No longer held captive…by depression

They call her Joy.

she tries to hide in darkness…

but when you find her…

in the most inconspicuous places…

introduce yourself…

treasure her…

and never let her go.

xoxo Denise

The Joy of the Lord is my strength. -Nehemiah 8:10

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No longer held captive…by anxiety

Every broken heart

cries out to this earth for its healing…

You won’t find it

in your unending need

for approval…

those aren’t the places that I intended for you to seek truth…

look to me my daughter

there you will find your worth.

Hear my whisper?

Draw near to me…

like a firefly to its flame.

bring me your alabaster box..

and break its chains that surround you.

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. ~ John 8:36

No longer held captive…secrets

being held captive

entangles truth

restricts freedom

and causes heartache

to follow you

uncover the darkness

shine light on every lie

of the enemy

that is keeping you bound

release yourself from its grip

and run free

So if the Son sets you free, you are free indeed. – John 8:36

Spring of ’84

Parking Lot
The Latin word rapere “to seize,” from which rape is derived
I was very excited to be going on my first date with this guy that I had met at the mall. He was tall, with an athletic built. He was very handsome, quite charming and very polite. When he came to my house to pick me up, he was a proven gentleman by saying all the right things to my Mom and getting the green light to take her daughter out to dinner.
As we walked to his car, he quickly opened the car door for me and we drove off.
It was in the evening around 7:00pm, we were on our way to a late dinner. As we passed by my high school, he proceeded to drive into the parking lot. I looked at him with a nervous smile and asked him why are we here?
He let me know that we had some time to kill before dinner and he wanted to hang out and talk before we go to the restaurant.
The talking quickly lead to kissing, which lead to him getting on top of me, pulling my skirt up and  entering me. I told him I was a virgin and begged him to stop and that he was hurting me.. his response, “I will be gentle”.
The charming and polite gentlemen, quickly turned into a cold, self-gratifying, jerk.
I felt dizzy, as my head was spinning, and every emotion from anger, shock and despair engulfed me.  I couldn’t believe what was happening.
The next thing I hear is a tap..tap..tap.. on the window and a light flashing into the drivers side.  
 He immediately jumps off of me and pulls up his pants.
He rolled the down the window, and it was a police officer. The officer asks us what we are doing and asks for his license.
The officer than shines his light on me, and asks me for my name and birthdate. I give him my real name, but a fake birthdate, I pretended to be 17, (the age I told the guy, when I met him at the mall) now I told the same lie to the officer. In actuality, I was 14 and the guy was 19.
You see, even though I was being violated,
I was too afraid to tell the truth.
I felt like, since I had lied, it was as if I had deserved it.
The officer looked at me with disappointing eyes, shook his head and told us to leave the high school property.
He drove me home, kissed me on my cheek and told me that he had a great night.
Without responding, I got out of the car, went into the house, took a shower…and cried.
I felt like I wanted to die.
I didn’t tell anyone about the rape until I was an adult. I felt like it was my fault and I blamed myself for everything…
Things that played out in my head were:
I shouldn’t have lied…
I shouldn’t have went on the date…
I shouldn’t have worn a skirt…
I should’ve told him no, I didn’t want to go to my high school parking lot…
I should’ve screamed and fought him…
I should’ve told the police officer what happened…
I’m nothing…
I’m dirty…
I hate myself.
Those words haunted me for years…
TODAY, I know that I was not to blame.
That it wasn’t my fault…
It’s not the clothes that I wore..
or what I looked like..
or what I said…
or what I did or did not do.
I did not encourage him or provoke him to rape me.
Today, I no longer live in shame.
*********************************************
 National Sexual Assault Hotline

https://rainn.org/     1-800-656-4673(HOPE)

No turning back…

What do I see in the depths of her heart?

but a child so pure, innocent and set apart…

apart from the filth and innocence robbed…

apart from the trusting hands that cradled her soul…

took her aside and stole what was not theirs…

apart from lies and deep secrets untold…

childhood nightmares…

try to continue to unfold…

give her air…

so she can breathe…

open the window and set her…

Free.

