From Trauma To Strength To Hope

The writing prompt for today is “Has anything traumatic ever happened to you?”  I am supposed to go on and describe the events.  You know what?  I don’t want to .

I have touched on my past in other posts.  I had a rough childhood.  Mostly due to the jerkfaced blokes I went to school with.  Like a band of rabid bats, they followed me from grade school to junior high and right on into high school.  I was too tall, too white, too “slutty”, too dumb, too blonde.  No matter what I did to try to fit in, it made it worse.  Putting on a smile and a little lip gloss helped nothing.

I HAD to become funny, self deprecating, a parody, an intentional flop.  I had to do it to survive.  It was that or become a headline of Columbine proportions.  I guess I could have run off to Hollywood and made my soul selling complete.  Thank You God, for not letting me do any of those things.   Thank You even more for not letting me get myself killed in all of that mess.

Even though the trials were terrible, I appreciate them.  Would I want to do them all over again?  NO!  There were many days that I felt my heart and soul could not take one more harsh word or condescending glance.  But now, NOW, I am the woman I want to be.  I am strong.  I am full of life.  I love majestically.  Would I trade that for anything?  NO!

To any young person going through the fire I would say this:  IT ENDS.  It doesn’t last forever.  Oh, and who gives a RIP about what some snot nosed, clueless, kids think?  They don’t think about you at all.  While you go home and burn for hours over things they said, they eat their dinner, do their homework, and sleep ever so peacefully.  I wish I had known all this then.  I never see them.  I never HAVE to see them.  I don’t go to reunions.  I don’t harbor hate for them.  If I were to see someone from high school and they were repentant, that would be awesome!  The harsh truth is, they don’t even remember me.  So, I keep calm and carry on.

My hope for my children is that they will never EVER be a bully.  My hope is that if they are ever a target of a bully they know they can stand up for themselves.  No child is worthless.  No one has the right to tell them they are worthless.

You, reader, are not worthless.  You are important.  You have a purpose.  You have a story.

Live to tell it.


Foolish Things We Tell Our Kids: Part II

“Do whatever makes you happy.” “The goal of life is happiness.”  Or “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”  Use any phrase you want that communicates the premise that every decision in ones life  should be based on some sort of happiness-ometer.  I feel it’s one of the most harmful things we tell our kids.  Modeling it for them is even worse.

Making life decisions based on a certain level of happiness is a sure way to wreak havoc on everything you hold dear.  Donuts, brownies and cake make me ever so happy.  I should just eat them.  What?  That’s ridiculous, you say.  Show a little restraint.  Use your noggin!  1+2= Donuts are bad for you!  Well, I never.  THAT doesn’t make ME happy.

The pastor of our church does a little (okay, a LOT of) marriage counseling on the side.  He says you cannot imagine how many people say they want a divorce because they just “are not happy” with the other person.  Sometimes, just sometimes, I’m not happy with my dog.  Most times, I’m not happy with my house.  A lot of the time I am not happy about a lot of things.  Not only should I avoid making decisions at those times, I should probably tie myself to a chair for an hour or two.  Ask anyone you know who left a marriage due to a lack of happiness why they didn’t show the same restraint that I am REQUIRED to show when it comes to my donut. ( Cue crickets chirping in distance.)  We always stick by our children no matter what.  Always.  They are our flesh and blood.  So what does it say to them when we toss aside the one we made them with?  No matter how we try to gloss it over, no matter how many times we convince ourselves that it was for our good and theirs, it rarely turns out that way.

Children are led astray by so many outside influences.  Let’s minimize the pressure they feel to be super awesome by not filling them full of feel good nonsense.  Let’s not tell them that the big things in life can be reduced to snap decisions.  Mommy and Daddy splitting up because they were not “happy” will set a precedent in their lives that they may never overcome. (Hear me out. I’m not talking about marriages where beatings, mental abuse, affairs, or inappropriate behavior toward children is going on.  I’m talking about those that break up over trivial reasons.  Like, a better option came along.  Get my drift?)  Teaching them to seek their “happy” will do nothing but make them a quitter.  If the job doesn’t make them happy-quit, and so on  You’re super smart, I know you follow.  Doing everything that makes one happy will also lead to a life based in utter selfishness.  In this day and age a little more selflessness is what’s needed.

