Post Traumatic Growth 101

From traumatic beginings to "normal life", choosing to grow and wanting to empower others. This is my story.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Civic Holiday Long Weekend

I just had one of the most amazing weekends of my life. You know? I feel almost bad saying that, because what about all those other amazing weekends I just had? I said almost, because I know, they're going to keep coming :D I have a lot of amazing weekends!

This one was worth writing about though. My 10 year old niece Kailin came for a visit to the cottage with her mom Lynn, Aunt Lorna and Uncle Lonny. We all arrived on the Friday evening and spent the night settling in. The Aunt & Uncle brought a pop up trailer tent with them and Corey set them up right on the water - they had a great view. Kailin and mom slept inside with us on the comfy couch. The first night wasn't too late but we got very luck the next morning - the kids slept in until TEN AM!!! Longest my girls have ever slept! We all felt amazing, well rested and excited to be together. We decided to go to Lakeside Zoo in Peterborough - what an amazing attraction and mostly FREE (the train costs $2/person). We all had such a nice time seeing the animals, riding the train, playing at the park and the girls even spent some time at the Splash Pad. That evening we played our new favourite board game (it's great for kids & adults!) Bejewelled! We played a few games with the kids and then Lynn and I stayed up until 3:30am playing probably 10 games of Bejewelled and finishing off a 1.5L bottle of wine :D I'll admit, we were nervous about the next morning, how could we get lucky two days in a row? The girls slept in until TEN THIRTY AM!!!!

Sunday was another nice day, we stayed close to home, Lynn and I only went out to the local shops so I could show her the good stuff we have access to on the reserve. We went for a swim in Rick's pool and visited with Blue Blue (the peacock). Rick is so nice, he gave us all some of Blue Blue's feathers :) We watched Despicable Me 2 and had a decent lasagna (I didn't add water to the pan!) for dinner then busted out the Bejewelled again. What a great family game! That night lasted just as long as the previous one thanks to some young neighbour friends who wanted to hang out with Corey and I :) They had a 40oz of Jagger with them and I thought I'd be sick the next morning for sure but I was fine! We couldn't sleep much past 9am because Lynn and family had to leave but we survived :)

Lonny caught a lot of fish and was so nice, he gave us most of the meat! They had their little dog Sasha with them and Maggie was in heaven. Another friend came by on Sat with his Pitbull puppy so Maggie is pretty much dead tired today LOL. Even she had an awesome weekend!

Before this weekend my head was spinning in negative family land....I was frustrated and sad about a relationship I've been struggling with. Ironically, this specific relationship was brought up by Lynn because of things said openly on Facebook and her perspective was that this person openly tries to bring me down with her comments. The tone, the words....this talk reinforced my recent thoughts that I need to LET GO. All I got this weekend was love and encouragement - and these people are new family. This weekend was my dream family weekend full of laughter, love and hugs. Open dialog, different opinions, different religious beliefs...all able to exchange information openly, all able to support and love each other. I have found emotionally intelligent people to share my life with - and they're now in the majority in my life. THIS is winning. THIS is success in my opinion.

I feel like I've done it. I've achieved my dreams and I have so much love and support. Feeling this way is helping me see the choices I have and need to make. For me, for my kids.

This upcoming weekend I'm heading off to Ottawa with my Grampa's new Tablet :) I've downloaded Euchre, Cribbage, Words with Friends and I've signed him up with an e-mail account. I've also downloaded his mobile banking app. I'm going to enjoy all the moments and memories with my Grampa and at least teach him how to open the Euchre game lol. As far as I'm concerned, the time with him is worth everything and the tablet is a bonus.

Spreading the love,

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Stronger and Stronger We Grown - When Does It Stop? Never.

It's funny, I've been having some feelings lately...about a relationship I have continued to invest in. These thoughts are negative and I come here to blog about it and my last post SCREAMS at me. Haven't you figured out how to navigate crazy? Haven't you let go?

Yes. But it's still taking work to let go, because I can't just stop the relationship.

I'm extremely proud of the work I'm doing in my relationships - especially with my Grampa. Our time has come and I'm taking the opportunity to strengthen the relationship because my Grampa is being so open to it, he's being supportive and responding positively to my efforts.

Yet I continue to hear negativity and doubts from others within the family, and I continue to let this affect me. Why? I just re-read my last post....why can't I just let go. When people say negative things about my efforts, I feel anxious about what I'm doing...and when I think about it, it's because I don't want to hear the inevitable "I told you so", if I fail.

Why do I continue to care about these people? Why do I continue to let them affect me? EVERYONE else in my life is being encouraging, "what a wonderful thing you're doing", "so what if it doesn't work out, you tried girl", "what's the harm in trying?" "you're doing this to strengthen a relationship, how can you fail?"

