By Diane Hoversen-Smith
I'm a middle child, with parents who have had an amazing love affair for more than 50 years. Yet my own journey to true love has been a long, hard road, involving three marriages and two divorces.
Being one of four children was always a source of comedy and tragedy. I had learning disabilities and was often the topic of conversation in my family and school. I was always trying to figure how to catch up and win acceptance from my peers; growing up wasn’t an easy transition.
My teenage world came crashing in when I was violently raped during my freshman year of high school. I was a good catholic girl- I’d never even kissed a boy, let alone anything else. This was my introduction to sex. And at the time, I blamed myself.
The shock and trauma almost destroyed me, but fortunately I’d been introduced to journaling by my Aunt Jennie a few years earlier. Writing became a life-saving therapy; my only safe place. So, after some talking therapy and lots of writing therapy, I was able to forgive and break through my pain. I managed to survive and I moved on…
I built a successful life as a young adult and was hired as a sales manager in a food manufacturing plant. I was over the moon.
I soon had a dog, house and friends and I was enjoying all that life had to offer. Then I met a guy. Of course, let’s fall in love and get pregnant….
Well, I’d been told after the rape that I could not have babies due to all of the damage, so I was overjoyed to find myself expecting a child. It was another cloud nine moment until sadly, he was no longer to be. My son, whom I will hold in my heart forever, never made it to my arms.
My world came to a screeching halt, and I no longer knew how to function. Once again, my journals were my personal ammunition against thoughts of suicide.
My boyfriend thought I needed a party to get me out of my massive depression- a party he didn’t want to pay for- so let’s get married, he said. Within a year I was pregnant again. This time I may be able to go all the way, I thought.
My journal was full of happy pages, day in and day out, until my husband shared with me that the baby was my dream, not his. I want out, I will take the house and you take the baby, he said, after I’d spent months proving I would be a wonderful wife and mom. Nope, he wanted nothing to do with either of us. I took my fat pregnant butt and dog and found a townhouse…. new life, here I come.
I stayed with my parents for the birth (they knew more than me), and I produced Thomas, the most amazing baby boy. It was the greatest of times. Then the whole cycle began again when I was back at work in the food plant.
A guy at work captured my attention. This time the problem was domestic violence, in the form of yelling and name calling. I got pregnant and his mind control developed into bursts of ugliness and violence. The abuse I was suffering and my loss of self was so apparent it was written all over my face. Another beautiful son, Jacob, was gifted to me and I felt I hadn’t earned him.
I reached deeper in my writing and my journal gave me my exit strategy. Bumped and bruised, I grabbed my boys and ran once more to the safety of my parents’ home. There I wrote my way back to wholeness.
Third time lucky- and I met my Jamaican love, Anthony. We had three years of dating, not living together or having babies, just dating. We were married in 2011 and it has been the most beautiful love story ever written, a narrative I could not have written without my journal. We are beautifully blended and perfectly matched.
What a gift my Aunt Jennie instilled into my world 35 years ago! It led to me creating my journal business, The Write To Feel. Yes, we all have the right to feel, overcome, break through, forgive, love and be loved, using our own words. I designed every journal cover and wrote or sourced every quote. There is a piece of my heart in every page in every journal.
My collection reflects my journey, my long, hard road to happiness. It’s a journey that I know many women can relate to. It is my mission to serve and offer an instrument of peace and healing for others. I love my business and I’ve dedicated it to Aunt Jennie, who is now suffering from dementia.
Diane Hoversen-Smith is a proud wife and mother, and the author of many self-liberating journals. She believes in celebrating love and laughter. Diane loves the VW Beetle because it’s the happiest car on the road and adores turning old furniture into new treasures. She is the owner of The Write to Feel.