Honored to be featured on The Pixel Project with so many other beautiful survivors.
Many of us have that one “friend.” You know, the one who can outdo, outlast, outbig anything we do? If you ran 5 miles, she ran 15. If you broke your leg, he broke both legs and both arms. No matter what you’ve been through or done, they’ve done it bigger or lasted longer or went farther. It’s because of that friend that you look at your own story and think, “It’s not that bad.”
“My story isn’t as bad as yours,” many say to me.
Or, “I was never hit, so I realize it’s not as bad as some stories.”
Here’s the thing, the truth you need to remember: Survival isn’t a competition.
Abuse stories should never be about who had it “worse” or who “survived the hardest story.”
Peeling back layers of ourselves isn’t easy. Even when you’re among others with painful stories, it can still be hard if you’re busy wondering if your story is bad enough or if you doubt that you are worth being heard.
Your voice matters.
Starting in September, Scars and Tiaras will be featuring one story every week to help others understand the depth of abuse and assault, and your story matters.
Are you a survivor of domestic violence, child abuse, or sexual assault (any age)? If so, I’d love to interview you for an upcoming ongoing series here on ScarsandTiaras.com. Please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Let’s be brave together. Let’s stand together and shine light into the darkness. Let us be bold and show there is courage in vulnerability, that every story matters, every person matters.
I’ve spent a great deal of my life lying. That is, hiding behind a fake smile so that others wouldn’t know how I was really feeling, what I was fearing, the shame and pain I was trying to bury in a shallow grave. And even after I was physically free from my past, I was still held captive by shadows of the way it had once been, whispers that taunted me with lies about myself. So I smiled on, pretending, waiting for that moment when the act would become real.
It is said that when you smile, even when you don’t feel like it, you might then actually begin to feel happy. I think this can be true, but not always. Not when your shoulders carry the weight of so much that went wrong (or is currently going wrong), not when your heart is heavy with grief.
Sometimes a smile just feels like a lie.
But sometimes? It’s at least a step in the direction of healing.
When the subject gets really hard, I run. I plaster on a smile and pretend I’m fine. Over time, that lie has melted away into more truth, and I realize I can embrace the ugly that was my past to bring something beautiful to fruition. The Tiara Project has gone from super active to dead in the water, an endless cycle — except, it does end. Today.
I’ve been faking courage and strength, but a funny thing happened along the way: I actually began to feel brave and strong. Brave enough and strong enough to face this project and GET IT TOGETHER. It’s not about saving the world, or saving anyone, really…because I can’t save anyone. I was reminded of that recently when a woman told me she couldn’t save her husband. I had said and lived the same feelings with my past: I couldn’t save my ex-husband. I was wracked with guilt for something I had no control over. All I could do was love, and for this project, that’s all I can do. Share from a place of love, from courage, from healing, and then my story and my journey will help whomever it’s supposed to help. Help, not save.
We put so much pressure on ourselves to be perfect, to be the best, to not make mistakes, especially if we are trying to help, and when we falter, we quit. I should just say that’s what I do, but I’ve seen it all over. We get scared, we mess up, we make a mistake, and so instead of pushing onward, we shut it down and walk away.
Maybe today you can start a new journey. Maybe you put a smile on your face for that which really DOES make you happy, and maybe today you give yourself a pat on the back for what you HAVE achieved, and maybe today you give yourself grace for when you were scared, and stand up and be brave, even in the small moments.
If we’re faking it, fine. But I believe it will soon be our new reality, our everyday selves, not some version of who we wish we were.
Are you with me?
When I started this project, this 1,000 Miles in 2014 challenge, my only intention was to walk for victims and survivors of painful abusive pasts (and present), to be a voice for them, to walk in their honor and memory. I wanted to raise awareness and money along the way, but first and foremost, I wanted to push myself in a way that forced me to focus and remember and act and do.
Then came the idea to write about each walk. And it was going well.
And then it wasn’t.
I fell behind. During a bout of financial issues wherein we lost our Internet service for over a week, all in the middle of a struggle to find my balance with school and work and life, I fell behind on the letters. The words were with me as I walked, but the time and effort to sit down and write them out would not be. I made attempts to catch up, but the truth is, it became overwhelming.
Then I just couldn’t catch up. It became this heaviness I carried with me each day. This need to sit and perform. Every to-do list carried this one: Write Letters for Scars and Tiaras. Then, when I couldn’t fit it in, the guilt and pressure became even heavier. My mind began to wander when walking — from thoughts and prayers for the person I was walking for, to guilty thoughts about not having time to write their letters, and I have to write their letters because I wrote the other letters and now they will feel like I don’t care and then they might miss the point of the walk! Or, as the case really seemed to be, I was beginning to miss the point.
The point? Ah yes, just walking the miles, concentrating thoughts and prayers and hopes and love toward the person I was walking for. The letters were a last-minute idea. Not a bad idea, but an extra idea, one that quickly became more busy work and less action work for the task at hand.
And so, with peace — sweet whispers carried through new spring bird calls and loving caresses from gentle blowing winds — I felt the need to let go of that idea. To return with the original enthusiasm to simply walk the miles, to share the who and how far, and to leave it at that.
