We all believe in love! There’s all kinds of love – love for our family members, love for friends, even degrees of love. We look for a soul-mate; we label people as acquaintances, good friends, best friends and the ever popular, bff! We need love; we won’t thrive without it. When I was 5 years old, I was a flower girl for my Aunt Cass’s wedding. As I knelt in the first pew of the Church, I thought she would go to a Castle and we would never see her again. Her life would be a fairytale. I can tell you it was not as she lost her husband while she was pregnant with their third child.
Some very hurtful and even deadly things happen in the course of love. It’s the latter we’re going to talk about. This is not your typical Christmas feel-good-story but we need to be aware that people we know and even those we think we know may be experiencing physical, emotional and other types of abuse all in the name of love!
Fiona Harewood can tell you about this – she has been there herself. Putting her experiences and her efforts towards regaining her own personal power and self, she has written a new book to help others. Her story is so compelling and important, we, at The Frankford Gazette are helping her to pre-launch her book, “River Never Smooth – Reclaiming Power After Abuse”.
A current resident of Juniata, Fiona also is a member of a local Church here in Frankford. She comes to us from the country of Guyana, officially a “Co-operative Republic”, located on the northern part of South America. The northern border of Guyana is the Atlantic Ocean. Guyana is the only country in South America where English is the official language. She would also live for a time in Barbados until 2001 when she came to the United States.
This is not her first book. She also wrote, “I DID IT…You Can, Too”, and in it, Fiona challenges “drop outs to become dreamers”. She knows what she’s talking about – she was a failure during High School, completing only one CXC (Caribbean Examination Council) in English Literature. Once she arrived in the United States and had to clean homes to make ends meet, she knew her way forward would be to finish her education. At 44, she returned to school and after 3 1/2 years, graduated magna cum laude with a degree from Pierce in Paralegal Studies. Another 18 months and Fiona completed the work necessary to receive a Masters in Public Policy from Drexel University. Kudos to you, Fiona. Her education would serve her well. She then wanted to encourage others who, for one reason or another, did not complete their education. Also, she wanted to encourage those students already in school to stay there. She has spoken at schools and other organizations sharing the wisdom that she has earned and learned.
Which brings us to her newest book about to be released. In “River Never Smooth – Reclaiming Power After Abuse”, Fiona is once again sharing her own personal story that is also a national issue affecting millions. In speaking with Fiona, she shared with me the following facts. Did you know that nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner in just one single year? Or that more than 12 million men, women and children are affected by varying forms of abuse over a year? Abuse has many types, not just physical. There is emotional, mental, sexual and financial abuse just to name a few. Also, we know that there is not just one type of abuser or one gender alone responsible for such violence.
In her book, Fiona uses her storytelling abilities to illustrate for us what abuse can look like and why some people don’t even feel they’re being abused. In telling her story, Fiona has structured “River Never Smooth” into 4 parts.
Part 1 is “Bad Choices” that many of us make. We have family and friends who try to tell us but do we at least consider what they have to say? This is so important for our teenagers and young adults who need to understand that people who try to point them in the right direction care and are only trying to help. It is very important to listen and learn from other people’s experience as opposed to living their tragic circumstances. We must be ready to accept that this is an abusive relationship and be ready to change it. This can take a long time.
Part 2 tells us about “Starting Over” and this is where friends and families can help victims of domestic violence and abuse. You can’t do this alone. Sometimes, it requires much more than empathy. If we truly want to help someone “escape” their situation, we need to be ready to help them financially, and otherwise, until they can get back on their feet. We know that, especially in the case of women, the choice is to stay with an abuser because of financial needs.
Part 3 explains to us that “Repeating Mistakes” is something that will happen. It takes time, practice and real awareness to choose those who are worthy of your trust and your love. Once you’ve been hurt, literally, it will be a while before you will see as clearly as you need to in choosing friends or partners.
Part 4 leads us to “The Decision and Getting It Right”. Hopefully, you will be stronger by the time you get there and experiencing a sense of power. No matter how many times we have failed or given love to people who will end up hurting us, there is one who truly does loves us unconditionally and that is God. You have got to rely on God’s help for strength, for the commitment you need not to be drawn into what is almost a second nature – putting others first. This is about you and what is best for you! Surprising as it may seem, you must also forgive your abuser before you can fully heal. Overall, after reading “River Never Smooth”, you will:
- Identify abuse and know how to deal with it;
- Know when to move on;
- Live a life free of regrets; and
- Rise above your circumstances and emerge an overcomer.
“EMBRACE YOUR PAST, THEN TOSS IT!”
In conversations with her Mother, Fiona shared with me that her Mother once told her, “Your life reminds me of a river – a river never smooth”. Fiona credits her mother with naming the book. For some people, that’s so true. But, like Fiona, we can take that “never smooth river” and redirect it for our own good and to help others traveling that same river.
I feel that Fiona and her story is a very, very powerful one that needs to be told and heard. Look below for an upcoming Global Launch Party on January 26, 2020. You can register for this Launch experience at this link – https://www.fionaharewood.com/river-never-smooth
Dating Abuse Statistics. https://www.loveisrespect.org/resources/dating-violence-statistics/, Accessed October 13, 2019. National Domestic Violence Hotline. Get the Facts & Figures. https://www.thehotline.org/ resources/statistics/, Accessed October 13, 2019.