My Best Seller Story
Domestic / Spousal Abuse
Tell you about the cause, I can’t, because I do not know. Honestly I do not. Years I spent reflecting, it was me, I was the cause, my imperfections, I was to blame. I wanted a re-write, to remove that page from my life story. When one person forceful touches another it no longer becomes about blame, it becomes a violation.
His tiny thin lips were open slightly, shallow even breathing, an angel sleeping, unaware of the storm surrounding his peaceful slumber. “I am taking him.” The threatening words snapping in my mind. He moved quickly towards the sleeping child. “Leave him alone.” Screaming, moving, wanting to stop the peace robber from taking my sleeping angel. Whack! The closet door snapped, my body thrown against it. “That’s it you’re done!” Recovering from the whack, I ran to find a phone. Loud thumping sounds followed me. Terror set in, I watched sparks fly from the phone modem, as he ripped it from the wall.
“You will call no one! I am leaving.”
Grabbing, taking other phone handsets, he walked out of the house. Shaken, the earlier jolt left me frozen, a statue of indecision. Finally, locating my thoughts, moving my body into action, I began running through the house. Searching for a phone, finding one, I made a call for help. “911 What is your emergency?” A long pause, finally broken with five words, “I think I need help.”
Previous calls for help, had been unanswered. Reflecting back, I remembered the oak door frame, the plush pink carpet, my body curled upon the carpet and the shadow of a stranger standing at the end of the hall. That stranger had been shrouded from me, my intimate lover, friend, partner, now fully uncloaked, revealed as a complete stranger. My body tightened, I felt the bursting of cell walls. My brain neurons snapped, cracked, exploded, tiny fireworks bursting loud and large, hurting. My Dad would never do this to my mom. I stood up and searched for a phone. I needed three numbers, three digits that would change our lives forever.
I dialed for help. That time I remember the officer flipping through the notes written on his notepad. “You seem like a nice couple. Young families have it hard.” A black gloved thumb stretched his right nostril as he rubbed it. “Even though you admitted to the assault, I think we will put this down as a disturbance. You have to get counselling.” The officer looked directly at my husband. “Absolutely, thank you officer.” I watched silently, an observer, a perfect observer. The help left. The snap of the lock, caused the air around me to freeze. Chilled, I found it hard to breathe. I promised myself I would work harder at being the perfect wife. Young families did have challenging times, I would do better. I crawled into a cold lonely bed. Would counselling help?
Tonight, hope was put into the knock at the door, I see the gun holstered over the hip of the officer. The dark blue uniform looks cold and stiff. “He has left, my husband has left.” I sit down at the oak table in our once beautiful kitchen. Hearing the shuffling of many black boots across the kitchen floor, the plush carpet records their movements as a thumping sound. They are moving around my house like black beetles scurrying away from the light. I have infested my home with beetles, what have I done? A note pad is in the officer’s hand.
“What is his license number? We are looking for him now.”
This time there are no words about how difficult young families can be. I sound out the letters and numbers to the officer, thinking of my children. I say a quite prayer of thanks, they are sleeping. In the morning they will get ready for school, knowing nothing about this beetle infestation. They will not ask about their father, he is never here. Restless abandon of family, focusing on TV, sleep and vile words, his routine offerings. Asking for help to dry dishes, answered with violence. Propelled across one room, forcefully landing in another, the pink, plush carpet a welcomed cushion to my body.
Fear of Change
I should not have asked for help. Beetle infestation be gone. I want a do over, a re-write, I promise I will not ask for help. I don’t need help, I can do it all myself. “When we find your husband, he will not be coming back here, he’ll be getting free lodging with us tonight.” I dropped to my knees, my arms tight against my chest. The beetles had taken over.
When I think about the person I was then, I close my eyes, pretend my eyelids are erasers, trying to erase the penmanship of my past. A monetary life gone. Beliefs of an honoured forever shattered. A hand yielded with vile disrespect. The monster of destruction, fed on the confusion of my mind.
Creating False Reality
Back then I wanted it all. I perceived happiness as having food on the table, all the food groups nicely displayed, polite and staunch children sitting straight at an oak table. The wife properly dressed, the house sparkling clean, conversations always frothy and nimble. This model lifestyle at that time, a survival tactic. Traversing land mines, keeping the emotional landscape smooth, my words soft, my actions subtle. Not understanding, those type of land mines are invisible. Keeping the landscape smooth, never helped. Calculated, delicate actions, triggered the blow anyway.
“What are you doing to the kids?”
“I have never seen him angry.”
“He is always so quiet.”
Words from false friends, echoed in the valley of my sadness then.
“If you had been yelling at me, I would have hit you too.”
Words from the father of the uncloaked beast.
Being the average sum of the five closest people that surrounded me, I decided to seek new math partners. I began a journey, a genuine journey of self-realization, a remembering of who I was. I evolved from a young girl into a wise woman. I embraced my experiences, the words of my history, my legacy, they are the writings of my life. Choices, decisions they are directions, the road side signs for the map of our lives. My sorrow, fed by the shallow words of others, would became the change agent of my tomorrow.
