Vanessa Stevens

Beyond Violence

“Count your blessings. Once you realize how valuable you are and how much you have going for you, the smiles will return, the sun will break out, the music will play, and you will finally be able to move forward the life that God intended for you with grace, strength, courage, and confidence.”

Og Mandino

Tonight I had the very exciting  opportunity to attend my second taping of  Beyond Violence (hosted by friend Christine).   Although I have only known her a few months, Christine has made a tremendous impact on my life.  Like many amazing women, she has know idea what a positive impact she has on others.  She is incredibly modest, kind, and caring- and a terrific advocate of women and victims of abuse to boot!  The first time I was on her show, she had asked me to read a poem I had written after the My Avenging Angel Workshops.  When her second guest didn’t arrive, she inquired if I’d be willing to share my story to fill in- so I did.  I left with a migraine (it was difficult to go back to that place and talk about it), but also the determination to do more to help other women.  That is when I started this blog.

I had no idea how, so I called my sister and asked for her help.  Initially, it was difficult for me to open up and write about what I had been through, but it was so important to me to speak up and address the stigma associated with abuse.  So many people think it only happens to poor, uneducated women with low self-esteem.  That just isn’t true.  There’s a tremendous amount  the public just doesn’t comprehend about the mechanics of domestic violence and abuse.  It’s time for women to start talking about it and not be ashamed.  Domestic abuse affects 1 our of 4 women- so why aren’t we doing more about it?

This time around, Christine just wanted me to read a poem for each of her tapings (2 in this case).  Her guests included an organization titled Not for Sale, committed to ending Human Trafficking; and the uber gifted singer/songwriter Vanessa Stevens (check out her projects including her Purple Song Project and blog).   Vanessa is someone I truly admire, and I was looking forward to getting to see her again when I agreed to come back on the show.  I choose The Revolt and I cried to read.  I got a lot of positive feedback, which I appreciated (despite not really believing it was deserved).  Listening to Vanessa speak about all her projects and accomplishments made me realize that I’d like to be more like her.  She really has her you-know-what together; and, on top of it, is incredibly committed to benefiting others (I’m so lucky to have such great role models at this point in my life!).  I also  want to help other victims and survivors heal and realize their self-worth again.  I’ve moved beyond the point of focusing on the abuser and what I’ve been through.  My mindset is completely focused on creating a positive future both for myself and others.  It was time to address the victims.  Here is what I wrote:

To The Victims of Abuse,

I come to you from a happy, self-accepting place; but I know your struggle all to well.

I know how it feels to hate and blame yourself.

I know how it feels to be stripped of your identity and self-esteem.

I know how it feels to have your sanity hanging by a thread.

I know how it feels to not believe you have the strength to endure another day.

I am here to tell you that you can. 

You don’t need to believe it now, but you will.  One day you’ll realize that the pain and suffering isn’t worth it.  The house, the security, the companionship, his love- aren’t worth itHe isn’t worth it.  He doesn’t deserve you.  He doesn’t know what love is.  He isn’t capable of love- not of loving himself, and not of loving you. But, you are capable of love.  You are worth more.  Your life is worth more.  You were intended for greater things than this.  You are a beautiful, powerful, perfect child of God.  You were born unafraid and full of curiosity.  You still embody these things- they are just buried deep.  Let them loose!

Free yourself.

Love yourself.

Heal yourself.

You deserve to be happy.

You deserve to feel safe.

You deserve to love yourself and to be loved by others.

These are not things that are earned.  They are what every person is entitled to from the moment he or she is born.

Fight the negativity in your head.  That’s not how you or the rest of the world perceive you.  That is how your abuser sees you.  It is a pack of lies designed to make you feel small, to bring you down to his level.  Shut him out of your head.  You are an exquisite light in this world.  Don’t let him or anyone else put it out.  YOU DESERVE TO SHINE!

With Unconditional Love and Understanding,

Jenny

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