When Christina first asked me to guest post for her this month, my first thought was I can do this; especially with all the respect and love I have for this woman who is more of a sister to me than anything. The email that followed sent a shock through my system - I want your story. Why should this be any different than my own journal? Perhaps because I talk in increments about my life over there, bits and pieces here and there to be discovered, pondered over, and despite my raw emotional expundage (it’s a word in my world) even judgmental handouts. One entry won’t come close to wrapping a bandage around what is my life…
Would it help to know I’m familiar with adversity and I’m a Deaf Cherokee woman? My life is one of questionable choices and bitter ends evolving into none other than, the woman who sits here typing her thoughts onto the page before me. I’m a woman who used to think a fist was the absolute truth of what love was. I drowned myself in pain and alcohol for years to find this person I am. Is that the story I’m to tell? Or is it the one about the woman child who escaped into the world at 16, never looking back; a home that contained a monster and a mother who hid behind religious rebuttal. I realize on some level this all sounds contrite. Then again if this is about me, it’s about learning to accept the fallacy and mistakes in life that were not all on me, yet I still weigh the consequences of those choices. My life is not picture perfect by any means.
My life is much more rich and enchanting. You see I’m a survivor. Not exactly of the caliber of our dear sweet Christina and her war against Breast Cancer, but a survivor none the less. I made it to the other side of the fist to see I had much more value than the one wielding his pain. So many, many more don’t escape. With that knowledge in hand, I’ve lived my shame of being one of "those" women and piece by piece I’ve told my story; choosing to break the silence so many live in fear with. I may be Deaf but my voice is a roar on these pages standing strong against the wind and holding my hand out for the next in line; yet another life that was beaten into the ground. My story, my words incite emotion. If I can make you feel the pain, the horror of what I’ve lived with, for but one moment in your life…I’ve succeeded. How else are we to break the silence that has chained so many of those imprisoned in a life of Domestic Violence?
That’s one part of the story, one small fraction of the whole. I’m also an advocate against animal cruelty. A friend once said she believed it was easier to rescue animals due to my distrust of human beings. Part of that had its truth. The other part was living with the knowledge of what it was like to be abandoned, forgotten and lost on the streets. I’m well aware I give these unfortunates a human guise. It’s worked its own kind of magic. To date between me and my husband we’ve rescued dozens of animals and found new homes for them. That’s the other part of the mystery, finding a man who taught me not all men were made up of cruel deviations of humanity.
The only other part of my story that becomes something more is my outlook on the silence that has changed my life beyond measure. My struggle to understand this new found world and what it holds for me in the coming days finds its way onto the pages of my life story. If I could but open one other person’s eyes to what it’s like to live with this quiet (not always serene) existence, I’ve broadened the understanding of what Deaf truly means. I refuse to be enclosed and boxed into assumptions of what I should be. Life in its entire splendor was meant to be lived, and experienced with all that we are.
What of my story? Its life, perhaps not unlike yours or maybe it is you to some degree. At the end of the day, no matter what obstacles where placed before me, I chose to live, to overcome and see beyond to the other side. In all honesty, how can we not? We are given such a short lifetime with which to appreciate all the wonders humanity affords us. (Smiling) Yes, this is the story Christina wanted…hope against all odds; I’m proof of that and my dear sweet friend is more inspiring and proof of that in itself. Different stories of wanting to overcome and take all that life has to offer, what beautiful delicate conundrum humanity is…Thank you Christina for a much needed reminder -I have come far and still have an incredible distance to go, yet hope still holds the reigns of my future.