I'm learning to take the supportive people and surround myself with them, they're my bricks. Family might be the foundation, but a foundation sometimes needs to be replaced. I guess I need to understand that I can't replace the foundation all at once but it's going to be a piece by piece process. Letting go isn't going to be as easy as saying you're going to do it and voila it's much as I want it to.

“Not only is it possible to have a great relationship even after growing up in difficult circumstances, but the pain of our past experience can actually become the motivation that drives our commitment to do the work that is necessary to create the kind of fulfillment that we were denied as a child.”

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Navigating Crazy

You know, it's tough, navigating "crazy". Navigating people you really don't even know, but feel you....should? Or even "do" - your own perception, your own reality - could be totally wrong! You question yourself, your actions, your feelings, your response. But you can question all you want. Sometimes people just don't work with you, the relationship can be defined as nothing but toxic. Sometimes those people are the same people you're "supposed to love". It's's like two different languages, only they're not languages, they're history, feelings, un-said feelings, distance, blood - on two completely different, planets. Relationships are a product of environment (ie. how it came to be, where people are geographically), circumstance (ie. issues/situations out of your control) and communication (ie. are you communicating well or not - imo MOST important). The multitude of ways all of the factors are interpreted and perceived in the people involved can sometimes just not mix. I'm not going to foster the regrets, the doubts. I can't anymore. Sometimes people are just on two different rides and to intersect them would mean crashing/hurting/killing. I don't mean to hurt, but I can see how my words hurt. I know time will heal and life will go on, for everyone. You make your bed and you lie in it, with no one to answer for, but yourself. I'm too busy for this shit :D

Friday, February 24, 2012

Resolution 2012, 55 Days Late

I believe I was meant to help others raise their level of conciousness, I really do.

My life story is full of trauma, drama and sorrow however I choose the post traumatic growth over post traumatic stress.

One of the best feelings I feel is when someone says to me "I never thought of it that way". I'm so lucky to hear that often :)

I feel a lot and express it, because it feels so freakin' good to just get it out and move on. Sometimes I can cry with myself and deal, sometimes I need help. I know I'm a strong person because I can ask for help.

I believe there are "good" people and "bad" people and these people live amongst us all, it's the human "black and white" in my mind.

I understand that life is fundamentally about choices and I choose to live in the moment. I make healthy choices to live with energy and fun.

I'm just that girl you know, Sarah. But I'm oh so much more :) There are so many that I love and hold dear to my heart that I don't communicate with often but I promise you, those people mean just as much to me as those who live next door.

I recently received a hand written letter from someone and it touched my heart. I'm going to send out some letters - I think they'll help me ride out the end of this season of Winter. It's a great time of year to recharge your batteries before the busy spring/summer/fall isn't it :) This year is about connecting with those I love as much as I can.

Hey, I think I just made a resolution! :)

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Wednesday, February 08, 2012


It's been a crazy few months/weeks....I don't know. But I'm here, sitting in bliss, happy as can be. I'm home sick, need this. The past two days I rocked it but was sicker than today - it's a work thing, Mon and Tues are crazy days. Now, here I sit, clean(er) house after two days of neglect, Flow 93.5 playing all my old hip-hop favourites from "back in the day", chillin'.

The past few months I've spent a lot of time "tieing (sp) up loose ends". Resolving lingering issues that a) I knew existed and b) didn't know existed. Relationship wise, there were issues. There was a blow up. There was a "separation" (slept in separate beds for 4 nights, a first). There was open communication and finally a resolution. My how we've grown :) Absofreakin' amazing. This man is worth all the fight, he's incredible.

I took an "Emotional Intelligence" course a few weeks ago. It was really interesting and a LOT of fun. I'm so lucky to be paid to do stuff like that. The pre-requisite for the course was a survey. A survey you had to have filled out by at least 7 people who knew you. I had 2 Managers, 3 peers, 2 "Key Clients", 3 family members and 1 friend answer the survey. The first day of the course we learned about the brain and what "Emotional Intelligence" is. Very interesting stuff I'm willing to share :) We also learned how to control our emotions...which was a good segue into "the Survey Results". Mine were all expected, except for one. This was b) above, issue to resolve I didn't even know I had. So the survey results are anonymous. There are a butt load of rating questions about how well I "coach others", my "personal drive", "empathy" etc. I scored fairly well in all of them except ONE person on quite a few questions who scored me "0". Then there were the comments section, "verbatim comments made by each of your raters in the online survey. This section is intended to provide more specific details to support the rankings provided by your raters".

