Permission to Heal

Permission to Heal Episode #37 - A Conversation with April Giauque -

July 21, 2021 Marci Brockmann Season 1 Episode 37
Permission to Heal
Permission to Heal Episode #37 - A Conversation with April Giauque -
Show Notes Transcript

April Tribe Giauque is a VICTOR of domestic violence having escaped a toxic and dangerous situation with her five young children.  Today, she is happily remarried and the mother of nine amazing kids, and walks her own healing journey and helps others through theirs.

She is a passionate advocate for those looking to escape domestic abuse and advises those who have begun their new, safe lives. She has a free Exit Plan for DV victims and a toolkit on her website for supporters of DV victims

April has always been a writer through creating and living in stories. Those stories eventually saved her life--literally! Like so many of you, she has TAP (trauma, abuse, pain) that has happened in her life. 

            She wrote two books - Pinpoints of Light: Escaping the Abyss of Abuse which is her heroine story of escaping abuse with her five children. Her second book, Out of Darkness, is her healing journey that followed.

            April created a campaign to donate copies of her first book - - Pinpoints of Light: Escaping the Abyss of Abuse – to domestic violence shelters all over the country. The goal was to get copies of her book into DV shelters in all 50 states. So far, she has donated books to shelters in 23 states. (My kids and I brought copies of her book to shelters in NY, Florida, Massachusetts & Vermont.)
           Her Beacon of Light Podcast is for authors who write stories about hope.  As a Keynote speaker, she addresses your educational needs, Autism, Deafness, inclusion, Social-Emotional Learning, Domestic Violence supports, Writer's needs, and so much more.

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Hello everyone. And welcome to permission to heal. I have April juke here with me today. I'm very excited. She was the second person to fill out the guest survey to be on permission to heal. And here she is, six months later, we finally got our act together. And for those of you who can see it on the YouTube channel, she's signing as we go.

Cause she's a deaf educator. Is that what you. Right. Yeah. Great. Okay. Good. Well, welcome. Well, welcome to you too. I'm really excited to be here, Marcy. It is great to finally connect and I'm really glad that we took the time to kind of delay it until, you know, until now for both of us, I'm assuming that school is out for you.

School's up from, oh, you're still going I'm out. So who for me? Sorry for you, but it's kind of this enjoy time. Good. I'm glad to hear. You're close. That's awesome. Yeah. I think everybody is ready to jump out of their skin. Yeah. We're we're just so done. Yes. Finished it is time to go onto the beach, have some popsicles and just sit underneath an umbrella and just be outside.

Yeah, right. Yeah. I'm sure. You know, teaching in COVID was not an easy thing. Big. Yes, it was, it was very interesting, but we carried forward and marched on as those essential people show as we did. Yes. So I usually begin the interviews with the six quick questions and we'll see where we go from there.

Okay. You ready? Ready? Okay. What six words would you use to describe yourself? Okay. Let's see driven, definitely excited flight.  How do I put that into a word? Let me think in my ASL comes very quickly. So hang on, put it into English here.  Well say mom. Okay.  Number five, let's see,  musical and number six, a writer.

Good, good word. Good words. I like that. They're a mixture of adjectives and nouns. I like that. Yeah. I like that. What's your favorite way to spend a day? My favorite way to spend a day is probably helping other people finding something to do service wise and just jumping in there when I'm focused here is things I usually find really junky stuff.

So if I focus out there, I'm like, oh wow, that's awesome. So that's a really a better way to spend the day. Yeah, I like that idea. It's interesting because when you're trying to heal yourself from something, I think looking for forgiveness or validation or something external to yourself is the opposite of what you should do.

Cause we're supposed to, that's what this podcast is about. We're supposed to give ourselves permission to do those things for ourselves. And yet when you're looking for meaning in your life, You really need to start looking outside of yourself, right? Definitely a catch 22, because if you only look outside, then yeah, you, you deplete yourself and are empty, but I think the opposite can also be true for only focus.

You're trying to find this healing and staying here. Well, if you're not connected with other people, you can't possibly help to pull yourself out of the healing. So it is a balance. And that is the permission I think is, is if you fall in too far, you, you go into far. So this is the same, even for autism.

Like you felt you stuck right here. And if you, if you go out, then you, you're not grounded on, on anything. So, so it's kind of this mixture of both. And so the balance I F I feel personally needs to be there. Of course, you've got some time and you should take that permission for your time, but. The, the timing of it.

It doesn't have to be this really planned out special kind of thing. It can be found within the 10 minutes of your life. And maybe that's me as being a woman and being a mom of nine kids. I find myself self within the Healey. Well, I find within the everyday activity, that's my best time that I actually connect with, with God, with DOD, with, with this idea of constantly kind of, of, of going through my healing checklist.

Because while I'm an action, even if it's with laundry or dishes or whatever my mind is is, is thinking because of the physical action that's happening. And I find myself closer in that moment, if I'm to sit and be quiet for myself, it doesn't work and it works for others. So I'm not saying one or the other, but I know for myself.

When people say, well, what do you do? How do you, how do you, how do you, um, I'm kind of pro kind of program this way to do it. So when I'm, when I'm doing those things, it's also kind of quiet time. Sometimes I can just plug in my music while I'm within, you know, we'll just, we'll use cooking dinner as a, as something really simple to do where that part allows me to just kind of zone in.

