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 (email@example.com).
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.
Marcy, you are an absolute star. Everything you’ve said here… and indeed previously… resonates so much with me. Thank you!
I’m no star. I just HATE PAIN. Once I figure it out, I want to help others. It’s like a great story…you don’t want to keep it to yourself. 🙂
Mrs. McKay, you ARE a star… though I know it’s so difficult to see yourself that way. Keep doing what you’re doing, sweetie x
HA. You know what? THANK YOU for your compliment. I will take it, and hope this post does help others. I appreciate your friendship, Em. xoxoxo
Amazing! Love this awesome insight of yours…most of it hadn’t dawned on me like the body doesn’t know the difference whether it’s pain from now or 50 years ago! You are such an awesome lady! I’m going to read all your books! 💘 your style! Blessings to you and your family.
What a delight to find you, Janeth. The main character of my novel, an 11-year-old homeless girl named Copper Daniels CHANGED MY LIFE. I hope you enjoy her stories, as well. xoxoxoxo – Marcy
Love you friend❤️
You are such a safe haven for me. Thank you for always walking beside me + accepting the ugly parts of myself. I LOVE YOU!
Marcy- This is so wonderful to read. It is so helpful to me to know that we all have suffered and that past issues from our childhood actually affect our adult life. THAT I AM NOT ALONE, ITS NOT JUST ME!
I’m my treatment 19 years ago for alcoholism I was taught this, but it wasn’t until 3 years ago I think it finally set in that I had to resolve this problem before I could truly be happy. I am now so very happy, content, and I praise Jesus and God for sticking by me and seeing me through this.
Marcy you are such a light in all of our lives. You have reach a huge milestone and I see great days and years ahead for you and your family. Love you Dearly. Thanks for helping us see the light in our lives, as well!
Anyone who is on the other side of addiction KNOWS what it’s like to survive pain. But, we’re created for so much more than mere survival. We’re designed to THRIVE! Good for you for doing the hard emotion work to find happiness. TY for your comment, sweet Tanya.
Marcy you hit the nail on the head. We are created to survive and every challenge and obstacle we face only makes us stronger! I’m very happy for my addiction, like you I never believed I’d say those words, but my life has been blessed and my addiction and coming through it really was a Godsend.
Love this + love you!
Going through tough things only makes us stronger! When I’m stuck, I keep my head up, look in the mirror and say I am strong, I am loved and i will get it through it.
Good for your resilience, Vickie. I need think tenacity is one of the best strengths to have. Keep it up! 🙂
I am only as strong as I want to be (and most days I can move mountains!) Of course, that took many years and many doubts to come to that place in my life. The one thing I continue to remind myself is don’t look to the past in fear; all that is there has already happened and can no longer hurt you. Do not look to the future for solutions; that hasn’t happened yet so you are wasting precious time. Live for the present so you can find adventures and fun for the rest of your life!
I love how grounded and calm your comment is. I can be that way at this milisecond is, but that’s harrrrrd to remember when I’m in pain. Keep moving mountains!
what I do when I feel stuck in life? I throw the question up to the Universe and let_go.
Hmmmm. Sometimes, that works for me to just “let go”, but other times, it takes ACTION…from me…to change my circumstances and mindset. Nevertheless, it was beautifully said and I APPRECIATE YOUR insights. Thank you.
Having recently suffered a fall that fractured a rib, I can most definitely relate to PAIN! I’m so excited that you are finally releasing the sequel to Pennies!!! Congrats! Thanks for such a thought-provoking post!
Hi Jan – I’m so sorry about your accident. Physical pain clouds EVERYTHING.Take care of yourself, so you can heal properly. I also appreciate your excitement about Bones and Lies Between Us. It’s been a LONG time coming, and I’m so grateful for readers like you.
Olga Lilian Caddock
Currently, what do you do when you feel stuck in life? Please leave a comment.
I turn to Jesus! Praying/Talking everything over with Him is all it takes to get my head straight again.
Good for you in your steadfast faith. Blessings.
Luckily I have a spouse that knows me well…years ago my horse fell on me, introducing my leg to a compound fracture. Several weeks after surgery I hobbled with my cane over to my husband and sobbed at him, “I just want this to be over!”. Wise man sat me in my wheelchair and rolled me out onto our deck. It was spring and the balsam was blooming and the bees were buzzing and the Ponderosa pine smelled so good. Within half an hour I was standing at the railing communing with nature. The great outdoors almost always sets my spirit right.
