I exist! I’m not invisible! I count. I am here. You can’t ignore me or pretend I don’t exist or simply leave me out like I never existed.

My entry in @redbubble ’s Empower Creativity challenge.

It also ties in with anti-bullying day, today, February 27, which is a cause that’s near and dear to me, so I’m taking this art challenge to a more personal level.

I was bullied horribly in school from about grade 3 on, and then as an adult by “friends” and co-workers/bosses, and I never understood why until recently.

Being left out, left in the lurch, thrown under the bus, forgotten about.
Being gossiped about, sometimes right in front of me, intimidated, made fun of.
Being called cruel names, told it was “easier” to not include me (with no explanation why it was easier), that they “didn’t think” to invite me, or “didn’t think I needed to know” important events or happenings. My existence was often completely forgotten, like I never was at all.

I grew up in an alcoholic dysfunctional household, where scapegoating and bullying, covering up, enabling, and denying anything was wrong, was the “norm”. As I got older and started talking about it and asking more questions, it got worse. I took it to heart, and shrunk myself to not rock the boat, burying my true self to keep her safe.

Until two years ago when things got way out of control, with all the usual dysfunctional crazy-making, word salad, gas-lighting, reframing, triangulation… sigh…. I had no choice but to walk away from whatever “f*mily” it was, if it ever was. (I can’t even use that word anymore because it doesn’t have much meaning in that context).

I was scapegoated into a corner and there was no way anyone would listen or believe facts or truth. I left to save myself, my marriage, my art and career, and my life. There was no other way.

What I know now, it’s a “f*mily” sickness and it runs deep and affects every aspect of your life. They’re all involved and all play their supporting roles, whether they realize it or not. Groomed to support the sickness, right or wrong, true or false, in order to keep the peace, to not rock the boat, to not get themselves ousted and disinherited like I was.  So they had to lose me in the process? Oh well.

I know now the whole thing was a blessing in disguise. I got myself out. Bet they didn’t see that one coming. And, it proves that their opinion of me, as the scapegoat and trashcan, (not the real me because they don’t know me and never wanted to) was so low, they figured that after everything they did and said to me and about me, and my husband, that I’d just go back and let it continue? Doesn’t that say everything?

What they think of me doesn’t matter. They don’t know me and never will.

This all started a huge time of change and I stripped everything back, asked a million why’s, and found answers to things I always knew were wrong, but didn’t know how to describe or put words to. It was so empowering and life changing, and the more I learn about it, the more I am fascinated by it, and, empowered by the knowledge I now have.

2 years after leaving that behind, I am a new person. Yes I still have my moments, as is normal, but I don’t even recognize the old me anymore. The things I used to put up with, and treatment I used to just take, now makes my skin crawl. I don’t allow it anymore. And funnily, a lot of people just disappeared from my life when I started speaking up. They didn’t like the new me that wouldn’t allow them to treat me like dirt anymore.

The trash took itself out.

I took my power back. I stood up. I used my voice. I said NO more. If I could say one thing to the previous me, who was scared to do or say pretty much anything, it would be that you never deserved it. None of it. You were part of a sick system, far reaching into every area of your life, and it wasn’t your fault. Ever. You are strong and you are brave. And now? You’re free.

And as women we are taking our power back. We are strong, we are brave, and we are free. We will use our voices and stand up for change because we deserve it.
We are all our own superheroes and we are ready to fly. We got this!

#EmpowerCreativity #takingbackmypower #strongwomen #wildwomen #standup #familyofchoice