Friday, March 28, 2014

If I lay here.

There is no easy way to write your feelings regarding yourself. Especially when they look less like a Nike ad and more like a sad song. Here are mine: I have no value. I am here for everyone. I'm an empty vessel, not important just useful. I am well used. My first request is that you don't comment on how unique, smart or valuable I am. The reason why I'm writing this is not to incite you to tell me how incredible I am. I know those things. (I am gorgeous and cheeky after all... hehee) This isn't body image, self esteem, qualities or character that I have a problem with. This is the math student who asks why- why does 2 plus 2 equal 4. How do we know that? And why are you sure? (I was not a favored math student because nothing is so simple.) I write what I know of myself because that is simply what I know of myself. Beliefs are built, shown and are learned. There are times when truth comes along and lights up something and what we believe shifts as if our gps kindly tells us to take a right at the next street and we do, changing our course. This week I saw my beliefs, I actually heard myself say them. If anyone else was saying them, I would be just as you are now- taking up arms to shoot down the lies. Bow and arrow, gun or hatchet raised- ready to slay the demons of darkness that spew lies. I asked you to not do that though. I am making my way to truth. This isn't a new lie, these were lies built long before I ever got married, long before I allowed myself to be hurt. But just because something is built, just because it looks to be true and even looks like it can be proven- maybe its not. Truth is revealed in moments. In amazing, creative, sunshine and stormy moments. We don't choose that, we don't always get to even be ready.  I lie down. I lie down and find someone to hold my hand these days when truth is hard. Because it is hard. Because change is hard. Because truth is hard. But truth is also awesome and fearful, quiet and real, brave and beautiful. Be Brave. 

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Will you lie with me and just forget the world?
Snow Patrol "Chasing Cars"

Dark Corner
I stood in the bathroom. In the mirror in front of me there was a woman, her face was puffy from crying, her eyes looked like she had a thousand freckles surrounding them- though I knew she only had a few. Her neck was red as if she had a carpet burn all the way around it. She turned and I could see the bruises on her back. As she faced me again I cried for her. I knew I couldn't do anything. I had to go. I had things to do and I didn't want to stand in front of the sad woman any more. 

Truth makes no apologies. It arrives to us as it does. I know God has a plan, I know He orchestrates our lives. But God is not always a 2 plus 2 kind of God. Help those around you, you most likely do not know the darkness they live in. If you are getting hurt please get help. My story is just my story. But yours belongs to you. If you can't get help, if you are too afraid or if that struggle is too much maybe its just time to know truth, to find it and see it. Maybe you just need someone to lie with you and understand- that is ok too. My hope and prayer is that you are safe today, abigail

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Maria, Elsa and Cinderella

Have you ever felt free? Uninhibited, fully alive and ready to dance on a hilltop? I see Maria dancing on the top of the mountain, Elsa creating frozen icicles that are swirly and Cinderella dancing with her prince. Free. Ice castles, sparkles, green grass and unicorns- that is what the picture of freedom looks like. Delight that is astounding, that is beyond imaginable and intensely fulfilling or maybe just being safe and happy. It's what we want. I want to ride on a unicorn under a starry sky. The truth is though that freedom also means you can know, feel and touch pain. It means that everything you avoided, that you coped with, that you shut out and set aside because it was too much- it means that those things are free too. Free. Darkness, death, nightmares and hate. Freedom means that everything must be dealt with- because the unicorn ride only will last if you also look at the darkness. The dancing ends at midnight and what was is still real.  The bravest moment of my life is when I left the man that hurt me for far too long. But this learning to be free, this letting go, this being- this is being brave. I don't say this to pat myself on the back. I say this to acknowledge that I can't have happy until I'm free. I am in the darkest place I have ever been. I am looking and feeling what I couldn't and wouldn't and I am overwhelmed by its volume. Be Brave, on the unicorn ride or in the dark- you can.

Dark Corner
I couldn't breathe again. But this time I didn't want to fight. This time I wished he would finish it. Tortured, that is what I had become.

"Domestic Violence is the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior perpetrated by an intimate partner against another. It is an epidemic affecting individuals in every community, regardless of age, economic status, race, religion, nationality or educational background. Violence against women is often accompanied by emotionally abusive and controlling behavior, and thus is part of a systematic pattern of dominance and control. Domestic violence results in physical injury, psychological trauma, and sometimes death. The consequences of domestic violence can cross generations and truly last a lifetime." National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

If you are being hurt get help. It is not easy. Recovery is not easy- more than anything I wouldn't sugar coat that. But- even my worst and darkest day is better faced while being loved rather than hated and hurt. You can be free and you can heal.
If you are safe and have a unicorn- share your joy. Help those that don't have and haven't had the safety and care you have. Alone is the most common feeling of those abused and yet one in four women in the US knows abuse. That means they aren't alone in the situation and they don't have to be alone because you can care. Be Brave. abigail

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

How do I come up with a title that says that my heart is sore, tired and doesn't want to carry this? There isn't a title that can capture how heavy and dead this is, and that this admission is so very difficult?

