I have heard time and time again that my emotionally raw posts are the best ones, well my friends get ready for the best post yet. It is hard and scary and true, but I was approached by my dear sweet friend Pamela to help her spread awareness for a non profit organization she and her family have founded in California. She has kept it a secret for months and asked the blogging community for help to spread their name and message. With a cause near and dear to my heart I couldn't say no.
My family has been directly impacted by domestic violence. There are some details that are not approp-riate for this space, and that is why they haven't been shared here before. They are personal -and while I am very proud of the person I have become in spite of a terrible situation, I think it is best to leave out most of it. I can count on one hand the people that know my entire story and I do think it should stay that way, but I will tell you that the summer that I turned 14 was the most terrifying few months of my life.
My biological father is not a kind person. That is the understatement of the century. He struggled with drugs and prescription pain medicine for years. His already unapproachable demeanure made my childhood already one that I can only describe as walking on eggshells. I was constantly on edge worried of what kind of mood he would be in when he walked down the hallway next; would he just walk by me or would the sight of my open door be enough to cause a tornado to come through my room. I would hold my breath as I turned the corner to go home from school as I looked for his truck in the driveway. I would cower away in my room to hide from any hurtful remarks he had about anything from my latest school grades to my less than perfect appearance.
It was hard. Every day. Especially for a scared and impressionable young girl to live in a world like that. A world where I was already trying to figure out life and fit in at school, but then to come home and be teased and mocked at home. It was something that I pushed back deep into the hidden dark shadows of my memory so that I didn't have to believe it was true.
Then came That summer. The summer that changed everything.
There are pieces that are still incredibly fuzzy. I don't remember it all even to this day despite being well old enough too, I think that my mom is in part to thank for that. She sheltered me as much as she could from things. I remember lots of fighting and moving out of the house that I had called home since 3rd grade. I remember packing up without my dad and moving a mile down the road. I remember being happy with my mom and my brother. I remember school still being rough, but it was ok because my house was a happy one. Then I remember him coming around more. I remember him staying the night and the nights getting much darker. I remember being woken up by the sound of yelling coming from my moms bedroom. I remember staying awake with the phone in my hand ready to dial 9-1-1 if I needed to. I remember things that no child should ever have to see in their life. But now as an adult I can think back and recognize that it is also something that no woman should ever have to go through ever. Not only did she have to fear for herself, she had to fear for her children. What a torturous place to be. My mom made him leave just as quickly as she had let him back in.
But that did nothing to stop him from coming back. The following weeks were ones that involved scary talks with my mom, new locks and orders of protection.
I remember one night very vividly. It was the night my mom got a call to go stay with my Uncle. He had a bad feeling. My mom reluctantly packed up me and my brother and headed out to his house.
What happened next can only be described as a miracle.
My mom got a call from our next door neighbor asking if she had left the garage door open when she left for the night. My mom did not. She asked if the door was supposed to be ajar. It was not.
My neighbor immediately called the police that walked in on my dad in the middle of the house that he had been kicked out of weeks before. He had very bad intentions for that evening and it still brings me to tears to this day just thinking of what could have happened if it weren't for a feeling and a phone call from my uncle. My father was arrested that night and after his plea agreement was reached he was later convicted of felony harassment and spent the next 8 months in prison. He is now out of prison and has been clean for almost 10 years, but I have not spoken a word to him in more than 8.
I don't tell this story to get sympathy. I don't tell this story to make you sad or to show you how scary domestic violence can be. I tell this story to prove that despite the scary things that were put in my way, put in my moms way, we are strong, successful, and capable women that just so happened to have been affected by domestic violence.
I firmly believe that my struggle shaped me into the person that I am today. Do I want to do it again, no. But I am thankful for the things that I proved I could become as a result of it. I am not a victim, I am a survivor. My mom is a survivor. My family survived. There are far to many that don't and that is why I think Pamelas mission is so important. If more women can choose joy and kindness and persevere through the hard times, the possibilities of their kindness are unimaginable. I have made my own life into one that serves others because I know how much a kind gesture can mean to someone.
I could not be more proud of Pamela and her family and more honored that she has so graciously allowed me to share my story and support her in this great adventure she has taken on, I try to lead kindly every day in life and I hope that you choose to as well.
Through the mission of Lead Kindly, I encourage all of you that are active in social media to take a moment from your busy day and remind your following to Lead Kindly as well.
Pamela first asked us all to make a picture that essentially showed that there is no excuse to not be kind.
"Spread kindness even when : " that was the prompt. There are a thousand words that I could put there. There is always an excuse to proceed with your day without kindness, but no matter how busy or sick or tired or stressed or unhappy or whatever you are, I urge you to remember that even the smallest kind word or gesture can make mountains of difference to a person. You will never know how deep your words can touch someone on their hardest day.
So Go! Spread the word about this lovely project!
Facebook :: www.facebook.com/
Instagram :: @projectleadkindly or hashtag your photo with #projectleadkindly
Their shop!!!! The funds from everything sold will benefit their mission!