Resilience 101 – how to fall, and get up again, and fall, and get up again…
My name is Kristin and I write at Wanderlust. I may already be acquainted with many of you. I first met Lori (in the virtual sense) about 18 months ago when our respective lives were pretty cool. We were both new bloggers. We both had an insatiable need to write, write, write. We shared a similar warped humor. We held the future in the palms of our hands. All was good.
Then one day my life exploded in a big way. Just completely, monumentally, utterly exploded. A few months later Lori’s life fell apart. Completely, utterly, and monumentally. All either of us knew to do in the dark and haunted months that followed was to write.
Just. Keep. Writing.
Expression was like oxygen. Breathe in, breathe out. It was all we could do.
A year(ish) later we’re still here, still writing, healing little by little.
We had the opportunity to meet in person in Sydney this past March and shared the world’s longest hug ever caught on film. The Australian blogging community brought me to Sydney, from Kansas, because they are generous and amazing. I will never forget what they did for me. Lori and I, we were there at the conference, our bodies carrying us through the day, our voices chatting with friends, but on the inside we were MIA. You could tell.
We saw each other again last month in Melbourne. We laughed, we took silly pictures, we told inappropriate jokes at inappropriate times during the conference sessions. This time we were more grounded and present. Getting there, at least.
So you don’t have to go read through 20 blog posts, I’m going to condense my story for you here.
In August of 2010, while negotiating a divorce, I was assaulted in my home by my husband while our children cried downstairs. I was shocked and not shocked. It had been a long time coming.
Two weeks later I discovered a cache of horror porn in his home office. Pictures of dead women, crime scene photos. Hundreds upon hundreds of dead women, pictures taken for the sexual pleasure of men. I was truly shocked at this point, and very afraid.
The next day three officers showed up at the house with a search warrant and confiscated his computer. I asked them what they were looking for. They told me child pornography. I didn’t believe them. I thought maybe there had been some teen pictures they had found. I had lived with this man for ten years. How could I not know?
But it wasn’t teenagers. It was young children. An investigator testified recently that on an initial scan of his computer they found 18,000 images of child porn.
Eighteen fucking thousand.
Can you wrap your head around that? I couldn’t. I still can’t.
For over a year now I have lived in fear of my husband. His investigation is still open. He’s still free. But what will he do when he is charged, when he has nothing left to lose?
There is more of my story here, if you wish to read it.
What am I getting at? Why am I sharing this with you? Because I believe that the reason Lori and I are doing okay(ish) today, despite everything that has happened in our respective worlds, is because we spoke out. We cried, swore, hoped against hope, railed at the injustice of it all, resigned ourselves, laughed and cried some more. We looked our lot full in the face without blinking and expressed what was happening to us on the inside.
We told our truths.
Some people didn’t like that. Fuck ‘em, we thought. This isn’t about them. Most people were hugely supportive.
Lori made purple wrist bands that said, ‘Speak’. She gave me one in Melbourne. I love it. Six months ago I began dreaming about a social media awareness campaign for domestic violence. Last month, together with Blogcatalog, I launched the ‘Speak Out’ campaign. Fine minds think alike.
Do you see that yellow badge on Lori’s left sidebar? The kind of dodgy one that looks like it was made by someone mediocre graphic skills (me)? ‘I’m speaking out on Nov 18th’? That’s what’s she’s on about. On Friday, November 18th, hundreds, perhaps thousands of social networkers will blog, tweet or otherwise share the message that domestic violence is something we need to talk about.
We need to talk about it openly because expression heals. Expression empowers us and saves us and shows us the path leading out of hell. Expression allows us to remember who we are, because we are, all of us, strong and courageous and loving, despite what the world may have told us.
You can join us and sign on yourself by going here.
I’m still living my ordeal. I don’t know what the ending will look like (though I’m banking on the fact that it will include a move to Australia – are you listening Universe?). In the mean time, however, I’m going to keep speaking out.
I hope you will join us on November 18th.
And Lori? I love you and think you are amazing. You are the very essence of resilience.