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Risking It All

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Would you risk it all for love?

Submitted: January 20, 2018

A A A | A A A

Submitted: January 20, 2018



Life is about risk. And I'm going to take a risk today that might ruin everything. 

I'm tired of lying to myself about who I am.

I am not a meek, middle-aged, mild-mannered misfit. Or a useless, weepy, pathetic, shy coward.

I am fierce. Sasy. Sexy. Strong. Stubborn. Passionate. Sensitive. Loving. Loyal. Intense. 

So intense, sometimes I feel I might burst from all these emotions. From all these words floating in my brain.

So intense, I write twenty emails to you a week, in hopes you will see and grow to love the beautiful pieces of me.

Yet I deny and repress my true self. I shove her down my throat because I don't feel worthy to be her. Because that is easier than waking her up. 

Waking her up means anguish. Recognition. Acceptance of what happened to me. 

The first nine-teen years of my life, I suffered physical torture. Horrific mental and emotional abuse. Rape. Incest. Sexual assault. Molestation. Neglect. Abandonment. Bullying. Domestic violence. Family brutality. Neighborhoods with guns and unchained hounds. Chronic ear-aches. Extreme poverty. Starvation. 

I lost almost everyone in my family, except for my son and my husband. Mental illness stole my mom, my dad, one of my sisters, many of my extended family members, two of my closest friends. Death robbed me of my grandparents and my dear aunt, who I miss everyday.

I never had a chance to say goodbye. Never had a chance to show her my son. Never thought she would depart so young.

What I would give for one more day with her. One more hug. One more word of wisdom. 

Believe me, I may appear like everyone else. I am different. I've endured enough loss and trauma to last three lifetimes. 

Ten thousand knives hammered into my chest, my entire ribcage extended from the all the agony, my stomach in knots nearly ripping from my gut.

Most days, I exist in a hazy fog. My mind clouds the chaos of cars, dims the trees, blurs people, dulls their nonsense conversations in the land of play dates and show dogs and housemaids. 

Perhaps they are the ones asleep amongst the constant alternate reality I yearn to escape.

Sometimes when I'm alone, I drive to empty parking lots or parks and curl up in my seat, bang on the steering wheel, wail and screech at the top of my lungs. 

Sometimes at night, I scream into my pillow, cry myself to sleep, wondering if I will ever truly live. 

I have Complex PTSD.

But that is not who I am.

I am persistent. Driven. Conscientious. Patient. Compassionate. Brave. 

So brave!

I reveal my rough past and bring people to tears.

I walk up to perfect strangers and ask for directions. 

I make an entire room of people burst into laughter.

I laugh at myself.

I am so silly. Snarky too.

I dance like no one is watching.

I sing in the shower.

I listen to Madonna’s same Hung Up remix every time I run the treadmill. 

Three of her concerts, that's how many I've gone to. 

Her lyrics describe so much of me and my past — Satan’s child, the sinner they all punished. Yet I am a saint and I celebrate me, the one who withdraws for minutes on occasion, while I watch the clouds drift and billow. While I day-dream about my newest heroine. 

Leva Sagittarius, star fleet commander. Her mission — searching galaxies for a new planet lush with water and vegetation where her people, the Kleptarians can call home. 

My stories believe in me like I did when I belted out, “I have confidence in me, at my high-school choir concert. 

I sung that Sound of Music ballad acapella and asked the pianist for only one B-flat.

Because I am that girl who took the ACT ten times to get into college, paid for every exam fee out of my own pocket.

I am that girl who no one believed in, who no one noticed or loved. Who my mom said I was only good enough to be a wife and a mother.

I am that woman who doctors gave less than a five percent chance of ever conceiving a child.

I am not a quitter. 

Not afraid of the dark. I braved it the first nine years of my life.

I ran away from my assaulter.

I bungee jumped one-hundred-fifty feet into a river-gorge with only my ankles tethered. No hesitation.

