Looking Back & (Hopefully) Moving Forward

Looking Back & (Hopefully) Moving Forward

A little over five years ago, I stood on the ocean shores of my childhood home. I held my daughters small hand in mine and said a prayer for guidance. It was almost Christmas and we were far from any home she had ever known. The relationship I was in had become abusive in ways that had started as subtle and grew to the point of me being forced to throw away everything I owned, pack up myself and my four-year-old daughter and drive cross country on a hope and a prayer that the home he wanted us to buy existed. It was very cold winter and I don’t just mean the weather.

I ended up stuck in a blizzard in Santa Fe, New Mexico. We barely made it to the reservation casino and hotel that night before we got snowed in. I had no money of my own and I had to lie to the “other people” in my life about what I was doing there and why. The “house”, if you could call it that, that he had wanted me to simply buy somehow was a total disaster. There were gaping holes in the walls, there was no back wall to half of the building, hell there was more wrong that right. And he didn’t seem to understand that when one bought a house it took more than simply signing on the dotted line and agreeing to pay the given amount eventually. My daughter and I huddled in our hotel room through that entire storm and I prayed to the powers that be to help me get her somewhere safe, just a for a few days so I could figure out what I was doing.

My late aunt’s Husband, who in many ways has been more of a father figure to me than anyone else in my life, came to our rescue the day we checked out. He said if I could make it to the property in Central Coast California he would give a safe space to sleep and clean up and figure out our next steps. I didn’t sleep for the next three days. I drove to my mother’s foster sister in Phoenix so that my daughter could sleep in a safe space and not in the car. And then from there I drove all the way to my Uncle’s place. It was a long drive and it gave me more than enough time to think and let my mind dig through the hell I had buried over the past few years. I still didn’t have a clue where the hell I was going to go from my family in California, nor what to do when I got there.

We pulled over the hill of the long drive some good couple hours after work. We were tired, hungry, dirty, and so very lost at that point. But coming down the drive to those familiar lights was the first time I had truly felt safe and welcome and HOME in longer than I could remember at the point. I barely remember getting in the house. I remember getting a hot shower, clean clothes, warm food, and my baby falling asleep in my arms that night.

A couple days later I took the back roads from home to Morro Bay. My little girl and I walked hand in hand along those western shores, we talked of silly things, and we also simply walked in silence. It wasn’t until we were almost upon the pier that I realized we had walked the four miles of shoreline to Cayucos. We had a wonderful dinner overlooking the ocean and the sun setting on the horizon.cayucos-sunset

I watched her play in the tide as we walked back to our car and I said a prayer to whoever would listen. I asked for guidance and hope, and the strength I needed to make the right choices for me and mine. I begged deity to show me what I needed to do to survive and keep on going. We drove home in the dark and the moon and stars. At the height of the driveway, where no light pollution touched us, I stopped the car and took my daughters hand and pointed out the stars so bright. I had my answer and my resolve in that moment. With so much beauty in the world, how could I give my child anything less.

We went back to my Uncle’s that night and I put into motion the next part of my journey. I called my mother in Ohio and with tears choking me, I asked if I could come home. I asked if she would help leave him and help me survive. I had made so many mistakes and left so many open wounds when I left the Midwest I wasn’t sure if I could go back. But she said yes, and we all made plans for us to finally go where we belonged.

I didn’t tell “him” that I was going all the way back to Ohio until I was already on the road and I told him we could talk when I was safe. We made it home on Christmas Eve. That was everybody’s Holiday gift to me and mine. I got to come home and be home and be safe. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy and I knew I had a lot of work that I had to do. But for the first time in years I was willing to see the truth of the hellish lie I had been living.

He showed up the morning of the 27th. I made sure I wasn’t alone. I told him I was leaving him. I told him I was keeping our daughter. I told him I was done with everything. He cussed me out, he called me names, hell he even tried to force himself on me before all was said and done. I haven’t regretted that choice since I made it. It’s been five years and I still think it was one of the best choices I could have ever made for me and mine.

