Saturday, September 21, 2013

Meditation and Realization

Free Shayla pictured on the left showing large lower back scar post op - Surgery due to domestic violence.
Free Shayla (now) pictured on the right - back appears healthy- but looks can be deceiving.

When the sun brightened the sky over Chicago this morning my back felt like a violin that someone mistook for a rock stars electric guitar.  Taking my small frame in his hands and proceeding to wrap them tightly around my swan like neck.  Moving to the middle of the stage he makes the decision to give the audience a great show by smashing my pretty well constructed body onto the stage.  Unfortunately, I was not a violin if I were I assume the abuser would have at least thought about it twice and possibly pawned me for a quarter of what I was worth...
If you have read my blog you are aware that I sustained a broken spine and paralysis as a result of domestic violence.  The surgeons worked feverishly in order to save what was left of my spine and ran into complications. I had shattered lower vertebrae and there were more issues to follow when I awoke from surgery.  In post-op there were further complications, hours after surgery it was found that I was paralyzed waist down.   

Up until a night ago it was as if it were too painful for me to truly face that shattered broken body as mine.  I did not embrace that truth or what it took for me to recover. Reviewing my personal x-rays in hazy grey, black and white - allowed me to distance myself from that tragedy over the years.  It was like looking at old newspapers vs. the technology of blue ray definition coming off your computer screen.  I used the x-rays as teaching tools but I did not take the time to teach myself with them.

The past two years I have been in deep meditation and through the stillness I have been able to be led to find out what I did not acknowledge in my background that would allow me to believe that I deserved to be beaten.  What I have found has been surprising but, not as surprising as this you tube video below.  This clip is not of me personally – but it is the same surgery I endured to straighten my 60 degree curve at Shriner’s Hospital when I was fifteen years old. 

What I have gathered is that I distanced those tough years of being “the handicapped girl” who wore a huge painful back brace for 23 hours a day from the time that I was around six until the day of my surgery when I was fifteen.  I must admit that there are some residual self-esteem issues that entered my first marriage. After all, it was only five years post-op and I had no idea how beautiful I was or that the gifts that Jah gave me were truly priceless.

In watching the video I have realized the saying, “if you do not know your history you will repeat it” is TRUTH.  I am aware that those days and nights wrapped in a metal and plastic brace were painful but easily equaled to the beatings that I withstood as a newlywed.  For goodness sakes all I had known for my whole life was pain. 

This brings me eye to eye with the souls of women who have also manifested the pain of their childhood into the pain of their womanhood.  For instance, most women who have been sexually or physically abused end up in an abusive partnership.  The abuse can be sexual abuse, violence against women, or emotional or verbal abuse.  Most of these women do not identify any of it.  I have been divorced now for seven years and this is the first time I am hitting the true root causes of why I entered an abusive relationship in the first place.

When I added the scoliosis pains and bracing to the past hurt felt from sexual, verbal, and emotional abuse as a child it all came full circle for me and it all made sense.  The only thing I can say to women is “take the time out to ask yourself “Why”?  As women we take more time in the grocery store thumping fruit and asking ourselves if it is ripe then we do examining our own issues.  There is always a clue within your childhood that will reveal the reasons as to which you have allowed abuse to be your new normal. Most women repeat their childhood traumas in adulthood because their inner selves truly want to FIX what they feel is broken, therefore they repeat the unhealthy patterns that were introduced to them in order for them to play handy woman and unconscientiously try to rebuild their broken selves.  This will continue to be trouble for abused women until they wake up and identify the root of their problems with abuse and that there is no fixing a past abuser – but there is always time to fix themselves.

Regarding the video, the video is striking to me personally because I had withstood that same surgery – laid cut open on a table for eight hours to become a cyborg just so I could marry a man who would beat me and later break my lower spine.  With awareness of who I am and being conscience of my blessings and my family history and struggles I can tell you I would have walked right by that man.  But, in blindness and no connection to my past I stumbled into a hellish future.  We as women must wake up and stop giving away our power to those who do not deserve it.  Take my word for it – loving a man who is undeserving is not worth losing your life (whether spiritually or physically)

This is only the beginning.  Peace, Love, and Light.  May the Divine Creator walk with you and guide your every step.

