Reflection Over Troubled Waters

I’ve always been drawn to water. I love the oceans, lakes, and ponds. It is as if it is my own little piece of heaven. The place where I can let all my thoughts run wild and yet at the same time I can still feel at peace. I can scream out all my pains without fear. I can cry my deepest cry without judgment. Then, as soon as I have pulled myself together I am literally face to face with myself. Looking at my reflection on the water. Sometimes the body of water may be peaceful, with my reflection gently resting on the surface. Other times the water may be rough, chopping my reflection up.

During these times where I would see my reflection over troubled waters it was like another reminder to myself. Reminding me, that no matter how rough life gets I will never be overtaken by its circumstances. No matter how large the waves they will not drag me away from my destiny. The current at times might slow me down, but it will never stop me from reaching my destination.

Life has tossed me around like an ocean during a storm trying to drown me in sorrow and depression. Just when I thought I would be lost at sea and soon forgotten about, the waves started to slowly calm down. When I felt weak and thought I could no longer keep my head above the waves a deeper strength from within carried me through.

The storm had passed but the choppy waters still remained. I had managed to escape trauma, but the recovery process was just the beginning. Through the waves of life I managed to rise back to the surface after each crashing wave had ferociously crushed over my fragile body.

I am a survivor of many forms of abuse. I made it through the darkest of times. I learned to love my reflection even if it was over troubled waters, not just when I look at it on the gently pond. I have learned to embrace myself even when I am being tossed around in the raging sea.

My reflection over troubled waters, is a reflection of my strength. A reflection of my perseverance and a reflection of my hope. My reflection over troubled waters is a storm all of her own. Never to be broken. Never to dissipate.

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The Lost Wanderer (Part 1)

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She was lost in her own hell.

Barely holding on.

She thought she knew better than to sleep with the devil.

His lies kissed her lips and she was gone.

His masked disguise left her blind.

Her strength and courage was sucked right out of her.

She was a dead woman walking.

Scared to cry out for help.

Scared to run away.

She held back her tears and carried on each day.

Not knowing how much more she could take.

Not knowing if tomorrow she would awake.

Walking on eggshells.

Plotting every move.

Who could she tell?

Life was what she had to lose.

She was lost in her own hell.

Not some fictional fairytale.

This was real life.

Every day was a new fight.

Fighting for another breath.

Fighting until there was nothing left.

He beat her down with his words.

His tongue was like a double-edged sword.

Her self-confidence.

Her self-love

Her self-control

All of it stripped from her.

She no longer had her identity.

She saw herself through the eyes and the lies of the man she once loved.

Her self identity became his insecurities.

Her pureness in his eyes were now impurities.

Until one day.

She woke up.

Woke up determined to break free.

She had had enough.

No longer blind

She mustered up enough strength to fly.

She was determined to survive.

Her soul revived.

Her heart strived.

She was born again, she had had come back to life.

She made a plan of escape.

Taking every precaution.

She was going to leave no matter the fate.

She was willing to claw her way out if she must.

The day had come.

Last night was the final straw.

He had choked her until she passed out.

She couldn’t take anymore.

Her life in his hands.

She knew his final plan.

She made arrangements early the next morning.

As she started gathering her belongings.

Scared for her life

She was ready to fight.

He was sound asleep

As she started packing her things.

Just as she was about to leave

He opened up his eyes.

He saw all her things and said

“You’re leaving me?”

In an instant flashbacks of past threats flooded her mind.

But she had already decided

Not this time.

Her inner warrior had awoken.

She finally stuck up for herself.

She told him she was leaving and that was that.

He slowly got up.

Her eyes followed his every move.

Her ears in tune with every step.

What was he going to do?

Out of all the things he had threatened.

What was going to be his first move?

He showered and dressed.

Not saying a word.

No sound was made.

No sound was heard.

He grabbed his keys and as he turned to leave.

He turned back around and said

“Good bye (Name)”

Goodbye? That’s it? She thought to herself.

As she heard him open and shut the door.

Something must be up.

She phoned her ride and explained that he had left.

A few minutes later she was finally gone.

Out of hell she escaped.

Without nothing, not even a scrape.

The butterfly had found an opening in the window.

And started to fly towards a better tomorrow…..

