Well, Friday was a first for me.
After connecting with the Kelowna Women's Shelter earlier this spring about their upcoming Daisy Story Art Project, and submitting a written piece to be included in that event, the ladies at this highly reputable organization very kindly invited me to say a few words at the opening ceremonies of their newest shelter and transition housing complex in West Kelowna.
In front of a gathering of 80 or so people, I publicly described myself as a survivor of domestic abuse. It's the first time I ever made such a statement out loud, in a public setting.
Needless to say, a variety of emotions and memories ran through me. The beauty of taking the time to heal over the past nine years (yes, nine!) was that I let myself feel and recall what I needed to feel and recall in the moment and then, after enjoying a latté at a sunny café and a couple of hours on the couch once I returned home, I re-grouped and felt fine again.
The new shelter and transition house in West Kelowna is magnificent. It is a nurturing and comforting environment where women and mothers with children will lay the foundation for their futures and take the first steps into their new lives. I wish every single one of those women a magnificent and grand life from this moment on.
This morning, I enjoy the lovely scented flowers from the Thank You bouquet given to me yesterday.
Perhaps my new career as a public speaker has begun. Back to work on the book!
Here are the words I spoke to a highly supportive gathering:
My name is Deborah, and I am a survivor of domestic abuse.
I am honoured to be here to congratulate and applaud the Kelowna Women's Shelter on the opening of their second crisis shelter in the Kelowna region and the creation of this amazingly immense transition housing complex.
I know, from personal experience, how critical it is for women and mothers with children, to have a safe and secure place to go when they are leaving, fleeing, escaping from abusive relationships.
I have no doubt that, after meeting the amazing ladies who run this organization, the women and children who walk through these doors will be greeting with kindness, compassion, support and humanity.
This is a critical juncture for these women. It is here they will build a foundation for their future and take the first steps into their new lives.
On behalf of the women and children you will help ...