I am a poet living in Otley. I was in an abusive relationship for years. My ex was volatile, drank heavily, and our home was fraught with rows and unhappiness. There were some good times, but I was always walking on egg-shells, frightened. It was no place to bring up children. I would find solace in the writing of poetry, which I did in secret because my ex thought it was a waste of time.
I am living proof that life begins at 40 and that living again after adversity is possible. Now I'm an IDAS Champion and a published writer.
On my fortieth birthday I decided that enough was enough, I was not prepared to spend any more of my life in the situation that I was in. So, I wrote a list, of everything that I wanted to do in the coming years and turned it into a poem. This gave me a surge of strength and I referred to it often through the first year when things were difficult.
Having left the abusive relationship, I continued my creative writing journey by signing up to an MA in Creative Writing at Leeds Trinity University. I have since published a collection of poems and my debut novel, which covers the subject of domestic abuse, was shortlisted for a prize. Now I teach creative writing classes and offer distance learning courses. I have come a long way from writing being considered a ‘waste of time’.
I am proud to be an IDAS Champion because the work they do saves lives and I hope that by raising awareness more people can get support to stay safe and move on from abusive relationships, as I have done.
I’m living proof that life begins at 40 and that living again after adversity is possible. You can buy my book, ‘Poetry for the Newly Single Forty Something’ and find out more about me on my website: www.mariastephenson.com
If you are inspired by Maria’s story and would like to apply to become an IDAS Champion, you can do so on here.