Being 9 years old, I did not understand the sick logic of an old man and his ungodly desire to violate children. Why would the same person who brought so much joy to a family, bring pain? He was a lion in sheep’s clothing, and the least likely to ever be accused of such a crime. The burden he placed upon us to “keep a secret”, was the ultimate breach of trust against generations of children.

To be set free from the pain of my past, everyday I have to believe that I have a choice…

A choice to listen to the lies or the truth

To see myself as healed or broken

To live with shame or to live unashamed

To speak or to silence my voice.

You see, to declare that I’m no longer held captive by my childhood secrets, requires a daily willingness to change how I view myself and a determination to never be bound to that pain again.

~ Denise

Who the Son sets free is free indeed. John 8:36

Above all else Stand…

There were so many years that I struggled with the overwhelming hurt of the little girl within me.

On the outside people saw the smile, the beauty, the “perfect” image that I tried so hard to sustain.

They say secrets make you sick…

I say…those secrets will grow legs and make itself known in the ugliest of ways…

My secrets manifested itself as depression, anxiety, an eating disorder, excessive control and various health issues.

Words like PTSD…Intensive outpatient therapy…and Recovery became an ongoing conversation with my Doctor.

I could no longer hide it…

The little girl in me…

The one who was crying out to be seen…

She rose up… And declared her freedom.

~ Denise

grounding vs. running…away

IMG-1156.jpg

5…4…3…2…1…

frantic images are vividly playing out behind my eyes…

as if I am watching them before me, on a screen…

my mind is racing and all of my senses are heightened to the point that I literally want to RUN out of my own skin…

a thief…

attempting to rob me of tranquility…

what do I “see”

what do I “hear”

what do I “smell”

what do I “feel”

what do I “taste”

they say grounding brings me back to reality…

I say…

i’m fleeing…

to my place of peace…

where He quiets my racing pulse…

and speaks peace to the frantic storm…

welcoming me with open arms…

I calmly exhale my fear…

…and inhale serenity.

~Denise

When anxiety overwhelms me, your Word comforts me and brings me joy. – Psalm 94:19

Quiet the voice of deceit…

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de·ceit \ the act of causing someone to accept as true or valid what is false or invalid

I think I am angry…
No, I know I am angry…
and I am really angry at you.

It happened over and over again, and you sat there and did nothing…

I know you didn’t want to betray me…

but you did…

I blamed you…..

I accused you….

and I despised you….

and most of all…

I hated you for not protecting me…

The innocence that was stripped from the loins of this little girl, brought years of heartache, shame and self hate. 

This taunting voice of deception…

came in order to remind me of my past. 

This direct battle between good and evil….

truth and lies…

hope and despair....

was an attempt to try to destroy me…

and keep me bound to pain.

Today, I bravely look at every jagged edge that was piercing the most sacred areas of my heart…

I boldly speak truth to those broken places… 

I see worth…value…and the unending love,

that He so gracefully pours over me…covering me…protecting me.

Piece by piece, I am made whole.

~Denise

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” – John 8:32

 

Instead of cursing the darkness…

cold-dark-eerie-414144-2.jpgInstead of cursing the darkness…

She uncovered the secrets that haunted her in the middle of the night,

those undisclosed images that had been safely tucked away in the remote areas of her mind…

Instead of cursing the darkness…

she sat amongst the heaviness, that laid dormant around the very core of her being.

Instead of cursing the darkness…

she stood up to the lies, that attempted to strip her of everything good…

Instead of cursing the darkness…

she denounced its permission to confine her worth.

Instead of cursing the darkness…

she lit her own match.

~Denise

“Light always overcomes the darkness” John 1:5

obscure…

img-1042.jpgWords chime like a loud cymbal in the pit of my soul.

Every part of my being screams out from under the restraints of the tidy little box..

that I called my secret place.

