Ever Wonder Why?

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Why didn’t you leave sooner?

Why did you let him get away with it?

Why did you stay?

Why didn’t you fight back?

Why Why Why Why Why.

 

As survivors, we get asked the WHY’s far too much! We know it isn’t necessarily intentional, but sometimes all those why’s make us feel worse than we may already feel. When we do get away from the abuse, we are already asking ourselves the same why’s and sometimes we ourselves do not yet know the answers. It isn’t just the question, but it is the delivery of the question that gets us. To be honest, we’d rather you not ask the why’s. In time you may get your answers, but if you are too impatient, you can continue reading to get some of your answers.

 

Why didn’t you leave sooner?

When the relationship first starts it isn’t started with the abuse, the abuser woo’s you, they sweep you off of your feet. They make you feel like a king or queen. After they “got you” they start slowly tearing you down (emotional abuse). They’ll call you names and make it seem as though he or she is just joking with you; but then it isn’t a joke anymore. You hear these things repeated over and over again. You start to believe that these things are who you actually are. You take on a false identity of yourself because you feel like this is what you deserve. You believe him or her when they say that no one will love you, no one would want you, you’re no good for anyone (verbal abuse). He or she isolates you from family and friends, making themselves the only one in your life.They may say that you do not need to work, they will take care of you. If you do work, they have a joint account with you, or they time you the time it takes you to get home and oh please do not be a minute later (environmental and financial abuse). Therefore, you feel as though you have nowhere to go or no one to call to help you. Or they make you think that no one would come for you because they do not love you.

Be aware the information I am now giving you is from someone who has experienced domestic violence in ALL of it’s forms. I am speaking about what happens, but don’t get it twisted. While all this is actually happening the victim is not aware of it. They are blind to it, they are so wrapped up in this individual that they do not see any of this as it is going on. I want to make it clear that domestic violence is NOT just physical abuse. But it involves far more than what is perceived. There are many men and women who were with an abusive partner and did not experience physical abuse.

So for me, when the physical abuse starts I was already too far in (if that makes sense) I had already been brainwashed into thinking that this was where I was supposed to be, that this was what my life was supposed to be. I felt like I deserved it. I mean my sisters and I were verbally, emotionally and physically abused by our father. During my parents divorce my father stopped seeing us, he abandoned us. For some you may think that would be a good thing. But for a child who still loved her father and still wanted him in her life it was another punch in the stomach, another stab to her heart. I had lost my step-father to cancer. It was as if this was just another part of the life of Shauna. As if, I was not deserving for love, whether it be in the form of a father, or partner.

Why did you stay?

I stayed out of fear. Being told if I left I either wouldn’t make it out alive or if I did both my legs would be broken. I stayed out of fear that he may do something to my family. I stayed hoping that he would change. Hoping that he got help. Hoping that the man I fell in love with in the beginning would come back. I stayed because I so desperately wanted to be back to the way things once were. I thought that if I continued loving him and showing him that I loved him that he would see that and want to do better and be better.

Why didn’t you fight back?

Why didn’t I fight back? For one, I did my best to make sure the confrontations didn’t occur in the first place. Do you know what it feels like to basically walk on eggshells in your own home? To have to watch every little thing you say or do to keep this person “happy”? Fighting back would only make things worse. The night he choked me, the night before I left, the thing that set him off, was me saying: ‘How was work baby’, I saw him clench his teeth, so I decided it would be best to walk out the room and give him his space, I misjudged that though. He in turn grabbed me and tossed me on the bed, he began punching the bed so close to my head that if I moved the wrong way at the wrong time he surely would have punch my face. He punched me all over my back, and that is when he choked me.

Why did you let him get away with it?

This one gets me. This is one that is at top of my list of questions that I hate and it enrages me. It was my decision to not press any charges. It was my decision because I did not want to have to deal with him any more. It was my decision because I just didn’t want to make things worse than what they already were for myself and my family. It is my decision and I do not regret it. As I have learned and grown, he didn’t get away with it. One thing I know for sure is that God is the ultimate judge, there is nothing greater then when God takes care of things for you. See, I believe in Karma. What goes around comes around. It doesn’t mean that what he did to me will necessarily happen to him. But one thing is for sure, he’ll reap what he has sown. Besides, what greater victory is there then for him to see and know that he can no longer control me? Not only that, but through this I am using it to reach and help others who have gone through it and for those who are going through it now. My greatest revenge is my comeback and my comeup.

Before you go asking why, I urge you to do some research on domestic violence and abuse. Get familiar with the forms of abuse, read some other blogs from other survivors about their experiences. Each individual handles things differently. Our experiences are different even though they are similar. Our healing process is very different. We are all at different stages in our healing. Take the time and educate yourself before you ask the why’s. Like I wrote in the beginning, some of us do not yet have the answers to those why’s. Be patient, try to have understanding and most importantly show compassion.

