Ok, so you may be wondering what do any of these things have in common. The answer, a lot. Celia Farran, a phenomenal musician whom I have had the wonderful opportunity to "meet" virtually wrote and recorded a song called The Everyday Goddess. She also recently announced a contest, by the same name and one of the ways to enter was to create a video submission set to the song of someone who is an everyday goddess. The winners will be picked and announced on Mother's Day, May 8, 2011.
For the last 11 years, May 8th has been celebrated by me as Shiori's (my eldest daughter) and my "Independence Day." This is a very important day for me as it was May 8, 1999 that I left Monterey, CA with a then 2 1/2 year old little girl. For those that knew me when I was younger, I have always been very full of spirit and happy. In 1993, while stationed in California, I met and, seemingly, fell in love with someone whom I thought felt the same about me. Unfortunately for me, this relationship was incredibly abusive both mentally and physically. As much as I knew I should leave, I was so beaten down that I couldn't.
Flash forward to July 18, 1996, my daughter Shiori was born. She was my world. That "spark" for life that I had always had was back again. During my pregnancy and even after she was born there had been no abuse. Shortly there after, it picked up right where it had left off. If it had only been me, and there was no Shiori (or any other child for that matter), I never would have left and wouldn't be alive to be sitting here typing this. I refused to raise my daughter in that type of environment. I had always been such a strong-willed person. Shiori re-ignited that flame inside of me that I had long ago let die. Like I said, I wouldn't raise her in that environment.
I won't get really in-depth with how I left, but the decision was made to leave on May 8, 1999. It was Mother's Day that year. That was 12 years ago. Because of the strength I found to walk away, the strength in me that my daughter helped me to re-discover, I am still here today. Shiori truly saved my life. Since that day we have struggled, triumphed, laughed, cried and lived. We have been able to share millions of smiles with friends and family and many amazing people.
While I might have many people to thank for helping us, the one I wish to honor this Mother's Day is my daughter. Thank you, Shiori, for being my light and helping me find the strength to persevere through "a living Hell" to be able to keep you safe. I love you very much and have loved watching you grow into the young woman you are becoming.
The video montage that I created is here: http://www.celiaonline.com/2011/04/30/everyday-goddess-video-–-shiori/ It will be up until at least Mother's Day.
Unfortunately, 3 minutes isn't quite enough time to put everything in that I could have, but I think it expresses it pretty well.
Being a victim of abuse is hard. Leaving is even harder. It takes much more strength and determination than staying and letting the cycle of abuse continue. I was lucky. I had a child that I refused to let grow up like that. She was my inspiration and saving grace.
May we all find the strength to carry on even when giving up and giving in is easier.