I zoomed down the four-hundred-twenty-five foot drop on Cedar Point’s newest roller coaster.

I hiked eighty-six miles. Climbed seventy ladders. Crawled across logs over rushing waterfalls. Trudged through mud up to my knees. Trekked thirty-five-hundred feet up a mountain and across an avalanche zone, all while carrying a thirty-pound pack. 

I bitched a little. Maybe a lot. 

My husband cheered me on the whole time. Cause that’s the caring, gentle man he is.

Damn, I felt unstoppable after that same as I did after I birthed my son fifteen-hours, induced, natural, med-free labor. 

No problem. Surprised my nurses and my doula. Pushed for three long hours. 

Cried tears of joy, when I met my son. When I held his precious little body in my arms, kissed his sweet cheeks, and whispered to him, “I will never lay a hand on you.” 

Eleven people, my husband who was filming — yeah, I consented cause I’m a lot bit whacky — my doula, my mother-in-law, my sister-in-law, five doctors and two nurses, including one of my infertility doctors, were all in the room when my son was born. 

Seeing my son for the first time was beyond miraculous! A highlight of my life.

I was heroic then and I am heroic now. I am worthy of loving myself and being loved. 

Sure you may say, "I need a boat."

I say, "I do not!"

That lake may be big but I am a fast. 

I am powerful enough to swim to dry land.

Watch me!

I am fearless in the face of danger, in the face of strife. 

This force to be reckoned with; me — an orphan who has suffered great loss. 

I worked ten times harder than anyone I know to reach the life that I have now.

I was on the Dean’s List all five years of my undergraduate, even though I could barely write a thesis statement when I entered.

Even though I worked part-time with a full class load. Even though I devoted hours to the orchestra and marching band. Even though I was suicidal for an entire semester. 

Like Einstein who couldn't talk till age five and Beethoven who was deaf, I was the underdog who rose to the task. 

Life may have thrown me the shitty left-overs but I made a delicious feast. 

I made the best of awful circumstances by writing. Any chance I got even at the early age of three when I wrote my first story. I dictated it to my older sister as I couldn't form the words with pencil and paper. The story? A mouse defeating a cat.

I am that mouse. 

My mother, my father and the other father are the cat, the ghosts of my past who I will overpower.

My life. My terms. 

While my family stays in their sickness, I seek freedom, my future, the family I have created, the author path I have chosen.

I want my words to inspire change. To help people view themselves, others and the  world differently. To offer hope. To show how to thrive after abuse. How to turn loss into love. How women can accomplish their goals in the wakes of trauma. 

Success is only a state of mind.

But that’s not all.

There's something I need to share. 

This is the hardest part. The deal breaker. The biggest risk of my life. 

When I was seven-and-a-half, my dad whipped my vagina in that cold, pitch-dark gas station bathroom because I sinned and watched the Devil’s television. 

I hobbled to our rusted muffler-choking car, blood trickling down my leg. 

My mom stared at me through the rear view mirror with her flat smile. 

She blamed me and said, “You disobeyed. You brought your punishment on yourself.” 

They stripped me of my innocence. My spirit. My true self. My will to live. 

Pieces of me broke off in that moment.

I collapsed inside myself and developed complex PTSD. 

I felt something though. 

I felt something from the beginning.

Maybe that's why my dad said, “You were unhappy in the womb, Satan’s child.”

The violence and the brutality in that home radiated pain through me. 

Even before my mother gave birth to me. 

Truth is, I’m an empath.

It’s a sixth sense of sorts allowing me to sense the good and bad in people. A possible clairvoyance experience that reveals the energies of people and draws me to them or warns me against them. Not sure how else to explain. 

I felt the evil energies from several of my family members. I sensed what they were doing to me was wrong. 

That might have been the reason I didn't go insane. 

Didn’t succumb to the man I called uncle.

When I first met him at age fifteen, I saw an aura-like light around him. 

I felt his positive energy and my true self started to emerge. Started to feel human and lovable. 