A place where the fear of rejection was nestled closely to her overbearing friend…

named shame.

A place where lies and inadequacy reigned.

I was able to remain there unnoticed…

unscathed..

hidden in my false sense of security.

But then one day…

the life that I knew, literally caved in…

all things that were familiar to me, crumbled…

In the crevices of my heart, covered by layers of murkiness,

laid brokenness that was hidden in an area so deep…

I could no longer hide under the distortion and false interpretation

of how I viewed my significance….

In that very moment, I was gifted a glimpse of my value and worth.

there…in this highly guarded territory…

in the essence of my heart…

laid the truth…SHE who is brave in Christ…is set free…

and this…led me to freedom.

~Denise

“Words that are silenced, are lethal secrets to destroy your soul, speak your truth”. 

In my darkest hour…I found hope.

flower in darkness

I was attacked at the very core of my being and was told to end it.
That I was not going to live past the depression, the anxiety and the tremendous amount of pain. The lies, and self hatred tried to overshadow every ounce of hope and faith I previously held onto.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley…

Fragmented pieces of the memories came flashing back as I tried to piece them together and make sense of the realization that these were not nightmares but factual suppressed recollections.

I will fear no evil…for you are with me…

It was too much! I felt as if I was literally being ripped from the inside out. Every part of my body ached as I exposed the truth and walked through the dark murkiness of my past.

You protect and guide me, and I find comfort as you console me…

In my despair, I wept as I released the pain of that little girl.

You are repairing all the damage that was done to me, and restoring the deepest, most real part of me. 

My strength Lord, comes from you. ~ Denise

*Psalm 23

There are times in all of our lives that things become overwhelming, sometimes to the point that life seems to be crashing in from every angle of your life, which for me caused me to literally find myself in a dark place and needing help.

I wanted to isolate but instead I called for help.

I want to encourage you, to seek help.

If you find yourself in a position that you need to talk to someone, reach out for help.

You are not alone, you are not overreacting and please don’t feel as if you are bothering them.

Pick up your phone… and call someone.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

1-800-273-8255

Emerge…to rise from

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Shatter the glass of any negative in your past, remove the burden carried upon your back. Cut the rope from around your neck that’s attempting to choke your reality. Stand with hope and truth, to face all trials with dignity. Breathe deep the fragrance of sweet victory. Stand up and know exactly who you are, life your head my sister and no longer look down. For a virtuous woman is emerging from within. ~ Denise Boyd

photo credit: Leonid Afremov

 

The Power to Rise…

listen

This beautiful and vibrant artwork by Kohava Howard, immediately spoke volumes to my soul!

The colors and her image, made me think of myself as I bravely continue on my healing journey.

At times I found myself, revisiting the painful areas of my past and hovering there, literally stuck in a dark place within my mind. Those moments lead me to feeling not only depressed, but caused me to isolate from my family and friends.

The Power to Rise…

Through therapy,  recovery and my relationship with God, I have learned that it is ok to feel the pain. I no longer stuff my feelings, but I talk about them, freely, without fear of judgement.  I face those memories with courage, completely accepting both the good and bad memories of my past. Applying truth and love has given me my freedom.

As I continue to meditate on the woman in this picture, her image depicts tremendous amount of strength, which transcends beauty and radiates of her perfect peace and hope for her future.

“TO LURK”..EXIST UNPERCEIVED OR UNSUSPECTED…

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This poem is in tribute to the little girl, in me, who at 9 years old, unexpectedly became the victim to the abuse of a family friend.

In the early morning hours, just prior to dawn.

you silently stepped into the bedroom

and viewed your next victim.

Your excitement grew,

as you placed one of your hands,

upon her flat, pre-adolescent chest,

and moved the other hand beneath the covers.

As you attempted to reach her innocence,

she flinched… and fear overtook her as she see’s you hovering over her.

STOP! She yelled.

You glared at her disgustingly,

and quickly left the room.

She was the lamb to the slaughter,

the doe to the hunter.

