I am going to tell you a story. It’s a story about my life, my experience, my choices, and the universe. Sometimes, you end up in the right place, and you realize that you really needed to be there and that everything that got you there was completely valid. I ended up in the right place at the right time, and it washed away so much doubt that I had felt.
I’ll start from the beginning. I was supposed to go camping with my family this past August, but I didn’t because it was during mid-terms at school. Since I didn’t go, I ended up borrowing my mom’s car and during this time, I got pulled over and received a ticket. My mom offered to pay for the ticket since it was for her car, and that was the plan up until I made the decision to remove my mother from my life. I haven’t written that post yet, but it was absolutely the best decision for me. I had some reservations about cutting the cord, but those cleared up in light of these recent events.
So, I sent in the ticket and requested a mitigation hearing about a week after I stopped talking to her. The hearing was granted, and I ended up at the courthouse last week. And it was here, at the city courthouse, that was the place that I was supposed to be. I didn’t know beforehand, but I was needed there and everything that happened beforehand needed to happen to get me there that day.
The woman before me had gotten a traffic ticket, and when she tried to explain to the judge what had happened, she revealed that she had been in a domestic violence situation.
As I listened, I felt the blood rushing to my ears. My vision blurred, and I resisted the urge to speak out of term. I had the urge to raise my hand. I waited, hoping I would be brave enough to stop her as she left, but as she walked past me I panicked, and the judge called me up to handle my ticket.
When I left, I was going to set up a payment plan, but instead, I suddenly felt like I was done with being inside the courthouse. I paid it in full, gathered my things and walked quickly outside. As I turned around the corner of the building, there she was, sitting in her car with the window down.
I knew then why I needed to get out of the courthouse as fast as I could. I stopped short, and addressed her through her window, “Can I talk to you?”
She nodded, and I proceeded to say the words that she needed to hear.
I told her my story. I told her that I got out, and I told her that I didn’t know if I would have ever been strong enough to leave if outside circumstance hadn’t forced me out. I told her how hard it was, how much I had loved him, and how much I had hated myself. And then, I told her how happy I was now. I told her how long it took me to stop hurting. I told her that I rarely even think about him now, and how my life is now filled with potential and opportunity. I told her that there was indeed an other side, and that the other side was so much better than I could have ever known back then. And we talked, shared the details of our experience, in the courthouse parking lot for a good fifteen minutes. We exchanged contact information, and when we parted ways, I got into my car and burst into tears.
Our situations were so different, and yet her abuser said the same things that mine did. Her story and my story were so different, and yet so much the same. And, as I realized everything that changed in my life to get me to the courthouse that day, I felt so much weight lift off of my chest. I cried all the way home.
I very much believe that things are meant to be. And this experience only solidified that belief. It also gave me the opportunity to validate everything that had happened to me, recently and long, long ago.
As trauma survivors, I think we often find ourselves needing a reason why, and for me, this is my reason. I believe the universe gave me these experiences because I was going to do something with them. And, I truly believe that I will help people. For every trauma survivor who doesn’t get the opportunity to help others, there needs to be a trauma survivor that will. It’s a balance that the human resources and mental health industry relies on.
I realize that this isn’t enough for a lot of people, because it isn’t fair, and it fucking sucks. There shouldn’t be a reason for us to go through what we go through, and it shouldn’t happen to begin with. We should be spared heartache and abuse, but we aren’t. So many of us are born into circumstance out of our control and it does irreparable harm to us. For me, the only thing I can do is use my story to help others, whether it’s a woman in a parking lot, or a group of teens, or even my own children someday. That’s how I validate my experience. This is what I need to do, and why I am here, and why I went through what I went through.
Keep looking for my posts, because I will be speaking more. I will be sharing more. I will be telling you the details. I will be telling you when I couldn’t as much as when I could. I will show you the ugly bits of me and detail the choices I made for others that went against every notion of who I am. And I may, maybe, reach you. Or reach someone you know. Or give you a tool to use in the future. Keep listening, because even if they are few and far between, I am going to keep talking.