Genuine Ramblings #WhenIBecameFree

We're almost there. I am getting close to concentrating my effort in compiling the stories and experiences of survivors into a book and more. I feel it will all flow together nicely. Each story sharing something with the others, yet also unique in so many ways - a reflection of real life.

This morning as I was doing some other work and sipping my coffee, my mind was on the project and some events of the week. I was thinking about the survivors as I waited for a video I was uploading to Youtube, I scanned my newsfeed on Facebook. All of those elements came together in my mind and I realized something about why I have such an emotional tie to this project and the survivors. They stood out in my thoughts and the word "genuine" kept playing over and over in my mind.

When they sit down and speak to me to share those stories that they do, all ego is removed. There's no pretending to be someone they are not, that someone they think people will like, there's no putting on airs - no fake smiles hiding their true thoughts, no sharing of memes on their profile to make them seem always happy and positive - they are being real, being genuine.  In a world of short attention spans and instant judgments, it is refreshing to have these conversations.

The conversations are not all gloom and doom. There's a balance. Yes, they share their once nightmares but then they also share their joys and accomplishments - sometimes those accomplishments are just being realized as the words come out of their mouths. The time we sit down together and communicate, there's a connection that is happening, a bond being forged between them and me....and soon, so many others who will either be reading their stories or seeing them on video.

The genuine nature of it all is addicting and something I feel is sorely missing in our society. After being with a newspaper for almost 13 years, I know a lot of people, seen a lot of things, and heard more than my share of rumors, including ones about myself.  In my community, I lost my anonymity, probably more than most who live in a rural area. All of which happened during one of the most trying periods in my life, when I was rebuilding a life from scratch and trying to find my way through a healing path I had to walk on my own. To deal with it all I had to create my own protective bubble of isolation ...when I could.  If I wasn't working or volunteering I could be found (if you tried to find me) hiding in my home. I'll admit it, I hid in that protective bubble watching the world play out on social media. You can learn a lot living on both sides of that coin, especially when you're raw and broken down while also being fact finder writer and a human nature sponge.

One of the things I think I've discovered is while we think that in the age of technology,  communication is lightning fast that we're seeing the true nature of people, secrets exposed, that may be true in one sense, but I still see the false front of the generation I grew up in and the ones prior to mine, and I see it magnified. It is the "what goes on behind closed doors, stays there," attitude. A hypocrisy we all walk in one way, shape or form. And it is one that causes pain to unsuspecting victims, especially those who are being actively abused or just starting their healing process. It can throw them deeper into the dungeon of no self-esteem and self-hate because, in the rawness of their pain, they cannot pretend - they can either face it on their own or choose to numb themselves from feeling anything at all.

The reason for that is because no matter the cheery memes and warnings not to, we all do compare our walk, our lives, and our experiences to others around us. This is especially true for those hurting and searching to find somewhere/someone they can identify with and when you can't, you feel more isolated than ever before. There's a reason there are so many people, especially the young ones or hurting ones walking around with their cell phones always in front of their face. They're searching to belong somewhere...and to get there, they will play into the fake smiles, those false masks, and that "what happens behind closed doors, stay there, " attitudes. Is it a wonder there's so much drama being played out on social media? It is a reflection of the dysfunction that does playout behind those closed doors...all the whispers still happen, all the backstabbing and all the mental abuse still spins out of control - whether we like it or not, even though we're pretending it doesn't exist.

Which brings me back to the conversations I am documenting and having with survivors -  they're real, they're raw, they're genuine, and they show the balance of life. The ups - those downs -and the lessons we learn from. I so appreciate having this experience, firsthand, and to be able to share it all with others. It is where I belong.

Be who you are - none of us are perfect - life is not perfect - stop pretending and start living. Be genuine.

Ok, and now for the thing I least like to post but must to be able to finish this project, #WhenIBecameFree. To do it, I need support.

Last week I was able to get one corp. sponsor, Wisconsin River Meats in Mauston, WI.  Visit them on Facebook and message them - tell them "thank you" for supporting #WhenIBecameFree and survivors of abuse! Let them know we're paying attention!  And, just a little FYI - their landjaegers and garlic summer sausage are outstanding! When I can, I send them to my boys in Memphis - needless to say, what I send is gobbled up as the package is being opened.

This week I will be hitting feet to the pavement to get more....expect to hear from me Juneau County and beyond.  ;)   and know it is very hard for me to approach you!

Support the #WhenIBecameFree project by wearing awareness! For every shirt sold, $10 will go to support the project - getting it completed, published and distributed.  Shirts may be purchased here. If you're local to Juneau County, just email me and I will send you an invoice w/o a shipping charge.

Any and all donations are welcome!

Any way you choose to support this effort is greatly appreciated! Even if it is just sharing my blog, the website, or liking and sharing the Facebook page.  


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