You truly don't understand what it feels like to have a piece missing until something inside of you breaks. I wouldn't wish that on anyone. For years I was broken. Afraid to admit to anyone the cracks that never mended inside of me. I had thought that I had hidden them well.
There are moments in our life that completely reroute us from the path we are on. Moments that change us, make us question life itself and push us into a deep feeling of desolation. The emptiness takes over, reminding you every day of the trauma that took the happiness and completeness away from you.
The hurt that I carried inside allowed those cracks to continue to spread. When darkness is all that surrounds you, there is a point when all you do is soak in that emptiness. Nothing will soothe the pain until you are ready. Being ready meant that I needed to sink even deeper into the abyss. I had to look at my trauma in the eye and take away its power.
I pretended that I was healed. Showed the world the girl that they wanted to see. A wife, a mom, an employee, a woman that could function in society. All the while, my insides were in chaos. Everything around me felt fake, felt like I didn't belong. The pieces didn't fit back together properly. I struggled for years with the self-hatred that consumed every part of me. I thought that being a mom would heal those cracks. It put a slight protective coating over the top but it didn't take long for that coating to crumble. There was no true way to heal those cracks without digging deep and revealing those cracks to those around me.
That's how my self-journey began in 2014. We had just moved to a new province and I remember telling my kids, who were terrified to move because they were leaving all their friends behind, that this moves means that you can be whoever you want to be. No one knows you so you can be anything. That's when it sunk in. The same was true for me. I could be anything and anyone I wanted to be because NO ONE knew who I was. I wasn't my past. I wasn't what had happened to me. I was just a girl starting her life over again. My power was given permission to return.
For a year, I worked on me. Every day I woke up, stripped off my clothes, and looked at myself in the mirror. In the first few days, I couldn't even look at myself. I had to look away, tears streaming down my face. All I could see was ugliness. There was nothing beautiful, breathtaking, or perfect about me. I had stretch marks all across my belly. My boobs had scars from my breast reduction surgery. All I could see was this 28-year-old woman who was fat, ugly, and worthy of not even her husband's love. Every day, I showed up for myself. I began to cry less when looking at myself in the mirror. I began to realize that there was beauty in the imperfection. As I would look at my naked self, I would say out loud all of the positive things that came from what I thought as negative. The negatives soon became positives. I was being released from the hold that had been wrapped around me so tight for 11 years.
My stretch marks show that my body carried 2 babies. At that point in time, I had 6 years of memories from my children. There are women all over the world that wish daily that they had stretch marks from carrying a child. EVERY DAY I made a list. EVERY DAY I showed up. I began to change. I began to realize that my body may not be perfect but it isn't meant to be. Perfect doesn't exist in this world. My body is just the way it is supposed to be. When I began to accept that my outer appearance had absolutely nothing to do with my value, I was set free.
What do you think about when you hear forgiveness? For me, it used to be a weakness. I believed that if I forgave someone I was allowing them to continue their mistreatment of me. I had to take a 2 step process in forgiveness. First I had to forgive him. Forgive him for what he did, all that he took away, and for having this powerful hold on me for 11 years. I had to look into the blackness and realize that there was a light that came through. That through all the pain, tears, emotional turmoil, and fear; he gave me things that I wouldn’t have discovered without that day.
There is a quiet strength inside of me, a resilience that I know I can handle what life throws at me. There is determination inside of me; ready to make a change to those women who need to hear my message and know that they are not alone. Because of him, I am stronger. Because of him, I went through hell but survived. Because of him, I met my husband and have an amazing family. Because of him, I am here, changing the world.
Secondly, I had to forgive myself. Forgive me for allowing him to hold me captive for 11 years. For allowing him to remain in control and in power. Forgive myself for believing all of those negative and untrue thoughts that I was somehow less of a woman for what had happened. Forgive me for allowing fear to take over. Fear stopped me. Stopped my life. I looked in the mirror and saw what he took away and that was painful; a constant memory of where I went wrong.
Forgiveness is the key to your strength. It sets you free. It allows you to become the woman you were meant to be without questioning the woman that you once were.
This journey was painful, breathtaking, beautiful, and opened up those wounds more than I had ever expected to experience. I wasn't new but I wasn't the same. I felt complete. That year saw me transform into a woman that I hadn't seen in 11 years. Confidence came back. Commitment to myself came back. I was now ready to build a life where my past wasn't holding me back. I could share my story and begin to change the life of others.
This new confidence gave me permission to imagine what my life could be like. I allowed myself to dream big for the first time in a long time. I knew that I needed to change the lives of women around me and that's when I began to share my story. I shared my trauma to the world and in return, women began to message me. Sending me messages thanking me for reminding them that they are not and never have been alone. That in all of my struggles, I remind all of them, that life is beautiful. That we are all beautiful and stronger than we know.
I heal myself every time I post on social media. Every time I share a dark moment in my life. Every time I just show my true self to those that follow me. Life is messy. Life is miraculous. Life is a never-ending journey of moments that take your breath away for both good and bad reasons. This is my life and 15 years ago, as I was laying on the bathroom floor trying to wash him off of me, I NEVER imagined that I would be here, unafraid to speak my truth and share with the world that YOU ARE NOT YOUR PAST!