By Melanie Davis, for Brilliant Media llc.
In the October 2015 Edition of PQ, I inked a piece called ‘Dear you of today,’ which ended up being a precursor to the drastic changes that were about to unexpectedly manifest during the days, weeks and months following. I have reflected on that piece often since my life had changed overnight. As many of you know, I went through a break-up with someone I loved and honored both publicly and privately for almost 7 years. As irony would have it, we broke up on Columbus Day of 2015, now known by many cities in our country, including Portland as ‘Indigenous Peoples Day.’ Understanding that my life is relatively public and that I am a member of the media who does not abuse that privilege, I made only one public post on social media about the breakup. I tried with all of me to keep the elements of the break-up private outside of what the ex-lover had already made available for public view.
Unbeknownst to me, I wrote that piece late Sunday on the eve of what would be the last hours of the life she and I shared. I bring this up because I feel I was a fake. Over the last few months, I have been doing lots of counseling and healing. However, when I reread the letter, I wrote to you last October I closed with 6 words. Those being:
“FEAR, fuck fear, LIVE & LOVE!”
I have not been speaking my own truth, and for that, I deeply apologize. I realized the last 7 years were a lie. Admittedly, an illusion I created for safety out of fear. See, I quit drinking on July 7, 2007, Alcohol is my drug of choice – namely: vodka rocks. In any case, back in ’07 I did 14 days in treatment (at the same time as Robin Williams R.I.P., just different facilities in Oregon) 60 days outpatient, 40 days and nights of AA. Followed up with years with of counseling, big book work, a beautiful family and courageous AA members who are now family. I am deeply blessed and grateful for all of these people. It is in these sacred circles that one can be vulnerable and speak our truths no matter how ugly.
Within the walls of AA, the therapist office and many of these scared circles, people speak their truths and most importantly it is a trusted environment to talk about our struggles, pain and abuse(s). Two years into my sobriety I shared with my biological and chosen family on New Year’s Eve that I was going to start dating again. I swear I can still smell the candles and sage burning after that resolution was verbalized. Anyhow, I met someone who I thought was a solid person and some month later she and I were girlfriends. I opened myself to this person. I gave that person my respect and trust, I shared about my abuses and even my rape, and kidnapping. I trusted her with all of me.
Although I have always paid my own way in life, I was now paying her way as well. I just thought I was doing what a “good girlfriend” would do. She was on my payroll and admittedly she did do lots of work for Brilliant Media llc., work that I have publicly thanked her for many times over and work that she was handsomely compensated for monetarily. Additionally, I paid for all meals, entertainment, charitable contributions, fundraisers we hosted, healthcare, phones, TV, auto insurance, and later rent when her tenant moved from the guesthouse. I put her through real-estate school, travel and so many other expenses. I think my heart was in the right place because I figured we were going towards forever. When she would tell me to pay for things keeping my accounts low, because in her words “WE” had her savings for our future. I have since learned she was economically abusing me by making sure I would never be in a financial position to leave. Additionally, the vulnerabilities that I had so intimately and trustingly shared with her had transformed, and come out of her mouth in the form of violent and hurtful words. I learned that being called “a big fat fucking cry baby…” would round out a day of being yelled at.
I learned to cry in my sleep.
I learned the more she shouted, the less I loved her, the less I wanted to make sweet love to her, the less I would share of me with her. The more fucked up she would tell me I was, the more fucked up I wanted to be…until I did get fucked up. Truth be told I fell off the wagon. HARD. It was during the launch of PQ – I know, I have never shared this. But stress was so high, and on a personal level, I did not want my work to sacrifice my relationship. So I sacrificed the one thing I had. MY Sobriety. I began to sneak some drinks. It helped me relax and have a “successful, healthy relationship and satisfying sex life.” All was great till she found out. Understandably she lost it and immediately contacted my family. The following day I was at AA for a sobering confession. Later she promised me that she would never share with anyone that I relapsed because in her words, “we have my public image to look out for.” My heart went pitter-patter, because, in my mind, she loved me if she was willing to keep that shameful secret for me.
Weeks later I learned and continued to be reminded of “how good I was in bed when I was drunk” and how she wished I could just have a few drinks for that purpose. I eventually gave in to the pressure, and we agreed: only on weekends, at home, and only the two of us would know. We had a fantastic time until she realized that I am powerless over alcohol and in a drunken stupor compared me to her ex who was an alleged cocaine addict. She said I was just like her, useless. I was only good for sex. I thank my family, higher power, and my AA peeps for helping me regain my sobriety later that year.
It was then
I learned that she hated the fact that every woman she had ever dated had been abused. Not because they had been violated mind you. Rather, because as I had been told “once that happens, they are all fucked-up, and they can never have a normal sex life again…That’s why all those people are into that kinky shit.” I also learned that she wished everyone could be like her. All growing up from a perfect blue collar tract home with their innocence as intact as hers. I was told to get a grievance counselor when my father passed because she did enough grieving when her own parents had passed and would under no circumstances be available for “that.” I learned to make myself small, hide my pain, and greet her with a tall ice cold glass of fresh squeezed lemon water every evening and hear all about her day. I just learned that I told myself lies about how perfect my world had become.
Today I am living my words and speaking my truth. I realize my addicted mind had painted a reality for me to survive in. For those of you who would like a better understanding of how the addicted mind works, please go to our website for some resources. First and foremost, understand that addiction is defined as a chronic[.] The reality of “falling-off-the-wagon” is toying with death. So in exchange for life/sobriety I accepted/ignored the abuse, and wrote it off as benign because it was “just” verbal, and economic, no one could see, or hear it.
I lived in shame all my life because of the abuses I survived. However, I was humiliated when I overheard my ex-lover share with perfect strangers the stories of my abuse.
When I first heard this, I wept. It was as if the rape, the abuse, the punches, the filth was all over me again. I was that weak 5, 8, 10, 15, and 21-year-old kid all over again. Hearing her talk about my abuse in regular conversation hurt me so deeply that I lost track of time, work, days, the pain hit my core. I don’t know that I will ever have all the words to describe what it is like to hear your rape, your abuse being told by someone who, to this very day calls you a fat fucking cry baby.
I have taken lots some time to sit with these feelings. Since the day my innocence was lost at age 5, I have come to know my inner child very well. I have protected her the best way I can, with what I know and have at the time. I have kept her pain and abuse held close to my heart with sworn lips of silence and in her secret shame. However, since my abuser outed my abuse to strangers I spent some time with my inner child, and we have learned in silence lives fear. I will no longer be ashamed of what happened to me. Nor will I allow someone to use the violence and the abuse I survived as a weapon against me. That is mine. I survived it. I OWN IT! And, I now release it as I am the only one who is allowed to tell my abuse story if I want – NOT ANOTHER!
On an intimate level, I have survived molestation, physical abuse, rape, and abduction. It is my survival that gives me the strength and courage to do the work of my higher power on earth. So to my ex-lover who I have honored over the last 7 years, thank you for stealing what I was most ashamed of. It was fucking liberating! I am now re-gifting it back in the form of love, light, and forgiveness to her and those who have violated me. To my sister and brother survivors: I was told the best revenge is to live well!
Melanie C. Davis
Publisher-Owner Brilliant Media llc.
Ah yes, one last skeleton because lord knows who might try to use this one: I never completed college! Now I can honestly say “FEAR, fuck fear, LIVE & LOVE!”