I'm helping, I'm serving, we're doing something, but within the everyday activity, I find a lot of answers. And so that is, that's really just a beautiful thing that allows for more healing, the deeper I go. And there's sometimes where I feel like within the levels, it's kind of, well, I'll say levels, you kind of get stuck or plateau somewhere.

And if you want to try and dive deeper, I find them more than I'm actually doing. I can find some of those places. But it can't be chaotic either. Right? Like it can't be helping the kids with homework while I'm cutting me on use it. You know, I'm not talking about that. I'm just talking about, you know, in some type of action or whatever, there's there's moments where I'm like, ah, okay, I got it.

So I'm probably weird where I'm like, I'll cut the grass. I'm going to go out and cut the grass right now because that's total action, but it's very focused and no one can really bother me. No one can be by the danger of the lawnmower and I'm in the zone. They got that. Exactly. So it's so anyone out there, especially with summertime, it's great little cheat thing and you know, your arms get a workout and your butt does.

So I'm always like win-win yeah. I'm with you about that. About the, the, the sensory and the movement. Sort of a mindless activity like dishes or cleaning or cooking or something, and you get in your own head and you can start thinking about stuff. And I just, I find that sometimes more effective as a meditative technique than sitting and being quiet, although that works sometimes too, so, right.

Yeah. Especially when I'm full of acupuncture needles and I can't move anywhere,

right? Yes. Okay. Let's get to question three. Um, what is your favorite childhood memory? Um, probably one of them is of my dad standing at the side of the, the old name used to be called patio Springs. And it was this. I would say golf cart, golf course resort swimming area thing that my grandparents belonged with.

And every once in a while, we were able to go to patio Springs up in the mountains and go swimming. Well, they had this enormous swimming pool and not because I was a little kid enormous, like it was a true Olympic size pool. So it was enormous. And they had three level diving boards, not, not platform like Olympic platform, but three diving boards.

And my dad saying to me, How brave are you to jump off the top? I was three. I was like, oh, I'm going. I climbed right up there. And he has a picture of me. I'm a hands like in a diving position. And he snapped that picture and off I went and I landed in the water and it kind of paddled up to the front. I mean, you know, this was in the seventies, so there wasn't a life guard watching, you know, no one was like, save the child.

It was just like, go do it. And I jumped up, came up and I got up, got this high five. And he's like, do you wanna do it again? I'm like, that was this free moment that I, if I felt someone could believe in me and that that's it. And no problem. And there was just this positivity. I remember feeling like I can do almost anything.

It was not arrogant, but freeing. And I think as a child, it's just that, that sense of innocence and. And I carry that with me in my motherhood. For sure. I've got kids that do things that I'm like, Hey, let's go. Like, just this week, the twin falls bridge, the pairing bridge. It's a base jumping bridge, the only one in America.

So you can stand up there with a parachute and jump off. Oh my God, I brought my kids over there. They don't have parachutes. We did not base down. So let's, let's put that down for a second, but it's a, it's a full on freeway. And you just have like a little barrier we're between you and the bridge and these semis passing.

Yeah. So I knew for the kids to be experienced that I'd have to have a husband. Sorry, love you happy. But then he would have been too panicked, nervous for me. I'm like, yeah, let's look on the edge. And so they really had this. They really had this time and, you know, we, we set some ground rules prior to going out and they, they filed them and it was fun and enjoyable and yeah.

And so I think in ways like that, if you set those boundaries, they know what the expectations are and then you can go out, you really can feel that sense without being worried or panicked. And of course we selected a day that wasn't going to be too busy. You know what I mean? We could put some smarts into this, but it was really, it was really fun and enjoyable.

And then later on, we went down to the falls and they got to see the water just tower over these falls. And, you know, again, they're like, wow. And so it's fun to experience that kind of thing and have those little moments together. So there you go. And the awesome power of nature, you know? Wow. It is amazing.

Incredible. I remember the first time I went to Niagara falls and seeing that volume of water ferociously going over the yeah. Watching you son.

Okay. What's your favorite meal meal? Ooh, anything with a salad, a salad with some yummy, yummy, yummy cheese, the meat, some candied nuts. Um, mixed set Secor all together. Fabulous. Yeah. Forever. Yup. That's no, it's got to have those elements in it. Ooh. Yeah. Good deals. A restaurant nearby that we always go to for celebrations and they have these pair, a pair salad with like mixed greens and piers and candy pecans and just a little bit of goat cheese.

Oh my God. It's so good. Yeah, that's me. I wasn't going to get it. We went there for my birthday in may and I wasn't going to get it cause I wasn't that hungry. And my husband said, come on, come on. You know, you want. Hmm, you can always take it home.

The whole thing of course. Okay. Question number five. What's one piece of advice you would like to give your younger self. I would say

don't fear. Don't fear. So have these experiences that have all this stuff, that eliminate fear, and yet that side of fear, right? Fear of embarrassment, fear of worry of what is someone else going to think about me? That kind of stuff really controlled a lot of different things because I wasn't really tuned in and listening.

Too worried about other things. And it's natural to have those ways, but the intensity that went with me with the fear, it wasn't anxiety. It was different than that. And, uh, it was just really a true battle between me and what I call that shame, shadow, which I'm sure we'll get into a little later. So, yeah.