Part of me wishes I had been kinder. Kinder to myself. I would always care for others, speak up about the injustices, and support them through their challenges. Then late at night when I was alone, I would pound my palms against my head, yelling at myself, wanting to be perfect. Feeling sad. If you are perfect, people like you. If I located all of the land mines, if I did everything right, things would be perfect. I thought perfection was the solution to sadness. Those thoughts, the real erasers of the penmanship of my genuine journey. Growing up I had learnt that true love does not seek change, it seeks acceptance. I wish I had remembered this part of myself, sooner. I needed to be kinder to myself.
Another part of me wonders, what would have happened if I had not called 911? If police had never entered my home, finally knocking down the walls of fake protection. My phony world would still exist. Living in a perfect house, filled with perfect things, having a perfect life. A shallow life, it’s secret of powerful deception locked away, not visible to others on the outside.
Is there really anything wrong with perfection? That is the goal is it not? Perfecting our lives, living well, having a perfect house, perfect personality, perfect smile, perfect clothes, perfect car, perfect friends, to have the perfect life. There is a wheel, a domestic abuse wheel, which is given out by the counselor. The counselling, provided by public services, was at no cost. The first meeting, awkward. A young girl sat behind an old tan metal desk, a style popular in the sixties. Her large smile, stirred shame within me. Papers were spread out, mixed up throughout the small room. She suggested we sit on the tan vinyl chairs positioned facing each other, entrance pillars to her desk.
“Tell me what happened.”
Through tears and pain, my picture perfect life shattered across the floor of the counselor’s tiny office. My words matching the ones written, then lost among the many messy papers throughout the office. Each visit becomes easier, less invasive. That is not true.
Each visit becomes more invasive, it feels less invasive. The counselor enters your mind working to understand its wiring. Like an electrician, they examine the positive, negative and grounding wires. How your decisions and actions are made. The synapse of your sorrow, dissected. Each visit, exhausting. When I first saw the wheel, each sectional pie of the wheel described a different aspect of abuse. Financial, withholding money. Socially, restricting friends. Verbally, using hurtful destructive words and physically, inappropriate touching sexually or otherwise.
I remember thinking of the multiple examples I had for each section of the wheel. Thinking everyone would have these examples, the wheel seemed too general to me. After all, I believed in my own personal strength, a strong person with strong convictions. This whole situation happened because I wasn’t being perfect.
Why did no one else understand that?
What the wide smiled counselor suggested is my wires were not crossed, what I discovered is, they had become disconnected. My grounding wire was just lying there, on the floor of my mind, it had burnt out, given up. My amps were powering the negatively charged wire. It didn’t matter that my brain didn’t light up anymore, it only mattered to me that it functioned.
The average human brain has eighty-six billion neurons. 86. 86 billion. What did it matter that a few of mine didn’t connect? It matters. Abusers feed off of the disconnection, the lack of grounding makes the role of abuser easier. The task of rewiring the ground is solely on the victim.
A victim? Not me, just not being perfect, it was my fault. The final act of hitting three numbers, three digits, finally receiving real help, real understanding, made me real. That number coupled with real help, was the combination that unlocked the chains surrounding my mind, my thoughts. Opening my mind revealing the disconnected wire. Stirring the grounding wire to remember its role, to begin the re-connection. Providing me with opportunity to remember the Goddess, the one inside of me.
Rewriting that moment, something I would not do. Honestly, I would not. Severed fake friendships, financial loss, pain, discomfort and shame. A different type of abuse. If you have never had a wiring disconnection, you will not understand. Rewiring is difficult, stripping back the protective layer, the insulator part of the wire is hard. It has to be done or the new connection will not work. The stripping back of each protective layer on the grounding wire causes sparking sometimes. You become the electrician of your brain.
Leave alone a sparking wire, its easier, safer too. Only the bold keep trying. The re-connection of the grounding neurons took a lot of time for me. It has been a long journey. That page of my life is covered with tears, blobs of ink, scribbled words, it is a mess. But I would not rewrite it. The black letters on the page of my life may be stark and hurtful when reading it, but they are mine.
Messy floors, sinks filled with dishes, laundry that sits in the basket for days, makes me laugh. My new partner loves through acceptance, not change. Our home doesn’t have carpet, no beetles and the wiring is fantastic. There is joy in my imperfections, there is triumph in disagreements. Not because I win the disagreements, that rarely happens, rather because I lose and there is still love to be given. Love is not withheld, given as a reward for perfect behaviour. It is freely given. Words are helpful, kind and loving.
I have more than eighty-six billion neurons now. I am most certain I have more than eighty-six billion neurons now. Over a trillion, my brain is lit.
If I could roll up that page of my life, the documentation of those moments in time, and put it in a bucket. Putting it among other pages of peoples written lives, and then be given the opportunity to pick the page, any page of my choosing. I would pick mine, it was written for me, by me, it is my story. A story of strength, resilience, perseverance and hope.
A bestseller by my standards.
I send this story out to all those, men and women who feel trapped, hope gone. There are people and organizations out there who understand and can help. I have reflected often during this locked down phase, about you. Have hope. Included below are links to information and help. Be safe-you deserve it.