Monday, October 26, 2015

Joel. Michawn. {Post 51 - Mama Bear}

Someone tried to silence me this weekend (not my husband, by the way; in fact, he quickly said 'no, you need to keep doing that...helping others helps you heal,'...just fyi).  Someone tried to silence me. Oh my gosh...Mama Bear woke up.

Why?  Because I know that I know that I know that what I'm doing here is important.  Not everyone likes it.  Not everyone approves.  But...of course that doesn't even matter, does it?  I find it appalling that those people think they even have a right to such strong opinions about my life and what I'm doing in response to all that I've been through anyway.  It's laughable and blood-boiling all at the same time.

The people who are helped by the kinds of things I post are the exact ones that are marginalized and silenced by the exact kinds of people who don't find my voice about it appropriate.  The ones who don't approve of me speaking out are the same ones who keep the ones I'm helping silenced.Basically, they are bullies.

Read that last paragraph again.  Let it sink in.

The people who don't find my speaking out on these things appropriate are people who don't need the kind of help that what I talk about offers.  If they don't need that kind of help, if they've never been through things like this...they are fortunate.  Congrats to them.  Applause all around.  But, to criticize someone who has been through these things...they are not afforded that prerogative.  So...they need to stop.

If there are those who have been through these things but don't approve of the way in which I share things...shoulder shrug.  I probably don't approve of some of the things they do either (right?...let's all use logic here)...but, I don't go on the prowl at the ready to criticize what they do in response to how people mistreat them.

I will not be silenced.

There is help in what I'm doing here.

What was meant for harm is being used for good.

For some time now I've known that a near future post would include some of the commentary I've gotten from other people expressing to me why this is so important.  Proving to me how very common these things are...and how very common it is that women stay silent about it all.  And how if they have any inkling or urge to give a voice to it, they are quickly guilted into silence.

I welcome the chance to be a voice for women who can't speak out.  I'm grateful that that purpose in all of this has been revealed...and I will definitely run with it.

To those who still believe it to be inappropriate...if people don't want their continued darkness exposed, they shouldn't continually participate in darkness.  I will live in the light.  If you are standing near me or participating in my life and mistreating me in any way in will be continually disappointed if you are wanting to keep that in the dark.  Because I will not allow it any longer.

A flip of a switch expels all darkness.  And that's what I'm doing in my life.  Expelling ALL darkness that has surrounded me and been utilized to mistreat me in any way.  

And in so doing, exposing the fact that these things are so very common...and these types of darkness are all too often justified and protected.  So many share my story.  So many live these things out day in and day out.  And so many have never had a voice...and have never heard another voice encouraging them in the fight.

I will continue to do just that.

So...I wanted to include a couple of posts here...if for nothing else, as a reminder to myself, of some of the reasons I do this...some of the reasons I continue to share my story and all of the many things that I learn along the way.

Hopefully, though, it will help remind some of you, who 'don't approve,' as to the purpose of all of this, too.  You are the ones who need to be silenced in your disapproval.  So, let this serve as your gag order.

It was exactly a year ago this Wednesday (October 28th...incidentally, the same day we got engaged 15 years ago) that I posted my very first blog post about our marriage difficulties. The post you are now reading makes 51 posts total (and counting) on the subject.  Included in all of those posts are some details about what happened, to give weight to what I say.  And, so many, many things I've learned along the way...about theology, interpersonal relationships, church culture, gender issues, counseling, kindness, empathy, grief, strength.

This isn't the 5th 'child' I'd hoped for.  But just like anyone else that has been given a ministry or platform, I will take care of it and protect it...that's why Mama Bear wakes up when someone starts to threaten it.  The platform comes because I now have experience here.  I didn't ask for it.  LAWD, I didn't ask for it.  But, it's what I've been given.  I will use it for good.  Right here.  Right now.  In the thick of it.  I will use it for good.