Interesting. Interesting. Okay. What is the one thing you would most like to change about the world? It's a little question question. So the one thing I'd like to change about the world is that to remember we're not a respecter of, of people. We're one and all the colors, all the cultures, all of everything makes the uniqueness of us, but it doesn't separate the level.

You don't have to categorize and label and identify people in all of these places. People are just people. Yeah. Embrace love and bring them in. And it drops everything well, the, how children see each other, right. Little ones that, that there's, they're free. And they're like, ah, human love. You want to play with me that that's it.

So if we would stop focusing so much on all of this type of they have yeah. If we just stop and just embrace and love, which I think really a lot of people do, but the overall mega voice of we'll say media is not, is not allowing permitting. It's just this constant drive. If you just step out of that.

Right. It's kind of like that huge thing of like a river that's just roaring. If you just stepped to the side of it, that's it, it goes by. So you don't have to jump into it. That's a very good metaphor, actually. Thank you. You must be a writer.

Must be. Okay. So let's talk about your childhood, your background. Where does April come from? What, what was your childhood like? What was, what formed you to be you? So what for me to be me, it's definitely my family, my family base is, love, love how I grew up and where I grew up.  I remember, and I shared this one of these little stories in my second book about watching my dad go out in the snow storms in the early morning.

And I could hear this little purring sound of a little motor and it was the, the snowblower. And he was out on the street, blowing out phase. The, the. The driveway and the sidewalk for the widows that were on our block. I always watch that. And I remember one time getting up and kind of be in the shadow and sneaking with him.

And I knew he saw me, but I was trying to like, he wouldn't see me and I just was helping as best I could, you know, five or six. Right. So I don't know. Maybe I cleared a foot. I don't know what I even cleared, but I tried to help. But I remember noticing that like, okay, getting out, doing something and that, that growing up, I really, really enjoyed reading all I'm the Laura Ingles little house in the big woods was my very first book.

And when I read that book, I was like, ah, Charles singles is like, that was the, that was my dream boat right there. Yeah. Because he loved his family and he would go out and do whatever he could to provide, to help. And the whole family joined in and did everything. And I just was like, Right there that, and then I pulled out of that and watched my family did similar things.

We were up on the eaves painting the eaves. I was with my mom, constantly doing the canning, preserving all the food that we grew in the garden. And I'm like, oh, why life is like that? Like, it was this exciting part I did. I grew up in Utah and from like pioneer heritage, that idea of, you know, make it do where it let's see.

I can't remember the little adage that it has, but basically whatever it is that you have, you make it, do you wear it out, you do everything possible before you toss it away. Right. It's kind of the overall view of that. And I realized, wow, this is really what we do here. And it was amazing. And then when I was eight, this is unfortunate, but it helped to help me now to understand so many different things.

I was sexually molested by a neighbor and I share this story within my second book and this whole concept of the summer of what happened. It was awful. And that's when things started to change and shift where I'd had this amazing amount of light in my life. And then this dip into darkness, which was just like, it was confusing.

I didn't understand. And his children just don't and of course, you know, played the, if you tell then here are the threats, right? So of course you just keep it in, you know, say anything and then that little thing just starts to eat you alive. So then I was struggling with this amount of good and it wasn't that anyone was perfect, but that concept of, I knew what was good and that over there was not okay.

And, you know, struggling between these  of, I guess you'd say energies or, you know, this kind of thing. It was like, wow, something's messed up. And so as a kid, Put that in and figure it out and they didn't ask a lot of questions. I'm, I'm better with observing than really asking a lot of better, a lot of questions, especially when I was younger and then my teenage years, well, you know, things yet, really, really.

So that was this piece in my life, but it didn't overshadow everything either. So I wanted to make that clear. I didn't really tell anyone because of what the threats were. Sure. And so I just kind of, and I didn't like leave it at that. I wasn't able to completely like, okay, well that happened. That's over there now I'm sailing up this way.

It was still this piece, but I didn't, I was able probably, it was probably just okay. I put a lot of energy into sports. And so when I started doing competitive power tumbling, I started to compete on a national level. And then I was part of it, of the United States team and competed in my first world games when I was four.

Holy crap. I didn't know this second in the world and I have four national titles. So I just put my energy just a bit. Are you okay? I like, my hero was Mary Lou Retton. I was, I was ready to just hitchhike to Texas. And I was like, here we go. I'm going to just join, hold. I'm just going to do, because I was instilled with that.

Right, right. Jumping off that diving board, I was like, oh, I can do these things. And so that was the confusing is if I had this stuff, how did they let that happen? A little girl, you didn't have the power there, but you see where that struggle comes in. Of course. And you're like, wow. So then you make different decisions in your life.

And as things go, you're like, all right, things can get, things can get better. And so I had kind of gone through the high school thing and finished my power in career and cheerleading. And I became a college cheerleader. That's what put me through college. And then I decided to serve a mission for the church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints.

And I served in Carlsbad, California, and teaching people about the gospel and God and, and who they are was, you know, amazing. And yet there's still a little piece of darkness was just kinda like, oh, you haven't, you haven't dealt with me yet. We're coming. And I. Didn't understand and realize what all of that was and how it would impact me later.

