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June 15 roses

CW: brief mention of domestic violence

I might be blogging exclusively about memoir lately, which I’m good with, but I can’t let a June 15 go by without personal commentary, without taking stock, without holding myself and, as always on this day, buying myself flowers (also my favorite kombucha was on sale so I bought that, too).

Four years ago today, I took my life back. Or did I choose to come back to life? Or did I choose a new life and leave an old one behind? Did I die?

I touched on this conundrum in last year’s June 15 post, when I decided to call it a birthday instead of an anniversary, “a rebirthday, because despite this ongoing healing process, I still feel—I am, I was—ripped into two halves: me before domestic violence and me after.” (Quoting myself is ew but it’s my bday, I’ll do what I want.)

I read the previous three years’ June 15 posts before writing this one, but I didn’t have to do that to know that here I am, a long way out from hell, and I don’t feel that heat anymore. I feel only my own fire, forging a new life.

I’ve burned my own lives down quite a few times in the second half of my 37 years. I did it again recently. Burn baby burn, and let the new growth come.


The new growth is another new life and I’d love if it could be the last new one, in which I let myself have what I never let myself believe I could have. I’m in big big big love, people. Until the last xx days, I had no idea how thoroughly I believed, on an unconscious level, before AND after abuse, that I didn’t deserve to be loved the way I myself am capable of loving. Then xx days ago, I walked into a room and this other person was in the room too and we locked eyes and this magnet activated between us and literally everything about my life changed in an instant, which is why we say “xx days” because we’re counting days, not weeks or months or years, because a day is all it took…

I’m not going to lie to you or to myself. I thought my abusive ex robbed me of the ability to feel like this. I learned quickly, irrevocably, that he did not.

My feeler is feeling again, on over-drive, about this person. The best part? So is his, about me. ME. ❤

Then there’s Jax. I’ve watched my son complete preschool and register for kindergarten in the fall (what.) and join taekwondo and continue to be the healthy, happy, compassionate, funny, brilliant kiddo he is, even through big changes. We are so close. Our relationship is so rock-solid. He’s my North Star.

And I want to talk about being a boss, because I’ve been running the Center all on my own for over a year now and not only is it fulfilling work, but it’s doing well, even growing a bit. I’ve been elected to a leadership role (VP) on the board of the survivor advocacy org that helped me protect myself four years ago (which would very much appreciate your donations, if you’re able). I bought a new(er) car after paying off my old one, the one that helped me escape, and I drafted an essay about what driving has meant to me over the years, a kind of love song to that escape-mobile, complete with fragments of song lyrics that have blasted out of its open windows on hot summer days… New car is fancy, the fanciest thing I’ve ever driven/owned, and it makes me feel good about myself to drive it. I’ve paid off some debt. I’ve eaten fresh, whole, local foods, recommitted to yoga, and am about to embark on a weight-lifting regimen to strengthen my entire body.

And I’ve fully owned what I’ve been through, the way I own things: in writing. I’m conscientious, but I’m not afraid anymore. Here’s a poem I wrote three years ago, published just today (scroll to p. 46). Here’s an essay I wrote almost four years ago, republished for the third time, also today.

How amazing is that? Two pieces published on my fourth anni-rebirth-day. Boss.

If you’re reading and thinking I’m full of myself, then peace out, because on June 15, I’m allowed to be.

If you’re reading my memoir posts and think this personal missive is out of nowhere, know that the memoir reading is part of my feelings-processing and writing process. I’m still here. I’m writing a book about all of this, and more, and still more. Three times in six months, I have locked myself in a hotel room and written all day long, in fact, like a “real” longform writer. I have a book in me, dammit! It might take me a decade, but I’m writing it.

I have decades now, because I left.


If you are being or have been abused, or you know someone who is, and you need to talk, I will listen. Use my contact form. Please take care of yourselves, and please inform yourselves with the resources below:

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233

National Coalition Against Domestic ViolenceStatistics you should know

Safe Horizon10 Signs of Domestic Violence and Abuse

“30 signs of emotional abuse in a relationship” (Because emotional abuse is not as obvious, even to the victim, which contributes to an even greater sense of isolation and confusion.)