Resentment. I carry it. 

Dark Corner
I had always believed that God loved me, that he doted on me- my name meant Father's delight after all. He told me God hated me. That God despised me so much I was going to be killed. There isn't a darker place than that. Not only was I alone, not only was I not loved- God didn't love me. I fought the battle of truth for 3 years in my head and then I gave up. I remember that day. I think that is why I'm so sure I know God is real- because there wasn't a darker moment. Alone is an understatement. Hurt is an understatement. An ache that cried out for God and got no answer- that was my darkest moment. 

If you are being hurt please get help. Please know that there are so many people out there that will help you. Please know that sometimes we just have to ask and speak. Domestic violence continues because of silence. Silence and lies. That means we can fight domestic violence. It means there is hope. We can speak.  We can speak truth. 

My post today is where I am. I had a long post about something rather.... but it was just- not where I am at. I think where I am is at the very center of what keeps people from healing. And so, though I would much rather post my lighter, funnier and happier post, this is real. Be Brave. Be real and honest and messy and who you are. I hope you don't lose the battle I lost. I hope you don't carry resentment. I hope you know that to which you are called and are unshakeable. But even if you've lost, that was then. Thankfully hope never dies and every day is new. Be Brave. I hope you are safe. -abigail

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Tomorrow is a Mystery

Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a present that is why we call it a gift. - Bil Keane

My history haunts me, it lives in today, it lives in tomorrow. Today I went to see a very wise woman who told me to let go. I laughed or rather kind of snorted (in a graceful feminine way) at the absurd and nonsensical suggestion. Let go. Let go of what? Let go of my problems, of my hurt, of my overwhelming situation? Well that is just ridiculous. They are fast and deep, long and here, aging and rooted, heart breaking and perpetually before me. But then... I'm the one that is a mess. I'm the one that went seeking help. You know what I have wanted? I've wanted to pull these pieces, the pieces of who I was together and glue them on. It would feel so much better. It would lessen that feeling of chaos, it would be rewarding, it would make me feel strong and prove I could do this... Except none of that is really true, none of that would happen. Pulling the pieces and gluing them on does not make things better. Like a vase that has been put together with hot glue- it shows little gaps, it will be evident that someone worked really hard to recreate what had been. And I don't actually want that. I've been quiet here lately because I couldn't glue anymore pieces on. Not that my work or efforts to heal is futile- its just not been very effective. Lately that ineffective work that I've done has been as clear as glass. As my children mourn and grieve and act out their pain I have been thrown back into a world of hurt. I get to see me. I have seen the gaps, seen the holes, seen the form I was trying to recreate. From that place of watching my kids hurt, of wrestling with my memories and own hurts all the pieces I've hot glued on have almost all fallen off. I weep for my kids, I cry for myself, I tear at my hair at the injustice of this pain and I hide- because a teary face is messy. I'm messy. My kids and I are getting amazing help. We are the safest, most cared for and supported that I have ever known. And here- we are a mess... But I'm going to let go. I'm going to let go of this attempt to get my life back, of my attempts at being everything for five small people, and of my attempts to do this myself. I am exhausted  If the present is a gift I want to learn to be in it. If letting go is the key to being healed I want to be in that too. Be warned, I don't know what will happen here, I don't know what turns my life will take and I don't know what will happen with this lack of holding my broken pieces. I guess tomorrow is a mystery. Be Brave.

I don't know how the Dark Corner stories fit in with letting go. I know that letting go does not mean ignoring or forgetting the past. But I am unsure of the direction this place will have yet. So for today they are set aside. If you need to be reminded of how bad and ugly domestic violence is read my previous posts. Or just take my word for it- domestic violence is terrifying, ugly, demeaning and.... life shattering. (If you haven't noticed I tend to almost overuse that word. But I can't find a better description than shattered. It captures somehow to me the jagged brokenness of watching someone else destroy you, of holding the glass pieces of yourself and watching those pieces too hurt you.... Shattering.)

