The Best Words

Today, one of my kids at work said the best thing to me.

I’m the homework teacher. Which means that on any given day I help 18+ kids with their homework. At the same time. It’s a non-stop barrage of “Miss Laura, I need help”, “Miss Laura, I don’t understand this”, “Miss Laura, I was next” and “Miss Laura, it’s too loud”, naturally all being yelled across the room at the same time.

But I love it. I love watching the kids learn, and helping them see what they are capable of. I love that they know that they can turn to me with their problems, and not just their homework problems. Most days, it just fills my heart.

But some days. Oh, some days.

Some days, the kids who have finished their homework can’t seem to stay quiet so the other kids can keep working, and there are a few kids who are just at each other’s throats, and someone just has to have my attention right now, and BLARG!

And today was a little bit of that. Nothing too bad though, thankfully. But there is this one little girl, M. I love her to pieces. She is in 4th grade and super smart, but also super distractable. She is in advanced placement classes, but she gets lost in her own head (yes, she has ADD) and just can never seem to focus. She has good days and bad days and man, today was a bad day. We would be working on a problem together and she would drift off while we were talking.

And I just felt that I was failing her. I knew she had homework in three subjects, and that she needed to make a significant dent in it if she wanted to avoid getting in trouble at home, but I just couldn’t get her to focus. I was getting frustrated and I wasn’t doing a very good job of hiding it, and it was finally time for me to close my room so she asked to pack her backpack back up. I told her she could, because she wasn’t going to get any more work done and that I had to leave anyway. But after she finished, she came up to me and said, ” Thank you for doing all you could to help me Miss Laura.”

It just kind of made me stop.

I had felt myself starting to go over the my time with her in my head, wondering what I could have done different, what I should have done. What the ‘right thing’ was, because I felt that I had failed. I was starting to beat myself up because I felt that I couldn’t help this wonderful little girl, and yet she still appreciated that I took the time to try.

I went over to her and put my hand on her head and said “Thank you for saying that. That really means a lot. I was just getting frustrated because I felt like I was failing you because I couldn’t get you to focus.”

And she looked at me and nodded. She went over to get something she left at a table and said, very matter-of-factly, as if that’s-just-how-the-world-works “But not focusing is my issue, not yours”

This little girl gave me a life lesson in a 2 minute conversation. Because that is how the world works. I’m not responsible for her actions, only my efforts.

I don’t know if she will ever know how much I will cherish her words.

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Inside Out

“The structural decision to do without a villain, and ultimately to do without one of the easiest elements to make entertaining and marketable, means that the process Riley is undergoing — adolescence — is visualized as … normal. Her mind is not a space that’s been invaded by something that must be driven out, but a new environment to be mastered. And if other kids’ stories are there to teach kids how to be brave when they see witches and giants, Inside Out is there, maybe, to teach them how to be brave when there’s no witch and no giant, but things can feel broken anyway.”

Linda Holmes, NPR

Today, Robby and I saw Inside Out. If you haven’t seen it, go see it.

Seriously.

I’ll wait.

.

.

.

So, assuming that you watched it, I’m now going to talk about it, so if you haven’t seen it, go see it now, cause otherwise I’m going to blow the plot for you.

*Spoilers*

In the movie, a young pre-teen girl (Riley) starts to realize that her days aren’t just filled with joy any more. That she is growing up. But her mom–in an off-hand manner–asks her to keep being her ‘happy little girl’. So when Riley starts struggling, she begins to hide it, and that’s when her emotions get out of whack.

Sound familiar to anyone?

Through all sorts of adventures by her little inner-emotion cartoons, Riley starts to lose parts of who she used to be. When those pieces of herself start to be lost, she stops being goofy, she withdraws from her parents, she cuts off her friends, and she abandons the sport she has loved her whole life. In a desperate attempt to try and find herself again, she decides to run away, back to a place where she was happy.

Through all of this, Joy has been desperately trying to keep Sadness at bay, to keep Riley from being sad, but Riley is so mixed up that she ends up not being able to feel anything.

She goes numb.

Until Sadness steps in.

When she was a child, Joy had always been able to cheer Riley up, but she can’t go from feeling numb to feeling joyful. She has to feel the sadness. The pain.

Because it’s part of life. It’s normal.

It’s not fun, but it’s normal. And as she realizes that the different emotions can mix and form new emotions, Riley rebuilds the pieces of herself.

