As I looked through old pictures this morning it was strange to see pictures from five years ago compared to pictures from today. I think that most of us feel this way about life and why the internet has been hit with apps like Timehop, we are fascinated with the changes that we make as humans and individuals.
For me to look back at myself five years ago I see in pictures how much hurt I held in my eyes, how bearing the secret of domestic violence took a toll on my body, to go from weighing 170 pounds down to 130 in less than 2 months worth of time. Looking back I also see all of the pain and remember all of the sleepless nights I had.
It was a cold blizzardy morning here in New England, my ex-husband had taken our car out the night before to go looking for drugs, women and trouble per usual, but for the first time in the years that I had been with him I was no longer going to sit back and do nothing about it. For the first time in all those years I was finally empowered enough to make my moves to get out of the situations, that was the moment that moved me from the category of victim to now survivor.
For years I had let him push me around, throw things at me, hit me, and hurt me in so many ways both emotionally and physically. At the time I thought that I was strong enough of a person to withstand just about anything so that our children could have a “family”. To me at the time all I wanted was for them to have the image of a family because I knew far to little behind what the actual meaning of the word was. And so, when he attacked our son two weeks prior, I knew that it was time for me to begin to make my move.
And so in a blizzard I packed as many Rubbermaid tubs as I could, as quickly as I could with anything and everything I thought that we would need, and we left.
Leaving didn’t mean that I was completely emancipated from him yet. That would be a process, a legal process and a very emotional process. But at least in that moment I began gaining my freedom. My children and I moved back into my childhood home, and we began living in a multigenerational home with my mother, father, and my brother.
For me finding my roots, back in the dirt led me back to who I actually was as a person. I found gardening to be so therapeutic for me, the time to sit out in the sun and work, and get my hands dirty. This also began my deep interest and soon love in the idea of homesteading, self sufficiency, and the idea of being able to create and entirely new life where I can be completely independent.
When my husband Matt came into the picture he was aware of everything that I had been through and the fact that I had two little boys, who at the time were 2 and 1. He stepped not only into their lives, but into the role as their father, and has since been the only father they’ve ever known. It was during this new period of my life that I realized what a family actually is and almost not of it has anything to do with DNA.
Of course my parents and brothers were amazing, and to this day they continue to be amazing, in fact in a text message from my brother Joe the other night he told me that one way or another between my father, him, my brother Jake, and my husband that all of my boys would grow up to be GREAT men some day. And between all of them I know that is absolutely true. Between all of them, my mother, inlaws, and friends I have been turned from a person who was beat down, who felt like nothing, felt I deserved nothing to being a domestic goddess, gardener, up beat, STACY, having a good time in life, and living every moment type of person. That is the mother that I want my children to see, and the example I want to set for other young women, domestic violence victims, and my children.
As the years seemed to pass, which has happened so very quickly, almost in the blink of an eye, I know have children approaching elementary school, and another already quickly walking, which seems so insane because I feel as though I was just blogging yesterday about being pregnant with him.
At this point in my life, I am sure that like most I could be more assertive, and more outspoken about things. But the truth is that was never really in my nature before this either. But am now and will be forever much more independent as a person, and not so able to rely on others. It has taken me years to wash away the brainwashing and the manipulation that I suffered and part of that has scarred my soul, but in other ways it has turned me into a much better person. It has given me the drive and the perseverance I have today. I will never go back to faking who I am just to please someone else because in the process you just make yourself miserable and angry. I will never go back to allowing other people to completely demolish who it is that I am as a person deep down in my soul. I have my values and beliefs, and of course just because I won’t let another person demolish those, doesn’t also mean I have to shove them down other people’s throats.
Live every single day as it is your last, so tomorrow morning if you are not happy with who you are as a person, or what you do, or how things are going. CHANGE IT. Be the change you want to see in yourself and in your world. You never know in 5 years you may look on Timehop and thank yourself for it!
PEACE LOVE SALVATION