Here. A Soft Sunrise.

My story is a story of traveling. I have traveled terrain that I did not wish to travel through. I have spent 51 years experiencing, reliving, releasing, and moving past events sustained over most of that time. I am now mostly at peace with the events that occurred. I have realized my responsibility to myself in owning my part.

I am the daughter of an engineer and vocalist. I was raised in a Catholic household much of my life. I am blind in my right eye from domestic violence that occurred in utero. I witnessed verbal, emotional, mental, physical, and sexual violence between my parents, with my dad and step-mom and her kids, and between siblings and blended family members, and personally, as well. I moved ten times between K–12th grades. I experienced two violent marriages and divorces; helped my mother with mental illness; experienced incest and violence from both parents; and was sometimes molested by or experienced attempted molestations by siblings’ friends or neighbors, the family doctor, or strangers walking home when my mom was too sedated to remember to pick me up from Catholic or public school. I saw police brutality, and I experienced the after-effects of my mom being locked up and given more than the legal amount of shock treatments after suicide attempts and child abuse. Her official diagnosis is paranoid personality disorder.

I started college in Kansas with PTSD and anorexia. It took me 15 years to get my BA in, you guessed it, Human Development and Family Life. I have worked with children for over 30 years. I have experienced human compassion, surprise, insights, great humility, satisfaction, beauty, wonder, and reverence in working with children and their parents, and the larger community of schools, 4-H, art classes, and the Boys and Girls Club and other nonprofits.

As I grew as an adult, I studied to write. I almost completed a degree in English, but I never declared it officially. I learned to hide what I was truly up to. I had to survive.

As it so happens, as the youngest, my mom placed me in some realm of importance beyond my human capacity. I think that she thought I could contain all of the chaos imposed upon her since she was a child. And although I had great compassion for her and wished to help her with every moral fiber of my soul, I could not keep her from the demons that haunted her.

And yet, she pursued me during the day, at my schools, when I was young—and in my jobs, at college, and in my romantic relationships when I was an adult. She called, harassed, lied, screamed, called the police, blamed me, fabricated stories, and violently tried to stop me from becoming a woman. She didn’t think I could survive the storm—just as she hadn’t…not completely.

As my childhood friend said, as he sat with us during a tense visit, he felt like he was catching a glimpse of a tiger in the grass, getting ready to spring. That’s all well and good, but I’m not prey. I’m not a fool.

I have a connection to the Divine. I was born for a reason. I am here. I am well. I am sitting in a heated, beautiful, and airy home that my boyfriend, rescue dog, and I rent, in a beautiful setting. I’m speaking my truth. I am surrendering to love and truth. I am giving up my story because it is imperfect, real, raw, simple, contained, expansive, and has a life of its own. In fact, I have felt owned by it every day.

Now, I sit with it, just as I sit in meditation with monks and teachers, in Somatic Experiencing, in Equine Therapy, in DBT, in EFT, in EMDR, in gratitude, in the stillness of nature, hypnosis, and online courses. I also sit with my full-time work with children, adolescents, and teens with challenges like those that I faced. I sit with all of the injustice in the natural world and in our treatment of animals.

I wish I were a super-hero. I can’t starve or feed myself enough, hate or love myself enough, write or paint enough, rebel or cuss enough, freak out or post enough to social media, be still enough—or whatever else to end the chaos of the world that I am so meta-aware of.

But I know I am enough. I am here. I am learning. I love this messy, complicated life. I am here for the long run. I am going to do all that I can to the best of my humble ability to make a difference—subtle or pronounced…with compassion, dignity, love, presence, awareness, and perseverance.

Previously Published: https://bertnash.org/clients-journey-punctuated-perseverance-determination/

About the Author | Lisa Doffing

Lisa Doffing is enjoying her time here in this beautiful world as a writer, painter, and aspiring humanitarian for kids, women, and animals. She loves learning all of the arts, and everything she can about the natural world. She has experienced many things on the continuum of life, and she is grateful for all of the amazing people, women, and inspiration on her path.

