This is My Truth

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Jessi: This Is My Truth is a platform for honest, open conversations, the stories I share or that others share are often not spoken about or discussed. But once told, I believe they have the ability to shine a light on another perspective or a much needed conversation. These stories may make us laugh, some may make us cry, but together we will learn from one another and begin to heal. Because walls need to be torn down, masks need to come off. Stories need to be heard in order for our truths to be told. This is my truth. Will you tell me yours?

[00:00:43] Hello. Hello podcast people. Welcome back to, this is my truth. I am your host, Jessi Shurlaff, and I am beyond honored to bring to you a conversation that I have with September Burton. September is a survivor of both domestic and also family court abuse. so as I said, I’m really honored to be able to share this conversation because there’s just so many gems. First and foremost, you listen to September’s story and if you’re like me, you’re sitting there and you’re like, is this real life? Like, could, how can someone go through all of this? And honestly, come out the other side, seeing the silver lining and seeing that there is such empowerment and healing when women come together and link arms and create spaces to share and be vulnerable, especially those who are dealing with abuse, whether that’s emotional or domestic. Um, and in September’s cases, both domestic and within the family court system, which I didn’t even know that was a thing, um, until having this conversation. And so, you know, September and I talk a lot about how it’s just so amazing when women come together and support one another. And I think that that’s even more true in situations where you can feel, belittled, you can feel so alone and so unheard, which is true for many victims of abuse. And so I think that there are so many, many gems in this conversation with September. So I’m going to shut up and let you hear the conversation. If you think that someone you know needs to hear this conversation with September, please pass it along to them. If something resonates with you um, I would love to hear about it. Feel free to reach out, tag me on social media, let me know how and where you are listening and I will repost. Um, and I think that this is what it’s all about, right? It’s about us all using our voices, sharing our truths and creating those many, many webs of connection and authenticity, but most importantly, um, the ability to create some empathy. So with that, enjoy my conversation with September.

[00:08:19] Hi September, thank you so much for joining me today.

[00:08:22] September Burton: Hi Jessi, thank you so much for having me on it’s always an honor and a privilege. So thank you.

[00:08:28] Jessi: I feel the same way. Well, I’d like to kick off our conversations with, I would seems like a simple question, but it’s really not. What is the truth that you would like to share today?

Loving Mothers Lose Custody

[00:08:39] September Burton: The truth that I would like to share is that I am a victim of extreme domestic abuse, extreme domestic violence and family court system abuse. In the worst possible way. My ex is an attorney and he gained full custody of my children. I’m a very loving mother. And so for somebody like me to lose custody means that there’s a sickness in our society. And, um, and so I speak out. One for myself. It’s part of my healing journey 2 for my children, so that they know that even when we were apart, they were loved, they were wanted. I want them with me more than you, anything. Um, and 3 for, you know, other people who are in these types of abusive situations, even still right now trying to get out, or maybe they haven’t even realized that they’re being abused yet, um, to, to give voice to them and to change the system, we’ve got to change it.

[00:09:35] Jessi: Wow. I think that just those three things that you said are so powerful individually, but to, to combine all three of them, um, and to be able to step into your light and, and have a voice and give a voice to, um, But, you know, honestly, a conversation that many people are not comfortable having. I just think that’s extraordinary.

The Shame of Domestic Abuse

[00:10:01] September Burton: Yeah. Many people are not comfortable having this conversation. And I think that’s one of the biggest challenges and that’s one of the reasons why it’s still perpetuating our society so deeply is because we’re not talking about it. Because the women, um, and I speak to, I know there are men out there who were being abused and I’m not trying to belittle that in any way. But I’m a woman. And so I understand it from the perspective of a woman, my friends who have been abused are women. So I understand it from that perspective still I do I understand and respect and appreciate that there are many men out there who are also being abused, not trying to belittle that, but I can only speak from my experience and my perspective. But one of the, one of the most beautiful things that I found on this journey, because I live in hiding right now, I’ve been in hiding since January 31 of 2020. So it’s been quite a while now that I’ve been living in hiding. Um, and I’ve healed with other women. I’ve found other women along my journey and along my path, we’ve healed each other and it’s such a beautiful, like I can’t even there are no words to describe what happens when women start to heal together. When we link arms and we take back our power and we support each other and root each other on, as we’re doing it. Like, it just, it gives me chills because it’s so powerful. And if we would all start doing it, if we can just, as women just start banding together that this society is going to change so fast and we’re doing it. We are.

