Stories of Survival: Shay’s Story

Written by Meghan

October 7, 2019

I was raised by strong women who worked hard and conditioned me to believe that failure was never an option, so I never thought I’d end up in the situation that I did.

Despite all the red flags that began popping up throughout my marriage, I stayed. After all, he sold me on a dream of forever, filled with protection, honor and validation.  So, I chose to hold on to the few moments where everything was great and ignore that the majority of it wasn’t.

Things hit a breaking point right before Thanksgiving when I was locked out of my house in the freezing cold with my three children. A fire was lit in my soul as I vowed that I wouldn’t let this continue any longer.  I reframed my understanding of “forever,” and decided I was not going to settle and continue hoping that he would change; by now, I knew he wouldn’t.

I was finally ready to let go of all the expectations I had about what my life should look like. Not every child growing up “in the hood” would have what the fictional TV family “the Cosby’s” had, and I was starting to realize, that was okay. I was ready to build a life for myself and my family that I was proud of, even if that meant walking away from a ten year marriage—because by doing so, I was walking into my destiny. 

As I was trying to complete my Associate’s Degree during the most unpredictable time of my life, I didn’t know how I would feed my children or fix my car that kept breaking down. Basic necessities had become a financial burden I didn’t know how I would recover from.  But that fire inside my soul was still lit, I was resilient and knew that God’s power would keep me going.


I was determined to keep fighting for my future, not only for myself and my children, but for all the women who had been told that they were worthless or didn’t measure up.

I was determined for all the young girls growing up in a world that tells them who they can and cannot be. I would join the voices of the strong women I grew up with telling girls and women that they are smart, and strong, and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. I was determined for all the women who were still wearing a mask and were ready to remove it and share their stories.

That’s when my vision for Her Temple Monologues was born. I embarked on a journey that blended my love of poetry with my passion for advocacy. Her Temple Monologues became the outlet that I needed to enrich my life and created a safe space for others to share their truth without fear of judgement. So, I speak out, and I continue fighting, because we deserve to live in a world free from domestic violence.

To get help for you or someone you care about who is affected by domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or contact Unity House’s 24-Hour Domestic Violence Hotline for local support and assistance at 518-272-2370.

Related Articles

Volunteer Spotlight: Cindy Harrington

Volunteer Spotlight: Cindy Harrington

Like many of our housing programs, our volunteer programs have been forced to adapt as a result of the spread of COVID-19. To ensure the health and safety of our staff, volunteers, and the families we served many of these programs have been suspended, but that hasn’t...

read more
Summer E-Newsletter

Summer E-Newsletter

Executive Director's Report These are crazy times we’re in and it’s forced me to take a good look at myself. Like many others, the spread of COVID-19 has brought out the clean freak in me - although you wouldn’t realize it looking at my office. In the past, germs...

read more