(To Be Continued…)

Have You Ever Wondered?

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Have you ever wondered why?

Why he or she covers up the lies?

Why he or she doesn’t just leave?

Why he or she cannot see what you see?

Have you ever tried to understand?

Walk in his or her shoes if you can?

Ever think of the dangers that are at hand?

Do you realize the mental control that is in place?

Do you know the things that he or she must face?

Do you know what is possibly at stake?

How much careful planning it all takes?

Before judging and assuming, before victim bashing.

Be aware. Aware of the things that are most likely happening.

For a victim of abuse they may not be aware of the choices they have.

They may feel like no one cares.

Take into consideration of the brainwashing.

Being told that no one loves them.

Being told that it is their fault and that they deserve it.

Abuse goes so much deeper than a physical wound you may happen to see.

The mental, verbal and emotional abuse is not seen by the naked eye.

The invisible scars that lie deep beneath and hold so much control.

Have you ever wondered?

Have you ever really just wondered?

Why he or she is so closed off from the world?

Why he or she does not trust a single soul?

How hard it is for them to gain back their own self control?

Do you know what it is like to be a prisoner in your own mind?

To feel trapped even after you have already escaped?

Triggers: A scent, a sound, a touch, a day, a time, an event, a number of things that could send a person spiraling backwards in their healing.

The panic and anxiety attacks

The not wanting to leave from under the covers of your bed.

Never feeling safe.

Always feeling alone.

And you wonder why he or she goes back?

The sweet lies that drip from the tip of the abusers tongue.

The lies that have the victim turn back and run.

Run back to the arms of the one who causes the most pain.

Blinded by the disguise.

Not seeing their own demise.

All in order to feel “loved”

Have you ever wondered?

How he or she got there?

What has them stuck there?

Have you ever taken the time to fully understand?

What it is like to be controlled by another persons hand?

How someone once so strong could be so fragile?

How someone with so much confidence now insecure?

How someone who once was so full of life can now be so passionless?

Have you ever wondered?

What can you say?

What can you do?

To possibly get them to see the truth?

Truth is..

You can tell them until your face turns blue.

It isn’t that they don’t hear you or want to hear you.

They need to see the truth

For themselves.

They have to see their way out.

They have to see that they will be safe.

They have to get to that point.

The point where they have had enough.

Their eyes will be open

Where they will soon realize.

Everything that was said

Was nothing but lies.

It was all a disguise

To try and paralyze

A caterpillar from transforming into a butterfly.

Have you ever wondered?

When She Awoke

One morning she woke up different.

Done with trying to figure out who was with her, against her or walking down the middle because they didn’t have the guts to pick a side.

She was done with anything that didn’t bring her peace.

She realized that opinions were a dime a dozen.

Validation was for parking.

Loyalty wasn’t a word but a lifestyle.

It was this day that her life had changed.

Not because of a man.

Or a job.

But because, she had finally realized that life is way too short to leave the key of her happiness in someone else’s pocket.

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Thinking Out Loud

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So as you all know I started writing my book about my experience with domestic violence, the chapter I am currently working on so far is one of the most difficult chapters. It has taken me a long time to write what I have written so far. It has opened up a wound I thought was healed. I have realized that there has not really been full closure on this aspect of my life. Many tears have been shed while writing previous chapters, so many unanswered questions. So many “Why’s?” and I know those will never be answered, and even if there was a chance for those “why’s” to be answered I know that they would not be truthful answers anyways.

This book is not only about my experience with domestic violence, this book touches on so many sensitive subjects in my life. It is graphic and detailed. I want the readers to feel what I have felt. I believe that that is the best way a writer can write. To bring the reader back in time and travel with me through my life as if they were right there with me.

At the same time I am struggling right now, I am facing things from my past that I never fully dealt with. Emotions about things that have happened and am wondering why I have these feelings. I try to continue typing through this chapter, I get one or two sentences out and I shut it down.

You know, I go through life looking at where I am now and where I came from. Amazed at how I got this far. I get through day by day with a smile on face just loving and enjoying every moment. I look at my dreams and see myself achieving them and see doors of opportunities starting to open. I’ve connected with amazing people all over the world through this blog and other social media. Yet I feel stuck. I usually write blogs to inspire and encourage others but right now I could really use some inspiration and encouragement.

