Day 38: Own Your Life

You take your life in your own hands, and what happens? A terrible thing, no one to blame.

~ Erica Jong

Today’s inspirational quote hit home for me.  I write about my first marriage and my ex-husband quite a bit, and often it echoes the violent nature of it.  While I know that it was wrong for my ex to do the things he did to me and to my children, the blame doesn’t entirely rest upon him.

I know what your thinking – victim blames herself.  I can probably imagine your reaction pretty to close to what it really is, but let me explain what I mean in context of today’s inspirational quote.

For the longest time, I blamed my ex for everything bad that had happened to me.  Much of it was all him, but I reached a point where I asked myself what part I played in the events that ran their course for four years.  What I found was that, while nothing I did warranted the treatment I received, I did allow it to continue.

The first time I was physically harmed by him, I stayed.  What I should have done was leave, but I didn’t.  I should have taken my own life and my own safety in my own hands.  Instead, I stayed, had two amazing children with him, and endured the violence.  The part that is my responsibility in all this is the life that I exposed my children to.

In the three short years of their lives, they experienced things no child should ever have to endure.  That folks, was all my fault.  Not the violence itself, but the effects of it on those tiny people I was charged with protecting.  While they may not have any conscious memories of it, it affected them.  I saw it in their behaviors, their reactions, their faces.

The moment that I took responsibility for my own choices, I started to heal.  I started to realize that my life could be whatever I made it, if I owned up to my part in it.  If you haven’t done this for yourself, do it.  Don’t wait another minute because as soon as you take responsibility for your life, you will be freed of the weight you carry.

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