Updated: Jan 15
Part 1 of a 4-part series, "How I Found My Value, Vision, Voice & Vibe"
I actually wrote this article in January 2019. I've found the courage to post it now and completely release its hold on my life. My promise for the Living Authentically Blog is to share the good, the ugly, the painful, and always empowering stories of my life so that we move beyond the perfectly curated images on Facebook and Instagram and get real.
This is my ugly truth and its beautiful power...
But He’s A Really Nice Guy…
A week after watching the #survivingrkelly series, some really dark subconscious memories came up for me. I couldn’t quite figure out why, because I certainly wasn’t a victim like those women. Not me.
12 years ago, I had what appeared to be the ideal marriage; the one society deems successful. I had the big rock on my finger. We married on the picturesque beaches of Maui at sunset - it was everything I had been conditioned to strive for. I was living the ideal life – outwardly.
Within six months, I was meekly attempting to get friends and family to hear my silent cries but also worried what they would think of me. Hey, my ex was “a really nice guy,” by all appearances with a beautiful home, three cars and a huge boat. He had the best kept lawn in the neighborhood, which he proudly maintained himself all while exchanging friendly waves and smiles with the neighbors. He was practically Cliff Huxtable. He even had daughters of his own, certainly he couldn’t be the narcissist I painted him to be. He was the nicest guy!
Yeah, It Must Be Me…
After all, I hadn’t been successful in my other marriages. It must be me. He certainly convinced me of that anytime I dared exert my independence, creativity or desire to live outside of his command. Even those closest to me thought, certainly, I had done something to invoke him.
Isolated in another state away from my family - who was already dealing with the trauma of losing my sister to cancer - I felt trapped, scared and very depressed. Twice I gathered the nerve to leave. Twice he convinced me to return. I did so, more from the shame and embarrassment of three failed marriages than a true desire to return to him. Another failed marriage? What would people think of me? Something must be wrong with that girl. So I traded one humiliation for another. And each time his punishment grew harsher.
While I didn’t suffer physical abuse, the mental and emotional abuse was just as hurtful. My fragile heart was being stabbed repeatedly by his words and actions. I often thought it would be easier not to live, but I wasn’t brave enough to die.
So, I silently endured until it simply hurt too badly. I'll spare you all of the sad details. Finally, I resolved to leave for good. I slipped away one early morning. Like Tina Turner when she jumped out of that limo and ran, beaten and bruised after finally finding the courage to leave Ike. She was free. I was free. I ran for the last time, taking refuge in the home of a kind co-worker whom I barely knew until I could get on my feet. That was 2008.
Fast Forward to 2019…
I’d been feeling some kind of way since watching the R Kelly series, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. Hearing those women share their experiences felt painfully familiar. I knew those feelings all too well: the verbal and mental punishment, isolation from my family, financial dependency, tracking my movements, recording my phone calls. But they were victims, that wasn’t me...
One day shortly afterwards I began crying inconsolably without reason. I found myself in a heap on my living room floor, called a girlfriend and wept and wept and wept releasing all of the painful and harmful treatment I’d buried and was too ashamed to admit and too afraid no one would believe.
12 years later, something I had suppressed was triggered while watching the R. Kelly series and something was awakened. I awoke to the reality that I was actually abused, a victim, too. My ex's treatment wasn’t normal and in no way was I deserving of it. I now know that I am not the only woman who has endured such mistreatment or worse. I am not crazy and for once, I am not alone. My bottled-up pain is real. I can stop blaming and shaming myself and release it for good. Now I give myself the grace of forgiveness.
Because of the R Kelly series, finally, someone heard and believed me.
The best thing I've ever done for myself is to discover my truth first through therapy, then through a ton of personal development, which has become a life-long passion, and now through coaching. Coaching had such a profound, empowering impact on my life that I became a certified life coach. Now, I'm on a mission to help other women transform their lives from the inside out. You do not have to suffer in silence.
The more I discover my truth, the more empowered I am to live it. We are each in a continual state of evolution. That’s a proven fact. The question is are we consciously or unconsciously evolving. When we consciously evolve, we make decisions aligned with our soul truth. When we unconsciously evolve, we sleep walk through life, a victim, manipulated by things and people outside of us and the mental stories within us.
I hope that by sharing my authentic journey, you are empowered to wake up to your truth and begin living authentically.
Love & Light,
Next week's article: [Part 2of4] Finding Nemo, How I Found My Vision