Believe

images

First, I would like to express my regret for neglecting to post to the blog for so long. I would say life has been too busy, but there really are no excuses that will make it okay.

I’ve been thinking, heavily, over the last few months about what I could possibly write that would be beneficial. I’ve been battling with thoughts of negativity about my purpose here and whether or not what I have to say really matters.

“Does anyone really care to read?”

“Is anyone even gaining anything from the little stories I share?”

“Do they think I’m just sharing to gain attention?”

Then, a dear friend reached out with encouragement. She expressed to me that every time I’ve shared my story and experience it’s given her tiny rays of hope. And I realized, that in not sharing my experiences, I was being selfish and negatively impacting my growth and the possible growth of others. I don’t share with the hopes of humiliating abusers, I share with the hope that I will give victims a shred of hope, a step to freedom, the courage to get out, and the notion that they are not alone.

I fell victim to the lies that my mind was creating within myself. I’m a work in progress. Moving toward being kinder to myself, believing in myself, and spreading that confidence to others that need hope and healing.

So moving forward, here we go again…

Christa Gayle

^ what she said

I too, have been feeling incredibly guilty for abandoning this blog and anyone who might have been looking forward to our future posts. It’s a difficult subject to continually write about, but we were amateurs with good intentions. I also cave under pressure and the more compliments we received from friends saying how our posts were helping them or their friends through similar experiences, I felt excited but also nervous at the same time. Silly, I know. Makes no sense, I know.

I will be honest, these months away from the blog have been tough. I was battling a bout of depression and anxiety. I saw no purpose in life or in my existence. My days were spent feigning happiness at work and in public, but when I had a chance to myself I was a loaf on my couch wallowing in self-deprecation and fatalism. I have sought help and can now happily say I feel like myself, (more to be said on that later).

Long story short, we are here to help others. We are here to give validation and voice to those who may not feel their feelings are validated. We are here to bring awareness to an issue that has been out of public commentary for far too long.

I lost sight of this purpose for a moment. And we are humbly back, in hopes to continue helping others.

Thank you to those who supported us and thank you to those who may be reading this now.

Lindsey V.

 

 

There Is Hope

We are posting something a little different today.  I created a video for a Non-profit domestic violence shelter in St. Louis, MO. We thought we would share it with everyone in the hopes of raising an awareness for the need to help your local shelters. Let us know what you think, or share what you have done to help a shelter near you! Thank you and much love!

~Christa G.

Lorelei

We are going to start breaking up our usual routine of posts with pieces from a book I just started writing. I don’t want to give anything away with a synopsis, so here it is. I hope you enjoy it.

Prologue

My sister’s thin frame lay motionless, sunken in a dirty mattress, the filth surrounding her blending with her soiled dress. I swallowed around the lump in my throat, my heart pounding in my chest. “Lorelei?” I lifted a shaky hand and pressed it gently on her shoulder, her skin cold as the frost outside. I tried not to think of the sharpness of her shoulder bone or the whiteness of her complexion or the way her clothes hung on her frame as though they didn’t belong. My heart sank as I glanced at her room, the floor seemed to move and I tried not to think of why that might be. I don’t even know how I managed to sneak in. But time was running out. Shaking her shoulder, I managed to loudly whisper, “Lorelei, wake up, I don’t have much time.”

A soft groan parted her chapped and peeling lips. Her brow crinkled into a frown as she squinted up at me, her red eyes widened and she opened her mouth to speak but nothing came out.

“What?” I asked, trying not to panic at the confused look on her pitiful face.

Her lips moved to the motion of a sentence, but still no sound.

Rage consumed me. She was worse off than I thought. I could not allow this to happen to her. “Get up, you’re coming with me. I’m getting you out of here.”

She remained motionless.

“Lorelei?”

She turned her head away from me.

“You’re coming with me, and you’ll thank me later.” I bent down to pull her up off the bed. A powerful wind punched me in the chest, knocking me clear across the room. I slid down the wall, landing with a painful thud. Bewildered, I stumbled to my feet, taking a step toward Lorelei. “Don’t you see what he’s done to you?” Adrenaline surged through me, I tried to control the quaking inside of me. “This isn’t you.” The same wind that threw me earlier, now circled around her bed, snatching up nearby debris. “Come with me!” I raised my voice over the howling of the wind. “You don’t know what’s best for you right now, let me take you away from here!” The walls around me creaked and moaned and bent inward as the ceiling expanded. I felt myself floating farther away from her. My time was up. “Lorelei! Please!”

to be continued . . .

~Lindsey V.

Defining Abuse

abuse-dictionary

Domestic Violence: violent or aggressive behavior within the home.

Physical Abuse: any intentional act causing injury or trauma to another person, by way of bodily contact.

