When Your Past Enables You to Speak Loudly and Boldly…

If you have been reading my posts for a while you know that I was a state kid; was abused by my father, my oldest daughter’s father, and my ex-husband; and have a desire to help others through their mess by sharing the way I get through the mud and the muck of my past. What you may not realize is I am also the mother of a child who is being evaluated for autism due to extreme outbursts that would have me driving her to and from school in tears for nearly two years and kept me from wanting to really be in relationship with people because it embarrassed me that I was so great with other kids but couldn’t help my own child simply get dressed in the morning without a tragic meltdown. So April is a pretty important month for me because it is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and National Autism Awareness Month. (Yes, I know some of you are overwhelmed by all the months just like I am over all the holidays we celebrate, but since I am passionate about helping people realize they don’t need to deal with divorce and since I need to find my voice and use it as a writer, I ask that you give me some rope and allow me to use this month to bring my own strength to surface and refocus the voice for this blog.)

When I first started this blog, I had the tagline as “The Journey Home” because that it what it was to me. A journey back to God, love, happiness, trust, surrender, self-acceptance.

Or so I thought.

The more I wrote the more I realized I never had any of those things I’m a truly tangible and powerful way. As I have shared in past posts, I kind of half-assed my way through life, giving only so much of myself to any one thing because giving my all to anything would hurt too much when it blew up in my face.

I’ve made discoveries that have helped me to really dive in within my therapy sessions so I can understand my fear of solid relationships and people knowing me deeper than surface level. I’ve been able to tackle some real issues such as how my inner child was affecting (and still does to a point) my life and way I reacted to people, how I feel like I turn men into abusers, how I believe love comes with a price tag. I have healed from some issues while painfully running from others and I’ve tackled issues that left me bruised emotionally but feel wonderful to have identified.

In all of this, I have never talked about my daughter and the struggles we have had for fear of judgment. I have never talked about the power it takes to stop relationships each time I allow myself to be used and realize it (after all, with my commitment issues, people assume it is just me being afraid to commit rather than accept the part they play). I have never talked about the habits I have and what I look for in relationships with others because it makes me comfortable – and by comfortable I mean it. Reals my heart when I end up further in and realize I once again chose the same personality in a different body and have to walk away from a friendship because I start to value myself enough to realize it’s toxic for me.

All these things are things I need to dive deeper into for this blog to have meaning for me. All of my issues with God go back to the issues I have from abuse. And it’s time to get to the roots. When I started this year, I knew my word was rooted and I thought that meant that for the first time I was going to lay down roots. However, the first quested was spent pruning and fertilizing and digging up roots. That’s when it hit me that this year is going to be my resurrection year. 2018 is going to finally be the year where Joel 2:25 makes sense but before it can happen, before God can add things to my life, He has to help me get to a place where I was ready to deal with the roots that were attracting the bugs that plagued me!!!! Can I get a Hallelujah?! I truly need a praise break for this revelation…(though y’all never want to see me on one cause I have absolutely NO rhythm when it comes to dance!!)

Okay… needed to take a moment there because I realized that as I typed it. So this year is a year of identifying roots and the purpose when I started this blog was to show the journey of a real person going through life, the ups and downs, the muddy days and the ones walking through flower gardens. I wanted to show that life as Christian isn’t filled with perfection and glory but is just like the lives of others out there who don’t profess Christ. The difference for those of us who profess faith in the Risen Savior is that we have a hope for tomorrow to be better. I wanted to show how that hope helps and hurts us, how we aren’t all pious folks who support hypocrisy and go around telling you who you can sleep with while supporting pastors and others folks who have affairs and do other sinful stuff. I wanted to show that we are all doing life, and whether you believe like me or not isn’t the point but it’s how we band together and rise up that determines how far we go as a people.

Over the years I’ve been trying to figure out exactly how to do that. Recently, I decided part of the process was to separate my creative writing from my blog posts because they were very different. In my creative writing I don’t talk about myself. I wrote characters or write poetry that doesn’t have to traced back to me even if it is about me. I have creative freedom to explore my mind without judgment. But here, I am offering information about my life and therapy and other stuff that sometimes feels like I give more to you, my readers, than the people who see me each day. That has been a battle because it means strangers know me better than friends – but isn’t that the society we are building? We wrote our blogs and share vlogs with intimate details but the person who eats with us each day doesn’t even know we struggle. I want to have a part in fixing that too! And as I have tried to figure out what to write about, it’s all falls together that these are the things and blogging is fine as long as I am not afraid for people to read it if they actually know me and as long as I am not afraid to speak about the same issues in front of youth and young adults groups, Women’s gatherings, and other events. As long as I operate with the same power and freedom I had when in 2012 when I was constantly around people who wanted to hear what I had to say and asked me to speak at their classes and do workshops. Because the truth is in 2017 I lost that ability somewhere along the way. I stopped speaking and sharing. I remained silent and I felt bad about that. It was partially necessary and partially because I was exploring some feelings and didn’t want to speak on anything while going through the analysis and self-reflection. Bit it was also partially that I was running from my past and trying to forget it.

Forgetting who I am to become what I want to be goes against the very principles I promote in the workshops I lead, in this blog, in my life. But I found myself in that desert, wandering.

So as I enter into April, this shall be the month I get back to me here on Eyes Straight Ahead. It no longer is a journey home because I can’t go back to what I never had. Instead it is about seeing possibilities, hearing hope, and speaking love. And that is exactly what I shall do as we continue this walk.

Moving forward all creative pieces will be over on my writing sit and this will be just the thought pieces I write. For April, I am going to focus on relationships, change, and overcoming fear. I will do so through speaking about the faith it took to start my business back up (this time using my own name instead of a company name), the journey with my daughter and getting her tools and resources to help her through her struggles with anxiety and the other effects of autism (which we get the official diagnostic results on in August after all the testing is completed), the strategies I have incorporated into my life to help me live more effectively with ADHD, and the way I have continued to be a survivor and identified my own patterns and likes that I have to be careful of keeping in check so I don’t continue any patterns when I am finally ready to date, if that day comes.

This month, I will speak about the abuse and it’s effects, as well as how it has affected my life and ability to relate to others. Not all posts will be ones everyone will want to read and many will be those posts you want to like but won’t so no one sees you read such stuff. I get it! But please do share them with the friends who come to mind when you read them. The reason I do this and continue to go deeper as ask God what to write about is because I know if someone had said something to me somewhere along my life, I may have had some different stories to share. And while I made it through, there may be someone out there who is not as strong and who NEEDS to hear someone encourage them, Speak life into them, and help them see they matter. If I never got a like but knew my writing and being faithful to sharing these words helped someone would be more than enough.

Thank you for all the love y’all share in my inbox and for the continued reading and visiting social media. Together we can all rise and become all we once though my impossible! Here’s to a great April in which we discover ourselves, our world, what makes us tick, and how we are each going to leave our mark on the world!

Until next time,

~Shell

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