Gillian’s Place Walk for Women – Gillian’s Place Walk for Women 2016

Source: Gillian’s Place Walk for Women – Gillian’s Place Walk for Women 2016

I am participating in the 4th Annual Gillian’s Place Walk for Women taking place on June 4th in St. Catharines.  Help me help other women live in safety and end violence against women and children.  Click on the link above and you can make a donation.  Any amount helps, big or small.  Let’s end violence against women and children together.

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Gillian’s Place Walk for Women – Gillian’s Place Walk for Women 2014

Gillian’s Place Walk for Women – Gillian’s Place Walk for Women 2014.

I am excited to be participating in Walk for Women presented by Meridian to raise money for Gillian’s Place. Please sponsor me so together we can help make a difference and reach my fundraising goal!  For over 35 years, Gillian’s Place has offered hope to women and children facing abuse.  The journey towards freedom starts here! 

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Our Journey in Relationships

I don’t know what it is about early fall mornings but I’m sitting here this morning in my apartment drinking a cup of tea and listening to the birds chirp outside my window.  Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been doing a lot of reading and a lot of soul searching and it’s amazing what you find when you ask the right questions.

For the last year, I have been in a great relationship with a great man.  He’s been supportive and loving and has spoiled me not with material things but with love.  We’ve developed a relationship that I never thought I would be able to have after all the things that happened to me but he showed me that there still are good men out there.  Unfortunately, because of the lack of jobs in the area that we live, he has had to move to another province, leaving me and his daughter (from a previous marriage) behind so that he can begin to build a future.  At first, I felt as though he was leaving me because I wasn’t good enough, I couldn’t help him enough.  Then I realized that his journey is not about me.  His journey is about what he can do for himself and his future.  I had to stop being selfish and let him move on so that we can have a life together that has meaning.

We could be the best people for each other but until we can both be who we want to be as individuals, we struggle in other aspects of our life.  I’ve had to realize that he didn’t leave me; he wants what’s best for me.  He still loves me, that I know for sure, and I can say that without a doubt I love him, so we are making our separate journey’s in life bring us together.    Long distance relationships are not easy, but knowing that the end result is greater than the distance, that is what keeps you going.  I know that in the end, this experience will make us stronger as individuals and as a couple.  I am learning to live my life again, be the individual that I once was and improve on that.  I know who I am and I know what I want and I am certain that we will both succeed!

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New Year Lesson

Well, it’s a new year and so much has happened in the last year, actually the last six months.  I’ve learned  a lot in the last little while and hope that everyone reading my blog has learned a little something about themselves as well. 

I’ve realized that even though some horrible things have happened to me in my life, I do deserve to be happy and to be loved.  I’ve learned that I can succeed as long as I try and I learned that no matter what people think or say I should always stick to my gut instinct. 

You see, for the longest time I didn’t think that I was worth very much.  Everyone around me seemed to be moving ahead and achieving their goals in life and there I was…stuck.  I realized that until I was ready to learn the lesson, I was always going to be stuck.  No one would be able to teach me if I didn’t really want to learn.  Like the saying goes…if you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’ve got.”  Well, I’ve learned my lesson and in that learning changed some things that I’ve been doing so I don’t keep getting what I had.  I know that in life I want more than what I have and I’ve been working really hard to get there.  I want a career where I can help people, I want a family that loves and accepts me for who I am not what I can do for them, I want friends who support me in any decision I make…even if it’s the wrong one, I want a home that is full of love, I want someone to love me unconditionally, I want to be successful in my future endeavors  I want a diploma on the wall that says yes I worked hard to get what I want and it was so worth it. 

Those are just a few of the things that I want.  There is so much that I want to work towards and the greatest lesson I learned in the last year is that will help me achieve these goals is that I can only take things one step at a time.  Sometimes it feels like I take one step forward then two steps back but I know that I can do whatever I put my mind to.  I know that I have someone in my life that supports me unconditionally and cares for me and about me and for now that’s all I can ask of him.  It’s time for me to make my life the life that I’ve always dreamed of.  What are some things that you’ll do to achieve your goals this year? 

