Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Visiting Sonoma County, California

As I stand here in Sonoma County, California, I think about how far I have come, many years down the line I scan up following the line of the inspiring evergreen pines that surround me and which protrude way up to the sky, I am reminded of their awesome strength and courage. A bird of prey circles and soars high above me and both command power over the cobalt blue sky and others that jointly share the silken hue they glide in. No other twitter graces this elite position or permeates such elegance caressing the skies. Raising my head I look up to the heavens and standing straight I rise up tall and confident and fill my lungs with the clear forest air; the aroma of the pine forest encapsulates my senses with the natural perfume of the forest and I feel worthy, liberated and powerful; elegance and dignity like the eagle have returned.  I give myself up to the awesome expanse above me and I begin to really feel again. I find myself opening my arms wide and raising my hands in praise to universe and freedom engulfs my being. In childlike fashion I spin around and around and around enjoying the cool air washing across my skin until I reel and stagger with giddiness and fall about with the giggles. I roll in the sea of pine needles and thank my creator for bringing peace, happiness and contentment to a new life that is now in a satisfied place of harmony.

Reflecting on a time of no muscle or power, I am happy to say the war is over; I thank my maker for the final bell ending the horrific rounds in the ring; I know the tourney is done. The punches have ceased, the bruises healed, the blood has congealed; no longer a punch bag, verbally, emotionally, mentally, physically or sexually. Thankfully the referee is now redundant, the ring is empty and the judges have declared their ruling; tournament over and unlawful. The opponent is broken, the audience retreated; the auditorium an empty vessel. The sadistic cheering of the spectators is finally silenced and the silent screaming from the target is thankfully hushed and mute. The predator has been deemed incapable; disqualified for breaking the rules. The psychopath is alone and lonely.

The blows have stopped, the pain is managed, the fear suppressed. The prey fled in order to save her soul and the predator was grounded. There are no winners in a sport such as this; no medals or trophies, only sadness and despair. But in time a new peace and a different language emerge from the darkness and eventually a light shines, hope trickles and an emotional river swells and flows more freely. A new sense of trust propagates in the heart and soul. But it takes time, buckets full of time, to transcend the punches, scars, memories and propaganda. Parts of it never heal and the smallest nugget of pain remains buried deep within the brain, as a reminder of the journey. A nugget that is a relic of the past that serves to jump out now and again as a prompt of “never again.”

In the fog that hung between the punches of the senses was a small pleasure called teatime that always felt comfy and easy; peaceful and quiet. Alone at three thirty each afternoon the heavenly ritual of sweet tea and cake was always a comfort and gave light and hope to a hopeless round in the fog. Whether alone, with family or friends there was always something soothingly sweet and comfy about tea and cake in the midst of the chaos and despair.
Leaping out of the fog with a roar and a regained sense of power like I have never known before and mirroring the strong lines of the evergreen pines, I rise  up and stand tall and feel like I am soaring through life again. Fleeing was better than staying; homeless was better than heartless. Standing in the freedom of this beautiful forest, I realise life has become bearable, safe and most of all free of the distasteful violence I suffered for far too long. Regaining my personal power and learning how to respect myself again has set me free. In a flash I could suddenly see beyond the horizon and colour seeped back into each day. After three decades of mental torture and abuse I could smell life, feel emotion, hear serenity and touch peace. I was no longer a contender floundering at the ring side, with blows being thrown at me, bouncing off the ringside padding with a referee counting down time. I have completely regained the control stolen from me during a long abusive marriage and I now rise up like the pines and soar like the eagle through life; I have broken the pattern of domestic violence, survived this distasteful diversion and embrace the contentment and freedom of the soul every day.

Domestic violence doesn’t discriminate, it can be found in every background, upbringing and social class…so don’t judge me when you don’t know me, do not underestimate me until you have understood my challenges  and do not question me when you haven’t walked my journey.

Women's Aid Helpline
 0808 2000 247
National Centre for Domestic Violence
0844 8044 999
Victim Support
0845 30 30 900
The Police
In an emergency 999 / Non-emergency 101

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