Today I am sad. Today I am frustrated. Today I feel the weight of that which I don’t understand and I struggle with my own self-doubt. I do not like being in this place, and yet I find myself here again. My own words to support others seem to mock me from the back of my mind. I feel myself confused by my emotions and my thoughts. I find myself questioning my own sanity and struggling to hold onto the positive focus I preach about. I am human after, am I not? Is it ok to slide into a tumultuous thought process and try to sort it out from a perspective I still question.
Why do I fear the unknown so much? Why is it ok for others to follow their dreams, but irresponsible of me to do so? Why do people not care? This is the question I struggle with the most. I want to scream it from the rooftop and I fear that even by sharing my frustrations here, I am calling out those who are the closest to me. But this is where I am.
I promised to share my feelings, no matter what they are, in an effort to support those who are healing. I promised to be honest in the ups and downs of where I am as a survivor. I share my story so that others can know what it feels like to be a survivor of domestic violence. It is an effort to help those who are trying to make their way through the process of rediscovering their life after abuse, as well as a process to educate “outsiders” on what it is like to be that person.
What I find is that people do not want to hear about it. The people that we need to support us are the very ones who do not want to deal with the realities that are a part of this world. I see a society that will throw money at cancer research to the tune of billions a year, that will create a media uproar when a city bans panhandling, will spend hours arguing over politics and religion, and will look the other way when their neighbor is beaten by her husband. I see thousands of likes and shares on Facebook for sites encouraging the exploitation of women, and then I see those who ask that we not post pictures of victims of domestic violence. What makes one cause more important than another. Are we, those who suffered at the hands of those we loved the most, less important? Do you blame us or do you just not care?
On a personal level, I receive advice from those who refuse to read my story. Those who do not know where I’m coming from or why this cause is so important to me. They want to tell me why my outreach won’t work, why I need to be patient, why I should be happy I have a job I don’t belong in, and why I need to understand how uncomfortable people are with the topic of domestic violence. And, if they do not say as much in words, they do so in actions. When I speak my truth, there are few who want to listen, to show up, or to support. A simple like on a Facebook page, a moment to understand why I do what I do, a familiar face at a speaking engagement, telling others about an event I’m holding…all such powerful shows of support. Yet, this type of support is crazily few and far between.
This is my story. This is my truth. This has molded me into who I am and I am not alone. So many are affected by domestic violence and it is time that society stand up and listen. There are more women whose lives are derailed due to domestic violence than breast cancer. There are over 15 million children a year exposed to horrific experiences in the home. The reach is wide. Look around you, 1 in 3 of the women you know are harboring secrets and silently crying for help. You will not know how to help them if you refuse to acknowledge the problem. And, by hiding behind your fear, or lack of empathy, you are not supporting those who need you the most.
There are those who have supported me, backed me, and encouraged me. For them, I am grateful. But this week, I have felt the sting of crying out to an empty room. The loud whisper of those surrounding me saying that my cause does not matter…that it is unimportant. And, with that, I’ve questioned my own realities and was washed back to when I questioned my marriage.
I begin to wonder if it is me who is seeing the world backward, or if I’m just aware because I have lived something that is not fun to think about. I find myself questioning if how I feel is part of who I am or if it is due to the self-doubt brought on by my past. I want to be strong, and I want to carry on, but I struggle with the lack of understanding I seem to be surrounded by. I’m right back on my balcony, looking at the world below and questioning my perception of all that is. At that time, I was trapped by my marriage. Now, I feel that there is something wonderful that I can’t grasp because I am trapped by fear and societal pressure to be that which I am not. And, the coldness I feel radiating back at me is growing that insecurity.
Then I question again why I crave the support. Again, this is my story. This is my passion. Support or not, it is mine to take and run with. And that is what I will do.