happiness

The story of your life 

I often feel unsettled when I think of the story of my life. It certainly didn’t go as I had dreamed and sometimes I question what I could have done differently to make things better. 

We made it (late) to church today – just in time for the sermon. One of the things the pastor said was you can trust God to write the story of your life   

And that’s it. Faith and trust. That’s what I need to fall back on. Knowing that is happiness. 

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happiness

Pain brings change

There is no reason for someone to change their experience if it’s not painful.

These days before Thanksgiving are difficult ones in our house, Thanksgiving 2011 was effectively the moment our family ended, or as my then 10 year old son called it the night that ended my childhood. It’s brought up to the surface a little more this year as that same source of pain is making life very difficult for us.  What he seems to forget is in his haste to hurt me, he’s hurting the kids. This too is a pain large enough that it will bring about some kind of change. Enough is enough.

The event 6 years ago left me in enough pain both emotionally and physically that I knew something had to change. There were to be so, so many more betrayals and rages to come in the next few years, but this was the moment I knew that if I didn’t find a way out I would die. That’s a motivating factor for change let me tell you.

The pain was strong enough for change again when the kids and I had our finances cut off with a “good luck with the rest of your life” text last year and I finally filed for divorce and had to get a court order for support. That again changed everything about our lives, it also destroyed many memories as more and more lies came out.

Added to the time of the year is the fact that support is so far in arrears that we are having to gear up for another court appearance, or have some other consequence sought out. It kind of sits there like a dull pain. A pain that is calling for change -because things can’t go on as they are.

But here’s the other thing…

I’ve discovered that no matter how badly I want a person who has hurt me to know they’ve hurt me, and while I can maybe get them to acknowledge they hurt me, I can’t make someone care that they hurt me. Decent people with compassionate hearts will care if they hurt someone, but you can’t force someone who has no empathy to care that they hurt you.

But you can change things so that they can’t continue to hurt you.

And why am I talking about this? Especially on a happiness blog?

Because people don’t talk enough about this stuff. They don’t talk about abuse that goes on behind closed doors – and that those doors can be in any neighbourhood, they don’t talk about how difficult and scary it is to get out of, and they certainly don’t talk about the fact that the aftershocks of the trauma last for years.

Am I happier now than I was 6 years ago? You better believe it. I’m happier all the time – I mean there are the occasional bumps on the road, but in general I love this road I’m on. The best part of this road is there’s hope on it. There was no hope before, that was something I started building when the pain got bad enough that I started changing.

So where’s the happiness moment in all of this? There is always a moment of happiness in every situation if you look hard enough. I had to take my son to his therapy appointment today, and as I watched him I realized how far this young man has come, how much he has grown, and how incredibly strong he is.

Because through all the pain, all the change, there has been a constant source of love. The three of us have made a strong triangle based on unconditional love, and at the source, the centre, the creation of that we have connected to the Divine, to God’s love. And that is a gift we found as we changed through the pain. And that is happiness.

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happiness

Something about this house 

We were walking up to the house after school today and the boy stopped part way up the yard, looked up at our house, and said 

There’s something about this house. I don’t know, it’s the leaves and the snow, it’s just….

And the girl said 

It’s just home. This is the first house I’ve ever lived in that feels like home. It is filled with love and I love being home. 

I sometimes wonder if they miss their lives of privilege. They may have had a lot and lived in nice places, but they didn’t feel safe and secure and happy in any of those houses. 

The fact that this home is here for us and is holding us in love is a kind of happiness I have a hard time describing. This is my kids’ childhood- this is where their foundations begin for the adults they will become. 

Thanksgiving is a hard time for the three of us. It is a reminder of a very ugly incident in our family. And we have worked hard ever since to make happier memories to lay over that painful one. 

And moments like this I know we are on the right path, we will be ok, we are healing, we are finding happiness. 

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happiness

Get it together 

I had a mini meltdown today as it was the Mondayest Monday ever. As I was feeling sorry for myself and throwing a good old pity party the boy interrupted me. 

He said mom I’m going to talk to you like you talk to me when I’m like this 

For God’s sake get your shit together. Look around, don’t you see what a great life you have? You look after us, you’re a great mom, you’re dealing with all the support issues, you’re learning new things so you can get a job. You pull us up when we are down. Sorry I’m not all rainbows about this- but that’s not how we are. Get yourself together

Dammit he’s right. Having moments of feeling overwhelmed I think is normal, but remembering to be grateful for all be wonderful things in our lives. Those are the happiness moments. 

