Blame it on the peppers

Once upon a time I ugly cried at Aldis.  Actually, this has happened more than once.  Once I cried tears of joy because our baby’s lawyer called to tell me that every parent/family member that could have taken Jamie away from us had given up all their rights to him.  Which meant we would now be able to begin the adoption process.  I was picking out cheese when this happened.  I got home and realized I must have just been chucking packages of cheese in the cart the entire time I was on the phone, because I had a reusable grocery bag filled to the brim with cheese.  I died.  But the second time I cried was even uglier.  I was listening to a book “Girl, wash your face” by Rachel Hollis. It’s a book all about the lies we believe about ourselves and how to get over them to become exactly who we are suppose to be. Now listen, I didn’t want to like this book.  Me and Rach, unbeknownst to her, have a very strained relationship.  I’m not always a fan of how she thinks and I’m certainly not a fan of how her freaking ootd’s make me want to go out and shop till the credit card melts in my hand from so much overuse.  ANYWAY, I have to admit, I am now back in the Rachel Hollis fan club.  Or at least I was, until she made me ugly cry at Aldis.  I was going around the produce area.  If you’ve ever been to Aldi’s you know that the produce is in a circle in one spot of the store.  You really should go around at least 2 times if not 4 times to make sure you see everything that’s available to you.  I was on my 3rd trip around and that’s when it happened.  I got to the chapter she wrote about a very traumatic event that happened to her when she was a child. I kind of had the thought, hmmm maybe I should wait to listen to this, but I brushed that aside and just prepared myself for what was coming. I could take it…..  NOPE I was wrong!  Her story cut deep.   Like rip my chest open and pull my heart out for everyone there to see it beat for the very last time, deep.  And that’s basically what happened.  It came on slow at first. I felt some emotion and then, I felt it a bit more.  Then it moved to my throat.  Next thing you know my eyes were stinging and then it was too late to stop.  I just cried.  I cried and I tried to hide it.  Why I didn’t turn off the book immediately, I will never know.  Finally my body caught up with my mind and I paused the book.  That’s when I noticed the people.  The people everywhere.  They were watching me have this crazy emotional breakdown, while holding a bag of green peppers.  A sweet lady stopped what she was doing and came up to me, and in the nicest “am I dealing with a crazy person and maybe I shouldn’t provoke her” voice asked, “Are you ok dear?” I just looked at her and said, “These peppers are no good” I forcibly threw the peppers down and walked away, bawling my eyes out.  I had about an hour more of shopping to do in that tiny grocery store and so did all the people who witnessed my breakdown. ::sigh::

I was ready to hear this woman’s story of trauma, tragedy, and loss. What I wasn’t ready for was to relate so deeply with it.  I wasn’t ready to hear the pain in her voice and I wasn’t ready to feel it in my heart for my little girl self.  I didn’t go thru what Rachel did, but my childhood wasn’t pretty.  It was broken and full of ugly things that no little girl should ever have to see or endure.

Finally I left and got to finish the rest of the chapter in my van.  She went on to tell her story of fear, loss and trauma.  How it almost ate her alive and how sometimes she didn’t think she was gonna make it thru to the whole mess of it. Then she said, “But I am still here.  And so are you.  I am still here because I refuse to let anything or anyone decide what I get to have.  I am still here because I refuse to let my trauma have the last word.  I am still here because I will not let a nightmare have more power than my dreams.  I am still here because I didn’t allow the hard time to make me weak; I willed it to make me strong.”  Yes.  yes and yes and amen and all the praise hands in the air!

When I think about all the obstacles I’ve had to cross to get to who I am today, its overwhelming.  And when I think about who I could have been if I allowed those obstacles to get in my way and rule my life, it’s staggering.  When I start to list the things that I’ve gone thru in my life one by one, they pile up to this gigantic pile of ugly. It looks like too much for one person to ever handle.  I could definitely be a victim and with just cause.  But I decided to be a survivor. I decided to be better.  I decided to not let that one part of my timeline, rule the rest of my life.  Like Rachel Hollis said. “I am still here. And so are you”

 My childhood wasn’t the best, but it wasn’t all bad.  We had good times and I have lot’s of really great memories.  I’m thankful for all of it.  Every single thing I’ve gone thru, hard as it was and I’m still working thru some it to this day, all of it made me who I am.  It made me a person who has empathy for others.  It made me a mom who wants nothing but the best for her kids, and not in a financial way. I want them to be filled with joy and know who they are and what makes them truly happy.  I want them to be strong and independent.  I want them to know that I love them and will always fight for them.  I want them to know that the sky’s the limit, and that there is NOTHING they can’t accomplish.  Most of all I want them to know Jesus in a way I didn’t get to until I was an adult.
Life can be ugly and unfair.  I can’t tell you why it’s that way, I just know that we live in a broken world with broken people.  I will tell you that I’m sorry you have to go thru the ugly.  I will also tell you that ugly is not a reason for you to give up.  Ugly can make you into something broken and beautiful.  And just for the record, broken people can be some of the most empathetic and sympathetic deep people you’ll ever meet. Broken isn’t always bad. Ugly can make you strong.  Don’t let the ugly win.  You are in control of your life, not your past or the circumstances you find yourself in now.  It’s never too late to take charge of your own life.  Don’t let those around you tell you any different.