This is what I do...#WhenIBecameFree

This morning as I sit here sipping my coffee and taking in the morning news, I am feeling rather hopeful. I know I am on the right path with moving forward with When I Became Free.

I am glad I made the decisions I have this year - I am following a dream and a path that was laid decades ago and it feels good.

The prevalence of abuse, whether it is child sexual abuse, child abuse or domestic violence and sexual assault as an adult, touches more lives than people will ever realize - I hope to change that, even if it is one person at a time.

For years I've worked 1:1  with survivors. I am the ear and sounding board they need. I help find resources and provide whatever guidance I can. The most important thing I offer, in my opinion, is no judgments.  Their wounds are deep and the symptoms of their pain are very noticeable.

For the most part, I keep their stories confidential. I do so unless they are taking part in #WhenIBecameFree .  But, to give you an example of how wide-spread and far-reaching abuse is I will tell you about the day I had yesterday.

Yesterday I awoke to three different messages, all from survivors. All from people in my own area, and all who have been abused as a child and as an adult. Two of them just needed to vent their story out. I understand that need, they need to feel heard, to know someone else knows of their existence, their true story. All three were women in their 30s and 40s. The third one needed resources as she is preparing to leave a very abusive situation.

As the day went on I heard from a teenager who is struggling with PTSD. A while back her mother asked me to be open to listening to her. The mom, a survivor of many things, knew her daughter needed a safe person to vent to, and, of course, I agreed. It gives me hope to know the mom realizes her daughter's needs and even more hope to know the young woman is addressing her issues at such a young age.

As I was getting ready for bed last night another survivor contacted me, again, a local person - and, again, they needed to vent as memories were surging, needing an outlet.

Five survivors contacted me yesterday - five females I've been working with for a while now and all five very different from one another even though their common bond is being a survivor of abuse. They come from different walks of life, different educational backgrounds, a couple are financially secure, a couple live in poverty - two of them are currently in an abusive environment and the others are tending their wounds.

It was a typical day for me - that is how prevalent abuse is - all of them were local, all of them need TLC, and all of them need to know they are not alone, even if they walk their life with no one else knowing their story, they know I do and that is helping them on their healing journey.

This morning I am getting ready to meet with another woman, someone who has a remarkable story to tell and is willing to do so for the #WhenIBecameFree project. She is a survivor using her life experience to make a positive impact in her local community. I will not be able to videotape her story as her job and safety will be in jeopardy if I do, she works within the justice system.

As I was downing that first cup of coffee I get a message from a woman who is working on facing a childhood filled with abuse. Abuse she and her siblings have been dealing with the outcomes from for decades now. The message was urgent as one of her sisters has again walked away from an abusive marriage, she did so last night.  Not an easy thing to do - and, when a survivor is at their most vulnerable point. They will need resources and support.

So, there's a glimpse into 24 hours of my life - can you see why I feel destined to complete the When I Became Free project? Somehow I will get this done, I have to.

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