“I’m struggling. To stay balanced. Present.
All I can do is remind myself
that tomorrow is another day.”
So here’s the thing. I’ve been falling behind. I’ve been inundated with scattered thoughts. Illnesses. And life throws hurdles at me from every direction. It’s come to the point that I’m struggling just to keep my feet on the ground. Just to stay balanced. Present. And not worry about all these things I could do two years ago that seem impossible now. All I can do is remind myself that tomorrow is another day. And it will give me a chance to push away all the dust and rubble that surrounds me. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll be able to get some semblance of my life back to the way it was. When the words flowed out of me like water from a faucet. When the stories that needed to be told could be put to paper in a matter of days, rather than sitting in my head for years, waiting for the right time. Perhaps that “right” moment will never come, and I’ll have to carve another path for myself. I have to. Because when I’m able to write, I’m able to get out of my head and become my words. Become a part of the story. I become silence. And that is when I’m finally able to breathe.
“I made a home in this darkness.
But home is not a prison.
I am worthy. To be me.”
This life of mine has never been an easy one. That’s no secret. But I’m alive. And that counts for something, right? I may have made a home in this darkness. But home is not synonymous with prison. Home is not a place where I can’t be loved just as I am. Home is not a place where I cannot be happy in my own skin. Because these scars are proof of my resilience. To keep pushing forward. To keep fighting. And I no longer bear them with shame. That weight is no longer mine to bear. It was never supposed to be mine. Home is a place where I broke through every barrier that was erected against me. And you know what? I might be bruised, but I’m fucking brave. I’ve broken through barriers. I’ve overcome. I’ve risen. I’ve proven that I am worthy of love and happiness. I have proven that I am worthy. To be me. To become so much more. Just as I am. And I’m going to keep going without apologies.
I make no apologies for who I am. Because this is me. Scars and all.
The last few weeks I’ve spent a lot of time pondering the rest of this year and what it might entail, as well as setting some goals for 2019. You see, I’ve realized that it’s far more important for me to be who I want to be, rather than whoever or whatever I might have been. This year brought a great many wonderful things my way and I couldn’t possibly count them all without forgetting some.
One of the most important reasons I set out to share my writing is to help people going through hell (or recently freed from) their own hell. No one deserves to feel alone. We Will Not Be Silenced was an anthology and a cause I am passionate about. Because I am a survivor.
I’m not sure what roadblocks 2019 has in store for me, but I know I’m not going to let anyone hold me back from being me, as I did a few times this year. I’m going to do my best to be a better friend, a better writer, a better mother, a better wife, and a better person. Like I’ve always been.
But I won’t hold back any longer. I won’t let the actions of anyone in my past that has hurt me, used me (or anyone I love) dictate how I move forward. With luck, I’m going to be me, only this time, without chains. Without dragging any dead weight behind me. I’m going to continue with my ethos and try to help more people, as well as myself, along the way.
I’ll do my best to be a better person going forward.
“Before you point that accusatory finger
in my direction, remember this:
I never asked for it.”
The sun is setting and I feel the cold seeping into my bones. I feel the life bleeding out of my feet, leeching into the ground. And I stand here, breathing smoke into the sky. Because that’s all I have left to give — pieces of my broken spirit. And that’s all that remains after the vultures picked me apart. So before you point that accusatory finger in my direction, remember this: I never asked for it. I never gave the wrong signals. I didn’t deserve all you forced upon me.
And how could I have known better? I was barely old enough to walk, let alone understand what vile things you wanted from me. If you wouldn’t blame a child, then why blame the teenager for going to a party? Why blame the woman that was followed home from work? It’s time everyone takes a hard look at the patterns. Those men saw something they wanted, and they took it. With complete disregard for their victim. And I suppose that’s part of the point. They have the power. They need it. So they take it wherever they can get it.
So, if you are a victim, and you’ve ever felt that finger pointing in your direction, know that no matter what anyone tells you — You. Are. Not. To. Blame.
I am sharing this again today, not because I feel the need to repost it, but because I feel it’s necessary to reiterate to the world that there is, in fact, a culture. It exists and there is a reason that women (for the majority) do not come forward until sometimes decades later, if at all. Society immediately rejects them.
She shouldn’t have been at that party.
She shouldn’t have been wearing those clothes.