Riley’s Personality Islands at the beginning of the movie

To be honest, I cried a lot during this movie. I remember those days of joy as a kid, and I remember feeling my world fall to pieces. And going numb. Except that I was numb for years. I didn’t get to rebuild thepieces of myself right away like Riley did. I didn’t start learning about those ‘new emotions’ until I was in my twenties.

And seeing the childhood that most people had, the emotions that they went through just hurt so much. Because it’s not fair. It’s not fair what I lost, what I missed. My personality ‘islands’ broke and I was just blank for years.

Riley’s Personality Islands falling apart

My ‘Friendship Island’ turned into ‘Distrustful Island’. I shut down my ‘Athletic Island’ because people kept making fun of me whenever I would do anything athletic. And my “Girlie Island’ was completely buried under self-loathing and fear of attention. I used to love to wear pretty dresses and jewelry, and having my make-up put on for dance recitals was so much fun, but once that island broke, I ran from all of that. I couldn’t bring myself to be a little girl anymore. I hid behind baggy boys clothes in dark colors. Nothing bright, nothing that would draw attention.

And I want to open those islands back up. I don’t necessarily want to dance on a stage like I did when I was 5, but I’d like to have the confidence to take a Zumba class now and then, because I genuinely enjoy it. I don’t want to be so afraid of ridicule that I don’t go to the gym on the off-chance that other people will be

Riley’s re-built personality islands at the end of the movie

there. And I’d love to be girlie sometimes. Maybe wear a pretty hair clip. I’ve always wanted to dye streaks of color, like blue or purple, into my hair, but I’ve never had the courage to do it, because it draws attention, and that’s something I am so afraid of.

I know that life isn’t all Joy, and that’s okay. I just want to rebuild myself.

Little ‘T’ Trauma

Lori and I have been talking about my need to protect myself for the last few weeks, and my view on why I feel the need to protect myself, and she thinks that I am suffering from something called “Little ‘T’ (t) Trauma”.

Big T trauma (Trauma) is a horrific event. A person who is gang raped, someone who survived the 9/11 attacks, being in war. Something that would be horrifying to anyone. Something that you would expect anyone to get counseling for.

Little T trauma (trauma) is an ongoing scarring event. Being bullied your entire childhood, an overly critical parent, living in a household with an alcoholic or addict. Something that causes your reactions to become ingrained overtime into the very nature of you, so much so that you don’t even realize that you’re different.

Lori thinks–and it makes sense now that I look at it–that the extreme bullying and ostracization I experienced from 2nd grade on developed into a case of Little T trauma and I have never really recovered from it. It’s why sharing things about myself makes me feel vulnerable and unsafe. Why I don’t like to talk about myself, especially my struggles. Why I always feel as though I have to keep everyone at arms length and even have a hard time opening up to my husband and my family. Why I can’t for the life of me ask for help even when I know someone is treating me in a damaging way. Why I have this overwhelming fear of telling people what I need. Why I am terrified of showing any kind of weakness or flaw, because a part of me is just waiting for someone to turn that against me.

And I always thought that the kids who turned on me just liked him better. I thought they looked at my story (the truth: he abused me) and his story (the lie: I made up the story that he abused me to get him into trouble because I was ‘mad at him’ for him ‘breaking up’ with me in 1st grade) and just decided to take his side.

I thought it was a normal kid argument. You see it all the time: Kid A and Kid B argue, A says one thing, B says the opposite. The class takes sides. A few days (or hours) later, it’s all over and everyone is friends again.

But they never got over it.

They never decided to be my friends again.

I kept thinking ‘maybe this is the day they’ll be my friends’. Maybe this time they’ll include me. Maybe this time they won’t tease me. Maybe this time I won’t be the brunt of the joke. Maybe this time when I trust them, they won’t torture me. Maybe this time, maybe this time.

But this time never came.

Ever.

And I could never figure out why. I didn’t make sense. And I kept trying. For years. I know it sounds pathetic, but I just kept thinking that somehow, someday, I would discover the right thing to do, to say, something, anything to make it all go away. But it just never happened. They were always against me. It never got better, I just moved away.

And as I talked to Lori and told her that I could tie the bullying to the very day that I came to school and the kids had all turned against me because they believed him, she pointed out something I had never realized before. They only ever heard the lie.

