Day 2,125 Of Domestic Violence – My Head

When I think about how many times my worth has been proven to be less I feel deflated. It’s hard to keep getting back up each time even though I know who and what I am and what I have to offer.

From recently having dreamt an entire night? Albeit there were a few differences but only in the minor details. All that I know is that I dreamt the exact place, the exact people, the trip to the servo for fuel and the fact that the blonde chick in the back would offer to drive as it was late and I was tired and now meeting someone who appears to be my missing puzzle piece, I don’t really know what to think?

When things feel ‘off’ having to question whether it’s my own past failures setting this up for disaster or simply just another disaster waiting to happen is exhausting and I truly wonder if I will ever be happy.

One thing I have come to learn about humans is for most of them they fear the unknown or simply when they are unable to predict an outcome it causes high levels of stress and anxiety. Everything else in life you will find that the best way to assess the risk factors is to look to past behaviors or outcomes. However in love and relationships this can ultimately lead a couple into oncoming traffic. It seems however that they end up there for me anyway so what is the answer?

I’m finding I have less fight when it comes to my broken heart lashing out and sadly I think that is my self worth giving up the will to fight anymore. Time and time again the worse case scenario is the outcome and I’m beginning to wonder whether it is true and I don’t have as much to offer as I thought.

With this one though it feels different. For the sake of this all being for a reason I hope it turns out. Although we don’t share a similar taste in music, grew up differently and have had different lives it seems a case of that little person inside us is the same or searches for the same thing! He makes Aussie hiphop less horrible and he makes me want to try the things he likes because as well as myself now I want to see him happy.

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Day 2,103 Of Domestic Violence – Pain Is Only Skin Deep

Pain. When I look around lately it’s all I seem to see. A sea of faces from all walks in pain. One thing used to numb that pain bringing people who ordinarily wouldn’t have crossed paths together with one common goal in life. To numb that pain.

So is it a case of the world and it’s people being in more pain than ever or is this just a different crutch we use and humans have always felt this much pain?

I read up on the Great Depression earlier this year as I met a lovely lady who was in her 90’s. She had been apart of the Salvation Army since then and credited much of her surviving the Great Depression. She told me how she would sneak off and have morning tea provided by the Army and without that much needed food probably would have starved as food was scares. To this day she was eternally grateful for the opportunity she was given and enjoyed every opportunity she got to pay that kindness back.

How does that translate to today? Do we as people care more or less about those in pain? How do we stop so much pain or is it something we need to just accept will always exist? Is this the key to our journey being easier?

How do I make this journey easier for my son. It pains me to think of him feeling anything close to what I’ve felt thus far. I almost feel guilt for his existence as I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy.

More and more I have less answers. They say that the older we get the wiser we get but I question whether that is true.

I guess this is where I leave this one.

Day 2,025 Of Domestic Violence – The Human Connection And Hero’s In Red Shoes.

I work for the Salvation Army.  I have been tasked with doing a short piece each month in the newsletter.  I wanted to meet with certain groups that meet weekly and people within the corps to get their story and have a chat with them.   I wanted to share it with the rest of the corps in an attempt to reconnect with each other.

It seems strange to me that a person could sit beside say a coworker everyday for years but know nothing about them.  So earlier this week I wrote a short piece on my own story as I thought it might be a good way for everyone to get to know me before we meet up.  I guess my boss liked it so much he asked me to read it on Sunday…. in front of people!  Great!  I quickly said yes and I will work on my nerves for the rest of the week.

I decided to write it in my usual blog format as that is comfortable for me.  Plus I can read it straight from the sheet and not have to look up at all the quiet people staring at me.   Why? To be honest I have a lot to say but I much prefer doing it this way. Public speaking is not my thing, everyone’s quiet and looking at me, not my kind of fun. But I’ve sucked it up and agreed. I have written it here as this is what I am going to read out. That way I can stair at the paper and pretend they are not all looking at me.

Here goes nothing;

It seems the more technology advances the further we get from human connection, or at least true human connection.  Sometimes I feel people look at me as if I am strange because I’m interested in everyone. Some might say nosy?  For me at least I learn a lot about people and how they work. I also find I learn a lot about myself at the same time.

I am originally from Redcliffe and my family had a lot to do with the (blank) Leagues Club.  My grandfather was  and was Chairman of the Board for both the football and leagues club for over 30 years.  I grew up in Redcliffe and Brighton so this place is very much home to me.

I have a recent history of domestic and family violence and become estranged with my entire family who have chosen to side with my ex partner.  Alone I have had an uphill struggle with family court and custody of my son Evan who is seven years old.

Out of every situation though does come a positive and had it not been for that I would not have started my own business Through The Looking Glass Mirrors.  I rescue old casement windows and turn them into mirrors with custom designs in them.  Earlier this year I started a blog called Diaries From Domestic Violence which began as a bit of therapy for me but now has over 2,000 followers and woman from all over the country and world reach out and let me know how much my honest and open approach has made them not feel so alone.  I also came to work here and have met all of the lovely Salvation Army members.

