Counting Down: Beauty after Trauma

As I am sitting here thinking about the last month, I am pretty flooded with emotions. The good, the bad, the ugly and the beauty. As many of you know my pregnancy was not easy, AT ALL. For those of you that don't, on top of having hideous hyperemisis and being in puke prison for all 9 months, I pushed my body and mind by continuing to work full time, travel the world (literally), and buy a house, and a horse, and so many other things in between. The work and the travel was amazing looking back on it, and I wouldn't trade it for anything. But getting sick all the time and being in constant pain was something that pushed me and reverted me back to old emotions.

Now, I am NO trauma expert, let me start by saying this. But the past 9 months I have felt more angry, bitter, and flat out resentful for things that bring me joy, love and growth. I have found myself snapping, being judgy, and full out not being myself. The second, and I mean second Avery was born, it was GONE. I mean gone. I smiled the entire way home, found myself laughing and wanting to send out I miss you and thank you texts to my friends I had neglected. And before you say it was baby bliss, it wasn't. It was the plain and simple fact - for the first time in 9 (really 10 months) my ribs didn't feel like they were crushing me, I felt no nausea, I didn't feel extreme bone and body pain. I felt free. Free like the day I left my ex. And then I realized a lot more about myself than I even realized.

Some people have told me I speak of my past a lot, and they are not wrong. There's two reasons for this. The first reason is I have a genuine need and want to help anyone who has been in my shoes to have someone to relate too. For them to know that they don't have to be there, and for change and suffering to end. The second reason is clearly I am still healing.. every single day. Now this kind of healing isn't the sitting around and "feel all the feelings" this kind of healing is the unexpected moment where a trigger happens, a smell reminds me of pain, a baby kicking my ribs brings back the insurmountable pain of them being broken.. over and over. This kind of healing has been full fledged messy. I have hurt people I love along the way, I have brought old patterns of ick into my beautiful new relationship, I have been depressed, happy and everything in between.

My past was grossly unjust. Most of you know the story, but if you don't I'll summarize and say that I was in a horribly abusive relationship ( I don't even want to USE the marriage word any more because it's so sacred for Matt and I now). The physical abuse was one thing, the emotional abuse on the other hand was another. But the thing is - this horrible thing that happened to me is the literal best gift. The pain I felt has turned me into a women I am proud to be, and in the best best place with a man I love more than life itself.

Here's where I am going with this. When I would be getting hurt, or have to check out of a situation with my ex.. I would count. I would count to 10, 100, see how far I can make it without slipping into the pain of the experience that was happening. It turned into something rather excessive to the point that I count EVERYTHING. I've never spoken of this to anyone but Matt, but I was counting every bite of food, chews, how many sips of a drink, everything. I close doors and have to count 3 times before I accept that they are closed. It became how I coped with feeling uncertain, and it became a comfort. To this day, I still count (a lot) and it calms me down. But when the counting became about managing pain again, I was triggered. I was counting the number of little black dots on the hotel room ceiling tile to avoid the body ache of the plane ride, or the overwhelming feeling of impending puke prison. I didn't even realize that something as small as counting to 10 would send me into an emotional spiral of sheer anger.

Why anger? I think because I never felt it. For 8 years of my life I was a shell, numb. I never lashed out, I never cursed, I never talked back to him, I just played a part and continued to find air to breathe and survive. So this feeling, this very very similar feeling, sent me into a spiral that I didn't know how to cope with. As I became more and more pregnant, the pain got worse and worse. I felt like I was living 8 years ago because whenever I would be hurt physically - I still had to push through. Every time. And being pregnant, you can't just stop living! The ONLY time I had a break during my pregnancy was when I started bleeding after our Singapore trip and they put me on bedrest. And that wasn't a break because we were terrified. But these emotions started to flood me, and I am so glad they did.

Writing this I almost feel like I need to justify and say this is not a pitty post! Yes it was hard, but life's tough, get a helmet! The thing that I have found so beautiful sitting here right now is the YEARS of pent up emotion I have straight let go of. I find myself giddy, and happy, and over the strangest things (like being able to climb through a fence and sleep on my back). I find myself not counting every thing I drink because I am afraid to drink to much and have acid reflux. I smile over the AMAZING FEELING IT FEELS LIKE TO SNUGGLE MATT. (Sorry folks but I have the most handsome, snuggly man on the planet and I intend to brag). And I think what I have learned through all of this is something I feel I wanted to share.

My life of course is my story - but we all have something. We all are walking through life and truly we're walking through a minefield of triggers and tests. Everything has the ability to set us off, everything has the ability to trigger a painful experience, emotion, or person. Everything is a lesson for how we choose to react. Do I consider myself an angry person, hellllll no! Did I want to even be thinking about my past in the midst of what is supposed to be the "time of my life", no! But I surely have been embodying those emotions because I was unconscious of the feelings I needed to feel. When a trigger comes up, feel it BUT THEN RELEASE IT. And that's what I didn't do. Release. I was a shook champagne bottle of hurt and heartache, and I took it out on the world and myself.

Moral of the story - I like to count. And now I am counting my blessings instead of my painful seconds. And I hope you count yours too. As my favorite gentle giant says, the past does not equal the present, and everything is about how you react to it. <3 This whole pandemic and everything made me think now might be a time to share this feeling I have, I know everything is hard for everyone right now. If you need me I am here, and just remember it's all about how we react. Thank you for reading my ramble, I love you, thank you.

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