Where to begin?
A little introductory. My name is Layna. I am a mother of three children. My eldest is Eden – she is a fiery red haired Leo. My middle child is James – he is a shy druid child. My youngest is Eve – she never stops laughing and lights up any room.
On January 14th, 2016, I left my husband. We had been married for a year and engaged for 8 years (commitment issues on my end.). The relationship had always been extremely toxic. On our second date, he became furious that I had talked to another man. He took me outside, his vodka breath heavy in my face, pinned me against a wall and told me that was not acceptable. At the time, I told him his behavior was unacceptable and that we could not see each other again. That day started the cycle that became my life for the next 9 years. A cycle which spiraled out of control until I could no longer see any light in life.
So, I left. I had left twice before, the longest was three months. It was awful. I was stalked, harassed, threatened. I was too spineless to stand up for myself so I went crawling back to that comforting darkness of depression and abuse.
A long time ago, a friend of mine had told me, “One day, Layna.. you’re going to get sick of it. You’ll leave with the clothes on your back and never return.” – That day was this past Thursday. I got the news that we had a place to stay – ran home and packed the essentials in a suitcase, picked the kids up from school, and didn’t look back.
Words can not describe the feeling of this new found liberation. Is it stressful? Oh god, yes. But I can BREATHE. My children can breathe. We are waking up and going to bed without violence.
I have learned so much in these past few days. On Friday, I was sitting outside of the homeless intake shelter with about 20 other people. It was freezing, maybe 20 degrees outside. We had to line up TWO HOURS before the doors opened. As I sat there with my leather purse, hair straightened, cellphone, and my fluffy leopard print blanket.. humility gave me the biggest wake up call.
The people around me were far off worse than I, yet they were so kind and generous. My jeans had ripped knees and one of the men gave me the own jacket off of his back to cover my legs from getting cold. Another gave me a bag of noodles for my children. And another gave my children a watch each which put the biggest smiles on their faces. The man sitting beside me on the ground had a little radio and was playing uplifting music, had 4 incense smelling of Frankincense burning, and was reading from the Bible. As the Sun rose up over the city streets, bringing warmth to our freezing bodies, a sense of calm washed over me. I was glad to be there, sitting with these people, free, healthy and alive.
This road isn’t easy.. but I have hope. A tremendous amount of hope. This is the beginning of my journey.