Last week I celebrated my 35th birthday. I had one of the greatest birthdays I can remember. My family, my husband and his parents made the ordinary Friday into an extraordinary day for me. It was a joy seeing my little boys having fun in the pool and on the water slides at Oceans of Fun.
Absent loved ones cast a bit of shadow during quiet, uneventful moments. My writer’s heart led my pen to paper as I naturally “wrote it out” in my journal. It was then that my faithful worn and tattered journal mirrored back what I was made of spiritually. More than ever, writing deepened my faith that the Spirit will defend me when and if I needed to be defended. It will shower me with truth and honor when I need it most. Passing along pain inflicted onto me will only take away the blessing of becoming a person of substance.
Hurting people hurt other people and I don’t want to keep the cycle going. I am creating a legacy for my children. There is another option, forgiveness. Hurting people can decide to stop hurting others and instead forgive. Sick or mentally ill people should be forgiven immediately and offered help, if done in love and not out of selfish ambition. If defending myself means slandering another, or sharing secrets that are not mine to share, I would only be as low and dirty as those who hurt me. My belief system, which has developed over decades has given me wisdom that I can’t take credit for, grows when mature choices are made. Such as, it’s better to wait until anger has passed before writing for a public journal, book or blog. In memoirs I am only permitted to share my story, my journey and only if it helps the world. Heals it somehow. If I feel wronged, there’s no need to air out dirty laundry. Truth has a way of showing itself.
About two years ago I was offered a book deal and turned it down. I didn’t want to shine. It was a story I had written which started out as a series of journal entries through years of therapy. I was so afraid that if I said yes, if I fulfilled a dream of writing about how I overcame one of my darkest years, that instead of supporting me and being happy for me, I would be thrown out like trash. No one would have suffered, I made sure that no legal action could be taken against anyone in the minor details I would need to share. The story is a positive one about me. My doctor, who has helped me through the thick of it was very encouraging, as were my friends and loved ones. But I was still trying to please everyone. It wasn’t until I realized that nothing I could do would please everyone that I decided I needed to do what was best for my family. It was time to finally enjoy the hard work I had put into getting healthy and strong. So I’m putting together my first book.
After a recent $14,000 hospital stay, subsequent testing, as well as hours upon hours of psychotherapy my son was recently diagnosed with autism, depression, and a severe mental handicap including low IQ. In old-school layman’s terms, he is mildly mentally retarded, although that word is not recognized by the medical community anymore. He does not have Down’s Syndrome which is why we never thought to have him checked for that problem. It was because of his disabilities that I was being cast as a bad mother. It was a deep cut. One that involved lying to try to get my other children taken from me. One that involved a plan to hurt me. I still think some days that I will never get over the pain of being called a bad mom. I have given everything I am to be a good wife, a good daughter and a mother bear protector of my children. I taught them to read and write. My older boys fit flawlessly into the school system when I had health problems and could only homeschool my youngest for about six months. They are amazing children. Taking them from me would be more damaging than a knife to the heart. All three of my boys are equally pieces of me and I need each one to continue to breathe. When my boy was in the hospital after a neighborhood kid had bullied him so bad that he wanted to die, I felt like I was crumbling. And that’s when I was hit the hardest. It was when I needed to prove to myself that I was willing to walk the walk that I talked. Would I seek revenge and blog about it? Would I call out the specific actions that would ruin reputations? Would I safe face? No. That goes against the person I want to be and have worked so hard to become.
What do I do when it hurts so bad? Just the opposite… I will shine. I show the people who love and care about me that I am still the same girl with the heart willing to give you anything. I am going to write my book because it’s what people who love me want for me. It’s my dream come true born from ashes. A beautiful life formed from a nightmare that almost crushed me. I went through hell and I kept it quiet because I needed to be strong, but now is the time. My biggest supporters tell me how I am going to be encouraged through this process and that it will help many people, mostly myself. I learned love, forgiveness, humility, honesty, hope, faithfulness and strength through the process of healing from a horrible event. I didn’t do it alone. I needed community as well. Travelers along my path were instrumental. I needed each person who was brought my way at the time when we came together. If life is allowed to flow naturally, it has a way of making the best out of the worst. I want to share this in a big way. I want to make it a book.
It took a long time and hard work to build this life. 14 years to build upon a reputation of peacefulness, reverence for the Divine and offer complete forgiveness of the most heinous of crimes. Hurting people hurt other people, so when I am hurt I choose to forgive on a daily basis so that I do not hurt others in return. We will all have to answer for how we’ve lived this life and I can look at myself in the mirror each morning with know I have loved and live an honest life. I was not always an easy person to love. There were only a few who were more precious to me than I’ll ever be able to put into words. I learned love through them.
As a young addict I learned to hurt myself in order to escape hatred for who I was. Like other lies, something inside me told me I wasn’t worthy of anything greater that a human trash can. Through faith and kindness of those who loved me I was able to learn how to receive goodness and to pass it along to those who needed it more than me. Which in turn only strengthened my faith. I can recognize hurting people easily because I was the one inflicting my pain onto others for years. It took needles in my arm to numb that level of pain. Yes, I know what it’s like to loathe myself.
Was my birthday difficult without loved ones? Everyone who loves me was a part of the day in one way or another. All one-sided relationships were busted wide open. Although it was cold and thoughtless for “loved ones” to be, well mean for lack of a better word, at such a difficult time, I learned who loved me only for what I could give them. I learned that I made the correct decision when stuck in that hard place I mentioned. My friends and family made the day joyful. With all that has been going on recently I needed it, I needed to see my little boy smile. His recent diagnosis was a real blow to my heart. I needed to be with people who wanted nothing form me other than my company. I needed people who know the real me to send their blessings. And they did. Thank you.