I will never forget 2017 – or for me, the year I never expected to live.
My mother was violently murdered in the middle of the night while I lay sleeping in the room next door. It was 1987, I had just started Kindergarten one month earlier. She was only 33 years old.
Somewhere in all of the trauma of the event and in the survival of a determined child with an amazing village of love around her – I set goals. A LOT of goals.
Losing my mom one month into Kindergarten, led me to tie my identity, success, and survival to education. In fact, one of the only ‘good’ memories that I have of my mother is her pride in me starting 5-year-old Kindergarten at 4-years-old. She loved that I was ‘smart’ and good at doing the whole school thing.
This led to many goals around education. From me wanting to be a teacher – literally every year I progressed in school, I wanted to teach that grade level – to declaring that I would earn my PhD by 30-years-old. (I taught and more for 13 years, but did not end up with the title of ‘Doctor’ yet… however- a M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction and an Ed.S in Administrative Leadership by 31 is quite the accomplishent.)
I had mapped out my life and created goals that were going to be markers and measures of success. This was how I, as a traumatized child, transformed energy. And for that, I am astounded at the resilience of a child and the potential of transformation.
A current transformation is my goal to write my healing story.
You see, just as I told myself a story that my success was tied to education and goals. I told myself a story that I was just like my mother.
As I grew from a Kindergartener into a tween and beyond, everyone who knew my mom when she was alive, reminded me how I looked, acted, and basically was – my mom. I don’t think it ever occurred to any of those loving, supportive friends and family members that- being reminded of how I “was my mom,” was extremely painful and terrifying for me.
I know now as an in-process-of-healing adult, that me looking like my mom was terribly painful for those who loved and lost her. As a child, I could sense the pain that I caused others, especially my maternal grandmother… I internalized that pain as not only part of who I was, but what I deserved – pain, loss, sadness, terror.
From my perspective – it was my destiny that I “was my mom” and therefore I would end up like my mom. Dead at 33-years-old. A victim of a lifetime of trauma with a violent, early ending. This is the story that I wrote as a child and lived for 28 years…
So when I turned 34, I was not ready. I also wasn’t ready for the 45th president to be elected – and that happened the same week I turned 34 – but that is a fun story for another blog….
Since it is December 31, 2017 and I am THIRTY-FIVE and still alive (love the random rhyme!), it’s time to write a new story. It’s time to set some new goals.
2018 is the year I am going to learn about this new life. This new story I am writing. The new goals (like the school that I am going to build and direct) that I am creating.
Follow me on this story of fierce healing, learning, and striving to live joyously. I’ll be posting blogs each week on mamasmomentum.com to write my story, as well as leading Empower Your Life – Vision Board Retreats to guide others in writing theirs. Updates and more available on https://www.facebook.com/MamasMomentum/ and follow me on Instagram @MamasMomentum. To get on my email list for upcoming retreats – sign up here.
Greetings 2018 – I’m excited to see what you transform.