“Good things can happen for people who experience bad things” (11/10)
I have lost so many nights of sleep worrying about both Ava and her cousin. Hoping they are ok. What is really hard about it is that all of this stuff happened to them as little kids. They are still forming their worldview without any sense of security. You can’t spring board from a broken trampoline. It just seems SO hard to overcome from my vantage point. I mean, without a good understanding of what healthy looks like, it’s going to be a challenge to become healthy.
I have witnessed the resilience of kids too often to underestimate them though.
Still, I worry
I have had so many kind voices reach out to me over this blog series (thank you!). One of my favorite quotes has been that “good things can happen for people that experience bad things.” That has been my worry. I am so afraid this trauma runs too deep for these kids. I worry if they will be able to wrestle with it before it spreads. I’m worried that there will be so much hurt and anger that it will attract even more through their lives. It is so comforting to hear from others who have gone through such massive betrayals and still, found their own happiness. What amazing individuals, and for them to take the time to comfort me over this. I’m grateful.
I have been sending all my vibes out to Ava and hope she finds the strength to prevail over betrayal. I hope you’ll send some out to, and find the strength, if needed, to set your world on course.
If I could tell Ava something
It’s that I saw it, it happened. It’s not your fault and it was not fair. There was a lot that was wrong about what happened but NONE of it was caused by you. You can overcome all of these setbacks. This does not define you.
From the pot to the flame
I was on the phone with my dad the other day and he joked that we kind of went from the pot straight into the flame. And yes, we sure did! Everything that lead us to leave Boise ended up coming to fruition in our own yard instead.
I have never, EVER had so much interaction with officers of the law before moving here to our little ‘slice of Paradise’. I now know more things about court processes than I ever cared to. We’ve watched more crimes unfold, first hand, then I’ve ever seen. I have been in non-stop, close proximity with people I thought only existed on fake TV shows. We’ve been threatened, yelled at, sworn at and about and offended. So many times. Every member of my family has been bit and/or chased by aggressive dogs in the place we call home. Until very recently, every day has felt like a hazard. An outright situation to watch out for.
There have been no relaxed deep breaths, just preparing for the next bombardment of uncomfortable anger to be thrown our way. It’s been a far cry from what I thought moving to the country would be like. I expected run-in’s with wildlife, not criminals. But, no, even the wildlife has been run off from this valley. It’s been uncomfortable in every way.
That’s life, there are sweet and tasty layers and there are bitter ugly ones.
Here’s something I learned through it though
I’m a different person than I used to be.
I spoke up.
I have GROWN! That’s what I haven’t felt able to do. It’s no little thing.
It was horrific to go through but I am proud of myself for stepping into the discomfort and trying to make a change.
A few things I’ve learned about trauma
Everyone has it
Trauma is a fact of life. It does not have to be a life sentence. Each brand of it looks different and feels different but no one escapes without some. The only way to get through it is straight down the middle. We have to sit in it, feel our feelings and find our way through them. It’s possible!
Theres no ranking trauma
It all counts. It’s all hard. No one else’s is worse (or better) than yours. There is pressure to minimize and justify it at every turn. “At least it’s not THAT bad.” “It could be so much worse.” “They only do that because it happened to them.” “They just don’t know any better.” Sometimes it sits in the background easily. Sometimes it overtakes us every day. All trauma counts. All trauma needs healing.
Unless you heal it, it’s going to continue
Acknowledge, don’t avoid it. You can’t tiptoe around it forever, you’ve got to come to terms with what happened. Maybe you think you’re fine for a while, maybe you need to feel that for a minute before you dive in. But dive in when you’re ready and heal it so you don’t pass it around instead. It’s not justified to share your pain simply because you hurt. Ask for help if you need to, but don’t wind the ball tighter. Thats not good for anyone. Ignoring trauma isn’t helpful. It’s worth it to strive for understanding and repairing the damage.
Your mental health isn’t just important for you
It ripples through your family, your neighbors, your community, country and the whole world! Your mental health ripples through generations. Take this as your reminder to heal. While horrific, this situation and the others we’ve been experiencing are the outcome of unmaintained mental health. There was a LOT of things that lead here.
In this case, I think it started well before any of these players were born. I’m sad these people were never given the tools to make good life choices. None of us are working with a full deck of cards though. It’s our responsibility to keep an eye on ourselves. There is help. It’s impossible to get through this life without some trauma and it manifests in a whole bunch of ways. Your hurt is justified, but you are not justified in spreading it further. Without extreme effort on your part, you will not be able to break the negative cycles you became a part of, often through no fault of your own. We can and should all make a choice to care about ourselves. To heal and prioritize our own well being.
A friend once told me that you have to love yourself ‘just a little bit more’ than anything else. They are words to live by. If you don’t want to do that for you, then go ahead and do it for your family, your neighbors, your community, country and whole world. But do it. Take care of your mental health!
Damaged people, damage people.