The challenge was never about making busy work for myself or shining a spotlight on how sweet or kind or motivating my words could be toward each person. The challenge was love-based, awareness-based, and action-based, and I am returning to that now.
ATTENTION Teller County (and Park, El Paso, Douglas Counties)
Teen Violence Awareness Month Event
Woodland Park, Ute Pass Cultural Center
March 22, 10:00 – 12:00
Teller County Victim Assistance is recognizing Teen Violence Awareness Month with a two-hour event focusing on healthy relationships and featuring domestic violence survivor Angela Giles Klocke, who will share her personal story as well as awareness information. Teen dating violence, bullying, etc. Tips for parents and teens alike.
On December 28, I was out walking, breathing in the mountain air, soaking up the sunshine, and I felt powerful and strong and alive.
Every once in a while, I find myself staring down that statement: I am alive.
Sometimes, it’s easy to get too comfortable in the details of everyday life, to sit back and relax, to forget to LIVE, not just be alive. There are so many who don’t get that, who aren’t here anymore, or worse, they are, trapped in a life of pain and sadness.
But I am alive. My legs work. My mind works.
These lyrics popped into my head as I pounded the pavement, fists pumping, heart racing as I tackled the big hill in my neighborhood.
“I would walk 500 miles
And I would walk 500 more”
-Proclaimers, I Would Walk 500 Miles
“Next year, I’ll walk 1,000 miles,” I thought. And then, “But why?”
Why indeed? I love a good goal, deadline, whatever, but 1,000 miles? For no other reason than to say I did it? The very idea seemed silly, one of my many silly ideas that often come and go. But my thoughts persisted.
“Walk for someone.”
The answer didn’t immediately come. I pushed on, content that I was already over the two-mile mark. The last several weeks had been very cold, so I hadn’t walked much. But on this day, my body just fell into the natural rhythm of exercise, traveling the same steps I’d taken before.
“I feel so great! So alive!”
“And there you go,” my heart thumped back at me.
That’s how the idea shaped itself, grew with each footstep, each crunch of the gravel beneath my very alive self.
In 2014, I will walk 1,000 miles to raise awareness for the abused – past, present, and future – and in their honor…in OUR honor. For those currently there, and those who came out. And especially for those who never got the chance to live.
Please join me on this journey.
There were bumps in the road and hiccups that caused chaos, but the site formerly known as The Tiara Project, now known as Scars and Tiaras, will return bigger and better than ever January 1, 2014. Stay tuned!
In the meantime, join the Facebook page for all the news and updates. And I thank you!
The site formerly known as The Tiara Project is now Scars and Tiaras…and you are here! Welcome to the new and improved awareness site for reclaiming your beautiful self after a painful past of abuse (domestic, childhood, sexual, emotional, etc.). Please stay tuned as I work to rebuild and march forward with this idea. I’ve never been more excited about sharing and speaking out!
*Please excuse broken links and images as I work to set everything right again.
Fifteen years ago today, my life changed. An old life of heartbreak and pain and lots and lots of tears came to an end, and a new life of hope and growth and joy began. But the journey to who I am today didn’t magically happen with the ending of one life. It’s been a struggle, a back and forth tug-a-war of emotion.
This week, I witnessed a life enter this world. It was messy and chaotic. Fifteen years ago, I witnessed a life leave this world. It was also messy and chaotic. Tears and pain were present at both events, and neither memory will ever leave my heart. Lives change with the coming and going of people, the in and out of this world. One thought kept crossing my mind as I watched a beautiful boy being born this week: I am so blessed to be here to see this miracle, to be 37, to live this life.
“I have spent my days stringing and unstringing my instrument, while the song I came to sing remains unsung.” -Tagore
So much of the past 15 years has been spent trying to recover who I am, to reclaim my own beautiful self. Never does it become more clear to me how far I’ve come than when I find myself doing something with confidence and a very certain absence of fear. But I’ve spent much more time not singing my song, merely preparing and then backing away, afraid.
“Don’t put off your happy life.” -Author Unknown
Healing and reclamation of self is indeed a process, but it need not take forever. Beginning in 2013, The Tiara Project will begin new journeys toward growth in an effort to help you reclaim your beautiful self. With a monthly newsletter, as well as monthly Tiara Photo Projects, together we can walk arm in arm into the light of thriving, not just surviving. Won’t you join me?
I spent several hours at the studio yesterday, and while no one came in for tiara pictures, a couple of people stopped by to ask about what they can do, which was very exciting. One lovely lady told me she heard about The Tiara Project from someone I don’t know, who heard it from someone else I don’t know. Do you know how much awesomeness is in that sentence right there? People are talking about the project! And when people talk, word gets around, awareness is raised, and monies come in for Teller Safe Harbor. So keep talking and sharing!
And now for a little extra incentive —
Participate in The Tiara Project Fundraiser and you could win one of three photo shoots*!
GOAL – $500
RAISED – $30
You do NOT need to be a former victim to participate (and it should not be assumed that those who appear in photos here are victims). Please read all details HERE and then pick a date and come on by!
*Photo shoot drawing will take place in November. Prize sessions will take place in 2013. Eligibility: Teller, Park, Douglas, and El Paso Counties only, unless you are traveling to this area.