Travel Through The Mind of A Survivor

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I’m safe.

Where I am going he cannot find me.

He cannot hurt me anymore.

I’m safe.

 

Breathe.

 

Inhale.

Exhale.

 

I know I’m safe.

But will he find me?

Things are so weird now.

I know I can’t go back.

But I miss him.

I miss him?

Am I crazy?

 

I miss who he was in the beginning.

Was that really him?

What did I do wrong?

What did I do to make him hate me so much?

Why did he do all those things to me?

 

Was I not good enough?

Was I not pretty enough?

Not smart enough?

I gave everything up for him.

I did any and everything to make him happy.

 

Who would ever want to be with someone like me?

I’ll never love anyone again

I’ll never be loved by anyone again

I’m damaged goods

 

He was right…

No one would want me

No one would love me

I’ll never be anything

I’m nothing

I’m nothing without him

 

I have to move on

I can’t keep living like this

I can’t keep going on like this

I have to get my life back

 

One step at a time

One day at a time

Whatever it may take

I’m getting my life back

 

I will have good days

And some bad days

But each day is a step closer

A step closer to gaining back my identity

 

I may not be who I once was before

But I know I will be better than I was

It is going to take a lot of work

But I know I can make it

 

If I could make it out of that

I can make it through anything

 

When the negative things he used to say play in my mind

I will reverse them into the positive things I know I am.

 

He said I was ugly.

But look at me.

I’m beautiful.

 

He said that I was weak.

But I am stronger than I have ever been.

 

He said I was nothing without him.

But I am more than he could have ever handled.

 

I am who I am

Because of all that I went through

When you thought you could break me

I actually broke free

I busted out of that cage

Out of that cocoon

And I learned how to fly

Photo Credit: http://consciouslifenews.com/akashic-records-simple-explanation/1122435/

When is Enough, Enough?

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“Enough is enough!” We have all experienced this moment at some point. The point where we cannot take anymore and we will not take any more. It isn’t giving up, it isn’t throwing in the towel, or maybe it is. Throwing in the towel of no longer tolerating the abuse. Throwing in the towel of not allowing ourselves to be treated this way anymore. You see, we’re not throwing in the towel and giving up on the relationship (as the abuser would like us to believe) because to be honest, the relationship was over a long time ago. We threw down the towel because we were tired of raising the white flag and surrendering to his or her tactics. We got tired of surrendering to his or her ways. We got tired of surrendering to his or her control. We got tired. Enough is enough! We no longer raised the white flag to surrender and lose the battle. We threw down the towel and prepared to fight the war.

 

So when is enough, really enough? How do we know that we have had enough? The best way I can explain is that it is as if the light bulb finally turns on in your head. It’s like an epiphany. The “aha moment”. You realize that nothing is going to change. Nothing is going to better. He or she will never change. It is in that moment where your mind kicks into survival mode. You will start to think of a plan. A way to escape. You will think of who to call, where you can go. When the best time to leave will be. There is this inner strength that seems to just take over you. Something you forgot that you had inside of you. This strength. This courage. This determination. It is empowering. You will experience the fear and anxiety. Unsure of what may happen if and when your abuser finds out that you are leaving. But this inner strength holds on strong. This inner strength is loud and drowns out the fear and anxiety.

 

The moment may be after an incident with your abuser or maybe when you are in the house by yourself. For me, it was the night after my ex had choked me until I passed out and when I came to my head was on his lap while he was playing video games. He laughed and started stroking my hair. I had gotten up and gone to the bathroom and seen marks on my neck that were identical to his fingers being around me. It was at that moment I knew that things could only get worse. Out of fear of what may happen I waited until the next morning. When I woke up the next morning I grabbed my phone and a towel and went into the bathroom. I turned the water on and explained to my sister what had happened while staring at my neck in the mirror. It was then that I knew I had to leave. No matter what may have happened while doing so, I had to leave.

 

Leaving may not be easy, it could be dangerous. But either way, you are getting out of there. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! However you have decided to reach out, remember there is a way out. The first phone call may not work out, but do not give up! Someone somewhere is willing to help. If by chance, for whatever reason family or friends are unable to help you, there are PLENTY of available resources for you in which an organization will be more than willing to get you out safely. Just know, that you will be safe. However and whoever is going to be absolutely sure of that. You will be safe. You will have your life back. You will be better. You will be you again. A better you. A newer you. Yes, you will be different, yes you will experience a lot of different emotions from this traumatic experience. But there is help, all you have to do is reach out. There are many people who you can lean on who will understand what you have been through and what you are feeling. People who genuinely get your mixed feelings. People who will NOT pass judgment on you. People who will love you. People who will help you through. You are not alone. You do not have to ever feel or think that you are.