Get help. If you are being hurt get help. If you aren't being hurt but struggle with whatever it is you struggle with- get help. We are all in life together, kinda makes us a human team. Look up, look around- I'm very sure help will come. abigail

Friday, March 7, 2014

Hulk Talk

My boys have spent the last two days running around the house yelling "HULK SMASH" in the cutest little boy sort of way. I love boys. They are so squirmy, quietly almost secretly giggly (don't ever tell them I said that!) and tough. I love that my boys still come cry to me. That they still know they need comfort and care. I love that they aren't afraid of that. But you know what? My kids get angry sometimes and that as I'm sure you are guessing concerns me. How do we teach anger? "HULK SMASH"? We don't teach how to be angry. I didn't mean to give you the answer so very quickly (sorry!) but we do not teach how to be angry. Anger is depicted as shouting or hitting or a silent lack of response. We, as a whole are afraid of anger. But anger isn't bad- we all feel angry sometimes. Good grief, God feels angry sometimes. I get angry at my own journey and life sometimes and that is ok. I get angry at the one that caused so much hurt in my life, in my children's life. So I'm back to teaching the value of words. How words can express the strength of what we feel, how words can let others know how we feel and the enormity of that. Words can help us find our frustrations and address them. Words can remind us to breathe. Words can speak to the hidden fears that light up that anger. Life doesn't have to be "HULK SMASH" nor were we meant to be a people that stand quietly as horrible things occur. There isn't room for rage in our world- we don't need another pair of Hulk hands. I've been overwhelmed this week at the prevalence of violence. The reports on domestic violence have been popping up everywhere- almost everyday I've either been sent another report or seen another article citing statistics that turn my stomach. Or you can just turn on the local news. So what if it was you? What if it was your children being hurt or hurting someone else? What is your response then? The world waits until it requires a response- but we shouldn't. Be Brave. Don't wait until you see uncontrolled anger, don't wait until you or your children have to deal with someone that is angry. Address it now. Talk about violence, talk about anger. Talk about the Hulk. Talk about how to be angry. Be Brave the world needs you.

Dark Corner
I heard him coming. His steps were loud, he had shoes on.... bike shoes on. My eyes were wide, I was just making dinner. I was just making dinner. I was just... I was... As he came close I was already shaking my head and cowering he kicked me. I was on the floor as he pulled me by my hair to the other room, well almost. Around the corner he pulled me up and shoved me against the wall. I cried. Both of his hands were in my hair. His bike shoes kicking at my legs. It hurt. I could feel the anger and heat coming from him. He let me go only to backhand me into the wall again. My glasses flew off- just a drop of blood fell to the ground. I bent over, almost in a fetal position as he kicked me. He yelled how he couldn't even bike without my complaining ruining it. My inner voice screamed HOW????? How was anything I was doing causing this? And he continued kicking me. I began to scramble away. His foot met my throat. It hurt very badly, like the seeing stars and into tomorrow kind of pain. I heard him return downstairs. My body ached, I wanted to make myself feel better. Needed to look at the cut by my eye. The need to attend to the hurt was overwhelming. But I turned around to four little faces watching me. Four little faces without any expression that returned to watching their cartoon. And I froze. 

The world needs you. Whether you are in a domestic violence situation or not, please know the world needs you. I'm not sure for what task, for what purpose or what your great and epic journey is. But the world needs you. Be Brave.
If you are being harmed, you have a life to lead. It is not one to waste in the clutches of someone with an uncontrolled anger problem. Get help. Be Brave! Be Brave, it will probably be the bravest thing you do but you can. Be careful and brave. abigail

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

A little Seuss.

"You'll miss the best things if you keep your eyes shut." Dr. Seuss I Can Read With My Eyes Shut
I am the biggest chicken when it comes to scary movies. There only needs to be the hint or anticipation of fear and I'm through. Obviously in the last couple years that has gotten worse. I remember two summers ago I was flipping channels and came across CSI, a show I remembered liking years before, so I paused and watched riveted as a woman had her purse stollen and in process was killed. And at that I was hyperventilating. Not only hyperventilating but sweating and caught up in what I can only call terror. There are so many scary things, so many disturbing things and they are everywhere. Songs on the radio, I think of Eminem's song that plays and says, "If she ever tries to leave again, I'ma tie her to the bed and set this house on fire." Oh wouldn't I love to bury my head in the sand like an ostrich and forget that there was violence in the world. "Don't hurt me!" my heart cries sometimes. BUT....... when I close my eyes on that and for my apparent protection I also miss everything. When I get wrapped up in my hurt or fear I fail to see what is good. I miss my children being sweet. I miss out on enjoying what is around me (there is a difference in eating ice cream by the gallon because it is trying to appease and eating it because it tastes amazing). I can't enjoy and make connections with people when I'm hiding. And I can't think of anything better than my kids, ice cream and good people! Dr Seuss you were so right. Though tempting as a siren's song I will never shut my eyes. Though the violence in the world surrounds us I will keep my eyes open. I may have a part to play, I may get to be a help. Now mind you, I still change the channel when I hear violent songs or see violent acts on the TV, but that is not the point. The big point is being brave. I will breathe through life. I will use my voice. I will see what happens around me. I will be Brave for I don't want to miss the best things. 

