I took a different route for my morning walk this day. I wasn’t in the mood for it, but Karma stopped me in my tracks anyways.
“What?” I paused my podcast and slowed to a stop, not wanting to be rude but also not really in the mood to be super friendly.
“Isn’t this beautiful?!” she looked me straight in the eyes, then looked out over the ocean as she said, “beautiful.”
“It really is,” I said, following her gaze.
She continued to talk about the beauty of the beach as I stood still, listening, smiling, feeling curious. Something made me do a hard stop and be here with this woman in this moment. Then, right before we parted, I received my gift, the reason I felt the pull to stop and engage.
She looked me in the eyes and said, “You are so beautiful. You have a kind and humble heart, I can tell.”
I placed my left hand on my chest. “Thank you very much.”
And I walked away.
Karma is such a good friend to vibe with.
I let go of so much: Our Toyota 4Runner, most of our furniture, friendships, invisible family strings, and so many more things not worth mentioning here. This process is not easy. But it’s essential for healing and freedom from generational trauma.
I used to stress a lot about the feelings of the family I grew up with in regards to my writing. I say that as if that time is so far away. It’s not! This published blog post is my first real step toward living out purpose in my life regardless of what the family I grew up with has to say. This is new for me. And I’m so happy to be here.
For me it’s crazy to filter my personal life stories through any other lens than my own. Yet this is what multiple people from the family I grew up with demand of me.
The narrative that my stories are shameful to share is now over a decade old.
It began many years ago when Dana, my mother, emailed to tell me how embarrassed she is for me. (At the time, I felt the same way about her. Ironic isn’t it?) Then tensions escalated when Jerry, my brother, threatened to take legal action against me because of my blogging. Now, fast forward to very recently when I received a cease and desist letter for writing this blog you are reading right now.
This is the point where I feel like I need to defend myself. I can hear my Life Coach/therapist in my head saying, “Nope. This is your story to tell and you have every right to tell it.” This is hard for me to believe as true. Throughout my entire adult life I believed what was being communicated to me about me as a young person. Now to be coming out of that generational trauma and to practice believing new, good things about who I am, well, I feel new. I allowed those voices of trauma to dictate my own voice for so long. They almost snuffed me out. Almost.
My saving grace: Counseling, therapy and The Body Keeps Score.
I began faith based counseling during an era where I cried all the time for seemingly no logical reason. Turns out I had a lot of untapped trauma relating to my family, my marriage and the family I grew up with. Shelly, my counselor, introduced me to Caroline Leaf’s work on the brain and helped me start putting up healthy boundaries between me and the family I grew up with. After working with her for a few years I began to seek therapy, specifically EMDR.
As a result, I am happy with who I am today.
And I’m thrilled with who I am becoming.
Most of my life I identified as the black sheep of my family. Being the first born, I fulfilled my duties of pushing every boundary and breaking every rule I felt comfortable with. “Rebellious” is what my behaviour is referred to as in the church. For me, the truth is I wanted what every teenager wants: Love. While Gary, my father, provided more than enough financial stability, he struggled to connect with his kids. (To be fair, it’s really hard to connect with someone who is traveling more than they’re home and who doesn’t pay attention when they finally are home.)
My current era is all about realizing who I am, accepting this as true and then learning to live my life in a way that reflects these inherent truths about myself.
Last week my Life Coach spent some time telling me I am a good person. She said I’ve done everything and more to reconcile with the family I grew up with, I’m not inherently wrong and I am not the problem. In those moments I could choose to believe the mental health expert, or continue to believe the toxic narratives running rent free through my head for so many years.
I realized Mr. Sexy is the only person I can think of who tells me these same things: That I’m a good person. And kind. Humble. Hearing someone else say it, though. It hits different. Like I might actually be a good person. Maybe I do have a beautiful, humble heart.
Very early in our relationship Mr. Sexy would tell me there is so much dirt covering my heart, the essence of who I am, making it difficult to see. He saw through the muck, though. Always does. Whenever I found my newest low, he reminded me of my goodness. I struggled to believe him and understand what goodness he constantly saw in me. Now that I can look back, I can sort of see what he was talking about. He helped me heal by telling me over and over and over that I’m a good person.
So I choose to believe my Life Coach, Mr. Sexy, the Woman from my walk and Source. I no longer entertain the archaic notion that I’m the problem. I most definitely am not. For too long I allowed the broken actions of others control to me. My writing is a perfect example. But I’m taking it all back. I will use my voice even when she shakes. I think I know who I am now. I might even believe in myself.
Healing makes the stuck and broken feel angry. I can say this because I experienced it with every member of the family I grew up with. Who I am is starting to show and it makes some peeps uncomfortable.
The more healing I do, the more of me the world sees.
What a beautiful thing.
The more healing I do, the more layers of dirt come off.
I think I am finally clean.
Well almost. I still need to do some healing work with a therapist. But I think that work will be a lot less about the family I grew up with and more about the family I am creating today.
I don’t have enough words to express how good this move to Long Beach is for my family. A few people will say we ran away from whatever. But really what we did is we made the Great Escape.
You see, we were stuck in that old farmhouse in that little college town. Past traumas followed us around like lost puppies. For instance, every day I walked by the picture covering the hole Mr. Sexy made in the wall. Late at night I could still see he and Evan fighting in the dining room over homework. Everywhere in my world had a trauma attached to it. So we had to leave. We had to get out. We had to attempt an escape.
The very real situation is we were not succeeding in Pullman. We lived a poverty lifestyle and as hard as we tried, we couldn’t find work to pay enough to get us out. On top of that Mr. Sexy started working through his childhood traumas and PTSD from the military and his ex-wife. Things got to such a point that I could see how uncertain Mr. Sexy’s future was. My ideas on mental health have expanded. I have so much more compassion and understanding. So, suffice it to say, is Mr. Sexy didn’t come home one day, I would have understood through my devastation. I thought a lot about Twitch during this time.
This journey to healing is hell on wheels.
I knew we needed to leave that house years ago. But I had no idea how. All I knew was our collective family misery. This sounds ridiculous to share, but I would walk around our Pullman home actively hating it. I didn’t know what else to do some days other than yell at the empty rooms.
We needed a new life.
This is the mindset that lead us, long story short, to Long Beach. And I’m so grateful to be creating a brand new life here.
*Some names are changed to protect those who “would very much like to be excluded from this narrative.”