Do you need to follow Maya Jane Clark’s story from the beginning? Start here with the Age Verification: The Liberation of Maya Jane Clark
Guys!! It’s Maya. How ya doin’?
Can We Head Back to High School English Class, please?
My high school years were spent in a mid-sized city in the upper Mid-West. It was a small school with high academic standards. Once you reached junior year, you were required to take two classes with the English Literature teacher; one of which was composition. Ms. Sheila led our class.
Hand to God, every time I write, I channel that fine woman who completely terrified me. I imagine she is standing over me with her bony hand (she was a bit like the Crypt Keeper) on my shoulder and correcting each fragmented sentence, punctuation and paragraph formation.
When I am stuck on what I want to write, I pray to her for guidance. I fear her and love her company in spirit (wait, would she hate my parenthesis usage? Would she hate my …… ? Would she hate this random rant? Hell, I’m not sure, but I’m pretty sure she just turned over in her grave with my cursing.)
Anyway, Ms. Sheila always taught us to write in the form of a preface first; tell the reader what you’re going to write about. Next, on to the body which was writing about the topic you are choosing. Closing? Re-position the preface and tell the reader what you just wrote about.
Kindly now flash back to Boy George and Culture Club on your Walkman, because I’m about to outline what the rest of the Pathway is going to look like. Consider this the preface…kinda-sorta.
While the team has been working on launching Safe| In Harm’s Way, my component has been my own labor of love from the very moment of discovery. It’s morphed and shifted, and it has been beautifully organic. In fact, until I began to write this very article, I hadn’t clearly seen the process take shape until this very moment.
(I’m pausing now to offer a prayer of gratitude. Holy cow- this is amazing! Give me a second, please.)
- I just finished a tear-filled Marco Polo video session with a Safe| In Harm’s Way team member. This is unreal. Here’s why.
I have about 465 articles written. Most of them are housed in my iPhone, in the notes section, and almost all were done talk to text. There are several reasons for this. First, I drive a lot for work. I cover several states in my job’s capacity and talk to text helped me utilize time more efficiently on the road via blue tooth.
Secondly, before discovering Marc’s secret and abusive life, I spent a great deal of time with Marc’s child (because he chose not to spend time with his child). I caught a nasty eye infection from the youngster and spent the latter part of the mid-2010’s with eye infections. These infections made me look like I was crying all the time and ultimately ate away at my eyes lens’. I had to have corrective eye and cataract surgery; not covered by insurance. (Thank you very much Marc; especially since I never would have spent time with you or your offspring had I known what you were doing! But I digress.)
Long story, short- I couldn’t see. So if I wanted to write, talk to text was my only option. In the mornings, I would correct the punctuation and flesh out the details because I could only see best in the morning. I also have articles written on random pieces of paper and notebooks, plus post-it notes. Lots and lots of post-it notes.
But it didn’t start out that way.
How it started was with quotes and affirmations I began to place into my Outlook calendar, with reminders that went off all day long. 24-7. Every time my phone would Ding, the kids would comment, “Another affirmation for Mom. What’s this one? Who texted it to you?”. It was a little frustrating for them, because sometimes I am being notified with the Ding Classic Alert pattern, 7-8 times an hour. I can understand how that could be intrusive, but I LOVED IT!!
When I discovered what Marc had done to me I lost my mind. Literally. Couldn’t speak. Couldn’t think. I’m sure I sounded like a crazy person to anyone I spoke to. And that’s OK, because I was crazy at the time. I completely lost my shit.
How and why? We have hundreds of articles addressing how and why, plus connecting the dots of abuse. Do you remember those grade school era connect-the-dots pads of paper? Remember those!?!? You drew lines from one number to the next until a picture was made from connecting the dots and drawing lines. I loved those. It was so cool to me and I obsessed over the order and the beautiful pictures that developed, when I completed them as a child.
However, Marc’s dots and line connections I completed as an adult- well, those were far, far different. Marc’s exercise in pencil creations always created pictures of fear and grotesque strangers he had sex with from Adult Friend Finders and Craigslist and…..well, I lost count of how many secret sites he had joined. These connect the dot pictures are ones I never imagined could be created. Or, pictures of him screaming in my face because I didn’t fold the towels correctly. The list could go on and on. I don’t feel like coloring them in and hanging them on the walls of my bedroom like the third grade me. Plus, I’m digressing in a huge way, and I have a feeling Ms. Sheila is getting really mad from heaven right now. So, back to the topic at hand of affirmations.
Affirmations. Affirmations are what I used to regain my sanity. I still use them today. I had a Safe| In Harm’s Way team member tell me about this process and I thought “well, that’s stupid” until I had no choice but to try SOMETHING or go insane. Yep- I did it. I began to put affirmations and inspirational quotes into my calendar. Apparently, it’s been a successful effort to remind me all day long, that I could manage to somehow survive.
And, I’m just realizing right now, at this very moment, that those affirmations brought me to the point to begin writing. In other words, THEY WORKED. They worked and I didn’t even realize the affect all the positive notes, prayers, saved texts, etc, etc, etc had on me. I just naturally one day started to write.