Verbal Abuse: described as a negative defining statement told to the victim or about the victim, or by withholding any response, thereby defining the target as non-existent. If the abuser does not immediately apologize and retract the defining statement, the relationship may be a verbally abusive one.

Emotional/Psychological Abuse: is a form of abuse, characterized by a person subjecting or exposing another person to behavior that may result in psychological trauma, including anxiety, chronic depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder.

Financial Abuse: a common tactic used by abusers to gain power and control in a relationship. Forms of financial abuse may be subtle or overt, but in general, include tactics to limit the partner’s access to assets or conceal information and accessibility to the family finances.

Sexual Abuse: also referred to as molestation, is usually undesired sexual behavior by one person upon another.

Abuse affects everyone. . .

Elderly

Women

Men

Children

Pets

Abuse is an attempt to control the behavior of another person. It is a misuse of power which uses the bonds of intimacy, trust, and dependency to make the victim vulnerable.

~Christa G.

I’m The Victim Here

istock_000007808210_medium

More often than not, we experience verbal abuse and don’t even realize that it’s happening to us. I’m sure we’ve all had that one friend that would walk all over you, but when you tried to let them know that their treatment of you was offensive it became the end of the world. And how dare you point out their behavior as less than friendly! You owe them an apology now for sticking up for yourself!

We tend to brush off their actions with, “Oh, they’re just very outspoken” or “I was overreacting to what she said”. But it’s not healthy. We teach those around us how to treat us. They know who will put up with their crap and who won’t, and unfortunately it’s the ones we’re closest to.

It probably started out small with them making a rude remark about your home, appearance, family, or job. And they brushed off their behavior with a flaky excuse. . .  “Well you know I had a bad day at work, my boss was on my ass about being late, and my boyfriend and I got into it that morning.” Thus turning the focus from your pain to them, making you feel guilty for your pain. And now they’re the victim, not you.

Then the verbal battering becomes more frequent, and it’s almost as if they are just picking fights. They don’t allow you to voice your feelings openly, and when you do they interrupt or make you feel as though you’re overreacting and have no right to be upset with them. They minimize your emotional pain and hurt feelings with a “how dare you” attitude.

This is text book gaslighting. Manipulation at it’s finest and they are good at it. They are pros at making themselves the victim in every situation. They are pros at never taking responsibility for their actions or words. They are pros at getting their way. This is toxic behavior and just like we urge you to get out of a toxic intimate relationship, we urge you to distance yourself from toxic friendships. They will suck the life from you, eat away at your ability to find joy, and drain your emotional sanity until there is nothing left but a shell. A shell of a person that no longer knows who they are, where they belong, or what to do with themselves.

So, don’t forget that abuse isn’t always violent. Abuse doesn’t always happen between a husband and wife. Abuse can take place in any relationship, great or small. Keep yourself aware of the red flags of abusive people. It isn’t healthy to stay in any type of toxic relationship, your mental state will thank you later. Surround yourself with those that support and lift you up.

~Christa G.

Moving On

 

anxiety-2

It’s so easy to say, “Let the past be the past. Forgive and forget and move on with your life.” Or “If you dwell on the past you’ll never be able to move forward.”

Wow are these statements true! If we continue to remind ourselves of all the times someone has lied to or wronged us, we will never be able to reach our full potential or full happiness.

Why is it so hard to remove the hurt from those past experiences?! Sometimes I wish I could scrub my brain of all the painful memories that resurface from time to time. The circumstances to which someone took advantage of my kindness and gullible nature. The times that I was too quick to forgive and move on, but didn’t resolve it fully so it still plagues me. The moments that left a scar in my soul and kept me from being able to live joyfully.

I am a shell of “everything is perfect” on the outside, while my mind is secretly working 100 miles an hour to pick apart everything that I’ve ever experienced.

General anxiety at its finest.

These are the emotions of someone that has been abused. And they are dealt with daily.

You’ve been lied to about what they were doing, who they were with, and where they were. You’ve been cheated on, cursed at, spit on, beat on, and blamed.

The survivors that are lucky enough to make it out alive are left with pieces of themselves that no longer fit. We must gently work to put ourselves back together. Healing and learning how to live again. Finding a place that we belong. Finding others that understand us. Finding joy.

We need to find the strength to let go of the past so that we can see clearly ahead. This doesn’t mean that you condone the way that person treated you, it just means that you are going to rise above it and no longer allow them to control your train of thought. I am going to purge myself of the negative impact from situations that are far gone and out of my control. It’s time for us to focus on what lies ahead.

~Christa G.

Desensitized America

img_0455

Donald Trump’s words are not just “naughty” or “dirty” but are the epitome of rape culture, and it’s an insult to women to compare his remarks to a fictional story.

Let me put it simply for those that cannot seem to grasp the difference between talking about sex and boasting about sexual assault.

