Intentionally Fearless: The Liberation of Maya Jane Clark, Chapter Eight, Eight Fold Full of Gratitude

Do you need to follow Maya Jane Clark’s story from the beginning? Start Intentionally Fearless: The Liberation of  Maya Jane Clark here!


There is a whole cast of characters who rescued me at key moments of my journey. I will give you a few examples, in no particular order:

-Janey. I count her (and our forty years of friendship) in my fabulous band of women and am so thankful for her guidance and friendship. She is loved!

-Marsha, my college room mate and a partner in crime during high school.

-My other high school girlfriends (who live across the country). These chicks organized everyone and within four hours had hired a moving company to show up at my home and move me out when Marc left for work one day.

-The Hilton Honors customer service representative who refunded my entire honeymoon package, regardless of the disclaimer clearly stating non-refundable.

-The security installation man who, upon hearing my story, gave me and each kid our own personal alarm to carry on us at all times. Worth? $500 Cost? Free.

-My neighborhood girlfriends who rescued my clothes, without my knowledge, from the dumpster. I had thrown every piece of clothing I owned, if I thought Marc had ever touched me while wearing. These girls fished my clothes out of a dumpster, had them dry cleaned and stored in their closets until I was ready to get out of my t-shirt and sweat pants. Side note: They were stored for four months. Yes, I wore the same sweatpants and three t-shirts for four months. I wasn’t taking many showers back then. I also made Velveeta and queso dip a food group- hence the 40 pound weight gain. Hello, Weight Watchers!

-My former husband, who called up the local police department to ask them to keep an eye on my new home and watch out for a man fitting Marc’s description.

-The woman at the Adult Abuse office who helped me fill out all restraining order paperwork and cried while I told her my stories. When you make the 12-year veteran at the Adult Abuse office cry, well, you know your story is unique.

-The stranger who created these fabulous Beyonce memes that I played silently on my cell phone during our court hearing for the restraining order. This little white girl, honestly left the court house thinking I was a strong black woman, with the restraining order in my manicured hand.

-The FBI agent who kept apologizing to me because I only had email documentation and couldn’t physically prove I was drugged or raped.

-My OB-GYN Nurse Practitioner. She cried when she gave me my test results and said, “I hate him so much for you.”

-Southwest Airlines

-Any and all musicians. without live music, I’d be nothing.

-My friend Marcie, who had no words, only tears and a hand to hold.

I’m off to bed and hoping for zero nightmares, my friends. Who are you counting in your blessings today. Let them know. Give them a shout out in the comments below!


Want to know more? Safe in Harm’s way will be releasing book chapters from “Intentionally Fearless: The Liberation of Maya Jane Clark” by Caroline Hammond.

Intentionally Fearless: The Liberation of Maya Jane Clark, Chapter Nine, Nine Times the Video Surveillance Camera Came in Handy


SOUNDTRACK:

Give me shelter, or show me heart
Come on love, come on love
Watch me fall apart, watch me fall apart

Watch me fall apart!

Ben Howard- Only Love

Join and follow the Maya Jane Clark playlist on Spotify!

 

 

Intentionally Fearless: The Liberation of Maya Jane Clark, Chapter Seven, Avoiding the Unavoidable and To Do List Artistry

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!


There’s no load I can’t hold
Road so rough, this I know
I’ll be there when the light comes in
Tell ’em we’re survivors

Life is a highway
I want to ride it all night long
If you’re going my way
I want to drive it all night long

 

THIS song. THIS?!?!? Yes. It’s playing in my head; old school time for Tom Cochrane’s “Life is a Highway” circa 1991.

The Liberation of Maya Jane Clark is my story.

Me. Maya.

And right now it’s this song in my head, with the lyrics above, that I can’t stop playing on repeat. Loud. I’m dancing, too. I paused for 4:20 to dance my personal groove. Honest? I will admit it could be an attempt to avoid publishing these next several installments. (I’m afraid. Really afraid.)