After I told my parents what he had done to me, they held me out of school for a day. From what I know, they contacted the school and he was sent to a counseling session. I can clearly remember being terrified to go back to school. I didn’t want to face him. I didn’t want to face anyone. They were all going to judge me. I was convinced everyone would hate me. I know he had told me that everyone would hate me if I told, but my parents didn’t hate me, so I don’t know why I was so scared to go back to school, but man was I scared. I don’t remember if they kept me out a second day, or just part of a day, or what, but I remember them telling me that I didn’t have to tell anyone why I wasn’t there or what had happened. That it was nobody’s business but mine, and they didn’t need to know. That the teacher’s weren’t going to tell the students, and that he shouldn’t tell anyone either, so there was no reason to be scared to go back to school. So I went. But the moment I walked into the classroom, everything was different. I could feel the difference in the room, and I remember seeing the kids across the room whispering together and I immediately felt afraid. The girl–who until that day was my best friend–came up to me and said (in an extremely superior and condescending voice) “He told us what you did” and swear I could feel the world drop from under my feet. What I did?

What I did?! I had never been more confused in my life.

I asked her what she meant and that was when she told me. That he has told everyone that I made up the story that he had abused me just to get even with him because he had broken up with me the year before. I tried to tell her that I didn’t make up anything, but she didn’t believe me. She walked away and I remember standing there at my little yellow locker, just fighting down the panic and the sorrow.

I always figured that somehow the truth had gotten out and he had panicked and tried to counter it with the lie he told, and they chose him and the lie. But, as Lori pointed out, they probably never heard the truth. Other than that one little girl, I never talked to anyone. They never heard the truth. So, to them, his lie was fact. In the minds of all those kids, I was a vicious liar just trying to hurt their friend. I hate that anyone could think that I was capable of purposely hurting someone. Because the exact opposite is true. He hurt me. I was just trying to get help. It feels like he was punishing me for trying to get help.

And he didn’t even need to tell that lie. No one would have known why he was pulled out of school. There was no reason to do that other than to be malicious. He went to everyone before I was even back at school and told this giant lie just to purposefully hurt me. How can someone be that evil? I can accept that the abuse was a reaction to him being abused, but telling that lie was more damaging to me than anything else, and that was just done out of spite.

He cost me my childhood. I didn’t have a childhood, I barely survived it. And I can never get that back. And I just have to keep trying to heal, trying to recover from what he did to me. And it’s just so unfair because there is no justice. I never did anything wrong and I am left to pay the consequences. I am suffering. I have to work to heal, fight to heal, pay to heal. My life has been damaged, broken, and all I can do is live with it. More than anything, I just want justice and I feel like I will never get it.

Because I’m still living in this trauma. Still expecting everyone to be against me. Still feeling like it’s not safe to trust anyone, because the second I do, they’re going to turn on me. And legally there is no way to get justice. It’s past the statute of limitations. It doesn’t matter that he sexually abused me, it’s been too long. And in any case, there is no documentation because no case was ever opened (which makes me wonder if the school believed him). And I highly doubt there would be a way to get justice for the bullying that was caused because of his lie, even if I had reported it at the time. I hate knowing that he did these horrible things to me and got away with them.

I hate that the more I understand what happened to me the more broken I feel.

 

Too Broken

In my EMDR session last week we were talking about how I have such a low opinion of myself. I’m always expecting that I’m going to fail, that I’m not going to be strong enough. That no matter what, I’m not going to be good enough. Lori and I were talking, and somehow I’ve gotten it into my head that I am weak. That I am “broken beyond repair”.

And that is a horrible thing to think about yourself.

I used to always have this mentality that I could get through anything, because I never let anything penetrate my emotions. Because, to be honest, I didn’t really have emotions. My range was from happy to annoyed, and I didn’t feel anything outside that range. I didn’t live in the world, but I could handle anything. I always knew that I could handle anything. I wasn’t truly happy either, so I decided on things I wanted for myself and measured my ‘happiness’ by if I achieved those goals. I might be terrified and have panic attacks, but no matter what, I got through it. I did what I set out to do.

