New Hampshire, April 1 2019
2019 was a challenging year, but also a really great one. We started off in a dark, stuck place... and I really pin the turning point to this April 1st 'getaway' in the woods... Just me and my munchkins, music, campfire, safe and cozy... and we all came back stronger and clearer.
There is so much that I want to write, so much to say... but for now what I will say is this: I read back the last post that I wrote, 8 months ago... and while it is all absolutely true, the 'so much left out' was very specifically leaving out the abuse we were enduring, the abuse we had been enduring for a very long time. I wrote that post when I had not yet secured my own safety, or my children's safety. In fact I wrote it days before I would go to the police and do exactly that, and when I read back my words, I can see myself gathering the courage, finding the strength.
While I stand behind most of what I wrote, the one part that makes me cringe is where I lay out a determination to 'make' someone else a parent. I no longer believe it is possible to make anyone else an improved version of themselves, no matter how fierce the effort. I no longer believe that if I do everything just right, if I say the right thing or I wear the right dress or I just find the right words or I get the right help that I can somehow will another person to be decent or safe or honest or stable. And I certainly don't believe that's possible when you are dealing with an abusive man, which is a very specific and dangerous challenge. All I can do is leave space for that transformation, leave hope... but it is neither my responsibility, nor within my power to make those changes in another person.
I wish I could say that I have total confidence that 2020 will only bring more of the safety and joy that has allowed these kids and I to flourish for the last eight months, but the reality is that the laws are not adequate, and I just don't know. What I do know is that I will now set my determination towards ensuring our safety, towards staying honest, staying strong, staying open, and staying together.
* I felt pulled to make this clarification because I know how many women are struggling in the silent torture of domestic abuse, and while I can't say as much as I'd like to... I do feel it's vital to say something, to have the conversation, and to stop treating domestic violence as though it's 'dirty laundry' and something shameful.