Thank you,

Free Shayla
@FreeShayla on twitter

Saturday, February 25, 2012

“Evil communications corrupt good manners” KJV 1 Corinthians 15:33
“Bad associations spoil useful habits.”  NWT 1 Corinthians 15:33
My present husband and I grew up in different religions and when we began to date I would make him say his version of 1 Corinthians 15:33 at the same time that I did.  And then I would crack up at the differences, which by the way is only funny to a geeky preacher’s kid.  One thing was definite our mothers taught us this scripture for the same reason and it was written across our hearts to the point that we could recite this scripture some 20 years later.
Abuse is an odd thing.  It is unnatural. Therefore, it is hard to explain how or why a woman or man would stay in a relationship that is so draining and time consuming.  Even more complex is why a teen gets into and stays usually into adulthood (if they make it that long).
Allot of it has to do with choice.  At the beginning of the relationship there were only two things presented to you “red flags” and “choices”.  Every abuse victim male or female can tell me the same thing.  They all remember the defining moment when they thought, “Nah…” but, they went against their better judgment and continued on that date. 
In honor of this being 2012 Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month- this one is for the teenagers.
Me at 17 years old with my beautiful family at my high school graduation.

I was seventeen years old and from a very good family when I met and fell hard for my abuser.  I was sheltered unknowingly but appreciative of the peace it had brought me.
The choice I made at seventeen years old to associate with a boy who claimed he had no family and was abandoned by his mother was a choice that still affects me 17 years later.  There are no short term abusive relationships.  Whether you get away physically or not- there are many aspects of the relationship that may follow not only you but your family for years.  In my case I married him at 20 years old (three years after we met) and mothered his son at 25 years old.  Now our son who was a witness to much violence is ten years old.  I thought of none of these things when I was only seventeen and wanted to help the abandoned boy with no family feel like he belonged.  There was no forethought because of my youthful ignorance.

Me at 25 years old
I am miles away from home
 pregnant with my son sitting in an abuse shelter in Georgia.

Here I am 28 years old-
I still pay for this beating daily it left my body  permanently damaged.
I don’t want to be long winded here because that’s what makes teenagers want to turn the volume down on parental lecturing right?  But, give me just a second to say this:  My dad would go “all ninja” on me every once in a while and would say things like, “Climbing vines and crawling vines do not go together…”  Now, as an adult myself I know what Pop was speaking was a fact, one vine by its simple design is going up and the other has to crawl on the ground.  This is what they are made to do.  It’s no one’s fault- the act of getting into an abusive relationship is like the climbing vine going down to the ground and saying to the crawling vine, “Hey hon’ let me help you up…”  The abuser won’t be able to be lifted up.  Because what has made him/ her an active abuser will take years to unravel and you as a teen are ill equipped to be his/ her counselor  You are from two different worlds – most of the time there is a deviation of morals, values, and sometimes class.  You cannot save them from their abusive selves by making yourselves a punching bag or an overly used sexual object.  You will never succeed at making an unhappy person happy.  This is also fact.
I will end right here.  Believe in yourself.  Always know that the red flags are there to help you stay away from harm, they show up before mom and dad do.  Never be ashamed to make mistakes- we all have.  Be brave enough to walk away.  And, always know that you are worth love.  And, Love is God and God is love.  Love Doesn’t Hurt.  


@FreeShayla on Twitter.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Mommas boy!    SHAY

I dedicate this to you beloved son and friend... the heartbeat of my family.  We love you and miss you.

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. 
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. 
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. 
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? 
Actually, who are you not to be? 
You are a child of God. 
Your playing small doesn't serve the world. 
There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so 
that other people won't feel insecure around you. 
We are all meant to shine, as children do. 
We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. 
It's not just in some of us, it's in everyone. 
And as we let our own light shine, 
we unconsciously give other 
people permission to do the same. 
As we are liberated from our own fear, 
our presence automatically liberates others." 

^^ Authored and published by Marianne Williamson ^^ 
Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles 
Marianne Williamson 

Keep Your Light Shining!

Friday, November 12, 2010

"You marry at the level of your self-esteem..."

1. a person or thing referred to with respect to complete individuality: one's own self.
2. a person's nature, character, etc.: his better self.
3. personal interest.
4. Philosophy .
a. the ego; that which knows, remembers, desires, suffers, etc., as contrasted with that known, remembered, etc.
b. the uniting principle, as a soul, underlying all subjective experience.

*ESTEEM–verb (used with object)
1. to regard highly or favorably; regard with respect or admiration: I esteem him for his honesty.
2. to consider as of a certain value or of a certain type; regard: I esteem it worthless.
3. Obsolete . to set a value on; appraise.
*ESTEEM –noun
4. favorable opinion or judgment; respect or regard: to hold a person in esteem.

