Friday, August 3, 2012

Defining Moments

I don't generally dig on getting deep and personal on anything that will go public.  I mean, once something is published or posted or tweeted or whatever else, it's OUT THERE. 


A couple weeks ago, I was more than happy to help someone I care about deeply out of a bit of a situation. 

Her story unravelled and it came known to me that she had just gotten out of her first massively abusive relationship and was in the state of still being terrified.  Hell yes, the girl had PLENTY of reason to be scared out of her wits.  And she's incredibly young.

And that's a defining moment for her.

My Mom asked me once about some of my defining moments. 

And this girl hit one of my own defining moments right on the head.

At 18, I was in MY first abusive relationship.  Defining moment, helllllllllllo.  And like hers, mine was a year long.  Once you're in the muck of that insanity, it's so hard to withdraw your troops.  Your whole world gets flipped upside down and all around and the truth becomes a blurry line that looks more like a demented squiggle than a straight line.  When things got really bad, I tried to leave.  He told me if I left, he'd "get the shotgun out of his closet and blow his head off."  Good morning, guilt.  So I stayed.  By the time I was TRULY ready to get the hell outta there and he used that same line, I asked where he kept the bullets and if he needed help loading them.  And I was out.  For good.  (Note:  The asshat is still alive, don't worry.  He neither killed himself and nor did I.)

So now that I was out of this insanity, then what?  I didn't sit with myself and examine what brought me to that relationship.  I didn't examine what traits this guy had that could be warning signs for future nutbags.  I simply said F**K THIS, I'M GOOD TO GO!

From that point on, I, like anyone else in the world, had a zillion more relationships.  Some were quite awful, some were fabulous for a moment, some had beautiful & poetic moments, but I always had my moving van of that one asshat from 18 in my back pocket that led to a tremendous amount of unfortunate situations for a long time. 

And then came 2009.  A lot of hectic hell hit the fan.  That's a whole other Oprah.

Point is, I met the king of douches that year.  Every warning sign, every red flag, and I saw none of them. I had already conditioned myself not to examine my moments of what didn't work and just power through all the "stuff." 

Long story short and a breath away from slapping a restraining order on this insane human, I stopped for the first time since I was 18 and examined:  WTF, Michelle?

I took a full year off from dating and examined everything.  I quit smoking cigarettes and became addicted to the Yoga Shelter and started embracing a lot of their philosophies of looking IN instead of OUT for so much of my drama and how I invited so many unhealthy relationships in my life. 

When you're 18, it's excusable.  You don't know any better.  When you're not 18 and you don't have kids with your abuser or any other massive tie up and you can get out with as few scrapes and bruises as possible, GET OUT!  Right?  It's never that easy.  But I learned I had to own up to how I let this stuff in and fix myself from the in to the out and truly love myself (helluva lot harder than you think) so that I could even contemplate loving another human being and quit allowing such negativity in my sphere.  Lemme tell ya, that year off from the madness was beyond worth it, given the amazing relationship I've come to currently embrace.

If I had me now at 18, I would've told myself it wasn't my fault and that it wasn't my guilt to carry around like a freakin' Igor hump for years.  I would've told myself that in reality, I was totally safe!  That's the scariest thing:  Not feeling safe.  Not wanting to say the wrong thing to set them off into a brand new tirade.  Getting stalked.  Ick.  I would've told myself to be open to the people I was closest to about what was really going on instead of lying to myself and to others.  I would've told myself it was ok to hurt and feel the pain then move through it.  That there is a way through hell and sometimes you need to let someone else hold the candle and guide you through the quagmire instead of thinking the whole world lies solely on your shoulders.  Because the world isn't on your shoulders, but your perception makes it so and perception can get pretty heavy to carry around when it's inaccurate.

I've learned that there is always hope, no matter the hell. No matter how dire the situation.  There are lessons, if we're willing to learn.  And just when you think it can't get any messier, sometimes it does.  Sometimes the shit hits the fan with such ferocity that it feels like it can cover a city.  And then the dawn breaks, you're still breathing, and you learn how to begin again.

Why am I bringing allllllllllllllllll this up and sharing my baggage with the world?

Because.  Thanks to my story, I was able to really TALK to this girl a couple weeks ago and really discuss things like future warning signs, etc.  This chick is way ahead of where I was when I was her age.  She is so on it.  And she's taking note so she can stop it from happening again--and without becoming hard about it. 

It's bringing beauty from ashes and I am incredibly inspired by her.

I dedicate this, with love and respect, to all the women in the world who've been there, are there, are trapped, were trapped.... May we all continue to bring beauty up through the ashes and rise to our freedom.


Michelle Tomlinson


  1. This hits home,certain family members were in these abusive relationships.You live and learn...

    1. Yes indeed, we do live and learn. Much love and warmth to your peeps, I hope they've found their way out into the light. Thank you for reading, Tom.