I don’t want to loose you, folks. Remember the previous installments? There will be no tonic added to the vodka. Nothing to water down the truth. Don’t turn away, please. Face it with me and let’s use the information to heal ourselves, others, change the world, etc, etc, etc, etc. All those really important things  Safe|In Harm’s way wants to accomplish.

Because it’s about me. Maya.

But it’s hard. There have been two actual months since I last published any chapters. Why? Healing takes time. I want to be honest about that process. I’ve written over 500 articles for this channel over the past few years. However, actually re-living the events and PUTTING IT OUT FOR THE WORLD TO READ can make me avoid clicking on the “publish now” icon. I will send 17 new chat messages to the team before I even type one word.

When that happens, I am thrown back and I can feel the pressure weigh me down. Do you ever feel that way? Like life’s pressures are a 3/4″ bar, and a blacksmith is trying to use high heat and quarter turns to twist the bar around your head, until the force is squishing your face together. Kinda like I used to do- with my hands, in the mirror, back when I was a kid. Remember? And you try and talk, but your lips are one big pucker and speaking makes you giggly because the words sound so silly speaking from your squishy lips. Yea, pressure like that.

Only now, I’m not giggling in the mirror. I’m doing grown up actions. I have outlined my own personal “to do” list format below. Why? Because during the dark moments of healing, this seems to be my regular list. And, since I’m a gal who likes to accomplish a “to do” list”……. man oh man, I’ve become an expert!

HEALING IS HARD TO-DO LIST:

Drink a few bottles of wine

Hide

Pray

Heal

Attend and honestly participate in therapy

Drink too much

Buy too much

Say yes to events and then cancel

Visit your parents who are now in a nursing home

Sneak cigarettes with your BFF

Spend hours on Facebook

Don’t work out

Meditate

Light candles and incense

Nap

Re-arrange your entire home, including move all pictures

Patch holes from above ^^^

Organize every napkin ring holder into separate bins based on time of year and holiday

Laugh, mostly when it’s inappropriate

Dance, skip

Eat too much

Order a second order of french fries and add A LOT of salt

Fall in love

Drink almost 8 glasses of full-pour wine when your Dad (Lewy Body Dementia arrived and promptly went full tilt once he found out all about Marc) calls crying because he is so afraid Marc will find you and hurt you

Travel to four different countries

Excel in your job

Suck at your job

Often wonder “did I brush my teeth today?”

Wear your pajamas to brunch and don’t care

Get your international travel TSA Pre-Check

Snuggle in a blanket nest with the man you love and download UberEats (over tip because you’re so happy with this new service!!!)

Ugly cry

Play with all the features of the Safe| In Harm’s Way app including colors and fonts and embedding links

Learn the chat feature of the app to contact the team; but don’t respond in a timely manner because you’re not sure how

Connect and re-connect with friends you love

Be overcome with so much gratitude you feel as if you’re the most fucking fortunate person in the world

 

WOW! Well, look at that. This list has been on repeat now for several years, and the past couple months were no exception. But, look at it. Really, really look at it. There’s a whole lotta good mixed in with the heavy force of healing. Remember that. Apparently, I needed to remember that HUGE!

Do you know what else Tom Cochrane sings over the harmonica notes in the background?

A misunderstanding once but now
We look it in the eye 

There was no misunderstanding; Marc knew exactly what he was doing and I knew nothing. Looking it in the eye, Tom? Really? Asshole.

Here we go. To-do list has been completed AGAIN, and it’s time. No hesitation.

Life’s like a road that you travel on
When there’s one day here and the next day gone
Sometimes you bend, sometimes you stand
Sometimes you turn your back to the wind
There’s a world outside every darkened door
Where blues won’t haunt you anymore
Where the brave are free and lovers soar
Come ride with me to the distant shore
We won’t hesitate, break down the garden gate
There’s not much time left today 

Next Up?

