Someone posted this to Facebook today. It’s supposedly the twelve keys to happiness.
- Express gratitude.
- Cultivate optimism.
- Avoid over-thinking and social comparison.
- Practice acts of kindness.
- Nurture social relationships.
- Develop strategies for coping.
- Learn to forgive.
- Increase flow experiences.
- Savor life’s joys.
- Commit to your goals.
- Practice spirituality.
- Take care of your body.
I’m pretty good with all of these. I have no idea what “flow experiences” are, but darn it, I’ll work on it. I always think I’m a pessimist, and I probably am about things relating directly to me (I always think I got an F on my grad school papers), but in regard to the world at large, I’m an optimist. Even after Ghana beat and abused us all, I’m willing to go back for more, because I believe there are good people out there. After all, not everyone is out to steal from and abuse children. I really believe I’ll find the goodness and that my experience was meant to teach me what NOT to do. I learned how to really make a difference and how not to. I practice spirituality. I take care of my body. I express my gratitude. I’m happy, right?
I can’t forgive. Rather, I should say I struggle with this. I can do it. It’s just REALLY hard. If you’ve wronged me, it might take me awhile to get over it, but eventually (after a long time), I will. After awhile, I just run out of energy for grudges. If you’ve wronged my kids though…hoo boy. Watch out. I’m sure every mama is like that to some extent, but I make it an art form.
I need to let go.
Since this blog is out there, in part, to help people understand what it is like to raise a child who has been through some serious trauma, I’m going to give you the honest truth. I don’t know that I will ever forgive the man who did this to Bubbly. I tried. Darn it. I did. I wrote blog posts about how I was getting there, how I felt it coming, but after 2 1/2 years, I’m not there. I’m starting to doubt I ever will be (there’s that pessimism). It would really help to not have to see his face ever again. Yet, after all this time, there are still images of him on the internet. He’s still out there.
I won’t lie. It eats me. Sometimes, it physically burns. If this man were here in the U.S., he would be rotting in jail. I would have been able to put him there through legal channels, but in Ghana, where there is apparently some sort of justice system that I don’t understand, he just gets to roam free. That burns too. It burns because he hurt someone who is more genuinely innocent than anyone I have ever met, someone who trusted him implicitly to provide her with her basic needs. I love this little girl more than I love myself, he did this to her, and he just gets to go on living. Every day my daughter struggles to get back a little of what he took from her. Meanwhile, he’s just out there. I want to scream at the injustice of it all. When she has her worst days, the days like today where the trauma takes hold and she is so frustrated with herself because she can’t understand WHY she is this way, I just want to hit someone.
It’s an awful way to live. So, we all go to therapy, and when I’m there, this is what I talk about. I talk about my daughter and how I grieve for what she will probably struggle with for the rest of her life. I grieve for what I will probably now struggle with for the rest of my life. Learning to forgive. Learning to let it go. This is a lot of what parenting through trauma is about.
I have a lot to learn.
who needs to take a deep breath, Bubbly style.