If there is anything that someone who has been through the travesty of both domestic abuse and domestic violence knows about it is being afraid of everything and everyone. This is the tragedy that is borne of the scourge of domestic violence. There are a million and one survivors out there in the great big world, who, because of someone else and what that someone else did to them, have limited their social circle.
We live life fearful until one day we realize that what happened in the past is done and over with and that the only thing we can do now is to learn from our fears and to learn to work with what has been done to us. I could sit here everyday and think and believe that I am everything that my own attacker told me I am, or I can bother to think about what all the other people in my life think of me and lemme tell you what – their version of me and his version of me are markedly different. Yet, not even their opinions matter in the grander scheme of things. Only mine does.
Only your own opinion of your Self matters, no matter what
My abusive spouse would, if he could, sit here and monitor everything that I write, but this does not mean that I would not come back and write what I really have to say, and what I really have to say is a whole lot. Yet that would solve nothing, not for him and not for me. He should not waste his time with trying to correct everything about me that he feels is wrong with me, because he would not bother to sit and listen to me as I go down the list of all the things that I think he could work on, not for me but for him. I say this because I know and have known for a really long time that what I have to say is really not a big deal to him because frankly he thinks that I am not as big of a deal as I know I am and yes, I happen to think all of us are a really big deal. If we were not and if we had nothing to do in this lifetime not one of us would be here.
There would be none of us to tell our story and there would be no one who would know that only our own opinion of us matter and that what other people think is irrelevant in the bigger picture because opinions, as it is known, are like assholes – everyone has one, and in my case, I have two.
We, even I, have to accept this truth about us. No one has the right nor the strength to occupy our thoughts about us – no one. If we could wrap our heads around this we would all be fine. It is the reason that for a lot of us it might seem that we need no one in our lives, that we do not need to be a blessed part of the lives of everyone else who occupy the planet, and that we need not be a blessing unto our own. This is what robs us, the idea that we must please everyone. That is impossible. We cannot please everyone. We need to please us first, even though your minister might have made it seem that you have to give up yet more of you for someone else. You don’t.
The Jabez Way
Man, there was a time when referencing the Bible would give me the dry heaves, but anymore now I look to it so as to make sense of the things that for many years were used “against” me in that book. Yet, just like in life, period, we find our solace in places we never thought we might. In my case, it is the Bible. Maybe it is because of my upbringing and the fact that I practically had the Bible force-fed to me, or maybe it is because I feel like more than not, in it there are too many references to women being lesser than men.
There is much Wisdom to be gleaned from the Bible, and this morning, after I had been told that I don’t need anyone else, (yes, by IdiotBoy) I began to see, both with my mind’s eyes as well as all around me (nothing is coincidence, mind you) the word “Jabez” and “territory” and things that point to my enlarging my own readership.
We cannot be whole people if we are not willing to let people into our lives. I am a very private person in real life and choose to have but a select few friends, and yes, it does have a lot to do with the fact that after all I have been through I have become very selective with who it is I choose to spend my very valuable time with. Unlike money and tangible things time can never be replaced, and this is something that is lost on someone who is abusive, who is greedy, who worships their money and allows their things to speak for them. Once all the money is spent and once the things are no longer a part of their life they become helpless because now they have to learn to be right and upstanding with others. Now they have to be who they are in order to enlarge their territory and truth be known, it is not the person they abuse who they need to help change, but it is their very selves.
The same does not hold true for abuse survivors. We are a force and a power unto our own. We know well what it is like to have the power to enlarge our reach taken from us and we know the uncomfortable feeling that comes with not being able to reach out to others. This is a challenge for us, because what we knew to do in order to do such a thing has been called wrong, stupid, a waste of time, and everything that we know that is truth and true according to us has been washed away forcibly, and we feel like there is nothing that can or will bring that back for us.
Thing is, you have to bring it back. You have to enlarge your territory, and you have to be willing to see what is not there, and yes, I am talking about the mighty hand of God (or the Goddess…or whatever else it is that you choose to call your Higher Power). It comes at a time when you feel the most alone, at a time when you find yourself willing to let go of the assumption that your attacker knows better what is best for you, and it comes when we least expect it to, the need and the desire to call out to God like a child having a nightmare screams for his mother. Socially, abuse survivors are left without any tools to use that they have not tried, and we don’t fancy using the ones that we did in the past because subconsciously that is how we believe we drew the person who abused us to our lives (this is not truth – you drew them to you because you thought that you were not good enough to have anyone who’d appreciate everything about you -yes, I said it, now deal with it. I have been there and I know that this is what happens…acceptance is key here, folks). We forget about what we knew back then because we feel like it only works to draw bad people to us.
What we know is our truth, and if you can bother to see to it that this is only a truth specific to you, you can then begin to enlarge your territory.
The Jabez Prayer is known worldwide, even though not everyone in the world was raised up in the church (I am SO not the churchy reverend…not at all…). Basically what the prayer says is that Jabez wanted to “enlarge his territory” (his circle of people) so that he could go out into the world and bless people with what he was gifted with at his conception.
When I happened upon this prayer and this verse this morning it came at a time when really, I feel like there is nothing left for me to do other than enlarge my own readership. Had this been a mere six months ago I would likely raise an eyebrow, say that it was a good idea and forego the idea that there is an entire population, of women, mainly, who need to know that really, even with all of the offers of safety and all of the well meant offers of a new life, there is someone on the planet who understands and can relate to them, and really that is the first step in getting out into the world and remembering who we are. Who we are are not these wilted versions of our former selves. I took the opportunity to reinvent who I am to fit the mold of my life at present, and I am choosing to see it for what it really is – a transition that I was meant for, that no one else can get through like I can or in the manner which Spirit needs it done. It is only me, myself, who can do this.
I have been tasked with screaming at the top of the proverbial mountain that there is hope, that it is ok to want to be all the beautiful that you can be, that it is fine to want to be who you are and that it is ok to be afraid of what you do not know can or will happen at the hands of another. I am also tasked with screaming at the top of said same mountain that it is not ok to stay that way, that it is not ok to let anyone tell you who you are or control you or to just be downright shitty to you. Those things are not ok, but those are the things that we each have to get through. My purpose in this lifetime is to tell others that they can be who they are, that it took them some time to unlearn their Selves and that it will take them some time to relearn who they are.
This is my Jabez prayer, this blog…and these are my words and my gift to you all – to tell you that I am here, that I will always be, and that if no one else gets it, I do.
I “get it.”
I Love You All!!
(Rev. Roxanne Cottell is a Freelance Writer, Speaker and Spiritual Counselor residing in Southern California. For inquires regarding the Ka Wahine ‘Ui dance program for survivors of domestic abuse,or any other inquiries. send an email by clicking this link . Her latest book, “Goddesses, Priestesses and Queens” can be purchased at lulu.com and amazon.com)