, it wasn’t for me. Each relationship, her current the two from the past I made it through, were bland. They lacked energy, drama, excitement, whatever it might take to reel me in for the long haul. Each time I closed the book, it was without hesitation. Not even the slight sense of reluctance of needing to move on to a different task. I wanted to finish it, as I hate to quit. I couldn’t do it. I have officially let it go. Closed the book for the final time.

Tomorrow I will return it to the library.

I am left with this question:

If I do not finish the book, do I still click the ‘Have Read’ on Good Reads?

30 Day Cleanse Workout

New Year, New Me, New You?

In the past I have written New Year’s Goals more so than New Year’s Resolutions. It’s not that I am against resolutions, goals just sit better with me. Whether planning an assignment in school, an agenda for a meeting, a business or life plan, I have always looked at planning as a guideline open to revision. I set a goal, make a plan with activities to reach the goal. The activities and the end goal are adjusted as needed, redefined or scrapped altogether with a new goal in mind.

This year I have not had time yet to sit down and make goals or a plan for the year. It will happen, most likely later this month. I was intrigued by a message I received from a friend on Facebook. She was wondering if I was joining a 30 Day program she had seen, Danette May’s 30 Day Challenge. I responded that I had not seen the challenge but I have done a few of Danette’s workouts. I searched it up and took a look at the plan.

Like many plans you have seen on the internet (formerly called the World Wide Web), it includes 30 days of workouts, a meal plan, and recipes. By paying a small fee you have access to all of these direct to your email inbox. Additionally you have a private Facebook page, for you and the other several thousand women participating, as well as, several mentors there to moderate and motivate. Mainly I was looking for a new 30 day workout plan. I love the workouts I have been doing (21 Day Fix, Jillian’s workout DVD’s and Danette’s Ab Blaster), but I always look to change them up when possible. For my sanity and because I hear it is good for your body as well.

I decided to participate, signed up and paid the fee. Within minutes I had an email welcoming me to the program and inviting me to join the private Facebook page. I did. My excitement popped as I scrolled through a few of the posts. Many women were already posting they had chosen to begin before the initial start date of January 7th, due to work schedules and such. While that wasn’t the pin in my balloon, it did cause a hitch in my step. I scrolled a little more only to find complaints, whines, and quite honestly bitching and moaning.

Mind you, these were women on Day 1, 2 or 3 of the Detox, all of which are drinking a concoction they deem at times unbearable, while eating nothing else. If that wasn’t bad enough, their descriptions of needing to pee every few minutes due to the gallon of water they are taking in, would make anyone wonder how you can do this while working. As much as I wanted to sympathize (I say that because I imagine you expect me to), truthfully I was annoyed with their whining. What did you think when you read: Day 1 Drink 8 oz water with the juice of one half of a lemon, 1 tsp of organic apple cider vinegar and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Breakfast – Smoothie with plain Greek yogurt, spinach, water, berries and chia seeds. Lunch – Smoothie with Coconut water, lime juice, cucumber, pineapple and coconut oil. Follow that up with the apple cider vinegar (ACV) elixir in an hour. You get the idea.

It’s a 3-Day mostly liquid diet that is meant to purge your system! Not to mention you will NOT be drinking your morning latte (could have pulled out one of those never ending descriptions often used in movies or stand up comedy routines), nor are you grabbing a snack on the go from the Costco food court. I would expect a shock to my system for one, to spend a large amount of time in the bathroom, and low energy would make complete sense. The part causing me to second guess my plan to participate was the claims if not keeping some of the elixir down and the inability to find ingredients coupled with the time it was taking to make the smoothies 3 times a day. Now I know why some people just order juices delivered to their door (for much more money).

Thoughts of giving up before I had even begun swirled around in my brain. Then I pulled on my pants and sucked in my albeit not that large belly in order to button them, and determined I would do it! I like my clothes. I want them to fit. And I don’t want a muffin top. I quickly searched for 2 of the most difficult items it seemed for participants to find locally and ordered them on Amazon. Before I could change my mind I hit Place My Order for Cacao powder and nibs (I should add, I was sitting in my car, not even home yet from a strip away, and I had not as of yet read the entire program. I know, crazy!).

I have now printed out the 30 day program, placed the pages in a binder, reviewed and checked off the items I have in my cupboards (or are coming from Amazon tomorrow) and I am not prepared to make a grocery list for the remaining items. Reading through the 3 meals and 2 snacks a day my inner voice kept me going with plenty of encouragement, “You got this!”, “That doesn’t sound too bad”, “You have had a colonoscopy girl, this is going to be a piece of cake!”, and so on. Feeling pretty optimistic I headed downstairs binder in hand. It wasn’t until Tom asked what I was doing, that it dawned on me, “How was I going to do this while maintaining regular dinners for my family?”

Silence.

Hmmm……. the inner me stepped up to the plate again. “Hold on girl, you have plenty of frozen leftovers in the fridge. Tom is an easy going kind of guy who will eat pretty much anything you make (as long as it isn’t fish). And Michael, well he will eat a hot dog or grilled cheese every day if you let him.” I nodded in agreement and opened the freezer to take stock. Plenty of meals to last for the 3 days that I would be eating nothing more than ACV (apple cider vinegar) and smoothies. With a lighter step I walked over and checked out the meals for days 4 and on. I could say enhancing them a little for Tom while maintaining the integrity of the 30 Day Plan for me.

I think I can do this. I know I can try.

So, starting Monday I will be on a 3 Day Cleanse and hopefully will continue for the full 30 day program (with little or no alterations). I shared the idea with a few girlfriends who were over today for our annual Holiday gift exchange and happy hour. Kelly suggested I blog about it. Just know, I will give the good, the bad, and quite possibly, the shitty when it comes to the cleanse and the program.

Leave your questions in the comments. I’ll do my best to answer them, most likely in the next days blog post.