Early yesterday I posted a public service announcement regarding marriage.  Later, the same day I took some time out to watch the Marie Osmond interview on Oprah.  While I sat taking in her story of losing her dear son to suicide my heart broke for so many reasons.  One it has been rumored that she was in an abusive marriage and that it took its toll on her children, with great specificity towards this son. 
I am never sure of what is true or speculation when it comes to blogs and magazine articles.  You already know my stance on abuse and what toll it takes on boys (in my case- because that is what I had - a son).  For all the years since I have been watching him like a hawk making sure that he is fully developing like other children and that he doesn't have residual effects of the abusive experience.  Of course, to be terribly honest with you he did show signs of distress over the years... but, Jah has blessed me to help him through every tunnel that has been presented.  My greatest fear is the day that my help doesn't work.  Many young ones go through ferocious depressions due to their childhood experiences.
I felt like I was in such pain watching Marie because I know how many nights as mothers we worry for our little ones even when we don't live in an abusive home, but, when you do... it's a crushing pain that follows you, because you blame yourself (allot) for ever having your child/children around abusive partners. 
Because I don’t know what really happened in her relationship with her ex-husband I will pause and say this last thing- although she did not answer yes or no when Oprah asked if she was physically abused.  Her lack of answering was the answer.  She was deliberate and thoughtful in her answer.  Her last statements on her marriage will stick with me for the rest of my life, she smiled when she said she was just "tired" when she entered her second marriage, and she felt that, that was not the way to enter a marriage.  But, the most powerful statement on the subject is the thing that will stay with me forever and I will pass it along to my daughter and nieces because I have lived it and know it like I know the blood in my veins:  "You marry at the level of your self-esteem, make sure you have self worth."  -Marie Osmond quote

Monday, July 5, 2010

Bay Area Shelters!

Hello There:

I just had a moment remembering when I had no idea where to go after being abused.  And, you keep hearing people tell you that you need to leave the situation yet, you don't have the first idea of how to do so.  That's okay Beautiful, the fact is you have already realized that being abused is not the life you want to live, and that is the first step.  To help you out with the next one, I have posted a few shelters below within the Bay Area in California.  
If you need help with your area, you can contact me personally at  and I will do the homework for you.  


Santa Clara County Shelters

Asian Women’s Home

Emergency shelter for battered women and children in the county and greater Bay Area. Services include a 24-hour crisis line, individual and peer group counseling, support groups, and legal advocacy.


phone: 408-975-2739

Next Door Solutions (By the way THEY ARE AWESOME!)

This organization offers services including counseling and emergency shelter to individuals and their children in abusive relationships.


phone: 408-279-2962

La Isla Pacifica

La Isla is a battered women's shelter that is part of the comprehensive services provided by Community Solutions to Violence. Other services include a 24-hour rape crisis line, legal advocacy, support groups, batterer's intervention program, and supervised visitation.


phone: 408-683-4118, 831-637-SAFE (7233)

Support Network for Battered Women

Provides a multitude of comprehensive services, including: a bilingual (English/Spanish) 24-hour crisis line, shelter, counseling, child therapy, legal assistance and advocacy.


phone: 800-572-2782

San Fransisco, Ca Shelters below:

Asian Women’s Shelter

AWS is a comprehensive shelter program in San Francisco that provides safety, food, shelter, advocacy, and other resources to assist women. They have an on-call pool of multilingual advocates to respond to the wide range of Asian languages spoken in the Bay Area.
phone: 877-751-0880

La Casa de Las Madres

Offers emergency residential shelter to battered women and their children while providing counseling, and family-based services and referrals. All services are offered free-of-charge in English and Spanish.
24-hour hotline: 877-503-1850, 415-503-1850
Counseling and support services: 415-503-0500
Teen crisis line: 877-923-0700, 415-503-0501

Rosalie House
Provides emergency shelter, and safe and confidential services for abused women and their children.
The last time I checked this shelter also accepts LBT friendly. 
phone: 415-255-0165

Here's a domestic violence hotline that can help you with resources:
If you need someone to talk to:  1-800-799-7233 (Safe)
                                         TTY:  1-800-787-3224



A Safe Place maintains a beautiful shelter home facility at a secure location in the City of  Oakland.  It accommodates twenty (20) women and children.  Clients may reside in the facility for a maximum of eight (8) weeks. Families are housed in individual rooms, which are furnished with all the necessities for themselves and their children. These rooms are comfortable and well-maintained, with a moderate degree of privacy.  Residents participate in the cleaning, cooking, and caring of their children.  In the event the shelter is full, clients are assisted with accessing shelter at one of the five other shelters in Alameda County. (cite from the A Safe Place DV site)

Crisis Line 510-536-7233

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Dedicated to all the sisters from Sin by Silence

No name Poem about a girl that just got beat up one more time...

I've kind of become this thing
this beautiful butterfly
And all he can do is clip my wings
So that I can no longer fly
No, no it's not because he doesn't love me
On the contrary, he loves me too much
This way he can keep me forever
And my beauty no one will touch.

By Shayla Jones