On Tuesday I had my radio interview with the amazing Renee DiNino. She was gracious, thoughtful and incredibly insightful. (Thanks for that, Renee.) Our topic of discussion was, you guessed it, domestic violence. And although this is a topic I discuss every day, it’s not one that I discuss on the radio. Usually I get to preview the questions that will be asked during interviews so that I can prepare my answers mentally before we begin. With Renee? No dice. She wants the raw, real un-canned answer. A genuine conversation. Of course she does, because that’s what listeners what to hear!
Me: So, can we go over the questions you’re going to ask?
Renee: Don’t worry. It’s just going to be a conversation. Talk about whatever you’re comfortable talking about. But try to keep it to a twelve year old audience. Remember, kids might be listening.
Me: “Ok, I can do that.” (in my head) Holy crap! Most of my story is pretty terrible. Can I say miscarriage? Can I say he shot at me? Can I say he strangled me so I couldn’t sing any more or that he gave my cat away while I wasn’t home so that I would stay with him in order to get her back? (out loud) “Can I say miscarriage?”
Renee: “Yes.” (she paused and looked at me) “You’re ok. This is going to help a lot of people. It’ll reach about 2 million.”
Me: (in my head) Holy crap, holy crap, holy crap! Smile. Deep breath. (out loud) “Ok.”
And so the interview commenced…
I think I did alright. I get stuck on the weight of what I’m doing sometimes. The fact that I want to save as many people as I can. I want to help people improve their lives. I want healing to go forth into future generations. It can get heavy. If I let it, it could probably derail me. Self doubt. Insecurities. And the grand asshole in my head, the one I lived with in person for ten years. “Who do you think you are? Who’s gonna listen to you? You don’t know anything! Stupid Bitch!” That was my name for a long time.
But there is one question I wish I had answered differently. And since I have this platform, I’m going to make use of it. Will it reach 2 million people? Maybe not. Maybe it will if you help me by sharing this. Either way, I have to put it out there. And even if it saves one person, then it will have done what I had hoped it would.
Renee asked me what I would say to someone who is experiencing domestic violence right now. Heres what I wish I had said…
I know what you’re going through. I know you’re scared and hurt and embarrassed and confused. You can’t see past surviving today. You’re probably angry about what’s happened to you. Maybe you blame your abuser for hurting and manipulating you, maybe you blame your family for judging you or not saving you. Maybe you blame your friends for being distant or turning their backs. Maybe you blame yourself. Its not your fault. I know you feel totally alone, but you’re not. I’m here. There are places for you to go for help and so many other people to help you. YOU ARE WORTH SAVING! You don’t deserve to be abused. Nobody does. You deserve to be happy, to be free to make your own choices, whatever they are. You are NOT broken beyond repair. You are NOT worthless. You are beautiful, gorgeous, handsome, smart, worthwhile, special, intelligent, ONE OF A KIND! Your children need you. We need you. I need you. There can be a beautiful life waiting for you. I can’t promise it will be easy, but it is possible. Recovering from abuse takes hard work. I know that because I’ve done it…I’m still doing it. But every single second of reclaiming my life has been worth it. You deserve real love and respect, from everybody…including yourself.
I love you.
Please stay safe.
Help is a phone call away.
National DV Hotline:
Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence Hotline:
Prudence Crandall Center Hotline:
International Domestic Violence Hotline: To contact the toll-free crisis line from overseas, first dial your AT&T USADirect access number and at the prompt, enter: 866-USWOMEN (879-6636). Or email at firstname.lastname@example.org