Broken

I’m broken. 

Tattered with uneven scars, unhealed wounds, untold stories, impartial agony, and un-reciprocated love.

I’m broken.

Unable to speak the hurtful words that defined me for so long; unable to unravel the tangled web that has become my life’s work. 

I am broken. 

Breathing in the toxicity purged into my soul, bound underneath the weight of my damaged spirit, it seeps through my cracks, though out my being, and into my world. 

I am broken. 

Pleading with myself to find solace as I drown in the despair that covers me. And unlike any experience in my life, grief has adhered to me like permanent paint waiting to dry.

I’m broken

Beyond repair, beyond reprieve; destined to sink in the quicksand named sorrow.  To wallow in the sea of depression, drowning under its current

I am broken. 

Denying myself complete healing, awaiting an apology that will never come, seeking something, searching constantly. So I ask, Lord, where do I go from here?

I am broken

Still, I pray each night to wake up to a new day where I am whole again; without the pain that plagues me. Understanding there are eyes on me; God’s hands are on me, my circles belief is in me.  Never will I give up just because…

I’m broken

By: Valerie Furr-Collins

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My Happiness on Happiness Happens Day 2020

My favorite picture of my two children!

In today’s world, every occasion is celebrated. On August 8, 2020, among other observances, is Happiness Happens Day. I chose to celebrate what made me the happiest I’ve ever been, my children.

I remember the excitement of becoming a first time mom and a second time mom. Those two days were the happiest of my life. So, it’s only fitting to talk about my children today. Growing up, I wanted a huge family like the one I grew up in. As a child, I knew one thing to be true, I wanted to be a mom, just like mine. God blessed me with two amazing children. Throughout our difficult marriage, one girl and one boy were my greatest gifts.

I loved every minute of raising my kids except for the any time we had to be apart. Therefore, when they grew up, it took me some time to get use to being the mother of adult children. I went through all the emotions you go through during grief because you do lose your babies but you gain children who become so much more like your friend and confidant. Once you realize the gain is greater than the loss, you’ll be OK. I’m still getting to that point, but watching them fly and make their own way in this world is gratifying within itself.

I can’t imagine my life without them. Just when you think you can’t love someone more, each day you do. I can only hope my babies can feel my love and my presence in their lives even though I’m coaching from the sidelines or just looking on as they grow and become self sufficient. I’m so proud of both of them.

I used to think they had to grow up to meet my expectations and be what I wanted them to be in life. We all desire the best for our children and carry a carbon copy of what that means in our minds. But the best they can become is what they make of themselves. As parents, we have to trust that we raised them right and given them the tools they need to succeed on their own. See, I’m learning that letting them only changes your role from holding their hand and guiding their feet, to stepping back and watching them shine.

My daughter and son in law blessed me with my granddaughter. I’m here to tell you that when your first grandchild comes into your life, any type of love you ever felt, does not compare. It’s different than the love of your child, but yet you love them both the same. I hope that makes sense. These people are the most important in my world along with my sweet Momma, but I’d rather they be safe.

So, to my two shining stars Brittney and Trey, I love you with all that I am. I trust you to make your lives great! My journey for you is not your journey for yourself. I get that now. Do not be afraid to use your wings; they work. Just know if you fall along the way, get hurt, need to rest, or just want momma, I’m here. Always and forever. You both are my happiness. Be great this Happiness Happens Day and every day my loves. There’s nothing you can not do!

I love you to infinity, Mom!

Share your happiness with me.

#vfurrmstheblogger #newheights #mypoeticlife #mypoeticlifethebook #valeriefurr-collins #valeriecollins #valeriemariecollins #pandemic #pandemicinspiration #HappinessHappensDay #InfinityDay

Stop Killing Us

We’ve spoken out, stood up, found our voices, and led with our cry. Can you hear us?

Stop killing us, Protest 2020, George Floyd, Aumaud Arbery, Rayshard Brooks, Breonna Taylor, Blackout Coalition 2020, stop systemic racism, police the police, Black Lives Matter, say their names, police brutality,

I! CAN’T! BREATH!

