On May 21, 2003 when I was released from the living hell of an abusive relationship that was killing me, I was very very broken.
I didn't want to live. I didn't believe I should live. I didn't believe -- in me, in my value, my worth, my beauty.
And then I woke up. I woke up the day after the abuser's arrest and wrote in my journal -- "Now for the hard part."
And I stopped.
"hard part?" -- I wondered.
Going through that living hell was hard. Living with him was hard.
But healing? Did that have to hurt too?
I decided it didn't.
I decided, I had to heal, and I had the power to choose how to do it.
And so, I chose, to do it In Love.
Even when suicidal thoughts still skittered through my mind. Even when the ring of someone's cellphone as I walked along the street would cause fissures of anxiety to ripple through my being. Even when a silver LandRover would cause me to jerk in reflex reaction and want to flee. Even when I felt overburdened, sad, tearful, fearful and confused, I chose to do it In Love.
In Love became my mantra. It became the signature to my posts online at the recovery site I joined to help me heal amongst others who had endured a relationship with a psychopath.
It became my state of being. My way of moving in the world. "In Love."
And yes, it wasn't always easy. In those first few days and weeks and months of healing there were many moments where I wanted to cry out, to lash out at the world that had treated me 'so badly' and say, "I can't do this anymore!"
There were times when all I wanted was for someone to come and ''fix this'. Times when I wished for a fairy godmother to suddenly appear, wave her magic wand and whisk away all the strife and fear and confusion and make it 'all better'.
And still, I knew. I knew what I had to do, because I had made a choice. Whatever I was doing, I had to do it, In Love.
From writing in my journal to walking down the street, I had to stand In Love -- with me, myself and I, in all my brokenness, in all my confusion and fear and falling apartedness. I had to stand In Love.
Standing In Love became the only place I could be, no matter what was happening in the world around me.
In Love, I was capable of dealing with anything.
In Love, nothing could bring me down, because In Love, I was safe.
In Love I made a choice everyday as to what I was doing -- In Love, I asked myself -- will this create harmony or discord? Will this create more of what I want in my life, or less?
And then I had to decide to let go of what was painful, what kept me stuck, what kept me believing I was unworthy.
I had to let go of hurting myself and give into Love.
Breath by breath.
One step at a time.
Sometimes, they were baby-steps. Sometimes, they felt like giant leaps. Sometimes, they were simply standing still and breathing and imaging my heart softening, my being expanding, my world quietening long enough for me to hear, my heart beating softly to the rhythm of my spirit calling me to awaken, to open my eyes and see the beauty all around.
Healing from an abusive relationship is not easy, it is not hard. It is simply what it is -- a healing journey -- a journey that when taken In Love, creates a world of beauty and light all around and within.
When I was with the abuser I wanted to die.
Away from him, I am grateful for my life. Grateful for each breath. Grateful for the sunrise and sunset. The wind, the sky, the trees. I am grateful to be alive.
Only we can choose the path we take. Only we can decide to let go of pain and fall into Love. Only we can choose to be free of abuse.
I cannot change the abuser. I cannot make him choose to be accountable. To turn up and say, I'm sorry, or to simply turn up. I cannot do anything about him.
I can do something, lots, about what happened to me while I was with him. I can heal. and in my healing, I can choose to live free of abuse, free of the past, free of believing, I was unworthy.
I was not, unworthy, of Love.
I did not deserve his abuse.
I deserve to live a life free of abuse. I am worthy.
Worthy, whole and free I live my life In Love.
It is my choice.
It is a choice I am grateful I am alive to make. It is a choice I make gratefully, and joyfully, every day.
For in my choice, I stand, In Love with all of me -- beauty and the beast -- darkness and light. In Love, I love all of me, warts and all and know, I am worthy.