Since 2015, nearly every year in the season I love best – Summer – I have been called to descend out of the light and into the darkness. I know this place well. Really well. Knowing it well, though, doesn’t dissolve its mystery; it’s just that I’m getting more familiar with being in the dark.

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I have learned this: the plain truth of the matter is that an abuser is nearly always an abuser because they, too, have been abused. I do not excuse their actions. I do not condone what they have done and continue to do. I take the best steps I can to protect myself. Because if they cannot do that, then they are in the fog, and the only way I can escape both it, and them, and the abuse, is to see this, know this, and take the only compassionate action available: I save myself.

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