And I just knew I wanted the family. I wanted the Charles Ingles family. Right. I knew after I did that and finished college that I wanted to probably become a teacher and want to be a mom. And so I was on my way for both of that and, found my husband, my first husband. And there we go. So it's kind of the weirdness of the background, but I really hadn't dealt deeply within this.

I'd done a little bit of counseling and I was very checklist and goal oriented. So with a mindset like that, it's not bad, but it doesn't exactly fit with healing. You know, it's kind of like, I'm like, oh, and I'm done. We went through the 12 sessions. I am feeling so much better. Right. Great. And so you take that to be like, okay, cool.

And that's part of it, but I didn't realize that I really didn't understand the concept of journey because it's more project base like finished, complete, wait, I guess I'm still walking here. Exactly. Yeah. There's no prescribed time that these things take. Right. And that's kinda what I was like. Oh, so that's a little bit of the background from where we are.

Okay. So with your first husband, you had five kids, five kids, five kids, and then that got pretty dark itself. Yeah, it did. Which was a very interesting cycle. So I've shared this before, but so got married. She had the same goal as I did. We wanted to have this family. We wanted to, we both had similar faith and we had made same covenants.

And so we're like. We're ready, same team, same dream. Let's go. And we knew there wouldn't be problems. I wasn't ignorant to that, but I figured together as a team, we would face the problems and he realized that he had been suffering through a lot of childhood trauma that he had never healed from, but just numbed from.

So when you numb from, you'd usually be kind of worried with a lot of people. Yeah. With many, many things. And I could not understand numbing and th as far as drug and alcohol couldn't could understand that projects. Exactly. Right. So, but for me, it was. Don't get it. Cause this is a healthier way to deal than what that is, but it can still be unhealthy as well, which I realize when you chose, I chose task oriented and a global oriented let's go to college, let's get a, master's another master's let's have kids let's teach let's, let's keep doing and doing and doing and doing.

And I kept me in motion that I never allowed myself the quiet time necessary to address the trauma, the traumatic demons from the past, which were just sort of festering in the corners, waiting.

Yeah. The whole thing. And yeah. So within this, within this first marriage that as he numbed and I couldn't understand this, he also, he parked his pain, which I, I say this in my book, he parked his pain next to A monster that it happily fed and what it feast it on was becoming into this mental illness, that's schizophrenia and it's within his family.

And it erupted in his early twenties, right? When we were married and didn't realize it and not to share too much in my first book about it. My first book is pinpoints of light escaping the abyss of abuse. And I share what the story, how has mental illness and what happened and how it turned into abuse.

And I call this people who abused are either hunters. So they know their prey. They seek out for them. They camouflage very narcissistic. They pull them in the very controlling and power focused. And the other side of the abuse category are caged animals. And I say that really fully, because as a caged animal, the, the bean within the cage is not, no.

If you were there to help them or to hurt them, right. And abuse. They're going to strike out because they don't know. So whether they are stuck within the numbing of, of drugs and alcohol, mental illness, and I'm not saying that a hunter can't also have those elements, but they truly know who they're seeking out to control the other.

They just try to control whatever they can within the moment. Right. Right. And we definitely had that other piece. We had the bore of the caged animal side of things because he was dealing within the element of schizophrenia as well as drug and alcohol abuse. And so we have five children were at my first child.

They think we're not erupting by the second child. They had fully exploded. And then we kind of go through this, this repentance phase and okay. Things were all right again. Well, why, why is my hand going down? We've repented. Things are going great. It's getting to this point and then suddenly. It's no good.

And then we get to the cycle of, okay, we're going to come back to reality again, and I can see where we are, but we never quite get to this level. And then we're okay for well, and then we get dipped down and would go. So I had five cycles. I have five children. See the point of all of this is like, when we felt like we were more stable, but we were, Ooh, it's not really stable when you're headed down like that, I would discover I was pregnant again.

And then things would roll. So the nine and a half years I had five children. So you can map that out. Yeah. It was kind of, you know, very quick and, and challenging. So by the time the ninth year had rolled around, I had come to that point of this is recognizing that this is abuse can't happen. And now it's bleeding onto the kids.

And I say that word bleeding with true, true literal form of it. And. When the time came, we had about seven minutes to grab things and to escape how we did seven minutes, seven minutes. And within this, we suddenly became the cat and mouse of this hunting game. Even though I said he was not a hunter at this point we had become the prey and he had, so it was, it took a while for us to actually get safe and get out.

We were homeless, but I never lost my job, my teaching job. And that was one thing that we had to really emphasize on. So if, if we're now talking directly to anyone who is suffering with domestic violence, the point about all of this is you have to make a plan. Anyone who's going to leave, you must make a plan and it has to have some financial viability to it.

And the, the safety of your life actually really depends on these things. So please make your exit plans. I share so many different ways to do this on my website, April tribe, juke.com. And it's, I also list other types of resources and things there because anyone, if you really are trying to escape, you must make a plan.

It doesn't happen stance because then you will return on average. At seven times you returned back because they love bomb. The forgiveness is there. You feel like you're safe again, but really all it is is the same kind of cycles that I was of the same cycle of the same cycle. So it's not true once you, once you get away, you cannot go back to the toxicity.

