Each week I write a memoir in hopes that someone will be able to relate to the topic or knows someone who can. However, today I have been inspired to empower you in a different way by discussing a topic I am certain we can all relate to. While you read this memoir, whether it is something you have experienced before or something you are experiencing now, you will be able to reflect humbly on this period & hopefully feel empowered to get through, consistently- every time. Today, my heart has been moved to speak to someone who may be suffering, who is “undergoing pain, distress or hardship” in their own way. Today, I am shouting to you that regardless of the adversity, circumstance, shortcoming, disappointment, heartache or loss you are experiencing — you are fierce, strong, powerful, able & will overcome. Despite what you feel like today, tomorrow or next week, I can assure you that your suffering is temporary. In the pits of your hell you will triumph. Adverse situations, despite how debilitating they may be, are created in your favor. Like a diamond you morphed under pressure becoming something more valuable to be desired.
As I write this, I am unaware of what you may be experiencing. However, I am a walking testament of someone who has suffered & has watched the people I love suffer all the same. Though our suffering may not look the same & have lasted different periods of time– all suffering, regardless of the cause, is relevant- including yours. As someone who has fought through storms, who has wanted to give up & who has overcome; I encourage you to have faith & keep pushing. I encourage you to find the glimmer of hope that resides in you & push it forward. The promise is your pain will not be permanent. Any obstacle placed before you will not outlive you. It does not have longevity. What you believe to be your strongest battle has & will work in your favor. The magnitude of the pain you feel does not even scratch the surface of the joy that will come your way. Again, I reiterate — you are fierce, strong, powerful & able. What was created to debilitate you will lose momentum. What was created to defeat you will not find victory. What was created to keep you out of the race has put you in first place because anything you will feel on this earth does not have the strength to take you out. You are anointed & protected by the most high. There is no way you can lose.
The day will come in which you would reflect back on this time & though all pain does not go away, your ability to become resilient will manifest. What once seemed to cause havoc on your life will be meek in comparison to what you have become. What almost took you out before will crumble in your presence & what will come of you after this will amaze you. You can not even begin to imagine the force you are about to become once this is over. You have no idea what testimony you will testify or the people you will inspire. You just have to keep pushing. Not for anyone else but for yourself. Your storm is almost over, you must not give up. What will come of your life, what will become of you is depending on it. After all, as God promised, …”when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the clouds; & I will remember my covenant which is between me & you & every living creature of all flesh; the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh” Genesis 9: 14-15.
In sum, there is no storm placed before you strong enough to take you out. You got this!
Happy Sunday beautiful Conglomerates!!! Today, I have a treat to share. Long-time friend, fellow sister in christ, full-time wife & mother has stepped forward as a Guest Inspiration to share her testimony with us. I have watched her growth & admire the woman she has become, despite the obstacles she has overcome. She has evolved past her testimony & is wise beyond her years. To see her now is to understand that her growth has come with great sacrifice. I appreciate her for recognizing that there is substance in her testimony. Together, we pray that what she says will help other women find the strength to step up & speak out against mistreatment- physical, sexual, verbal & mental abuse. Let us welcome her.
My name is Nadia Shannon and I’m a survivor of domestic violence. I believe my story began as a child. I was a witness of abuse between the ages of 3-6 years old. My parents were married and I watched my mother get abused physically, emotionally, mentally & verbally. As a child you really don’t know what’s happening, so at the time it didn’t affect me. Where I was affected, was in the separation and divorce my parents went through; once my mother finally gained enough strength to get out of the horrible relationship. In the years to come, my father was always there for my sister & I. He was and still is an amazing father. Although he didn’t have great characteristics of a husband, my father never separated himself from his children. It wasn’t until my teen years that I started to feel the horrible abuse from my father. Around the age of 14, when I was trying to find myself, entering high school, and showing signs of liking boys is when my father started to become verbally abusive. Many times, as minorities, we write it off as being protective or as if it is acceptable because he’s Spanish but in reality, verbal abuse is never all right. As time went on, I began to grow a dislike for him and started to, in a sense, see what my mother went through. My father still showed his love and affection but when he was angry he was enraged- cursing and very demeaning. I started to hate it so much but somehow I ended up being attracted to that very type of boy.