I guess this blog is just a venting blog.

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Triggers and Flashbacks are not Setbacks

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Hey everyone, first let me just apologize for being absent as far as blogging, I know I have some very supportive readers and followers who look forward to my blogs. After reading this particular post I believe it is safe to say that you will all understand why I have been absent. It was difficult for me to start writing this, and took me a couple weeks to even begin writing gain.

Triggers and flashbacks.

I hate them.

I mean i really HATE them!I had a trigger on Sunday June 20th 2016. I was on the train headed home from work and it happened. The train stopped at the station behind the apartment building where I used to live with my ex, our bedroom window faced the station. I had looked up from my phone and out the window, when my eyes locked dead on to one of the windows of the apartment where I used to live at. I was overwhelmed with emotion, after all these years. I got chills looking at these windows. I literally got goosebumps all over, and I could feel myself starting to panic. When I looked at the windows there was this dark eerie look to them, yet the sun was still shining bright.

It was like every single emotion I had ever felt in that place came rushing at me. Flashbacks of him clenching his teeth. Flashbacks of him choking me. Flashbacks of him pushing me on to the bed and straddling over me, punching the bed close to my head telling me if I move the wrong way and he hits me it is my fault. I could hear him. I could hear all the disgusting names he used to call me. All the things he used to accuse me of. It had all flooded my mind in an instant. For a time I was angry at myself for even allowing it to effect me the way that it had.

The one thing about triggers is that they can honestly happen at any given moment. Certain things may always be something we know as a trigger (scent,smell,sound) while others may not be so common but can abruptly cause a trigger; especially when someone is under a huge amount of stress, and believe me these last few weeks at work have been mighty stressful.

But this trigger was different, and maybe even one of my worst ones yet to date. It felt like the air had been knocked out of me. I was practically choking on my tears fighting them from falling down my face until I got off at my stop. My throat felt like it was closing up and my heart was beating at an incredible rate. My hands were shaky and sweaty. As soon as I stepped off the train at my stop the tears began to fall. I could no longer control it. Getting into my mothers car she asked me if I was okay. I told her “I will be okay.” One thing I love about her, she will never badger me for information; if I say “I am okay”, even if she knows I am not she knows that eventually I will come and talk to her.

Trigger definition

(from http://psychcentral.com/lib/what-is-a-trigger/)

A trigger is something that sets off a memory tape or flashback transporting the person back to the event of her/his original trauma.

Triggers are very personal; different things trigger different people. The survivor may begin to avoid situations and stimuli that she/he thinks triggered the flashback. She/he will react to this flashback, trigger with an emotional intensity similar to that at the time of the trauma. A person’s triggers are activated through one or more of the five senses: sight, sound, touch, smell and taste.

The senses identified as being the most common to trigger someone are sight and sound, followed by touch and smell, and taste close behind. A combination of the senses is identified as well, especially in situations that strongly resemble the original trauma. Although triggers are varied and diverse, there are often common themes.

Types of triggers:

(also from the website http://psychcentral.com/lib/what-is-a-trigger/)

Sound

  • Anything that sounds like anger (ie. raised voices, arguments, bangs and thumps, something breaking).
  • Anything that sounds like pain or fear (ie. crying, whispering, screaming).
  • Anything that might have been in the place or situation prior to, during, or after the abuse or reminds her/him of the abuse (ie. sirens, foghorns, music, cricket, chirping, car door closing).
  • Anything that resembles sounds that the abuser made (ie. whistling, footsteps, pop of can opening, tone of voice).
  • Words of abuse (ie. cursing, labels, put-downs, specific words used).

Smell

  • Anything that resembles the smell of the abuser (ie. tobacco, alcohol, drugs, after shave, perfume).
  • Any smells that resemble the place or situation where the abuse occurred (ie. food cooking ,wood, odors, alcohol).

Touch

  • Anything that resembles the abuse or things that occurred prior to or after the abuse (ie. certain physical touch, someone standing too close, petting an animal, the way someone approaches you).

Taste

  • Anything that is related to the abuse, prior to the abuse or after the abuse (ie. certain foods, alcohol, tobacco).

