I always loved music and art when I was growing up. I played flute and guitar, I sang and acted in community theater. And I loved to draw. Unfortunately, I lost myself for years because my abuser was jealous.

But out of the tragedy, I realized I have been given a gift. My new spouse not only encourages my creativity but has been the catalyst for so much of it. I’ve written graphic short stories and poetry and I’ve drawn and learned to paint. Some of my work has even been published in literary magazines. I’ve also learned how to produce electronic music and I’ve been able to sing again. We have produced 7 albums so far. The first one was rough because we were on opposite coasts and the vocals consisted of me screaming into my phone in a bathroom. I was a hysterical, hot mess and you can hear it in my shrill voice. It’s not very good. But it cataloged my feelings so soon after the trauma.

I think we’ve gotten a little better over time. I’m certainly no Lady Gaga and there’s only so much mixing and production we can do with the equipment we have. But there are a few songs that are personal to me because they are about domestic violence and how it feels to be in an abusive relationship. I’m proud of these songs because I was able to express myself creatively which was cathartic for someone who never had a chance to nurture their creativity. Some of my favorites are She Doesn’t Know, Tinderbox, How Would You Feel and Again Begin.

But the song that I’m proudest of is But I Love You, which I wrote about my relationship with my abuser. He always said he would be with me forever and I believe he meant in death too.

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