Courage is a trait that is mostly associated with the confrontation of fear, injustice and immediate physical danger. But there is a different kind of courage required in closing the door and walking away from your expectations and the comfort of what you know to be true. There are consequences to that type of courage, in the act of moving forward, that force an acceptance of change—ushering your development into a person you’ve never seen or no longer recognize.
While studying towards my masters in screenwriting, I created a vision board, stacked top to bottom with images that reflected the dreams and career ambitions I was working towards. It included pictures of performance artists I wanted to collaborate with, as well as those who had qualities I wanted to emulate—along with the headshots of legal representatives who I wanted for my team. I also inserted a self-authored Deadline.com editorial blurb highlighting my script deals, and interior design shots of my ‘dream’ home.
Embedded among all of those images was a shortlist of attributes I wanted from a husband, alongside a picture of an actor, whose professional backstory had similar qualities to what I imagined I wanted from a life partner—not based on his appearance, but his capability, social responsibility, and financial acumen. In my previous posts, I’ve written about my experience with domestic violence and the filing of my police report. In preparing to write this week’s blog, I reflected back on the filing and the anger and humiliation of having my case dismissed last December just before Christmas, and in a sense, being dismissed as a person. I prayed so many times for justice and waited, with no confirmation.
With the close of the year approaching, I have been coming to the realization that I will have to move on and close the door on my expectations on what justice should look like. It made me angry to think of all the work that needs to be done to reorg and reshape my life, and resume my creative career and ambitions. I asked God so many times: Why should I be the one to have to change and move? Why won’t you let me see an answer to my prayers? If I could see the answer, then I could have the courage to be okay and move on. I could move forward, if I could see it.
Looking at the vision board that I created, I’m not really sure what to make of it today. Of course, I am aware I have the power to redesign my life, and rewrite my narrative—to be courageous, and move forward. But then I think about the person that I will need to become for me to continue working towards reinvention. I will have to turn my back on the hope of seeing any retribution for the wrong committed. In a sense, I will have to cut my losses to swim, or continue sinking and leave behind the story of the relationship experience I wanted. The person I see myself becoming in the process is not a person that I like or recognize—it is a person that will no longer be able to afford the luxury of vulnerability. I am aware via the last two years of therapy that this perspective is self-protective and considered temporary, but whether or not it is justified, my circumstances no longer absolve me from my responsibility to myself. Sitting shiva over my experiences won’t bring justice or retribution. In time, there may be a renewed, stronger version of myself that will be able to thrive under the vulnerability of a shared love and respect, but I can’t see that version of me yet, and I don’t recognize that person within me at this time.
There is a well known scripture that defines the basis of courage: Faith is the substance of things hoped for, to be certain of what is not seen. At certain turning points of life, there may be nothing on the horizon but the need for change. The promising thing about change is that it is an attribute of the eternal and always evolving towards good when based in love.
Be courageous. Move forward.
P,S, If you are a victim of domestic violence, and in need of help, please contact The National Domestic Violence Hotline at: 1-800-799-7233.
Also, if you are recovering from domestic violence, here are some additional resources listed below: