Everything I’ve Lost < Everything I’ve Gained

I came across this senior picture recently. We never actually ordered these pictures, because my parent’s divorce had thrown my mother into abject poverty and homelessness. By choosing to stay with her, I was homeless and living in poverty as well. My dad would have financially supported me if I would have lived with him, but it would have meant I could have no contact with my mom. I missed competing at the state track meet my senior year (after being runner up in the 2 mile my junior year) and I was delinquent from school (after being an honors student) to live with my mom. The story is long and complicated, but in general, the ineffectual family court system tore my family apart.
People who know my story have a tendency to feel sorry for me. But the reality is, I am lucky to have been through this.
Everything I lost and every opportunity I missed did not matter. I now live with such a deep trust that whatever is meant for me will never miss me, because everything I gained from this experience is more than I could have known to hope for. ❤️

Letting Go of Holiday Expectations

Many people experience stress from expectations of what the holidays should be like. I remember one of my favorite Thanksgivings was when I spent the day alone. I ate a pumpkin pie. I worked out and read and wrote and spent time outside. Letting go of what many people think the holiday should be allowed me to have a wonderful day, even if it wasn’t traditional. As a baby of divorce, I learned this perspective the hard way. Many of my holidays were not nearly so pleasant. The worst Thanksgiving I remember was when my mom was taken to jail the day before Thanksgiving (for a crime she did not commit that is not punishable with jail, even if she had been guilty). On that Thanksgiving, I visited my little sister at the emergency foster care center she was taken to and then some family friends drove me from the Canadian border to North Carolina. I tried to eat Subway from a gas station. I don’t think I’ve ever cried more than I did on that specific day. Now, most anything that happens on a holiday feels quite lovely to me. And I’m hoping you all can recognize how beautiful your holidays are, even if you’re in the midst of some chaos or feeling like you’re alone or suffering.