I share this because I want people to know that they are not alone. That even years after leaving I still have triggers. Yes it is possible. I know it is something that we do not want nor like dealing with, but it is something we have to live with due to the trauma(s) we have experienced. What we can do is learn how to deal and cope when we do experience triggers and flashbacks.

The thing that comforted me; was when I spoke to someone about this trigger event and she shared with me that she too deals with triggers. She said “90% of the time I am fine, I am okay. But then there is 10% where I am not.” That is exactly how I feel, 90% of the time I am good, but there is and always will be that 10% where I will have bad days, I will have to deal with triggers but I will pull myself together and come through it and you also will pull yourself together and get through it. Always remember that triggers and flashbacks are not setbacks. They are a part of us, but they do not define us.

 

Up and coming project

 

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Hey all, so I am in the works of creating a newsletter.  I am planning on starting it in September, I thought that would be a great time since it is the 1 year anniversary of my blog page. On my page I have the subscription sign-up on there, I want to focus on gaining subscribers now while I work on newsletters and continue educating myself with creating them, I have a couple in the works already.

This newsletter is a monthly newsletter focusing on encouraging, inspiring, and empowering women. It will be filled with helpful tools, motivational quotes and much more!

I thank you in advance for all your support in my endeavors. Below is the direct link to sign-up for the newsletter. When signing up, you may receive the intro welcoming letter and a confirmation email. It is automatically sent upon sign-up.

Sign-up here: http://eepurl.com/b19Lqz

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?

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/

Reaching For The Stars

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As I have started on my new journey as a blogger, “Reach For The Stars” has become the motto of my life recently. One goal reached, on to the next goal to pursue my ultimate dream of helping those suffering from domestic violence.

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With what many of us have been through, “reaching for the stars” at some point seemed like something that was far out of our grasps. We had been beat down, stomped to the ground and had all our energy drained from us. At times not knowing when our last days would be.

Dreams? Our dreams were shattered, they were destroyed. Shall we dare dream? Shall we dare dream of what we hope to be one day? Where we hope to be one day?  No, we wouldn’t,  no more shattered dreams.

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But then something happened. The survivor in us awoke from deep within. What was once dormant and in hiding had finally had enough. It was time to dream again, it was time to get out and get on with our lives. It was time to get our lives back!

Once we made the great escape, came the healing process, each day setting daily goals, no matter how minute the goal may be. One goal at a time, one step at a time and one day at a time.

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Reach for the stars, and then reach further. Never settle for just enough. Go beyond the boundaries. Break new barriers. Reach more distant stars, explore uncharted territories. Never stop reaching for your stars, keep on dreaming. “If you believe it you will achieve it!”

 

 

Why That Title?

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“A life worth living for? I like the name, but what made you choose it?” This seems to be the number one question I am asked when people find out that I have started blogging and they see the title of my page.

When my friend (who is also my editor) and I first discussed and started planning out writing blogs we were also trying to think of a name. It literally just came to me. When I thought of all I had been through in life A Life Worth Living For just seemed perfect. My life’s worth living for and so is yours! We all have a purpose in this world. We all have something to offer and to give. No one is put on this earth for no reason. No matter what some people may think or say. Everyone is born with a purpose. No matter what we experience in life it is all to make us stronger and better. For instance, I believe my purpose is to touch other people’s lives through the tribulations of my own life. To open the curtain of my world and share with others what I have gone through and how I have grown through them. And what better way to start doing that than by blogging right? The feedback I have received is amazing! Something I have wanted to do for so long but was actually scared. Scared of what others would think. I got the opposite feedback. People have been touched, it has open up the doors to bring awareness to situations that are not just my own but to those who have yet found their voice. It brings awareness to topics that so many people know so little about, Or they only know the stereotypical information about the topics.

Why do I blog? Blogging (writing) is also therapeutic when you think about it, it cleanses the soul. You are able to write whatever you want, all your feelings and emotions can be written down. It is a great way to express yourself. With the added benefit that when you share with others you may have helped someone else too.

So our lives really are worth living for. And I hope that in sharing different parts of my life that you too in turn may find your way and purpose as I continue finding mine.