 

Regardless if you have or have not had your “aha moment” if you have or have not yet got to your “Enough is enough” moment, I am here for you.
If you are reading this and you are someone who has a family member or friend that is in an abusive relationship as hard as it may be, I ask that you remain patient. I know it sounds crazy, but they have to see for themselves that things are not going to get any better. If they are forced out before the realization they most likely will just go right back to their abuser. Please be patient. Please be available. You may get the phone call on the day that he or she needs to get out of there. You may get the phone call that he or she has had enough.

 

Sisterhood of the World Blogger Award Nomination

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Thank you joicelizsabeth (my soul-sister); for nominating me for the Sisterhood of the World blogger award. To say I am honored is an understatement! I thank you so much, and truly appreciate you J!

It looks like all I have to do is answer 10 questions, and nominate other women who are more than worthy of a nomination.  So here are the questions posed to me.

  • Why do you blog?

– At first, I wrote a blog to share my experience of domestic violence. In all honesty, I thought that would have been my one and only blog. The only thing I had asked for was that it helped just ONE person. Now, I blog to help give hope, to empower, to uplift and to build up other survivors. I blog, because I now know, that I am a voice for those who have not yet found their own voice.

  • Do you hope to accomplish something with blogging or do you just enjoy it?

– I feel as though I have accomplished what I set out for, I see that I have touched and helped many which is why now I just enjoy writing blogs. I enjoy hearing from readers who share parts of their own stories. I enjoy hearing from readers who say that a recent blog I posted gave them hope. So, I guess I just enjoy it.

  • Where do you live?

– I live in Boston, MA

  • What are a few of your top books?

– I just finished reading “A Black Rose Thrived” written by my dear blogging friend Rochelle Richey. (Amazingly written)

  • How about movies? What are your favorites?

– Hmmm.. I love horror movies. I am so bad when it comes to remembering movie titles.

  • What could you not live without?

– I could not live without my laptop or cellphone (sad I know), but it is how I communicate with my other bloggers/sisters across the world.

  • How would you hope to be described?

– I would hope to be described as; Loving, kind, caring, giving, thoughtful, inspiring, encouraging, and empowering.

  • What is your soapbox? That one issue that always puts you right up there?

– Domestic Violence and Child Abuse.

  • Where would you like to retire?

– Somewhere where it doesn’t snow. (Remember, I’m from Boston) 🙂

  • What do you do for work/day job/ etc?

– Currently; I work in an emergency department.

So, now it is time for me to choose my nominee’s:

  1. Rochelle Richey
  2. Trease Shine Hinton
  3. Rosie Malezer
  4. shesundone
  5. Blue Sky

To those I chose as nominee’s, you do not have to take part in this if you do not want to. However, I would ask that you pass this on and nominate a blogger whom you think deserves it.

Questions for everyone to answer:

  1. Why do you blog?
  2. Do you hope to accomplish something with blogging or do you just enjoy it?
  3. Where do you live?
  4. What are a few of your top books?
  5. How about movies? What are your favorites?
  6. What could you not live without?
  7. How would you hope to be described?
  8. What is your soapbox? That one issue that always puts you right up there?
  9. Where would you like to retire?
  10. What do you do for work/day job/ etc?

SURVIVOR’S UNITE!

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JOIN ME ALONG WITH OTHER SURVIVORS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AS WE COME TOGETHER AND UNITE! SHARING OUR EXPERIENCES, OFFER ADVICE ON THINGS WE HAVE GONE THROUGH AND HOW WE GOT THROUGH THEM, AND EVEN SHARE SOME LAUGHS! THIS IS ALL ABOUT SURVIVORS COMING TOGETHER, TALKING WITH THOSE WHO UNDERSTAND WHAT WE HAVE GONE THROUGH OR WHAT WE ARE NOW GOING THROUGH.

SINCE I STARTED BLOGGING; I MADE SOME AWESOME CONNECTIONS WITH SOME AMAZING PEOPLE. THEY ENCOURAGE AND EMPOWER ME IN WAYS I CANNOT EVEN BEGIN TO PUT IN WORDS. SO I STARTED THINKING HOW AMAZING IT WOULD BE FOR ALL OF US TO GET TOGETHER IN A CHAT FORUM. SO I DECIDED TO CREATE ONE. EVERY TUESDAY EVENING AT 8:00 PM EST. I WILL HOST THIS CHAT. *SURVIVORS UNITE*

YOU WILL BE ABLE TO JOIN IN ON THE CONVO, YOU WILL BE ABLE TO FIND SUPPORT, ADVICE, AND CONNECT WITH THESE AMAZING PEOPLE. I TRULY WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW THAT THEY ARE NOT ALONE AND THAT THEY ARE NOT THE ONLY ONES WHO HAVE HAD TO EXPERIENCE THESE HORRIFIC TRAUMAS. I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW THAT THEY HAVE A SHOULDER TO LEAN ON.