You cannot go back to the same person. You cannot. Now they can change. Absolutely. And they have the opportunity and ability to, but never wait. Now there might be a 0.0, zero, 2% out there, but for the most part, we're going to say never with you. It just doesn't happen. And the analogy that I use on that is, think about a lighthouse.

A lighthouse is foundationally sound upon the rocks and it is shining. It's beacon of light. It's light out towards anyone who was in the storm. He sees of their life, right? They are not the coast guard. They are not the ones out there in rescue, but you can shine your light out there and be a beacon. And your spouse, your partner, whomever it is that is in that last bit of chaos.

They will get rescued by something else. Other than you, a lighthouse is not found and drowning within that water. It is foundationally sound safe. What a fabulous metaphor. You really need to really, really remember that. And they can come into the heart. But once they come into the Harbor, they have to go their own way and become a lighthouse for someone else themselves.

Exactly. So that's that whole concept. So with domestic violence, I really want everyone to realize that, that you don't have to stay and remain a victim. In fact, I encourage you never to call yourself a victim of it. And I also encourage you to never call yourself a survivor of it, because those are two identities that are very based in shame or in revenge as a lot of energy wasted that you can't actually get really good healing from and really continue with your journey.

So get into a thriving zone of things and become a Victor and true victors forgive, and they understand, and they have that empathy. That's really deep. So don't beat yourself up that you're not there yet. Keep working on it. Ask Marcy asked myself there's so many of us that have stories of healing and leaving abuse and.

There there's definite ways to do it. So that's kind of the DV speech of, of today. I think. That's awesome. So pinpoints of light escaping the abyss of abuse is your first book about escaping the abuse with the five children. Right? Then most recently last summer you published out. Yes, when that that's the healing. Yes. And so in when it's very, it's very much like a novel, then this memoir, I wanted you to just experience the story.

I wanted you to panic. When I was panicked. I wanted you to, to feel that, ah, when I was, ah, I wanted that I didn't want to have at the back of each chapter saying this is what I learned it. That book was designed for the story. My second book is, okay. Remember some of the things that happened over here.

Well, here's some other stories and do you relate to it? And what did you learn from this? And here's what I learned. So it's more that, that type of setting or self-help kind of thing, but very important because I really had to face that now I didn't realize I was going to really actually get to writing all of this till I was 43.

I just turned 47. So this is pretty recent. And within that concept of out of darkness and of discovering, being out of darkness, What that meant was actually, I was, I hadn't experienced when I was watching something and I've shared the story or I was watching someone express their love of when they had their first child.

It was a son and she just had this overwhelming feeling of how much we loved and adored him. And she said this key word, this key phrase, and he didn't do anything. She loved him just for me, just for being. And if you really think about that, we are here, women being, not human doings, right. We are being, and that was a smack down for me from above.

It was like, I've been trying to teach you that forever because I just didn't understand. I thought I had to do. I see. So, so my, my, my, my wrong connection when I was eight, when all of these things had happened, I thought then I had to start proving my worth to understand how to be loved. I had connected that because I hadn't asked questions.

I'm sure if I put piped up, my family had been like, no, like we love you anyway, you don't have to prove yourself. Right. And, and that, I never really used that term. Like, I need to prove to my lip, but internally something like that was going on finally. But it was only through, through service, through making other people happy through getting good grades, doing chores for my mom, or, you know, whatever it was.

It was those things that tended to make her happy. My mom was bipolar. So doing those tended to bring out the Mary Poppins side of her. So I learned. Doing things for mom makes mom happy, makes my life easier. It makes me feel better. So it just reinforced, you know, the harder I work, the more I get love.

Right. And that's yeah, that's a sickness. Yeah. It, it's not true healthy. It's not the trueness of love. And so when I discovered that I'm in my second marriage, I now have nine kids. We had added four more kids to the batch. Cause I'm, I don't know, I'm a rabbit, whatever. I just add four more kids. Like bam was fertile woman I've ever known seriously.

So there we are with this huge family. And I finally get the impact of like a wow. I don't have to prove anything. I don't have to do anything. And so I thought I was going to like, sit in this silent moment, like, oh, this is beautiful. No, I got this strong impression, like get up and start writing. And I'm like, yeah, I will do that.

He's like now I just blow my nose on like the socks from the laundry. Cause we were folding while we were watching this whole thing. So I literally had to get up and I had to open up my computer and I'm like, I don't know what I'm supposed to be dying in here. But as far, apparently I'm supposed to be.

And I that's kind of like the first part of this job, I was just started to write and then it all started to come forward and it was like, this is not for you anymore. Girls do, you've had these experiences. We've been trying to tug you through. You could have finished this in your thirties, but now you're 40, whatever, at least you got here.

So I'm like, oh, okay. So. That's basically where the out of darkness can, because I want people to realize you can come out of this darkness, you can leave your shame shadow. So that's what I call the voice in your head, the negativity that's happening, that we all hear, you know, your self destructive speech, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

I labeled him shame, shadow, because if you really think about this, we are always within light. I believe in a deity. I believe in a God. I believe in heavenly father and many people call him something differently and that's fine. But if there's something higher than you, that is the energy of light, light is a wave and it can stretch forward.

Scientifically it's out there. It will stretch for billions in periods of exactly towards you. So we were constantly in light, but because we are a physical object, a physical beam, what is behind you? Pressure I shadow. So he will always be back there always trying to do the negative thing. And it's our choice to turn and look at our dark side, our shadow, and be like, oh yeah.