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13 comments to "Here. A Soft Sunrise."

  • Laura Linder

    Love you so much Lisa!! You are an amazing woman and friend.

    • Lisa Doffing

      I love you too, Laura!
      Thank you for your kindness!

      Your friendship and your support mean the world to me!
      Thank you for being you and sharing your gifts of beauty, strength, and compassion with.e over the years. 💛

  • Judy

    Lisa,
    You tell your story with clarity while making it short enough for all of us to read quickly and wonder how you ever made it through. And you DID make it through with persistence. It seems you always somehow knew there was a better life for you to have, even when others were dumping their abusive poison on you. You not only made it through it all, you have a love for nature and life in general. Amazing.
    thank you for sharing your story. Many blessings,,,,,

    • Lisa Doffing

      Thank you for your kindness, Judy! I’m grateful for your support and guidance. Grace has its way of leading the way even in the absence of belief.
      Thank you for being you, for the messages of hope and humor and for your example.
      Hugs!

  • Susan Brewster

    Lisa, you are a superhero, a wonderful human being who uses her powers for good. It’s so good to know you and I’m so proud of you. Thank you for sharing this moment of your life with me. ❤

    • Lisa Doffing

      Thank you for your kindness and expression of support, Susan. I’m grateful to know you and to have our shared gift of our group. I appreciate your friendship.
      I hope to do more and to continue to grow in doing the right thing with the right words at the right time. One step at a time, right?! 😊
      You are inspiring and support like yours makes life meaningful.

  • Diana Werts

    This is so very powerful, Lisa! Thanks for sharing your story and your amazing writing ability. I am so glad I got to know you and hope to see you in the future!

    • Lisa Doffing

      Hello Diana, I thought I submitted a comment the other day. But now looking back it doesn’t seem to have appeared. Anyhow, thank you so much for writing and for your support. Your friendship and example means so much and I appreciate you for your creative and bold spirit! Best wishes and I’ll stay in touch!

  • Allie C.

    Lisa,
    What a pleasure it is to not only know you, but to now TRULY know you. To know your struggles, your sadness, your hard work, and now your perseverance in life. I have so many thoughts about your life. How did she do it? What kind of person can survive such travesty but still bloom in the concrete barries of life? You amaze me. You make me so proud. So many of us are happy you are here!! Happy you are surviving and now helping others. I just wish you didn’t have to ever be in their footsteps. To know their pain. That is a place no one should ever have to be. Continue to do your work because everything you do is important and valid. You are a blessing to this world, and our family. We love you so very very much!

    • Lisa Doffing

      Thank you for your kindness, Allie.
      How sweet of you to express that. I’m thankful to have you all in my life and for your presence.

      It’s hard to put into words how blessed I have been in finding caring people as I sought ways to gain ground in so many different ways and how much time I’ve devoted to gaining a sense of well being. The challenge now is just a living and relaxing and gaining more clarity about what I need to do to get out of debt and own a home and really truly experience life as an empowered person. I’m still on a big journey, but I more hopeful about the future now.

      Thank you again for your kindness. I love you all and hope you’re doing great!

  • Amy Singer

    I never knew the depth and breadth of your struggle. You are a strong, compassionate, humorous and beautiful being. Thank you for having strength and sharing with others. You are an inspiration and I admire your strength!

    • Lisa Doffing

      Thank you for your kindness and friendship, Amy.
      I thought maybe you witnessed a scene at work with my Mom. It was pretty shocking for me, but Mike was so calm about it. It helped a lot. You were always so cool and such a bright light in my life during that time. I am so grateful for your presence then and now.

      Wishing you all the best! You’re inspiring and appreciated.

  • Lisa Doffing

    Thank you for your kindness and friendship.
    I’m thankful to be here and to be able to write and create art and enjoy all of the natural beauty around us. Thank you for your inspiring example. I hope you’re having a wonderful time!