According to http://newsone.com, between 2012 and 2020, 83 unarmed black men and boys have been kill by police, fourteen of them just this year alone. That number doesn’t include black women/girls who have died in custody such as Sandra Bland or murdered in their home like Breonna Taylor.

As a black woman in America, I feel enraged, outraged, disheartened, overwhelmed, and discouraged all at the same time. Yet, a small part of me is hopeful. Hopeful that the majority of the world holding up signs in protest across the globe will become the change we all want to see. Hopeful that laws will go into affect in this nation holding those accountable when someone dies while in police custody.

This situation puts all the police officers following the laws in danger due to the unjust work of a few who have no regard for human life; for black lives. The knee lynching of George Floyd on social media incited a generation of freedom fighters; young people who have grown up under an unjust system that has allowed black lives to not matter for far too long. Mr. Floyd’s murder is just one in a vast number of deaths at the hands of police this generation has witnessed due to social media.

We, meaning my generation-70s babies, heard the stories of old where we as black people were enslaved and mistreated. We grew up in a world where racism and hatred were alongside a broken justice system and inequality. We saw it on TV and in real life, at school, the super market, or in the street. We just didn’t have a name for it back then but now we label it as white privilege. If anyone says white privilege does not exist, they need to have a reality check. But there’s celebrity privilege as well. I saw a piece of a video where Morgan Freeman blindly suggested that if we stop bringing racism up, it won’t exist. How more ignorant can this be? That’s like saying, if you ignore the savage, hungry dog running toward you, you won’t get bit.

All murders by the hands of police are wrong and most have gone unpunished. On May 28, 2020, the world watched this murderer, with his hands in his pockets, apply pressure with his knee, to Mr. Floyd’s neck as he pleaded for his life, begged for his late mother, and cried out, “I can’t breath” eleven times for eight minutes and forty six seconds. We watched as three other “protect and serve” officers did absolutely nothing as onlookers pleaded for them to help. Imagine slowly suffocating to death for eight minutes and forty six seconds.

Why did this happen? Because he could. They have seen others time and time again get away with murder so much so that this man made a conscious choice to take Mr. Floyd’s life with no conscience, no heart, and no emotion, except for hate. As a lead officer on detail with rookies, his point was to show them how ‘it’s done’. Now, I sincerely hope that cop pays for his murder spending life sitting behind bars. The the other cops involved need to pay as well.

Yes, I’m angry. I’m outraged! Imagine if the men in your community; your fellow fathers, sons, brothers, uncles, cousins, and friends were murdered by those sworn to protect and serve with no consequence. Now imagine you are me, the mother of a twenty two year old young black man who is at the age where he thinks he is invincible. You’ll never understand my fear every time he walks out the door. I often think of every young man in my family and my heart drops. All I can do is keep them lifted in prayer. My sons friends are white boys. I told him he is still a target regardless of the color of his circle. Don’t ever forget it!

Put your hands on the steering wheel, fingers straight out at 12 o’clock. Don’t make any sudden moves. Answer yes sir, ma’am. Have your insurance, license, and registration in plain view. Don’t reach for anything. Have your phone recording. Don’t show signs of aggression. Know your rights but do not get upset. Follow instructions. Make it home…etc.

If you think we should not have to die in police custody regardless of our past, a record, or the color of our skin, we are asking that YOU, regardless of race, stand in solidarity with the black community until they stop killing us, our children can grow up with their fathers, brothers, etc., our young men and women live to pursue their dreams, the justice system gets the reform that’s long overdue, generational racism is cut off, systemic racism ends, black people receive the same opportunities as everyone else, we are able to build up our communities, justice is served as bad cops go to jail, and the lists goes on.

If you want to join the fight or want to help in a wonderful way please join the Facebook group the Blackout Coalition @www.facebook.com/groups/blackout/movement or follow @theblackoutcoaition on IG and its’ creator on IG @thecalvinmartyr

My heart is heavy.

