“I hope you find your peace, falling on your knees…”

I struggle with low self-esteem. Yes, me. (If you know me, you might be scratching your head.) My struggles have nothing to do with my appearance. I don’t talk to a lot of people about this topic, but the ones I do tend to respond by  applying thick layers of compliments for my physical traits and my personality. I’m deeply grateful for such compliments, but again, this isn’t about my packaging.

This is about some of the deep cracks in my soul that weep on occasion. Just when I think I’ve successfully filled those cracks, one or two open up and drop me to my knees.

This morning, I found myself cracked open as I drove away from my daughter’s school. Kesha’s song “Praying” started playing on the radio. I turned onto the road and started singing along. I drove my Minivan Mom-Mobile up to the next red light and rolled down the windows, singing out, using my core to belt out a few lyrics. Before I knew it, I had to pull over because of the blinding tears. Fuck. The lyrics triggered me and I had to sift through to figure out why. Sometimes, I just don’t know why I’m crying.

And then I realized, it was the abuse. Again. It was the fucking abuse. Again.

It’s been nearly 13 years since I left the abusive relationship I was in as a very young woman. 13 years.

Since that time, I’ve married my best friend – a profoundly loving man who would never hurt me and who protects me with every fiber of his being. We made a home together and had a beautiful daughter. And I continue my fruitful and positive career trajectory. I am fortunate and I know it. My life is full, my heart is full.

But there are nights that I can hear my abuser’s voice, screaming at me. Telling me that I’m nothing, that I would never amount to anything without him. I can see his face shouting into mine. A regular occurrence for five years, peppered with acts of cruelty that centered on invisible fault lines – mental and emotional abuse. I remember hoping, praying that he would hit me so that it was clear that I needed to leave. I prayed to be hit! I was too young and impressionable to leave when I really should have. I let him isolate me and force me to continue the relationship. I have few regrets in my life, but the handful I carry come from this period in my past.

13 years and a mountain of good things has happened in my life. And that period of abuse still fucks with me.

In all this time, I’ve learned that you can be well, you can look pretty. You can have a life that is better than you’ve ever dreamed of. You can have a partner that is perfect for you, and a baby girl that you learn more from in an hour than you’ve ever learned in decades spent with your face stuck in text books. You can have a very loving, supportive family. You can have an alphabet soup of credentials under your belt. Your closest friends and loved ones will tell you that you’re the strongest person they’ve ever known. And you know what – Thank You! The kindness and support and love are greatly appreciated. But when you’ve got trauma on board, and the cracks are weeping – you don’t believe any of it. And more than this, you don’t believe you deserve any of it.

Intellectually, I know this isn’t true. And my heart certainly knows this isn’t true. I know what I deserve. I know it’s all good things.

I just wish my brain would stop reverting back to this trauma which fuels these feelings of inadequacy. It’s not a good parlor trick brain, it’s really not.

I’d like to thank my abuser for his work. He did make me stronger. He made me have absolutely no patience for bullshit, or for people who are not authentic.  He taught me so much about the horrifying aspects of being human.  He made me a “me too.” And with that, comes a responsibility to teach my daughter and other young people that they are absolutely enough regardless of what someone brazen enough to be abusive may say and do. Always.

Dear readers and friends and loved ones, please know this!!!

 You are enough. No one deserves to steal your peace. You are absolutely enough!

For the record, I forgive him. For the record, the forgiveness is for my own heart and mind. For the record, I will never forgive his behavior. But I do forgive him.

I’ll likely also never forget, even when I think I have. Even when I just want to sing with Kesha in my minivan.

Deep breaths, healing mode engaged. Time for a walk in the woods. Time for self-care and self-love. Because I am enough. I am absolutely enough. ❤


Praying by Kesha

Well, you almost had me fooled
Told me that I was nothing without you
Oh, but after everything you’ve done
I can thank you for how strong I have become
‘Cause you brought the flames and you put me through hell
I had to learn how to fight for myself
And we both know all the truth I could tell
I’ll just say this is “I wish you farewell”
I hope you’re somewhere prayin’, prayin’
I hope your soul is changin’, changin’
I hope you find your peace
Falling on your knees, prayin’
I’m proud of who I am
No more monsters, I can breathe again
And you said that I was done
Well, you were wrong and now the best is yet to come
‘Cause I can make it on my own, oh
And I don’t need you, I found a strength I’ve never known
I’ll bring thunder, I’ll bring rain, oh
When I’m finished, they won’t even know your name
You brought the flames and you put me through hell
I had to learn how to fight for myself
And we both know all the truth I could tell
I’ll just say this is “I wish you farewell”
I hope you’re somewhere prayin’, prayin’
I hope your soul is changin’, changin’
I hope you find your peace
Falling on your knees, prayin’
Ah sometimes, I pray for you at night, oh
Someday, maybe you’ll see the light
Whoa oh oh oh, some say, in life, you’re gonna get what you give
But some things only God can forgive
Yeah! (I hope you’re somewhere prayin’, prayin’)
I hope your soul is changin’, changin’
I hope you find your peace
Falling on your knees, prayin’
Songwriters: Andrew Joslyn / Benjamin Manusama / Ryan Lewis
Praying lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

 

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