There was this guy who I knew from middle school and because I moved we lost touch. One day, I went to a high school basketball game with my cousin and we reconnected. We were freshmen in high school and by then he hit his growth spurt. Furthermore, I had developed assets I didn’t have in elementary school. We exchanged numbers and my life changed forever. We were on an off from 9th grade to senior year. It was a long distance relationship but because my father lived in the same town we were able to see each other more than a little bit. The relationship was so rocky that my family warned me it wasn’t healthy. One particular incident I remember was in the summer of my junior year of high school. We got into an argument and he slammed my head into a brick wall. This was the first time he ever put his hands on me. I was in shock. In my mind I tried to reason with myself– “Its no big deal, Nadia.” “Don’t trip, he’s never put his hands on you before.” “You better not cry, it’s not that serious.” But regardless, tears started to fall. He looked at me and said, “Man it wasn’t even that hard, you’ll be alright.” Little did I know, this would open the door to what would become 3 years of hell. Fast-forward 2 years later, I became pregnant with our son. We moved in together and the gates of Hell flew open. He cheated, had women in my home when I was at work, would steal my car, beat me, force me to have sex, break my phone so I had no contact with family and trap me inside our apartment. All the while still telling me he loved me. Somehow, I still believed him.
This was the darkest time of my life. I felt trapped and lost with no way out. I kept holding on to the thought of “I want my son to have what I didn’t. He needs his parents in the same home together.” So somewhere in my immature, 18/19 year-old mind it was all worth the abuse. On one particular night, I found a thong on the passenger floor of my car. I flipped out and had enough. I hid my car keys in the window seal of our bedroom so he couldn’t steal my car. He beat me so badly. He tore my clothes off me and he trashed the entire apartment looking for my keys. The entire time it was like my conscience was talking to me. One minute I was telling myself to just take the beating, that it will be all right and I reminding myself that I cannot tell him where the keys are. The other part of me was telling myself “Nadia it’s not worth it, give him the keys.” The entire time our son was sleep in his room. He finally got in his own car and left. I was naked in the corner of my room soaked with lotion, hair products & powder. In all of his rage, he was pouring these items all over me. When they ran out he would throw the empty bottles at me, etc.
I promise you, while this was happening to me I screaming at the top of my lungs but no one came to save me. He threw my phone in the fish tank so I had no way of calling 911 or my parents. When he left, I got into the shower to clean myself off. He came back into the house, kicked the bathroom door in and intentionally turned the hot water up to burn me. I fell out the shower trying to escape the scorching water. At this point, I was yelling for him to kill me. I didn’t want to be tortured anymore. He took a knife to me but the sound of my son’s cry saved my life. He left the bathroom, took my son out his crib and left. I knew this was my time to escape. I dressed myself as fast as possible and left the house. I hid in a bush because he was circling the block and I stayed there for an hour, terrified. I got in my car and drove to a friend’s house. After that night, I knew it was time to get out of the relationship. I finally made it known to my best friend what I’ve been going through and she helped me take the next steps toward survival. I changed the locks in the apartment, kicked him out and started my independence. Three months after I left, there was one more altercation that landed me in the hospital fighting for the life of my new unborn child. Sadly, it took these life-threatening situations for me to realize LOVE DOES NOT HURT. Love is kind and by the grace of God, I survived. I wanted to share a piece of my story because I believe there are so many young women who currently are afraid to get out. So many young women are believing the words they’re being told by their abuser, just like I did– “You are nothing without me.” “No one will love you like I do.” “No one will ever want you.” I am here to tell you the devil IS A LIE. God took me out of my darkest storms. Beloved he will rescue you as well.
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Welcome back Conglomerates! Today, we have another brave & courageous Guest Inspiration, Tejal, who opted to share her testimony with us as a domestic violence survivor. Despite what her story looks like she exudes self-love & loves the skin she is in. She is forthcoming with her story to remind others that they are not alone & survival can be accomplished. It is with much gratitude, appreciation & respect that I present to you today, Conglomerate Tejal…
Hello my name is Tejal also known as the makeup artist, lifestyle blogger, @brightdollface & writer of BloomingKiss Poetry, @bloomingkisspoetry. I recently ended my eleven year relationship with my ex-fiancé about two years ago. I was twenty-five years old at the time. I met him while I was dealing with my parent’s situation at home with domestic violence (D.V.). I came from a household of alcohol not drugs. When I met him; he was seventeen years old & I started dating him at the age of fourteen. I decided to share my testimony as a domestic violence survivor because I know this will resonate with someone, somewhere.
When we began our relationship I recognized that he would smoke cigarettes but I did not know of his drinking nor of him smoking marijuana. I was never exposed to drugs so I was naive & was not able to comprehend the use of substances or the consequences other than alcohol. When I began to notice his heavy drinking and marijuana use, I became upset & told him he needed to stop using. I realized it was a coping mechanism for him to deal with his life issues — being an undocumented immigrant without hardly any family here & helping his family back in Honduras, Central America.