Valerie Furr-Collins

vfurrmstheblogger

#revolution #georgefloyd #vfurrmstheblogger #protest2020 #breonnataylor #tamirrice #trayvonmartin #policebrutality #solidarity #blackcommunity #mypoeticlifebook #mypoeticlife #theblackoutcoalition #calvinmartyr

Pandemic 2020: You Good?

I’ve experienced a variety of emotions since this pandemic began. Perhaps some of you can relate. My first feeling I remember the second week of March, was fear. Then anxiety. Two of my nieces were very sick and one eventually lost her baby due to running a high fever for a few days. She was never tested for COVID-19. In fact, our state had just set up a makeshift testing site.

As the days went by, my medical experience kicked in and I knew the only way to keep my 76 year old mother and my chronically ill brother safe was to sanitize every room in the house and pay attention to CDC regulations and information. Every morning I had them hold their breath for 10 seconds and took temperatures.  Then I cleaned door knobs, walls, the fridge, stove, an every delivery that came to the house before it entered, including groceries.

We began self quarantining on March 13, 2020. A little over two months later, I have found myself slacking on sanitizing and almost forgetting we are in a pandemic. We have not been out the house except to accept groceries and walk the dogs. It’s been an emotional rollercoaster from deep depression to mild depression to happiness over being grateful to still be healthy with so many losing their lives around us.

As a former nurse, I feel so bad to not be on the front line. I loved my job and it hurts to not be out their with my comrades. But I understand that with lung disease and Fibromyalgia, I’m high risk and would possibly bring the virus home to my family. So I did the next best thing. I began crocheting mask backed with the American flag to signify we will get through this together. I’m giving them away to essential workers or basically anybody who asks for one.

I don’t see the point in making people pay for something that could possibly save lives. I have made and given away masks to my neighbors, former classmates, and family so far. If I had to give a number, even though I’ve lost count at how many I’ve made, it would probably be close to 25 or 30. Each mask takes about an hour or so to make because I hand sewing the material onto the crocheted mask. They even pass the lighter test so I know they provide proper protection.

One important thing I make sure to do daily is check in on those close to me whom I cannot see in person. I just say hello and let them know I’m thinking about them. My big sister bought our mom an Echo Show 8 for Mother’s Day so now we can see her and her family anytime by using the Alexa device. I met my new great nephew for the first time and got to lay eyes on my niece, nephew and other great nephew!! The boys are too cute. I think I’ll buy one for my other out of state sister for Christmas.

As our state, Alabama, is opening back up, prematurely in my opinion, as the number of cases continue to rise, please pray for us. I appreciate those who text, call, or message just to see how we’re doing. So just in case no one has asked you lately, Are you good?  How are you doing during this pandemic? Do you need anything?? And last but not least, know that I am praying not only for you and our nation, but for our world. Thanks for reading and by all means, stay safe.

Love, vfurrmstheblogger

#valeriemariecollins #mypoeticlifethebook #mypoeticlife #bizcatalyst360 #vfurrmstheblogger #pandemic2020 #yougood?

COVID-19 and Me

Like a lot of people, this feels like a movie. It doesn’t seem real. But I must admit upon the outbreak of COVID-19 in the US, I became terrified at the thought of a pandemic. If you follow my blog, you know I have had my share of medical problems. I was and I still am afraid that I’m high risk being immunosuppressed due to lung issues, having Fibromyalgia, chronic sinusitis, asthma, diabetes, and etc. But my biggest fear is not for myself, but for my mom and brother.

My mother is 75 years young. She is hypertensive, diabetic, has heart disease and other medical issues that makes her extremely high risk. Yet still she is our beaken of light. She was scheduled for knee surgery but my family discussed it and deemed it best to cancel all appointments for now until the threat passes. She is in a lot of pain but agrees that she does not want to risk going out.

My brother is 49. He has chronic hypertension, diabetes, end stage renal failure, congestive heart failure, and has had six strokes and two heart attacks within the last seven years. His job here on Earth is just not done. He is a left below the knee amputee as well, has an esophageal tear, chronic acid reflux, and a history of MRSA. A contamination of COVID-19 would prove fatal. His body is tired, he is tired, but he has a strong will to live and unbelievable faith. He goes out to dialysis three times a week for three to four hours each day. He is at risk for getting the virus himself and bringing it home. But they take precautions and God is good!