Once upon a time, I was married to Jacob’s dad.  The marriage is a bad example to use, because it was doomed from the start.   But it is a perfect way to illustrate the “happiness” fallacy.  I was very unhappy.  VERY.  The list I could go into would be a mile long.  I didn’t just GET unhappy, I was miserable.  We separated, and I followed my happy into the arms of another man.   The excitement, wonder, and magic lasted all of about 6 months, then I was unhappy again.  I was free of one mess, and tangled up in another.  The guy was not interested in any future with me, he just wanted to play house for awhile with a pretend wife and child.  I praise God every day that Jacob doesn’t remember anything about him.  Unfortunately,  Jacob suffered lasting effects because of my stupid decisions. He has felt out of place and rejected by his dad for most of his life.  For years when I was asked why my first husband and I split up, I would answer, “I just wasn’t happy.”  Would things have been different if I had been following God with all my heart at that time in my life?  Yes.  No doubt.  If Jacob’s dad had been on that same path, it would have made a huge difference.  It is what it is.  Now I know better, so I am doing better in my marriage to Jon.  I think the attitude of a lot a people in second marriages that they will fail at another marriage over their dead body.  They know what following their fairy tale gets them.  It’s a shell game, the hands whip around and you choose the one with the “magic” underneath.  Too bad the magic is always some sort of shriveled up nut.

If you know our situation, you know that I have had plenty of reasons to be unhappy enough to leave my marriage.  What stops me is love.  Love for my Creator, my husband and my family.  Not my happy.  No way.  I lived the first 26 years of my life chasing that dragon.  You may say, “Well love is the same as happy.  Love is a feeling!”.  Maybe for you.  For me, love is not a feeling.  Love is a devotion.  I devote myself to it completely.  Love is an act of my will.  Love is a decision I make every day.  I protect it.  If anyone or anything threatens it, I fight.  My fight, my perseverance and my hope are the best gifts I can give to my children.

That makes me happy.

If You Think It’s Righteous Anger…You’re Probably Wrong.

If you read some of my posts from a few weeks ago, you’ll notice that I completely fell apart for a minute.  I was so soured to blogging, tweeting and anything to do with social media, I wanted to puke.  I have come around a little bit.  Now that I have a clear vision for what I want to use the blog for, I feel a little more free.  This blog is mine.  It’s all me.  Every so often, if I feel I am starting to slip into glossy blogness, I have to rein it in.  Much past my faith, my family, and my crafts, I begin to venture into the gloss.  No thanks.

I follow several glossy blogs, and they don’t need me mucking up the waters.  At the end of the day, I gotta be me.

So now I will share the story of what happened so that my ten readers can judge me harshly.  Go ahead.  I deserve it.  I handled it in a really bad, bad way.

Back when I was on Twitter under my old moniker WApharmgirl I was a bit of a lurker, a creep as it were. (Not to EVERYONE!  CALM DOWN)  There was a person I was following that was having a baby, and I didn’t want to be all in her face everyday with “How are you feeling?”  “How are you doing”  “Hey, I wish I was there so I could help you more.”  It was perfectly easy to just pop over and read her tweets, see that everything was a-okay, and carry on with my day.  If something bad was happening, I could tweet a short comment and then, again, carry on.   If that seems weird to you, then it probably is. It was all innocent, I swear!  As I have mentioned before, I am an excited oaf when it comes to babies, pregnancies, and pregnancy related stuff.  The day I am no longer excited about any of it is the day I know for sure that I am done having kids.

Well one evening, I was on Twitter catching up on all my tweets.  In my little feed thingy was a tweet that made me pause.  It was from this person, directed @ another person. The conversation appeared to be about another dear friend of mine.  Thinking I was clearly mistaken, I read her tweets and my gut began to burn.  That drove me to look at what else was being said about the “situation”.  I read everything I could from several different angles and I. Was. So. Mad.  No, I was angry.  Really angry.  Like How-Dare-She! Fired up.  And it kept going and going and going.

What made me so upset was  knowing how hurt my good friend would be if she had heard any of this stuff.  Here is where I messed up royally.  I should have dropped right into that conversation and said what a load of garbage it was.  What I did was this:  I texted my friend in a rage and told her everything that was going on.  Yep, I ended up being the one who hurt her with that information.  I even said something to the effect that I probably should not be talking about it because I was going to say something stupid in my anger.  Captain Obvious flies again!   In that heated moment, I rationalized telling her everything because she NEEDED to know that this other person was NOT a good friend.  I felt righteous in my anger.  I felt justified in gossiping.  I was not.

I SHOULD have handled it so much better.  It’s bothered me ever since.  Mostly because a close friend is hurting from a rift in a friendship.  A rift that I tore open with my bare hands.  Some days I feel that I should have just minded my own business. (The truth has a funny way of coming to light without my help.)  Other days, I feel like it needed to happen, that she deserved to know.  In the end, I just looked like a gossiping boob.   I just hope that this person learned from it and will honor her friendships a little better in the future.

I learned that people are not perfect.  Again.  How many times do I have to learn this lesson?  I think what added to my own hurt was that I admired this person.  I really did not expect anything like that. I felt just as betrayed and stupid.  It knocked down my faith in humanity a couple of notches.

I have learned that when another situation like this arises, I need to take a time out and weigh the situation more carefully before I respond.  I do not like the person I was that day.