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Friends who balance 

I was having a pretty crappy morning – it felt like everything that could go wrong was. 

I got a text from one of my best friends as I was having a personal pity party. This woman is amazing and brave and has lead the way on a path we never thought we’d be on when we met years ago (and were both playing be role of Stepford Wife. Whatever we are now we are much more authentic versions of ourselves). 

She could feel my angst and stopped her world for a few minutes to help calm mine. It’s amazing what a huge difference a little act of kindness can make. Soon I was feeling balanced and peaceful again. It changed the mood of the entire day. I’m so grateful for her, for all of my tribe. We aren’t made to walk through this world alone.  

It’s happiness 

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Fall changes 

It’s still 35C and I’m going to enjoy all that summer has left to offer.  There’s so much smoke that it’s hard to forget how badly we need moisture. 

I got my fall ‘do done today. I have the best stylist and she’s a good friend as well as being amazing at her craft. It’s always fun to catch up with her. And it’s even better to have someone help me feel better on the outside when I’ve been feeling kind of crummy on the inside. It brought me a much needed energy lift, and as an added bonus I had time to do some soul healing reading while I was getting the colour done. 

Both the appointment and the reading reminded me there is only love or fear and I need to choose which path I’ll walk. Timely given that my own personal source of evil has decided to go on the attack again. It’s important I handle it in a healthy way for me and for my kids. 

Here’s the fall look

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happiness

Change the story she tells herself

Probably one of the only good things about getting older is that it means that the angst filled years of being a teenager are getting further and further in my rearview mirror. The more I watch my daughter step onto this phase of life the more this is confirmed for me.

We had a minor tragedy at the mall today. She had been gifted a small sum by her nana to purchase whatever she wanted as a back to school treat- she’d be able to buy some earrings or a sparkly headband – or whatever tickled her fancy. However, somehow on the way from the car to the store the money got lost.

Her reaction was heartbreaking. She started beating herself up – saying how stupid she was, how she didn’t deserve the money in the first place, and how it was all her fault.

None of this is true. This girl is amazing, she’s got this amazing pure heart and will go out of her way time and time again to help out others.

But no matter how many times I told her this she wasn’t hearing it. She was playing the soundtrack over and over in her head that was telling her she had no value and that all bad things that happen is her fault. She burst into tears and said what do you expect me to think? I was told this over and over for all of my life until we left and came home. The aftermath of the chaos of her childhood, it’s hard when one of the people who is supposed to protect you tries instead to destroy you.

I tried telling the story of how amazing I think she is in many different ways, but it was making no difference. We drove to the grocery store and I grabbed some things for supper, then we went to Safeway to get one more thing. She was tired and sad and stayed in the car so I was by myself. As I came out there was a young guy sitting by the door, head down, holding a sign that said homeless- please give – anything helps.  I had $3 in my pocket and I walked over and gave it to him.

But, as I got into my car with my crying daughter, a backseat full of groceries, and prepared to head back to the home we love; I thought of two things:

One was how grateful I was that we had a tribe to pick us up and help us out when we were left with nothing.

The other was how weird it felt to drive home with so much food and leave this poor kid sitting outside with nothing.

So, I said to the girl that we were both going to get out of our funk, she was going to see what the real value of money was, and we were going to get him some supper. We went to Good Earth and got him a panini, a fresh cookie, and some iced tea. We went back to Safeway and both got out of the car and walked the supper to him. Jenna commented after Mom, did you see the look on his face? His eyes were so sad at first, then he looked like he couldn’t believe that we were doing that for him. I feel so different, even my tummy feels different. I’m glad we were able to do something nice for him.

And I reminded her that years ago we used to buy gift cards for food for some of the homeless people in Roanoke. I said this is who you are. This is the kind of heart you have. When you’re telling yourself who you are – this is it. You give to people, you help people, and you love people. Even when you feel like you’ve got nothing to give, there’s always some way you can help someone else. 

And she said yes – that’s true.

That is happiness. A deep, make me cry, love her so much, happiness.

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