Hi There, I'm Mel

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It has been a little over a year since I found myself alone, lost, scared. More terrified than I ever felt with my Husband's hands grasped around my throat. Now I am learning that survival means growth, accepting that it was not my fault, and understanding that I am far from alone in this journey. 

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

It's been a blast. Introducing Bruises & Buttermilk

You may have been wondering what the heck I've been doing.  I have a secret. This will be my very last post on Invisible Bruises. 

Over the last year I have poured my heart our and I have received an unbelievable amount of support. But as I move on I become less attached to the story of my pain and more excited for the story of my life. That is why I have made the decision to let this blog grow, I would like to introduce you to Bruises and Buttermilk .

My life is about me now, and so should my blog. I will continue to write about gender equality, moving on, and begin to roll in my passions for baking (hence the buttermilk), exploring, and living. I will no longer write 'anonymously' and since I invested in my own domain hopefully it will be a bit more visually appealing. 

So please join me in my new project, I hope to see you at Bruises & Buttermilk

Bruisesandbuttermilk.com

Mel

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Be a Man- The Crisis of Masculinity



A couple posts ago I wrote about what I would have said to my husband if I saw him again.  I would ask him to be emotionally intelligent, to understand that emotions do not equate weakness. Lately I have been reading a lot about the crisis of masculinity. There are several movements world wide that seem to be addressing this. 

Domestic Violence is not a victim's fault; nothing she did could possibly deserve a violent retaliation. Domestic Violence, and the ending of domestic violence is as much of a man's issue as a woman's. 

Withholding emotion, dominating situations and asserting masculinity is not what this life is about, but it is what we are training our boys to believe. 

Below Tony Porter makes a call to men to step outside of the "Man Box", this seems to be a thread strung through most of the crisis against masculinity messaging.
 

Joe Ehrmann speaks about being told to be a man. Separating your heart from your head, using women to validate masculinity,  and measuring a man.  Ehrmann explores what "Be a Man" is doing to us and what "Being a Man Person" is actually about. Watch the entire thing- trust me.


And Finally one heck of a response to "Man Up"



Monday, 16 December 2013

November 25, 2012

There was knocking-- my heart pounded with each tap at my door. Police I thought.  Images of my husband in handcuffs darted through my head.

I covered my half naked body with a blanket. My clothes had been torn off hours before; his hand had grasped around the collar of my shirt as I tried to get away, tearing it clean off my body. I was thankful it wasn't my hair. Eventually it would be that too.

My pants came off as he dragged me backwards towards the bedroom by the leg of my pajamas. Later he would use them to shove into my face. Nearly suffocating me; the smell of that laundry detergent still prompts flashbacks.

The knocking continued. Four or five more times.  He answered.

I lied there wearing some scraps of clothing and fresh, swollen bruises. Hand prints stained my skin--it looked like dye. Fake.

I heard my mother. "Where is she"  she entered without needing a response. I pulled my cover tighter around me. The light wisp of the blanket against my skin stung.

I saw K. Parka and boots were all I seem to remember now. My head spun and buzzed and I realized how disoriented I was. Before this moment it felt like a wild dream. My imagination. But here I was.

As I sat upright my knee shot with pain. Tight like an elastic stretched too far.

I remember little. A last scared glance at his face.  He was scared too.  Grabbing my blue bag. The one I kept for emergencies.  K hugging me as she put me in the front seat of her Pontiac.  The ice. The bandaids.  The cover up...

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Last thing I'd say

Once in a while I wonder what I would say to my husband if he gave me five minutes of his time. What I could say to him, if for a short while I could unload. The truth is the answer to this has evolved over the past year. Morphed and changed, growing and shrinking as I too evolved.

Several nights ago this scenario danced through my head again. This time only a single thought crossed my mind.

There was no anger; I didn't fantasize about lashing out with a furious tongue. Using all those words my friends had used a year ago.

There was no regret; I didn't feel sorry or sad or hate either the marriage, the ten years, the pain I endured 
both pre and post.

There were no explanations. No questions. There were no long winded speeches plump full of tangents about how I'm better of or why nothing will ever feel the same.

There was no apologies. No guilt.

There was no I miss you or I hate you. No I loved you.

