When I was with the man whose lies no longer hurt me, I believed he held my freedom in his hands. I believed I could only be free with his love. With his words. His voice feeding me the lies I called the truth. The lies I believed were truth and was too afraid to uncover with my questions, with my doubt, with my fear he was telling lies.
Freed of him, I know the truth. I am free when I watch my words. When I listen to my voice. When I hear my thoughts and acknowledge my presence in my life — without measuring my journey against someone else’s belief they hold my freedom in their hands.
It took me awhile to get here. Here to this place where I know my value is found in everything I do and say. In every step I take to claim my birthright to be my most incredible self.
See, I believe we are all born magnificent. It’s the journey through life that robs us of our brilliance. It’s the road through where we came from, where we’ve been, that takes us away from where we are meant to be in all our brilliant light.
With the man whose lies no longer hurt me gone from my life, I am free to be all of me. Free to dance in the rain. To shout out for joy at the top of my lungs just for the sheer exhilaration of having a voice that can be heard. A voice I’m willing to raise. To speak up. To yell out with. A voice.
It is perhaps the greatest thing I lost throughout that relationship. My voice. My belief that my words. What I had to say, what I thought, what I wanted to speak of counted. For me. For those I love. For something other than just the filling in of the space between where my truth ended and the lies began of someone who could not hear me.
I swallowed a lot of words with the man whose lies no longer hurt me. I swallowed so many words I almost choked to death.
In freedom, I pull out all stops, unblock my vocal chords, polish up my song and sing for joy that I am free to give voice to what inspires me, encourages me, motivates me, sets me free. I am free to speak up and be heard. I am free to speak of what is important to me and know because it is important to me, it is important to my life.
You can’t do that when you’re with an abuser. Speak up, that is. You can’t speak up because his voice is always drowning out your words. His voice is pouring out lies and with all those lies, you can’t make sense of your own name, let alone who you are, what is happening, what’s going on, what’s the problem, what’s the issue. You can’t make sense of his nonsense because his voice keeps pounding in your ears, filling your mind with poisonous words that clog up your thinking and push back the sound of your own voice speaking up.
I never spoke up with the man whose lies no longer hurt me. I never gave voice to my fears, my tears, my sorrow, my confusion.
Except once. I yelled at him. It was on the phone. It was after a particularly long bout of his telling me how ungrateful, how selfish, how stupid I was. I yelled at him to STOP IT! He didn’t listen. He kept screaming at me.
I threw the phone across the room and I cried. Deep wrenching sobs that spilled out from my gut. Tears streaming, my voice silent as I stared at the handset where it lay on the floor a few feet from me. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry,” I whispered.
I had no voice when I was with him. He didn’t want me to have one. So I made sure I didn’t. I always did what he wanted. My doing what he said was the balance in our relationship. As long as I toed the line, obeyed, played the role he created for me, dressed in the clothes he set out for me, walked the way he wanted, talked the way he needed me to speak, saying the things he wanted me to say, balance was maintained. As long as I kept my voice silent, there was no shift of power, no unsettling of the unsettling balance we maintained with my silence.
It is a fine line we walk when toeing the line of their abuse. It is the line of self-annihilation. The pyre of self-immolation. We burn the threads leading to our past, scratch out the road leading from who we were and who we want to be as we become all they want us to believe we deserve: Their victim. Their possession. Their object.
In freedom, I walked away from who he told me I was into the truth of who I am when I let go of believing I was safer if I just stayed silent.
I don’t believe in silence. Silence is violence.
The violence of his abuse was found there. In silence. It lurked. It waited and it tortured me with its need to keep me still in the unspeakable darkness of the web of his deceit.
Today. I am free. Today. I speak up. I speak out. I speak for what is loving and healing and kind and caring of me.
Today, I turn up for me and speak my truth knowing I am free as long as I walk in the light of being my most magnificent self, every moment of every day.
It is my manifesto. My right. My destiny. My truth.
I am a magnificent human being on the journey of her lifetime dancing in the light of being all I’m meant to be when I walk in freedom from abuse.
You can be here too. Dancing in the light. Singing out for joy. All it takes is letting go of the bonds that keep your voice silent. All it takes is speaking up. Speaking your truth. Speaking your joy. Living in the exhilaration of being alive in this crazy-mixed-up oh so beautiful world where you are free to be, deeply, profoundly, noisily, vocally, You.
You are amazing. And don’t let anyone else tell you differently. You are magnificent. Exactly the way you are. And your voice counts. And when we count our voices together, we become a mighty force. For change. For truth. For freedom.
Let your voice be heard.