Never in my life did I envision what Forget Me Not would become. This morning I sit here, reflecting on the past and contemplating the future, which is – I know – against everything I teach and subscribe to. However, in some instances, I believe it is ok to look back and be mesmerized by how far you have come. I reflect back with positivity and look forward with hope and renewed strength. I sit in this moment and can write to you because this is where I am supposed to be; this is where my life has led me.
Four years ago I started writing Forget Me Not as an open journal. As I told my story, and shared why I believed things to be as they were, I hoped that it could help others know that they were not alone. It didn’t take long, however, before reliving all my hurts was more detrimental than useful. I found myself crying uncontrollably in front of my keyboard, struggling to come to terms with anger and resentment, and wondering why my life was so screwed up. I felt alone in my quest for peace, even though I wanted others to know they were not. I felt lost and depressed, and could not envision a life different than what I was experiencing. So, I quit writing.
My focus became a complicated mission of simply trying to work on myself. I’ve documented much of that journey through this blog and consider myself in a constant state of progress. Over time, and with much work, things did get better. And then, this past December, I found myself sitting in front of a campfire in complete silence. My heart and mind were both in a very good place. Next to me sat my love, a man I am now blessed to share my life with. We both sat in silence, meditating in the darkness. I would periodically open my eyes to watch the flicker of the flame, never once having to look to him. His presence was strongly beside me and I was at complete peace. As I allowed my mind to quiet, my thoughts began to wander. I was surrounded by beauty, the calmness of the night was pristine, and I was encased in absolute comfort. Then, out of nowhere, I heard a voice tell me that I needed to self publish.
My eyes popped open with the thought as I was a caught slightly off guard. Self publish? Self publish what? A dialog started to take place in my mind. I had not written anything in years. But I knew the answer almost before I asked the question. It was time to share my story. And now, only now, could I share my journey to healing as well.
This entire revelation came to me in a place that made no sense logically. There was no talk of my marriage, my past life, or my writing. What was there that night was the realization of growth and joy. This was a place I never imagined I would ever be. This is exactly what I had wanted my whole life. This is what life is supposed to be. And now, it was time to help others reach that place.
With that, I started writing. I wrote my story, which will hopefully soon be a published memoir. I started blogging again and I started talking. I talked, and talk, to anyone who will listen. I speak at events, to small groups, in private settings, and through my writing. It is now my mission to break the silence on domestic violence and the long term effects it has on so many.
As I share my story, others begin to open and share with me. They share their pain, their struggles, their stories, and their healing. They cheer me on and reach out for support. I spoke out about domestic violence in a marital setting and learned of child abuse, child sexual assault, and rape. My goal was to educate and support, and I am being educated and supported. And as more and more individuals share their story, a light is shone on this monster that hides in the shadows of society.
In private settings, I have found that more and more individuals feel comfortable sharing and opening up, about their own experience, when they learn my story. I’ve have several people I know talk freely about their abuse who have never mentioned it before. And those who overhear the conversations then come forward with questions, which leads to both healing and understanding. It is both sad and beautiful.
I know in my heart that this is the beginning of a very good thing. My personal healing has grown a hundredfold as I find meaning in what I endured. I want to thank each and every one of you who have reached out, shared, and supported this cause, both victims and non-victims alike. Thank you for your willingness to look at abuse head on, confront it, and shine your light on it. Thank you for choosing not to ignore this difficult subject. Keep breaking the silence and the silence will be no more. Without it, abuse will be starved out and humanity just might prove itself kinder and gentler.