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A Letter From Jennifer

A letter from Jennifer

Dear WOMAN-Rising,

Our past paths are similar, dear one, we have been unmade in a way that most individuals cannot comprehend. It was and is still unnerving, painful, and terrifying at times.  Let me tell you, the most important thing that I have found is the capability to hold on to hope.  Hope helps you plan, desire, and achieve what you want.  It is a seed that will grow with nurture.

It has been 28 years since I met the man who so irrevocably and cruelly unmade me as a human being, a woman, and a mother. I loved him with all my heart. It has been twenty years since I escaped him. Nineteen years since he was sentenced to prison; September 17, 1998 he was convicted of one count of aggravated assault and 2 counts of battery. He was charged with more, however, a jury determined a man could not rape or sodomize his wife. Seven years since I began embodying love for myself. Five years since I found forgiveness.

You see, dear one, we have lived a paradox; experiencing ridicule, shame, hatefulness, emotional abuse or violence on any given day and then love, tenderness and vulnerability in the next moment. All of this committed by a man that we loved.  I remember hiding in the closet and falling asleep at night just to feel safe.  I knew he would find me when he came back to the house, not home, house.  I was afraid to leave.  He said he would kill my children and me.  I was terrified that if he had visitation he would do to my children what he did to me. All the confusion:  love, violence, love, violence, love, violence. That made it hard to leave. I never knew what man would show up: the love or the violence.

After my escape, I maintained hope, except now it belonged to me. It took a while to find trust in myself and to understand what happened to me was not my fault (forgiveness for me).

It was a slow process to become the human being, the woman, and mother I hoped for. It was a remaking and I was the artist.

It is ever changing, this work that I am and I love it. I grow my own food now. I make kimchi and all kinds of ferments! I repair fences to keep the deer out of my garden. I cook, I walk the dogs, I love and I make love, I dance, I teach yoga, I create art, I laugh, and I still cry about what happened. That is ok. It is what helped forge the woman rising existing now.  I make room for the sadness with equanimity. To find gratitude in the past is a moment of beauty.

Why didn’t you leave? A question I heard and saw often waiting in another’s eyes. It made me angry and I would wonder if they knew what it felt like to have a gun to your head (literally and metaphorically).  Further down the path of hope I was creating, forgiveness and gratitude stepped in.  I was wrong to judge their lack of understanding. They needed education not my disdain.  I learned discernment, I learned to respond instead of reacting. I learned to love myself.  We all have our own equal pain. What new relationship can you forge within your own being? What hope can you make into your new reality? How can you see across the barriers confining you? Hope can exist behind those barriers and freedom beyond.

What is most important, dear one, is that at some point your capacity to embody love will be greater than his capacity to unmake the love that you are.

And at this point, the hope you so cherished when you were with him will become the hope that you cherish in yourself now.  The hope and knowledge that you are a life full of love. I believe in you.


Light and Love,



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