When I met Rob and started therapy, I accepted the fact that I was opening myself up to a wider range of emotions, and (I felt) by doing so that I was exposing myself. Making myself vulnerable. All of a sudden I was having to learn how to deal with emotions that I had never dealt with. Emotions that most people learn when they are 7, that I had ‘stuffed’ for almost 14 years. It was overwhelming, terrifying, and exhausting. I started to actually have relationships and experience true happiness, but I felt so fragile. I felt as though I couldn’t handle anything. I had (willingly) gone from blocking my emotions and being able to take on the world, to opening this Pandora’s Box of feelings and feeling steamrolled by life.

I started to (sort of) get life under control (until, that is, the PTSD got out of control, so I guess my life never really was in control) and then started EMDR and–again–willingly pried my emotional range even wider. I willingly entered into a therapy where I strip myself to my core on a weekly basis. I know it’s necessary, but oh, Lord, it is so hard. And I haven’t felt strong the entire time I’ve been in therapy. There have been times (like when I took a break for the summer) when I have seen how far I have come, but I have felt like a bundle of emotions tied together with tears during this whole process.

And to realize now that that I expect myself to always be broken. To feel like I’m never going to feel ‘healed’, is just horrible. Before I started any treatment, I didn’t care. That was how life was, and wasn’t going to change, so why think about it. Now, I have fought for so long and all I want is to be healed. But I really don’t believe that I ever will be. I’m too broken.

And now I’m dealing with some health issues that I don’t want to be facing, and the house is a mess, and with this realization it just all feels like too much. I just want to hide and cry. I just want things to get better. I just want to not be broken.

Worth The Fight

If you couldn’t tell by my recent writing, Rob and I are really struggling. And we’ve both been coping (or rather not coping) in our own ways.

I cope either by eating everything in sight, or by not eating at all. There have been times when things were so bad that I only ate about 1 meal a day. I once lost about 15lbs in 2 weeks. It’s not a good way to cope. But it keeps me sane(-ish). My other brilliant coping mechanism is to either wallow or shove my feelings aside. For the past few months, I’ve been shoving and now I’ve gotten to the wallowing part. Basically, I cry, watch TV, and do nothing other than write, cry, and watch TV with occasional spurts of manic cleaning. Again, not the healthiest, but I’m still here, I’ve made it through every rough patch and I don’t see why I won’t make it through any future rough patches. It might not be the healthiest way to handle things, but it seems to work for me.

Rob used to cope with things by doing very destructive things. Drinking, smoking, etc. Basically any vice you could think of is what he would tun to. But over the years he’s moved away from destructive habits. There would be times when he was struggling and he would buy a can of dip, or backslide in some other way, but he has done so well the last several years, and I am so proud of him. But he is struggling more right now than he has in a long time.

Today, he was talking to me about how he’s been backsliding into one of his less-destructive habits: overspending. We have a pretty strict budget, and part of that is our weekly ‘mad money’–cash that we can spend on fast food or any other splurge items that we want. We withdraw a certain amount, and once your share is gone, it’s gone. But for the past few nights, Rob has been buying food that he didn’t have the cash for and just been putting it on the card instead of only buying what he could afford. I was a bit freaked out at first. This used to lead to bigger and bigger spending, and more and more destructive habits, until he swung manic.

But then he talked to me about how since he doesn’t want to fall back to even worse habits (he had considered buying dip and cigarettes) he is just sort of accepting the fact that he will overspend a little as a coping mechanism. He said he didn’t want to freak me out by talking about the things he was thinking about, that he didn’t have a plan to ‘misbehave’, he just knew what he was prone to and wanted to think through every possibility. So we talked about our different ways of coping, and we both agreed that neither of us have that great of coping skills. We also agreed that being aware that we are struggling is more than half the battle. He’s going to get in touch with his therapist on Monday and we have a couple’s appointment on Friday, and until then we are just going to cope as best as we can and be there for each other.

I was so glad that Rob was willing to talk to me, and I told him that. How only a year ago he would have just shut me out. And what he said back to me really made me stop. He said he was glad that he felt he could talk to me, because before with the PTSD he felt as though he had to watch what he said because he was never sure how I would react. And when I stopped to think about it, I realized he was right. I really did get confused sometimes, and sometimes I did really overreact. Granted, sometimes my responses were completely warranted, but looking back I can see where it would be disorienting to try and figure out who would be responding, me or the PTSD. In a way, it must have been like me trying to figure out if I was dealing with Robby, manic Robby, or depressed Robby. And I had never realized that before.

So I thanked him for being willing to work with me even when I had the PTSD, because he was willing. He was always willing. And I am so glad (and so is he) that I started EMDR. It’s been a long, hard fight, but so worth it.

