October is almost here. Crisp air, fall leaves, apples, and cider…well, if you don’t live in South Florida that is. But one can dream, right? October ushers in more than fall, however. It is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a time to stop for a moment and reflect on how Domestic Violence affects us all; individually, in our families, and in our communities.
Until I started blogging about my own experience with domestic violence, back in 2012, I had no idea that this month even existed. I’m sure I am not alone. And it wasn’t until I had found my way to healing that I was even interested in taking part in bringing awareness to domestic violence. Afterall, talking about my experience was not something I cared to do. Why focus on the negative? I learned the hard way, through trying to blog before I was ready, that sharing was not so easy. Why go out of my way to remember all that was wrong with my life?
October was my favorite month, and still is. It is my birthday month! It reminds me of when I was a kid, celebrating with bonfires and hayrides. It is beautiful all around. Why ruin it by focusing on the least favorite time of my life, a time that destroyed me; a time that led me down a path I thought I could never recover from?
But something changed; I found me again. I found hope, happiness, love, and peace. And as I found my way back to me, there was a small voice inside that pushed me to do more. It was a very specific occurrence at a time when I was at absolute peace. It was then that my inner voice prompted me to start writing. I had no idea why or how it was going to happen, but I followed my heart and I started typing one word at a time.
My story flowed in a way I didn’t think possible. Excruciating details poured from the recesses of my mind through my fingers and onto the screen. And with each paragraph, I felt more at peace. It was the final step to taking full ownership of my life. This was my story. It wasn’t his story to be protected, it didn’t belong to someone else to scrutinize; it was mine. I knew that if I could share my story and integrate what I had learned along the way, there was a chance I could help others. I could help those who were still struggling to escape, those who were trying to heal, and those who didn’t understand the inner workings of intimate partner violence. What I didn’t expect was how it would affect me.
It was not all easy. Although the words, at first, were therapeutic, it did not stay that way. In sharing a story in book form, you cannot just write it and walk away. There are hours of rereading, reformatting the story so it makes sense, editing, and in turn, reliving. The reliving part took its toll. Old triggers raised their ugly head, anxiety came to call, and nightmares coursed through the little sleep I was getting. On the flip-side, as I dissected my life and faced my demons yet again, I was finding more and more of who I was meant to be. The writing led to additional healing, a stronger sense of me, and helped me get more in tune with sharing my story without triggering.
And, slowly, my life began to change. I was not only taking back ownership of my story by writing, I was taking back ownership of my life. forget me not – learning to live with me and for me led to Forget Me Not Advocacy Group, a nonprofit focused on stopping domestic violence before it starts, through education and community awareness, while supporting those who are healing from abuse.
Domestic Violence awareness became my purpose and it was ok that October focused on it. What better month to celebrate healing and life than my favorite month of the year.
This October, I will be celebrating! Forget Me Not Advocacy Group is spreading awareness and I am sharing my story in full. In celebration of my 40th birthday month, my memoir of surviving and healing from domestic violence will be released. I hope that you will all celebrate with me by sharing your story, finding your way to healing, and helping those around you that are not as fortunate.
Remember, life can be beautiful if you allow it.
forget me not – learning to live with me and for me will be available October 8, 2016. For more information and links, please visit www.forgetmenotgroup.org/authorpage.
Join us for the Virtual Book Release Party on October 8th from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm EST.
**A portion of all the proceeds will go to supporting Forget Me Not Advocacy Group.**