It has been just over six years since the man who promised to love me ”˜til death do us part (and took the ”˜til death part way too seriously) was arrested. In the intervening years, I have grown and healed and cried and slipped and stood and leaped and wrestled with truth versus fiction. I have sought to make sense of his nonsense and dropped my need to understand him as I’ve struggled to find my one true self beneath the debris of his torturous ride through my life.
And I have survived.
I have stood up tall while the sky was falling down around me. I have turned sour grapes into the heady bouquet of sunlit days of wine and roses. I have uncovered lies. Torn away the darkness and peeled back time to find my truth within me. I have been drawn by courage to face my own culpability in all that happened. I have faced my fears and asked for forgiveness. I have forgiven and been forgiven. I have asked for strength and found the truth of who I am. For in the end, truth has overcome his lies. Triumph surpassed the tragedy of his abuse.
In the years since his arrest, escape from prison, stalking and subsequent re-confinement to eventual release I have ridden the rollercoaster of my emotions, sometimes confident in my knowledge that I would be okay, sometimes terrified I would never find myself again, never know peace of mind. Yet, through it all, I have breathed gratefully into the joy of being free. Of the gift of living without his lies poisoning my mind, without his deceit blurring my vision and undermining my belief in who I am. I have embraced the truth that I deserve so much more in life than him. I deserve all of this I have today, and everything better.
It has been a journey of self-discovery. A voyage into the wonder of being me, in all my laughter, tears and fears and sorrow. It has been a journey into self-acceptance, forgiveness, humility and self-examination. And through it all, it has been a journey of love. A journey of knowing, this is my one and only life. It is up to me to make it a life worth living. A worthwhile life. A life of joy and laughter. Love and beauty. It’s up to me in how I live it up — or let it slip away. It’s up to me to be all that I am meant to be, dancing in the light of my beauty, warts and all.
It is the greatest gift of that relationship — the wonder of knowing me. Of knowing I am okay, exactly the way I am. That I have all I ever need, or want, or desire, right here within me. That I am free to love without fear, to laugh without tears, to cry and spill my heart out. To walk away or walk into open arms knowing, no matter their embrace, I will be okay. Because I am a woman of worth. A woman alive. An enlivened woman, dancing in the rain, splashing through puddles, leaping for joy at thunder crashing and lightning flashing. I am okay, however I am, whomever I’m with, because I have me, myself and I. Fearless. Uncompromising. Honest. Caring. Kind. Beauty and the beast. Yin and yang. Sunlight and sunset. Dark and light. And always loving.
In my journey from the darkness of those days where I believed his lies and abuse were all that I deserved, I have learned to accept myself, just the way I am. To let go of regret and to give into hope. To let go of anger and fall into truth. To let go of fear and surrender to love.
I have learned that the past is only a memory — and I decide its value in my life today. That what someone does to me is nothing compared to what I do with my experience. That someone else’s lies are not my truth, unless I choose to believe them. That there is beauty in this world around me. That I can trust myself to know the difference between false hope and honest possibilities. I have learned that I have courage, that I can stand up and turn up for me without fear of falling under someone else’s assertions I am too weak, or stupid, or short or tall or fat or skinny.
I have learned that I am not measured by my past, but by how I move through each moment of today. I decide if I create harmony or discord. Love or hatred. I have learned that each step I take is determined by the foundation under me — and I create that foundation with every breath, thought, word, action I take.
I have learned that I am me. Unique. Special. Magnificent. A human being of immense worth. A wondrous, luminous child of God. Filled with the greatness of my human being. Capable of falling down and courageous enough to stand back up and take another step and another and then another. My journey is not measured in the falls I take. It is built upon the hands I reach out, the steps I build towards creating my higher ground where I become my best me yet. My journey is measured in the love I give and receive.
I have learned that being me, perfectly human in all my imperfections, is the greatest gift I can give. I have learned to create value in all things in my world. My value is in everything I do. In how I treat myself and those I love and the world around me. My value is not measured against what I have. It is created in who I am in this world of wonder when I live this precious life in the rapture of now, without fear that I am not enough.
I am enough. Just the way I am.