Yesterday came and went . . . like an ordinary day.
I never thought it would happen. But, it has finally come to that. A place of peace, of healing, of forgiveness, and compassion.
It has taken thirty-one years. Thirty-one hard-fought, terror-filled, tearful, soul-searching, prayerful, journal-filling, therapy-seeking years on this healing journey. A path filled with lessons from healthy processing to coping skills to forgiveness techniques to self-compassion.
I tell my podcast guests and audience that my two most profound lessons learned throughout these years have been:
1) Be gentle with yourself.
2) Just notice.
I used to be so damn hard on me. Get over it, Teri. Stop living in the past, Teri. Let it go, for God’s sake. Then I learned about ACEs (adverse childhood experiences) and C-PTSD (complex post-traumatic stress disorder) and the impact of trauma on our brain, body and spirit. THAT is when I started to be gentle with myself and true healing began.
By learning to “just notice” (without judgment of whatever was surfacing), I learned to become comfortable in my own body. I then began to understand triggers (both benign and real) and my brain and body’s response to those triggers. Another much needed tool to helping me heal.
These two bank robberies – a mere ninety-three days apart – were a gift in that they brought me out of my trauma-coma. I had stuffed my childhood into little boxes, stored in the back of a scary closet in a cold dark basement. The sexual molestations, the date-rape, the physical abuse, living with the emotional abandonment of an addict, the bullying . . . all of it waiting for that final straw. This second robbery was that straw.
The gift from all of this? I have learned to appreciate life. Every little ladybug. Every giggle heard across a restaurant after falling from a child’s carefree little self. Every magnificent sunset. Every heart I find whether it’s bird poop or a wildflower bouquet. Every moment with my mom trying to be patient in her battles with her own demons. Every evening spent laughing with friends. Every phone call in which I hear one of my children’s voices. Every hug. Every podcast interview with beautiful healing souls. Every sign from God.
What a gift that I lived to share the story of hope and healing.