As if those issues aren’t enough to have you dizzy, my seven year old twin niece and nephew came to spend spring break with me. Zy spiked a fever and was diagnosed by phone with the flu. Her brother too. Then my other niece living with me, whose expecting, began having worse flu-like symptoms. She was diagnosed by phone with the flu but doesn’t seem to be getting better like the twins. I also have another niece whose been in the hospital for three months with a “mysterious” illness that doctors couldn’t and still can’t figure out or contain. She is in her early twenties and is in organ failure.

Some people are saying that our faith is being tested. If so, I hope the test is over soon. As a family we remain steadfast in knowing that God is real and in control. We know that the best thing we can do right now is follow doctor’s orders. We have been self quarantining since March 16th and practicing social distancing. But more than that, we remain faithful that there is a higher power at work here that will get us all through this.

Everyone around us has been so kind, encouraging, and giving. We are a family of nine right now, twelve counting the doggies. Because we were blessed during this time, I can be a blessing to someone else and pay it forward. See how God works? Why am I sharing this? Because in these scary and uncertain times, people can become crazy, selfish, and step out of character in the name of self preservation.

But there are more people who have huge hearts, lend a helping hand, pray for one another, and really look out for others. Like with any situation, we must look for the good in everything to get through this. Share the positive stories along with updates and facts. Be the light shining through the darkness.

We have to remember to pray for our first responders, doctors, nurses, phlebotomist, lab techs, surgeons, patient care assistants, our neighbors, the elderly, and pets. This is a chance to bring families back together and come together as a nation. Hopefully we all will learn to just stop for a minute and realize that with some humanity, decency, and love, together, we can get through anything.

Stay safe and healthy,

Val

#vfurrmstheblogger #valeriemariecollins #valeriefurrcollins #valeriecollins #COVID-19 #COVID-19andme

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: The Aftermath of Abuse

Growing up I never heard of PTSD nor did I ever correlate your past affecting your life in the future. I was in high school before I realized something was really wrong with the family structure I grew up in. I knew my dad was strict because I had been teased by other kids about it. But I think as my fear of him grew, so did my awareness that this was not normal.

I was the youngest of six children. My mom and all of us were abused at the hands of my dad, physically and mentally. It started with whippings, to beatings, to being lectured for hours, kept hidden in the house, getting hit and beat for things we were made to say we did, but did not. It was constant turmoil riddled with fights and arguments as my mom tried to fight back or fight on our behalf. My parents would go weeks ignoring each other after a fight. They divorced, and separated twice but eventually remarried.

Aside from the sheer terror I felt every time my father entered the same room, or called my name, the worse part was his belief that all women were whores. He told us if we were let out into the world we would do nothing but sleep around. He talked against my mother so much that my other sisters began disliking her. They still struggle with a relationship today. He tried to make us four girls believe that basically we were worthless. I believe he loved us, but his upbringing made him hate women at a very early age.

I think he had PTSD over his mother dying when he was thirteen years old and felt she left him. He saw his sisters have children by different men and instead of understanding why they chose to move on he looked at them at whores. Perhaps girlfriends cheated on him. I don’t know. I just know he took it out on us girls. We cooked, cleaned, washed clothes, ironed, and did school work. After highschool there was no life but to care for the family

I graduated highschool at seventeen; a little early because I skipped the 5th grade, against my father’s advice. But he moved us from Arizona to Alabama when I was 10 1/2 so I went straight into the sixth grade. At the time of my graduation from highschool my oldest sister was 24 years old, had never gone to college or worked. Most kids I went to school with didn’t even know she and my sister under her existed. They were not allowed to leave the house.

The summer I graduated, I guess my dad knew I was gonna be trouble so he made it his mission to let me know in no uncertain terms were things going to be different for me. He made our home into a prison. We lived in a double wide trailer. He nailed shades to every window and pad locked the doors from the outside. When he had to work, we were locked in the house, literally unable to leave. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I thought if I left, things would be worse on my mom and I didn’t want that. But I sure daydreamed about it.

