“You tol’ Harpo to beat me?!”

Ms. Sophia

"All my life I had to fight..."

Today, I announced to a group of my coworkers that I was a domestic violence victim. Well, I didn’t intentionally tell them, it just kind of came out while I was discussing a new project that I am leading a group of girls in. They are collecting items for a local women and children’s shelter, and while giving my spill, I included myself in the over 50% of women who endure domestic violence.

As my voice cracked and hands shook, I left the auditorium with a forced smile and a burning feeling in my chest.

Why was I feeling this way? Why was my heart aching so?

It had been years since I even thought about those daunting days and nights in 2004 and for the most part, thought I was over it all. Hell, I even thought that I had dealt with those feelings in my book, Pieces: Finding the Missing Piece is Easier than You Think when I went through the whole rigmarole forgiving the man who was my abuser.

Guess I was wrong.

By the time I made it home, I was a steaming hot mess, and if not for the sweet provoking of a dear friend to “just let it go, cry it out”, I probably would have spent another day, month, year holding on to those feelings.

The embarrassment and shame that comes with domestic abuse is one that I think we forget exists. Once our scars heal and our feelings are mended, once we move on with our lives and, if we’re lucky, have forgiven our offenders, we’re still left with the embarrassment and shame. Those two bastards burrow deep into our souls like little rodents preparing for a long winter’s nap.

The emotions of domestic violence never really leaves you. They are always there, hiding in the folds and crevices of our being, intertwining themselves in our lives, becoming a part of our molecular structure.

Before we realize it, we’ve allowed our embarrassment and shame keep us from pursuing things, leading ventures, chasing dreams because we secretly fear that someone may find out, judge and ridicule us for not being smarter, wiser, seeing the signs.

Today I took off my badge of victimization and waved my victory banner.

I was lucky. His slaps in the face and pushes into walls while 6 months pregnant didn’t stop me. Him chasing me out of my house with a knife into the streets didn’t put a damper on what  good things were to come in my life. The scars and bruises on my face and neck eventually healed. I lived.

I always have to wonder why God causes me to have these major moments of self-realization, but I’m sure it’s for a good reason.

I also know that my pain, your pain isn’t for us to carry. It’s there to face and let go so someone else can have the courage to do the same.

Feel free to share this post with someone you know or love. It may give them the courage necessary to wave their victory banner, too.

On the chase,

Alisha L.

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