How do you shine a light on darkness? This came up tonight in a discussion on the Rebel Thriver Facebook page. I am not a bold in your face kinda gal. I am a strong, fiercely independent, but for the most part reserved type. I would rather laugh than scream and I don’t carry a big stick. I have actually been referred to as Mary Poppins, which gives me a giggle. Don’t get me wrong; I can be bold when I need to be and life has taught me how to fight back. We all have our own style though and mine is to inspire and lead through positivity.
Tonight I hedged quite a while on posting a particular poster about Domestic Violence. It has a gripping visual that sucker punched me at first sight. I wanted to share, but it felt out of my comfort zone. I waited a couple of hours and decided to be COURAGEOUS and post it. You see when I saw this picture I saw myself. This could have been a picture of me, right down to the wedding dress. The abuse started on my honeymoon and lasted for 11 years.
The responses to this poster varied on the page. Some people identified and were thankful, while others voiced anger at what has happened to them or their loved ones. I continue to receive comments as I write this, both privately and on the Rebel Thriver page. It’s a mixed bag of emotions and I really do understand that.
Today the word of the day for the Rebel Thriver tribe is HOPE. I posted this picture because I have HOPE. In my darkest of moments that spark never went out. I KNEW I had to keep HOPE alive for my children, and for me. It is that tiny spark that started to grow and has led me on the journey here to you.
I started Rebel Thriver because I did survived this ugly secret that no one wants to talk about. It’s a humiliating and painful truth to be honest. I felt tainted for so long. I was told over and over that I was nothing, and no one would ever love me. I started to believe that after a while, but then the HOPE that I stored so very deep inside me, saved me. Hope propelled me to walk out one night with the clothes on my back and my 2 small children in my arms. I left with nothing and I was terrified beyond anything that I could possibly express in human words.
The thing is that I survived. When I got away I felt nothing but an incredible relief and overwhelming gratitude. I knew from that moment on that I would NEVER take any thing for granted. Everyday, every friend, and everything in my life is a blessing. Even the hard lessons, because through them I learn and I grow stronger.
It took me years, but I am so happy to be able to say that I am finally free. I forgave my ex husband for what he did to me and what he took away from me. He shattered my dreams and laid waste to my life, but I learned that through forgiveness I could be free. Freedom is something I feel within. Arguably, many would say that my daily reality has been altered so much in trying to remain safe that I am not truly free. I have been pushed into a life where it is very hard to be myself for fear of my family being found and hurt. It is for this reason that I live a shadow life. I move among many, and they know my name, but not my story.
Forgiveness has been a HUGE step for me. This hasn’t changed any external factors. My ex is still off the page and the career I loved is gone, but I decided that I was NOT going to let that hold me back. I started Rebel Thriver to shine that light on the darkness. To lead by example and show others that no matter what life my have visited upon you there is always HOPE for a happy ending, even when we feel so very tired.
I posted this tonight because I feel that it is my duty as the leader of this amazing tribe to speak my truth, even if my voice shakes. It is the path I walk now and I feel that I sometimes need to show the ugly in order to get to the beautiful. Anger is not my way and does not live within me. I lived with an angry person for so many years, so why would I ever want to address any of you with something that would elicit an angry response within you? I have learned that anger is not the way for me. I can express myself and speak my truth without the hate and the negativity that this particular poster evokes in so many. I am sorry if I triggered anyone with this poster, but my HOPE was to shine the light on the darkness. You see I was that bride once. I had the fairytale wedding and handsome husband; along with all the smoke and mirrors it took to keep that facade up for 11 years.
If you are living in an abusive relationship I want you to hold onto HOPE. Don’t you DARE give up! There is a light at the end of the tunnel and I am here to tell you this because I see it. I am living it. I’m still scared everyday…i have to recreate my life and raise two kids on my own. It’s downright scary, but I keep moving forward because…I made a decision to THRIVE. I decided that no matter what, I would rise up and overcome what had happened to me. So my friends I want you to all know that you are loved; and that anger and hate will not solve any of your problems. Love and forgiveness is the way to peace, and when you can truly open yourself up to receiving these gifts then you will also grow in wisdom and grace. Then you can walk your path and shine light on the darkness so others will know that HOPE springs eternal and has the ability to change your life…even the darkest of nights.