I don’t talk too much about my past here. Mostly, I think, because I want this blog to be a place of peace, beauty, and hope where anyone, including myself, can feel safe and loved. But there’s also some fear. I’m afraid my abusers will read this and smile that I still struggle with what they did to me. I’m afraid people won’t believe me. I’m afraid that in thinking about those things, my nightmares will return.
But I don’t need to be afraid.
I am safe. I am loved. I am free. I’m also strong and brave, and my abusers can’t get to me anymore.
I want to tell you a little bit about my past today because of my friend Andrea. She and I met as teenagers in a religious cult based in the Midwest. It was a traumatic time for both of us as we endured emotional, spiritual and physical abuse, daily brainwashing and neglect. I was in the cult for ten years before I found the courage and strength to escape. Andrea was stronger and got out before me, and I didn’t see her again until just a few years ago when she rang me up out of the blue to see how I was doing.
I was a bit of a mess. I was afraid of everything and everyone. I went from one abusive relationship to the next because that’s where I was comfortable. I kept stuffing down my past because it was too painful to deal with.
Then Andrea rang. She cried with me, relived those years with me, said “I understand” and I believed her, because she did. She gave me hope that this lost, dark, scared feeling wouldn’t last. She helped me to see I was much stronger and braver than I thought. And she showed me that the only way out of pain was straight through the middle of it.
Over the past four years her honesty, compassion and unbelievable bravery have helped me through the darkest time of my life. I’ve never known anyone so real, open, and utterly unashamed to be herself. Coming from a world where every word, expression and behavior is calculated, Andrea’s larger-than-life personality was a glorious breath of fresh air. She helped free me up from years of brainwashing, figure out who I was under all that fear and insecurity, and find that beautiful peace, happiness, and freedom I had only read about but never experienced.
In case I haven’t made myself clear, I love that girl to bits. 🙂
I tell you all this because Andrea needs our help. Since a dear friend of hers lost his battle with drug addiction, Andrea has had a soft spot for those with similar struggles. In July 2010 she realized that several guys from a local Recovery Home were closet musicians. A brilliant musician herself, she invited them to an impromptu Jam Night and they loved it! She had no idea how that one night would spark a tradition that has turned into an amazing place of healing, creativity and inspiration with a marvelously crazy group of recovering addicts she absolutely adores.
Their little group has blossomed and is meeting such a vital need in the community that they are seeking funding from the Aviva Community Fund to provide instruments and music for this great group of guys trying to change their lives. All they need are our votes. If you are interested, could you take one minute today to vote for them? Just click here to vote. You can also see photos, read more about the group, and watch a great short video where you can meet some of the guys.
In the meantime, here are photos of the roast pork pie I made this week. 🙂 I will have to give you the recipe later today because I’m going to be late for work! Yipes!! 🙂
Love you all. 🙂