My father had neck surgery in November 1992. Two days post op, he suffered anoxic brain damage. He choked after being given an extra dosage of morphine that the doctor discontinued earlier that day because it caused him to hallucinate. The tired nurse on duty was asleep and he went 12-14 minutes without oxygen to his brain. She had been working over her 16th straight hour.

My father was the strong figure, the backbone, of our family. He was a brilliant man, a poet, musician, singer, and scholar. But as a nurse, I believe he had an undiagnosed underlining mental illness that caused him to behave abnormal. After he fell ill, he lived 16 1/2 years in a vegetative state unable to speak, move, or do anything. Suddenly, he was unable to evoke that trembling fear that abusers bring their victims anymore, but the damage was done. I’m not sure he even knew what he was doing was wrong until it was too late.

Through it all I learned how to be submissive to a fault, I learned durability-to stick it out. I learned how be be afraid, how to be gullible, and how to look for a leader instead of being one. None of these things were good. As a result, I stayed in a nine year abusive marriage, have had phobias that include agoraphobia where as an adult, I was afraid to leave my own home. I suffered from social phobia where a group of MY own friends would freak me out if they surrounded me. It took me years to realize I could open a blind or a window or could sit in my own home with the door unlocked. Unfortunately my children learned these behaviors and suffer from them now.

Today, I am finally coming to grips with my fears and learning how to get off from under the weight of my PTSD. I want to show my kids that if I can do it so can they. I began performing plays on stage for hundreds of people last year and have conquered social phobia. I still have a time with agoraphobia but once I force myself out at those times I overcome it one bout at a time. I took curtains completely down in my kitchen facing my back yard. It took everything in me to not cover those windows back up. There’s are deep rooted fears and anxieties I face, but am trying to conquer. I’m getting there. One day at a time, one fear at a time.

By the way, the day my father fell ill, and I saw him lying there unresponsive, I forgave him. I prayed for his recovery daily. I became a nurse to prevent what happened to him from happening to anyone else. I learned he may have been paranoid schizophrenic and/or bipolar. I hold on to the fact that I know in his own way, he loved us and for that I am grateful. I wish he had waken up from his coma to meet his grandkids and see that all women, especially my mom, my sisters, and myself, are Queens.

Correction on Failure to Launch

Recently I wrote an article entitled, “Failure to Launch” concerning my children and their ability to live lives independent of me. It’s not easy looking at life through the eyes of mortality, but we all will leave this world one day. As parents, it’s our job to assure that our children grow up to be successful, productive members of society.

Sometimes we worry about one child more for whatever reason. For me, that’s my son. But, I’m thrilled to report that things have changed for the better. He has had a job he likes for the past (almost) three months. He spends more time out with friends and he has began making grown man moves such as buying a car. I will never rush his independence because Lord knows I worry less with him here at home.

Still I was concerned that he would never come to me saying he’s ready to move out on his own. But I can see that now in his near future. And even though it scares me, I’m so proud of the progress both he and his sister have made. My daughter not only seeks to be an esthetician, but has enrolled in the Psychology program at the University of Alabama. She has become a naturalist, and is studying astrology as she begins her own business making bracelets from crystals.

So as you can see, prayer works. God is real. He is listening. Both have made me one proud mother and I couldn’t be happier for them. I only want my children to succeed in life, overcome obstacles, and most of all believe in themselves and their ability to do whatever is on their hearts to do.

What I thought were setbacks, were actually stumbling blocks that they both got through on their own. All I strive for now is to live a good life, full of life, not dwelling on the end of it but celebrating the here and now and all it has to offer. Perspective is a powerful thing. Changing the why’s and how’s of the way you think and live can give you so much clarity and freedom! Today I celebrated my adult children Brittney Danyelle (Collins) Essex and James (Trey) Collins III! Momma loves y’all so much! 😘♥️

Struggling

Oh Wow! I had no idea it was going on two weeks since my last post. I have been wiped out since performing in the last play on Feb. 22nd. That’s the thing about Fibromyalgia that is the worst. Even if you get to do what you love, you end up paying for it as you witness your body betray you. I’m not complaining, but simply stating the facts. Those who thankfully don’t suffer from this, don’t understand that.

