In the early days after finding out about the abuse my daughters had endured, we would need to meet specific people who interacted with them to explain the current and often visible emotional imbalances of our family. Our family was a wreck and it showed. It only took a few times before those same people were revealing back to us that they had experienced similar things in their childhood. It made a mark on me. At first, I thought it just must be a fluke. But when it kept happening and I researched statistics, it was clear that we were not alone. On top of it, the authorities and therapists continued to remind us that we were unique but not unusual.
We were “lucky”, lucky to have found out that is, although I never felt very lucky.
In fact, my body ached on most days. My eyes were often tired and puffy. My heart felt like a weight in my chest and my anger bubbled over at inopportune times. I struggled to get out of bed, motivated only by the fact that I had to get my daughters up and off to school. After they were out the door I either cried myself back to bed or madly cleaned, throwing things out and sometimes even burning things. I have little shame admitting that I searched out every numbing pattern life could provide and nothing worked.
One night I laid down to sleep completely defeated. Heavy, numb, dead.
In the darkness of the night and probably the darkness of my soul, I fell to sleep only to find the whitest light I had ever experienced. So bright I kept telling myself to get my sunglasses from the car but I never did. The light was warm and comforting. It was endless. It went on for miles never fading in its shine. When I was completely immersed in it and totally gone from my own existence, I woke up.
If you are my age, you might remember the nail polish remover (circa 1980s), that you put the tip of your finger in, immersed your nail with one turn and pulled it would polish free. As I awoke, I felt clean, light, washed of the hate. Different. The puff of my eyes was gone. The stone where my heart once was, had softened. The pain in my brain was released. I got in the shower, fell to my knees and wept. This time tears of happiness. I didn’t know for sure what had happened but I did know that I could feel again. No, my life hadn’t changed but I had. I was freed from the chains of pain.
Between the growing number of adults “outing” themselves to us and the new found light in my body, I kept feeling a push that all this had “meaning” and I was supposed to share it. But I had no interest in outing our family – we had just begun to feel safe again. About a year or two into our new normal I was so called to document the hope and joy in my days that I actually had to pull over on the side of the road and seek out scrap paper in my car and scribble down some thoughts.
Over time my scribbles became a journal, which became a script, which grew into a manuscript and then finally – here we are, a book.
Anyone who has written a book will say the writing was the easy part. Publishing is a different beast altogether. For me, the writing was fun and exploratory, editing was a truly joyous journey with my editor whom I believe was one of God’s gifts as well.
It would be too long a post to say all the God moments I had on the writing journey. There were many. Moments when I knew I couldn’t have made it happen myself that this must be a gift from the universe at large. Each stage as it came together felt right as it was happening – different than my past life of shoving square pegs in round holes. Easy – natural. When I found She Writes Press, my publisher, the dread of finding a publisher ended and bringing my story, pen name and all, to press, was back to easy, natural and nothing less than another God moment.
I believe God wrote this book – He just used my story and my hands to write the journey and the words.
Do you have a story waiting to be told? Join the #IamBrin movement. #IamBrin is a statement of commitment to living your life without shame. When we own and share our stories we realize others have had similar experiences. I am Brin is to say we all can live openly, educate our kids early and often, help friends in crisis and not be alone. Share a photo for our wall or use #IamBrin on social media. Join the growing community or resilient, strong, real and reflective people.