can i tell you a story?
somewhere in my youth, i knew a happiness i’ve never known again. my heart was light, and my spirit was free.
all of that was snatched away when i fell into the hands of someone that promised all their love to me only to use my naivete to their advantage, and suddenly, i found myself in a nightmarishly violent marriage.
i felt so trapped. looking back, i suppose i would consider myself foolish, but i did my best to face the consequences of my actions and create a happy life with what i had before me. after all, it was my choice to marry him…right?
i hated myself. when i looked in the mirror, i only saw a shadow of who i really was, if she was even there anymore. i lost so much weight. i ate, but the stress was so intense, my body just felt like it was giving up.
it always made me laugh inside my head when he said i was fat, because i knew i had very little body mass left to spare, but i exercised more anyway. it’s hard to beat a psychological game.
there were so many factors that made me stay. i felt like i had nowhere to turn. most of my friends and family had turned away from me, and i was afraid to tell anyone else about what was happening. i was afraid of being a failure. i was afraid of making a mistake even worse by making another wrong choice. i was so afraid…
it took ten years of emotional, mental, and spiritual abuse combined with the realization that allowing someone to hurt me in any way was not love, and if i didn’t do something to end the cycle, my future children would be subject to the abuse as well. that decided it.
i made a plan. i got out of there. i thought he would kill me. i thought i wouldn’t make it. it was one of the scariest moments of my life, but it was worth every risk.
i ran straight to the arms of my father, the one human that didn’t abandon me, the one that i hurt the most when i left to get married to the worst possible choice, the one who let me go out of love and left me alone as i asked of him, the one who waited with patience, the one who knew more than he said and accepted me back and gave me a safe haven of unconditional love without a word, without explanation, just true honest love. i was lucky. i was so lucky.
there was a lot of family conflict, mostly demanding i go back or that i didn’t belong anymore, but he shut it down in his way. he reminded others of their past mistakes and of his consistent love and protection and that he would not retract his love for any reason. i…was…so…humbled. he gave me a safe haven from every possible attack. this was a love i had all but forgotten in my time away. i was finally home. i was finally safe.
when i was finally able to breathe…when i was finally able to rest my heart and mind, i found myself doing a lot of soul searching. even today, i still have that self loathing tendency, but my heart and soul know better. they know that my mind has retained lasting impressions from a traumatic experience. they know that i’m a good person with a loving heart. they know i’m worthy of being loved.
deep inside, however, my heart ached. i hurt so much. more than anything else in the world, i wanted to love myself. i wanted to know i mattered. i wanted to know that i was important. i wanted to be proud of myself.
during those brooding moments, i came to the conclusion that no one…not one blessed creature on this earth should ever, ever, ever feel as low and hated as I felt at that time, and i yearned to share that thought. i yearned to share that wholesome, unconditional love that i found in my father. i wanted to create a place of safety. i wanted to create a lasting reminder to all of their importance.
i wanted to yell to the whole world that every single person on this planet is so important and worthy of being loved.
this, my friends, was the birth of The Chestnut Forge. in this place, i forge love. you are safe here. you are always loved. you are so special and so beautiful. i am glad you’re here.