Rayanne Thorn is a regular contributor to intrepidNOW, the mastermind behind #TheGist. She writes about how to combat and leverage fear to your very distinct advantage…
He told me more than once that he was going to kill me. The first few times, I didn’t believe it, I laughed it off thinking it was just the beer talking. It was, of course.
But after a dozen threats over the course of as many weeks, I began to really fear what he might be capable of. The neighbors had heard his violence trough the wooden fence which separated our homes; it took a few years before they would hear me begin to fight back.
This isn’t a story of alcoholism or even of abuse – though it could be.
It is a story about my fight to regain control of my life and my own pursuit of happiness. It is not easy to tell your children that their family is going to change. It is not easy to look at your bank account and personal monthly income and realize that you would never be able to afford to take your four children and leave. Unless. Unless drastic changes were made and a plan put in place, a long-term strategy to regain self-worth and control, of continuing an education, of creating a career, raising happy, healthy children, and building a viable future. A future that didn’t include cleaning up beer cans and piss. A future that didn’t include regrets and tears.
But a future that included learning, hope, and family. A future that included a future.
Perhaps you can imagine what it was like – I try to forget. Most days I do well, until the smell of stale beer erases the present or a drunk man stumbles on a plane and plops down in the seat next to me.
That happened to be the case recently. But I digress – and I have no intention of ever going back to that dark place and time – where I was not in control, I had handed it over to a man who shared my home but no longer my heart.
Many women and men find themselves in situations where they no longer (or ever did) control their environment or their personal movement forward. That was the case for me.
But a moment came when everything snapped – the last straw I guess you would say. Interestingly enough, the last straw became the first brick to build my new foundation, a foundation built by tenacity, hard work, street smarts, and a great deal of love – love of family – my children and something a little unfamiliar – love of self.
Hope became my mantra – the word itself it what I woke to, prayed for, craved and worked toward, and finally realized it is was always there, just rusty. And hope is the thing that helped me see that I COULD take control and that I COULD make it, on my own – in my own way and on my own terms. I could take control and I could earn my own future.
Having a Plan
It was reliant on thought and planning. I couldn’t have seen the future without really creating one. Many years ago, in a dramatic literature class, I read a book called Backwards and Forwards, by David Ball – I tell this story often because it worked for me. The book was specifically written to help the readers and students understand the script writing process – the little tricks of playwrights and screenwriters.
A backward allows the reader or audience a glimpse at the past, some exposition. The idea of a forward is the author showing the reader or audience where the story just might go, a glimpse of what could happen, of what could be.
I decided I could do this with my life – I could give my life and my work a forward. I decided I could see that business degree in my hand, my children raised with college degrees of their own and my own career in place – whatever that might be. In essence, I gave myself a target, a dream, a goal – but I gave it an image, a picture in my mind, I gave it physicality.
What I didn’t expect was that once I reached one “forward” that another would be waiting there to be created. And so it goes.
Life – I Can Control It
Life today is a bit chaotic; I have a new marriage, a great new job, a new puppy, and the youngest of my four children leaves for college in less than two weeks. But these are things I control; my choices impact outcomes – as they always have…
It’s just that now, I know that.
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