Michelle is a single mom who struggles with mental illness yet wakes up every day trying to achieve her goals!
My childhood dreams
My childhood was pretty typical. Two parents and a brother. I went to school and like any kid, survived bullying. We went on family trips and had game nights. Though there were subtle things like being teased on my weight by my dad, racist comments here and there, hatred and judgements towards others, greed, and constant fighting and disrespect between my parents, my childhood was pretty shielded from grander traumas. Those subtle abusive behaviours caught up to me eventually, but to be honest, I was pretty clueless to "real" trauma. I was naive. I was trusting. I was filled with hopes and dreams. I gave everyone the benefit of the doubt and chose to see the light everywhere I went.
When I was 12, I started writing. I wrote about the bullying I was going through. I wrote about my crushes, and experiences, like my grandma's death and my mom's cancer within poetry.
Then I started writing stories. Well, I tried. I didn't want to invent made-up stories. Or if I did, it had to be based on true events that really happened in the world. For a while, I was in awe of journalism because they got to write about real stuff. I knew that whichever path I took in life, I wanted to spread awareness about real traumas. I wanted to shine a light on the things that get silenced.
I had goals. I had dreams set. I had hopes of one day becoming an author of non-fiction. Then my life took a turn....for the worst.
I chased boys instead of dreams
Like any teenager, boys became a thing. I was in love with love. I daydreamt about finding love very early. The movies I watched made it look so heavenly. Meet, have obstacles, get back together, and happily ever afters. My parents weren't the perfect picture of love but while my friends' parents split up, mine stayed together and got through the fights. I thought that radiated love. Safe to say, the examples of love I had around me weren't the healthiest but I would do anything to have someone love me like that.
Even put my dreams on hold.
Or forget them altogether.
As I chased love, my dreams fell behind more and more every day. As I chased love, so did my self-confidence, my independence, and my logic!
As a child, I had heard many stories about abuse, mainly physical abuse and I used to think, "That will never be me."
But it was me. While I chased love, I also chased obsession. Addiction. I got so lost in my chase for love that I lost my self-respect, my ability to have boundaries, the confidence to know that I deserved better, and I lost sight of my worth. I was the perfect vessel to abuse. To throw around like a doll and I would still come back for more because I chased love. It didn't matter how love looked or how temporary it was, I wanted every last piece of it. While I chased love, the love I had for myself disappeared completely. My cup was empty, dry, and had a hole in the bottom. I was the perfect candidate for abuse. For trauma.
The universe gave me the experience I needed
As I write this article, I notice something. As a child and teenager, I was innocent with big goals that didn't match my experiences at all. How can someone write about things she has never experienced first-hand? Sure, I could research, I could interview others, I could read others' stories, and watch documentaries. But the universe knew that my strong soul wouldn't be satisfied with that. The universe knew that in order to eventually achieve my goals and dreams, I had to be front and center of the very things I wanted to expose. Depression, anxiety, panic attacks, sexual abuse, heartbreak, emotional abuse, bullying, loss, drugs, alcohol, mental abuse, family abuse, and addiction. It all almost took my life more than once.
I spent a decade in pain. A decade fighting for my life. Fighting for my survival. In the pit of it, I was sure I would be defeated. I wanted to be. I wanted to throw my hands up and give up. The universe was ahead of me. The universe knew that I might need help. Motivation to keep going. That's why my girls were born. My divine plan wouldn't succeed without my angels.
Single motherhood, financial stress, and loneliness were added to the list of traumas.
Redemption is a bitch!
Okay, now I have experiences that align with my ultimate goals. Did my goals change as I changed? No. My heart never changed despite the darkness I encountered. I think that's another trick from the universe. I mean, how would I ever come to achieve my goals if my heart was blackened by my darkness?
I should be ready to start writing. I have all these experiences and traumas to write about now. But how?
I am too depressed. I don't believe in myself. I don't love myself. I will never achieve anything much less my dreams. I need to work not sit around and write. I have kids to raise. My world is so dark by now, I don't even know where to look first. I don't have the energy to figure it out either. I just want to smoke my cigarettes, complain about my life, wish I was dead and keep these kids alive until they can fly on their own.
Rock bottom is a thing. And, I hit it. I couldn't go on anymore. I couldn't keep drowning. Can you write while you're drowning? Me neither. Can you spread awareness and help others while you're drowning? Can you bring hope to others while you're drowning? Can you change lives while you're drowning?
I was meant for bigger things. I always knew that. When I hit rock bottom, I was reminded of that. My soul finally said, "ENOUGH! You've got shit to do now and you can't do that until you pick yourself up and remember who the fuck you are!"
I had to take my power back. I had to learn how to stand up again. How to use my voice again. How to not be afraid again.
I clawed and clawed through mud looking for a key to open the locked box I was shoved in. While I clawed, I was faced with evil demons trying to distract me and convince me that I would never find my way out. Then I realized, I AM the key. The thing with opening doors though is that sometimes you open the wrong ones. Or sometimes, you open the right one only to be faced with tests that push you right back out into the darkness and the locks change.
Healing feels like you're hitting your head against a wall. Once in a while, you get an aha moment until you hit another wall. Aha moment, another wall.
Redemption is a bitch. But I was always a bigger one. I was soft, gentle, and pure in my heart, but in my soul, I was always born a warrior and when I figured it out, my demons didn't stand a chance.
I'm ready to conquer my world
My world. I say my world because these days, it's the only one I want to conquer. We all have our own worlds, then there's the big old world that all of our little words are a part of. Our worlds join with other people's worlds and then it becomes half our worlds and half theirs.
In my world, I have done a lot of healing and continue to do so. In my world, I am the Queen and I rule. I make my own rules and I dare to be exactly who I am, whenever and however. I create art and write stories. I build businesses and sell creations. My world is transparent. What you see is what you get. When I create, I hang my works on the walls of my world for the other worlds to see. If they like what they see, I join worlds with them so that they can enjoy my masterpieces and then they go with their own copies of my creations and conquer their worlds. Hopefully.
In my world, I embrace my darkness. I learn from it, I ask it questions, I observe it, I feel it, I sit with it, then I heal it, I love it, I understand it, and I share it with others who struggle with the same darkness.
In my world, that I worked so damn hard to build, I achieve goals. I spread awareness, I raise my voice, I shake things up, I take space, and I find freedom in any way I can whether emotionally, mentally, physically, or financially.
In my world, I have boundaries and I take no shit. My patience is not what it used to be and I am okay with that.
In my world, there are no limits. There are no timelines. No boxes. Or plans.
Just a warrior who is conquering her world how ever the hell she wants!
© 2021 Michelle Brady