HERE IS THE DIRECT LINK TO THE CHAT FORUM: https://tlk.io/alifeworthlivingfor  OR YOU CAN FIND IT ON THE LEFT SIDEBAR ON MY WEBPAGE.

HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE! 🙂

Dear Outside World

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Dear Outside World;

Often times, survivors are bombarded with the same repetitive question: Why didn’t you leave sooner? or Why didn’t you leave when he or she hit you the first time?

Let me be very clear, no one stays in a relationship because they enjoy the abuse. Do you want to know why someone stays in an abusive relationship? Mainly, out of fear. Fear for their own lives as well as the lives of their family. Secondly, the abuser has more than likely isolated the victim from their family and friends, therefore; the victim feels that he or she has nowhere to go. A victim of domestic violence doesn’t become a victim when the abuser physically harms them. He or she becomes a victim the moment the abuser starts belittling, calling the victim names, starts to control things like what the victim can and cannot wear, for female victims; they don’t want you to wear makeup or your hair a certain way. The abuser takes control of your money, they determine when and if you can see your family and friends, and then cuts you off from them completely. (All this tends to occur first before the actual physical abuse starts)

You see, when you look from the outside, you CANNOT JUDGE A VICTIM, you have NO RIGHT! You have no knowledge on this subject, I often tell people that someone who has been victimized this way should be connected with a survivor of domestic violence. It doesn’t matter how many years of schooling you had, how many degrees you have on your belt. You still will not have an idea or sense of the emotions that this individual has experienced during the relationship, nor will you fully understand the emotions the individual will feel while going through the aftermath and their healing process. (If you disagree please feel free and comment)

So, why didn’t I leave after the first time my ex actually hit me? Because I was petrified! Because this individual had said he would kill me, because he said I would never make it out without both my legs being broken. I stayed because I was brainwashed into thinking he was all that I had. I stayed because I had no friends, that when I did manage to sneak a phone call into one of them they ignored my calls, or cussed me out. I didn’t even have a chance to tell my friends I needed their help. They had no idea that all this happened until years later! And believe me, those same few friends I have in my life now, I know they regret it terribly. I didn’t leave because I was embarrassed, I was ashamed. My whole mentality on life was so distorted. I felt like I may have done something to deserve it. Or that maybe it actually was my fault.

Do you know what it feels like to have to sneak out of your own house just to spend time with your own mother? To have your mother buy you a cell phone to keep in contact with her and hide it from your abuser? Even with that, have to try and put on a facade in front of her that everything is okay because you do not want her worrying about you? (as if she didn’t know. Mom always knows)  Do you know what it is like to have to lie to the ENTIRE world, when really all you want to do is scream for help? Yet you are in so much fear you somehow manage to paint a smile on your face.

Tell me, Outsider; do you know what it is like to experience all this on a constant basis? 24/7 for however many years, there are no breaks, do you know what good days are like to a victim? Guess what, there are no good days in an abusive relationship; unless you count a good day as not getting choked, slapped, kicked or punched!

There seems to be a huge misconception on victims and survivors of domestic violence from the outside world. I get it, it comes from ignorance. The lack of knowledge that one has towards this issue. Yet, if only you would just listen. DO NOT SPEAK, just LISTEN to what they (we) have to say. Let us explain to you. Do not cut us off while speaking. Do not stop us because it is too much for you to hear. JUST LISTEN, that’s really all we ask for. We pretty much already know that you won’t really get it. What we want, is just for someone to listen. All we ever wanted was for someone to hear us out for once.

You should feel honored if someone wants to tell you their experience(s). That alone is a big deal because what that means is that we found enough trust in you. TRUST, something that very few of us give to ANYBODY! Especially when discussing something so severe.

No one can ever TRUTHFULLY say “I would have left after the first time he or she put their hands on me.” Some of the most strong-willed individuals you know can become victims of domestic violence. You never know what goes on behind closed doors.

There Is A Moment…

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There is a moment that comes for a victim when they just know. They know that it is now or never. They know that this is more than likely the only opportunity they may ever have to escape. There is no time limit. The number of years it took for the victim to leave does not compare to the fact that he or she survived! Because, as a survivor I can tell you, all you want is for the person you originally met to return. You didn’t fall in love with the monster, you fell in love with its disguise. You fell in love with all that charm that was poured on you, the wooing effect. You deny the fact of knowing that the facade you met will never return. During the whole relationship, you try and change yourself, to keep your partner happy. But they are never satisfied. You change, when it isn’t you that needed the change. The abuser, who is so insecure with themselves cannot admit to it, so they put it all on you. It is a way to stroke his or her ego and insecurities.