[00:11:32] Jessi: I have chills as you’re saying that, because I think what you’re saying is so, so deeply true. And you know, I think where my mind went was the saying, like, it takes a village and how, how sort of as society we’ve moved so far away from that. And what I love, what you’re highlighting is, you know, people can heal individually, yes. But there, there is power. There is empowerment. There is community connection and, and safety too, to an extent, and being able to, um, heal and be surrounded by like minded people who have had similar experiences.

[00:12:15] September Burton: Yeah, for sure. And I think that when, when women really start to pay to come together and not, um, I think one of the problems is women competing with each other for men. Um, and there’s always that like underlying, um, you know, is he gonna like me more than he likes to you kind of a thing. Um, and when we stop that and we realized we’re all one worthy of the best men that are out there, if that’s what you’re after. Um, and two that there’s just no competition there. It’s just, there’s no competition. And so, you know, they, and when I say they I’m talking about like the patriarchal, you know, society type  mindset, that mentality. But they gain their power from keeping us separated and divided. And so the more that we allow them to do that, the more power they have. So we need to, in order to disempower them, we need to band together. And that’s really the key.

[00:13:13] Jessi: I love that. Um, there’s so much to unpack in your story. Tell me a little bit about, about your journey.

What is Narcissistic Abuse

[00:13:22] September Burton: Um, so it began, you know, it was one of those typical relationships that started off so amazingly well, when he was just everything I could have dreamed of. And he came in and he was the hero to my older children. Um, cause I had already been divorced and so I already had children, um, you know, and he thought he was going to be the hero. And he was competing with my ex husband about, I mean, he, like, he had to buy better pillows and things like that for the kids than their dad, like it was ridiculous. Um, and obviously a huge red flag that I should have listened to and paid attention to, but hindsight is 20/20, right? Um, um, and so it was, it was just that kind of a relationship. And then he turned, when things changed was when I got pregnant with our daughter who just turned four. Um, and it was, there was a switch in his eyes. I actually literally saw it in his eyes. He went from, you know, trying to make sure that he was making me happy and trying to, trying to be a decent human being to, okay I own her, she’s my property. I don’t have to do that anymore. And, um, and so he, you know, even to this day, even though we’ve been separated a year and a half now, he literally still sees me as his property, which is why I live in hiding because, you know, I stood up for myself and I used my voice. And, um, And that’s not acceptable in their world. So, um, the fact that I spoke and the fact that I, um, exposed his abuse and, you know, talked about what was really going on, um, he’s he’s after me and has been, so I fled, like I said, January 31st, and that was another women supporting women story. Um, it was actually, that was a beautiful one, too. Um, it was, it was end of January of 2020, mid to end January. And I went to an event where there were, it was a women’s event. Um, And, you know, a lot of girlfriends there. And so I was just chatting with everybody. And then there was one woman there who we were acquaintances, we hadn’t yet become friends, but we knew each other and she, we cared about each other. Um, and she just, she could see the fear in my eyes. She could see the way that I was living and she could see that even though I was putting on the smile, I was not oK. Um, and so she pulled me aside. And she said, look, I’ve been in a stalking situation before I know what you’re going through. I know people, I have connections, I’m a phone call away. And so, you know, I kind of just said, thank you. And, you know, thanks for the support kind of a thing. And went back about my business, but that simmered with me. And he was doing things at this point, like he had hacked into my home security system, he was coming into the house whenever he felt like it. I lived in women’s shelters or stayed in women’s shelters because, you know, I wasn’t safe in the home. Um, he was tracking our location through my kids’ cell phones. He was doing all kinds of just stuff that causes anybody, any reasonable human being to live in fear. Um, And so I tried to get a protective order, but the judge was not an honest judge. And so that was a, he’s an attorney. I don’t know if I’ve said that yet, but he is himself an attorney. So he definitely, um, it just wasn’t, the hearings were not fair and honest and things like that. So the protective order was denied. Um, And so, you know, I lived in fear. We had separated in March and by this time it was January. So it had been almost a year. The fear didn’t start right away because the stalking, when he first left, started out as sending flowers and other gifts. Um, and at the time, you know, I had never been stalked before, so I didn’t know much. I didn’t know that that was a form of stalking, but it is, it’s a form of trying to maintain control. And that’s what stalking is all about is control. So, um, so the fear really started probably around July was when things started to get like he’s coming into the house, like this things are happening that are crossing lines. Um, and then it just kept escalating and escalating and getting worse. Um, and so. Yeah,

[00:17:34] Jessi: I had read, um, on your website, you had, you went into, um, you sort of explained sort of the situation with the security system. And just to the extent that the stalker sort of went through that. Can you just explain that to the audience and just sort of I mean, I was reading it and I was like, is this real life like, just unpack that a little bit.