She shouldn’t have given him eyes…. Where’s the evidence to prove this happened? Why didn’t she come forward immediately?
… and the list goes on.
So, this is for all the survivors out there — both the ones that have used their voices (and especially for Dr. Ford, for having the bravery to speak out in a public, televised inquiry, despite having been harassed and given multiple death threats by even considering doing so) and those that have survived in silence — know that it was not your fault. My thoughts are always with the people that have suffered at the hands of monsters and I hope that at the very least, someone will find comfort with these words. Just knowing that you aren’t alone might be enough.
I also want to state that I am not claiming that Kavanaugh is guilty, because I believe in the “innocent until proven guilty” principles this country is based upon. However, this does not mean that I believe that Dr. Ford is not telling her truth. Something happened to her, and I believe her. After thirty-some years, you wouldn’t remember something in such vivid detail if it wasn’t a major event in your life. I know this from experience. There are many things I wish I could erase from my mind, but alas, they are burned there like a brand and they will never go away as long as I live. These are not the accounts and emotional responses of a person that is fabricating a story.
A few days ago, I wrote about something very important to me. How she’s helped me over the years. I thought it was fitting to share actual photos and a little history about her. To celebrate her life, as she was then, and how she is now. Before it ends.
Lovelies, meet Pumpkin.
This was taken shortly after she was rescued, and she’d put on the much-needed thirty pounds of weight. Looking back, I can almost see the gratitude in her eyes for giving her a new chance at life. From the first day, she was always by my side….
And from the first moment she met this little boy several years later, she was smitten. Anytime he cried, she was there to soothe him. Her favorite moments were the ones like these….
Ever since, she has taken care of him, just as she has done for me. My family has been lucky to have her in our lives for over twelve years. The only problem is that we don’t know how much time is left. I see the clouds in her eyes and how stiff she feels when the weather changes or the temperatures are too cool. But, despite all that, she never stops taking care of us.
Every day, she leaves me
with this question:
Who saved whom?
The incredible people at Blood Into Ink are looking for guest writers to submit pieces that coincide with the backbone of their collective effort: surviving and overcoming all forms of abuse or neglect. It is a safe space to share stories, connect with other survivors, and be a part of a community that understands what it means to survive. I’m honored to participate in this collaborative. If you’re interested in learning more, click here.
“My well of hope is running low.
There’s only a few drops left and
they’re evaporating at an alarming rate.”
I’m sorry that I’m not perfect. I’m sorry that what I’ve done has come up short. I’m sorry for always being sorry. As much as I try to be a good friend, a good wife, or a good mother, somewhere along the way, I mess up. And I fear that no matter what I do, or want to do, nothing will be enough. But that’s the way of the world. At least, it’s my world. And today, my well of hope is running low. There’s only a few drops left and they’re evaporating at an alarming rate.
In grade school, I was the one parents forced their kids to accept. And while I was tolerated for a little while, I could always hear the snickering behind me. I could hear the irritation in their voices when they finally told me I was no longer worthy of being a friend of pity. That I was the one hated — the one they bullied and said it was only a joke.
High school wasn’t much different. I was the one with access to a car so I could be one they called when they wanted to see someone else. I was the smart one. Tolerable just long enough to cheat off my tests or to copy my homework. I was the one too miserable to make any profound effort — because nothing was ever good enough — what my abuser told me at home every night was reinforced each and every day at school by people. My friends. My enemies. My bullies.
Over the years, not much has changed. I’ve found a few real friends. They are few and far between. And, though I do my best, it’s never enough.
“The words may be on a break. But they’ll
be back. They always come back.”
I’m often asked about writer’s block. What to do? How to overcome it? How long will it last? These are all good questions, but they only really need one answer. Keep writing. Every day.
You may feel uninspired, like nothing you put on paper or type on the screen holds any value, but odds are, there is something there. Don’t delete them or throw them away. And the worst thing you can do is to put the pen away and do nothing.
There’s millions of things you can try to wake up your muse, but even if your mind comes up blank, you should write something. Even if it’s only a journal of what happened during your day.
My first fiction novel, Just Breathe, was based on a dream. Back then, I tended to forget my dreams and move on, but I was fortunate enough to journal the next day, and my mind kept going back to that scene. My focus shifted, and the story began to unfold. So, lovelies, don’t ignore your muse when it stirs, you might miss something incredible.