Over 30 years ago, I saw a book in my mind’s eye. The book cover had a woman sitting on a cold cement floor in a prison cell with no bed, no toilet and only dim light cascading down on her from a high window that had bars on it. The title of the book was, A Prisoner by No Crime of My Own.
Trying to be faithful to that vision, I bought a typewriter and began to type out a manuscript. I found pieces of that manuscript in my basement yesterday. The pages are over 30 years old.
I was deeply sadden to see the worn pages and remembering all it has taken to walk away from my past.
I was 25 years old when I wrote those words. It was referring to a time about 4 years early when I took my one-year old daughter and left my first husband. He had thrown a glass into my face and it left four gaping wounds that needed plastic surgery. I had moved to Hawaii with a family member. I went out a few nights while I was there and dated a few men. “Getting into drugs heavily” was one or two nights of coke.
My point is this: I was unable to hold the perpetrators in my life accountable so I focused the blame and responsibility on myself. I came home to a very abusive husband and moved back into being a mummified, submissive good girl. I stayed another 10 horrific years with that man.
When I came out of that marriage I started taking a real, hard long look at the abusers in my life – including my mother and my father. ALL of it. I was then 35.
I held no more pretense of being a good girl. I drank a lot. I went out and played pool. I dated. I started counseling. I started researching a real God that cared. I began to heal. And, I do mean heal. Layers of years of denial and abuse started crumbling and falling off.
The process seemed ugly and out of control and I suppose it was – but it was working. I was learning to stand up for myself and it was hard and awkward. I sued a firm I worked for when the environment became too hostile to bear. And, I won. The motel room that I’d seen all my life opened up to me and I remembered the murdered woman. I opened a case with the local police.
All this while I ran around and drank. That’s what it appeared like to the outside world. I am forever changed as a result of those years where I found the courage to strip down to the bare truth and expose the scoundrels who had held me hostage.
These last 20 years have been very tumultuous for sure but they have been some of my favorite years because they brought real, lasting change.