Following The Signs

Some of you may find this all to be crazy and may explain it away as just a string of weird coincidences, which is fine. I am skeptical as hell – so I get it. However, others may get exactly what I am talking about…

Have you ever had events take place in your life or things you see as “signs” so to speak… that leave you feeling as though something bigger than you is trying to wake you up or point you in the right direction? And, when you follow these bread crumbs with little thought or push back – just listen, trust and jump – life tends to naturally fall into place for you with little effort? 

This is something I had found to be true for most my life. Until, I found myself in a very dark place between 2013 – 2019, where that voice seemed to have fallen silent. During that time, I wondered “Did the universe stop talking – or was I so in over my head I could no longer hear it?”

Then in mid 2019, a series of strange events took place that led me out of my private hell. 

In January 2019, I had realized I had finally moved past the pain of infidelity commited by my partner two years prior – until I discovered days later another had taken place in 2014. 

I completely unraveled. 

To distract me from the deception he began to commit large, irrational displays of attention, affection, gift giving (a tactic called love-bombing which is common in a relationship involving Narcissistic Abuse) and aggressively dismissed my feelings and how serious the situation was. As part of the mental and emotional assault, he planned a trip home for me so I could spend time with my family while he was away for training on a new job. I think he figured time with my family (after being away for a full year due to visa restrictions) would be enough to win me back over. And, he probably thought it would be better for me to be busy with family rather than sitting in the house alone for 2 months with too much idle time to think while he was away.  

Unfortunately for him, being home was exactly what I needed to remind myself who I was and encouraged me to start thinking for myself again.  

While home, I visited friends and family and I began painting again. This led to selling my work – making my own money for the first time since 2016. As the paintings sold my confidence began to grow and with that I didn’t need to withdraw my approved “allowance” from his account while I was in the US. 

While this was happening, I decided to not tell him I was selling my work right away. Since I had gotten nothing but lies, secrets and deceit from him for years (while I was stupidly an open book), I decided it was not his business. Plus, whenever I talked about starting a new project – he was quick to let me know I was going about it wrong, how it could be better, how I’d never finish it, etc. This time I was home, surrounded by people who actually cared about me. I decided to focus on that, taking care of myself and not worrying about him for the first time in 8 years.  

Needless to say, when I did finally mention the paintings and sales he got very angry and very butthurt. This was the first time I had ever intentionally kept anything from him. Let’s just say he didn’t do well with the shoe being on the other foot. I watched and listened over text and video chat as he spun out, knowing making my own money meant a loss of control. He began texting and calling relentlessly with over the top displays of affection (that felt hollow), trying to regain some sort of balance. At one point, the contact was so nonstop I emotionally broke down in front of my father.

Then one day, I was out washing my car when I thought, “Enough. Now is my time. My life has been on hold for 6 years for empty promises while he chased his dream – it’s my turn. He can work his life around mine for once.” I thought about trying to return to TV. Was it even possible to live in one country while working in another, I wondered? 

Then, the ladybug appeared.

Ladybugs have always held a special meaning for me, they make me think of my great grandmother who passed when I was four. When I was little, I used to play with ladybug magnets on her fridge. Aside from that, her daughter (my grandmother) called me “ladybug” since I was very young. It started when I had her look in a coffee can full of ladybugs I had caught (that I later accidentally mass murdered by leaving the can out in sun). She said there were so many, the can looked like it was crawling. Since then, every year for Valentine’s Day, my birthday and Christmas her and my grandfather would get me ladybug themed cards and gifts. 

As I got older, I noticed ladybugs had a tendency of showing up in the most unexpected places when I found myself confronted by big, life changing decisions. For me, they were a sign to trust and “jump” – that everything was going to be ok if I did.

One example, of how insane the ladybug bug thing is… I remember driving in the dead of winter years ago, going around in circles in my head over something. I remember looking around at the snow on the ground thinking, “Where’s my damn bugs when I need them…” And – I shit you not – just after thinking it a VW Bug passed me that was painted like a red lady bug with black spots!

As for this little bug, while I took it as confirmation to start worrying about me for a change, I wouldn’t learn until later that it also matched up to a new infidelity that was unfolding back home in Australia. Two or three days after my return and just after he had left for another work trip, I learned there was another girl while I was gone. 

Needless to say, I again fell into a deep depression. I was hopelessness, far from home and alone. I didn’t eat anything for 3 days and barely drank anything. When I did start eating and drinking it was minimal. I was in bed for a week – literally never left the house. Didn’t open curtains. Didn’t shower. Didn’t change my clothes. I only left our bedroom to use the bathroom. I watched endless relationship and self-help videos on Youtube about attachment styles, reasons for infidelity – and of course videos on how to fix me. I was so conditioned by him to see myself as the problem at all times – I mentally went in circles trying to figure out what I did wrong. I spent most of this time crying and I wishing for death.

Friends and neighbors began to worry. 

One of our neighbors, who I was close to, would regularly stop in and check on me. She even had her daughter help bring up our trash bins from the street. Another mutual friend called nearly daily encouraging me to leave, insisting I was not at fault, insisting that the situation was abusive while pushing me to eat and drink something – anything. My best friend from home did the same. And, without me realizing it – even though they had never actually met in person – they were in contact with each other by text worrying from a distance. 

I think they all knew I was mentally in a dark enough place (one I might not pull out of), it left them on high alert. 

At some point, I decided to force myself out of the house to buy a book I had spotted while lost in Youtube’s self-help rabbit hole.

