I haven’t spoken much on the topic of domestic violence and abuse but I am today. Here is what I wrote in my journal the day after I recorded my song, I Won’t Cry, about domestic violence:
“I was so proud of myself when I left the recording studio yesterday. I couldn’t wait to get home and share the new song with everyone. I was a nervous wreck the whole week leading up to the recording, filled with my ex’s voice saying, like he always did, “Oh, Sharen, come on, it wasn’t that bad. You know I love you. Come on back to bed. Don’t worry. I’ll make it all better. Don’t tell anyone, Sharen. Don’t listen to your own mind, listen to me, I’m the only friend you really have. I would never really hurt you, Bellezza. Trust me.” I also kept having flashbacks (which I thought were real) of him punching me and slapping me and spitting on me, and of course, vivid nightmares about the rape two years ago. I was also reminded of the humiliated, defeated, unprotected, hopeless, scared and trapped way I used to feel.
As I was feeling all of this all over again, I saw inside of my mind something I’d thought was put to rest. I started to remember that little girl in me. Remember I told you I had her inside of me, like an image, and she carries all of these bad feelings and all the hurt and all the humiliation. She sits in a corner in my mind, all broken and battered, carrying all that so it’s not incorporated in me (this was definitely a survival technique I must have created growing up). So, I haven’t felt this other me in at least a couple of years. (I haven’t needed her… I’m not being abused anymore. Dad’s dead and I’m not with the ex.) Then sure as day, just as the anxiety and flashbacks started, there she was again, helping me by absorbing all the nastiness, and I felt so bad for her (even though I know it’s really me). She sat in the lonely corner of my mind (I could see her with my mind’s eye), shaking and afraid, and these were only flashbacks! “Okay, damn it,” I said to myself. “I am going to stick up for you and not turn back and not let my fear keep you in that corner.” I will publicly acknowledge all that you’ve gone through, especially since the abusers have never acknowledged their own guilt. I thought, “where is the justice for her?” She is still paying the price. I feel like a loser inside because I caved in about not following through in court about the rape. I didn’t finish what I started. And that little girl is still suffering inside.
I wrote the song over a year ago. It sat on a shelf while I produced my cd for little Carmen but I knew that someday I would go ahead and push through the fear and get it recorded. When I finished Carmen’s album (which actually took the focus off of my other issues) that song kept coming back into my head. I couldn’t shake it. I knew I had to go ahead and get it done. Right now is the right time more than at any other time in my life because I’m FINALLY physically in a safe place. Dad and my ex have always been watching over my shoulder, until now.
So, it was with tremendous fear that I drove to the studio that day. I was scared of Carmen killing me and the reaction of my family. All could hear was the ex saying (and I could actually hear his voice in my head) , “Sharen, go home. Just forget about it. It’s not good to tell. You’re going to get in trouble.” Then I remembered what little Carmen said to me with a defeated, intense disappointment toward me, he said, “Mom, you should have sent him to jail. Why didn’t you send him to jail?” Also, but in the tiniest whisper, I could see her (my image), looking up at me from her corner and saying, “Really? You’re really going to do this for me?” She honestly looks like an abused little girl in my mind. How could I not stand up for her? I love kids.
With all this going on in my head, I still drove there by myself and made the recording and the video of me singing it. The message of the song is about me being strong. It’s not about my ex or my father, even though they are part of the song. I wrote it to illustrate the progression and pattern of abuse that happens to a lot of women, like it did to me. It’s not a “oh, feel bad for me” song at all, it’s about being strong. I sing it for me and for anyone being abused. While I recorded it, I started to feel so strong, finally empowered in a different way than ever before. You see, now that it’s public, there’s no going back now to my ex or my father’s voice saying, “Oh, that never really happened.” This song is a testament to the truth, for me, and for millions of other abused people out there. But and this is most important, it’s for the little girl in me who waited a lifetime to have someone stand up for her.
I left the studio feeling like a new person. I went home and watched the video and saw the look of determination on my face and I cried because I knew what it took me for me go ahead and record the song. I have finally found a wonderfully supportive venue in songwriter and singing where I can connect spiritually with lots of other people who I can relate to and who can relate to me. I can share my story about losing my son and now share the truth about the abuse and not feel ashamed or afraid. I pray that others will find peace, loving light, and courage in their journey.
Sharen Wendy Robertson owns the copyright to all posts on this Blog.