I was on the elliptical one cold, early morning. Pacing back and forth, a bit tired. A brand new morning, yet I remained physically fatigued. As I encouraged myself to keep going, for the sake of the peace and tranquility that I feel while exercising, I soon realized began to be grateful for the many challenges and obstacles that I have overcome through the years. Suddenly, I realized that it was February. February 2018, to be clear! 20 years have gone by since my life completely changed!
I recall that winter morning just like yesterday. February 23, 1998, my life changed. My family life has not been the same since. In reality, this is a blessing because I was presented with a new opportunity to not merely survive, but I was given a chance to thrive.
I grew up in an abusive household. Physical, emotional, verbal and mental abuse were the norm. As I reflect upon these experiences as an adult, it still takes effort to release myself from guilt and shame for speaking up for myself. Labeled trouble-maker, rabble-rouser, for years I felt guilty for crying out. But, to remain in bondage would have been certain death. More than anything, I am grateful for the change that occurred but it was not easy.
Saying “No” to abuse meant being called a ‘bad kid,’ even by authorities themselves.
Saying “No” to abuse meant being separated from my siblings and even my mother.
Saying “No” to abuse made me a vulnerable, gullible teenage subject to uncertainty.
Saying “No” to abuse also meant, saying “Yes” to life and promise.
Saying “No” to abuse meant, saying “Yes” to my future, to possibility, to hope.