The following is the transcript which I shared at a candlelight vigil for Survivors of Domestic Violence. It is my hope that my words and experience can help someone who is in need. -J.M. Jordan
I make my bed each morning and wonder what the day will bring.
I hear the sounds of life humming all around me.
I see the marvels of modern living.
I am alive to do these things because at a critical moment in my journey I chose the hard path, but before I did that my life looked like this…
I pretended it wasn’t that bad.
I negated my worth.
I was touched, bruised and broken.
I worried that it really was all my fault.
I cried. Alone, exhausted and looking for what I learned was fleeting hope.
I AM a battered woman. I AM a victim of crimes.
I was broken.
I cried more as the tears dried and the bruised and broken parts of me began to heal…at least on the outside.
I said that I understood…next time would be different.
I would be different.
He would be different.
I dreamed of brighter days, laughter, warm sunlight and freedom from my silent pain.
I tried harder but then he hit harder.
It always started again, the cycle never seemed to end.
Eventually, the inner dialogue changed.
I am tired.
I can’t continue.
There has to be something different!
Those thoughts eventually brought me to recovery.
My story mirrors so many others, domestic violence has been a part of my life since childhood. It was my “normal”. My self-worth was so diminished by my teen years that I lived in a fantasy, imagining that someone else could replace the ache, take the pain, and absolve me of my reality. Instead, reality just packed a harder punch. In retaliation I raged, filled to combustion but always finding myself “put back in my place”.
Meager attempts at leaving always seemed to fail. Even when I managed to leave, my “normal” found me again in new relationship choices; further convincing me that I was at fault. I spent a decade numbing from these years. If I couldn’t escape the pain then at least I’d not feel it. Of course, numbing only compounded the problem and the violence found me in spite of it.
You see, I was incapable of choosing to live for myself. I was cornered and trapped by the abuse that surrounded me. It came in every form: emotional, mental, physical, sexual and financial, all culminating in self-harm. The violence was a catalyst for emotional and mental decay, pulling me down to the depths of what looked to be a terrible demise.
Frantically, I began to fight for survival. Somewhere in the darkness, I started to understand that if I didn’t do something NOW…something DRASTIC…then the violence or the numbing, maybe even both would take my life.
An inner spark seemed to flicker, some small sense of self fought for existence–I began pushing through the pain. Like gasping for oxygen, I clung to the DESIRE that this would not be my life’s story.
Rather, I’d launch from these awful chapters and never look back.
Today I hear, I see, and I live a new life…choosing to acknowledge that where I was once a victim, today I can make my life a VICTORY!
Today I made my bed, grateful for the opportunity to do so and mindful of those who have yet to find freedom from their oppressors. As I placed my pillows my heart swelled with love for those who have been lost to this tragedy that we call domestic violence.