My stomach was in knots. I hadn’t eaten all day, and most of the day before. I wasn’t sure I really wanted to do this.
I walked up those steps anyway.
It felt like far more than four stairs. It was more difficult than any obstacle course I’ve run. More challenging than putting together the largest gala in the state of Missouri. I could turn back. I could call and say something had come up.
I’ve built a good life. I don’t have to deal with drama. I have a stable income. My kids are mostly healthy. We do well.
I could turn back now, and no one would ever know. I could maintain that pretty facade that people seem to be so fond of.
I knew the repercussions. I have been here before. I have done this before. I knew the possibilities of what might happen if I do it anyway. The hateful words. The character attacks. The pain it had the potential to cause.
I knew what I had to do.
It wasn’t even a question. Not really.
I made a promise to myself and to God that I would take any opportunity that arose.
So here I am again.
Defying my fears and walking up those steps to show the face of domestic violence to the world. My world. The people that know me and might see me out and about in everyday life. The people who rejected me when I first allowed them to see that things were very, very wrong in my household. The people who cursed my name and told me what a terrible mother I was for letting the world see my wounds.
Believe me, I would rather hide. I would rather pretend it never happened. I would rather stay invisible and live a “normal life”.
But what about the next woman? What about the woman who is just like I was? No hope, no chance, thinking that the only way out is death… What about her?
I owe it to her.
So, I did it. I walked up those steps. I kept going. I sat in that chair. I let the video camera roll. And I shared my story.
I am not bitter about the events that happened in my past.
But now I know that my story has a purpose. People like me… your friends and neighbors…. DIE every single day because no one noticed. No one listened. No one knew.
I can’t let that happen. I am doing my part. Are you?
This month is domestic violence awareness month. Please look more closely. Pay attention when you ask someone how they are. Be alert.
Because 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men are enduring their lives, rather than living them. And they need someone to see them. They need to know there is hope and a way out.
Be that hope.
Here is a news clip about the shelter I lived in and what they are doing. It is another opportunity if you want to reach out to the women in our community.