This is going to be a 2-part post.  The next post will be that post including commentary proving that this is a needed the lives of many.  But today, I will copy and paste a reply I gave...all the way back in April (that really crappy April, yes).  It might help to give some insight as to why I speak about these things in the way I speak about them.  Here, someone had initiated a conversation with me and asked (very graciously...although I never heard back from this person afterward) a few questions and expressed a few thoughts to me. This was part of my reply (I excluded all of the personal chit chat between he and I that didn't pertain to this subject), using some of his quotations to answer along the way.  Further background...this was right after this happened.  I mentioned that incident briefly here too (funny to read the intro. in that post, haha), after this revelation (so yes, I was still under the false impression that Joel and I were a united front).  So this is specifically in regards to that incident.  But, it applies to basically everything in our story and why I talk about these things and what material I choose to use to tell my story.
"I guess I assumed the idea was to share your story and leave others out of it as much as possible.” - that was/is the goal.  sometimes that is not possible.  i had managed to do it, though, pretty well (and believe me…there is LOTS i’m not sharing and lots of protecting that went on, even with what i did share).  and had managed to do it very anonymously.  because, comparatively speaking, the vast majority of people don’t know the people you know and are talking about.  people have lots of ‘family members.’ did you see how most people didn’t even know what side of the family i was talking about?  why?  because i have family members too.  lol.  and because, mainly…they just didn’t care.  as people have said over and over again…it didn’t matter to them.    
"I guess the part that was very disheartening was sharing personal pieces from other people's emails. Just seems a bit hurtful regardless of the situation.” - there have been many people who write things from experience…and it would be great if you could learn things from them…but, they are so vague that you don’t know what they are actually talking about.  to say, for instance, ‘we had some very discouraging correspondence from these certain people…one person was messaging me being all nice, but then that same person was going to joel and saying bad things about me.’ of course, you get the gist of the situation.  but, there’s no real meat there…no real credibility or validity.  you walk away thinking, ‘i mean…how bad could it be?  she’s probably just exaggerating.’ the only way to cure that is to actually give the facts.  to actually show what happened.  to actually even use the very words spoken/written, straight from the horse's mouth (which is powerful even when you do that anonymously, without using names).  case in point, the 4-5 people (close to me) to whom i revealed privately who it was (some of them, only after yesterday and these family members' comments on Facebook)…it made it *way worse* for them that it was joel’s brother and SIL.  they were shocked.  they had just assumed that they were some other family members…not someone that close to joel/me…that closely related.  it gives it more weight to know who it was…but, that part i had kept hidden.  i won’t keep hidden the actual facts though…otherwise nobody truly learns from it.  if the facts weren’t given, and instead there was just a really vague account…the depths to which people could learn from it would not be reached.  is it ‘hurtful’?  it’s the truth.  sometimes the truth does hurt.  
"don't you believe we have to cover our family not expose them?” - that is a valid question.  i have an answer.  when someone has wronged someone over the course of a few *years* (because truly…how hard would it have been to get my side of the story?  did they just not see me as truly part of the family?  they’ve all counseled people before…getting both sides of the story is just basic counseling 101, is it not?), when there comes a time for confrontation, grace and mercy must be available to them.  grace and mercy was available to them.  in response, the offending party has options too.  will there be true repentance?  or just a pat ‘i’m sorry…now let’s move on.’  because a pat ‘i’m sorry…now let’s move on,’ is not true repentance.  and without true repentance, there will never be reconciliation.  when there is true repentance, the two parties can discuss what happened, ask questions, get answers, express anger even.  all of these things were refused in my case.  they literally said that they were sorry, but that they didn’t want to discuss it further.  that is not repentance.  not even close to repentance.  so, in that case, there can be forgiveness or a 'letting go.'  but, reconciliation is not an option.  
when there is great wrongdoing, the person wronged *can* be silent, yes.  but, when they see that the wrongdoing is a very common problem actually…and that common mindsets and theology are surrounding those wrongdoings…and a common way of looking at others and treating others that is very unhealthy surrounds those wrongdoings…annndd when it is seen that wow, these things are actually common reasons for the downfall of marriages in general...when all of that is seen, it must be addressed.  certain personality types might not feel that way.  but, there are some who know that they must speak out.  there are certain people who cannot just silently sit and see those injustices continue.  there are certain people who will not rest until awareness and discussion of those issues are accomplished.  and, in the end, hopefully answers about them even.  
i am one of those people.  these wrongs must be exposed, not covered.  my story includes those wrongs.  so my story will be told.  
if there had been true repentance and reconciliation, then my story would look somewhat different.  there would be less wrongs to talk about, and more examples of how to do things right. there would be more light and less darkness.  but, the wrongdoings that i’ve already talked about in my blog would still be a part of the story.  it would just have a better ending.  
it doesn’t have that better ending.  but, we know that we did all we could to bring about that better ending.  then we had to move on and start the process of healing US.  nobody can make others make the right choices.  but, we can’t just halt our journey or stay silent on something that needs to be talked about because others make wrong choices.  
so, we move forward.  exposing not family, but wrongdoing.  because it’s important.  and it makes all the really stinky crap of the past few years have a purpose.  and that brings healing.
Is family exposed in the process of exposing wrongdoing?  Sometimes.  But...

Here's the big picture, folks...

If everyone would just stop habitually protecting and covering up everyone else's wrongdoings, those habitual wrongdoings would be less likely to occur!!

Can people really not see that?

Why do we allow these things to continue to happen?!?  And why, when someone has the courage to come out and talk about these things, do we blame the person talking about it and criticize that person that is just being honest and bringing things out into the light (when trying to resolve it in private didn't work) and say they are the ones who are in the wrong?!?

Also, what about the wrongdoers themselves just being honest and open...just saying, 'This is what I did.  I'm going to stop walking in that way.  And I'm going to share my mistakes and sins and even huge failures...I want to make the world a better place.'

We have to be willing to talk about these things!!  We have to be willing to be honest about ourselves!!  So, if you have done wrong and someone says, 'Hey, you did this,' we have to be willing to own up to that.

If you've done the right thing and have owned up to your failures/sins, if you are making those things right with who you have offended, and if you are mature...then you welcome the chance for your example to be used so that others can be helped.

If you don't want to be used as an example of wrongdoing and what it can do to yourself and others...then stop the wrongdoing.

I feel the need to remind you here that no, I'm not perfect, nor do I think that I am (that always gets brought up).  But, I am quick to see when I'm wrong and have used my wrongdoings constantly to help others along the way.  Because that's practical and useful and it gives the crap of our lives and our sin purpose.  Keeping things in the dark or trying to hold onto sin in your life, or hide it even after you've confessed it, does nobody any good, esp. yourself.  As open and honest as I'm being about others' mistreatment of me in hopes to help in the bigger picture here...that's how open and honest I am with others about my failures and shortcomings.  If you don't believe me, I started this blog in 2006...there is plenty of 'Michawn failure material' in the 818 blog posts on this blog.  You can see for yourself.  ;)

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