Tag Archives: encouragement

Silence Broken through Artistic Expression

Fresh Start for Women LogoOftentimes people hear about or see the evidence and may even be sympathetic to the woman with visible scars from the abuse she has endured. There will be those willing to help if she has become disfigured because of the trauma. A broken arm can mend. A scar from scalding water will eventually heal. A bloody nose can also heal. But what about the scars you don’t see? Don’t they require attention as well? Shouldn’t effort be made to help one overcome those scars?

There are many who believe wrongly that it’s just something you have to get over and move on. This is not an easy task and Fresh Start for Women’s 12 years in the trenches can attest to this statement. Even more damaging is the toll it takes on our young girls before they’ve even fully developed into young women and future leaders.If you have a daughter, niece, granddaughter or even a great-granddaughter make plans to attend Silence Broken through Artistic Expression on October 16th at the 444 Theatre.

Think about it. A woman or girl whose self-esteem has been reduced to lower than dirt needs healing. The woman or child who flinches when a raised voice is heard needs healing. The eyes that look out upon the world without light in them need healing.

The person you observe who never looks you in the eye, speaks softly and shrink within themselves needs healing. The soul, mind and spirit need attention just as much and sometimes even more so. A kind word, a smile, a soft touch all can serve as healing balm. A listening ear without judgment carries a lot of power. Use it wisely.

This year Fresh Start for Women is endeavoring to shed light on the various forms of domestic violence and the impact it has on a woman’s or girl’s life.  Silence Broken through Artistic Expression: The Real Effects of Domestic Violence is a talent showcase that will not only entertain but educate and hopefully inspire you to make a difference.

The arts are a great way to learn in a non-threatening yet caring environment. You’ll be regaled with spoken word artists, singers, dancers and actors. So mark your calendar, get your tickets and come walk the purple carpet, network and make a powerful difference.

Fresh Start for Women believes you will come away from this event with the power to help one who has been made to feel powerless to begin to heal and overcome. Learn more at www.freshstartforwomen.org. Someone needs you now.

Loving Yourself Through the Pain of Domestic Violence

With this being Domestic Violence Awareness Month I’ve had this question asked by young and old, men and women. My response to that is, ‘if you love yourself would you harm yourself?”. That’s your answer. 100% of the time your response should be no. Then if you wouldn’t harm yourself and you love you why would you entertain the thought that love is supposed to hurt?

I realize that many of us grew up in dysfunctional homes in which verbal and physical abuse was the norm. Just because it’s what you saw doesn’t mean it is right. Of course rewiring your thinking will take work but it is worth it. Settling for less than what you deserve is not an option therefore put in the work to uplift your self-esteem. Redefine your boundaries so that you do not allow negativity to dictate your thoughts and actions.

How? Start by letting go of the past and redesigning your future. Easy? Of course not! Doable? Absolutely! You have to take the first step and that step is acknowledging that you are worthy of true unconditional healthy love. Find a quiet room and sit down with pen and paper and describe your ideal relationship. Be specific leave nothing to chance. Now ask yourself, “Am I in this type of relationship now?” If the answer is no then you have two choices. 1. Have a conversation with the other party or 2. if you already know that it’s a lost cause then it’s time to put an exit strategy into place.

In the first choice there’s the opportunity to make changes that are beneficial for both parties. Lack of communication leaves the door open for misunderstanding, mistrust and unhappiness. Set aside time to really talk. Turn off the radio, video games, sports, news, television and cell phones. Pour a glass of wine or a fresh cup of coffee and talk. I mean really talk. Be sure it’s a 2 way street, this means one listens while the other speaks. Listen intently, give eye contact and have an open demeanor. Crossed arms signals your defenses are up and you’re only half listening. Then acknowledge any areas you may need to improve upon. It could be as simple as having a date night. But it could also mean you may need a third party to help you. In either case the goal is to renew, reignite and rekindle a relationship that’s been limping along. That is if you’ve both decided it’s worth saving!

On the other hand if you know it’s time to leave then be wise and plan your exit. You can find some excellent information in my free –book, Exit Action Plan: 10 Steps to Leaving an Abusive Relationship to help you .Even if your relationship is not an abusive one the tips inside are still useful. Having a plan is essential for success. Once you’ve extricated yourself don’t jump right into another relationship. Love yourself enough to give yourself time to heal and rediscover the unique individual you lost.