Intentionally Fearless: The Liberation of Maya Jane Clark, Chapter Eight, Eight Seconds Can Change Your Life and Those Changes Can Last Forever


Tom Cochrane- Life Is A Highway 

Join and follow the Maya Jane Clark playlist on Spotify!

Intentionally Fearless: The Liberation of Maya Jane Clark, Chapter Six, Dearest Janey

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!


 

Hey! Hello, my friends. Hope you’re well. Happy and healthy. It’s Maya. We are starting my letter to Janey- remember, she’s my good friend of 40 years. 

Maybe I should frame the letter, to offer a point of reference? I’m going to pause and think a bit about that. In one way, I’d be describing the yard so the cartwheels could be done within the landscape. However, I don’t want to get ahead of myself and there’s just so much to tell. Hmmmmmm…….

(Pause break over.)

I’m back. I’m going to provide the same level of information Janey had at receipt of the letter:

Marc

Me

Family adventures and travel together

Multiple years as a couple, living in a home we purchased together

I erased him from my life

Que the cartwheel racers and listen for the start of the race. It’s not fireworks or even a short whistle. It’s one phrase; “Baby, don’t be livid. I’ve done something really bad. Really bad.”

The eight second starting whistle changed my life, and those changes will last forever.


Hey there, my dearest Janey:

I hope this message finds you happy and healthy. First, please know how sorry I am about sending this via letter. To discuss live, causes me great anxiety. I hope you understand the snail mail and not live discussion.

For example, tonight I had to talk live about it and right now, I’m in a bit of a teary eye’d panic. I just can’t do live talk about this. Not, yet. Give me about two weeks. Live talk just drives home the point of how real and scary this all is. Additionally, well, today is the magic 6 month mark so I had to do a lot of medical testing today. Double checking all results from discovery. It turns out that most sexually transmitted diseases do not present for several months after possible infection. My first results all came back negative. Clean bill of health. Maybe that’s part of my panic, too; waiting for those results today. Duh…..ya think?

You know, no one really can process the aftermath of an affair. The kids and I have taken to calling it “connecting the dots.” It’s just too much to process.

Maybe folks can’t process it, because it is a defense mechanism. Your brain can’t handle too much, so it only processes a few bits. Or, maybe people can’t process the information because it certainly can’t be all true. Well, I have thousands of pages of pictures, email, text messages and Facebook posts that can document every single instance. However, believing the thousands of pages would also be a small reality check of “could this happen to me?” It’s easier to believe none of the madness, if it also means you can tell yourself that such nonsense would never happen to you.

But let’s think about this for a second. Back in July of 2015, Ashley Madison, which bills itself as a “discreet encounters” website, had their 37 million discreet adulterers exposed. 37 million. In November of this 2015, Adult Friend Finders had a data breach of their 412 million users exposed. 412 million (not a misprint, honey! 4. 1. 2. MILLION). But what does that mean to each of the million individuals involved with the folks who used these services? No one stops to think about THAT! I am but one of a total 449 MILLION people who have been on the opposite end of the affair- the innocent victim of falling in love with someone who decided, that the best route for his life outside of me, was to discreetly invite others to do drugs and have sex with him.

Meanwhile, I was monogamous and never knew.

Here is what it means to “connect the dots”- strangers have been in my home. Strangers have left their bodily fluids on my 1600 count sheets that I bought on sale online. Maybe, like me, an unsuspecting loved one climbed into that same bed, sheets unchanged, and made love with their partner; the same man who had sex with someone else, in the morning, after I left for work. Same bed. Same sheets. I cannot take enough showers to scrub off my skin upon THAT realization.

They’ve seen my family pictures around my house. The pictures of my kids. Our family pictures on vacation. Graduations. Family birthdays. My parents and grandparents, his parents and grandparents. Maybe these women and men picked up the picture and thought, “cute family” before they headed to MY bed to have sex with the person I love.