Why Don’t Police Help Women Victims of Domestic Abuse?

[00:17:56] September Burton: Yeah. The movie, my therapist and I joke that my life is like a movie that hasn’t yet reached the climax. So it’s it’s yeah. Unreal. Um, so what happened with a security system? Is he, so he owned it. Um, he owned the home. He would never put, even though we always had a verbal agreement that the homeless 50/50, um, he never put my name on the deed and of course I was trusting and blah, blah, blah. So lesson learned there, but, um, So I trusted him and I never insisted that my name going anything. Well, he started retaliating anytime I would speak and do anything. He started retaliating by like shutting off my cell phone, shutting off the utilities, you know, doing all of those kinds of things. Um, and then the home security system was also in his name. And, um, and it was always kind of interesting to me that he never retaliated by making me put the home security system in my name and start paying that bill. He just continued paying that bill. Um, and that was obviously set up very intentionally because when I, I tried to get the protective order and I tried to get him kicked out of the system and things like that. Everybody said, well, he owns the system, like, what do you want us to do? It’s his system. And so what he did is this security company does something called a bridge account, which basically means if you own more than one property and you want them both, you know, under the same account, um, you can use a single login and see all of the activity that happens on multiple different properties. So when he left the home, he bought himself a new house or his dad, I should say his dad bought him a new house. Um, and he got this same security system installed months later. It was almost like he hadn’t thought of it when he first moved in. And so he just used the system that was already installed and then months later thought, oh, I can use a bridge account so I can start watching her again. Um, I had told him after he left that I was kicking him out of the system. I was changing all of the codes. I was doing that. So he knew, um, that he wasn’t gonna be able to just come in. So, because you’ve got the bridge account, um, and he did specifically ask for that. And I, I asked the security company, if that was a specific request. And they said, yes, he made sure that he was going to have access to your home basically. Um, and so it was, it was the morning of October 10th. Uh, it was a Friday morning. It was Columbus day weekend. And I, it must have been a very hectic morning getting kids ready and out the door for school because I hadn’t even looked at my phone. And so until we were close to the school, I had stopped at a stop light when we were almost there. Um, that was, it was the first time that I looked at my phone that day. And I saw a notification from the security company saying that he had gotten into the account and I like the surge of adrenaline, I can still feel that adrenaline to this day. Like I was terrified. I could not believe that that, and it had happened at 11:15pm the night before. And so I was already asleep when he got in, um, you know, he didn’t, to my knowledge, he didn’t come to the house and I don’t know why I think that something stopped him. I think he was going to, and something stopped him or maybe he did. And he left. I don’t know what happened. I was asleep. Um, so. So he did that and so then I had to go get a protective order Tuesday morning. Um, when you get a protective order, you have to be there very first thing in the morning at the courthouse, uh, to get it. And it was already too late. Like I said, it was a Friday, it was Columbus day weekend. So the courthouse was closed on Monday. So I slept at the women’s shelter for that weekend. Um, and then I, I went to the security company and I took them the protective order. They kicked him out of this system, but he got right back in. Um, he and I actually had a little war, uh, where I tried to kick him out several different ways, every way that I could possibly think of I tried to kick him out of the system and keep him out. But it was like, he was just sitting there waiting for the notification then would just get right back in. Um, so I called the security company. I, when I took them the protective order, they did kick him out. Um, and he got right back in and then he called them very, very upset that he had been kicked out of my system. And to me right there, that’s a huge red flag. Like why does he need to have access to my system? He doesn’t live there. So what if he owns it? If he, if he’s acting like he needs to have access, that’s something’s wrong there. So, so he was upset called the security company and because he was able to get back in what they did was basically all right, we’re going to have to completely delete your account and build you an entirely new and separate account that has nothing to do with him. And so that’s what they did. Well, then they told the police that, because that had been right deleted, they couldn’t access any of the records. They couldn’t even verify his username. They couldn’t nothing. They had, like, it was just gone. It went to oblivion. Um, But then later he is, his username was restored. And so he, the security company even lied to the police and lied to the judge during the protective order hearing and was very much trying not to answer questions during the protective order hearing. Very much trying to avoid certain things. And, you know, basically they were all just trying to make me look like a crazy person. So. Um, he’s really good at that. He is so good at convincing people that I’m crazy, that even convinced me that I was crazy. It took months of therapy to be able to see that I was not the crazy one and I was dealing with the crazy person. Um, so I guess that’s kind of the story with the, with the security system. The last final piece with that though, is that he was so arrogant that the day that I lost that protective order hearing. The same day, like he didn’t even wait until the next day, the same day he got back into my system so that he would be able to see all of my activity, know everything that I was doing, be able to turn off my system, unlock the front door and just walk in whenever he felt like it. So, um, as soon as I lost that hearing, I went straight home and I completely disconnected all power. That was a hard wired system, you know? Yeah. So I had to take him to the batteries, um, undo some wiring, all of that kind of stuff. I left everything intact and you know, it was just there, but I just completely disconnected all power to it. And then I went out and bought, uh, a different type of security system that he didn’t even have any knowledge of. So, um, So, yeah, that was kind of the story, the security system. And then the next time that we had to go to court for a temporary orders hearing for the child custody case that we were going through, um, he wanted to know if I was still living in the women’s shelter or not. This was November by this time. So he wanted to know if I was still in the women’s shelter or if I was back in the house. And there was kind of this question of like, why, why does he need to know this? Like, you know, that’s none of his business. Um, But I did, but the judge asked me and I said, I said, this judge was honest. He was actually an honest judge. Um, and I said, your honor, I feel like this compromises my safety, but yes, I’m back in the house. And then I went home and I thought, you know what? I should’ve said, The reason that I’m back in the house is because I got a new security system and I put cameras up everywhere so if he tries to come anywhere close to that house, he’s going to be caught. And so I emailed that to his attorney because I thought they need to know that otherwise he’s going to try to get in. Um, I emailed that to his attorney and I even said, and there’s one point in that the mailbox to a camera by the way, because he was also stealing mail. Um, And next thing I know that attorney’s gone. Like that attorney realized that I was not the crazy person that I had been made out to be, and that his client was the one who was actually causing all of the problems. And so next thing I know that attorney’s gone. Um, that’s actually the blog post that I’m working on right now that will be published today or tomorrow, but yeah, that attorney realized, you know, the truth. Um, so that was the situation with the home security system. So it was pretty scary. It was pretty intense.

