Identify what is most important )0( Eliminate everything else
The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that is wrong with the world. Dr. Paul Farmer
The suffering of others is not alleviated when no one knows about it.
There is no one right way to live. Daniel Quinn Ishmael
The only thing that you need to start an asylum is an empty room and the right sort of people.
We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be. Kurt Vonnegut

Monday, April 7, 2014

Dear Diary

Oh.  I have not abandoned you, dear electronic friend, just too busy and full of energy and not nearly enough inspired to sit down here and spew.

Life is moving very quickly.  I am glad to have work that uses my training and all that jazz, and the work is energizing and wonderful and more satisfying that I could have ever dreamed, even though my dreams for this work were, and continue to be, huge.  Ginormous.  More than ginormous.

I guess that the most important aspect is the responsibility that comes with being in charge of and responsible for an entire house of stressed women, as well as their children on occasion.  The greatest challenge is the time and effort and resources that are diverted from those women who are struggling with domestic abuse, rape and other related issues, by those other women who are using our shelter for other reasons, mostly generalized homelessness, whatever that may be and which is something that is impossible to assess, diagnose and use to find alternative placements and housing and decent resources. 

Right now there are several women who seem to be without the intended personal experiences for which our shelter was created and who are using our shelter for other reasons.  So be it.  I cannot imagine how admittance to our shelter could be managed any other way than it is.  Meanwhile, that reduces the space we have to accommodate women and children who may be in greater and shelter-intended needs.  Assuming that it were even possible to accurately and properly assess whatever the hell that may be.

It is an endless, complicated and interesting process, and I cannot adequately express the admiration, respect and adoration I feel for those who began this shelter and continue, year after year, decade following decade to do this work with open hearts and creativity and just plain dedication to improving the lives of women who, at least in the moment, cannot help themselves.

The reasons and circumstances that bring women to our doors are as individual as each woman.  The fear and confusion, the danger and need, all of that I understand, because those things and more are what brought me to their doors just a bit over two years ago.

Having that sanctuary and the blessings of those women running the place was...what was it? 

It was unexpected in a life that believed that it was only a matter of time before I was going to be killed.  Each day seemed like my last.

It was unbelievable because when in that other life, I believed that I had not any alternatives, that even if I managed to escape, that because I had kept everything my own, personal, hellish secret, that no one would ever, could ever believe the reality of my life in that other life.

It was frightening because I had learned to avoid trusting anyone or anything that was not connected to a person who was untrustworthy.  That is life for an abused woman.  That is the reality.  That is what happens when you are led to believe that there are not options, no relief and certainly no hope.

Hope and opportunity and just plain and decent treatment simply never occurred to me.  It seems impossible now that that was my life.

And, that is why I feel dedicated to bring relief to every women who enters our shelter, regardless of the impetus that brought them through our doors. 

I am digressing, but to be able to say "our doors" is the most amazing part of this.  I think that I did my best to be a good resource to other women whilst I was living in our shelter, but to now be on the giving side of what I received from our shelter is a gift that I think I might never be able to adequately repay.

And, that is why I am doing my best to keep my heart open to every person that I meet there, every person that comes to live there.  Every person who enters that sanctuary for whatever reason she may have, and whether or not it is part of the intended purpose and mission or our shelter, I trust, as I am guessing that everyone else there does, that there is no randomness in this whole thing, that every woman who passes through that doorway is entering the portal to find, to receive and to benefit from whatever we are able to offer.  What an amazing and life-altering surprise to find myself part of the we.

This past weekend was challenging in lots of ways.  I did my best to work with a couple of the women and that is really my hope, my every day and continuing hope, that I will always be able to use my life to inform my intentions and my actions for the work I do there.  I am only what I am, what my experiences have brought me to be in the here and now, and even though I am living and working this job as part of my process of healing and giving back, there are going to be plenty of times when what I do and/or say will fall heartbreakingly short of those goals. 

When that happens, well, then I get to help myself in as close to the way that I intend to help the women and their children and anyone else who enters this safe place, this sanctuary.

Our shelter. 

I have never been prouder and more self supported and blessed to utter any other words.  Well, except for the days I welcomed my daughter into my life, then her husband (my most special heartson), followed by their (our) precious boys.

But, today, our shelter, my shelter.  Man.


  1. So glad that things are going well, you sound enpowered! Just f*ckin' awesome lady! If there is any positivity to come out of that other life then it is that what has led you here, to the now. I'm giving you a great big cyber hug right now. Oh yes and I promise to be careful when grouting.... ♥

  2. you are just amazing, a wonderful role model to me and so many others,

  3. It is sad that there is even a need for such a shelter, J. However, there seems to be an even greater need these days for more shelters for some reason and I feel for those mums and their children. Thankfully you know what they are going through and are now in a place to be able to help them at YOUR shelter :-)

  4. I am so very happy that you are being able to use your terrible experience towards helping others. You have come so very far and I am proud of you!
    Keep up the good work!