Friday, February 22, 2019

I'm not going anywhere.

I have a beautiful life. I have a crazy-smart husband who happens to be the cutest guy I ever met. We have an incredibly intelligent, precocious, quick-witted 13 year old son that fills up a room with his laugh. We built our dream home and selected everything in it: we picked tiles, we added light fixtures, we chose the perfect shade of gray for the walls, we (and by we, I actually mean I) agonized over the countertops. I finally have double ovens I have dreamt about my whole life long. We moved to a back to the city we met in. We have reunited with a lot of old friends, and we've made new ones that feel like family.

We have more than we need. Our refrigerator is never empty and we don't have to worry about where our next meal is coming from. Our house keeps us warm when it's cold out, and we have shelter when it storms.

Before you close this window and roll your eyes thinking this is humble bragging, stay with me for a sec. I have this majestically beautiful life, and yet... it doesn't feel like it's mine. It feels like I'm standing outside of it, watching it happen. I'm a part of it. I'm involved in it. I participate in it. I orchestrate a lot of it. But it's still like it doesn't belong to me or something.

You see, people like me don't have lives like this. People like me don't marry guys like him. People like me don't have great kids like mine. People like me don't end up in homes like this. People like me don't have great friends like mine. People like me just don't have these things.

But when the world goes crazy, then I feel like that life belongs to me. When I have an argument with my husband, that belongs to me. When something horrible happens, that life feels like it's mine. When someone is hurtful to me, I take complete ownership over that. When someone is upset, it must belong to me because surely I caused it.

But when life is good, it's like I'm standing outside it... observing it... like it's a movie & I bought tickets to see my own life. On the outside I'm smiling, but inside I'm wincing.

This is what it is to grow up in trauma. You are crushed by the weight of horror around you, and you can't ever accept the good things that happen to you. This is trauma. And for people like me, there is no "before the trauma". It is hardwired into who I am and how I think and it is a battle every single day to overcome it.

I know trauma. I know depression. I know crippling anxiety. I will likely never be fully healed on this side of heaven. I work overtime cheering everyone else up and making everyone laugh because I never, ever want anyone to feel the way that I do.

I know what is to wake up in the middle of the night in cold sweats from repressed memories. I know what it is to suffer from chronic headaches, migraines, and muscle tension. My doctor says my muscle memory has involuntarily become like a suit of armor--my body literally braces for trauma. When I have a happy day in my beautiful life, my body automatically tightens up waiting for the bottom to fall out because it always did.

I know what it is to be ridiculed and rejected by my own family. I know these things intimately well.

My husband didn't understand it. He tries so hard, but unless you've fully lived it, you can't ever quite fully "get it".

I used to tell him to leave me and find someone more in his league; someone worth having. I told him this for years. I used to tell him "people like me don't end up with people like you." He would always say "I have no idea what you're talking about, but I'm not going anywhere."

It took me years to accept that, let alone believe it.

For years, I've wanted more kids. We tried everything short of IVF to make that happen. My body failed me again; I have stage 4 endometriosis and I've had multiple procedures just to remedy the pain.

We could not pursue adoption for years as my husband was not an American citizen.

I wanted to bring a child into the world that people were excited about. We got pregnant very young and we weren't married AND we lived in the bible belt. HELLO, SCARLET LETTER. We lost friends. We were whispered about. And we were told we were stupid for letting this ruin our lives. Let me tell you that my son is a miracle. He is amazing. And never will I ever stand for anyone ever telling me that he ruined anything.

Every kid should have parents who fiercely believes in them.

Every kid should have a mama who kisses and bandages boo-boos.

Every kid should have a sibling who protects them from the bullies.

Every little girl should get to dance on her daddy's feet.

Every kid deserves a warm bed.

Every kid deserves an identity, a family that gives them roots and wings.

Every kid deserves to be celebrated on their birthday, for big accomplishments, or just because they breathe.

Every kid deserves to grow up free from depression, anxiety, and pain that trauma brings.

Every kid deserves peace.

Every kid deserves parents who say "I'm not going anywhere."

Mostly, every kid deserves love.

My husband, myself, and our son want to be that for a kid out there who doesn't have these things. We are actively pursuing adoption from foster care.

In my picture of having another child that people were excited about, I pictured smiling at my husband because we had the sneaky little secret that I was pregnant again. I pictured decorating a nursery. I pictured going to ultrasound appointments together.

And this? This feels better than any of that. This sneaky secret felt exactly the same as a pregnancy, but giving an abandoned, rejected, or even traumatized child a safe place to belong? That is so indescribable a feeling. I am praying for this child to know they are chosen, they are loved, and they are mine; like my husband used to put it, we may not understand what this kid has been through, but we're not going anywhere.

We invite you to pray for us on our journey and pour buckets of love on this kiddo when they arrive. He/she deserves that!

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