Someone once told me my job couldn’t possibly be stressful. “All you do is sit at a keyboard and type,” they said.

That statement is an absolute fallacy. 

Nearly every single story I’ve written has affected me on some level. I’ve written about determination, perseverance, enthusiasm and achievement. I’ve shared stories brimming with profound love, bitter loss, and exasperation to the point of giving up.

The breathtaking landscape of fall, as seen from Center Hill in Weld, happens for a multitude of reasons. Dee Menear/Advertiser Democrat

Regularly, I’ve covered all those emotions on the same day … sometimes in the same story.

I stress over details, accuracy, and my ability to effectively document the stories of the people and communities whose trust I’ve secured. I worry about the repercussions of those stories. I spend sleepless nights reflecting on what I’ve been privileged to be a part of – sometimes on a very intimate level. 

It’s far from easy but it goes with the territory. It’s what I signed up for. 

Still, there are stories that affect me on an exceptionally personal and much deeper emotional level than the rest. 

Let me tell you about one such experience.

Recently, I had the privilege of chatting with victims of domestic violence assaults. These individuals agreed to tell me their stories – and share them with you – under the condition of absolute anonymity. The narratives were difficult to hear and even more difficult to convey. 

But, those stories need to be told.

I felt their fear, uncertainty, confusion and defeat as they spoke. I relived those emotions as I tried to adequately convey their feelings into the printed word. Over and over again, those feelings surfaced as I did multiple rereads and reedits. 

“All you do is sit at a keyboard and type.” 

Yeah, right.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. I know, it’s a stretch to connect domestic violence within the confines of an outdoors column but, if you hang with me for a minute, I’ll explain.

The breathtaking landscape of fall happens for a multitude of reasons. The vibrancy of fall colors is brought to us through rainfall, sunlight and thermometer changes.

Too little or too much rain, extremes in the amount of sunlight and harsh fluctuations in temperatures give a dull palette. 

Beautiful, bright foliage is akin to perfection in conditions. 

Mother Nature can not effectively portray her magnificent beauty under extreme circumstances. It’s hard to be anything other than lackluster if there are too many suffocating forces.

The same goes for us, as I learned in my conversations with domestic violence victims. 

Take heart, beautiful ones. You’ve taken the steps needed to shed the past. Your vibrant colors shined through magnificently. 

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