  1. He boasted about forcing himself on women!
  2. He boasted about forcing himself on women because he’s famous and can get away with it!
  3. He boasted about forcing himself on women!

I can’t say it louder or more clear. Any time someone forces themself on you, grabs you without your consent, kisses you without your consent, does anything to you without your consent, it is SEXUAL ABUSE!

50 Shades of Grey is a fictional novel about a girl and a guy and all the sex they have . . . together . . . consensual . . . not forced. We can definitely say the sexual relationship in this novel is not entirely healthy and there is definitely a power struggle between the two characters. The man is rich and powerful. The woman is not. But we don’t need to go into all the semantics of this fictional relationship and the fictional sex that goes on in this FICTIONAL story. This novel and all the women who have read it, are not on trial here. Trump’s disgusting, perverted behavior is on trial. We have proof of him bragging about committing illegal acts. Why is this okay? The fact that this rapist (yes, I said it, if you have any doubt, read this article) is still in the running for President of the United States just shows how rape culture is a real thing. And the fact that this grotesque blob of a vile human being can’t even give a proper apology without trying to defer blame or minimize his transgressions, shows how manipulative and abusive he truly is.

Let’s recap. He bragged about how his power allows him to just walk up to a woman and kiss her or grab her by the pussy or whatever, because they just “let” him do it. Yet he says he doesn’t even wait. So I have to ask this ignorant little man, in what time between you not waiting to move in on a woman and just straight up kissing her or forcing yourself on her, does she have a chance to “let” you do these things? Oh, that’s because she’s not LETTING you do these things to her, she just has to take it, because you’re a star. No, you’re a rapist and a pervert and need to be in jail.

To compare degrading remarks, blatant sexual assault, and the exploitation of his own daughter to a fictional story is just as insulting to women everywhere. It is the reason rape culture exists. Everyone who is ready to find some type of excuse as to why his actions weren’t “that bad” are also part of the problem. Until we expect men to be held accountable for their actions, instead of blaming the victim for either being too drunk or dressing too provocatively, men like Trump will continue to have “locker room” discussions about exploiting those weaker than them.

We have become desensitized, expecting judges to show leniency on privileged white boys who rape women behind dumpsters. We are growing numb to the continued injustice of it all. Like a woman in an abusive and manipulative relationship, we are losing sight of our individuality and have made too many compromises in order to keep the peace. No more. We must break out of this dangerous relationship with rape culture and start holding men like Donald Trump accountable for their actions.

 

~Christa G. & Lindsey V.

 

 

Tender Hearts

 

fire-in-her-soul

We live in a self-centered society, where a good amount of the people in it refuse to see past the nose on their face. Where selfishness and personal gain outweigh the ability to show compassion and kindness. A society that can be toxic for the tenderhearted.

I have always been one to pour my heart and soul into everything and everyone around me. I encourage friends and loved ones to follow their dreams. I support local businesses and friend-owned businesses, and pour my best into always uplifting and promoting them. I try to be a light in a, far too often, dim world. Unfortunately, when the realization sets in, that not everyone upholds these values at the same level you do… it can be disheartening. You never know what someone is going through at any given time, and social media profiles are the worst way to gauge whether or not someone has it all together.

BE KIND ALWAYS.

Don’t let the callousness of others drain the ability to always see good, from your heart. Don’t allow a bitter spirit to take away your joy. Continue giving. Continue loving. Continue being you. You may just be the bright difference that someone needed in their day. Light and love to you all.

~Christa G.

Wuv, Twu Wuv

asdas
“Mawiage is what bwings us togevah today…”

Had I been asked 5 years ago if true love really did exist, I would have said absolutely not. Love seemed like a struggle to me. The term “love-hate relationship” was definitely the only thing I knew of. And if so much hate could be prevalent where there was supposed to be love, then it wasn’t true love in my opinion.

Love was a fairytale. A fantasy that could never be achieved in the real world.

Little did I know, the reason I felt that way was due to the fact that love was absent from my relationship. Love cannot be found where abuse is present.

When I was able to free myself from that toxic relationship, it was as though a veil was lifted. I was freed from the thoughts that I was worthless, ugly, and unsuccessful and found a strength I didn’t know I had. I gained true love for myself. It took some time, but I eventually realized that everything I thought a relationship should be like was a lie. When I discovered what love should actually feel like, I was changed in so many ways. Bitterness and resentment were wiped away and replaced with a newfound confidence. When you receive pure love, you are able to give so much more. The best description for love, that I can think of, can be found in the bible…

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

When love is present, so is hope, trust, faithfulness, and honesty. There will be disagreements, but compromise should always be achieved with civility. With true love, we respect each other’s time, beliefs, morals, goals, and wishes. Through it all, I have realized that true love should not come at a price to my own happiness and self-worth. Where there is happiness there is love.

 

~Christa G.