A sample from Book 1.
we hide our self
walls we built
not being good enough
fear tightens our belt
needing to prove oneself
our woven quilt
in unforgiving guilt
attack our health
keeping away life's wealth
once you've knelt
beneath the buried shelf
takes care of itself
feeling like an elf
will suddenly melt
you'll be happy
(February 2016)—I wrote ‘Basic Need’ in 2010. It was a time of confusion for me. The past, up until this point in 2010, was still robbing me of happiness. I tried, with everything I could, to forgive x for attacking me.
(The first time in 2005 when he slammed me up against the wall in our bedroom with his hand tightly around my throat, literally lifting me off the floor, with his other hand balled up in a fierce fist in that I’m going to punch your face in position, yelling at me so loud that I wanted to just pass out.)
It was just eating me up inside. How could someone whom I trusted with my life, love with all my heart avoid a question I asked him with such violence? How could someone who meant everything to me choke me with such anger and hate, when all he had to do was talk to me, tell me the truth of his heart? If he wanted out, if he didn’t love me anymore, why didn’t he just say so instead of bringing such violence to my life? I prayed so hard back then trying to put forgiveness in my heart that I basically began to slowly sink deep inside of myself, so deep that I pretty much lived in pretend.
You want to move on from something like this. You really do. You want to forgive. You feel, superficially, that you have, but it remains there in the back of your mind. You go over the events over and over even though you force yourself, with everything that’s inside you, to covet.
But you can’t forget. It happened. You saw the expression on his face. You felt the power of his strength in anger. (I continued to feel his hand squeezing tightly around my neck.) You were brought down to your knees with bruises on your skin. That’s really hard to comprehend no matter how much church you attend or how many prayers you say. The event happened to you. To you!
During 2010, I read everything I could get my hands on trying to fix the broken in me by this one particular experience. All the other things that happened and was still happening didn’t matter. This one particular event: Me being assaulted by the man I was in love with carried a heavy burden in my heart. Even after going to Marriage Encounter…going to their meetings afterward. Renewing our vows several times! Nothing helped lift this burden. One of the main reasons is that x refused to discuss it! That, in itself, weighted the burden even more.
So, as I always do, I purchased a few self-help books to help me, or rather give me a few tools to help me get through this battle going on inside. At the time, I couldn’t afford a therapist. The books were my only way! I even bought Joel Osteen’s Become a Better You on tape for x. This book helped me a lot and inspired me to write ‘Basic Need.’Of course, x never listened to it. No one can blame a woman for trying. All my works in 2010 were a direct result of these readings. We let so much get to us without really thinking about why it’s getting to us.
My work, after reading all these self-help books, changed in purpose. Instead of concentrating mainly on family, society, politics, my career in teaching, my writing, my direct inside emotions that were merely surface emotions, these readings made me look deeper inside of me, making me see the root or cause of my insecurities and unhappiness. I started to understand that if we don’t look at ourselves, what makes our I tick, then we just glide through life without any depth. I see this in myself as I read through 2010 and the prior years.
As I discussed with my therapist, I was writing what my mind already knew but my heart was unwilling to accept. She told me the best way to handle re-reading all this work is to look at the woman I was back then with compassion instead of anger or hurt because I’m no longer that person drowning in that particular kind of silence.
Now, in the year 2016, I’m aware of what happened to her. In 2010, as well as the years prior and after up until this point in my life (2016), that woman was in denial because she was in love and struggling to stay afloat. Especially now, the majority of my work is written in the first person.
I can convey a thought or emotion better that way and, of course, the experience of each moment is better expressed from the truly personal side of writing from the I view point. In the particular pieces where I take the I out of the equation, it’s been pointed out to me, I was and I’m still denying my deeper self the luxury of forgiveness, especially during this period of my life in 2010.
I can see now, re-reading it all, that I wanted to be free of the pain that was lurking inside me, and through the self-help books, I began to put myself in the thought of a free self as these books portrayed instead of writing about what was actually going on in the deeper parts of me, the parts I was suppressing. This makes a whole lot of sense now because most of the writings in 2010 were full of happy, that self-motivating kind of spirit. When in the true reality of my world, I was dying inside. This is the coveting before the big explosion. It took a year before that came.
But throughout 2011, I can see how these books I read did give me the tools to look deep inside of self…my self…and how I gained the strength to say how I actually felt; then, of course, the results of that admittance of self which lead to the explosion in 2012.
Being a soft-hearted artist, as most of us artists are, I used to mind when others condemned me or persecuted me because of things I said, did or wrote. I don’t mind anymore. What’s the point in worrying how another person feels about your I and the reality in which you face? It just brings on more strife. But you can address it without feeling guilt. In the past, when I addressed the actions or words of another, I listened to what they had to say then swallowed this guilt that was never my own.
Once you learn that you have your own voice, your own heart, your own mind, your own thoughts, and that your self is important enough and worthy enough to express how you feel, you realize the persecution is not about you at all.
There is a difference between positive criticism and negative. The positive builds you to become better. It hurts at times but if a person is giving positive criticism, they are smart enough and wise enough to explain it all to you, making you see what’s wrong in your life for the better of you. They actually care about your well-being.