Keep reading my blog for updates on my goals and how they are coming along.  Until next time…Happy New Year and all the best to you and your loved ones 🙂

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Abuse…No One Asks For It

Abuse…No asks for it so why is it that when someone who is abused or raped asks for help and support there is not enough out there?  I have been reading about cases that have been happening or have happened in the past and it utterly shocks me that there is not enough funding for support for these victims.  Most times, the judicial system takes so long to hear a case and when they do, after the guilty verdict, this fair judicial system just shrugs them off and pleads them down to a lesser or no real sentence at all.  They feel that community service and a minimal fine is punishment enough for someone who has taken away the innocence of another human being.  I feel as though people just don’t take this seriously and that disgusts me.

As a survivor of sexual assault and rape, I know what it’s like to feel so alone.  Sometimes you’re just too scared to say it out loud “I’ve been raped”.  Other times you feel guilty, thinking “It’s my fault” and all you want to do is run away and hide.  You think that’s the answer, just don’t talk about it and it’ll go away.  Sometimes the pressure is too much and people take their own life because they can’t deal with the lack of support they get.  Let me be the first to tell you that this problem, this issue, this ignorance doesn’t go away.  As much as you wish it would, you realize that it changes who you are.

I used to be very scared to talk about the abuse that happened to me but after talking with the many people who support me and even some of the people who don’t, I realized that in order for me to heal and get on with my life, forgive myself and be happy, I have to deal with the whole issue of “I didn’t ask for it…it’s not my fault”. 

Sometimes it’s just easier to blame yourself but it really doesn’t do anyone any justice.  I used to think that no one believed me…no one wanted to hear about it…no one cared.  Yes, that may be the case with some people I talk to but the more educated the public is about this issue the greater the chances we have of stopping it from happening and the people who need help and support can get that help and feel the support.  I always thought that I was tearing my family apart when I disclosed about the abuse I went through and the fact that it was my brother in law who abused me, but now I realize that I have a right to feel safe in any situation.  No matter who the abuser is or where it happens I have every right to stand up and say that it’s not right…it should never happen!!!  Yes, my family thinks differently of me, but I’ve been lucky in the past and even now to have a great support system of friends and extended family.  I’ve gone through counselling and group therapy I’ve gone to retreats and have been keeping a journal for many years.  Now I want to be able to help others realize that whatever it is that happened to you…”ITS NOT YOUR FAULT! YOU DIDN’T ASK FOR IT!!!”

I volunteer on a crisis line for people who need to talk to someone while waiting for counselling but the sad part about this is not the fact that people call and use this great service, I wish more people would so they didn’t feel so alone.  It’s the fact that there is not enough funding for these people to get counselling when they need it.  There is a waiting list of a minimum of 6 months before a victim can get in to speak with someone and get the help that they need. 

On Friday May 4/2012, there is a campaign to wear purple for that day to show the many women, men and children that No One Asks for Abuse to Happen to Them.  Please help me in this campaign and wear purple to show your support and let everyone know why you are wearing purple.  It’s important to know that everyone has someone out there that supports them.  Maybe one day there will be enough funding to help these victims know that the support is out there and that they are safe.

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Trust

Trust…it’s a very difficult concept when you’ve been hurt by someone.  I never thought I would be able to trust another person ever again, but, it was easy to trust certain people because I knew that they would never hurt me or make me feel inferior.  None the less, it’s taken me a long time to trust those people but now I realize that by trusting myself first, I am able to trust others too.

