Do you want to know one of the most disconcerting things about having ever been abused? Just the general feeling that it is not supposed to be talked about, at all ever. Not at the time. Not after. And definitely not years later.
To hear some people talk I am supposed to concentrate solely working through my issues, getting into great shape and trying to land another man. And I have gotten this advice from both well-meaning men and women...and also from mean-spirited ones. So after a while I started to question why on earth would the nice and the mean-spirited be on the same side of the fence regarding domestic violence issues. But the answers from both camps was the same. Which was that I needed to stop speaking out and spend my time trying to once again land a man.
That is insanity. And yet very prevalent. And it could be contributing to the cycle of violence. After all if I don't speak out, then light doesn't get shed on the issue. If I don't speak out then the cycle continues. And if I am so busy trying to do whatever it takes to land a man then I wouldn't have the time to speak out. But wasn't being in a perpetual state of trying to land a man what contributed to me picking the wrong ones in the first place?
I do not have to be with a man. Or try to always be landing a man. Any of you that have been on that particular merry/marry-go-round know exactly how consuming and draining that can be. The insanity has to stop at the root. The root is the misconception that I operated under for decades which was I had to be in a relationship with a man in order to be whole or complete. But that is a fabrication imposed on me since childhood.
I have seen very few healthy, loving male/female relationships patterned. So maybe what is right for me is that I am do not seek to be in one. Internally I thought there was something wrong with me, or lacking in me, whenever I wasn't in a romantic relationship. But if the truth be told, and it should be, I wouldn't have known what to look for in the first place. And I sure as heck wouldn't have known what my contribution should have been. I mean, we aren't born knowing these things. They must be taught and patterned, in order that they be emulated? Right?
So the first guy who beat the hell out of me...well, I should have just walked...and called it his problem. But I didn't even know to do that. I went back to him repeatedly. I thought I could love him better. When in reality he was just making me sick. Left that one, finally. But no real down time. No learning time. No "me time". Just got back on the saddle, as I was told/asked or hinted at...to do...and bam...next unhealthy relationship under my belt. And the pattern of destruction was set. Each relationship grew progressively, and sometime even exponentially worse. And each time I would be encouraged to "get back on the saddle" once again...sometimes by the loving and well meaning...and sometimes by the mean-spirited. But not much of anything being done to break my own cycle of self-defeating behaviors.
My rock bottom was some guy abusing both of my kids...nearly killing my son.
And then...years later...I have the audacity to write a book about our experiences...and guess what? The mean-spirited didn't care much for it. That's ok though, because I no longer care what they think.
And I may not be whole yet. Heck, I may never be whole...but I am better in so many ways. In addition to being able to identify a violent manipulator fairly early on, I also...wait for it...I also don't look to the mean-spirited for advice anymore...yeah!!! That is huge for me.
The single greatest influence in her life was the remarkable time spent with her paternal grandmother; it was under this influence that she thrived. Her grandmother introduced her to not only fine Literature, but also the Arts and the Opera. And it was beloved grandmother who told her that if she wanted to be a great writer she must first learn to be an avid reader.
Early adult life would be peppered with indecision, failings, and the haunting of things not learned in childhood. But as is the case with most sincere artist, out of the angst of life came a great capacity for creativity.
Shelby considers her writing a gift...a joy, a tremendous responsibility, and something that helps to define her life.
She lives in very picturesque Central Oregon with her two children.