I wrote several blogs before, about this moment. How something inside of you awakens(I refer to it as a tiger in one blog). All of your senses come back to you. Life returns back to the lifeless body. All the control and power you gave to your abuser seems to get sucked out of them and returns to you. You just know that NOW is the time to go.

For some, it may have been a few years, others ten or more. However, the important thing is that you made it! YOU SURVIVED! You followed your gut instinct, you knew it was at that time that you had to go. You “woke up” from your nightmare. However you planned your escape, whether contacting family, friends or an organization. It was successful. Let me say I am proud of you for making it this far.

This is the moment that you have been waiting for. The moment where you get YOU back. The moment where you get your LIFE back. This is the moment of NEW BEGINNINGS! This moment is the moment of the rest of your life! This is the moment where you will no longer be a victim, but you will become a survivor!

It was a tough journey, an unexpected one that you never thought you would experience. But do not beat yourself up over it. Always remind yourself that none of it was your fault! You NEVER deserved ANY of it!

When you are ready, share your story, use you experience for the good. Help others. Take it from me, this is the best decision I made; sharing my story and experiences, blogging to encourage and empower other survivors is the greatest thing I can ever do. I have found so much happiness in the connections that I have made and continue making. There is nothing better than knowing that you are NOT alone. TRUST ME; YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!!!

To those who may currently be in an abusive relationship, you also are not alone. If you would like to reach out (which I hope you do) please go on my “Contact Me’ page, and you can contact me through the outlets there. By whichever form you feel safest. I will always answer and reply as soon as I can, which is typically that same day. You do not have to worry, I am the ONLY person who checks the email, DM’s and private messages and they are all linked to my phone. I urge you to listen to your instinct, it will never steer you wrong. There are tons of outlets that you can turn to as well (many are mentioned throughout my other blogs). Also, your family will be there for you with open arms, I know one of the things an abuser says is that no one loves you like him or her. But they are so wrong! For one family NEVER stops loving you. Secondly, he or she doesn’t love you, because if he or she did love you, they would NEVER do these things to you.

One thing I ask that you always remember; is that you are not to blame! You are not doing anything wrong that allows any of this to happen to you.

Not Only Is it Possible To Rise, It’s Possible To Fly

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Hi friends. Sorry. This isn’t Shauna. This is her friend, Michelle. You don’t know me, but I know you all, and more importantly, I know Shauna. When I first met her, many years ago, I was fresh out of college, working night shifts in an Emergency Room, answering phones and filing paperwork. It was an eye opening experience. I saw a slice of the world that few have ever seen. I saw people come in that were in pain, were in a panic, were seeking attention, or drugs or worse. I held the hands of people that were losing loved ones, got a fresh cup of coffee for a soon-to-be-widow, wrapped a blanket around a shaking parent that just lost a child. I’ve watched physicians make difficult choices, nurses hold it until they nearly peed themselves, janitors clean more blood than you could imagine was inside a person. To date, this was the best job I ever had.

My guess is that you suspect that Shauna was a patient there, after a horrible night of violence and abuse. You’d be mistaken. She and I shared a desk, a little spot of peace in a sea of uncertainty. In the time I knew her, she was unwaveringly kind, poised, but mostly quiet. In the way I know her now, it’s so weird to call her quiet. You couldn’t swear in front of her, which was a big fucking problem for me. She didn’t drink, which I just couldn’t possibly fathom. People would ask her personal questions about her life, and I would hear her shut them down. “How are your roommates?” “Seeing anyone?” “What did you do this weekend?” were all considered personal questions. I quickly learned that she didn’t want to talk about her life, and I was okay with that. Most of our interactions consisted of making fun of our coworkers, or talking about what weird meal I had made myself for dinner. There was a lot of food and real estate porn. Shauna helped me internet shop for the condo I eventually bought, talked me through the petty arguments I had with my then boyfriend, and let me complain about my mother. I think truly our friendship began from a mutual love of Pitbulls.

In the time we worked together, Shauna’s mother became very ill. She lived in the city, but my home was in the neighboring suburb. Like any sensible city girl, she didn’t have a car, so I offered to drive her there. With the kindness she had shown me, it was a no-brainer.

Through bits and pieces of the conversations we had, I began to put together a concerning image of her life. Here she had this mother that she loved dearly and loved her the same in return, but Shauna was living with people that controlled her life. I was sad for her, and I felt so helpless to make it any better. I just promised I would drive her to her mom whenever she wanted, even though one time I left her on the side of the highway to be picked up by Mom because I was going to miss an exam.

When I left that job, Shauna was one of the very few people with whom I kept in touch. It was probably two years before we saw each other again. When we got together, she was this entirely different person. The first thing she said to me was “Let’s get a fucking drink”.

