Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Waking Up

Hi. I am glad that you are here. Thank you for coming. This is Brave. This is a stand up and say it straight kind of place. This is for sharing courage, cheering for life and speaking truth. Brave is a pretty good place to be. I'm glad you've come. You will find words below. Take them and use them to propel you as you are brave. And then after that there is the Dark Corner, that is my own account of the darkness of domestic violence. Read as you choose. But thank you for coming!

Have you ever had a day where you just wake up? Where you have a relaization that is so huge you wonder how you have lived life without noticing the elephant or the plank or the skunk in your life. I remember waking up one day and realizing I was kind of snotty.  It changed a lot of my attitude. I began to see my shyness instead of pretending that side of me wasn't there. Being puffy was a stupid way to ignore being shy. And I lost my swagger. Haha, well I'm not sure I had a swagger but I certainly found myself with bigger eyes to see what was going on around me.
 And one day I realized my heart and life did not belong to the one that was hurting me. I took my heart back, physically felt that shift and left the next day. But I find it so amazingly humorous, sad, interesting and challenging how those "wake up" moments happen. I've had a couple moments that I cannot tie to anything regarding how my life was shaped. But these two very big moments for me were very clearly influenced by my environment. I was shaped to be better by the people around me. When I lived and worked in Australia I worked under and was mentored by one of the most humble women that I have ever met. She was amazing and her spirit was huge but she was markedly humble- held no pretension. She lived simply, honestly and it was beautiful.  
My other revelation came while I was working in Alaska with men that treated others with respect, care and humor. After 6 months of watching the men around me the dissatisfaction for what I was living in helped open my eyes. What we do matters. My leader in Australia had no idea she would teach me humility. My coworkers had no idea they would inspire me to have boundaries by their respect and kindness. All those people were just living as they were meant to live. What an honor to live with people. To be shaped and changed by those around us. Be Brave, live brave- you have no idea who you are changing, inspiring or waking up.

Dark Corner
The night I woke up had been a long one. My body would have bruises on my legs, arms and back. Not that this was new or different or unlike any other day. It just is now marked for me as my last. I brought myself before him again to apologize, beg for forgiveness, pray for mercy. Whatever I was doing was wrong. I could tell from the set of his face and his eyes that I shouldn't be talking yet but I'd already started. From across the living room he raised his arm and BAM. The remote control hit my mouth. From a distance of about 14 feet that hurt bad. I looked down and there is blood on the floor. There is something about seeing yourself bleed that makes your adrenaline go crazy, at least when you are scared it does. A few hours later, I could not close my mouth- my bottom lip was swollen and huge. My chin area was bruised and looked pretty bad. I was in bed. My heart was still racing. I started counting backwards to slow myself down. A technique he taught me for after I'd been hurt. But that wasn't ok that night. "Did you want me to smash your *&$%# face in?" he growled. I calmed all my emotion and answered no. But right there inside I laughed. My face was smashed in. Right then my heart said enough. Enough. I had no plan. I had no idea I was even considering leaving. But my racing heart said enough. The following day with the shard courage from a coworker I did the bravest thing I could comprehend. I went and hid elsewhere. 

The US Office on Violence Against Women defines domestic violence as a "pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner." Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women- more than car accidents, muggings and rapes combined. 

If you are being hurt I hope my words help you wake up. It truly is better to live, if you are being hurt that is not life. 
If you know of a woman in danger don't look away. You can't make her wake up but don't leave her alone. She might be functioning but not aware of her danger. 
Everyone else- please be brave. Be brave and honorable and wonderful in your lives. It is worth it. You might unknowingly be helping a woman that is scared and in danger.