I’ve always had a great sense of gut instinct but so many times I’ve just let that instinct, that feeling in the pit of my stomach just go.  I never spoke to anyone about it, never told anyone how I felt.  Today, as I was reading I came across this line.  It goes like this…”By trusting at least one human being to hear you through your pain…to hear you speak the unthinkable, by sharing, you will gain the freedom to say how life is and how  you would like it to be for you.”   I never realized how true this statement was until I took inventory of the things I’ve said to the people that I trust the most.  You see…I’ve always been a very quiet person.  I was always the one that wanted to blend in with the wall and hope that no one saw me or wanted to speak to me.  I never thought that I was worth the time or the effort to get to know.  A lot has changed for me over the years and I started by telling people the truth about what happened to me as a child.  Yes a lot of people turned against me,  and yes some people ignored what I had to say, they called me a liar, but there have been some people who really listened to me, to my story, to my truth.  I’ve never had the intention to hurt other people but I don’t have to stand by and let these people make me out to be the victim in any situation.  I used to think that I wasn’t important enough for people to pay attention to me or for me to ask for help but now I realize it’s because I didn’t trust myself enough to know that there really are people out there that care and that those people can benefit from what I have to say and my experiences.

The most important thing I’ve gained in my life is my power to be myself, speak my truth and trust myself but I’ve also gained a lot of friends that have helped me up when I thought I lost the battle. I know how difficult it is to trust what you feel , especially when people are telling you that what you feel is wrong but I want everyone to know that what you feel is who you are and who you are is important to this world.  My hope is that you can learn to trust your instinct and that everyone can find that one person that you can trust with your feelings, your heart, your words, your truth, your story of who you are.    Eleanor Roosevelt once said “No one can make you feel inferior without your permission” so don’t’ give anyone that permission.  Trust and honour yourself no matter how difficult and know that there is at least one person out there who will always listen to you and trust.

Live well…Laugh often…Love much!!!

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What If?

What if you slept?

And what if in your sleep you dreamed?

And what if in your dream you went to heaven,

And there you plucked a strange and beautiful flower?

And what if when you awoke you had the flower in your hand?

S. T. Coleridge

Six years ago, I attended a Take The Step Intensive Women’s Retreat in Aurora, Ontario, and this poem was our welcome message. I never fully understood it until now.

For the past year, I have been avoiding myself, trying to be someone I’m not, trying to make my family, my friends, my co-workers, my employers, everyone else in my life happy.  I forgot how to make myself happy; you know…how to take care of myself before taking care of others. It’s been such a long time since I took care of myself that I’ve actually forgotten what makes me happy, which activities I enjoy, what it’s like to laugh and smile and actually mean it.  I’ve forgotten that spark that puts a fire in my soul and makes me want to live.  I forgot what the flower from the poem looked like, smelled like, felt like for me.  I’ve been avoiding listening to my heart and sometimes, all it takes is a good heart to heart talk with old friends to help you realize that you’ve been sleeping and it’s time to wake up!

After talking with my friends and finding my binder from the retreat, I read the welcome message again and I realized that the strange and beautiful flower that I picked in heaven is myself…not just the material me, but the whole me.  It’s my hopes, my dreams, my goals, my beliefs, my loves, my passions, my thoughts, my experiences…ME!  If I don’t take care of it, nurture it, then that flower is going to die and never fully be aware of the beauty that it possesses.

I’ve been struggling a lot with what to do with my life, how to take care of this flower, but  for some reason it just got clear one day. I started taking better care of myself and not thinking about others first.  I nurtured my flower and I’ll be honest…it feels good.  I realized what I want for myself and that I can’t keep letting other people stop my flower from growing. I started thinking about what to plant next in my garden, you know, what goals I want to see grow, what other flowers I want to pick in the future, so I decided to plant a flower for health, a flower for education and a tree for friends and fun. I’m truly looking forward to watching these flowers and my tree grow and continuing to landscape my garden and help others with their landscaping as well.

So tell me, what types of flowers will grow in your garden?  What do you want to do in the future, near or far?  What flowers do you want to pick?

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