I agree about nature, Lindy. We now live on 1.6 acres on the rim of Palo Duro Canyon (the second largest canyon after the Grand Canyon). It’s SPECTUCARLY beautiful. We have a yellow lab that I take walking for about 45 minutes every day. It sooooo helps my spirits. Love it. Thank you for you comment. m3
Love the wisdom, resilience n warmth on this page. Blessings on one n all!
Thank you, Nancy. This is a wonderful group of readers/people and I’m glad that resonates with you. Nap on Napcat!
What a beautiful message. I am going to share your website and message with family and friends. All these things you are saying, I know, but it takes repeating before I really KNOW them! Sometimes it takes over and over again to assimilate this into my center. I know pain very well! But am tough. I keep on moving, and life is good1
Hi Sherry – I’m so glad this post speaks to you, and appreciate you sharing it with your family/friends. You bring up an excellent point. We can KNOW something, but it takes practice….over and over repittion to make changes in our lives. We all experience pain, but it’s how we respond that adds/detracts from the quality of our lives. Thanks for your comment.
Sometimes its hard and takes awhile but sometime something happens to make you realize It happened it bad but you have more to enjoy in your life think of the good things sometimes its hard to figure out what God really has for us at the end of this rough time. Cant wait for the book Bones and Lies Between Us . Loved Pennies from Burger Heaven.
Beautifully said, Ann. Life is definitely a process. THANK YOU for reading Pennies and I’m grateful you’re excited about the sequel. xoxoxo – m3
Well, it depends on what part of life. For my writing, I had felt stuck for a long time, and realized it was due to my husband’s and therefore, my own, depression, with where he was in his job. He was totally unfulfilled and yet stayed because it was easier than leaving. I hadn’t written in a long time, not because I didn’t have time, but because I didn’t want to. Then suddenly, out of nowhere, he was let go, and it forced us to take drastic measures to survive. Then I told myself there was “no time” to write because that was a luxury and it wasn’t going to pay bills. Finally, in June, 18 months after he lost his job, (he’s working elsewhere and it was a total GOD thing where He forced us out of where we were complacent because we would never have left and we’re heading toward something much more exciting) I sat down on our family vacation and made myself finish my work in progress. And now I am excited about writing again. So I just had to make myself. I wasn’t really that excited about it, but I figured I finally had NO excuses not to, and my family was all encouraging me to do so.
When it comes to regular life stuff, if I get too overwhelmed with details or all the things I need to do, a giant list, etc., I find I have to tune out – usually by taking a nap. When I wake up, or maybe it’s just going to bed early and vegging out with mindless Netflix binge-worthy shows, then the next day or after my nap, I feel much less anxiety and I realize none of the stuff on it’s own is a huge deal, I just have to take one thing at a time.
Thanks for sharing about your process. I appreciate that you shared that you felt like you were past it and then realized it was deeper than that; you really let us in and make us feel like it’s okay to not be okay. So, thanks!
Lists also help me. Sometimes I will even make a list AFTER I’ve accomplished a bunch of things, just so I can cross them off and see how much I’ve accomplished. Like, “Oh my gosh, I made 4 phone calls, took 2 kids to appointments, wrote 500 words, made muffins, scheduled another appointment, took my meds, (yes, I even put little stuff on it – it all helps me feel accomplished) made a meal for my family, took a nap, scrolled FB for two hours, etc.” Felt like I didn’t get anything done, but I actually did a lot!
And yes, sometimes looking at things I’ve done with no real purpose, such as FB scrolling, can give me insight to why I’m tired or feeling bad or whatever. My phone keeps track of what I spend the most time doing on it, why not put that to work for me? So if I noticed that my FB usage on my phone was triple this week compared to what it normally is, I might have a reason for why I felt like I accomplished nothing this week…lol.
Wow, wow, wow! Your entire comment just inspired me. You’ve been through so much, and I admire your resilience in finding what works for you. And, you’re so right. It’s okay to not be okay. I’m sor happy you’re writing again, and wish you alllll the best!