My Mass Communication’s professor was very good at this. Sometimes his words made me cry but he made me see how to better myself without cutting me down or tearing me apart and, because of that, I became a better writer.
Negative criticism works the exact opposite. A person criticizing you negatively is only doing it to hurt you. That is selfishness…cold and heartless. It makes you feel worthless, empty, stupid, bad…all the awful things that you shouldn’t feel. When I write, I do my best to address the action.
After abuse, I tend to really call out the action that was offensive to me. I don’t do this as a direct assault on a person. I do this to show the battles I’m in as a survivor of abuse…the struggles we continue to go through even after we’ve made it to the light. I did call out x by name. My reasons are clearly spelled out throughout all my writings. I can’t get around this because, after all, he is x who put me through the most horrible experience of my life. This particular weakness, calling out a person, was a very hard test to learn.
Healing is not easy. Going round and round in circles, I’ve learned is all part of the healing. When you think you are there, healed, you soon discover it’s not over yet. Trust me. My circles are continuing. You just have to take life in stride. Each day. One at a time. If you are weak-minded or wanting only calm then my writing is not really for you. I write, not all the time but a lot of the time, some really negative stuff.
Abuse is not pretty. Some of the emotional turmoils of it is darn-right nasty. That is the victim side of this horrible experience. When someone condemns me for my thoughts concerning the emotions I write when it comes to expression before, during, and after abuse, I have to wonder about their own personal battles.
I’m very open and honest about what I write about. My writings are all over my personal and author pages. So, after reading my work or just my commentaries, anyone, with half a brain, would realize how to treat me if they actually care about my well-being.
Point: Why would someone insult me if they are on my Facebook pages knowing what I’ve been through? Is it a personal test for me? Could be. Is it a personal test for them? Could be. In the past, these types of tests tested my weakness. I didn’t handle them very well. I think I’ve improved a lot since then. I’m not going to falter from writing the experience or explaining the emotion the experience has caused, and still causes,…be it happy, sad, bitter, angry, etc., etc.
I am a writer. A poet. I write about all aspects of abuse: Before, during, and after. Currently the after is important because the mind is pass the surviving mode and into the starting-over part.
There’s a lot of things the former victim has to deal with in this after part. It’s not any easier then being in the surviving part. But when a person comes out of abuse and reaches the light, they are equipped with a stronger back-bone, they have God in their corner, and they are ready to rebuild all that was taken from them.
Words thrown at me since I went public with all my work and thoughts concerning the ups and owns of surviving abuse: Self-centered, arrogant, negative self-absorbed bullshit, asshole, whore, bitch, drama, all into yourself, it’s all about you…etc., etc. I still get them. Why? Is it because I’m bold enough to say it like it is and I’m not bowing down or stuck in that hush, hush mindset. It’s all good. I falter at times but I’ve been rebuilt.
As my therapist proudly says: I’m rediscovering the me that was lost during the silent abuse. That stronger, independent me. I’m not going to shut up. I’m no longer quiet. I keep going back to things my therapist points out because it’s that important.
I can’t tell you enough how therapy helps you sort through the rubble. My therapist, —-, is my strong-hold, the link that helps me continue pushing through. As she put it to me this week (January 2016): No one can fault me for being loud. I broke the silence in the silent abuse that once consumed me. I am now forever loud, and because of this fact, my work will help others, who are suffering from this terrible experience of abuse, find their way out, too.
From my therapist’s point of view: That’s a very good thing. So, bring it. Criticize me. Try to break me. Sorry. You will lose. I live in silence, writing about silent abuse. I am in control here. I can break this silence any time I want. It’s not up to anyone else. This is my world. And my life’s work is to show others who have experienced what I have, that they, too, can break their silence. They, too, can take back the control.
We are not arrogant when we speak out and tell others exactly how we feel. We are not arrogant when we no longer allow others to handle us to benefit themselves with no consequences for their actions.
In my world, it’s this simple: GET OVER YOURSELF! Because, in heart, I’m a really sweet, kind person. When things aren’t right in a relationship of any sorts that gives me nothing in return, I no longer step back and bury my emotions. Sorry, won’t happen. I am WOMAN! I WILL ROAR LOUD!
That’s just the way my life’s journey is going. I hope I inspire other women to feel the same. Never let words or actions go by if they offend you in any way. Speak up. Say what you mean. Say your heart. Bottom line: If others don’t like it, then it’s not you, it’s them. Love the skin you’re in.
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Additional Readings On Improving Self and Going After That Dream
(Each page has loads of additional books (in every format), videos, instruction materials, and inspiration gift ideas.):
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle
A Woman of Substance by Barbara Taylor-Bradford
Become a Better You: 7 Keys to Improving Your Life Every Day by Joel Osteen
Beloved by Toni Morrison
Fearless by Max Lucado
Fifty Shades of Grey by E. J. James
How Not to Be Afraid of Your Own Life by Susan Piver
How Successful People Win by Ben Stein
How To See Yourself As You Really Are by The Dalai Lama
Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg
Love is Letting Go of Fear by Gerald G. Jampolsky, M.D.
Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea by Gary Kinder
Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work by Matthew B. Crawford
The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferriss
The Third Wave: An Entrepreneur’s Vision of the Future by Steve Case
Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson, M. D.