Its been a bit since I’ve had the chance to update my blog. To my readers I apologize. I’m in the last semester of class and I have landed an internship in victim advocacy- the exact reason I decided to go back to school in the first place! I have a haunting past, and from the flames and shattered glass I rose like a Phoenix, and YOU CAN TOO.

My goal is to show anyone and everyone that no matter how horrific the things you may face or have faced, you can begin to heal ANYTIME you so choose. You can be 80 years old and decide, hey, today I choose to put ME FIRST and heal from what I went thru.

For years of my life I tried to fill the holes in my heart with sex, food, abusive relationships, bingeing, purging, drugs. I suffered from PTSD (I didn’t know until I eventually went to counselling), and I was terrified of failing my children. I took every criticism and inability to provide the best for my oldest children to heart, and that lead me down the path of believing people who said I wasnt a good enough parent, wife, daughter, human.

I wont lie and say that those feelings have disappeared. The real truth is that, like an addict, you will always have moments of self-doubt that can snowball into a million what-ifs and why-didn’t-I’s. However, after we escaped my abusive ex husband, and the courts finally ruled to protect us, a safety plan was put in place and we were able to be SAFE, something slowly started to shift within myself.

Trust that when I say slowly, I am talking about over a period of six years. I began discovering things I never knew I loved to do, such as painting and drawing. I’ve always felt connected to music so I started to rekindle that love affair. I started putting self-love as a top item on my to-do list and have continued to push forward.

By chance a few years ago I was able to attend a domestic violence conference featuring an amazing woman, Leslie Morgan Steiner. She shared so many of my same experiences with her abusive ex, and the more I listened to her talk, the more empowered I felt. It was then that I decided I wanted to DO SOMETHING to help others, so I enrolled in my local school to pursue a paralegal degree. I started networking with other advocates and agencies who are focused on bringing awareness and help to people who need it. Along the way I’ve established the most beautiful, strong and empowered network of women and men who I aspire to be like. Many of them are survivors too, who chose to heal thru the art of helping others. These individuals inspire me every single day. (Eileen King, Melanie Blow, Maralee Mclean, Mildred D. Muhammad, Karen Allen, Barry Goldstein, Julie Owens, Garland Waller, Tommy Womeldorf, Patrice Lenowitz… The list is infinite and ever-growing!)

They say it takes a village to raise a child but it also takes a village to empower a victim and turn them into a survivor! I thank you all who have shaped me, encouraged me, and shown me what it means to turn things around and into something beautiful.

Part of my healing process has been through my accomplishments; I finish my internship in 88 hours. I’m in the middle of my last class. I have sat for and passed my Accredited Legal Professional Certification exam and am a state certified victim advocate. I achieved all of this over the last few years- rough years at that. I got diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2014; a complete hysterectomy and a lengthy battle had me very, very sick. We had a house fire in 2016 where we lost everything, including some of our pets. Our unreliable vehicle often had us walking to and from work and school- some days it was six miles there and back- and bloody toes were a regular thing. But I did not stop.

I fought like I was never able to do when I was a helpless little girl being raped, a terrified child in a new foster home, or a young wife being choked to unconsciousness…

I fought. And I’m winning. And so can YOU.

I want my readers to know that you DO have somebody out there to help you. A LOT of some bodies. You can get out, heal and overcome ANYTHING.

If you need help, many of the above mentioned people have agencies in various states. You can contact them, or your local victim advocacy group. There are abundant resources: Child Justice, Defenders of Children, Stop Abuse Campaign, After The Trauma, Inc, WBGR Health & Wellness Network, Forward Motion, Children’s Justice Campaign…

You will find your villiage. The hardest part is reaching out and saying HELP. Once you do, be proud of yourself. And never, ever give up!

More blog posts to come soon.

Jen

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