SPARKS SPEAKS OUT™ — I reach out and your fingers slip through mine…
You can’t see me, but I need to be seen. You can’t know who I am, but I need to be known. I’m not a riddle. I’m a real person. My life is not an easy one.
I can’t say it’s the hardest life I’ve known, because six years ago I left a home of domestic abuse in order to get here. I left twenty years of pain, torture, and terror, so I could get to this day. I fought through five years in court, and vicious custody battles with my abuser. I racked up a cool $1M in legal fees that I will spend the rest of my life trying to recoup. So, how could I ever say that this life is harder?
After narrowly escaping that life that still haunts me, I spend my time in “this life” making sure that others do not have to travel the same path that I did. I have written a book, created a company, and founded a charity, all centered around one singular mission — to prevent, educate about, raise awareness of, and help others heal from domestic abuse and violence. I have funded all of these efforts directly out of my own bank account. I am slowly bankrupting myself.
Working solo was driven by the need to show the world that I was not broken, and that you would not be broken if this had happened to you, too. For twenty years I was told that everything I did was wrong. Even after I was abundantly successful the first time around in my career, I was told that I was stupid, and that I would never amount to anything. It became even more important for me to walk out of that life, and start this one on my own. I needed to know that I could stop at any moment in time, look around, and know that I had gotten to this point by myself. Here I am — here we are, yet no one knows because I work under a name that is not my own.
I live in the same town as my ex-husband and he knows exactly where I am. My new life is intentionally not connected to my old one. I am not throwing fuel on that fire, so I do all of this work using an alias. Not having a face to go with this alias name also means that my children and I can walk through our town every day, and no one will look twice at us. This new life was planned with precision detail. It was crafted so I could put an unknown name on this faceless ghost.
You never know what you don’t know until you get there. What I know today, is that I am trying to live two lives at once, and it’s pretty damn hard. I’m “her” in my town and I am very well-known. I’m the other me the moment I open my laptop and begin doing this work. Either way, half of one of us is missing at any given moment.
I open my social media, I reach out for help, and your fingers slip through mine because it’s not just my face that is a ghost, it is my entire being. You do not know who I am when I ask you for help. You do not know that we have worked together, and you do not know that I am trustworthy and will get the job done. You question me, and it is difficult because I am working with a universe that does not recognize me.
I turn and open my other social media, and they know my real name. But, there I cannot tell them what I am doing to help others. I cannot tell them what I am doing to make a difference in the world, to stop the chaos, and change the lives of the many who have suffered from domestic abuse and violence. I am trapped in the middle of the harder of two places, and I do not have one advantage working in my favor on either side. It is the toughest of tough, and I do not have a solution, and it is maddening.
The universe will not allow me to be two people at once, I see that now. I am not completely there in your world, I am not completely here in mine, either. One day I will be forced to choose between her and me, and that choice will both complicate and simplify my life. But, with that choice comes consequences that I am not yet prepared to deal with. Consequences that do not only affect me, but will also affect my children.
Until that day comes, I ask you to simply accept me, at whatever level you choose — as half of one person, as a person that you used to know, or as someone new who looks like she is trying to help others. Regardless of your perspective, we end where we began. I am not a riddle. I am a real person. Please reach back and grab my hand.
#NotInOurHomes #TomorrowIsTooLate #DomesticAbuse #DomesticViolence #EmotionalAbuse #GetHelpToday
Susan Sparks is a 20 year victim, and 6 year Survivor Of Domestic Abuse (SODA®). She is the author of Sparks in Love, the founder of the national charity The SODA Fund, and the creator of TheSoda-Pop.com — all dedicated to helping victims and survivors of domestic abuse. She writes as an Expert Blogger for multiple digital media sites, and works on select projects with The National Domestic Violence Hotline (thehotline.org) — donating a portion of proceeds from every sale of Sparks in Love to both The Hotline and The SODA Fund. Susan plans to write three other books in the “Sparks” series to further the cause, and will bring Sparks in Love to the screen in 2019–2020.