Earlier this year my hero in red shoes, Major Keith Hampton found me crying outside Coles at Kippa Ring and offered me more than just assistance.  He offered me the opportunity to work again which sadly I had put on the back burner due to my domestic violence issues.  It has not been easy for poor Keith, saving this damsels in distress has not always been a glamorous one but never a dull moment.  Although it has been an uphill battle, getting the opportunity to work again has made a massive difference in my life.  I have always been very determined and loved working but over the last few years I had lost my confidence.   Today I help out in the office a few days a week as well as work on my recovery.

Through the help I received from Major Keith Hampton and the Salvation Army Corps Redcliffe I have gained a new family in you all.  The lovely Hewitt’s family, Barb, Ian and Rachel also have to be mentioned in this story as they have the pleasure of me adopting them as my new immediate family.  They opened their home to a young mother of one struggling and homeless and I will forever be grateful.  To them I want to say a massive thank you and I love you and unfortunately you are stuck with me now.  Also Anne Redman who attends another fraction has become a wonderful ‘role mother’ to me in my life.  I am completing the Positive Lifestyles Program through the Salvation Army with her which has also helped me make Positive change.  She has offered me so much of her time and love which is invaluable to me and it is nice to know that someone cares.

That in a nut shell is my story and I cannot wait to get to know you all a little more through this space.  In life shared experience is a wonderful thing and can greatly improve the way we live our lives.  Even if you have been attending the Salvation Army Redcliffe Corps for years or it is your first day we all have a story and can learn from each other.  Intern this can make us a little more understanding and connected with each other and can only be for the better in the long run.

Day 2,006 Of Domestic Violence – Stronger Than You Think

There are a few people who make me smile in this life.

To you Miss Alana whom I love very much. Although you are relatively new friends I think you are here to stay! It is very much like meeting myself or a close version of myself.

Soft, sweet and the kindest of souls, all that you want in this life is for lack of better words, ‘world peace’, cuddles and rainbows! Now while I think that’s a pretty easy ask seemingly the world and its creatures do not.

For them. Those who dare poke that bear. Poke one too many times and you better be willing to loose an arm…… and the rest.

With your brutal and honest truths, mostly about yourself that come so perfectly out of your mouth! The deep dark ones that no body owns up to usually make me think about my ‘own demons’ but more beautifully at times very important ones.

One such important lesson you have taught me is ‘to genuinely say a nice thing to another female everyday’. I have never consciously though about the fact that females can be more damaging to other females on a whole. Instead of building us up, we tear each other down which is a shame. We think in domestic violence situations that it’s the physical, emotional and all the rest damage us and render us unrecognizable. I often wonder if we had a support network of supportive woman around us building us up if their tactics to break us down would be so powerful?

So to you Miss Alana,

You are sweet and beautiful but this also comes with an unimaginable pain that not many understand. I do though. The world seems to think we should act one way because of this pain but it drives us to go the other way. This is out of it all being too much.

I wish for nothing more than our pain to be free of us and for our babies to be safe in our arms. That is where they belong but this is not possible due to external influences dragging us down. If only we were stronger so this wouldn’t effect us like it does.

Honestly I think we have enough strength for it not to but I know personally that I’m keeping that strength for when I get my son back. So that I don’t turn into one of those woman that have beaten us down until we are nothing. So that I can teach him I won’t be made to do as I’m told because I am an adult and I am a good person who should be afforded the right to make decisions and live a life I want to live. Free from judgement and criticism from people who think they can control what they want.

You and I will be fine in the end I promise. This can’t last forever. If we can hold on long enough for it to pass and for the system to see what is really going on then everything will be back in its right place!

For me at least and for those people who have used pain and damaging tactics to try and make me change and live up to their version of who I should be, well you have lost the opportunity to know who I really am and will not be a part of my future. You only have yourselves to blame and you will see that choosing to win in the short term will result in a loss in the long run.

Day 2,005 Of Domestic Violence – When Will It Be Our Turn?

Why is it that tragedy or adversity are the things that inspire us to be the most profound?

Why can’t a happiness, stability or even just a sense of calm invoke the same effect?

I like to think it’s because we are too busy enjoying how good it feels and we are spending every moment soaking it up rather than over analyzing or deconstructing the situation.

When will it be our turn?

How do you know when you are there?

Until another day.

XoXo

Day 1,863 Of Domestic Violence – Lost Boys

Two new and very lovely additions to my ever expanding support network and new found family took me out last night. We went somewhere I wouldn’t necessarily have gone on my own before.

I can say I am very glad that I did.

While I have been to a few suburban Salvation Army Services this one was very different. I like the way they are tailored to suit their audience and for a new comer it makes for a more inviting and comfortable feel when making the decision to attend. I would say that I still consider myself agnostic and not sure whether I will change my views in the future but I am willing to keep an open mind. I sometimes wonder if that’s because I am stubborn and I made up my mind years ago but I do like a lot of what they stand for and I do plan on adopting a lot of their ideals to my day to day. I like that it’s more about the acceptance of others and the willingness to help someone in need for no apparent reason as it’s the right thing to do.

