Is the life after abuse? Abuse affects so many people and is all too often suffered in silence and carries a stigma which should not be the victim’s to bear. I am grateful to Laura who shares her story of leaving abuse behind and going on to help others move forwards positively through her writing.
Please tell us a little about your childhood and teenage years
I grew up in Memphis, TN. I had a great childhood, thanks to an amazing mother. I was an only child so that made getting what I wanted pretty easy. My mother would make miracles happen. My teen years were as normal as anyone else. I was in the band. I had great friends that I still have to this day. When I turned 17-years old, my mother gave birth to a very hyper little boy. He’s 22 now and still hyper!
What was your first job?
My first job was working for an amusement park here in Memphis called Libertyland. You would think working for an amusement park would be fun but I hated it! You’re a teenager at an amusement park. You don’t want to work because you want to have fun. But I learned a lot working that job. It taught me exactly how much to take from an employer.
When did you experience domestic violence and how did it make you feel?
Domestic violence entered my life at the age of 24. I met him in front of my house. That was the day I met the devil. I lost a huge part of me. I lost my fearlessness, my self-esteem, my sanity. I’m 39-years-old now and I’m still working on getting it all back. There are still things I can’t quite deal with. I don’t like people in my personal space. I don’t let anyone touch my neck. Ever! As I said before, I’m still working through some things.
Who supported you?
The most support I received was from my mother. That is after she found out. I’d pretty much left friends alone, but one friend stuck it out with me no matter what. She’d saved me a million and one times.
What happened next?
Our final fight almost ended my life. When he was arrested, I vowed to never go back to him. He was in jail no more than a week before he was released. He stalked me until he went back to jail for an unrelated crime. Over the course of the past 10 years, he has been in and out of jail for multiple crimes. Unfortunately, I still hear from him.
Tell us about your writing
I started writing in my journals during the relationship. I needed some type of outlet. I turned my journals into my first book in 2011. I wanted my story to help or save anyone who has dealt with abuse. My ideal reader is someone who’s been abused or knows someone who is. I want that reader to come away with more knowledge of domestic violence, PTSD, and depression. I also want them to see what a true abusive relationship is like. The good and bad times. Because not every moment is awful. Some are wonderful. And that’s why we stay because we think the bad times are over, when he/she is in a good mood.
If you could recommend a book to a woman, what would it be?
I highly recommend books by the author Deidra D.S. Green. She is a great story teller. Her series Woman at the Top of the Stairs tells the story of domestic violence.
Do you have any words of wisdom for a person experiencing abuse?
I understand to tell someone to get out is easier said than done. But think of it this way, if you were in a robbery and the thief held a gun to your head would you beg for your life? In my opinion that’s what abuse is like. Every day you’re begging them to spare your life. No one should live like that. I have a mantra that I use in every aspect of my life. It’s to remind me that I made the right choice. “There is life after abuse.”
My final words are to love yourself. Self-love is the most important thing. As my mother says, “You don’t hurt what you love.”
I think the more we talk about the fact that abuse exists the more people will find the strength to seek help and to escape. I am thankful to Laura for sharing so openly and encouraging us to believe that there is life after abuse.