We went out to a bar, a place I couldn’t have pictured her in a thousand years. She told me about the amazing man that she was dating, the scum bags she had dated and the good news that she had moved back home with Mom. That was probably my favorite part.

It was like I was meeting someone entirely new, but had known my life for years. At the first opportunity, I had her over to the condo she and I drooled over at 3 AM nightly after I made an offer on it. She met my husband I had squabbled with when we were dating, and kissed the Pitbull we adopted shortly after I was married. Shauna became a weekly fixture at my house, sometimes helping me, posing as a fake client, other times just to drink and laugh. Eventually, after too many glasses of wine, Shauna told me the story of her survivorship. I remember sitting there with my hand over my mouth the entire way through. I couldn’t believe someone I had loved so dearly lived through such hell. She seemed so nervous to tell me about her life, but she was so brave through it. She didn’t stop. It was like one breathless story, breathless for both of us, though I was silent. There were hugs. There were tears.

The next time we got together, we were drinking wine. We drank some more, and I told her how her story had taken root in my bones. I told her that her life, her story was too important not to share, that there was so much wealth and power in her experience, and that by holding it in, she was depriving the world and a desperate community of a truth for which they so yearned. We drank some more, and we started talking about what mediums it would be most appropriate to discuss, and I recommended blogging. We drank some more, and she wrote her first blog. She was nice enough to let me edit it, but truthfully, I just put in the details she was reluctant to write down. It has made me so proud to see how successful this blog has become, especially as I have had nothing to do with its content since the first few times she asked me to check out what she wrote.

Today, we were texting, and she was so sweet and thanked me for her success here. I told her, “I pushed you off a cliff. You learned how to fly.” This evening, she asked me for the first time in months to check out her blog post, and it was about what I had said to her this morning, about her flying. I was so flattered, but I thought how unfair it was to you, her readers, not to know the full story came to be. It’s once again that unwavering kindness of Shauna that forces her to want to credit those who help her with success. It felt as if she wanted to give me every word she had written, which I couldn’t edit. I see how much power and strength she has found in telling her story. I am so lucky to have witnessed this phoenix rise from her ashes. In closing, I want to leave her with the essence of the post she wanted to share with you all:

Not only is it possible to rise, it’s possible to fly.

PhoenixRising

 

 

Hey friends, Shauna here, The above context from my friend Michelle, literally brought tears to my eyes, when I write I always originally write in google docs, that way if I need Michelle we can both do edits from our own homes if need be, when I asked her for help tonight she had no problem doing so, then she had told me she was “working on something don’t look.” So I didn’t, but kept messaging her on Facebook asking if I could.  Haha.

Below, is the context I had asked her to help me with – Aspire to Inspire Before You Expire.

While looking for a great definition on “aspire to Inspire before you Expire” I found this: http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/Aspire_to_Inspire_Before_You_Expire.html

“So in summing up the meaning of the phrase aspire to inspire before you expire, it simply says to have the desire to arouse and positively influence an individual into action so that they fulfill their innermost desires before they die and leave this planet. And it also applies to you – allowing inspiration to flow through you so that you too experience an inspired life. As always, the choice is yours! Be the inspiration!”

Earlier today, I was talking to my dear friend who is the one who got to me to finally start blogging back in September of 2015. She encourages me more than she knows. I had once again thanked her for doing so and her response was epic! “Hahaha, no I pushed you off a cliff, you learned to fly!”

I had been wanting to share my story of survivorship, as well as empower and inspire others, reach out to victims and give them hope for their future. I just could not take that first step. She told me that my life, my story was too important not to share, that there was so much wealth and power in my experience, and that by holding it in, I was depriving the world and a desperate community of a truth for which they so needed. She literally gave me the push I needed to turn my dreams into reality.

Aspire means to yearn for, have a strong desire for or to have hope.

Personally, my desire, my hopes, and my dreams are to help victims and survivors of domestic violence. That through writing and maybe one day even speaking to others, that I can empower and  inspire other survivors to share their stories as well. That if we inspire one another than we can truly break the silence. That if we all take a stand, that if we all do something with our own experiences that we CAN stop domestic violence. If we can ensure that schools are really teaching our teenagers about teen dating violence, if we can reach these younger generations then there can be an end to domestic violence.

I have always said, if I can make a difference in just ONE person’s life, then I have been successful!

What are your aspirations? What inspires you? What do you desire and hope to accomplish while you are still here?