[00:26:17] Jessi: I’m sure. I’m sure. I mean, even just hearing it, I read it and then hearing you, you talk about it. I have goosebumps. Um, so I can’t even, you know, living through it. Um, and then having to retell the story a lot. Thank you. Um, cause that can’t be easy. Um, I I’m curious, uh, So you, you’ve mentioned a few times a victim of a family court abuse, and, um, you’ve mentioned you’re in hiding. And one of the reasons why you’re speaking out right is for your children so that they know you’re loved. And as a mother, you know, I can only imagine what that decision process looked like for you. Um, are you, are you willing to talk a little bit about that?

[00:27:05]September Burton:  yeah. Um, the decision to actually make, to flee. That’s what you’re asking about? Yeah, that was, you know, I mean, obviously it goes with the, one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made, and stepping on to that airplane was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Um, but I’ve, I’ve journaled about it. I’ve I still work with a therapist today, so I’ve worked through a lot of this, it’s incredibly painful, but, um, Those were the hardest things I’ve ever done. But the decision that I had, I had to make and what it really came down to was are my children better off with a mother’s far away or are they better off with a mother who’s dead? And I thought, at least, even though I knew he was going to win custody by this point, I saw all coming. I knew what was going to happen. I thought at the very least, even if I don’t get to raise them. I can be there for them when they’re adults and I can help them through the healing process and we can heal together. So I pray to God that it’s, you know, tomorrow, today I get that  phone call. Hey, he’s being arrested, come get your children. But, um, if I never got that phone call and if it’s not until they seek me out, when they’re adults. I’ll be there for them and we’ll, we’ll heal together.

