Thoughtsgiving Day One~ Being Brave

“ I thought brave was not being afraid. You’ve taught me that bravery is being terrified and doing it anyway.”
― Laurell K. Hamilton

“you can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will.”
― Stephen King

Welcome to day one of Thoughtsgiving. I’m so glad you’ve joined me! As promised, a quote greeted you as you arrived. I love how a great quote can inspire me to think about where I am today, where I want to go, and how it applies to my dreams and creativity.

Below is a song that I have listened to over and over lately. If you’d like, give it a listen as you read on. It’s not a lullaby, or a happy pop tune (so I hope I don’t disappoint you), but it does stir my soul. The songwriting is absolutely amazing, and I feel like it could apply to so many of us at low points or difficult stages in our lives.

I know it’s a bit dark, but the lyrics:

“There’s a lot of things I don’t understand
Why so many people lie
Well, it’s the hurt I hide that fuels the fires inside me”

are so true for me. I’m sure that everyone walking the earth has hurt that they hide. Secrets, lies of their own, fear of what other people think of them. I think for many of us that craft and pursue art, we use that as an outlet for the hurt, for the build up of pain that comes from life’s repeated rejections and words that tear us apart inside.  However, without the hurt inside, we may lack the creativity and the “fire” that Ray sings about, so in a way, that’s the gift we’re given for bravely surviving those trials.

In 1997, I was twenty two. I was also a married mom of a two year old, and a full time college student. I was in a very tumultuous relationship with my high school sweetheart, that had started off like a dream, but had pretty much turned into a nightmare. He was not at all ready to be in a committed relationship, let alone a marriage. But, I’d gotten pregnant, and I wanted to set things straight….to make it all okay by fixing what I saw as shaming my family  (and postponing the hopes and dreams I had) by creating a “family” and making it all work. Well, I was two years into it , and….it wasn’t working.

He was gone from our little house on a quiet street a lot. I had to pack up my baby daughter and go to the laundromat at 11:00 pm, because that’s when I could get it done quickly, with a toddler in tow. (All the washers and driers were free at that time). I rarely went out, because we didn’t have the money, and we had a baby at home, but he did. Nearly every night. I was lonely. I’d learned to temporarily fill my deep hurt and anxiety by eating……a powerful addiction I have yet to overcome.

At 3:00 one morning, I woke up, and he wasn’t home. I was terrified, angry, and had a horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach. I bundled my baby in her coat and hat, and buckled her in her car seat. I set off, and pretty much knew exactly where I should head…..the university campus we both attended as music students. As I pulled into the arts building parking lot, it was empty…except for two cars. His, and a mutual female friend of ours. I could somewhat make out that they were both in her car. As I approached the window, they looked guilty…..but both adamantly claimed to just be “talking.” I stupidly decided to delude myself that it was true (deep down I knew it wasn’t), and I headed home.

One week later, it was around 2:00 am, and our whole family was asleep (which was rare, he was usually gone, or up on the computer). I woke up to the sound of pounding on the front bedroom window, and shouting. It was a VERY angry male voice.  The familiar voice demanded my husband come outside (which he was too afraid to do). My husband said he would not go outside. The voice said “well, did you tell your wife about you and (the mutual female friend)? Did you tell her about how you’ve been cheating on her?” I still remember standing in the dark living room, behind the steel door. The streetlight outside creeped through the blinds, and left lined patterns on the second hand couch. I felt a slow and steady heaviness invade my body, but at the same time a sort of flood of courage. Anger came later. And at 5:00 am, after I’d been told repeatedly he loved her, I could go, he didn’t care, but he wasn’t leaving; he calmly went to sleep….and I left the house with my daughter, and an overnight bag for both of us. I remember driving down the road into the city, and as I turned over my shoulder to check on her, she grinned her innocent two year old sweetness from the backseat, and a beautiful, optimistic sunrise filled the spring sky.

Though unfortunately more drama would come later, at that exact moment, I knew without a doubt that what I’d experienced; all that loneliness, fear, pain, had been like an exercise regimen, that left me so incredibly strong that I could not be defeated. I had found a piece of myself that I didn’t know existed. I was a survivor, I was tough, I was Brave.