Right now, I’m exhausted. So much has been happening in my life that triggers stress, which triggers pain, which triggers fatigue. There’s no way around it. Fibromyalgia is difficult because nothing really makes it better for me. With the Opioid crisis in America, no doctors really want to hand out pain medicine for prolonged periods of time. And if you are anything like me, as a patient, you don’t want to take opioids for a long time.

With so much stress, it’s difficult to sleep. Even if I sleep, I’m not getting restorative sleep. I need to find something non-habitforming that will allow me to sleep soundly enough so my body and mind can reset themselves for the next day. I was told by one of my doctor’s that not getting restorative sleep causes you to lose memories because your brain is constantly trying to play catch-up. This is why on a Thursday evening, you may find yourself thinking it’s Tuesday. You are literally losing whole days of memory.

I take Ibuprofen 800mg for pain twice a day. I’ve weaned myself from the morphine sulfate my pain specialist had me on. I think without something to decrease inflammation, the morphine can’t possibly stop the pain. So I’ll have to wait until I can make my appointments regularly, (have transportation), before I can get back to finding something that works with him.

Sometimes I wake up from dreams in the mornings and don’t remember them until later that night when they come to me in flashes like tonight. This is from not getting enough sleep. So tonight, I’m putting down the phone, laptop, and tuning out Facebook and Instagram to get some much deserved rest. I haven’t quite figured out how to overcome insomnia, but with this rain falling right now, the cool air from my fan, and the quietness in my house, hopefully, it will evade me tonight. I know one thing, I’m tired and my tired is tired.

I have a lot to do tomorrow and many to take care of, so good night all, sleep tight, and if you believe in the power of prayer, whisper one for me.

#vfurrmstheblogger #struggling #powerofprayer #insomnia #restorativesleep #fibromyalgia

Stop the Noise: The Fight Against Bullying

I am blessed to be a cast member in the play “Stop the Noise”, by Shawna D. Moore. The play is about a school administrator trying hard to get a hold of bullying in her district so no child dies to suicide on her watch. Before I go on, I’m going to tell a personal story.

My son was a happy kid. When he turned 8 years old, everything changed. He and my daughter were diagnosed with seizures and he had to be put on medication that made him gain weight. To make things worse, his best friend died that summer. From grades 3rd-5th, he was bullied. Everytime I thought I had it handled it got worse.

I asked many times while keeping close tabs on him during those years, he was 17 years old before he admitted to a counselor that he attempted suicide during that time. Although he did overcome, many parents aren’t that fortunate. For every 1 suicide death, there are 100 attempts. 4400 children die each year from suicide due to being bullied. The fight against bullying affects us all.

Our playwright, Shawna Moore, was commissioned by the Hale County School District in Moundville Alabama to write a play about the affects of bullying in our schools. She created “Stop the Noise” and we performed for Hale County Highschool and Middle School on February 7, 2020 with great success. It got the student body and administration talking about the issue.

This Saturday, February 22, 2020 at 2pm and 7pm we will be performing “Stop the Noise” at Central High School for the communities in Tuscaloosa County. But “Stop the Noise” is a Movement! We want to bring this play to each school in Tuscaloosa and begin a strong fight against bullying involving teachers, administration and students.

Bullying must stop! Suicide must stop! Our children are worth the fight to Stop the Noise.

#vfurrmstheblogger

Remembering, Me Too

I ended up in a downward spiral this past weekend. I didn’t even know why I was spiraling so quickly. I went into a depression. I knew something was wrong when I found myself in tears as watching an old episode of Grey’s Anatomy concerning a rape victim. In the show, she had trouble admitting that she had been attacked and raped. She wouldn’t even tell her husband. It brought back old, bad memories.