[00:28:23] Jessi: I’m like, you’ve literally, I’m like tearing up. Um, I just, I can only, I can only, um, I don’t even have the right words, but what you did, the decisions that you had to go through. Um, The courage you had for your family and for yourself. Um, and despite all of that, you still feel so passionate about speaking out and speaking on behalf of others so that they’re not in similar situations. Just thank you like this. Like there’s nothing, there’s not enough words, um, appropriately express that, but thank you.

Why I Speak

[00:29:10] September Burton: Well, I really appreciate that. That’s, you know, and the messages that I get, I mean, I even get messages from on LinkedIn, from like women who were CEOs who are saying, thank you for speaking out. And that’s why I’m doing it. I’ve learned enough. I understand enough about this type of abuse and why women put up with it. And. I dunno, I guess what, we really need to stop it and move forward in society because it’s time. I mean, this is old, this is tired. So, and the fact that men are still getting away with, again, not to belittle men who are being abused, but the fact that abusers are still getting away with simply labeling the other person as crazy and everybody just instantly believes it. Like, isn’t that how the Holocaust happened? Like people just blindly following and not even asking questions. I’m not crazy. I know I’m not crazy. I felt crazy for a little while, but I’m not. And you know, he, one of the things that he did, the worst thing that he did was for the last seven months of the relationship, he was recording me all day, every day. So I had. Yeah. Um, so I had our first daughter in August of 2016, and then I had twins in may of 2018. So in less than two years, I had three babies. And so the twins were born in may and about August, I went to him and I said, I’m not doing well. I’m not okay. Like, I, I don’t know what’s going on. This might be postpartum depression, but I’m not okay. So instead of, you know, you would think that from your partner, you would get compassion, support, let’s get you some help. What can we do for you? How can we help you heal kind of response? He didn’t even say anything when I told him that. And that was when he started recording me, and it was all day, every day for seven months. And he was manipulating me and, you know, just gaslighting and doing all of those things. Um, what he did was at the end of that seven months, like at the end of that period, I snapped because I, I, I just snapped. And when I snapped, I slapped him across the face. He retaliated and gave me a permanent spinal injury, which I have all kinds of medical records. You know, I was in months of physical therapy and all of that kind of stuff, but he played that recording of me slapping him across the face in the courtroom. And so it was ruled that I was guilty of domestic violence and he is not. Even, I have medical records, I even had a doctor who called, I went for a different thing, not the spinal injury, but I went in for something else. And she tried to get me to call the police and she was like, I’ll, I’ll sit here with you, I’ll be your support while you call the police. And I, I wouldn’t do it. She called after I left. I obviously didn’t know it’s in my medical record, um, that I’ve read through since then. But yeah, she called the police after I left and tried to press charges. And they told her that if I wasn’t willing to press charges and there was nothing that they could do. Um, so, so, but when I snapped, I slapped him across the face. And it’s like, now that I think about that, it actually, it’s not funny at all, but it’s kind of comical. I mean, there, you get to that point where you have to laugh about things because otherwise, you know, I kind of am like, you know what? I lasted seven months of that severe manipulation before I snapped. Like, I’m kind of a badass. I’m going to own that one. And then when I snapped, I slapped him across the face. I didn’t go crazy. I don’t know if I’m allowed to cuss on this podcast. I didn’t go totally ape shit. I didn’t pull a knife on him. I didn’t pull a gun on him. I slapped him across the face. After seven months of being recorded all day, every day. And I’m the one that’s guilty of domestic violence? Like, come on, you guys, come on. There’s too much here. They can’t, once this truly, truly gets investigated, it’s going to come unraveled so fast, but I can’t get the police to do anything. That’s one of the hard parts. And, um, I don’t know what to do about the police situation, you know, especially since George Floyd has happened during all of this and, but they just won’t listen. They won’t do anything.

[00:33:39] Jessi: Um, wow. Again, I’m, I’m, it’s very, it makes it very hard to make me speechless. Um, but there’s but you succeeded. First of all, you are a badass, um, not only for lasting seven months, but for, for the entire relationship and for making the decisions that you had to make for the safety of yourself and your family. And so, like, there is not a doubt in my mind that you’re not a badass, like you are completely, uh, uh, bad-ass. I don’t have you read Untamed?