My Post Secrets

Few people know I was abused.

Fewer know that almost everyone believed his story that I was lying, causing me to lose all my friends.

Hardly anyone knows that I’m writing a book about the abuse, the lies, the bullying, and my recovery.

No one knows that I’m scared to try and find a publisher for my book because I’m afraid people will still believe his story.

And I’m a little afraid of what that says about my recovery.

Losing Myself

I hate feeling like I’m losing myself.

I used to be able to process things and work through them, now I have to shove them aside so that I don’t burst into tears. Then I come home and burst into tears. I’m not able to remain in control like I used to. I don’t have the confidence or the surety that I once had, and I hate that I’ve lost that. I know that it’s temporary, but in a way, it’s worse to know that I had it and now it’s (temporarily) gone. I feel as though I’ve become helpless. I know I used to be worse, but I never had a ‘better’ to compare it to. I never knew what I was missing.

And now I do, so while I’m trying to hold it together and make myself work through the situation, I also feel as if the former, stronger, part of me is trying to hold on but is slipping and can’t figure out why. It’s like losing the ability to do something you could always do. I’m losing that part of me that made me feel free. And that scares me more than I can put words to. And I hate that after all the work I have put in, it’s already slipping away. That I’m already slipping away. I’m so heartbroken.

I know this can be fixed, and that in time it will be fixed, but it’s just so hard. And I’m so tired of it being hard. I knew there would be some regression, but I didn’t think it would be this drastic, that it would hurt this much.

Facing the Fears

I need to stop avoiding. I’ve been super busy lately, and I think I’ve been using it as an excuse to avoid facing my feelings. I know facing them makes life so much better (not always easier, but better), but it is just so hard.

Sometimes I am afraid of what I will see. What I will learn about myself. Because what I learn could completely throw me. To be honest, there are still some questions I have written down that I’m  not ready to ask myself, because I’m just not ready for what I might see in the answer.

But I can’t avoid everything I’m feeling. I know that not every answer is going to be so hard to face. I know that some answers will bring relief. But I have seen so many things on my journey that have torn at my soul and ripped at my heart, that it is so hard to face the questions, even if they might be easy.

But I know that if I ignore the questions and the feelings and just let them fester that they will become a void that threatens to swallow my life. And I don’t want to go through that again.

I don’t want that.

It’s strange to realize (and I didn’t realize until right now) that I am more scared of having my life taken over by the PTSD than I am of fighting it. Of facing those fears.

And for some reason that makes me feel strong.

I’ve been fighting tears all day, but now I don’t feel weak letting them fall. Because now it’s not the PTSD scaring me into crying. It’s me choosing to stand and  face the feelings that I’m afraid of instead of the PTSD chasing me down and making me Its victim.

It’s me calling the shots. It’s me taking the control.

Yes, it’s going to be hard to face these emotions, but I’m not letting them make me a victim.

Laying Out My Hierarchy

One of the fears that I have been trying to face is the fear of the places and faces from my past. Lori recommended that I set up a hierarchy to start facing those fears.

Basically, I need to ease myself into the things that I am afraid of, for several reasons. It will help to slowly reassure myself that I am safe. It will help disperse the high levels of fear that I still carry. It will help me be able to return to places that I have been avoiding. It will let me eventually get to the point where I am not afraid.

But I have to actually start facing those people and places, and that scares the crap out of me.

Although, I don’t have to face them literally. And that’s what this post is about. I’m trying to figure out how to face them mentally and emotionally, not necessarily physically. So I’m going to try and make a list of ways I can slowly immerse myself, and then determine how I am going to do them.

  • look at old year books
  • drive past buildings- Elementary, Jr. High, High School
  • drive through Butlerville
  • park in the school parking lots and walk around
  • play on Butlerville school playground
  • go inside Butlerville and walk the halls
  • go in the classrooms where I was bullied, where they turned on me, and where he molested me

I am happy with the order, but I think with each thing I’m going to have to to each step in phases. Maybe start each step by doing them with Robby, and then slowly be able to do them on my own. And with the year books I could start with better years and then work my way to the tougher years.

I think I have a plan. Now I just have to do it.

 

Ella Enchanted: Why I’ve loved it since I was 10

Have you ever had a book that you just love? I mean love.

