Yesterday, I was turning to pull onto the highway and I passed a car sitting on the side of the road. The car was pretty banged up and it was probably 30 years old. The vehicle was full of belongings and there was a man sitting inside looking at a map. My first thought was that he was homeless. My heart sank.
My mind flashed back 7 years. I remember sitting at a rest stop, somewhere between North Carolina and North Dakota, with my one year old son and, then, boyfriend. I looked inside our tiny white car at all of our belongings. It was full of clothes and toys. The car was on its last leg and we weren’t sure how far it would get us. We were trying to figure out the next part of our route.
A month before, we were living in a small rental cabin. I was working full time at minimum wage($7.50) and my, then boyfriend, was doing odd jobs as stable employment for men was lacking! Surprising right? We were on Medicaid, Food Stamps, WIC and unemployment. I always felt ashamed using those programs as I always told myself there was someone out there that needed it more. A family member told us about the growing oil boom in North Dakota and the crazy amount of employment opportunities ND had to offer. Honestly, I couldn’t have even told you where ND was located, unless I was looking at a map. Sad that my fifth grade education failed me…. Anyways, we decided to take a shot and move to ND. We cashed out my recent tax return and packed our stuff into a tiny Suzuki Forenza.
It took us three days to get to 1 of the 5 biggest cities in ND. I remember panicking as we arrived on the industrialist side of town. Full of semi-trucks, oil trucks, campers, and lots of dust. All I could think was “I want to go back. We can’t live here.”
For the 1.5 months, we were essentially homeless. We lived in a “tiny tiny tiny” one room apartment for the first week and a hotel for 4-5 weeks before we were able to secure a rental home just outside of town. At both places we cooked on a little griddle and used the microwave. My boyfriend was able to secure a local job at an oil field company. Luckily, he was getting paid every week because we were down to our last $100.
We finally moved into a farmhouse that we rented, for the next year. It was much bigger then our little cabin and had a big yard for my son to play in. My son had just started to learn to walk when we moved into the farmhouse. When he walked across that big yard, with the beautiful green grass, I couldn’t help but smile and think how lucky we were and that we had made the right choice.
At lot has happened since that day…..
Today, I’m married to an amazing man (not the man I moved here with). We have two children. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree and have a career that I love. We have great support systems. We have a beautiful home and a big yard for our children to play.
I drive my dream car. A car that isn’t on its last leg. A car that isn’t piled high with my belongings. A car that now only holds my most precious cargo.
I hope that man in that car, finds where he is going. I pray that he never gives up hope and keeps moving forward. I pray that he has the support he needs. I pray that he lives a fulfilling life.
Today I had a mom tell me that she relapsed. I held her while she cried. She is a good mom.
Today I had a 14 year old tell me that he did not want to see his mom, but he would do it to keep his six younger siblings safe. He is a good big brother.
Today I had a father tell me that he was worried about his 7 year old and the upcoming interview where she would have to relive her trauma of sexual abuse. He tried so hard to protect her. He is a good dad.
Today, I went home and hugged my children a little tighter.
Before meeting my husband I was convinced and okay with the idea of living my life with just my son and I. Our little world together, it was small but it was abundant.
He was only a toddler when him and I met. He thought the world of him instantly. I was excited and anxious all at once. I didn’t want him to break my heart but more than anything, I didn’t want him to break his heart. His eyes lit up when he walked into the room, and if he was ever not with us Adyn always asked where he was. I began watching my then boyfriend and realized that HIS eyes lit up whenever Adyn walked into the room, he always found ways to include him.
As a single mom you always worry about how you’ll fit into someone’s life. Life as a parent isn’t this perfect puzzle piece. It’s messy, it’s complicated, and it’s a lot. It takes someone so special to fall in love with you and your child. One of the greatest gifts my husband has ever given me is the love he has for Adyn. Our lives have grown exponentially because of this man and I am forever grateful for him. If you’re feeling defeated I get it, I’ve been there. I promise you, you will find someone who deserves you and your child(ren). You will find someone who will be thankful for all you have to offer. They will see you and they will see your little ones. You will find someone who will sleepily lay on the couch with you after a day full of chasing little ones around and they will be happy, happy just to be a part of all of this with you. You will find your person.
This photo is from our wedding and in this moment, as they danced together, I knew, I knew I found someone that despite DNA, despite genetics, loves Adyn. He may not share his eye color and he may not have his nose but he does have his heart. 🦆🐟🦌💙
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences. Repeated studies show that by using EMDR therapy people can experience the benefits of psychotherapy that once took years to make a difference. It is widely assumed that severe emotional pain requires a long time to heal. EMDR therapy shows that the mind can in fact heal from psychological trauma much as the body recovers from physical trauma. When you cut your hand, your body works to close the wound. If a foreign object or repeated injury irritates the wound, it festers and causes pain. Once the block is removed, healing resumes. EMDR therapy demonstrates that a similar sequence of events occurs with mental processes. The brain’s information processing system naturally moves toward mental health. If the system is blocked or imbalanced by the impact of a disturbing event, the emotional wound festers and can cause intense suffering.
I’ve always heard of EMDR but was scared to try it in fear of what would might come up during a session. For so long I felt “talk therapy” was doing the trick. I was able to cope with talk therapy. COPE. After many years of “talk therapy”, many different medications, and many moments where I was ready to give up….I wanted more than just being able to COPE.
I’ve always envied those who could just put their past behind them, accept it, and leave it in the past. Why can’t I do that? Where is the disconnect in my brain that prevents me from accomplishing this task!!? This task has lead me to hating myself. Yes….you did read that correctly…HATING MYSELF.
I don’t know.
I do know that I want to heal, not just cope.
During my EMDR session today, I verbally accepted (finally) that I am, 100%, three things..
1). I AM A GOOD MOTHER
2). I AM A GOOD WIFE
3). I AM GOOD AT MY JOB
Things I haven’t accepted…
1). MYSELF FOR WHO I AM
I would HIGHLY recommend doing research on EMDR so you understand the different tools that are used during a session. I’ve only had two sessions, with many more to come. These sessions are raw. EMDR is raw.
At the end of my second session, it was mutually decided that my journey to self-acceptance was to be placed in my imaginary tackle-box until next time, with a daily task of identifying, calling myself out on the negative self-talk shit, and placing those recognitions in the tackle-box too. (Seriously, look up the tools used during an EMDR session….”box” & “safe place”)