Most of my life, I thought love only came in one form and I was belittled if I showed any feelings towards myself. I’ve learned, love comes in many packages. Love can come from friends, strangers, animals, family and self. Discovering how to recognize them was challenging and as I learned how they came in play with everyday life, it was like discovering electricity for the first time. During this phase of my journey, I repeatedly heard people say, “You can’t love others until you love yourself!” This would infuriate me. I would say “I do love myself, how can they say this!” No matter what others said, I knew in my heart, this was the truth! I left to save my life, emotionally, physically and spiritually. I lost everything for freedom.
As healthy love started pouring in, I was taken aback. My first response was, what do they want from me or is this a trick to get something from me. It took a lot of patience and I had to be taught what love was from friends, counselors and loved ones. As I pushed ahead, the thirstier I became wanting more for myself. Strangers would give charity and friends became great supporters for my well-being, but the most important love was “loving myself.” I’m still discovering love with each new day. It’s not about how fast you get there, but the experience and enjoying it as it arrives.
We all have dreams and what helped me hold onto mine was Faith. Faith was the building block that guided me to the next steps in my life. I believe in God and I’m a dreamer, so when things would get rough, I would visually see a door close and another one open. I believed that God sent his angels to aid me in my time of need, but it takes time for things to unfold.
I have always loved hummingbirds and once had a hummingbird garden. I would get up at 5:30 in the morning to sit quietly on my patio just to see them feed. As the sun rose, I would pray and just think about my dreams, my goals and my future. The hummingbirds would fly right up to my face and it was amazing to see these little birds fly up, down, forwards and backwards. As fast as they appeared, they disappeared in the new dawn’s light.
Just recently, hummingbirds came back into my life. It was Christmas and I searched everywhere for the perfect Christmas card. After finding just the right one, I discovered the card logo was a hummingbird and it even came with a hummingbird gold seal. There was a message about what the hummingbird represents. Legend is, this beautiful little bird brings joy and happiness into one’s life, and hopes and dreams are delivered. On Christmas Day, the card was delivered to my dear friend, and the gift I was given was a blown glass hummingbird.
I’ve discovered God and his angels have delivered joy and happiness and my dreams are coming true. Looking back, I have realized all the doors that God continues to open and close takes time, as his plans for me continue to unfold. He not only opens doors for me, but also for those he places in my life as well.
The first step of leaving is YOUR SAFETY!!! Leaving domestic violence is a challenging choice that only the victim can make. The first step is contacting the right agency by educating yourself on how to leave. These agencies will guide you on the steps needed to move forward.
I understand the fear of not knowing. This emotion was terrifying, but the vision of a new beginning gave me hope; I lived on dreams. At night, I would look up into the sky, wishing upon stars; asking God to grant my prayers for a better tomorrow. It took me two years to find a way out and as I reflect back, I love the person I’ve become. As I went through this transition of leaving, it was very painful and scary, but I knew beauty would come from darkness.
For me, the earliest memory of hope was at the age of 5. I would hide under a stack of old chairs in my grandmother’s basement. As I looked through the opening of the chair legs, I could see a picture of Jesus. At this age, I never went to church nor did I know who Jesus was, but as I looked upon him, I thought, “one day I will marry this man.” Funny, I didn’t even know what marriage meant, but there was a presence of peace and love that came from his image that put me at ease. This memory has always stayed with me and that little picture gave me hope.