So, after pondering the times in my life I’ve been brave, and the times (especially lately) I have NOT been brave, believing I can achieve my dreams, I created a 6×6 page. I will be putting the pages I make during Thoughtsgiving into a mini album.

I created this page using clear acrylic pages by Zutter, and adding stripes of washi tape on the back. It made it look so neat, and though  it doesn’t translate well visually in a photo. It’s very pretty, like stained glass.

This back page will feature the title of tomorrow’s page!

This is one of my favorite parts of the page……….my journaling, which is hidden under the title page. It is my new mantra. It says:
“I choose to believe in my dreams, and to stop selling myself short. Failure is okay. Regret is not.”

Here is the completed page….overlaid with the title “flap”. I added a picture that was taken during a VERY rough spot last year. It was about 2:00 in the morning, and I was in a waiting room. Why I decided to take a selfie……..not quite sure. But I’m glad I did. It’s not a happy moment, but it is a BIG turning point in my life, and in the lives of my family.

Thank you SOOOOOOOO much for joining me here today. I’d love to know how you view bravery in your own life. Obviously, you may not be the open book I am, but it is great to do a little searching of your memories, and finding those times you were amazing…even when the circumstances were harrowing. Life is full of experiences. I hope to take mine, and build on them. 🙂

Bless you all !!!!….. and thank you again for joining me. Let me know what you thought. I hope you enjoyed it, and thought it was worth your time. Big hugs…….and brave thoughts.


6 Comments on “Thoughtsgiving Day One~ Being Brave”

  1. Scarlett says:

    Oh Amy, I hardly know you but I am so glad you shared this piece of yourself and will certainly do the same – I’ll be a day behind with my thoughtsgiving but i too have a story to tell and have kept it bottled up for a very long time. This is not only a beautiful work of art but a beautiful story of the brave woman you are and will continue to be along your life’s path!! Much love and many hugs being sent to you!!!

    • Amy Lynne says:

      Scarlett, you are a doll. I’m so honored that you joined me in Thoughtsgiving, and that you may be willing to share your story. Thank you so so much for your time, thoughts, kind words, and encouragement. I hope today’s story will be a bit more encouraging. ❤ Hugs!!

  2. Ava G says:

    oh wow amy!!!! You are a brave women that is for sure. I had your music on during my read and now will go back to listen as i finish my emails. I am speechless and will have this on my mind, its friday morning as i read this, so i have a full day of this on my mind. Your share has brought a different perspective to me…….I am so glad you have found your way back to a better place in life. Keep expressing yourself in art as it will guide you to a wonderful future outside of the art world. Speechless………
    ava g

    • Amy Lynne says:

      Hi Ava, thank you so so much for your kind words. I adore expressing myself through art, and feel so grateful to be where I am now. I hope you enjoyed the song, and that my story wasn’t too heavy on your heart…because it lead me to a way better life. 🙂 Hugs to you!

  3. Scraps says:

    I’ve always found the ring of truth in the saying that bravery is feeling fearful but doing it anyway. And that there’s little brave and Big Brave, and that both are important.

    Funny, though, now that you made me think about it I see that the action that would be assumed Brave by my 8-year-old-self wasn’t brave so much as just doing what the teacher said. Teachers are always right when you’re that young, so reporting my abuser wasn’t brave, it was what it was. Brave came later, when the fear came, the nightmares, the doctors, the lawyers, the day-to-day living when it would have been so easy to give up. And some days I wasn’t brave at all.

    And some days I still have to be brave–but they are fewer and farther between. Which is, of course, the reward of bravery: that we don’t have to be brave as often, because we don’t have to be afraid.

    Thanks for making me think, Amy 🙂

    • Amy Lynne says:

      Jennifer, my heart breaks for the 8 year old you, and I am thinking you are the bravest ever for telling someone about the abuse. No child should have to go through that. I admire you greatly (even more than I already did 🙂 for what you survived. I’m so sorry that you DID have to be brave. Thank you so much for sharing such a piece of that bravery with me. ❤

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