When I saw today’s writing prompt from NaBloPoMo, my initial response to the question of whether I write only for myself or to connect with others was that I do it for the next woman. I couldn’t sit down to actually start writing until just now so I had some time to really think about that thing. I came to the conclusion that I do what I do for the two of us. It’s for her and for me.
Writing to Release
When I started this thing, it was because I wanted to share things about my son, who is the joy and light of my life. Not long into the journey, I found that I needed to release some of the tension I was feeling but was too ashamed to discuss face-to-face with friends and family. I never tried to hide my blog but I certainly never posted any direct link to it. I figured if anyone in my family or friends circle stumbled upon it, it was meant to be. The first time I semi-shared it was because a friend from Denver had shared some things with me about her recent divorce and the fact that she was involved in an open mic setting. I decided to write a post about some of the pain I was experiencing in my marriage, but I didn’t go too far in depth. I was too embarrassed. Well, someone saw it. Not only did this chick see it, she commented on it.
The first sentence in her response was, “I can sense your pain.” That pissed me off. Because I had spent so much time covering up the chaos I was going through and had not given anyone the chance to speak into my situation, I had always just assumed that my main emotion was anger. That woman was speaking the truth. The pain was blaring. I spent the next few days going back and forth with her (never in an argumentive tone) about how I wasn’t in pain and how I was all about giving back as good as I got. That was true. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, he never got by on me in the beginning. I was always up for the fight. The bigger truth, however, was that I was so deeply engulfed in denial that I stopped writing for a while. I wasn’t about to let anyone find out what was going on. Nope. When I did decide to start up again, I was very vague about what I was going through because I was so set on playing the tough girl.
Fast forward to late 2012. I was driving back to Dallas with my son after our Thanksgiving trip to Mama’s. He usually falls asleep within an hour of the 4-hour trip but that time, he just would not go to sleep! I had been on the verge of tears from the time I pulled out of my mama’s yard because I knew what I was facing when I made it back to that house. I knew that I had to start the negotiation process in the divorce. I knew that I had to decide where I was going to live. I knew that I had to face the fact that I had not been in corporate America in years so the thought of picking up my paralegal career was going to be daunting to say the least. I was scared. I was terrified. I was worried.
Out of the Mouth of Babes…
As it turns out, the ride turned into a 6-hour drive because of an accident that happened ahead of us. I had not said a lot to Will because I really wanted him to go to sleep so I could cry, but he kept making small talk. Finally, he looked over at me when I came to a standstill and said, “Mama, we’re gonna be okay.” I said, “I know.” He said, “God has always taken care of us. He always will.” I just nodded. Within 30 seconds of that last sentence, he fell into an incredibly deep sleep and I don’t think anything could have made me happier. I started to weep. I mean, I was weeping and I said, out loud, “God, why are You letting this happen??” Just as plainly as I hear the sound from my TV right now, I heard Him say, “I’ve never left you, and I never will.” I actually looked in my rearview mirror because I thought someone was back there. I started to name off all the things that were wrong and I was on a roll, when again, I heard Him tell me that He had never left me and He never would.
When I made it back home, I posted about that encounter on Facebook because, by that time, the large majority of people knew that I was getting divorced and so many of them were worried about me. I posted that I would not allow that thing to take me down because I’m not the victim type of woman. My inbox lit up like a Christmas tree. Women that I had only known on Facebook because of the games wrote to me and said that they felt like they were all alone in their own marital problems. That night, I got 15 inbox messages, with 10 of them being from women that I either didn’t know at all or who were friends of friends. I vowed then to become transparent and to allow myself to be a bridge for other women who were struggling with abuse and divorce. To this minute, I have never regretted that decision.
Just the Two of Us
When I write, it’s for me and her. It’s for you and me. It doesn’t matter that I don’t know you. What matters is that I know what you’re going through. What matters is that you understand that staying is not your only option. What matters is that you understand that there is indeed life after abuse. My story may not be identical to yours, but it’s meant to help. It’s meant to start you on the road to recovery and renewal. As for me, any help and insight that I can provide is validation that my test served a purpose.