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

Twitter: @Shauna_Driscoll

Facebook: A Life Worth Living For

You Are Not Your Past

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You are not your past! You are not all those horrible things that you were once called to belittle you and make you feel powerless. At some point you said “Enough is enough!” You dug and dug deep to muster up whatever ounce of strength you had and you got up and left. No matter how long it may have taken you to get there, the point is that you got there!

 

You walked out and never turned back, or maybe you did. Maybe you looked back for a split second out of habit; maybe you looked back out of fear. But you kept on walking, you faced forward again and walked towards the best days of your life. At first it won’t be easy, but each passing day will get easier than the last. It takes time. Remember a lot was taking from you and you have to get it all back; piece by piece.

 

Do not be afraid to speak to someone, whether it is a trusted family member or friend, or even a professional. If you know someone who has been through a similar experience lean on them for support.

 

Your past is not what defines you, what defines you is how you deal and have dealt with it. What was meant to kill you made you stronger. Have you ever seen a palm tree during a major storm? The strong winds bend them, but they don’t necessarily break.

 

Youtube video used for example:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=siHQgN6iFRk

 

You are not your past. You are strong, you are powerful, you are beautiful. You are an amazing person. You are smart, you are unique, you are loved. You are worthy and can do anything and be anything that you want to be.
You are not your past.

 

 

Photo Credit:

“7 Ways to Redefine Yourself.” PfitBlog. 9 Apr. 2014. Web. 9 Dec. 2015. <http://pfitblog.com/2014/04/09/7-ways-to-redefine-yourself/&gt;.

“She Had a Little Rebel in Her…”

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I found this quote by R.M. Drake. It really spoke to me, and I would like to share it with all of you: “She had a little rebel in her. A little chaos and a little gentleness. She didn’t say much and sometimes she would doze off. She would drift away, dream with the stars and that was ok. She had a little fight in her and every time she built enough courage her voice would echo through the sky. She wasn’t complete but she had enough. There was a science to her genius, her madness, her beauty and there was nothing she couldn’t accomplish. She was unstoppable and everything she ever wanted she took, with nothing on but a smile.” ~ R. M. Drake

When I read it; it had me look at my past.

There were times I myself seemed to only have a drop of fight left in me. But somehow mustered enough courage to make it through.

No matter what life has thrown at me, I always managed to catch it bare-handed.

It would seem like life would give me its best shot. Yet, just like a tree in a storm; I may bend but the strength that is deeply rooted within would never allow me to break.

When I wanted to scream; I found a way to laugh.

I somehow knew that I would make it. I knew that at times it would be hard and maybe seem impossible, but I knew I would make it out on top.

I just knew that I could accomplish anything as long as I didn’t give up the fight! If I whole-heartedly believe it, I will achieve it.

I think that is one of the hardest things to remind ourselves: That we will make it! That we are stronger than we think. I believe that is why at times we need certain people in our lives. These people remind us of our strengths when we are at our weakest. They remind us of the beauty that shines from within when we can’t see thru the dark clouds that seem to blur our vision.
So, take life by the horns, ride it into the wind. Do not ever give up knowing that you will succeed. Even when we fail (we know we are not perfect), dust off and try again. Failures are not actually bad. They give us a deeper insight into that particular situation. It is just another branch in our tree of life.

Photo Credit:

“Facebook Logo.” Facebook. Web. 13 Oct. 2015. <http://www.facebook.com/stopdomesticviolence&gt;. 

Dear Survivors

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Dear Survivors;

You made it! You got your strength and found your courage. You found your voice and you got your dignity back. It was a traumatic road; but you managed to re-route your GPS and get back on the right track.

You broke through those prison walls, and escaped that living hell. You can now lift your head up and take a deep breath. You are safe!

As a survivor myself I applaud you! I congratulate you for taking these first steps to freedom. I know there are still some obstacles you have to go through as you continue healing, but believe me you will get stronger each and every day. I congratulate you for re-gaining control of your life! You are on your way to bigger and better things. You no longer have to had in the shadows of fear. Those dark clouds have passed and the sun is shining brighter than ever before. It is a new day, embrace it to it’s fullest!

-Shauna Driscoll

Photo Credit: “I Am a Survivor.” LoveThisPic. Web. 11 Oct. 2015. <http://www.lovethispic.com/image/43136/i-am-a-survivor&gt;.