The Light At The End Of The Tunnel

Cindy - Union City, Michigan
Entered on August 5, 2010
Themes: change, courage
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They say you will marry someone just like your father. Is it true? Elayne S. of Berkley, California says “When you grow up familiar with a certain type of person, you’re attracted to that same type of person because it feels comfortable whether you like it or not.”

As a survivor of domestic violence, I lived my life like an immense secret, a colossal lie. I always put on a smile and made everything appear and sound great. No one ever knew the dark place that I really lived in. Judith J. wrote in an essay that “we need to share our truth and be true to ourselves.” I will share my truth in hopes of helping someone else.

There was no sunshine, no pretty flowers, no color. Just a dark place. I was good at pretending, and fooling people almost made me smile inside. I would walk away feeling a sense of satisfaction thinking to myself that this was the one thing I was good at. Pretending, no one ever knew…until my daughter was born. My Light.

When my daughter was born, my fear became even stronger. I had to protect her. I had to keep her safe. I shielded her as best as I could, but the reality of it was, she knew. She was growing up in it. A certain look from me told her to “run and hide.” Another look said “put a smile on.” Yet another look, “just don’t speak!” There were a million different looks, a million different secrets. We could communicate with our eyes, my daughter and I, we still can to this day.

With the realization of what was happening to my daughter, I somehow found the strength and courage to do the hardest thing in my life, leave my abuser. Some would argue, what’s so hard about that!? Well, you have to be in that place to understand, but with the amazing love and support of my family, I did just that, I left.

For a long time, it still felt dark. I did not understand how to live without fear, but in time, something wonderful happened…I could breathe! The egg shells that I walked on for so long had disappeared, and I stood on solid ground . I was able to speak freely, without having to think first, I could spill my tea and just clean it up.

I found the sunshine, and all of the pretty flowers, and I discovered more colors than I ever knew existed. For the first time in my life, I began to live. I made friends, I set goals for myself, and I did not have to pretend anymore. I began to understand that I am worth something.

My whole life had been a disappointment. And disappointment was my friend. I knew him well and I was use to him. But I have since learned to “Carve a tunnel of hope through the dark mountain of disappointment.” As Martin Luther King Jr. so elegantly put it, and that is what I do now.

And so I will be strong, I will not be afraid, I will be independent, I will be a good role model, and I will not be a victim. I will succeed at whatever I do. Whether I succeed at finishing a puzzle, or I succeed at finishing my education…I will succeed, because I can, because I have to. I will succeed for My Light.

In the writings of Plato it is stated that writing is “not a recipe for memory, but for reminding.” I am reminded of this, the statistics from the Bureau of Justice say that on average, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends in this country every day. I believe that we all have an inner strength. I believe that we all have the ability to accomplish our goals and ambitions. Some of us need some reminding of that, but I believe that we just need to learn how to believe in ourselves and find the light that will open our eyes to that truth.

And so I am brought to the phrase…There is a light at the end of the tunnel. A whole new life that is better than you ever imagined. What does that mean? Well, it could mean something different for everyone. It could mean a fabulous career, financial freedom, a big house. Or it could simply mean that you can breathe and spill your tea.

Some people get stuck in the tunnel and never make it out. I made it out, and the darkness is gone.