Changing peoples opinions or having them ‘change sides’ in a sense doesn’t to me feel like it comes into it at all and I am yet to see a lot of negative to their approach. Don’t get me wrong I’m sure there is somewhere within Salvation Army a history which doesn’t paint them in the best light but like everything I’m sure there have been a few ‘bad eggs’ who may have tried to ruin it for the rest. However on a whole my experience has been a positive one so far.

The one thing that stood out to me about last night was the sea of ‘lost boys’. This experience reminds me of the story Peter Pan, the lost boys desperately wanted the love and care of a mother. I wonder if this place was like that mother for these young men? Have they found their ‘Wendy’?

Majority of them were from the local drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre. You would think that due to their age which was predominately late teens and early 20’s that it would be a place for them to slack off or sneak off as they may have done in the past. Instead they seemed to embrace their new found sense of community. With having a new safe place for them to feel a part of also seemed to come with a willingness to reach out to others who may feel as they once did.

It seemed that in recent times one of them sadly had fallen victim to suicide. The loss and grief was apparent. I would say stereotypically young men of their age wouldn’t be known for their insight especially when it comes to their own thoughts, feelings and emotions. It was however more than just a pat on the shoulder they offered one another. Beautifully they offered an unbrace and they genuinely asked the question of each other, ‘are you ok?’. Young men were taking the initiative, although having their own shortcomings to reach out to each other. Even putting their own phone numbers on social media with a simple message of, ‘if you ever feel like it’s too much and that no one is there for you contact me day or night’. This is probably a message never given to them until finding this place. The fact that the message of ‘pay it forward’ was something they have taken from their experiences was amazing to watch. I wonder if the willingness to help others in a similar situation predominantly comes after experiencing hardships and grief personally. Should we forgive the masses for turning a blind eye at times because it’s as simple as they just don’t know what it feels like, therefore harder for them to see the reality and brutality of our personal situations?

Either way it was a beautiful thing to be a witness too. Rather than go with previous stereotypes and continue the outdated thought that men don’t cry, they have no feelings and no emotions. That their purpose in life is just one of rescuing damsels in distress was not one these men cared to embrace here. I often wonder if that line of thinking has a lot to do with statistics such as 2016 tragically having the highest suicide rate in 10 years in young Australian men?

When it comes to domestic violence could this outdated thought and expectation of men be the reason for a lot of the violence? Could it be the frustration that they cannot feel and that there are not really a lot of places for them to go to work out what’s wrong be a huge part? Why do we laugh at the fact that men can also be the victims of domestic violence? Even I have been guilty of thinking similar thoughts. Domestic violence is more than just physical and I think that the mental abuse does more damage than the physical. A punch in the face is what it is. It tells you ‘I want you to feel pain’ and you do. There is no reading between the lines, it’s to the point. When someone uses manipulation and other forms of violence it causes you to become scared and read between the lines. A lot of the times it is a crazy story with little to no physical evidence to it so showing someone is hard to do and you get dismissed a lot. This one is I would say the one that woman predominantly use when it comes to domestic and family violence.

Not all domestic violence is physical and mind games can be just as damaging.

Like those lost boys I want to pay it forward and change the way things are done.

Why?

Because it’s the right thing to do!!!

The After Effects Of Domestic Violence -What Are We Left With In The End?

Yesterday I found myself without my headphones. I never realized just how much of a crutch they had become for me when I’m on my own.

Spending time on my own is the most confronting and feels the realest. Luckily I am still pretty practiced in the art of pretending like the rest of them. You know the ‘I better do a big fake smile cuz they’re looking’ but really its been the worst day and I’m contemplating what the point of it all is. Yep that’s the one! You see if you look ok and you seem ok then you must be ok right?

Why is that?

Are we ashamed of not being as close to perfection as we’d like to be? Or do we just care so little about everyone else that, if they were to ask us then maybe we would feel obligated to ask them if they are ok and we really really just couldn’t give a shit about anyone but ourselves?

I don’t mean to be so dramatic but after so many not so nice things have happened it’s taken a tole on me. More so than just emotionally. It’s the physical signs I am starting to notice. The uncontrollable, almost nervous ticks my body seems to be consumed by every now and again especially when I’m on my own. As I walk through the city all I can think about is how much I wish I had my headphones right now. It’s as if the world got brighter and everything is so much noisier than it ever has been before or needs to be. I feel panic and a huge pit in my stomach. I have a feeling like pins and needles creeping up from my lower back and the hairs starting to stand up. I start to panic but I’m not sure what about. I really just wish I had my headphones to make it go alway.

My new house though feels like home, it’s weird because apart from a couple two floors down, I don’t know anyone in the area. It can be a big bad city sometimes, filled with over a million people. Although I grew up not far from here it’s new. In the past when I’ve spent time in here it’s been beautiful bun on my own there is the potential for anything to happen. Some parts of this town are dark and scary. Comforting the thought of my secure home felt like a home right from the start. It’s warm and cosy. I miss my son though. The city is probably not the best place for a child but it doesn’t stop me from wanting him here to cuddle up with! I’ve been spending my time now that I’ve cleaned up and put everything away doing my paper work for which I have a mountain of. It keeps me busy and helps make my head feel more in control of my own life which I haven’t felt has been the case for some time now.