This week marked the second anniversary of our house fire — August 29. It’s been 730 days since my family lived in our home of 17 years. Our kids were three years old and four weeks old in 2000 when we moved there. We carved pumpkins together each Halloween, cooked Mickey Mouse waffles every Wednesday night, had karaoke with the kids while a disco light strobed through the playroom. Regular family stuff.
Here’s what’s most shocking about the fire …
I’m so grateful it happened.
I NEVER, EVER thought I would say that. I certainly didn’t feel that way this time last year. I had learned to move beyond it … sort of. Last August, we’d been in our new house for about three months, and it immediately felt like coming home. Such a relaxing oasis.
At that point, I’d survived the nightmare, but I still hadn’t healed. I knew I was struggling with it more than my husband or two college kids, but wrote it off to being home alone when it happened. I knew I had PTSD symptoms and told myself to ‘get over it’.
Well, that didn’t work.
I went to a therapist, but she was a bust (I should’ve tried another). I’m a life coach for heaven’s sake! I help other people all the time. Why couldn’t I fix myself?
This was Triggering That
Little did I know the fire was dredging up issues I thought I’d long since dealt with — childhood stuff I considered to be ‘white-bread trauma’ from long ago.
Guess what? Life is not a contest, and everyone has emotional scars. Different things happened in my formative years to make me a perfectionist. I’ve shared before that my loudest critical voice is:
It’s not good enough … I’M not good enough.
Intellectually, I know there’s nothing I could’ve done to stop the fire (it was ancient, faulty wiring in the attic), but emotionally, it trapped me in a vicious loop of guilt and shame. I felt five years old again.
Now, I understand what my “triggers” are and am happier than ever before. Since I have back your survey results (see below), I’ll write in September about how I got unstuck.
I CANNOT WAIT to share Bones and Lies Between Us (the sequel to Pennies from Burger Heaven) with you in December!
What I Know to be True
Until I write my post, here are a few lessons in the meantime:
*Pain is pain, whether it’s emotional or physical. Your body doesn’t know the difference between trauma from last week or TRAUMA from 50 years ago.
*Trauma comes in many shapes and sizes. It doesn’t have to be something major like a one-time event (a house fire), or anything extreme like physical or sexual abuse, racisim, or poverty. Little emotional hurts add up.
*There are ALWAYS lessons to be learned from your anxiety, your fears, your pain (emotional + physical). It all serves a purpose. This is true whether you’re 28 or 82.
*Life isn’t as simple as, “Change your thoughts. Change your life.” You have to dig deeper. Find meaning to your negative thoughts and actions. Where do they come from in your past? Find the root cause.
Survey Results – Where Are You Most Stuck?
Over 250 peple responded. I appreciate your sharing your thoughts with me.
For whatever reason, it wouldn’t let me upload the PDF of all the responses in #2. If you want the full list, email me (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Look for my pain post in September. Until then, keep reading my fiction-loving friends. THANK YOU for being part of my audience.
Currently, what do you do when you feel stuck in life? Please leave a comment.
Pick up your FREE copy today of the mystery, The Moon Rises at Dawn (SkipJack Publishing). Read, enjoy, repeat.