“For many years I hid, I wore many hats, I covered up, I pretended everything was fine even though I was struggling internally,” shared Williams-Gary, who said her ex-husband, the late Howard Gary, was a bully who emotionally abused her.
She has chronicled her experience in a memoir, “Reclaimed,” from which she will read, discuss and answer questions on April 15 at Books and Books in Coral Gables.
Although the idea to write her life story began in 1968, the year she got married; she actually began the process a few years ago when she moved away from Miami to Texas.
“We were married for 23 years. He didn’t die until 2009,” Williams-Gary said.
What began as a “pity party,” has emerged as a memoir she hopes will help other women who might be having a similarly abusive experience to wake up and get the help they need to heal.
“I know intuitively, experientially, factually, many women like myself, well-educated African-American women in high profile positions, married to men who are bullies remain silent. We eat, drink…turn to church, but we hide,” said WilliamsGary.
Williams-Gary said she is now living a happy, joyous and fulfilled life, but she had to heal first.
“The catharsis took place long before I actually wrote the book. I went through a whole cycle of denial, began to abuse alcohol, sought therapy off and on,” Williams-Gary shared. “I did lots of things, finally got to the place where I realized oh, I’m being abused.”
The response from others, she said, was often not helpful and seemed to be part of a “cultural code.” She was advised to, “Girl, just make him pay. Make him do right.”