Apparently, my act of brazen defiance of Kevin’s iron will in December has turned into a landslide of epic proportions. What began as an act of desperation and survival has morphed into a complete overhaul of every last element of my life. It is a marvelous thing for me that I am not afraid of change, because for the past nine months, I have subjected myself to upheaval upon upheaval, and it seems that I am far from finished. This is a very well-refined element of Amy from the days before Kevin… constantly moving, constantly developing, improving, learning, acting, going, shopping, dancing, singing, traveling… anything but stagnation.
I have blue-screened the whole lot of them. Those around me act completely confounded and shocked that the version of me they knew nine months ago would come to share the same body that I have now. Alas, my freedom seems to have lit a spark that enveloped that Amy in an overdue conflagration and erased her. They look at me, puzzled, to some extent troubled, that I have changed so drastically since then. Their untrusting eyes examine everything, from the makeup, to the jewelry, to the shoe and bag collection, the clothes, the skirts they had never seen me wear, my lunches, my deliberate weight loss, the sudden changes I make to my hair on a whim… and some who pay closer attention notice my brazen acts of making eye contact with everyone, acknowledging everyone, stopping someone I see in the office who looks down-hearted and asking them how they are, sometimes being bold enough to mention how I see they look tired or down, ask if they need help with anything, and the conversations that follow with them smiling, leaving the spectators completely confounded as to how I did it.
“What are you doing, what did you do, that made you like this?”
My answer: survive living with a monster and come out the other side with an unrestricted, unbound appreciation for life, love, and Jehovah.
“They have been miserable all day and wouldn’t even talk to me! How did *you* get them to smile?”
My answer: Maybe I’m contagious. It has been known to happen now and again. Seriously, what it is… It could be a million and one things. Perhaps, I am contagious. Smiling is pretty awesome. I have plenty of smiles to go around. But what I believe is that maybe, just possibly, they were so appreciative and encouraged that someone who doesn’t know them well not only noticed something was wrong but was bold enough to extend comfort. Sometimes, the smallest gesture in the form of kind words and a gentle smile can mean more than the most lavish of gifts. Open your heart and show others that you care, that they matter.
It’s called compassion. I have been through the inferno and made it out *alive.* I have no callous, and I refuse to let someone who is suffering walk by, especially if all it takes is a little encouragement. It’s an easy thing to do. All you have to do is extend yourself. And fear it? After Kevin… Psh.
“You look so happy now!” and “You seem like a completely different person!”
My answer: I am happy, and I deserve to be. I have a new lease on life, but the difference you speak of is on the outside. Even though my appearance has changed as well as many interests, I believe the core of who I am has remained the same, if not augmented by what I have made it through.
I have to say, when I wrote this last thought, I winced a little. I have happiness, even though it is periodically challenged by the echoes of Kevin in the back of my mind. My happiness is cherished, even treasured, and my mind constantly turns to those who do not have the same. In my area over the past several months, there have been an increasing number of domestic violence incidents and a rising number of abusers who have violated the stay away orders in place on them. The latest of them was arrested yesterday for violating a stay away order granted just eleven days earlier.
From my own experience, my counselor who also works as an advocate in the courts is constantly on the go and has had to reschedule sessions on several occasions to handle emergencies that have arisen. The advocates, counselors, and domestic violence service organizations in the county cover an extensive amount of rural territory, and while they work tirelessly in attempt to assist those who need them, they are being spread too thin.
I spent a little time Saturday evening researching the domestic violence services organizations that do exist in the three county area, and I have volunteer application PDFs downloaded and ready to go. Early next week, I will be contacting each of them regarding open volunteer positions and get details of the training each organization offers before I decide where to put in the application. Eventually, my immediate focus will be related to advocacy, support, and assistance in helping victims of domestic violence get out, get shelter and immediate stability, and begin rebuilding their lives.
So thank you, Kevin, for showing me that I can not only survive but flourish no matter what I endure… including you. Now it’s up to me to use this to protect others from people like you.