One of my favorite books is ”How Starbucks Saved My Life.” Now let me share with you how a magazine saved my life and maybe the lives of others. It all started in October of 2006 when my mentor called me to say, “Have you seen this month’s issue of Essence magazine?”
He went on to give me the highlights. The magazine focused on domestic violence in Prince George’s County, Maryland. He shared how he could not believe that something like that was happening in our neck of the woods because Prince George’s County is my home area. I had relocated to St. Louis, Missouri leaving my secrets behind me. So I thought…
Our conversation went a little like this: “Can you believe something like that is happening in PG County, which is one of the riches counties in the country?" asked my mentor, Charlie.
I replied, “Yes, because most of those victims were living a lie and they had to keep up the appearance of the happy home because who can they tell about what is really going on? Who would understand, and sharing their story could shatter the glass house”.
Our conversation lasted for more than two hours and I thought my mentor fainted when I shared my own story of molestation and domestic violence. He said, “Not you, you have always carried yourself like you were no-nonsense and a woman that would not allow a man to hit her.”
I went on to share my story of abuse with him and how I had buried my pain again, or so I thought…
The conversation ended and I began to dress for work only to later find myself curdled up in a fetal position on my kitchen floor. I realized that sharing my story with my mentor released the pain and I could no longer pretend I was okay with what happened to me. Pretending was never okay but who could you tell and who would understand? I was an upper middle class woman and that is taboo; you do not share your dirty laundry. I would see survivors and say to myself, “You poor thing.” I later realized I was the poor thing! I finally read the domestic violence article in Essence and the only difference between myself and the woman featured in the article was her scars were visible.