A book you love so much that you read it over and over. But you don’t just read it. You breathe it. You memorize it. You know the characters so well that they become old friends. For you, it’s not a story, it’s a memory that you read. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine was that book for me.

Well, one of those books, but that’s for another post for another day.

When I was a kid, I got a book allowance. Yes, I was that kid. And one day with my book allowance, I bought Ella Enchanted. I don’t remember if it was Barnes & Noble, a school book fair, or one of those Scholastic Book catalogs that were the highlight of my youth, but somehow that book ended up in my hands, and I fell in love.

If you haven’t read it, please go and read it. It’s wonderful. But I didn’t realize why I loved it so much until just a few days ago. Let me explain the story-line so you can see why.

Ella Enchanted is a retelling of Cinderella, but in this version the focus is on how Ella becomes a servant to her stepmother and stepsisters. Ella has been cursed with obedience and she must obey every order given to her. Some of them are harmless (put on a sweater), some of them are annoying (run along and bump into somebody else) and some are dangerous or even deadly.

And she has to obey.

For her own safety, her mother forbids her to tell anyone about her curse, so it becomes her own secret burden. Throughout the novel we see how it affects every aspect of her life. She constantly struggles to break the curse, and when she can’t, she plays games so that she feels at least the illusion of control. She learns to obey without following the order in the way it was meant, and she manages–not to take back her life–but to not be a complete pawn.

As in all Cinderella stories, she meets her Prince, but in this version, she has known the prince for years. They write letters while Ella attends finishing school (and struggles to keep her identity while her teachers try to make her just like everyone else) and they continue to write while Ella slowly becomes a slave in her own home (Side note: her step-family doesn’t know about the curse, they just know she must obey). And through the letters she falls in love. When she realizes the prince is going to ask her to marry him, she is–at first–elated. She thinks this will answer all her prayers. She will be taken from her pseudo-slavery and get to live with the love of her life!

But.

But she will still be cursed. She could be ordered to kill the prince, or pass royal secrets to enemies. She would not only still be in danger, but she would be putting her entire country in danger. So she does the only thing she can think of: she lies. She sends the prince a letter–supposedly written by her stepsister–informing him that Ella has eloped and moved to another country. There is no danger of anyone recognizing her because of her station as a near slave in her own home.

But, as in every version of Cinderella, she goes to the ball. And inevitably the prince recognizes her, so she runs. When he reaches her home, he begs her to marry him, not realizing that he is giving her an order. The curse is telling her to say yes, her heart is telling her to say yes, her step family is telling her to say yes (and give them riches), but she knows it is the wrong thing to do.

She is standing there, surrounded by voices and feeling completely overwhelmed, and that is when she breaks her curse. Saving her own life wasn’t enough for her to break the curse. Keeping herself from being abused and exploited wasn’t enough.

But her love for him was enough. They were enough. Her country was enough.

And in that moment she wasn’t Ella the Slave or Ella the Cursed. She was Ella. Just Ella. For the first time in her life, she was free.

Do you see why I love this book?

I picked it up the other day, just to read for fun because–as I said–I love it. I hadn’t read it in years, and as I read the first few pages I started to remember how the story progressed, and all of a sudden everything clicked. I was only on page four, but I put the book down because of how strongly the realization hit me.

This book was the story of everything I had ever wanted.

I already had the ‘curse’. I had something I had to constantly work around, something that impacted every aspect of my life. And I was constantly trying to ‘break it’, to get over it. To get my life back.  But nothing was enough. I wasn’t enough. I spent nearly 15 years suffering, just playing games to try and convince myself that I was in control of my life.

And when I met Rob I thought that all my prayers were answered. But the PTSD was still there.

I had the first 220 pages of the book, but I was missing the last chapter. I had danced with prince and fallen in love, but the clock was about to strike midnight. The curse was about to attack. And it did. It started to affect us. And the moment that I realized the PTSD was trying to come between us, I knew it was time to try and break my curse.

Our relationship was enough. We were enough. Something in me rose up and said “You can’t have this too”.

When I was 10 years old, I found a book that spoke to the part of me that yearned for something that made me stand up and say ‘this is worth fighting for’. I have read this book dozens of times in my life, but I am just finally moving through the final chapter of it. I am finally finding things that are enough. And now with the EMDR I am starting for the first time I am starting to be free. To be Laura.

Just Laura.