And then there is the physical fallout. Again, I am a net of one, out of 449 million, but I’m betting a good chunk of folks marched themselves to the nearest doctor’s office to get tested for every sexually transmitted disease. I cried for a week until I got my HIV test back- negative. Herpes- negative. HPV? Well, they can test for that, but really it can show up years later like a ticking time bomb of love just waiting to cause cervical cancer, cancer of the penis and rectum and esophageal or throat cancer. But today, as instructed, I had to be re-tested for everything. Now the waiting begins again.

And the mental anguish? Geez, take the pain of the destruction of your entire life, and then layer in your anger and guilt at yourself for not knowing it was happening. A chorus of Diana Ross has popped into my head and won’t leave. Even when I sing it out loud…..”upside down, boy you turn me, inside out and round and round.”

I’ve gone over everything in my head a million times and I can’t figure out how I didn’t know. HOW COULD I NOT KNOW? I’m going to need to think on that a long time. It is the refrain I hear echoed most often in books and therapy. Blaming yourself for not knowing. I have essays that address that, too. What role did I play in glossing over my reality? What did I justify and blow off that I shouldn’t have? How can I do homework to ever love and trust someone again? I’m hoping people can learn from my journey. Damn-it!! I hope I heal from my journey.

Maybe it is because I am a first born, maybe it’s a touch of obsessive-compulsive disorder, maybe I’m a glutton for punishment, but I’ve done the homework. I can actually track my Facebook posts, check-ins, diary entries and travel receipts against his text message and email time and date stamps. Consequently, I can now tell you exactly what I was doing when he was arranging these sexual encounters with men and women.

If you take that new found knowledge and layer it over Marc’s activities, suddenly the picture comes into very clear focus. It’s like the damn eye doctor, You know what I mean? The eye exam and the doctor is asking, “Which is more clear, lens one or two?” Me: “OH NOOOOO! Number two- I was putting my dog to sleep at my parent’s house, when he was arranging to meet a stranger from Craigslist for sex in our home four hours away.”

Yeah- Marc really preferred Craigslist, which is a whole other ball of disgusting wax we can burn for years, and it will still smell like pig slop. Honey! I’ve gone from sad to mad to livid. Under it all? Scared out of mind for my safety and the safety of my kids. I do believe his ultimate motive might be to kill me, because there is evidence of that, too.

The Madness, as I’ve taken to calling it, has been a huge life adjustment for me. But even in full fear, I am determined to be happy. Look around us- life is awesome. You just told me about your birthday and about your new business. What blessings! How cool! Life is really good, and should be cherished. Now……if I can just get out of fetal position and act on the blessings. I’m not there yet, honey. I’m not there.

I look around me and realize how blessed I am to know and travel this road so that I can keep myself and my family safe. I intend to tell my story and keep others safe, too. I have great friends who love and support me. I am a determined gal.

Look- here’s the deal; I have to know people, right? Really smart people. These people are brain-i-acks? The smartest of the smart. I gotta find them and connect with them and somehow change the Madness.

I’ve done all that and more in my career. I think I can rally enough troops and change the world for women (and abused men) who are abused, scared, homeless and alone. I have advanced college degrees- I’m thinking I’m capable to find the smartest people to help me make the world a better place for women. I have a plan and intend to spread the word on best practices when you are suddenly placed into a tornado of insanity without any red ruby slippers.

I gotta go, honey. More later….

Best,

Maya

Up next?
Intentionally Fearless: The Liberation of Maya Jane Clark, Chapter Seven, Avoiding the Unavoidable and To-Do List Artistry 


SOUNDTRACK:

How do you rectify in your head, the discovery of a person who claims to love you, inviting strangers to your home and bed once you left to have to put your puppy to sleep? I mean it’s gross not matter what time, right? But really……THEN, too! Damn.

But when Marc refused to head to my parent’s home with us, then spent the day texting me and my children how much he loved us and how sad he was to know Beetlejuice was dying…..only to find out he was fucking people in our home and in my bed. Gosh! This was a really hard discovery. Really hard.

