I’ve been divorced since February 14, 2006, although my husband continued to be in my life even after our divorce up until the Spring of 2009. This was a relationship that began on Oct. 19, 1974. He and I had four children. Our youngest child died in a car accident in 2008. He was just 20 years old.
I can write about any topic it seems, all except about my experiences living in an abusive relationship. Abuse, and the fear which accompanies it, was actually the backdrop of my entire life beginning in earliest childhood up until my relationship with my husband finally came to an end four years ago. There is a lifetime of abuse swirling around in my brain all the time but I can never seem to calm myself long enough to write about it. I also have a lifetime of journals that I wrote the whole time I was married which I can no longer read because they plunge me back into reliving my nightmare. I try not to speak about the abuse in the hope that the memories will just go away.
However, something curious happened to me yesterday and it made me reconsider my strategy of just ignoring my memories. You see, my current strategy is to just go along living my life hoping that the trauma and pain of a lifetime of abuse will just simply fade away into the sunset, and I’ll finally be free. That if I keep it buried long enough it will cease to exist. That if I simply ignore the nightmares and flashbacks and keep the lid on tight to the pot filled with memories, a pot which is perpetually boiling and threatening to spew, that this is what it means to take my life back.
This perspective of mine was completely challenged yesterday when I came upon a video that was circulating on Facebook. The video is about a young women applying make-up to cover up bruises she supposedly got from her husband. I did not know the video is a actually public service message designed to illustrate how domestic violence is hidden, so when I tuned in I actually thought it was real. Here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-XHPHRlWZk&feature=player_embedded
So, I’m watching this video and I started crying and I kept crying for two hours. I cried so hard I started to hyperventilate and it took all my strength to regain my composure. The tears were because I lived like that for so many decades with my husband and also grew up with a father who was very abusive, physically and emotionally. I didn’t cry because I felt bad for myself either, that was definitely not why. I was crying because I could feel the fear welling up in me, I was reminded that I was the girl in the video. I was having a flashback to the life I thought I’d successfully forgotten and it scared me terribly all over again. There is a difference though now, and it’s that I felt free enough to cry, something I never would allow myself to do for most of my life. I even wrote a song called. I Won’t Cry.
So, I realized yesterday that the trauma and pain can not and will not miraculously disappear not matter how much I pretend that it doesn’t exist. I need to begin to share. As of right now I am really not quite sure what all of this means or how much I will actually be able to share. I already feel nervous about writing what I’ve written here today. I worry that all my terrible memories will haunt me for the rest of my life, similar to the way a veteran suffers with memories long after he or she returns home from combat.
I’m not sure how to start sharing my memories. I know I have to though because I don’t want them to die with me. I want them out of my brain and maybe my experiences will help other people find strength. It doesn’t mean that I hate my ex-husband or wish him or anyone else any harm either. I honestly wish him well. It’s actually not about anyone else, especially not him or my father it’s just about me trying to heal and find some peace. The only way to do this is to be honest and not cover up my memories anymore.
I suppose I could just start by sharing one of my journal entries. I guess one day I’ll just open a journal and pick the first one I open to. I have no idea when or if I ever will. For now, the journals are just collecting dust in a box in my bedroom.
Please leave a comment if you want, I’d like that. You can also share about your experiences, too.
Sharen Wendy Robertson owns the copyright to all posts on this Blog.