Tuesday, August 14, 2007

2 years

Tomorrow marks two years since the most life-changing ordeal I have ever gone through.  It's become a catalyst for a lot of changes in my life, a reason to put things in perspective, and, looking back, has made me truly become the persont that I am today.

A year ago, the wounds were still raw and bleeding.  My heart was not only broken, it was surrounded by a concrete castle wall, reinforced with barbed wire, and then electrified with "no trespassing" signs everywhere.  I had come a long way, but I had no idea how far I still had to go.  I still felt like I had failed myself, that I had somehow taken the wrong path, that things like "that" weren't supposed to happen to girls like "me."  My confidence was shaken, my self-worth was at an all-time low, my outlook on life, though improving, was still less than positive, and my view on men...well.   I would have been content in a world in which men didn't exist at that point. I was afraid of trusting anyone except my immediate family, and even then I was on shaky ground. I was making strides in educating others on the dangers of domestic violence, but I had not yet realized my passion for telling my story in the hopes that I touch one life, one heart, help one person.

I found my closure.  In May, I took Adam to court, where I was able to tell my story to judge and jury.  I didn't get exactly the sentence I was aiming for, but nonetheless, I was able to find a sense of peace in knowing that he's finally paying for what he did to me and, though he can never give me back my sense of security or the innocence that was lost, I finally felt the scars begin to fade a little in knowing that he is finally paying a pennance for what he did to me, and what he did to Adrian before me, and what he could have done to someone else after me.

I found my safe haven.

 To Emily, who I couldn't have made it without.  To Tim and Alisha, who dropped everything to be with me when I needed them most andhave never let me drop the ball on our friendship.  To Laura, who forced me, time and again, to see the truth.  To Meg, who has been an unfailing pillar of strength, love, and support.  To Julia, who has amazed me with her gifts of friendship. To Nia, who...well.  You just have to know Nia.  I am her protege :-)  To Amber, my baby sister, who I love more that she'll ever know, and who is going to make a wicked-fierce mama in about 6 weeks.  (strangely enough, this has been the catalyst that brought us together.....finally). To David, for challenging me.  To the J-squad, for being my unending source for laughs when I needed them most.  To Anneliese, Courtney, Kelli and Chris, for umpteen years of friendship spanning many, many, many miles.  To the so many people who have held my hand when I needed a friend, to the so many that have hugged me in support, to the so many of you who have told me that you're proud of me, thank you.  To my mom and dad, and to my brudder ('tard), I love you more than I could ever, ever express.  Lastly, but certainly not least, to JW...for tripping me and letting me fall, but catching me with a green sharpie in hand. Where've you been?

Five years ago, I couldn't have imagined that life would have taken the course that it has, and I don't know that I would change it.  Yes, it has been excruciatingly painful at times, and yes, I wish that I hadn't had to go through some of the things that I've faced.  But they've made me who I am, and though I don't like them, I appreciate them for the life-altering effects.  I am conscious of every breath I take, of every day on earth, because no one is ever guaranteed another. I wear my heart on my sleeve, and if I love you, you know it, because I say it often.  I live my life with no holds barred, with a zeal and zest for life that only comes from truly knowing the deepest pain and sorrow. 

My mom has always said, "To know the greatest joy, you must first know the deepest sorrow.  Pain and grief carves grooves in the soul that only joy and love can fill."  Mama was right.  I am, for the first time perhaps ever, truly, truly, truly happy.  Sure, there are ups and downs, but I am completely at peace with my world and all that's in it.

Life is beautiful. 

Live, laugh, and love...

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.  I can't even begin to know what you're going through, as I've never lost a parent.  But please know that I'm behind you when you need strenght, beside you when you need a shoulder, and ahead of you when you just can't lead. 

I love you always. More than 10 years and more than a 1,000 miles don't dimish the bonds of friendship, and more than ever, I give you whatever I can offer.  I can't take away the pain, and I can't change things, but I can be there in whatever capacity you need me.