Teela Hart

Surviving Domestic Violence

Eagle's Wings


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Why does she stay?


I’ve heard the statement, “if my husband laid a hand on me I would be out the door,” or some other similar statement.
Full of self confidence and naivety, I’ve made that statement myself.

On gathering the bricks and mortar to build my new foundation, I discovered a question I’d never noticed before.

“How can we possibly leave?”    -Linda A. Osmundson

I hadn’t realized it until today that following one disastrous failure that nearly ended my life; sprawled out on Eagle’s wings I soared.

I have chosen today to thank God for that ability because for 19 years it escaped my grasp by many treacherous miles.   -Me

my shadow


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Please Don’t Forget About Me


It is not usual for me write according to the daily prompts, however, I have said these very words to my children repeatedly. Please don’t forget about me, the new me, the me I was meant to be free. Therefore, this is dedicated to them.

Within the walls of pain and shame, I hid behind a masquerade of lies. Domestic violence sucked me up and deposited me in the darkest, most crippling place imaginable.

Not only me, but also my children suffered the deepest kind of pain for which I have no cure. I have no ability to remove their suffering, their misplaced guilt and shame, their hearts or their souls.

I do not have to imagine coming to the end of my life; the end rapidly approaches. I have little time to attempt to right the wrongs. I have failed them in the worst kind of way. It has been said, “It is not your responsibility to bear the full brunt of all that has occurred in their lives.” I cannot accept that statement as truth.

I am their mother. A mother’s role is to protect and nurture, not crash and burn before their very eyes. Security ripped from their trusting hands, safety far from reach, and an abundant dose of a twisted, perverted, kind of love filled most of their lives.

In January of 2012, we chose the door leading us away from that horrid existence. The only goal prevalent and revolving about me is to make up for so much lost time. I want to be there for them, love them the way they deserve to be loved, encourage them; make amends the only way I know how.

The legacy I have given is a garish hell from which there sometimes seems to be no escape. I have to, I must, at all costs, any cost, give a new legacy, one in which no one can take away. I must be sure their rightly inheritance befitting over comers, survivors, and lovers of life are well within their reach before I leave them. It is imperative to make them believe that, for without belief there is no hope and I cannot let go of the here and now having left my children without hope for a better future.

I pledge to do all within my power to mend the brokenness I have affected and allowed and to restore their birthright, the only gift I have left to give. I cannot change the past, but I can pave the way for a good future.

It is for this reason that I write every day to spill myself upon these pages so that when I am no longer with them they will be able to feel my presence as real as the life surrounding them. I never want to leave them, ever again and the only way to do that is to leave a tangible piece of myself behind.

For the sake of anonymity, I cannot post the multitude of photos I have taken in a desperate attempt to capture moments I never want them to forget. In addition, if for some reason, those things are lost, I have only the hope that the new memories far outweigh the old, a touch that can never be lost or stolen.

hiding


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One Day


“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Befalling freedom from my abuser was taxing; the road paved with falling rocks and repeated avalanches of emotion. I had unchained my physical body from his grasp. I was fortunate to have escaped with my life and the lives of my children. We enjoyed a stress free, perpetual vacation to various places, taking pictures and producing videos of our excursions for a solid summer season.

Upon our return home, we were evicted due to the loss of an income, but that was ok, I told my children. The end of one thing always means the beginning of a new thing. And in our case, it meant the beginning of a brand new life, uncontrolled by bitterness and anger. They seemed to be happy with that.

Move number one:

We moved into a four-room house with my mother . It was painful, but I felt semi-safe. She lived at the end of a dead end road and my heart raced at every car that headed our way. I was nervous and jittery with every door slam or horn blow or any other random noises I couldn’t identify. The phone rang and my heart sank…every time.

No worries, I told myself. I have a restraining order, mace, a bat, a knife, a phone, and I never slept when everyone else did. Someone had to stand guard. My hands shook with every minute movement, breathing was shallow and rapid, but that was no problem. I could handle that compared to what I had to reckon with prior to my escape.

Move number two:

Enthusiastic to find a new home, we searched until we found the perfect home; the last house on the left, on 13th street. (I think there are horror movies about this but I’m not superstitious) I purchased an alarm system, dolled up the house, brought a little of the old into the new, the mace, the bat, the knife, and the phone and lay claim to our new home.

I triple checked the windows and doors to be sure they were locked and set the alarm. I lay on the couch with my various weapons listening intently to every noise the house made in order to be at ease when heard repeatedly. I was as someone “hopped up” on crack, peeking out windows, walking the halls repeatedly checking on the kids. Nevertheless, that was ok I could handle it.

It took about three weeks before finally resigning to sleep in my bed. My nightly ritual of checking windows, setting the alarm, strategically placing the mace, the bat, the knife and the phone in the place my abuser would have slept continued. However, that was ok I could handle it.

It has been an entire year now yet still the ritual continues. The phone rings; my heart stops. A knock at the door; my heart stops. The sound of a car pulling into my driveway; my heart stops. A noise in the night; my heart stops. A flashback dream; my heart stops.

The question that really governs my mind is this. When will my heart stop stopping?

New beginnings are wonderful. Added anxiety of constant emotional, verbal, financial, mental and physical abuses are no more. Instead of the wonderment I expect, continued fear is what I receive.

My former life once filled with independence, freeness of heart, fun, spontaneity, and always on the go no longer exists.  I find myself now bound to the solitude of my new home.  I grieve deeply for that part of me that is now a stranger. My soul traverses between bargaining, anger, depression, and denial. However, I cannot make the leap to acceptance. One day maybe. One day.