Or you can simply rotate. Wow. That light's been that light's been there like the whole time. Okay. Really? Yeah. The whole time. And I know that is so simple, but it really is that simple. It really, really is that simple. Once I realized it, this opposition is in all things, we have to have this darkest, craziest black hole within the universe to hold us all together.

And we have to have the absolute, intense, amazing light to feed us and give us energy. And you have to have that balance. So the negative is always behind you. And the light is always in front of you. And this is also universally true. You will always and forever have a choice. Right on how you can respond to whatever's happening and it's that risk response is what defines you, not the experience.

Yep, exactly. Beautiful. That's it. Beautiful. Thank you. Thank you. I have, I literally. You can't see them, but I have goosebumps. So how did you meet Scott? That is, yes, God is my second husband, current husband. So of course we met online because that's what you do in 2008. Right? So I had escaped in 2006 and I was very much into Dr.

Laura and Dr. Laura says, you know, you're not dating anyone, you focus on your family and raise them. And then when you're older, you can go and do whatever. Right. So that was like inmate years ringing ringing. I'm like, let me just follow that. That's it. And so I, I had, I just battened down the hatches and went from.

And tell my son had this horrific accident was almost going to lose his arm. Oh God freak kind of thing. I miles and miles away. I have to drive towards him to the hospital, the phone calls going crazy. Like we have to do emergency surgery. Do we have permission? I'm like, yes, yes, yes. I'm trying to get to the hospital.

And of course it's in a snow storm. Oh God. I'm just like, I just reached out. Right. I know. Right. I just screamed and I'm like, I can't do this by myself anymore. As soon as I said the word more, I was like, I take it back. I take it back. I take it back because the it's what, what do they see in my brain? I saw me opening the door to all this, like this line of guys, because I had to start dating and I was just like, it freaked me out.

Oh no, no, no dating in my forties too. It's a freaking mess. Yeah. Crazy. I'm like, no, no, no. It's going to happen. Anyway. It started happening. So in 2008, that's when I'm like, okay, fine. I guess I'm ready. So started the online dating, met Scott. And how I met Scott, of course, online, we went to our first date.

First date is amazing, but I can't share it. There's just too many things about it, but it's not amazing. And like white horse in the night on China, if no, no, no, no. It was the absolute essence of reality. And I'm like, this I can handle, because this is real. This is not going to be anything fake right happening.

Right. We'd gone through that battle of like

the schizophrenia side of life. No, no, no. This is the reality. And I'm like that I can do. And he was like five kids. I have no children. I've been a bachelor 45 years. I have no other anything I'm in. Wow. Okay. Yeah. So he, I described this and for those who are Christian believers, the story of Joseph who was married, his espoused wife as she's pregnant with Jesus, many people know the story.

Think about Joseph for a minute, we believe that even handpicked from God, God notified him and said, Hey, I need you to be the earthly father of mine. My son, can you do that? Just resonate that for just a minute, whether you believe or not believe a step parent raise the son of God here on earth. That is amazing to me.

And so I identified with that story. So I'm, so connectedly that Scott was my Joseph, where he was picked to come and help support these five. And I knew more children would come. And again, it's not like. It, it, it, isn't an image of this Pinterest perfection at all, but it is real and it's clean the sleeves and get in them, the slog it away with you after day after day.

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And, and it's a slog Fest with teenagers because you're not my real dad. Uh, you know, I mean it happens, they say terrible things and we respond with terrible things and we're looking at reactions, then we all kind of stop and look at each other as every mode stripping off all of us, like, right.

That's great. You know, cause we still gotta come to family dinner right. At the end of this. So yeah, start over, try again. So I just want that to be really clear that he, he is amazing and he is willing to sacrifice him to do these things. And yet we still have to learn together and we have, that's been now 12 years and so there's the nine of us, nine children.

 Just amazing. And. No, we slept through it and worked through it because really the light is still shining. The darkness is back there. He's had things in his past of like, you know, that, that nagging voice that he's like, I'm just not good enough. And he sees more and more of his friends, like, well, my life's good, you know?

So it's helpful for him to see some of those perspectives or, yeah. So again, all learning together, along the journey of life. So it's great. And 11, so there you go. That's a fabulous story April. Thank you. I love the metaphoric biblical connection. That's fabulous. Yeah. I love that. My husband's going to love that too, when he listens to this.

Very cool, amazing. It was to step in, step up and yeah. Fabulous. Okay. So. On your website, you have all sorts of, you alluded to this a few minutes ago, a supporters toolkit for building a network of survivors. You've got all sorts of information for the person who is sort of skating through domestic violence and looking for a way out.

And you have a lot of information for people who want to be the supporters of somebody who they know needs a path out of a mess, which I think is amazing. And stints, you published out of darkness last summer. You've been engaging in a campaign to get pinpoints of light escaping the abyss of abuse in domestic violence shelters in every single state in the country.

Am I correct? That's correct. Yes. Right, right. And as of now you've got books in, in domestic violence shelters in 23 states. So you're almost halfway there. We're halfway there there's 11,000 shelters. So we've given out almost 300 books in 23 states. But like I said, there's 11,000 shelters. So there's, there's a lot more to do.

