I thought it might be interesting to share the perspectives of some of my friends and readers. I want to inspire and I have decided to lean on some other experience and wisdom.
I would like to introduce guest blogger Millie who inspires me by impacting people with her passion. I know her courageous honesty will change many lives. Introducing Millie:
Hi, All. I am a Tennessee girl living in Mississippi. (Hey ya’ll!) I am an accountant. (Lord, help me) It is how I pay my bills. I have two teenagers (Lord, help me) a boy and a girl. One is a boy scout and the other is a cheerleader. I’ll let you decide which is which. As a hobby, I am a newly certified Harley Davidson Rider Coach. It is how I give back and how I find purpose these days.
I fell in love at an early age and married at nineteen. My passionate and selfless nature was used against me and led to a breakdown of personal boundaries. Boundaries that should have protected my soul were overrun, deemed contrary and outright sinful to our union of marriage.
Over-time my husband weakened me, molded me and changed me repeatedly. I never knew where I stood with him. I only knew he stood a head taller than I ever would. I could never measure up. I could not be perfect enough. My voice had no value to him. He was controlling of all aspects of our life, treated me like a child, was manipulative with his affection, and used isolation and religious doctrine to keep me in check. I blamed myself.
A little less than two years ago, I came very close to taking my own life. I thought the world would be a better place without me. I thought my children would be better off without me.
I got help. Thank, God. Many suffering from depression feel that they are meant to suffer alone. Don’t, don’t be afraid to ask for help. With much counseling and self-evaluation, I began to understand that I had been a victim of abuse. The spirited little girl inside of me had been silenced too long. I came out of that breakdown to declare, “No More!”
I separated from my husband of twenty-one years and began the long trek of healing. Six months after the breakdown, I was maintaining my health but I was not healing, yet. It was as if I had died. Which really, I had. Life had broken me and the pieces were not going to be put back the same way. I still grieved for the little girl inside. She was no longer silenced but she was struggling to find her voice. This was when a girlfriend asked me to take the Harley Academy Basic Rider Course with her. I thought, “Yeah, that will be fun,” and agreed to go.
The first night of the class the instructors asked the students, “Why are you here?” When it was my turn to answer, I said, “I’m just here for her,” and motioned to my friend. The instructors could have discounted me then and there. They could have rolled their eyes and thought to each other, “This one will be the first to wash out.” But they didn’t. They treated me with dignity and respect while challenging me to excel. I pulled up my big girl panties and finished the class with a feeling of confidence and positive self-worth that I had not felt in a long time.
Upon completion of the class, my instructors encouraged me to pursue rider coach training. I remember laughing. When they asked why I was laughing, I told them, “My daughter asked me before this class if I was going to buy a motorcycle and I told her, ‘No, baby. I’m just going with Ginger so she will not have to take the class alone.” I paused, still smiling, and said to them, “I guess I need to buy a motorcycle.”
A few months passed until I saved up enough money to purchase my first motorcycle. And Oh, can I tell you, it was pure freedom! The little blond accountant was riding a Harley. The Vance and Hines pipes announced my entrance at work before I even made it in the parking lot.
Eight months later, I completed the MSF basic rider skills coach training. One year from the time of my own basic rider skills course, I completed the Harley Rider Academy Coach training. I also reached a personal milestone by riding my bike to the Harley training in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. It was a nineteen-hundred-mile round trip. I made the trip alone.
Up to this point, I think what made me put one foot in front of the other each day was anger. Yeah, after twenty-one years of changing who I was to be loved, only to find out there was nothing wrong with me in the first place, made me a little pissed (just saying). Please understand: The anger, which helped me build walls against further hurt might keep out the bad but, unfortunately, it also keeps out the good. Anger was a coping mechanism that worked for me but is unhealthy if carried long term.
I have always been a compassionate person; putting others before myself. Many would consider this a weakness and the source of my abuse. Yes, it was used against me as a measure of control but I have learned that what the world calls weak is truly my strength. Now that I understand personal boundaries are healthy and necessary, I can use my compassionate nature to its fullest.
Coaching for me is not just about helping people learn basic motorcycle riding skills but is more about helping the student build confidence in themselves. I do not take this lightly. Some that come to a class are, as I was, at a life changing point.
My healing is ongoing. I have days when the past will not let me alone and I struggle to even get out of the bed. My early coping mechanism of anger turned to bitterness. (Still trying to nip that one and I am succeeding for the most part.)
I have started a blog, ImJustHereforHer.com, where I share more of my ongoing story. If you are or know of someone who is a victim of this type of abuse, take heart. God has shown me that His promises are real. There is beauty from ashes. There is joy after mourning. There is peace, wonderful peace to all who seek it. He does not allow pain without causing something new to be born. And God’s love for us is true and pure and without blemish.
Friends who know what I have been through have called me courageous. If being courageous means I was pushed off the cliff’s edge but then, I found my wings then, yes, I guess I am.