Edna is a domestic violence survivor and an author
She is one of the most beautiful spirit I've met.
Edna here is an author, I was told briefly about your story fighting domestic violence. I am a domestic violence survivor. I was like, man, I have to know this girl. So share with me what you're about and what's your story.
I, in a nutshell, started out the open door for domestic violence was when I was little witnessing and having some abuse towards me. So you know, when you're young, and your innocence is broken too, like too quickly and you're getting involved in things, you don't even know that you're getting involved in. So I think that's what happened to me, my innocence broke, I was introduced to the life and next thing you know, I'm falling into these unhealthy relationships because I'm unhealthy. The most unhealthy relationship was 15 years ago, and it started out was, I was a single mom for a while, so I've already had a dysfunctional life. I was introduced to the streets really quickly, and I had to grow up at 17. My whole life just changed at that point. When I met this man, we come from similar backgrounds, unhealthiness, here we are thinking that we're going to heal each other and it was just destruction. When your self-esteem is not there, you don't know who your identity is, and you don't have it together. Anyone can come and strip them. And that's what happened.
I was meditating yesterday about the past and some of the situations that I was in. And one of the things that people always ask is, why don't you leave? You could have left you this and that, but it's not like everybody wants to know how to.
There are many factors around that; first, you don't go into a relationship saying, well, this is what's going to happen to me today. We're going to argue tomorrow, we're gonna get into a fistfight the next day. We don't do that. It's just gradually going in, and if you're not aware of your red flags, it'll take you.
Maya Angelo says, "people don't remember how what you did or said, but they remember how you make them feel."
This one night, we were arguing about whatever, and I was sitting on the couch, and every time I would black out, every time I open my eyes, he was just doing him, does his physical damage on my face, and I will wake up and blackout again. And I remember that day and that happened because I called the police to take him out. He left, walked around, and came back in through a window, and here we are.
It's not like people want to stay, it's this situation that happened. It was a journey of trying to getaway. When you have children, you have a family. When you have the church saying stay, we have all those things interacted together. How do you leave? I did it with a lot of planning, and I left, and that was over ten years ago, but he would never leave my side because that's my daughter's father. It's something you cope with every day. Healing is every day.
The only time I used to feel safe with when he was in jail, when his life, in and out of jail because that was his lifestyle, and the only time I feel safe was when he was in jail. I left the comfort of my home to another state, going to a shelter, trying to escape my life and my children because that's how strong it was. It was a struggle.
The truth is I had to plan it around to work for me because no matter how many times I would call the cops, he'd take a walk, or he'll just do something not to be caught. It would get worse when he came back and the, it was safer having him at the house versus, I don't know where he was active will pop up the job at school, sneak in a window or something. So this one day, we have it to get into an altercation. My car was taken away. We had to take the children, take the children to school walking and I purposely we were going to pass the police station. So I said, this is my time, or never, I'll do it now, or it's never going to happen.
He kept telling me, "be quiet. I'm gonna punch you" I was broken, and I knew something was going to happen. Somebody had to come outside, and that's what happened. He literally turned around and hit me. And at that time, I guess somebody saw, the police came in and arrested him. And then three days tops. I packed up my home, I quit my job, I went to the U-haul, I left to another state and started over.
I moved to Rhode Island, and that's where I began my life. My kids are grown now. They're all adults.
First of all, beautiful courage to get out of that situation. A lot of times, women don't. Having that said, there's a lot of resilience in your life. What makes you push through every day?
My kids. I didn't have the time or the opportunity or the space to be like, Hey, I'm depressed today, or I'm tired today. If I would've taken that role, then what would have happened to my kids? So my focus was on them. So for a long time, it was them. I had to keep moving and pushing.
But the real healing for your pain was when I started forgiving, and I started letting go. It was the hardest thing to do but the most rewarding. Forgiving him. Forgiving myself. It took me a while because healing is, it's a lifetime to learn. To tell you the truth, girlfriend had I not forgiven, I would not have been sitting with you today and being free.
I think forgiving is one of the things that we can justify that, "I have nothing to forgive you for."
You hurt me, and for someone to just forgive them; that sounds really nice to sit there and really do that and then forgive yourself for allowing that to happen. That's a lot. Once I realized that I'm not going to be in this phase, in this prison of this anger, this sadness, this is what you should've done, and you did this whatever for a reason is. And then I had my babies looking at mommy, what's mommy gonna do? So I had this pressure of surviving.
I have a thing about being a victim and a survivor, when you're a victim of things, absolutely. Like we entered something that we were victimized. None of this was supposed to happen. You become a survivor. When you think about you're surviving that fight, you're surviving that day, you're surviving whatever craziness is going to come back after the nice honeymoon phase like that's the survivor mode. When you come out of that, that's when you like you're the queen, you're an overcomer. You overcame that, so you move to the next level of being more than a conqueror. You've conquered that, you conquer that abusive.
The whole forgiveness part of it, what steps did you have to take to accomplish that?
When I say I'm spiritual, I try to hone in on who created me and who loves me. Why was I here?
So finding my spirituality, finding my creator, framing who I am as a woman, understanding who I am, what I like, what I don't like. Since we don't give ourselves an opportunity, that's what we fall into. These things that we don't have any business. So I really had to stop, and I was very intentional. Like once I left to go to this shelter, I was in every group that I could be a support group where we caught everything cause I really wanted to heal because I was desperate. I was like, I'm not saying I went through this for nothing. So I say I'm going to heal myself and then I'm going to try and heal others. So realizing that first, I have to look at myself, who's Edna, bump everybody else. It's about me. And then I just started healing little by little. I was like, I got to let that go. I gotta let that go. And I started looking for good things, and I'm thankful for the things in my life. I still suffer from injuries because of that. But I'm thankful that I'm still here, and I could talk about it, and I could push through. I'm thankful that my kids, even though they're the witness to so much, they're strong, educated individuals, full of passion for moving forward. So those are the things that healed me. And I was able to forgive. And I even had the opportunity to talk to him after many years. And I said, "I forgive you, and I forgive me, You know, we've had that conversation, and I would never think I would have that conversation. Why? He didn't deserve that.
So I did. And he was taken back. He still hated me and loved me at the same time. Cause one day he'll write me a letter of "I'm gonna kill you" and then another letter saying, "you are the love of my life, and I love you." So this is the mental health that affects you as well.
How do you define beauty?
I was always told I was pretty, but I've never embraced that because I didn't think that I was pretty or. And I actually hate them when people are telling me that I look beautiful. I used to hate that because I didn't see myself like that until I went through the healing and really embraced who I was.
And when you're finally reading books, trying to be with other women that were empowering, reading my spiritual growth, growing in all of that. I think I'm the most beautiful that I've been EVER. Because of health issues, I have gained weight, but I didn't even think about that. I just want to be healthy. And my beautifulness comes from the inside out. So one of the missions that I've always done is with my girls and my boys. The beauty comes inside, the forgiveness comes inside so that it can shine out because it could be as fly as you could be and be very miserable and sour. I mean, you could wear the finest clothes, but if that's not coming from the inside, it's going to shine.
What's one thing you'd like to change about the world?
Women using their voice and their power. Everything that I do, I aim it to empower someone else. It's bigger than me, I can't do this work alone. So anytime I meet a sister, it's bigger than us. We've got to get our voices up, got to empower gotta, embrace, girl! There are different ways you'll feel with somebody, hanging out with them, the blood in them, this feeling. So it's about healing.