[00:34:24] September Burton: No, it’s on my list.

[00:34:29] Jessi: Yeah. So I would recommend it. But one of the things that like the first is a bunch of little like stories. One of the first stories is like she compares women to like cheetahs in cages and like sort of the running theme throughout is like, women are like, like motherfucking cheetahs. And so like, that was like the image that came in when you were talking, like, you’re like a motherfucking cheetah. And a bad ass. Um, so just know that, um, So you mentioned there was a moment like you could see in his eyes when, when he sort of like pivoted when he changed and viewed you as property. I mean, even just that statement alone, like he viewed you as property, like Holy shit. But what, what was the process like for you? Right. Like you endured years of manipulation, it sounds like, um, you know, and I can only imagine like the questioning. And so was there a moment or several moments where, like, what was that turning point for you when you realized like, this is it like you were going to step into like your badass and fight back?

Seeing Through the Lies

[00:35:40] September Burton: So not until after I fled, um, and the reason was I didn’t leave the relationship. He left the family home. When he left the conversation between us was we’re just taking a breather. Things have gotten out of hand. Um, we’re going to try again in six months or a year or whatever. He was still coming over at night for sex, even though we were, you know, split up. Um, but the way that his friends and family were treating me was like, I just was like, something’s not right. Something, they’re getting a different story. They’re being told something very different. And what I’ve learned is that, you know, he was telling them that I was an abuser and I was crazy and all of those kinds of things. Um, so the, the shift for me didn’t happen until, it’s actually kind of funny because one day at the end, like right as he was ready to leave, he looked at me and he said, you need therapy. And I thought, alright, I’m going to go find a therapist, right? I’m gonna take care of me. So I went out and I found a therapist and thank God I found her and the woman that I found, she was so perfect for what I needed at that time. I still work with her. She was so perfect that it was, she saw it immediately. Um, and he actually came in for a session too. So she even met him. Um, cause he came in, you know, cause we were, he was trying to play the part and be perfect, you know, whenever he has to look perfect to everybody. Um, so he came in for a session cause we were still talking about working it out and things, um, and she just immediately was, she was like, you’re being abused. I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but you’re being abused, but she was very gentle about it and very, you know, trying to help basically guide me to help me see what was happening. Um, and when she said the word narcissist. And obviously she’s not going to diagnose him because she only had one session with him, but she said, you know, this is a problem. Maybe this is what’s going on kind of a thing. Um, so when she said that word that like gave me something to grasp onto, and I’m somebody who I’m kind of a researcher, not to an extreme, but I do like to understand what’s going on. And so I, when she said that word, I started studying and I read a few books and I read some websites and I started following some people on social media and things like that. And people were speaking out about this. And it fits, it fits so perfectly. And so what happened was I slowly transitioned from like, thinking that we were going to get back together eventually, to, you know? Oh my God. I never want anything to do with this man again. Um, and it was a, it was a slow transition. It wasn’t, it wasn’t a, um, you know, moment where I realized and I flipped. So does that make sense?

[00:38:27] Jessi: It does it, it, it, and, um, Yes, it totally does. And I would imagine that’s probably the case for a lot of people in this situation. It’s probably not like a, you woke up one day and you’re like, Oh, I understand what’s happening to me. Right. Um, I’m curious, um, you know, we’ve talked to you a few times, hindsight is 20/20. We, you also, when you opened, which I agree with, right? There’s, there’s probably people in this situation that don’t even realize that they are in a situation of abuse of, of control. Um, I’m curious what you would, if you could like go back to yourself and there’s there’s, um, you posted on your website, three pictures of yourself, like before you met your stalker during, and then after, and just because sort of comparing the smiles and even just like, you could see like the personality of, of those three photos. So, um, I’m curious if you could go back to that version of yourself in the middle picture, you know, what would you say to that version of you?

