Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Ugly Shame and Living Vulnerable

Welcome. My words are a bit long today so my intro shall be short. I welcome you with a smile and hope you feel the desire of mine that all women, men and children know they can be Brave. 

Some of my dearest friends, more like family really, and I were reunited after I found life again. It was the most precious thing in the world to introduce my children to them. But I remember wanting to crawl into a hole at the same time. My house was in shambles... I was so embarrassed. Odds and ends for furniture, walls that hadn't been painted in 10 years, holes in the walls from my head, holes from knives and chairs that had been thrown. I looked at my house with new eyes and thought I should never have asked them to come over. But while I'm sure, very sure, they saw my house- they came in and saw myself and my kids. It has taken a long time to shed the shame of living in a home that was overtaken by domestic violence. At times it leers at me now. But then, when I was just lifting my head up to see again, I was given such an amazing gift. Truly one that shared courage. I have been so blessed.- Oh Abby, hang on, you veer off into the "I am so blessed" so quickly. There was a point to this! - What do we see when we use our eyes? It was later that my friends started to help me put my house together. Until then I got to rest in the peace that they were there. They didn't rush in, seeing such a need for help and take over. My friends got to know me again, they loved on my kids, they made time for me to have a break, to get out and get a coffee. They saw me. Do we give that to people? Do we see each other? I am not overly gifted at that. Its so easy to see the situation and how I feel about whatever is going on. My children challenge me in this everyday. Do I see my son and his want to hear me praise him and listen as he rambles about the coolest thing to build with Legos or are the logistics of the other four and my work schedule more pressing? Do I share laughter with them and really let them know I'm there? Do I communicate empathy with the women I work with? Everyone in the world wants to be seen- as they are. It takes a lot of bravery to see people because it lets them see us. It connects us to another person and shares life, courage and hope. It isn't always pleasant, in sharing oneself we often get hurt and it can be an enormous amount of work to care. But sometimes that Bravery makes all the difference in the world for another person. It did for me. Be Brave!!!

Dark Corner
My head hurt and I felt the wall- it was cold on my skin. I had been sleeping in bed but after being lifted by my hair and slammed into the wall was now fully awake. My heart racing I scrambled down the hall. From sleep to fleeing I wasn't sure what had happened but I was running. An hour later I'd been outside for 40 minutes in the cold and now was inside in front of him praying for forgivness. He told me to get the girls. I cried and begged and then did as he instructed. The girls had been sleeping as well. He was yelling. I was a whore. They were whores too. They were just like me. He questioned them about if they wanted to be like me. My oldest daughter said no. I knew I was alive then because that hurt so badly. I was not what he said. They were not what he said. My daughter should have wanted to be like me. 
This story is so full of shame. I cannot finish without telling you that. I put the girls back to bed. They were not hurt physically but emotionally, spiritually... AHHH. I get so upset with myself that I allowed my children to be hurt and scared. I cannot ever explain to anyone the emotions that course through me as I tell these stories. Being awake now I look at what I allowed and I have no words for myself. Not only did the state of my house feel shameful but the things I allowed to happen to myself and my children.....

So why share my shameful stories? Because I don't believe in living in shame. Shame, and I'm going to borrow Brene Brown's definition here: is the fear that my actions or inactions make me not worthy of connections with others. And that is not how anyone should live. Regrets, yes I have them. But shame- no. I choose to live in hope. I offer my stories to inspire, to make others aware and to possibly reach someone that needs a little courage to live. I'm choosing vulnerability. Vulnerability like this kinda sucks though. This is not pleasant. But my vulnerability with my kids is what makes our love and bond so amazing- it is my greatest blessing to know their love. It is from me being me that the life I have now is being born. Shame no. Brave yes. Katy Perry's song Roar... my daughter loves it. And I love it that she does. Personally not a huge KP fan, but this song speaks of standing up and being strong (like a tiger). And for my daughter that is huge! So, my daughters and I sing Roar. My sons and I giggle at silly TV shows and build Legos- together. They know we were in danger. They know I was there and didn't and couldn't protect them. But they also know I got us out.

If you live a life in which you feel shame you can lift your head up. It is not easy, it is hard. But there is no shame in real life. Real life is living bravely, boldly yourself, its full of love and care. I am so glad that you have come today. Thank you for reading my words. I am so blessed! (I'm laughing at myself!) Yes, I am so blessed! Roar today and be Brave!

*If you are being hurt get help. Any help. Tell someone and if they don't help or listen, tell someone else. Your life is worth living. There are women's shelters that you can call, there is a national hotline that can talk to you about how. There are restraining orders and protective orders that you can get. It is not easy. It is overwhelming but talk to someone, find help. Your life is worth living!