It made me think about a time in my life when I was struggling to hold on to someone who wasn’t trying to hold on to me. He left us mentally, a long time ago. He had been a serial cheater or as I refer to him, a hoe from the heart, our entire relationship. But I thought he would change. I was naive. When I looked at him, I saw the man he could be.  I loved him more than I loved myself. That’s where I went wrong.

When you sacrifice self love in order to love someone else, you are causing a few detrimental issues. One, you are disrespecting yourself. Two, you are giving more love than deserved at the cost of your own happiness. And three, you are putting yourself on the back burner. Most people know that you can’t fully love someone else without loving yourself first.

But back to the “Me Too” movement. Most young women believe the one they love will not harm them. I know I did. But one day my relationship turned from complicated to violent. In a split second my whole world was turned upside down. The one I loved took me from me. After the assault, I felt completely physically, spiritually, and emotionally broken. Why? I was there. I stayed. I believed in him. I picked him up. I supported him. I loved him. No matter what I did, why was it not enough?

He had already taken so much. What little will, hope, strength, and peace that I had left, he stole that day. He sucked all the life out of me. I became an empty shell of the woman I once was. I didn’t even know how to respond to it. I was in shock. This wasn’t love. I didn’t deserve this. I had to go. I had to get out of there. I couldn’t even look at him. I thought if I told anyone, they would blame me. His parents would hate me. Letting this out would ruin his career. Our children would suffer. I convinced myself to remain silent.

Like most women, I felt ashamed because I couldn’t fight him off. I felt that if I had done this or hadn’t done that, it would’ve never happened. I blamed myself, my circumstances, the alcohol he wreaked of, and whatever he smoked. Everyone and everything but him. Mostly, as angry as I was at him, I was even angrier at myself for not being a stronger, more epuipped as a woman who wouldn’t have allowed a man to do that to her.

I didn’t realize that it wasn’t my fault. I couldn’t see that he was the broken one, not me. Although I told myself I didn’t deserve it, that I deserved better, I didn’t believe that. It’s weird because at the time, I knew he was wrong, he knew he was wrong, but he had always done me wrong. I was constantly in the habit of forgiving him. That was our life. It became our cycle so much so that forgiving him became automatic regardless of this crime against me, he was forgiven before night fall.

I know that sounds crazy right. But when you live in a cycle of abuse for so long, how you react to it becomes the norm. It doesn’t matter if it’s emotional, mental, physical, verbal abuse, or a combination there of, the result is the same for the victim until you decide enough is enough. So many, like myself, have to hit rock bottom in order to understand that the abuse must stop. I took the verbal, emotional, and mental abuse until it turned physical. Only then was enough, enough. Or was it?

My heart made me feel as if I could forgive him. But in my mind, I didn’t look at him the same, nor could I stomach him touching me. But even then, I stayed with him until I found the courage to leave a few weeks later. I went back home for over a year. I had to somehow find myself again. Believe it or not I still protected him. It was like Stockholm Syndrome. I still loved him. It wasn’t about me getting well mentally, I wanted to make sure my assailant was ok. Ain’t that some BS? So, I pretended it didn’t happen.

A few months later, I was still caught up. I mistook him not wanting to look bad to his peers and expecting me to be there like usual as him missing and loving me. I’m ashamed to say that I went back to him. But before I did, I finally confessed the assault to my mom. She didn’t want me to leave, but I felt stronger and thought I knew what I wanted. Of course, our reunion didn’t last. I stayed a few more painful years off and on. We were together over a decade.

I went through years of therapy but I was still hurting. Y’all believe this, if you still get angry or have emotion when someone’s name is mentioned, you’re not over the hurt, no matter what you tell yourself. Get help. I must admit, after a while, I was just going through the motions. Perhaps that’s why it took me over 15 years to be able to truly let go and let God. I had to decide that my and my kids peace of mind and happiness mattered too.

I pray that this blog post will reach someone going through the same silent, painful storm. I pray these words touch your spirit, invade your heart, and shake your soul so that you too find your strength, get out, and live a beautiful rest of your life.

#LiveLaughandLove, Val

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