 

Photo Credit: https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwitm8rpk_HKAhUFdD4KHWhGDloQjB0IBg&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.30bananasaday.com%2Fprofiles%2Fblogs%2Fphoenix-rising&psig=AFQjCNHkh61DI4vyKBCu3IjADbFP5H9_mw&ust=1455329687996530

 

Life After Mayhem

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It is hard not to wonder what the “new life” will look like when facing the decision to leave or stay. To some, it may seem crazy about there even being a decision in such matter, but the thing is that the abuser actually has THAT MUCH control and has instilled THAT MUCH fear into the victim, that yes; now there is a decision to be made and it can actually be a life or death decision. One must remember, that the victim has been isolated from family and friends, so they may feel like there is nowhere to go. The victim may not know of any resources available to him or her.

Mayhem is defined as violent or damaging disorder; chaos. The definition for it by law: the crime of maliciously injuring or maiming someone, originally so as to render the victim defenseless.

When I think of my past, and the word mayhem, I cannot help but think of it as complete and utter chaos! The fact that I used to live my life walking on eggshells, or better yet more like hot, burning coals. To look back and see that I had given my all to one man, every ounce of me given to him and that still was not enough. That even when I did everything right, he still found some way to find something wrong. How a simple “How was work?” could lead to pinning me onto the bed yelling at me, punching the bed next to my face and then choking me until I passed out. Followed by “I love you’s.” That was part of my mayhem, as a young girl at the age of seventeen.

Life After Mayhem; living a life after surviving such madness is very much possible. Hard at first, especially when you first remove yourself from it and look at all that had happened to you. It is traumatizing. Visions of the trauma flash in front of your eyes all day long, certain sounds and smells take you back to a frightening place. Nightmares are at an all time high. Even though you know you are safe, the feeling of safety has yet to embrace you. Trying to bring order back into a life that has been broken and out of order for some time takes patience, you have to have patience for yourself. You cannot rush the healing process; if it is rushed it will only cause more damage to yourself. The pieces do not just fit back together overnight. You will have really good days and you will have really bad days. Conquer each day one at a time. Set small victories for yourself, the small victories will lead you the major victory.

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You are not the same as you once used to be. Even though you have yet to feel or see it, you are so much better and so much stronger than you have ever been. You got your wings, and when the time is right for you, you will soar to new heights, you will experience new things. You will achieve things you could only once have dreamed of achieving. There will be an indescribable peace in your life. Now not everything is peaches and cream, there will be other obstacles that happen in life, but one thing is for sure; when those obstacles come you can take them head on. All you have to do is look back for a minute to remember where you came from and what you been through. Then remind yourself that if you can make it and survive that, then you can overcome this next obstacle.

Life After Mayhem; your life is now a life filled with peace, your life is a life filled with hope. A new life filled with endless possibilities. A life that is now filled with joy. A Life Worth Living For.

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Strength of a Tiger, Spirit of a Butterfly

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It is AMAZING what we as writers/bloggers can take from a picture. For instance, this one here, with a tiger cub and a butterfly. “Strength of a Tiger, Spirit of a Butterfly.”

When I think about strength I usually think of inner strength. I know I talk about it a lot, but as a survivor, it is something I had to remind myself of very often. Even today, with different life situations. Physical strength can only get you but so far. But inner strength, that is something that goes unmeasured. Once you tap into that; there is no stopping you. Once your mind is set and made up you will do what you need to do to achieve it at all costs. In the featured picture, when I look at the red eyes, to me it symbolizes the inner strength wakening inside of us.

One of the most amazing things about inner strength, is that even in your weakest state, even when you are at the end of your rope; that inner strength is there waiting for you. It waits for you to search for it, it waits for you to reach deep down inside for you to grab hold of it; because in order to activate it, you have to acknowledge it. When activated, it is like a roar that is at a decibel that only you can hear; just like an actual tiger, the roar is only in a frequency that cannot be heard by all. and it is when you hear it and acknowledge it, that you see you can make it. You will survive it. You will achieve it. You will accomplish it. Whatever that “it” may be.

Since I blog through the eyes of a survivor; I personally know that I had to have the strength of a tiger in order to make it out of my abusive relationship. Was I afraid? Of course! But it was that inner strength that still overshadowed that fear. It was that strength, that kept telling me “You cannot stay here.”  The Strength of a Tiger, had awaken. The strength that at one point I thought had disappeared. It never left, it never does leave. It just lays dormant. Waiting for you to unleash it.

While having the strength of a tiger, it is important to remember to have the spirit of a butterfly. While we are stronger than we may think. We also have this gentle, kind and carefree spirit.  The butterfly symbolizes transformation. So while, we needed the strength of a tiger to overcome our caterpillar state; since for some of us we may have had to literally crawl on our bellies just to make it out or pretty damn close to it. We are now at a point of transformation. Do not rush the cocoon process. This is the healing process. Once in the cocoon you are leaving everything you have once known behind. Embrace your transformation, where you will embark on a new journey. We now turn into this beautiful butterfly transforming into the person we are today. This carefree animal, who lives life with a beautiful purpose. We all have a specific purpose in life, and during your cocoon experience is where you will find it. The butterfly also symbolizes beauty. As it travels from flower to flower they continuously spread beauty where they go. So we too, shall spread our beauty wherever we go.

