My friends and family are shocked when I reveal that I was only diagnosed with complex PTSD a little over a year ago. It’s surprising because the trauma that ignited my complex PTSD happened over 30 years ago.
My mother was murdered by the hands of her second husband, my step-father, when I was one month into kindergarten. Not only did he kill her with a knife, he did it with three children present in the house. It was pre-meditated, beyond violent, and his “life” sentence came to “term” for the first time when I was a freshman in college.
I was 17 when I started college, meaning my entire ‘adult’ life has been filled with the energy of fear of my mother’s murderer’s release…
While other college students were focusing on developing themselves and finding the place where they fit in the world – I was fighting to do the same. All with the deep, heavy sense of fear. Fear of the devil’s release. Fear of the cycle continuing. Fear of my own death.
After the first parole hearing in 2000, I had five years of ‘breathing room’ until the next hearing.
My incredible family comforted me through constant encouragement, love, and the message – “Don’t worry, everything will be fine. He will be in prison for a long, long, time. Even if a ‘life sentence’ isn’t for his life, he will be an old, decrepit, broken man when he finally is released”…
Fast forward to the summer of 2015. He was released. He was 58 years old. He was trim and looking stronger and healthier than he did when he killed her. 27 years of prison food and access to fitness facilities can do that to a person. How do I know this? I saw his picture. On Facebook.
Fortunately after he was released from prison to a life of parole – he requested to move from Wisconsin to another state in a warmer climate to live with his sister. He was granted that permission.
While he was transitioning from prison in Wisconsin to a life of luxury down south, I was also in transition. I was 32 and had been battling desperately to get and stay pregnant. Infertility in and of itself is hard. Going through repeated failed IUI’s, crazy hormones, and invasive testing was not the ideal while trying to process your mother’s murderer being released from prison.
Few things in my life have been ideal… so I have found methods to CREATE the ideal and transform energy from trauma into triumph. One way that I had developed methods of thriving with childhood trauma was to pour my focus into the thing that excited me the most – school.
It wasn’t just school- it was being a part of a learning community. Being part of a village focused on growth and understanding. This is what fueled me to become a teacher myself.
And not just any teacher… a math teacher. Not because of my deep love for math (though rightfully, after holding a full undergrad in mathematics I now have an intimate relationship with the subject matter), but my love for activating the fullest growth potential in others. And what better subject to help others see their potential than the scariest of them all…. math?
So in July of 2015 my mother’s murderer was officially released from prison… and I survived.
27 years of terror and anxiety in anticipation of the event – and I survived.
This was my third time being given the gift of life. First, when I was born. Second, when I was with my mom as she died… for energy is neither created nor destroyed, so through her death I was also gifted with life.
This third gift of life allowed me to shift into the fear that I had been storing for a lifetime and begin to unpack it. My thoughts were that if I was still living after surviving the lifetime of fear and the culminating release of the devil from prison – well then, I can survive anything. Not only can I survive, I can (and will) THRIVE.
Instead of running away from the fear – I began pushing in. I began to feel the fear transform.
The same energy that fear brings is also felt in an opposite form – excitement.
By transforming fear into excitement, I began to embrace the most precious gift that I have – this life. My mother’s murderer’s release from prison gifted me with another opportunity at life, and I was ready and realizing I was worthy, to embrace it.
After two years of failed infertility treatments. I got pregnant in October 2015 with medical intervention of an IVF procedure and divine intervention of energy transformation and love.
The devil is still out there. But so are the angels.
He is still on Facebook… but now, so am I…
The only person who controls my reality is myself. And my reality is that I transform energy to live a life of vibrant energy and fulfillment. No one can take that gift from me. But I can give it to others…it’s not teaching, it’s empowerment.
Fear kept me small for long enough. Transforming energy, like the energy of fear to excitement… that will keep me full for many lifetimes. Every trauma offers an opportunity for triumph – I am living proof.
Thank you for reading this and being part of my fierce healing journey. This weekend I travel to the home of my childhood trauma to push even further into the fear, into the healing, into the growth. I can do this because of the village of love that has nourished me and that continues to grow. Thank YOU.