When the “universe” intervened a second time…

At the book store, I wandered the isles finally landing in the self-help and relationships section. I found the book I had been searching for but became distracted by the one just behind it that had a hypnotic cover – black circles within circles with a pink center on a white background. 

The cover read, “Gaslighting – How to Recognize Manipulative and Emotionally Abusive People… and Break Free” by Dr. Stephanie Sarkis.

I had never heard the term gaslighting but I was drawn enough to the cover I picked it up and started flipping through it. What I found were pages of words I could have written… Entire chapters and sections that left me feeling as though the writer had stalked the last 8 years of my life and relationship. 

The book flipped a switch in my brain that could not be undone. It was not my fault. I did nothing to warrent the years of abuse. That what I was experiencing was just that – abuse. And – most importantly – it forced me to understand things will not change or get better. Overall, I learned I had been fooled.

I think that realization was the hardest. 

Even after stumbling across this book, it took me a couple of months to finally leave. At that point – I was so broken down, so unrecognizable to myself – I needed to build up the confidence and courage to go. 

And, then the universe stepped in again… 

It was August 28, 2019 and I woke to my phone going bonkers. There were a ton of messages on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and I was left wondering… “What the f#*k is going on…” After a couple of seconds of digging I realized the reboot of Ghost Hunters had aired and leading into that new episode were several reruns that I had been on. 

The messages were insanely kind. In all honesty – they boosted my spirits enough I decided to force myself to get out of bed, showered and dressed to treat myself to lunch. 

As I sat at our local Sushi Train alone, my brain went in circles… should I leave? What will I do if I leave? Will I stay with my parents? What will I do for work? I wondered if I could back into hunting with my friends. I wondered if I could get back into TV, back to pitching my own ideas. I stressed about the weight I put on and how I would get ridiculed for it. I wondered if I could ever be me again – the Kris Williams before this relationship destroyed her.

Around and around my brain went… 

After paying, I headed out to my car with my head still spinning to find this parked just behind it…

I was dumbfounded. What were the odds, I wondered? Internally though – I felt a wave of peace and a spark or fire in my belly that I had not felt in a long time. 

The following Friday, I found the nerve to call my parents and tell them everything. I knew, once I did there was no going back. I couldn’t go back. That afternoon, I spoke with a lawyer. The next morning (Saturday), I booked my ticket home on a credit card I secretly left open in my name that my ex did not have access to. He finally returned from his two month work trip that afternoon and I had to pretend all was well until he left again Monday morning. 

Any hint of wanting to leave would have sparked a full on mental and emotional assault. I knew (in order to leave) I needed to keep him out of my head. I had to stay quiet, otherwise I wouldn’t leave and in 6 months time I would be dealing with another round heartache. I did my best to say nothing, however I am admittedly a horrible liar. So, he could tell something was off. He asked me if I was feeling ill – I decided to stay quiet and roll with it.

Monday, after he left again for a work trip, I spent the day alone in a daze. On Tuesday (with help), I packed 2 suitcases. One full of clothes and the other art supplies – knowing I would need the supplies to make some sort of income until I found employment. Then, on Wednesday, September 11th – my ass was on a plane to Arizona…

…When the universe decided to have one last word. 

I sat in my isle seat next to a man who was older than me. I sat there with my head spinning as he slept for the first couple hours of the flight.

Even then as I sat in my seat – I wasn’t sure if I was doing the right thing. I was so broken down. So unsure of myself. Around and around my brain went between feeling completely numb and shell shocked to crying as privately as possible on a full plane. 

When the man next to me woke, he became chatty. He was talking about his wife, their travels, his fancy cars and so on. I sat there wondering, “What is this guy doing in coach…?” when he said, “I love traveling coach – you meet much more interesting people.”

I finally asked him, “What do you do?”

Which lead to him asking me if I wanted to see his merch. Out came a black duffle bag and from it came hats, bumper stickers, keychains, stickers… even condoms with his face printed on one side of the packet and his business card printed on the other. Everything had the word “C*nt” on it, or the phrase, “Don’t Be a C*nt” and so on. 

I sat there completely overwhelmed and confused while also finding the situation so insane, it was funny. But, after a while I realized – he did not answer my question. 

“But what do you do for work?” I asked again. 

That’s when he asked me if I had ever seen the spray-painted camper van rentals cruising around Australia. I had. He then explained – Wicked Campers was his company. My jaw dropped and I had to ask…

“Do you have vans that are painted like the Scooby Doo Mystery Machine…” while I asked, I opened the picture on my phone to show him and he just about jumped out of his seat, “YES!!! That is one of mine!”

I was completely dumbfounded. 

Again – what were the odds? What were the odds of my lil ladybug friend? What were the odds of finding that book? What were the odds of finding the Mystery Machine camper parked by my car? What were the odds I would find myself sitting next to the man who owned the camper company on my flight home?

By the time I landed in Arizona and was met by my parents – the relief. The relief I felt was unexplainable. I was also left feeling like, whatever I was out of tune with for so long, I was finally open to again. 

Call it your intuition. A sixth sense. A sign. The “universe” – whatever it is… It woke up. 

A BIG thank you to everyone who has purchased a painting from me – especially during this time. The degree to which you helped me is unexplainable – far beyond the dollar value itself.  

A Big thank You To My Patreons…

Naomi Yunker, Mark Clark, Lee Mentzos, Firewalker_AZ, Chung Chow, Russell Throne, Cameron Hewitt and Rob Faith… As always, thank you guys so much for all the support and encouragement! <3

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Have you had situations like this – the whole “signs”, “universe”… hell – overly odd coincidences if you believe that is all they are? I would love to hear about them below!