And the point about putting the pinpoints of light within that is it is a novel type of read. It is my memoir. But at the end of that, you see the hope. And that's the point. It's not to say that here's another little a story that has no ending. No, no, here's the hope. And I want to give you that hope and I want you to find within yourself, I can, I can, I can.

And I know many shelters have tons of amazing programs with that and, and it is awesome. And when you can get an advocate who has been. Who, you know, someone who has been a victim, who's been on the other side that, that healing hearing, right. That idea of like, I get it. And then the empathy, this is assigned for empathy because they get it.

And I get at the same time, boom, hearts and minds together, that idea of empathy is right there. And good shelters never call them victims or survivors. They bring them in and show them how to heal. And then they start to label themselves as a thriver and, and those things. But what I have to say, you go through the process of, yes, I was a victim.

Yes. Now I'm surviving because it starts to start the fire, but you can't stay there. Like I said, you got to get into that thrive. And so that's the point about this pinpoints across America is we want to get that idea out there. And I'm partnering now with her name is Lori Jean Jones, and she's also getting her book within the prison system because.

Together, why not? They got some time on their hands. So more things to be able to read, give them the idea of hope, possibly even some, you know, some support in something higher and greater than themselves. That's that concept of, wow, we really can change and I can't change and go back to a situation hoping for something that's not there.

Right. I can't change and hope for something that will be, and that is, that's the part about moving forward for sure. And you give somebody the, the, the, the, the pattern, if you will, or the roadmap to find their own way out of their own darkness. Right. Which is extremely important because all of this is very unique and idiosyncratic as well, because everyone's got their own,  families and their own situations and so on.

And. It's difficult to navigate until you start to see how other people did it, and then you can start piecing together the whole thing yourself. I know my I think if I leave names off of the situation, she'd probably be okay with me saying, but my stepdaughter was in a domestic violence situation herself.

She had a very, very, very angry narcissistic. I think alcoholic, not sure. First husband, she had four kids with him and then had to escape in the middle of the night and ran off to a shelter. But she had received information ahead of time from somebody who was connected, like a volunteer, who was connected with the shelter.

And she started making her plan and packing a little bit and then she had a job and she just. Left in the dark, the cloak of darkness and got where she needed to go with the four small children. And and I wasn't married to him yet, but my husband stepped in and rented a big house for all of them to live together in so that they had a place to go to after they had to leave the shelter.

And, and that's where they were all sort of cohabitating my husband and his son and his daughter and her four kids. And, and so when I started dating him, I mean, I had known him since 1987, but I didn't know any of this was going on. And when I started dating him, it was a very big, noisy, extended family.

I, I joined in with and it was just like coming home. It was wonderful. And, and part of me fell in love with him because of the heroic, fabulous father and grandfather. He is, you know, Slits in getting in the mud and, and dealing with it and making it all happen and making sure everybody was taken care of.

And that was just absolutely like Superman heroic for him, for me. Uh, see, you know, it is, and it's important that that part of masculinity is, is so important because it defines their, their understanding and it's part of their makeup to protect and to provide. And so when you see that it is like, wow, there's a piece of heart there.

That's, that's truly, truly there because we all need that as the family. That's how you do it. And it doesn't diminish someone's strength or intelligence. It is just part of who they are. So why not allow them to be that and connect together and thrive together. So kudos. On your husband now, even though you were dating him at the time, I think that's beautiful.

Thank you for sharing that. Yeah, it was pretty incredible. So the, the shelter, the local shelter here that I brought your books to was the shelter that my stepdaughter was. I had to give her kids a bunch of years, you know, previous, prior. And yeah, it was kind of meaningful, you know? I mean, they didn't let us go to the shelter because it has a secret address that no one knows, but we brought it to their life storefront thingy.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. And that that's part of the safety. And, and so a lot of people will, will have that experience and that that's beautiful. And that's what I love about the pinpoints across America is when they go and take it to the shelter or the storefront or the administration offices, however, it works that, that concept of like, wow, they themselves are actually handing them off.

And sometimes they'll take a picture of whoever's there with them and they have the experience. Like how, like with one group of women, they realized that there were 25 shelters within one city. Wow. Like, why do we need 25 shelters in one city? And it was like, violence is, gosh, that's like, it's been a heat in itself, its own pandemic.

Right, right. One in four women in America and one in three w worldwide that what's happening. So yeah. So anyway, very, very interesting. So I think it'd be the numbers increased during the COVID it did because people were trapped at home and sort of stuck like caged animals with each other. There's the case of animal.

Yeah. You're just completely stuck and trapped in it. Very, very difficult. And so what was interesting in the second? The other part that I have is that supporters, toolkit that you had alluded to. What I saw was that, so I was the victim survivor thriver. Well, how did I get there? I wasn't alone. I had a network, but I didn't label them as that, but they stepped up and became that they were true supporters.

Many were in my family, fewer friends, and some were coworkers and a few were even strangers and thinking, how did all of this work together? And so then I remember thinking, um, when I shared the story, one of the places I was giving a lecture to a few of a few of the people came up afterwards and they said, I know someone at work.