Realized that is lunatic level madness right there. It’s one of the biggest moments of disgust for me and my children. Looking back now, we are so happy Marc wasn’t there. His lunatic bent would have cast a shadow on our real family love and devotion. Turns out, after much therapy and healing, we all agree and settle in full on gratitude that he wasn’t with us when Beetlejuice crossed the Rainbow Bridge.

Also, really glad the lunatic fringe of his true soul is no longer in our life, thanks to Beetlejuice’s heavenly intervention.

Lunatic fringe
I know you’re out there
You’re in hiding
And you hold your meetings
I can hear you coming
I know what you’re after
We’re wise to you this time (wise to you this time)
We won’t let you kill the laughter

Red Rider- Lunatic Fringe

Join and follow the Maya Jane Clark playlist on Spotify!

Intentionally Fearless: The Liberation of Maya Jane Clark, Chapter Five, Cartwheels of Life

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!


Hello, all! It’s Maya. I hope that the day finds you reading this in a happy and healthy state of mind. Me? I’m doing OK.

Today is a jumping off point, only about a couple years after the fact. Flashing back and facing forward at the same time; my head is spinning.

I’m feeling slightly dizzy and a little unsteady on my feet, like I use to when babysitters would challenge us to cartwheel races; upside down and round and round. We would race across three lawns by cartwheel, to the randomly established finish line. The winner was crowned, and slightly unable to stand up straight. I will admit my hair is currently as crazy and tangled as it was after those races, too. Consequently, I feel a bit like I’m standing in front of my childhood home and just finished as the winner; unkempt, dizzy, wild hair. But I won!! (Hmmmmm, were these cartwheel races the beginning of my competitive streak? Yeah, maybe!)

We are about to dissect the truth of discovering abuse. It’s in the form of letters to friends, and diary entries.

WAIT!! WAIT!! WAIT!! I just felt a huge eye roll and exasperated sign throughout the universe. Please let me explain. 

Writing good old fashioned letters was a way to break down everything I was discovering. Smaller portions. It was too much for me at the time, and honestly, it was too much for them. Too much all around. Those closest to me could not fathom the level of disease and despair. The reality I faced, the truths that kept coming at me, and all the healing that took place (and continues to take place) will all be fleshed out over the course of my time with you.

Here’s the deal, though……the letters and diary entries are the originals. This is key. It has to be. (My first born tendencies to be perfect are getting the better of me. Yikes! Makes me skin itch, folks!) It doesn’t matter what I would find out later, over the course of years, about Marc and his family. It doesn’t matter what other events unfolded over the years from the moment of discovery. We can hash all that out later.

All that matters NOW in our journey together, is this is how I explained the situation to my closest friends THEN. Consequently, this is how I am choosing to explain it to our Safe|In Harm’s Way launch readers (that’s you, peeps!); the same way my friends found out back when it occurred.

Now. Then. Back to now. Dizzy, yet?

Hold on. Get ready to cartwheel race towards a finish line that is still being randomly set. It will make you laugh, cry when you fall, and finish the race worn out and dizzy…..but all in one piece. Promise.


Chapter 6 – Dear Janey

SOUNDTRACK:

Ms. Amy Winehouse. Does it get any better with her haunting voice and lyrics? For this particular article, I think not. 

Here is the deal with our music suggestions- it’s meant as a sound track. Maybe the entire song fits the groove, or maybe a few lyrics within the song or maybe just the vibe. I will make sure to call out the “why” of selection. But the really cool thing is your opinion. What song do you think would fit, too? Better? Why? We can start to create a musical dialogue and I have to admit the thought makes me very happy to collaborate in that way.