In the first couple years of our relationship, he was sweet & kind. But then he began to use cocaine, which I did not realize until later on when we moved from his father’s apartment to our own; in the next building over. I began to notice he became angrier & aggressive but I questioned why if I did nothing but help both of us out. I remember one night he became so angry, he must have been high; all I could recall was being on the floor in my kitchen crying with him on top of me. He hit me & the next day he apologized. I blacked out in that instant. I sustained an injury by him. My neighbors overheard & they wanted to call the police but I did not want to because he was undocumented & I did not want to see him deported. I forgave him because I loved him & I could not go back home to the situation with my parents.
As we moved back to his father’s, I could see that something had changed in him for the worse. This was when I was almost finished with my bachelor’s degree in 2013. I could tell he was using a stronger substance. Subsequently, I then noticed he would be out late for hours & I assumed he was cheating. He confessed one night & told me he was not cheating; he was addicted to Crack Cocaine. He then lost his job as a Baker & was out of work for two years. I graduated from College with my Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology & minor in Sociology in 2013, despite the struggles & issues I faced overall in life –at home & in our relationship, but most of all throughout all the abuse I succumbed. I obtained a fulltime job in social services as a Case Planner in New York City at a foster care agency. I was able to remain resilient despite being verbally, physically mentally & emotionally abused. It became harder & harder to leave him.
I maintained us both for those two years until I decided to leave one night. He had hit me so hard while I fought back because he tried to steal my cellphone, once again, to pawn it like he did my engagement ring, my jewelry my father gave me, tablets I had to purchase multiple times & my computer I needed while in Grad School, etc. I had family support & left to my other father’s home in Queens. I remained there until I obtained my own apartment in Jersey. Throughout his addiction in the last four to five years of our relationship, the first two years were the worst, it felt as if I was in hell, literally. He would take my cards, my money, steal my phone, tell me drug dealers were trying to kill him if he did not pay. I did not know how the streets functioned regarding drugs so, I believed him. I lost so much money but I lost him the day he began addicted to crack & I lost him even before as he transitioned from alcohol to marijuana to cocaine and to crack.
But my life was more important to me than losing him. I had lost myself so deep over the years. I hated who I had become. I was angry & I had hurt myself by overeating. I believed every word he would tell me. I was angry that I was abandoned by my parents & had to fend for myself. I entered such a toxic relationship after leaving a toxic home where I needed the love directly from my parents & no one else. I ended our relationship so many times. I moved away & he moved with me to the new apartment & so forth, but this time it was for good. I enabled him so much & I relied on his presence. I became so co-dependent on him which resulted by him always manipulating me, even when it came to my friends & family by making me think they did not care for me. It took time to heal. It took everything to fight to be here today, to love myself whole heartedly, to love who I am & not be ashamed (because boy, oh, boy, was I ashamed of myself for staying in this relationship). I was ashamed of being a domestic violence victim like my mother who stayed with my father until he passed away 7 years ago due to his alcoholism.
I broke the cycle & I say that with so much courage & bravery. It took me to unlearn everything I became & all the negative learned behaviors & thoughts to be here today. I was in therapy during & after leaving the eleven year relationship. My support system– my previous supervisors, friends & family would tell me to leave. I tried but I thought he would change for us & for him but he could not. He had me believe he would but he never did. He tried, we went to Narcotics Anonymous groups but he stopped attending. He believed he could become sober on his own but he just could not. I had to become “sick & tired of being sick & tired” of hurting myself & staying in that relationship.
It took so much strength that I had to find within me & my faith in God. I prayed every night for strength to continue on. I felt so trapped. And here I am. Tejal, shining bright. Using her voice to tell her testimony to remind you all that YOU CAN OVERCOME. I believe in you! Understand that it will take time to heal. You must put the work in for YOU because at the end of the day, this is for YOU. Leaving a domestic violence situation is never easy but know you have support even if you feel alone. Trust, I felt so alone especially because I hardly have family that are not toxic.
So if you feel alone, please contact your local precinct or the National Domestic Violence Hotline 1−800−799−7233 or TTY 1−800−787−3224. Please know, you are important, loved & not alone. I use to think this only happened to me until I met a woman in Graduate school who also went through the same as I did, as a domestic violence survivor. My nurse at my clinic also disclosed that she too, was/is a domestic violence survivor. As I began to speak up & tell my story, I no longer felt alone.
Today I stand before you as Tejal, a recent graduate with my Masters Degree in Social Work from Rutgers University, graduating class of 2018. Living & breathing in peace. and No longer living in chaos, as well as, loving myself so much harder each every day than ever before.