Donna Alexander created “The Anger Room” for stress relief, which took off and made national headlines due to her recent appearance on a Dallas-based reality television show, The Real Housewives of Dallas. The horrific news flooded the media when she died in the hospital this week after Grand Prairie police say her estranged boyfriend, Nathaniel Mitchell, severely beat her. He is charged with murder.
Domestic violence is real and evident in our communities every day. Donna was willing to step OUT of her comfort zone of abuse and control and use her voice in a mission to support other women release whatever was in their way of hope and love.
Many of us were touched by this news, myself included. My own daughter and granddaughter were effected by violence and abuse until we were able to remove her from the situation. It brought back memories of my own experience with a mentally unstable fiancée with undiagnosed bipolar challenges. In my new book being released in just another week, I will finally share my story. I believe we all have a “heart song” within us that is meant to be shared with others to create change in our world, our communities, and our homes.
The heart needs its voice. Denying your emotional side and passion is to sacrifice yourself which creates a lack of worth in life. This is why many negative relationships or situations where your voice has been stifled or completely eradicated results in negating your sense of worth.
I have been in relationships that stole my voice and had me follow theirs. Did I plan to choose these types of people? Was it a conscious choice one day to connect with and stay with a person who treated me badly and who controlled my every step? Not at all. Whether it was karma, a lesson in worth, or a pattern from early in life, it doesn’t have to affect our heart song, just shift its quality if not identified. For me and for many women, it starts very slowly with someone who sees you and little by little they take care of you, pamper you, spend more and more time with you, don’t want you to be alone without them, and begin to create ways to follow what you are doing, who you are with, and how you live your life.
One particular relationship was with a man who slowly maneuvered his way into my life and I ended up engaged to. On the outside, everything appeared fabulous. Then, it started. He ostracized me from my friends and even would call me repeatedly if I was with my mom for the day. If I wasn’t home from work right afterwards, he was checking on me and became more and more angry. He began telling me what to eat, what to wear, how to laugh, and even how to sneeze, a biological function that was altered from extreme stress and has remained to this day. Think of what these types of experiences do to not only our minds, but our bodies, and especially our hearts.
We began to argue a lot, or shall we say, he argued a lot. I began hearing my own voice say, “I’m sorry,” even when it wasn’t my responsibility. His obsession-compulsive behavior became unmanageable when I would step on a small kitchen rug with long loops and my footprint would remain. He would quickly take the rug and shake it, so no imprint would remain.
Others heard my voice when “I’m sorry” became a mantra for everything, and my colleagues and friends started noticing me becoming quieter and less adventurous. What was happening to me? I became apprehensive and even anxious every day when he came home from work, not knowing which personality he would have each day, loving and supportive or angry and judgmental. My voice and my inner passions were changing. I was constantly in fear of him yet didn’t want to lose this “wonderful life” we had, or so I thought. My worth had changed.
Why couldn’t this strong woman, who speaks out for others and their value, not speak out for herself? I began to ask myself the same question. My answer came in an unexpected God-incident. We were to start pre-marital counseling to prepare for our upcoming wedding—yes, I was marrying him.
As usual, my fiancé couldn’t make the first session, which didn’t surprise me, so I went anyway. To my overwhelming blessing, a shift was beginning. I formed a much-needed relationship of confidentiality with my minister/psychologist and I knew I could begin to share my fears, pain, and shifts in perspective that had happened in the six-year relationship we had endured.
My fiancé never attended any of my sessions and with each one I grew stronger and found my rhythm of life again. My voice was returning. I knew what I had to do, but I was warned to act with extreme caution and precision. I began moving my things out slowly to my mom’s home without my fiancé noticing. Planning to move into a new place wasn’t quite an option because he would know where I was and had already told me I was never allowed to leave, or he would hurt me and bring me back. I couldn’t stay at my mom’s; he would know where I was, and I didn’t want her in the middle. The day came, and I let him know I was moving out and he was not to be at the house when I did. I think he doubted me enough that I felt he would ignore the “threat” of me leaving. Friends were all prepared to help me leave quickly with what I had left to move. I was then staying with a dear friend from church who he didn’t know.
I can’t tell you the move went smoothly, and the details don’t matter. You can only imagine it was one of the most difficult things I physically, mentally, and spiritually endured. Yes, there were threats on my life. But what does matter for you to know is I did reclaim my voice, a voice without fear, without judgement, without a lack of worth, A new voice emerged that resonated with strength, freedom, and new choices and opportunities. This lesson was over, and I was ready to move on to new views in life. Ones which had clarity and purpose and where I knew I would be able to support others going through these transitions and transformations in life, and in fact, I did and still do.
What about you? Is anyone or anything suppressing your voice or its true notes? What voice are you sharing in life? What voice is your true sound and carries the melody of your heart? Let’s continue to explore this concept.
There is a voice you use when you are speaking of your passions in life. This could be your purpose walk and the joy of an inner melody that keeps you walking forward with a personal rhythm. Or, it can be a loving interaction with a significant other or even your children, which results in the harmony of these passionate and loving heart songs. Each has their own unique tone and quality.
As you walk forward, you may encounter chords from previous times or circumstance that may or may not still resonate with you in your future. The challenge is to keep moving forward while pausing to understand, learn, reflect, renew, learn, and guide others.
There is a consistent rhythm of the moment that connects to us as we hear a new melody. We may harmonize with others’ “heart songs,” but only if we appreciate theirs, not expect to change it, and they do the same.
Let’s release your beautiful notes and cadence. Breathe in your melody and listen for those opportunities for harmonies in your journey. I can’t wait to hear!
This is an excerpt from my new book, Step OUT, Step UP, Step Forward: How to Walk in Your Purpose, available in October.
Our voices need to rise together for those who cannot speak anymore, just like Donna. What story you need to release? Let’s honor her memory and her legacy with posts of stepping forward in with our voices in harmony for change! Join me, won’t you?