All I have left to say to him was please figure you out. Please understand what makes you hurt, understand who you are.
Be emotionally intelligent.

Realize that tough doesn't make you a man. You may hurt, curse the world and break down. Its okay. It doesn't make you less valuable to anyone. You may even become more connected.

Maybe this has nothing to do with why you got angry. Why you hit me and yelled instead of talking to me. Just remember that you may have lost something because the only way you knew to show hurt was to make someone else hurt too.

If you find someone better for you.  And you might.  Treat her well. Talk to her. Tell her she's disappointed you. Or you parents upset you. Tell her you're scared.

I sincerely wish you nothing but the best in life. Goodbye.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Reflecting, a year later.

It's been a year since everything begun to change. Here I am and I can barely recall the time before this chapter began. Its like looking down a dark hallway, squinting, trying to make out shapes of figures in the distance. Everything is blurry.

As much as I aknowledge the path that brought me here I am okay with the fading details. Unlike my last life, when I hopelessly grasped at the past, the memories, the things I missed. I use to struggle to remember the most intricate details of a happy life. Now I'm content and excited for my future, my focus is on this instead. 

Once and I while I will come across something that makes me feel nostalgic, and I miss that life. For a fleeting moment and then it is gone.

In the last year I have found myself traveling, taking risks, making friends. I have found myself with bigger aspirations, more meaningful and attainable dreams.

In the last year I have shed more tears than the 25 years prior, though I have also taken to smiling more; and laughing. Laughing happens a lot now. 

12 months ago, I said no a lot.  I turned down experience and opportunity. I lived by rules that I didn't make. Now, I live only by the guidance of myself; and I say Yes more often than not. 

The last year is one that I may remember in vivid detail for the rest of my life. The year I walked away, the year I threw out my cover up and began my life. The past year might also disappear down that hallway...

But that is alright by me.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Thank-you Best Friend P

A year ago you were one of my friends who bled into the background of my world. One of many. We would laugh or chat or go for a pint after work. A year ago I couldn't have fathomed that you would help me through one of the hardest times of my life. That you would become my best friend. That you would accompany me though dreams I never thought I would see.

It was you who taught me that packing my feelings into little orange boxes and sliding them back to my subconscious was not dealing with my hurt, or a way of moving on from it. It was to you that I shared my first tears after I left.

It was you who taught me that no matter how damaged I felt, I could be loved. I was loved.

We did Iceland, this might be one of the most important string of moments in my life. You stayed up for hours through 4am texts; when I couldn't sleep you wouldn't either.

My world feels lighter, happier and brighter with you in it, and I never want to know a moment without you again. You're my Rock Best Friend P, my partner in crime. And one Heck of a Bestie.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Iceland

I have taken some time to reflect.

On what my life is now. How I handle freedom without being careless. How I protect myself without caging my heart away forever. How I find Balance.

I mentioned a post or two ago that I was planing a trip, a trip I had been planning for years. 5 years to be exact.

Well, I took that trip. It was in Iceland that I finally found my center. Sneaking away for mere moments from my travel companion I sat on the shoreline of a glacial lake alone. The water a pristine reflection of the sky.

Ten thousand year old ice floated past me and seals played in the distance, uninterrupted by the presence of people. A few other tourists whisked past me, tripods out or the crunching of their boots in the distance, the disturbances faded the longer I sat there. If it weren't for Best Friend Pete at the top of the hill I may have stayed there all day.

What brought me total clarity as I took in the crisp Arctic air. The realization that all those days I dreamed about this place, Imagined this moment. When it was all I wanted. The moments when I thought "if I ever get to go...". Every play of the Icelandic tourism DVD, even though my husband told me it was stupid.  Those moments were not for nothing.

You see Iceland embodied every dream I had. It was the last one standing; the last thing I held on to. It was the only thing I thought about some days before I fell asleep from exhaustion after I ran out of tears.

It was the only place I ever felt that I NEEDED to go.

And right there at that moment it was real. Not only was it real so was everything in the last year. I sacrificed everything I had ever known for something that was better and exactly then, sitting on the pebbles at the shore of this amazing place I realized that moving past all of this hurt is going to bring me extraordinary things.

Iceland is just the beginning.