All the comments are written out on a page. The good comments were great. The bad comments were great! (make a stronger first impression, improve your leadership skills" etc.) Then these, at the bottom of the "needs to improve" page:
1. Develop stronger independence of self-thought and behaviour.
2. Develop stronger awareness of the consequences of negative influences on self and family.
3. Develop a stronger sense of altruism.

Remember when I said we had just learned how to control our emotions. Yea. 11 people saying I'm empathetic, a great role model, independent, good listener, supportive, loyal to family, a desire to learn and goes on and on. And I knew and believed all of this - still do ;)

You see, I know who wrote the comments :) I could pretty much guess who wrote everything. And to tell you the truth, this person who wrote the above, was someone I would have said knew me best - before I took the course.

I learned that I have to let go of someone....and not literally. I'm not like that - at all. But in my own mind, this person meant something completely different to me before this course....because I thought this person knew me....instead, I see how that person could totally think the above. Because this person doesn't know me, but likes to make judgements/assumptions about a lot of people, how could I ever have thought they wouldn't be the same about me? Especially since, and I take some responsibility here, I haven't really let that person know me the way I let everyone in my day-to-day life know me. Maybe it's distance, maybe it's time or maybe it's fear....fear of the judgement. Fear of the assumptions and fight to be understood. Maybe it's that I can't have open free flowing conversations often with this person because of who that person is (or how I'm perceiving that person to be!).

I love my life. I have it all. I feel incredible, powerful, invincible. There are still negative hurt people in my life, but I'm immune to their negativity. I really and truly am. It feels so gosh darn good and I deserve it.

My life story is full of sadness, tragedy, drama. I could seriously write a book...but I let go of my past and am living in the present, every day better than the last. I did this by making choices, great choices, for myself and my survival. I'm a survivor with a big internal hope-mechanism :)

Say what you want, no one knows me better than me :D It's time for me to OWN this and share my story because from bad beginnings comes generations of love and happiness (my love and my beautiful children), an appreciation for simplicity and the greatness in people love and happiness. Every time I'm at the cottage I look up at the bright stars, the giant moon and smile.

Life is good.

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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Another New Adventure

So we did end up buying that cottage! We now own three properties. I still can't wrap my head around that! This opportunity was so clearly obviously meant for us

There are so many wonderful memories of the cottage going through my mind already and it's only been less than two months since we've owned it. I want to eventually live in the area for SURE. In 6 years we've gone from wanting to move to NB to settling down here in Ontario. Never in a million years could I have predicted this adventure :)

Dec 6th is fast approaching. I find myself fighting off blankets of sadness that seem to come out of no where. Even at the cottage, I find myself thinking about how so freakin' much my mom would have loved it. Heck, we've even thought about how she could have moved up there with Corey's mom - it would have been PERFECT! I'm so mad that she never got to see ANY of this, the kids, the jobs, the houses...I'm doing it Mom!!! I'm breaking the patterns!

The memories of the phone call that day, the trip to Quebec, they're all so vivid yet so far....I guess that makes sense, this is the 6th anniversary of her passing. I don't do anything to mark the occasion, I don't really tell anyone, I go to work, I don't "RIP Mom" on Facebook or the like. All my mourning/thinking/rationalizing takes place in my own mind.

And right around the corner is Christmas :) A HUGE holiday in our house again what with the kids so involved!

I'm happy, healthy, surrounded by people I love and once a year, I'm going to think about my mom and her traumatic passing. C'est la vie :) And I have one of the best lives I know!

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Thursday, October 06, 2011


You know what sucks? Cancer. It's so bloody random and HARD. Hard for the person who's suffering, obviously, and hard for the friends and family around that person. It just sucks.

The way I see it, our bodies are made up of a bunch of chemicals and processes that all work together. Just like everyones personality is different, so are our chemicals and processes inside our body. I believe there are ways to try and avoid cancer, like not smoking, but even that.....I don't think anyone can predict how their own internal body is going to react to any one chemical or speck of dust for that matter that enters his/her body.

I believe cancer just happens, randomly.

I believe that people can fight it, using medicines, brain power, but just like the randomness of it occurring in the first place, everyone is different and not all bodies/chemicals/processes are healed. Some people can't find an answer.

I think too that your brain is the last process to "die", and that's how/why people seem to hang on for that one last milestone (a birthday, someone coming to say good bye etc.). It's their brain hanging on.

I really think you have to say to yourself, in that moment, it's OK now. I can die. And then you do. I really believe that.

And that makes me feel better about it all. It takes away the worry from my mind.

That's about all I can do.

That and help those around me suffering.

Thank you Nanny/Bill/Jack/Steve for being such strong people and helping me learn this lesson as young as I am. I forsee a lot of this in my future.

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