We all heal at different levels so don’t compare your situation to anyone else. You’ll know without any doubt when you’re ready to try again. Next time don’t repeat the same mistakes listen to that quiet inner voice when it signals something is not right. Guard your heart and only give it when you know it will be loved, appreciated and cherished. Above all remember to ask yourself, “Does Love Supposed to Hurt?”

Two Big Words – Why Me?

That’s a question all of us at one time or another has uttered. Ironically, it is rarely if ever done so when good things happen. So why is that? Have we somehow convinced ourselves that we should be insulated from tragedy, discord, unhappiness, strife or change?

Before I matured I counted myself in this group as well. There were times I wondered why did I have to endure the pain of rape, shame, betrayal, divorce, loss of my parents and other loved ones. Now that I’m a mature individual (not age but understanding) I get it.

All of it has combined to play a significant role in the person I have become. I’m more patient, empathetic, giving, trusting, forgiving and nurturing. In addition I’ve become outspoken on issues I hold dear to me. This not only includes domestic violence but also cancer (breast cancer), child abuse and healthy living just to name a few.

As I think of these I can recall an incident in my history in which I was personally affected by them and these experiences molded me to be the person I am today. As much as there’s a part of me that wishes I had not had to go through them the other part of me is grateful, for it has given me a reason to be vigilant and think about others instead of thinking the world revolves around me.

If you dig deep enough you too can find meaning, lessons and uncover a passion as a direct result of your experiences. As long as you’re a part of this big world called the human race instead of lamenting, “Why Me?” let today be the day you say, “Why Not Me?”

Unmasking the Face of Domestic Violence One Step at a Time

maskOftentimes people feel as if there’s nothing they can do to make a difference in an issue they may feel passionate about. Today I want to remind you that is not the case. Think of it as filling a 50 gallon drum with water using a tablespoon. One person can definitely fill that drum, it may take them a good while but can can be done. On the other hand if you had a thousand people with tablespoons that drum can be filled a lot quicker and in the process those thousand people have an opportunity to get to know each other, laugh while filling that drum and encourage each other to finish.

Now replace the drum with an organization dedicated to making a difference in the lives of women affected by domestic violence and replace the tablespoon with $1.00. No matter how you look at it filling that organization $1.00 at a time is going to take a very long time but a collective group of people pooling their $1.00 can fill a need that organization has in order for the organization to meet the needs of the people they serve.

This was never more evident than when Fresh Start for Women does what it does ii\n the community. 2015 is our 11th year in existence and we have been fortunate enough to have made a positive impact in the lives of more than 500 women and teens. It’s rare that an all-volunteer small nonprofit is can still claim to be an important link between success and failure for those brave enough to take a step towards a life free from domestic violence, abuse and sexual assault.

This year we invite you to come out and help us to Unmask the Face of Domestic Violence with our Masquerade Ball and Live Auction. There will be food, fun, music and several items up for bidding. Money raised will help us to continue to provide our services to those in need at little to no cost. Remember domestic violence affects more than just the victim. Children, other loved ones and the community all suffer. Come make your voice heard by standing up for those in need of an encouraging word or helping hand.

Get your tickets now and be a part of something good. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/fsfw-masqueraade-ball-and-live-auction-tickets-16806625068


Who Are You Listening To?

There are two types of people who will tell you that you cannot make a difference in this world: those who are afraid to try and those who are afraid you will succeed. ~Ray Goforth

This saying I believe is so true thus the question becomes, “Why, are you listening to them?” The first one can’t give you positive encouragement. It could be that it’s the same speech someone else gave them and now they’re passing it on to you. Fear has taken hold of them so tightly that they are unable to see past just existing. The second won’t give you positive encouragement no matter how much you ask for it. Instead of being happy for you jealousy, resentment and fear of being left behind becomes a part of their makeup.  There will always be people not wanting you to succeed. Obviously neither of these two a are good for you.

So where do you find your encouragement and inspiration? Start with YOU. You are the main nurturer of your hopes and dreams. Then surround yourself with others who will feed and fuel those hopes and dreams? You may ask where do you find them. Look around you many are already there, parents, teachers, true friends, colleagues, mentors and a host of people you have yet to encounter.

So starting today walk away from the negative people and draw closer to those who will root for you and provide useful advice and encouragement. Keep in mind that really successful people love to share their knowledge so avail yourself of it. The limits to what you can achieve is all up to you. You’re in the driver’s seat. Even if you have a misstep don’t stop. It’s not a failure it’s just something that didn’t work. Keep trying until you reach your goal. And always be willing to make adjustment when needed.

The positive people in your life will be there to help you as long as you are helping yourself. So decide today who are you listening to?