The ultimate sacrifice to the appetite of,

this dirty old man.

Denise Boyd Copyright ©

 

The Monster in the Closet..

During my elementary years, I attended a wonderful catholic school. Prior to the first day of school,  my Mom and I attended a school function that gave us a chance to meet other parent’s, students, the teacher’s and staff.  Being new to the school, I was really excited to meet some friends. My Mom was a single mom and worked full-time, she didn’t want me to stay home before and after school by myself.  She was so grateful when she met a really nice lady, her husband and daughter at the school function. The lady was a stay at home mom and offered to let me come over before and after school.

The beginning of the school year started off great. I made friends easily, I enjoyed spending time before and after school with my newly inquired, “Babysitter’s” family. I was happy.

My babsitter’s house was a few blocks away from school so, me and Laura (not willing to reveal her real name), were allowed to walk to her house from school.  Laura was a few years older than me and had her own key, so we let ourselves into the home. It was oddly quiet and seemed as if no one was home. As we walked passed her parents bedroom, the door was closed. This was in the early 70’s and the door had a peek hole where the key would go, the peek hole gave us a direct view of the bed, in which her parents were having sex. As Laura and I stood there peeking into her parents room, I was shocked and uncomfortable, Laura seemed relaxed and kind of entertained. It did not surprise her a bit, and when I wanted to walk away, she laughed and wanted me to continue watching. I didn’t and quickly ran into Laura’s bedroom. Laura walked into her room, turned on the television and we waited for her parents to check on us.

As weeks went on, life was normal. Before school, during school, but after school things began to change. Laura began showing interest in me, not like a friend or like a big sister, but an interest in touching me.

She had a walk in closet, with room for us to lay down. As time went on the trips to her closet caused me to loose all sense of myself and my surroundings. She would make me do unspeakable things, that a child should never experience. From that point on, I don’t remember much else about my babysitter’s house.

The above image portrays the shame, guilt and confusion I felt at 8 years old. 

My trips to the closet continued, until my Mom no longer allowed me to go to the babysitter’s house.

When I recently shared my childhood sexual abuse story with my Mom, she didn’t know I had been abused by the babysitter’s daughther.  At the time, Laura’s mother said that she could no longer watch me. To this day, I am sure Laura’s Mom knew what her daughter was doing to me in that closet and instead of helping me, and getting help for her daughter, she chose to turn a blind eye to the abuse. Looking back, I am sure Laura had also been a victim of childhood sexual abuse. She went from being a victim to victimizing others.

For those of you who are Adults that were victims of childhood sexual abuse, I encourage you to get help  . In time, you too will be able to Share Your Story..even anonymously. Let’s join hands and make a stand to END Childhood Sexual Abuse.
Denise Boyd Copyright ©

To Be Held..

Sexual Abuse tried to overshadow the happy events of my childhood. As I look back at the quiet times that my Mom and I shared, the following self expression is a peek into how loved I felt by my Mom.

Positioned perfectly, I laid my head upon her lap.

With the gentle touch of sweeping motions,  she slowly brushed the palm of her hand on my hair.

Love, protection and safety reign as I rest in my Mother’s arms.

I embrace this memory of those perfect moments. The ultimate need and desire to be Held.

By being sexually abused, the personal boundaries and clear knowledge of “good” and “bad” touch, became a blur. Every touch, unwanted or wanted, became acceptable. My desire to be held, became a great need in my life.

As a teenager I dated many different guys. To be honest, I don’t even remember how many “intimate relationships” were encountered. I longed for attention. This longing took me places that as an adult I couldn’t imagine going, it led me to experiences that completely devalued my self-worth.

The emptiness I was trying to fill with each partner only lead to heartache and depression. I was never satisfied. It wasn’t about the sex, it was about filling the void in my heart.

Today, as I face the brokeness of my past, I am putting my trust in God. I am allowing Him to open each chamber of my heart and fill the void with true joy, peace and love. With every step, He…is Holding Me.

~Denise💗