Dark Corner
I couldn't move. He told me that I didn't deserve to live in the house, I didn't deserve to be around the kids. You are death, he said as he shut the door. For three days I had been kept in my room or rather his room. On the third day he left for a couple of hours, taking the kids to his parents' house. I snuck to the window and watched them drive away, it was raining and the sky was low and a deep gray... The sky looked as I felt. I couldn't have him know I was out of the room. I didn't know how long this would last. I wanted to run, well waddle most likely as I was huge with another baby inside. But... the other kids, I couldn't see how to take us all. I couldn't see how to live like this but neither could I see a way out. 

To see yourself is not always easy. To look around and see where you are is near impossible sometimes. Part of that is an attempt to protect ourselves and part of that is just a deep wish that things are not as they are. I wasn't able to see for a long long time. If you are in a relationship and being hurt I implore you to find help. There are so many ways to do so- domestic violence shelters, the national hotline, churches and quite possibly good people around you that can help you. Be safe, be aware- getting out is not without great risk. But there is a life waiting for you. A life full of seeing what is best!  
And if you have what is best- wear a vest, or maybe just share and show those around you how dearly you care! 
Be Brave.  Abby

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Come hold my hand.

I have been without words this week.
I have kept busy with my tears, with my nightmares, with the why.
I have waited out sleep, at times holding out and at times praying for it to come. 
I have felt alone.
In the middle of my being alone I was brought dinner. Another friend made me laugh by texting the most ridiculously silly information. And in the midst of my inability to sleep another friend came and read me a book in the late hours of the night. 
I tell my children that they have a voice and to use it. This is in the context of their animalistic growls, groans and incoherent cries as they argue with each other. "If you don't speak no one will actually know what you want or why you are upset" I tell them. Oh if only I lived as wisely as the things I tell my children! Today I was reminded that I am not the only person to feel alone. And that made me question why it is such a big secret. Why do I not ask for help more, why do I not voice that this is difficult, that it is so hard and that there are so many days that I think I will not be able to continue doing this? Secrecy is bullshit (pardon that) but it is. I gave that up two years ago when I left a controlled secrecy that almost cost my life. I believe with all my heart we were not meant to live alone. And while a bit scary, expressing myself means other people can come crawl up next to me and know me. It means they can know not only the superwoman (heehee) that cares for all these ridiculous and silly children but also me; the woman that is sad, hurt, strong, brave and who sings and cries equally well. I will ask those close to me to come hold my hand when my tears crowd me. I am not alone. You are not alone. Be Brave.

Dark Corner
When he was above me I looked up. His arm across my throat, his other hand holding grip on my struggling arms. His breath was hot, his eyes were dark and my breathing was so short, so shallow... I shook my head back and forth, I squeaked out a quiet "no" around the pressure on my throat. But my forehead was already starting to tingle. My eyes were not able to focus... and things... slowed... down. My thoughts moved to knowing this was it- I would get no goodbyes. The children were upstairs this time. What would they do? Oh, I didn't want this. I made my eyes look forward again and moved my head slightly back and forth. And that was it.
I felt myself breathing in- it burned. I opened my eyes. I was still on the bed, I could see his back as he sat at the computer- he was blurry. I sat up and immediately thought I would vomit on the floor but knew I needed to breathe. My body shaking, tears just flowing out. 
He turned and asked what I was crying about. I didn't answer, just got up to go make dinner. 

I think I most likely know more than I admit. We all do. If we would treat ourselves the way that we treat our friends or if we would follow our advice to our children we would be far better off. I am most critical, most unforgiving and unkind to me. And that is not how I was meant to behave. Be kind to you. You are not alone- even if it feels like it. Even if you are isolated and there isn't anyone to ask for help from.... you are not alone. You have a voice and that means you are not isolated. You are just going to have to be brave enough to use it. Other people feel alone, other people are nervous, anxious, unsure and awkward. Other women are trapped too. Get help. Speak. If you are being hurt please find a way out. There is not a reason in the world to spend another day being alone. Be Brave. Abby