I never knew my heart would bleed the color purple. Purple is a nice color, but it is not my natural favorite color. I am not instinctively drawn to it. However, the color purple signifies for me, and sadly many other women in our society, much more than a pretty color. It has grown on me – not because I wanted it to, but because of being a victim of circumstance.
The month of October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. It is recognizable by the purple ribbons and light that shines to spread awareness of this quiet societal problem. The purple began being used to signify women back as early as the 1900’s. It stands for elegance and royalty.
My own experience with domestic violence happened in my 20’s. I learned the hard way that a narcissist and an empath never mix well together. After nearly dying at the hands of someone I loved simply for recognizing the gas lighting, the manipulation and lies, the isolation of myself and most importantly the loss of my own self value – I found the strength to build an exit plan and I was able to leave. Unfortunately not many are as lucky as me. It isn’t as easy to leave as one would think.
September 11, 2016, was a somber day for our nation just like all 9-11 anniversaries are. As a nation our red, white and blue runs in unity through our veins as we remember those who suffered. However, for me the color purple bled more than any other color that day. My friend was killed in a murder-suicide by her ex-husband. She had it all. Her life was on the up and up with so much more great things to come.
The pain my body felt knowing she was no longer with us, no longer going to be here for her children, no longer going to be my business soul mate sister, no longer going to be across the hall from my studio forced me to my knees that afternoon. One of the biggest struggles I had processing her untimely and unfathomable death was the survivor’s guilt I felt. Why her and not me? She wasn’t done bringing her goodness into the world. It wasn’t fair. I realized in that moment just how very lucky I was to still be living to tell.
Two years later I have connected with many domestic violence survivors and have mourned many others whose light was taken away too soon. I have come to grips with my survivor’s guilt by continuing to chase my dreams just as my friend always did and pushed me to do. I still get little reminders she is watching over us all. Between the songs, the peacocks and the color purple I know she isn’t a statistic. She lives on through the rest of us who are honored to bleed purple.
If you or someone you love is being abused by a spouse, domestic partner or loved one, know help is available. Contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−SAFE(7233) or TTY 1−800−787−3224 to get help 24/7/365.