I recently had a conversation with Shame, a part of me that hides in the shadows of my soul. She said:

Dear Julie,

Stop being a weakling.

Stop trying to walk a narrow line.

Stop being politically correct.

I’m so sick of hiding in the shadows.

I’m so sick of being ashamed.”

You know, my friends all think it’s his fault, when I talk about the abuse in my first marriage.

But I know.

I know that I stayed.

That I wimped out.

That I should have left the first time. When he hit me across the face and then said, “I was raising my hand to cover your mouth and you moved your head into my hand.”

I should have left the next time. When he threw me up the stairs, then blocked the door with his chair so I couldn’t leave.

I should have left so many other times.

When I said something he didn’t like. When I expressed my own opinions and was belittled for it. When chairs flew across the room because I had dreams for myself that didn’t include serving him.

But I was afraid. And ashamed.

How could I love someone, have children with someone, who was so disrespectful of me?

There must be something wrong with me.

I so wanted it to work. For things to change. Sometimes it was months between physical outbursts. But the emotional and verbal abuse was ongoing.

I put up with it because I was afraid to rock the boat. Afraid I couldn’t survive in the world without him.

And then I left.

And the world went on.

Now I know.

I am stronger than I ever thought I could be. I’m incredibly good at making money. I’ve got a mission that is bigger than my ego recognizes.

I will take a stand.

I am powerful.

I am wise.

I am committed.

I am visionary.

And if that makes me a Nasty Woman, so be it. I wear that badge with honor.

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