I’m fortunate. I am so lucky.
Of course, we must start this path at below sea level; way deep down the ugly path of discovery.The exact moment and the exact time I discovered Marc’s evil. This will take a bit of time where inches are measured and not miles. The map gets murky and it’s hard to tell the direction of my path because Marc’s deception is thorough and covers twenty years- almost ten of those years spent with me. Instead of bathroom breaks on this long journey, there will be moments of car sickness and vomit. It’s rank and ugly and his actions make my stomach churn, hurling the Velveeta Cheese queso and chips (I’ve made those two food sources into a new food group that any dietary junior-high food pyramid doesn’t ever touch) at each rest stop.
And then, I am going to do something I really don’t want to do. UGH!! WHAT???? I don’t want to do it, but some really smart editors tell me it is a must. I have to be honest, I was not happy initially. Not happy at all, in fact, slightly angry and sad. They had a big ask, delivered over a conference call. Ultimately once I calmed down, I had the most beautiful realization. They were absolutely correct.
I have to write about the good times.
The beautiful love we had. The gifts and travel and jewelry and flowers. How my kids wrote him letters of love and appreciation every Father’s Day. How my Dad and Mom gave their blessing on our wedding and life and loved his children as their own grandchildren. How my siblings went to events for his kids. How my former husband gave his children Christmas presents. How much I loved our life and him.
Why don’t I want to? Why would I discuss a decade of lies built by Marc- lies we all willingly accepted? None of it was real. But here is the I thing the smart editors have driven home to me: I/WE DIDN’T KNOW IT WAS LIES AT THE TIME. I/WE THOUGHT THE DECADE OF LOVE WAS REAL AND TRUE. I/WE THOUGHT THIS WAS FOREVER. (Yes, it’s in all caps because I am shouting!)
Marc worked very hard to craft the most beautiful life for me, my children and family. We all bought it. Marc created the most fabulous facade to cover his secret life. We never knew.
After flashing back to the beautiful life built on lies, I will layer in the bridges and shortcuts, also known as affirmations. Why would I not? The affirmations (as I mentioned above) are quotes, songs, prayers, voice messages from friends, voice messages from old boyfriends, etc. Anything that gave me joy or hope was placed into my Outlook calendar, set on daily reminders with the Ding Classic ring tone and went off to remind me of the beauty in the world. They remain today. I still add new ones now. I love it; it’s not stupid at all.
From affirmations, we will move on to the articles I’ve written and still write today. Now here comes the really cool part. It’s going to be multi-faceted, because while I have 465 articles (sit back and enjoy, we are all going to be friends for a long time!) there will be guest stars.
Didn’t you love guest stars on the old TV shows, like when the characters from Full House would cross over into Family Matters? It will be kinda like that. Other abuse survivors will step in and tell their story. Safe| In Harm’s Way team members will step in with their own survival stories. Why? Because once I started speaking the truth, other women and men came forward to tell their stories. They’ve agreed to tell the truth of their experience, too. This is going to be a true thing of beauty and healing. As our SIHW mantra goes, we have joined hands and are going to change the world.
One team member for SIHW keeps raising her hand to remind us of the joy in this process. Misty keeps saying, “Maya, the level of depravity with Marc, is a chasm that is as wide as the Grand Canyon. But don’t forget about the joy and the beauty and wonder that happened, too. Write about THAT!!”
And she is right. There have been the most beautiful connections made at key points in this journey. The new people that entered my life based on these connections are going to weigh in, too. What was happening in their life as we met up on this road? How did their journey beautifully mesh with mine at moments of pure joy and celebration, and also lift me up when I was on the floor sobbing and unable to move? It’s going to be so cool to have those moments brought to life in this channel. I will be writing from my side at those exact moments and they will be writing from their side. I can’t wait! Why? NONE of these people would even be in my world, and now near my heart, had horrific abuse not occurred or had I never discovered the abuse.
Finally, since healing is life long process, I will continue to offer the good, the bad, the ugly and the pure and total joy that comes with healing mentally and physically from trauma. It ain’t easy, and the truth about the process will help heal others while it heals me. Selfish? Yes. Changing the world for others? Yes. I never want anyone to feel they’re alone in this world. Let’s talk about it. Be confident. Be patient in healing. Speak the truth. While we are at it, let’s hold abusers accountable. Really! NOOOOOOO- they don’t get to any more!
So, there you go, Ms. Sheila. We are going to begin this journey with car sickness and vomit, discuss a beauty filled life built on a foundation of lies, build bridges with affirmations, move to the articles that include guest spots and beautiful winks from the universe, and end with a continuation of healing from trauma. Oh, and let’s not forget the months where I almost lost my eyesight (hmmmmm…..think I hold a bit of a grudge about that? Yeah, cause I do!!)
I think I can feel the soft tap, tap, tap of Ms. Sheila’s bony fingers as she considers my grade. It’ll probably be a B. However, as I always did back in the day, I will argue with her for an A-.
Since we have flash-backed to the 80’s, a little Boy George seems like a good idea. Gosh, makes me dance the Pony, feather my hair and use enough Aqua Net to start a fire near any lit cigarette.