Nobody woke up today and found themselves transported into some alternate reality. Everybody woke up today exactly where their past brought them. Does my blog feature artists as diverse as Chris Stapleton, Halestorm, Houndmouth, the Dead Deads, Koritni and Kate Vargas because I want to be cool? No, it's because that's where this journey led me. It's because of from where I came. Growing up I listened to George Strait and AC/DC, Garth Brooks and Guns 'N Roses.
Sometimes where you came from was great and you managed to somehow screw it all up. But that's okay, because where you are now will eventually be part of where you came from.
Sometimes where you came from was horrible and you clawed your way out and made a better life for yourself. Congratulations. Keep it up or this could eventually be a part of where you came from.
Some choose to hide where they came from. That's their choice. And I can't disagree with that choice. Sometimes it's painful, maybe even shameful.
I did some stupid things in my younger years. Thankfully there was no social media to record it. You would gain nothing from my youthful indiscretions.
Then there are times when telling others where you came from makes a difference.
"I’m still scared, and I’m still ashamed. But I am raising my hand now."
That's a quote from Daisy Dead of the band the Dead Deads. It comes from the band's Tumblr. It has to do with domestic violence. In reading it, it's obvious it was not easy to write.
That's where she came from. That can't be changed. But by her speaking out publicly, maybe that inspires someone else to change their future. We can't change where we come from, but we can affect where we're going.
With permission, the full post will follow. For more from the Dead Deads:
I Didn't Raise My Hand
An organization based in Nashville, AWAKE, held a victory party last week to celebrate a couple of targeted legislative wins. One was centered around softening the laws on prostitutes with AIDS being put on sex offender registries along with pedophiles and rapists. The other was related to choking laws in TN, making it easier to prosecute that under domestic violence. The event was held at Thistle Farm/Cafe, which is another wonderful organization that is the fundraising arm of the Magdalene Foundation. Magdalene is focused on helping women find their way out of prostitution, giving them the help and training they need to live a new life.
Good stuff all around. So when Sara Beth Myers was recapping the laws at the event, at one point she asked a show of hands of who has experienced domestic violence. A couple other ladies raised their hands, but I didn’t raise mine.
As soon as the moment passed, I felt ashamed for not showing solidarity with the couple of women in the room that did have the balls to raise their hands. It has been eating at me ever since.
I am still afraid to talk about it. I am so ashamed for “letting that happen to me.” I’m welling up with tears right now just writing this. Keeping this shit a secret is part of what perpetuates domestic violence in the first place. I am a strong, kind, beautiful, intelligent woman - how could this happen to ME? Why did I LET it happen and let it go on?
It sneaks up on you. The first time is a surprise and assumed to be an isolated incident, likely explained by the especially heavy drinking that day. Then another time, and another. You start to understand you should leave. But at the point where you are angry and most mobilized to do something about it, is typically the time when the abusing party is the scariest, so you don’t take measures then. Or you are simply not prepared to leave with just the shirt on your back. Soon, they are apologizing, asking for forgiveness, themselves crying and recounting their own victimization at the hands of others. They soften, so you relax, and with time, forgive and nearly forget. They probably need your help to heal and be a better partner. And look, they aren’t all bad. They are witty, charming, generous, sweethearts. Everyone loves them. Maybe it won’t happen again, especially if I don’t do that thing again that pissed them off or talk to that person (or any person at all outside of work).
There was one especially bad incident where he was actually arrested, and with my window of time with him out of the house, I literally packed a suitcase and called a local domestic violence number to figure out where to go (still ashamed to tell friends/family/coworkers). With the limited resources they had, they only accepted families there. But the lady on the other end talked me out of even leaving. I don’t remember how, but it was something along the lines of that my situation wasn’t that bad compared to what a lot of the other people go through. True, it could have been much worse. I wasn’t in black eyes “falling down” territory, although that was being believably threatened, which was enough to keep me pinned.
I went years before telling anyone, and then at that point did an entire life change, move, left job, started over. It was so scary. My support network at that point was pretty anemic since I cut myself off from everyone to prevent “incidents,” but it was enough.
I’m still scared, and I’m still ashamed. But I am raising my hand now. I have been a victim of domestic violence. Those experiencing it feel like they are alone, and it is so hard to find your way out. Every situation is different, so I don’t have specific advice for those going through this right now. But know that this happens to other strong, smart, successful women, too, and that you can find your freedom. Do it ASAP.
Some links to the organizations I mentioned above and a couple resources for those going through this hardship:
PS, My life is heaven on earth right now, with the love of my life, amazing friends, family, job, NASHVILLE, my health, and my incredible adventure with THE DEAD DEADS! Thank you for reading this.