Now it’s been five years and I and my daughter have changed and grown in many ways. It’s funny that five years ago, I stood on a familiar shore and begged the universe for direction, and now here I am on a foreign shore starting anew yet again. Five years ago, I stood on the Western Shore and now I sit in a home on the shores of the Eastern Shore. How funny life is, that in so many ways we must relive our pasts and make new choices time and time again.

This new life and this new shore scare me for so many reasons. I am without a safety net here. I know no one beyond my brother who came to help me with my health and with the care of my daughter, and my daughter as well. I find this new city frightening and somehow unreal to me. The ocean does not feel like the oceans of my childhood. Even the sand feels different under my naked feet.

This is supposed to be my fresh start, our forever home, or at least the next step to our forever home. Yet I feel lost and I find myself standing on yet another shore looking off into the horizon and asking the Universe in all its wisdom for guidance on this new path. I find myself scared of making new connections with new and real humans, and yet I feel an aching need to interact at the same time. In the almost month that we have been here we have already been through so very much. Yet we continue to survive.

Five years seems like a short time to me. And yet it seems like such a long journey from the person I was then to the person I am now. I look back and I am scared for that other person. I look in the mirror and although physically little has changed, mentally and emotionally I feel a thousand years wiser. So many lessons learned and yet I know that there are way too many more I must go through if I am to be the person I wish to be and the person I need to be for the ones I love.

Five years of healing, five years of crying and screaming and fighting, five years of lessons learned and parts of myself lost, five years of finding myself again and finally letting go…. Five years and here’s to five more.creating-yourself

My Dearest reader,

I hope that this view into my life somehow helps you find the path you wish to be on or helps you on your journey. Just writing this has helped me on mine. Love, Joy, Peace and so much from me to you….


Quick Review of Katika Schneider’s “Devotion (The Afflicted Saga: Tale of the Fallen) (Volume 1)”

Quick Review of Katika Schneider’s “Devotion (The Afflicted Saga: Tale of the Fallen) (Volume 1)”

Katika Schneider creates a fantasy universe full of magic, wonder, death, and destruction. Her characters come to life off of the page and beg you to hear their stories. Each of the main host of characters is distinct in their personage and ways of life. Each monster and villain she creates leaves you cheering for the good guys and snarling at the bad. From one moment to the next I found myself in awe, in fear, in joy, and in tears. devotionShe weaves a tale that holds you close from the start and has you chasing to be closer by the paragraph. I was truly amazed at how well written each piece of this story was. I am happy to say that I can add Ms. Schneider to my ever growing collection of new favorite Indie Authors. And, I simply can’t wait for the story to continue. Thank you for the adventure….

Review of Kelly Blanchard’s “I Still Have A Soul (Chronicles of Lorrek Book 2)”

Review of Kelly Blanchard’s “I Still Have A Soul (Chronicles of Lorrek Book 2)”


I recently had the joy and the pleasure as well as the honor of reading and reviewing Kelly Blanchard’s latest book in her Chronicles of Lorrek Series. Let me just say that if you have not read her first book, Someday I’ll Be Redeemed, it is a must read. Kelly is such an artist with words that one finds themselves falling into her universe and never wanting to come back.



In this second book in the Chronicles of Lorrek (I Still Have A Soul) I found myself being pulled along as if in a riptide of constant action. From the first page to the very last I was drawn into a world of constant action, adventure, fantasy, sci-fi, and political intrigue all wrapped in a beautiful package of ridiculously articulate and well written words on a page. While this is not something I would normally read, I have my genres that I tend to stick to, I was fascinated by the first book in the series and simply couldn’t stop myself from diving head first into the next one.  While new characters were introduced the base characters were still very much in the forefront of every major scene. Kingdoms that had been mentioned in passing in the first book were further explored in this book. So many scenes of sheer action, where I as the reader, was dragged under and refused to surface for air until things slowed down, hit me at every turn. I flew through this book and had to go back and read it a second time just to catch little nuances that made the journey even better than the first time. I know that when the next book is released I will be absorbed into the universe Ms. Blanchard has created yet again, and I will do so with a smile of glee. Such a great read. I can’t wait for more. May the journey of our hero continue with as much intrigue and glorious story telling as the last two pieces…

~J.R. O’Bryant