I’d love to stop talking about myself. But currently, I’m overly annoyed with the courts, so it feels appropriate to keep educating you, my readers, about my reality. My judge promised a response to a magistrate’s May 2021 decision. She said she would confirm a decision within 30-45 days. I am now on day 67. You can catch up on my story here:
When I felt helpless, hopeless, and highly exasperated, reframing was critical for my survival. One simple way to reframe is gratitude. So, I actually want to share some good things that have happened to me over the past few years, in spite of my inept legal situation.
Here are 10 experiences I’m profoundly grateful to claim as part of my life story.
My first therapist told me I was not crazy. My brain was a mess, so this clarification was a critical start to the revelation of my new truth. (Ultimately, she quit on me because my story was too crazy, even for her.)
My second therapist revealed a gentle determination to lead me out of near-emotional death. She repeatedly told me, “Of course, it makes sense you would feel this way.” She affirmed my grief, rage, loss, and an endless tirade of emotions. (To my clients who have heard me say this, you can thank my therapist!)
One night, after dark, I was dragging my trash cans up my driveway and about 3 tall young men/boys (16-18 year-olds) walked into my cul-de-sac. I was EXTREMELY uncomfortable because they were not familiar, it was dark, and they were walking towards me. One looked down at me and asked, “Are you, Mrs. Petroni?” GULP. I nodded and he handed me an envelope. I took it with confusion as the kids walked away. Upon opening it, I saw a gift card to a grocery store for $150. I wept. Thank you to the anonymous donor. You have no idea how much I needed the money, and your son was a perfect gentleman.
On a particularly rough day when I was feeling the full pressure of an endlessly sloppy home, 4 needy children, and the demands of homeschooling, I heard a knock on my front door. I opened my door to have 3 friends hug me and tell me they were there to clean my house. Thank you. I still cry when I think about your generosity.
I found a wee gift in my mailbox. In an envelope, a treasured friend placed a butterfly ornament with the saying, “One day at a time.” Thank you. My future felt dark and bleak and actually, all I could manage was that day. Thank you for the affirmation to focus on the present.
Throughout my journey, several friends have sent supportive cards to me. Their timing has always been perfect. I still fight the guilt that I didn't properly thank you. I have kept them all.
I have a big yard and prior to my divorce, the yard was my husband’s space. I had no idea what I needed to do- I hadn’t heard of certain bugs, weeds, seeds, etc. One morning, some guy knocked on my door. He was a bug or weed guy and shared with me that he could tell I needed someone to spray my yard. Well, duh. He tried to sell me a program I couldn’t afford. As I kindly declined his offer, I began to cry. (My emotions were completely unpredictable, and I was kicking myself for being weak in front of this stranger.) When I closed the door, I saw movement out of the corner of my eye and witnessed him spraying my yard anyway. Thank you.
Thank you to Rae Gaelyn who finally gave me a name for the hell I was experiencing. She taught me the words, “Betrayal Trauma.” Today those words roll off my tongue easily and frequently, but I remember when she first used those words to describe my life, I felt raw relief as I realized I was not alone.
I’m grateful for the friend who I called numerous times at the beginning of my journey. She calmly listened as I wailed, screamed, and allowed sounds to come from my mouth that no one should ever have to hear. Bless you.
My parents showed me through consistent faith, selfless actions, and prayers that God works miracles.
And finally, this year, Thanksgiving carries additional gratitude because my daughter’s birthday is Thanksgiving Day. And I am grateful for her presence in my life.
Gratitude is hard when life is dealing you crap. Be kind to yourself this holiday season if you are shoveling the smelly stuff. And if you need a dollop of support, find me or someone who will sit with you.