In the beginning, there was a woman caught in an abusive relationship dreaming of a happier life.
Except I found myself often dreaming not of my future, but instead of my past. Of happier
times, when I was still smiling and laughing, and wasn’t heartbroken or anxious on a daily basis. Of people, places, and things that had appreciated me for who I was, and didn’t leave me feeling worthless, useless, or incompetent, but instead encouraged me to be the best I could be.
My past seemed like a safe place to live when I needed to protect my heart; because my past was filled with love and positivity.
Trouble is the past is already over and done with. Gone. A part of me…of my story…but no more accessible to me now than my now-deceased and much-beloved grandfather. No more than a memory. Not a viable place to live.
Once I came to that realization, and determined that change would only come when I left the abuse in my rearview mirror so I could start over, I was met with a problem I had not expected or foreseen: threats of blackmail. As he sensed me withdrawing, my now-ex began to assert control. Vowing to ruin me. To “expose” me.
The thought frightened me, particularly as he and others in his circle seemed to start doing just that. Initially, the threats worked; I backed off and yet again went back to the age-old “I need to try and make this work” mindset. Attempting to reengage even as he would seesaw between nice and nightmarish every five minutes, leaving me mentally and emotionally exhausted.
But this post isn’t about him…there’ll be time for that later.
This post is about how he, ironically enough, is the reason I finally decided to take the plunge and start writing this blog as part of this website. Something I’d been dreaming about in my mind for many years.
How? By forcing me to not just imagine, but more importantly yearn for a world where I had no skeletons in my closet. Where I was open and transparent about my thoughts, my feelings, and the good, bad, and ugly of my life. A world where someone like him could vow to ruin me, and I could just sit back, smile, and say “Do your worst…you will not succeed”.
And as I pondered this world of openness and freedom, where I embraced myself precisely as I was, I also wondered if I could help others find that same freedom. I looked at the media, which these days is so focused on dividing society, and wondered what would happen if we as people rebelled against that and instead focused on understanding and accepting one another.
I’m not naive; I don’t envision a world where everyone gets along all the time. We will always have those who rub us the wrong way. There will always be differences of opinion, culture clashes, and disputes about faith and morality. There will be those who don’t agree with things I say here, or what others who collaborate with me will say, and that’s okay. But what if at the very least we could reach a place where discussion and acceptance was the goal, instead of pursuing dramatic, divisive headlines while engaging in twitter feuds?
What if instead of ‘digging up dirt’ on our rivals, we instead fertilized that same dirt and encouraged one another to grow?
I hope to stretch my own limits in this space, as I hope to also stretch yours. My dream come true will be to feature people from all walks of life, with all different opinions and perspectives; to have contributors who I don’t always agree with, and who don’t always agree with me, share insights and opinions in an effort to better understand one another. To reach moments of clarity, where we all sit back and say: “I’d never thought of it like that before.”
I firmly believe if you can understand the perspective of the opposition, it’s also a lot easier to reach a place of tolerance.
I’m genuinely excited about this journey. Terrified too, of course; worried that as I strip myself bare and stand naked before the judgment of the world, I’ll be found lacking and thus will be rejected.
But it’s a risk worth taking. I would rather be rejected for who I am, naked and transparent, than ever again feel trapped in a situation or a life where I am subject to the abuse, negativity, and cruelty of others merely due to the knowledge they possess about my life.
I won’t live in fear any longer. And I hope to inspire others to cast aside their fears too.