Why this song? It’s the opening lyrics (sorry, expletive warning here) because the more I discovered about Marc and his family, the more the phrase kept coming into my head. On repeat. LOUD! Plus, I like the middle verse which goes a little something like this:

No, you ain’t worth guest list
Plus one of all them girls you kiss (all them girls)
You can’t keep lying to yourself like this (to yourself)
Can’t believe you played yourself (out) like this 

Amy Winehouse- Me and Mr. Jones

Join and follow the Maya Jane Clark playlist on Spotify!

 

Intentionally Fearless: The Liberation of Maya Jane Clark, Chapter Four, Pray

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!


Let’s Take a Prayer Break, please. Hello all, it’s Maya.

Sometimes on this path, the sky gets dark. The clouds gather and the wind picks up. The sky (like my brain and body) just seems to twist and turn in zigzag thunder bolts where nothing seems to appear real. I’m turning my head and body to try and find the sun, but I ain’t got nothin’. The weeds of fear grow quickly and block the path. There’s rocks and my shoes suddenly are ripped and torn and I’m tripping over everything. Whaaat?

But I know the truth. I know that behind the dark clouds is the truth and I can speak it confidently, plus have patience in the outcome. If I just continue to put one foot in front of the other, the weeds fall back and the path becomes clear again. Each step I take finds the sun in my eyes a bit more. Another 29 steps forward, and I have to put on my sunglasses because the sun is bright, the clouds are now a perfect shade of light-blue and medium-navy. There are no weeds, just the bright purple lilac bushes that line the path and stand tall against the gentle breeze. My pathway is dust free and my open toed sandals reveal a perfect pedicure. Peace!

How does this happen? How does the magic of the truth break out from behind fear? Prayer.

As a lapsed Catholic who firmly believes in God, I consider dance as a form of prayer. When things have gone from bad to worse and I just can’t seem to see my way past unending panic and fear, I dance. I will pull over to dance in a parking lot. I will dance in a store while grocery shopping. I will dance in public and I choose to dance every single morning when I get out of bed. I can’t wait to see what song pops up on Spotify because that’s how I am already anticipating the newness of the day and the prayer that will begin with music.

You know, I have had so many people say “I’ll pray for you.” And, I believe they do. Knowing I have people praying for me helps fuel the dance. Gives the dance extra power for not only myself, but everyone I am dancing for. Because it I tell someone I will say a prayer for them, I really mean I’m going to boogie down. My arms will be over my head and a leg jump, plus hip swivel that releases an electrical current all the way to heaven for God and his (her) right hand dog, Beattlejuice.

Best,

Maya

Chapter 5 – Cartwheels of Life 


SOUNDTRACK:

The Safe| In Harm’s Way have a lovely battle cry song. It’s by the band Joseph. The attached link is beautiful because it is just one guitar and the voices of three sisters. “Burn the White Flag” is our psalm for the day. Man o’ man does this song fit our path. Please feel free to click on the link, turn the volume up and PRAY!

The Band Joseph: White Flag

Join and follow the Maya Jane Clark playlist on Spotify!

 

Intentionally Fearless: The Liberation of Maya Jane Clark: Chapter Three, Vodka with Extra Lime

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!


 

The abuse delivered to me and my children at the hands of a man named Marc De’Saude is extensive; over many years and multi-layered. I feel compelled to lay out some trigger warnings.

There is going to be talk about sex. Please don’t be fearful  The discussions will not be pornographic in nature and explicit. I mean, I could go there since you’ve all agreed it’s OK to delve into the really-really’s of abuse. It isn’t pretty, and the abuse inflicted can be pornographic in nature and violence.

I hope I don’t loose any audience members because of the sexual nature of the abuse and the discovery. One thing the Safe| In Harm’s way team agrees on is that the story must be told, and most importantly, the dots connected on what exactly this level of abuse means to survivors and their family. It’s easy to want to turn away and think “no way”. No way did THAT really happen. Except it did happen. 

So we will be speaking about sexual abuse in general terms and the aftermath of that type of abuse.

I can’t promise there won’t be cursing, but I will try. My mom always said, “Maya, smart girls don’t curse. Cursing doesn’t get you noticed or heard in a positive light.” I will honor her wishes……sometimes.