I thought he wanted to be my father. He wanted a lover and I was too naïve realize. After he sexually assaulted me, I collapsed inward again. 

I hid in my shame and depression and suicidal thoughts.

I sat alone in my high-school bathroom, palms full of forty-eight Advil, ready to ingest and let death take me.

Death looked a hell of a lot easier than this life. 

Something told me, “Don’t do it.”

I had two years left of high-school. I could escape, if I buckled down.

I pushed myself out of my slump.

Then I entered university. 

I dated someone exclusively. He was the safe one. Until he asked for sex.

Losing his family, almost sent me over the edge again. 

I sprinted ahead. 

Driven to achieve my goals, I was stunned when I first laid eyes on my husband. I saw a bright rainbow of light shimmering around him, felt such strong positive energies from him — a powerful connection like no other. 

I knew he was special. 

I knew I needed him. 

I knew he was the love of my life.

He showed me Orion using snowballs on the pavement, kissed me and danced with me beneath the moon. 

We married and created a beautiful son together. 

But this huge hole remained in my heart, a void big enough to swallow me up. 

A void I hoped you’d help me close once I walked into your office six years ago. Once I saw that same bright light flowing from you like the sun gleaming through a rain-shower, I thought you must be an angel. Such happy, joyful energies struck my body, growing this incredible connection to you as if volts of electricity were  surging through my veins.

I almost ran the other way. 

I was afraid of parental figures. Of abuse. Rejection. Abandonment. 

I denied and ignored what I saw in you.

I needed help though. 

I got enough to bandage my wounds. Then I fled you. 

Do you know how much I have thought of you over the past six years? 

How often I wished I could turn back the clock and say something? 

How many times I picked up the phone to call you and tell you everything but always stopped because of my fear of rejection?

It's why I didn't contact you during the height of my infertility. 

It's why I almost hung up on you when I told you I'd birthed a son. 

It's why I couldn't contact you before I decided to visit my father.

After that one visit, my inner pain resurfaced. 

I knew I must return to you. 

A year ago, I walked back into your office. 

It was like coming home and receiving comfort after an awful day. 

I vowed to myself I wouldn't tell you this.

That I would only get another bandage and rip it off when we parted.

And yet my dear, you have managed to crash down all of my barriers and embrace my heart. You have woken me up. It took me thirty-three years to find you and thirty-eight to accept that you are meant to be my mother. I am meant to be your daughter.

If you can take me under your wing and let me be your daughter after I am healed, I promise I will do the hard work. 

I will do the EMDR. 

I will do whatever it takes. 

I will devote my time and effort to becoming healthy.

I promise you, if you let me be your daughter, I will love you with every part of my heart. 

Except the parts that I give to my son and my husband.

You can teach me how to put my make-up on. 

You can do mother-daughter things with me. Whatever we decide that is. 

You can be a grandmother to my son. 

You can lend me your wisdom in raising him. 

You can support me in my marriage, and help me be the best wife and mother.

You can be my source of guidance when I face adversity.

When you grow old and gray, I will love you and be by your side. 

When death takes you, as it does us all, I will grieve you. 

But I would rather risk everything on love, than miss out on this once in a lifetime opportunity to finally have a mother. 

This is worth more than a trillion dollars. 

There's no price tag big enough to compensate this gift. 

I promise you, I will pay your kindness forward. 

If someday, a young woman comes along and needs a mom, I'll be that mom for her.

If you can't agree to be my mother, I can’t stay here. 

My heart can’t take another loss.

So I will leave to avoid that.

I will walk out that door and not look back. 

I will never bother you, call you or email you again. 

I will hold no grudge towards you. 

I will accept whatever you decide. 

The choice is yours. 

But if you can find a place in your heart and life for me as your daughter, I know we can create such beauty together.

I want to do life with you.

I hope to whatever higher power exists in the heavens, that you want this too. 

That you'll take this risk for love and for me.


© Copyright 2020 Joy Shaw. All rights reserved.

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