As a brand-new veterinary school graduate back in the 80’s, I had achieved my dream. So why wasn’t I happy? Why did I continue to carry the weight of despair, along with a lonely hopelessness? I decided that therapy might help, but it wasn’t easy. Days before that first appointment, I drove around the office building often to locate the parking place closest to the door. I wanted to minimize my chances of being seen by someone I knew. I was filled with shame, and I didn’t understand why. But I kept working with my therapist, until a year later I walked in to her office, shaking, to tell her that I had been abused. It was all coming out in powerful flashbacks, memories tumbling upon memories as if a dam had broken. I feared I would drown. My only solace was that my shame, despair, and hopelessness now finally made sense.
I started writing, discovering that a free expression of exactly what I felt like inside could help counteract all those years of pretending that I was OK. By exploring my emotions and connecting them to my experiences, I could make sense of what had happened and how I had managed to survive. I could decide what I wanted to keep, and let go of what I no longer needed. Now, decades later, I am creative, strong, confident, and content. I am surrounded by my chosen family who loves and supports me. My new novel, But I Already Said Goodbye, explores the link between animal abuse and domestic violence.
I want everyone to know that abuse is not just something that happens to you, and then you move on. Abuse, especially at a young age, gets inside of you and changes how you view yourself and your world. It gets in the way of your free expression as your own unique self. Now I speak out, because our stories need to be told. I am a survivor. Together with other survivors we can bring this silent suffering to light, take hands together, bring the abusers out into the open, and stop the harming. It can be done.