I know an aunt, I know a niece. And they all knew this story and had a feeling about the abuse that was happening, whether it was verbal, physical, emotional combinations of everything, whatever. And they're like, I feel like I have no skills. What can I do to help them? And I just remember sitting down, writing down all of these quick things, and I was just handing out papers.

Oh, I just need to put this together. And I did, it was just this concept and idea of like, Hey, if you have somebody, then here's how you can actually be a true support to somebody so that they can escape. And there's, there's multilevels of things. And it's not that you have to be all in. You're not the savior and you're not the Superman.

No, no. You might be the one that only holds the bag and you always have a place that's always open and they can grab that bag that they packed. You might be the one that's always has the car and they're like, I need a ride. It's it's now. And you, and you go it's if you are the one that sets limits and boundaries that say we'll you said three times that you were going to leave.

And now you're not, that's not the team member you want not on your team. No good people, maybe different things have them bring the candy at Christmas, but don't, they're not on your team and that's okay, because not everybody can be a supporter. So if you are a true supporter, you understand the empathy.

You don't question who they are and you don't set boundaries and limitations. Hello. That's what the abuser has done to them. And if suddenly, if they're racing to somebody, they have support and the supporter is like, they don't said three times exactly. Wrap it. And if you are like, oh, I can't do that.

That's okay. Moving on. So it's usually a coworker who's in just, she looks like she's 19, but she's a teacher and she's in her early thirties and was in a, was dating a man who she was very serious with and they moved in together and then they broke up, but she couldn't afford to leave. So they were still living in the same apartment and he was narcissistically sort of controlling her with fear and verbally abusing her.

I don't think any physical harm had come to her, but it wasn't off the table as a possibility in the future. And she just kept saying she needs to get out. She needs to get out, but she couldn't afford. Cause she was really only working as a building sub, so she didn't have all the money, yada, yada, yada, whatever.

Anyway, so like a whole, like you said, this like network of people just sort of erupted out of the, out of the earth. And so she had a few coworkers. I was talking to her, there were a couple of other people, um, a friend of hers with a spare bedroom, let her move in. So now she has a place to go. And so she was just able to leave.

He was working one night and she packed up and left and he was upset, but she said, tough crap. I'm not coming back and start over. And I swear, within two weeks she looked like a totally different person, just light and clear and peaceful and all of that negative darkness that was like creeping over her shoulders, just gone.

And I'm thrilled for her.

That's that's so great. Tell her congratulations from, from me through you. However, that is. Yeah, I will. So, so you have created a whole business around the writing and the ghost writing and, um, I don't know how the speaking engagements work during COVID, but you also do, uh, speaking engagements, correct?

Right, right. I mean, right now a lot of things are still through, through zoom and what have you, but as we're getting back together, you know, more like smaller conferences. And then, you know, you're just, you're sharing your story, talking about the sports toolkit and helping people to understand that your story is really important.

And I help many writers get started. Who many of the women have experienced something and they wanted them. Their story. And so I help lead them through on how that actually works and give them, you know, for lack of a better word, like writing supports and lessons and structures, as well as, you know, if they themselves aren't feeling confident enough to write it, then I can become a ghost writer for them.

But really everyone has a story. And that concept of bringing it out to the world who could help somebody else is important. And there's lots of different ways that I've learned through different experiences that I've had, that I've had of how you can do that, how you can help them. And I have like a three-level tier on my ghost writing where if anyone who is within abuse that need support as a ghost writer, they're at my level, that's kind of this, you know, like a specialty kind of a thing.

And for others who may be writing for business or other things, there's other tiers, but the concept of. Is that your story is there, but we can't share what I call the victim story yet. You need to write that victim story when you probably have within chagrin roles within social media, probably. Right.

And that's the first step. And then we try to take you through your, your survivor story, which again is a huge part of that, where we find the strength. Suddenly we find this idea of like, I made it, I'm a survivor, you know, the boxing gloves out thing. I'm like, that is great. Now we're going to write the story that people want to read.

I like, but I did hear in here, I'm like, yes. And now we're going to write the story that people want to read because you'll take elements from that and actually make sense. And the readers will benefit from it. The first two stories are going to benefit your reader. They're going to benefit you, which is great.

And part of the healing process. So it is a whole process and that's how we tied together. That's awesome. Yeah. I went over a similar thing with, with my book. I just sort of brain dumped the whole thing into a gigantic word document and then separated it into chapters and so on. And it wasn't until my editor had sent it back to me with his hugely helpful notes, millions and millions and millions of notes that really helped me fine.

Tune it into an actual book, you know, something that other people could read and make sense out of. Right, right, right. Yeah. You always need somebody else. I don't care who you are. You can, nobody could write anything of that magnitude by themselves, right? Nope. Is that going to happen? Not going to happen.

So do you have any last words for, oh, that sounds so awful. Oh, I don't mean it that way. Do you have any, inspirational something to, to close us off with?  Nothing to like putting you on the spot. Right? Right. I would just say, take the action that you can never quit because if you quit, you will be where you are.

And if you want to be somewhere else, then you need to keep moving. Beautiful. Everything you say is so poetic. Fabulous. Thank you. Thank you so much for being here April. This was just phenomenal. As I knew it would be. You're just a beacon of light. There you go. Thank you, Marcy. This has been awesome. And I hope that many people have been able to, to find something that they can heal and find their permission to do so.

Yes.  Let's hope. They do awesome.