Why I Fell Quiet

Bravely She Shines is a space I created to share my story, and the stories of other women like myself. The knowledge that patriarchy and tainted Christianity in the form of a cult had taken so much from me and countless other women was something I couldn’t hide. The ugly truth had to be shared. So share I did. Timidly at first, but that only lasted so long. By sharing and using my voice, it grew stronger and brighter. Before I knew it,  I had the strength to share things I had only ever shared with a small number of people. Women were coming to me after reading my posts, and sharing their own similar stories. Some have even been working on writing their own stories for me to share here. Someday, when they are ready, they will have a safe space to be seen and heard at whatever capacity they need.

Why Did I Stop Writing?

A little over a year ago, I posted one of my rawest posts about sexual abuse. I remember agonizing over every word and feeling like I was going to puke as I hit the button to publish. I knew there were people from my past reading my posts, and still are, even now. People that will stop at nothing to protect abusers, victim shame/blame, defend their cult and question my words, and I didn’t/don’t care. But this…this post was different. It came from a very dark, secret and hidden away place within me. It was something I didn’t talk about. I remember thinking, “please don’t let this be the piece that brings out the trolls…I don’t think I’m strong enough for it.”. Unfortunately, it was one of my most read posts, and with that kind of traffic it was bound to land in front of someone with nothing better to do than meddle in things they knew nothing about. I won’t give that any more energy here in this post, but if you’re curious there is a Thank You Post that I wrote to them.

The thing I didn’t expect to come from that painful and challenging experience was the mental toll it would take on me. My words weren’t coming as naturally as I would have liked them to. I wrote a couple more posts, and then nothing. Writer’s block is real, and mine was caused from a traumatic experience of not only sharing something SO personal, but then having someone from my past say and do unthinkable and unkind things that hurt deeply. So I fell quiet and silenced myself.

Discovering Who I Was

Creating is where I turned to while I recovered and rested. I picked up crochet, which I still love to this day. It’s my outlet. My time to zone out if you will. I even have a Shoppe where you can purchase some of the things I’ve made. I have also been exploring and embracing my spiritual side and gifts. I’m working on meditation, energy work, and feeling/reading the world and people around me. It’s an incredible experience and something I’ve actually always been really in tune to. Unfortunately, I was taught to shove it down because it was “worldly, satanic, witchcraft”…pick your evil word, and that’s what I was told it was. Now I see it as a part of me, and a part of all of us if we would just quiet the outside world and listen. Also, this year our family moved to a new state, and we have been enjoying our new place and friends. So this time of quietness was just what I needed. Time to re-discover and express who Heather was/is, even though I thought I already knew…I really didn’t. I needed time to rebuild my boundaries, curate my spaces and my life to be what I needed it to be. It has been an amazing journey, and I’ve come out on the other side freer and happier than I ever imagined I could be. I wasn’t sure I would come back to writing, but a couple of months ago I felt a shift happening inside. Words were starting to crowd my mind so much that I was losing sleep.

Sleepless Nights Filled With Words

It started with the Johnny Depp trial, then the horrific mass shootings and then Roe being overturned. In all of these things I could see a single similarity…misogyny fueled by patriarchy. A man facing the consequences of a misogynistic society that didn’t believe there was any way he was the victim of abuse, yet he clearly was. A country so in love with the control they think a gun brings, yet too cowardly to save little children. An overturning of a woman’s right to privacy which will inevitably have catastrophic consequences in so many other areas because men want control and think it’s their “god given right”. With all of these things happening in our country, I found that I could keep quiet no longer. My words were back with a vengeance. Slowly, I started sharing things here and there on my Facebook page, dealing with the expected trolls, but it just fueled me to keep talking, writing and sharing this time. Silence is no longer an option.

There is much more I want to talk about, but I’ll be taking my time. For today though, I just wanted to hop on here to explain where I have been and why. The movement that I see happening behind the scenes of this tiny blog is mind blowing and validating. If my voice can stir up this many women to speak up, just imagine what could happen if we ALL join in together! That idea alone gives me goosebumps. We are strong as individuals, but as a collective our strength could be unmatched.

Thank you for your continued support. It means more than you could ever know. Together we will continue to Bravely Shine!

Sunset