Writing The House on Sunset: The Art of Recovery
Abusers don’t leave us when we leave them. They sneak into consciousness when PTSD attacks, when self-harm seems easier than dealing with emotional pain, when terror keeps us from walking streets at night.
But I know the people reading here know this.
I’m more of a visceral writer than a logical one. I think vomiting my guts onto the page not only shows what spoiled in my stomach, but makes you smell the curdled, chunked debris. Your eyes begin to water, saliva clings to your tongue and your throat spasms against itself.
I’ve been asked before why I didn’t talk more about the exact steps I took in recovering from my abuse inside of The House on Sunset. “Why did you highlight the darkest moments and darkest thoughts? Why not give survivors hope they can reach the same place as you?”
And I think those questions are as misguided as the victim-blaming rhetoric we see in society.
But, really, it’s because glossing over the abuse and showing a happy ending allows society to keep feeling comfortable with what’s happening behind closed doors. People can say things like, “Hey, she must be alright now since she’s a published author,” without ever sitting with the discomfort of our nightmare.
Survivors don’t react that way. They are gracious and thankful I didn’t hold back, that I shined the light on what they endured.
Time and time again outsiders look at me like I want recovery to be a mystery, like I’m holding some secret balm that could soothe every soul and mend the broken bits.
If only that were true.
But the fact remains that the pressure was on me, I am the one they want to hold responsible, mostly because they don’t like their own reaction to my story.
What I do know is this:
Telling my truth in a – sometimes – graphic way has allowed me to stop feeling as if I’m lying to the rest of the world about what happened to me. “I was abused” isn’t as thought-provoking as “He threw me down a flight of stairs and – after – tried to choke the life out of me on a concrete floor.” “He was insulting” can’t possibly explain what it feels like to hear “You’re a worthless whore who doesn’t deserve to sleep on a bed like a decent human.”
After rationalizing my reasons for wanting to be so blunt, the roughness of my words honey-coated wounds. They hurt less and I could breathe more.
Writing The House on Sunset was, in many ways, one of the biggest parts of my recovery, and I knew that before it was finished. Not only did I feel the pain and sorrow, but I was able to navigate the PTSD with self-care practices I learned in trauma therapy. It was the end of a silent chapter and the beginning of another when I reclaimed the life – and voice – taken from me by a man I loved fiercely.
Now, I don’t hold secrets. My anger has been hashed out.
And my baby book has taken on a life of its own, something I hoped for but never anticipated.
When I began writing it was for me, to get thoughts out of my head before they swallowed me whole. Once I started sharing my story – however – I realized a bigger audience needed to see my vulnerability to realize they weren’t alone, to understand they weren’t the only people slamming their heads into dressers to numb the emotional pain.
It’s not my story anymore. It’s our story: for the people who sacrifice so much for someone feverish for control.
I’m a firm believer that holding it all in only makes our pain last longer. It only perpetuates the cycle our bodies expect us to follow as trauma survivors. It only makes it feel deeper, darker, and harder to overcome.
And though each survivor heals differently – Hell, you and I both know what’s safe for one of us is an inferno for someone else – I think we share more commonalities than differences.
We’re stronger than believed. Smarter than assumed. Only tormented because we give what everyone else says they want to: unconditional love.
Which is exactly why you won’t find a happy ending attached to my book. Because, if I added it, I’d still be lying about my own recovery (and separating myself from my brothers and sisters in survivorship).
Lindsay built and destroyed her life trying to create the next best thing.
A healer and empath to the core, she sacrificed her own safety to try to save someone else.
She’s a giver and teacher, a sassy Italian who carb loads on weekends. When her arms aren’t flailing around in conversations, she’s often lost in the writing world. But none of that matters if you don’t know why she’s here, right?
Lindsay is the survivor of an eighteen month relationship with a sociopath. After being thrown down a flight of stairs at The House on Sunset, Lindsay picked herself up off the floor and returned to her own home, carrying two trash bags of clothes and her dog, Watson, to start over. Jobless, her car was repossessed three days later. Then her house went into foreclosure proceedings. At twenty-seven, she was an unemployed, homeless victim of abuse, but she changed her story and became a survivor.
IT WASN’T EASY.
There were plenty of disgustingly painful days when she slammed her head into walls to avoid the mental pain (by creating the physical). PTSD and body dysmorphic disorder in tow, healing became her number one priority.
Three years of trauma therapy changed her life.
Now, Lindsay works to speak on behalf of the survivors of intimate partner violence who aren’t ready to speak for themselves. She wants the world to see how insidious violence is, knowing no boundaries (like society ignorantly assumes). If you’ve ever said, “I’d never stay with someone who hit me,” or any variation of that phrase, she wants to talk to you first. Because – funny (or not) – she used to say the same damn thing.
How to Connect with Lindsay
Her website: http://www.survivorswillbeheard.com/#meet-lindsay