***Side note*** Coincidentally, my two favorite animals have always been the tiger and the butterfly for as long as I can remember. I had no idea that I would ever write a blog containing the two. Like I mentioned in the beginning, as a writer and blogger it amazes me at what we can see and be inspired by. Isn’t it?

Why I Write

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Why I write.. For as long as I can remember, writing was my way of healing. What I wasn’t comfortable expressing openly, I expressed with a pen to paper. The things I knew I had to let out but wasn’t ready to share with others, are written all over notebooks, typed on computers, written as notes on a cellphone or tablet.

It was the summer of 2015, I had completely opened up about my experience with domestic violence to one of my amazing friends. After telling her she said that I had to write about it, I had told her that for a long time I always wanted to but I shied away from it. I still was worried about what people would say or think even after all these years had gone by. With her help, I posted my first blog here on WordPress. I shared with friends and family, and anxiously waited for their responses. I was shocked. Yes, I was shocked. Shocked by the out-pour of support, the reactions, the love and all the encouragement. I have been encouraged every single day since that first blog post. So I continue to write.

I write because I want other survivors to know that they do not have to fear what other people think. This is a part of your story, this is a part of you, and to be honest; if any one does not like it then they are not deserving of your presence in their lives. I have learned, that what I went through, was not just for me alone; but it is for others who have also gone through it, and for those who are now going through it. So that is Why I Write. 

I write for the victims, to let them know that there is a way out. To let them know that they are not alone. I write for them in hopes that they will reach deep down within to find their inner strength and courage to get out of their situation. I write to let them know that there are people willing to help them. That there are people willing to listen. I write for them so that they know that they do not have to feel ashamed or be embarrassed by what they have gone through.

I write because I want to bring awareness to something that is so much a part of me, yet so many have no idea what the reality of domestic violence really is. So many are unaware of what REALLY goes on in these situations.

I write to inspire. I write to encourage. I write to empower.

This is Why I Write.

 

Twitter: @Shauna_Driscoll

Facebook: A Life Worth Living For

 

A Life Worth Living For; a life filled with purpose, a life filled with hope and a life filled with dreams.

 

 

Strength Behind Closed Doors

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Do you really know how strong you are?

Do you really know how much strength you have buried deep inside of you?

The battles you fight every single day.

The tears you cry behind closed doors.

The silent prayers you pray each night.

You’re a lot stronger than you think. You have overcome some heavy ordeals. Wherever you are in your healing process, you will face daily struggles, but you will overcome each and every one of them.

You can look life in it’s face and say “I got this!” You can look at yourself in the mirror and say “I am beautiful,I am strong, I am somebody, I am worth it.” You can hold your head up high knowing that you survived. You can set and achieve your goal and dreams.

Real strength can never alone be measured physically. Anyone can be PHYSICALLY strong by training right. True strength comes from within. It is when we tap into that inner strength where we are able to do things we never would have imagined being able to do. The strength that overcomes our fears. The strength that overcomes all our doubts. The strength that even with all we have been through supersedes it all.

So again I ask:

Do you really know how strong you are?

Do you really know how much strength you have buried deep inside of you?

Merry Christmas?

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The time of year that is represented as peace,love and joy (although it should be an all year round thing). For some, it is a recipe for disaster. See the thing is that domestic violence doesn’t take a holiday. It doesn’t care what day of the year it is.

I can only hope that maybe someone will reach out, whether you know someone in this situation or if you are the victim. Take this opportunity of being around friends and family to reach out to someone. There have been ten domestic violence related homicides in MONTGOMERY CO., AL since this past Thanksgiving alone! TEN!

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“Don’t be ashamed of your story it will inspire others.”

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“Don’t be ashamed of your story it will inspire others.”

I encourage those who have a voice to use it. I encourage you to use it for those who no longer have one, and for those still searching for theirs. I encourage you to no longer be ashamed of what you have been through; but be proud that you survived! Be proud that the thing(s) that tried to kill you made you stronger! Hold your head up high and smile! Stand tall and raise your voice.

There is “No shame in my game.” Yes, I went through it, all of it. But I decided to no longer let IT control me. IT will no longer be used against me, but instead I choose to use IT to help and inspire others to do the same.

 

A Life Worth Living For; a life filled with purpose, a life filled with hope and a life filled with dreams.

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Photo Credit:  https://cassandrasmarriagemints.wordpress.com/2014/09/26/9-domestic-violence-awareness-blog-series/