[00:39:36] September Burton: Um, I think, I mean, that picture was taken in February. He left in March. So that was, you know, the peak of the abuse and I was snapping and I was going, I was in that piece of it at that point. What I would say to myself, I think is let, let it, let him go. Let go now just let him go. Because you are so much better off without him. Um, because I held on for quite awhile and when I first fled, um, I went to Hawaii at first and I didn’t choose Hawaii. It was chosen for me. It was just a, let’s get her on a plane and get her out of here. And other people decided where I was going. I was not even privy to the decision and just got a phone call saying, here’s where you’re going. So, um, So I went to Hawaii and I couldn’t have asked to be sent to a better place because I mean, obviously it’s Hawaii. Like it’s just beautiful. It’s Hawaii. But, um, but one being in the women’s shelter, um, you know, when I got there, I called the women’s shelter and I said, can I stay? And they said, no, you’re not from Hawaii. I’m sorry, we will let you stay here for one night, but that’s it. And then the next day I sat down with the shelter director and I told her my story and she was like, Holy shit. You need protection. Yes, stay for as long as you need. And so I ended up staying for two months. Um, but what happened was one of the things that I learned was that the ocean, the healing power of the ocean. And so the whole time that I was in Hawaii was while all of the family court stuff was going on and they, I mean, they just slaughtered me in court. They said every horrible, horrific thing you could possibly say to devalue and destroy somebody’s character and all of those kinds of things. And so every time they would file a motion or I would get an email from his attorney or, you know, anything, anything whatsoever, I would literally just go straight to the ocean and I would just get in the ocean and just let the water wash it away. And that’s what my girlfriends were telling me. That’s what some of my, you know, more mentor type um, women, to me more and or motherly type figures, um, were telling me this, said the, the ocean washes it away, just get in the ocean. And so that’s what I did. And it was, it it’s just, it healed me. It healed me. And what I say is the woman who landed in Hawaii, I was so broken. Like I was, I was so broken at that point. Yeah, but the woman who left Hawaii to go onto the next step of her journey was a whole woman. So that everything that happened during that time period from February through June, I left at the end of June. Um, it was, it was all about piecing my soul back together. I remember looking at him one day at the end of the relationship and saying, I feel like my soul has been sucked out of me. And that’s exactly what they do. And so I had to in Hawaii basically reclaim my soul and piece it back together. And so I spent that time doing that. So I didn’t speak out. I was in Hawaii. I didn’t start speaking out until after, after I finished that healing process.

[00:42:56] Jessi: I am so grateful that you had that opportunity um, because you know, while our stories are not at all similar, I can definitely resonate with you know, the feeling like you have to find yourself again, or, you know, rebuild who you are. Um, 100% and you know, I love in that process first of all, I grew up on the water. Um, and so like, yes, there’s definitely magical things about the ocean. I was having a conversation with someone yesterday about the magic of just Hawaii in general. So like you, you really like, that was awesome. That that was the opportunity that was given to you um, and I love. That in that process for you, you found your voice, um, and you’re speaking your truth and you’re doing it to create a, a voice for others who are in similar situations, who might not be at that point yet. And what a gift that you’re giving society. Um, so I know I’ve said it before, but I’m going to say it like for the fifth time. Thank you. We need more of you.

[00:44:11] Thank you. I appreciate that very much. It’s it gives me the inspiration and the motivation to keep going.

[00:44:19] How can people continue to follow you on your journey September?

[00:44:25] September Burton: Um, so I’m all over social media, September Burton, very easy to find. Cause my name is very unique. Um, so Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, all of those, uh, LinkedIn. Um, and then, you know, reach out, please, if you need somebody. One of the hardest parts about this specific type of abuse is because they make you feel like you’re the crazy one, other people don’t believe you. And that’s, you know, I still have people now who don’t believe me and, um, Obviously the police don’t believe me, you know, things like that, but it’s so when you find somebody who believes you and when you find somebody who just gives you space to cry, rage, share your story or whatever it is that you need to do, it’s it’s healing and it’s powerful. And so if you need somebody to believe you, if nobody else believes you reach out, I believe you. I believe you.

[00:45:21] Jessi: I think that is the perfect way to end this conversation.

[00:45:24] September Burton: Thank you. Thank you.

[00:45:31] Jessi: I hope you enjoy this conversation. If something in the conversation resonated with you, please, please share it with a friend that you think needs to hear this conversation. Feel free to tag me on social media. Let me know how you’re listening, where you’re listening and what resonated tag me at this is my truth podcast, or feel free to shoot me a DM.

[00:46:00] And because we’re a new podcast and mission matters. I would love for you to leave me a rating and review. Tell me how you truly feel this entire podcast is about vulnerability and authenticity. So let me know how you really feel and give me some feedback. I really appreciate it.

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