It will be hard. First, I don’t want the message to be lost because of cursing, but damn-it, sometimes a really good curse word is warranted. And, sometimes multiple-hyphenated versions of the same curse word tell an even better story. This is because the abuse strays into tunnels that are so overwhelming and physically, spiritually and morally corrupt there are no words to adequately explain the level of depravity upon the face and façade of a self proclaimed “good man”.

Vomit. Vomit is an action that often made its way out of my body from the sheer disgust of a man I let touch me in intimate and loving ways. Now the thought of his touch makes me vomit. How do I even start to use the English language to accurately explain that level of disgust?

Baths. Baths that would take two hours and multiple fills of hot water before a child would come fetch me, always trying not to cry and begging me, “Mom, please get out of the tub.” I just couldn’t soak the stench of him, and all the other men and women he brought into our bed, off me no matter how long I scalded my skin. All those people he had sex with, without my consent or knowledge. Ohhhh, and don’t forget, when I came home from work trips, he would make love with me in the same bed. Sheets unchanged. What words give a glimpse into that kind of sadness, bodily fluids and fear of disease he exposed me to? No words, but a good old curse word.

But before the abuse, cursing, vomit and baths there was a love that I cherished and worked hard to nurture. There was a life I absolutely adored and wanted to secure forever, and it was lived in ignorant bliss of knowing nothing of his secret life. Complete and total monogamy from me. Devotion. Love. There were plans to be grey- haired and holding hands and family dinners surrounded by music, wine and our grand-kids. There were dreams we made lying in bed, all tangled up and naked. Should I talk about those years, because the abuse discovered looks even worse in comparison to what I thought was my dream man and reality? Yes. I should, because the abuse discovered looks even worse in comparison to what I thought was my dream man and reality. BOOM! Answered my own question with the question itself.

The level of abuse needs nothing more to highlight its ugliness. It is evil incarnate. In truth, I wish there was a way to water it down so people don’t walk away and think “no way”…. because, well, “way”.

Watering it down? Yes, there is one perfect reference. The best explanation I can offer comes from Netflix’s “Stranger Things”. Season Two, Episode Five. At about the 43 minute and four second mark. If you haven’t watched “Stranger Things”, do it. It’s amazing and an easy binge. I will highlight it for you without giving away any spoilers to the overall plot. No worries for spoilers. Promise.

So…….Two characters, Jonathan and Nancy, have tracked down a man named Murray and told him about a huge government secret and their friend, Barb. Murray explains that the only real way to get the story across is to water it down- the general public can’t fathom the level of information and deception. Murray explains, it’s like putting tonic into vodka so that the vodka is more palatable. (As soon as I figure out how to edit snippets of video, I will insert. I can’t figure that out, yet. Patience please.)

But I can’t water this down. The truth is the truth. I will just serve up the information, Grey Goose shots with extra lime style, and there will be no tonic to help it be more palatable. I hope you can keep it down for the night, and not end up with a huge hangover.

The articles I have written are done chronologically. They will be put into this website chronologically from the exact moment they were written. What does this mean?

The level of sadness and depression will not be masked. The level of anger and hatred that rise up occasionally will not be changed. It’s all there. Good, bad, ugly, hysterical, joy, skipping and peace will all remain in the proper context of the article written at that specific moment in time.

I’m doing this because the information about Marc and his main known sexual partners and actions just keeps coming to me, even years later. NOW I know. THEN (as in during our relationship), I didn’t. I don’t want to go back and edit articles to reflect any gained knowledge. There is a certain ugliness to the lack of knowledge I had at the time of chapter creation. There is also a certain beauty, because my brain could have only processed information in chunks.

Heal. Discover the new information. Heal. Repeat. To have full knowledge at the very beginning, seriously would have admitted me (and rightly so!) into the mental ward for an extended stay with zero Hilton Honors points.

By not editing the originals to reflect the new knowledge that unfolded over the years, I’m honoring the multiverse and God’s slow discovery process for me and my family. This will serve as a testament of gratitude for the process of protecting me, when I didn’t even know I needed the protection.

Honestly, I’ve been carried through the discovery with such gentle hands and guidance; I’m lucky and blessed beyond measure by powers higher than this earthly realm. (I also think our puppy, Beattlejuice, sits at a throne in heaven and helped everyone sort this all out and filtered it down to us. That tiny 13 pound puppy thought he was a 150 pound Great Dane, and he carried himself as such. I know he brought this about to protect us all.

Holy hell!! I was just weeks shy of marrying Marc. Beattlejuice certainly helped save me from his heavenly throne!)

If the abuse discussed could be a trigger, the article will have a warning. I want people who have been traumatized to be ready and in the right state of mind to receive the information. If they want to receive the information at all. The triggers for trauma victims can send a perfect day into fetal position. Been there. Done that. Oh, about 829 times. It’s not pretty and I’d like to spare others the trauma if they’ve endured and survived their own abuse.

We are about to begin our pathway; several chapters in and only about four baby steps onto the path. Please hang in here with me. Please don’t close down the computer and walk away from the abuse because it’s too much to handle.

Had I walked away from what I first saw, because it was so grotesque and insane, I never would have discovered Marc’s level of abuse. I would have married him and continued to be abused in filth and living with his puss filled soul (WOW! That sounded angry, right? I am a bit angry at this very moment. Not editing the anger out.)

Instead, I turned around and faced what I discovered. That choice has made all the difference in the world. Maybe facing down this demon with me, will allow you to escape a situation you’re not ready to know exists or help someone who needs to escape. Maybe you’ll discover what gaslighting is and realize you’re living it. Maybe the signs I never knew along the way, are living out in your world every day and you will suddenly be woke to the reality. Maybe you’ll leave. Maybe you won’t. But, maybe you will take more courage in leaving….someday.

Narcissistic Abuse at the hands of a Cluster B type personality disorder true narcissist? Folks, you’re about to earn a master’s degree in that circle of hell.

I’d like to give a special thanks to the Safe|In Harm’s Way team. Their encouragement and love is beyond measure and I hope to repay them all someday. They allowed me space and time, because re-living some events can find me sobbing in a grocery store and not being able to stop the tears, or, you know, the whole fetal position thing. They would give me time and grace to heal and move forward again.

And…..here is the really cool thing; while I’m putting out my story, they will be doing homework on all the laws and processes and ideas and resources that are available to help those being abused. What they find will be brought to you on the website, in one brilliant Amazon-esq one stop shop without the payment. Brilliant! I just get to tell my story and they will provide every imaginable resource to help survivors leave.

I like how I have picked up their lingo. I like how their mission statement is flowing through my brain now. I like how we have a plan in place that could morph and change, and we are plunging forward knowing the end result we want to achieve, but still not exactly sure how we will arrive at our destination. As our fearless leader Janey constantly reminds us, “Ladies, we just need to take a drink of water, we don’t need to swallow the entire ocean. Let’s do this small drink by small drink.”

Chapter 4 – Pray


SOUNDTRACK:

The world needs changing, and an army is needed for the cause; you could help be the army. Come take my hand, I’ve got your shot of vodka poured and circled the rim with extra lime. Let’s put our glasses up, speak the truth, and start to change the world by exposing the truth with confidence and patience. 

You ready? Here we go.

Rihanna- Cheers (Drink To That)

 I’ll drink to that!

Join and follow the Maya Jane Clark playlist on Spotify!

Intentionally Fearless: The Liberation of Maya Jane Clark, Chapter Two, Ms. Sheila’s Affirmations

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.)

  1. 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-.

Chapter 3 – Vodka with Lime

SOUNDTRACK:

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. 

Culture Club- Church of the Poison Mind

Join and follow the Maya Jane Clark playlist on Spotify!