Not Broken, Just Prepared

Sometimes it’s hard to keep trudging through life when so many things have gone wrong. A lot of people don’t have this kind of life experience, but a lot of us do. Things happen and while there are so many who will look down on anyone for feeling ‘victimised,’ I think it’s important to call a spade a spade and say yes, I was victimised by this person or that event. It was not my fault. That way we don’t internalise it and feel like we’re bad people for ‘letting’ something happen (and if anyone tells you that unjustifiably, that’s insanity), or that we’re whiners for saying it was wrong.

Another difficulty is that the lasting effects of whatever trauma we’ve experienced can be so challenging we often feel ‘broken.’ We wonder why we can’t just enjoy things anymore, why we cry at television adverts, why we’re scared of things that other people find trivial, or why our load feels so much heavier than the next person’s.

My mom was struggling with some of these feelings after I became pregnant with my firstborn. (For those of you who haven’t read it, the back story is here.)

She and I were at a camp in Hungry Horse, Montana, for our traditional weekend away. We used to go every year if we could help it, it was the only thing you could call a “vacation” or “holiday” that we ever really took. It was a church-based retreat, and to this day, that campground remains my favourite place on Earth.

This particular summer, I had just turned fifteen, and, being pregnant with my firstborn, my mom and I both had a lot to process. The incident and the uncertainty of the future were weighing heavily on our minds. We were not wealthy by any means, and never owned new vehicles or anything like that. Choosing to keep my son was my immediate choice and I stuck by my guns, but it was not going to be easy. My mom was supportive of my choice, and was willing to help, but was no doubt under pressure about the situation.

One night at the camp, I was already deeply asleep in the cabin. Mom was in Teakettle lodge, the mess hall, playing board games with others until probably midnight when it was time to lock up. Most other campers were also asleep. There are no lights on the campground after a certain time, so with her flashlight lighting her path she made her way back to the cabin.

When she got to our door, she realised she had forgotten to bring a key. Up in the mountains, in the dark, no shelter, no blanket, and everyone fast asleep. She tried waking me up, but I sleep like a rock and I’m not sure an earthquake could wake me. Bears have been known to come wandering through the camp, the end of May is not summery enough to keep the ground from freezing overnight, and it rains there a lot. I’m pretty sure sleeping on the ground was not going to work out very well.

She didn’t know what to do.

We may not have had much but we did have an old Ford Explorer. Being old and second-hand, the door was broken and wouldn’t lock. Thankfully it was so beaten down no one would steal it, and on this night my mom was able to get into it and out of the cold, much to her relief.

As she reclined her seat to get comfortable, she was thinking about my situation and how sorry she felt for me and what I was going through. She had been praying about it, asking what to do about it all. It was, after all, a retreat where prayer was one of the main focuses. It was then she heard a voice from the back seat say, “It isn’t broken, it was prepared.” She turned to see where the voice came from, but there was no one there.

I realise that this will sound bonkers to many and immediately at the mention of “prayer” about half of you or more will roll your eyes. And that’s fine. I’m not pressing any beliefs onto anyone or indeed, reflecting any of my own. But I know my mom was really shaken by this experience in a good way, and it has had its impact on my life as well.

Sometimes when things really get on top of me, I think of this. Yes, I have been victimised in the past by many things. No, I will not be ashamed of that. I do feel like I was given an extraordinary load to carry, and I also feel it’s important to tell people about it, no matter how personal. I am a survivor, and a fighter. Yes, I have felt ‘broken’ so, so many times. But I choose to believe that for whatever reason I was not ‘broken,’ I was prepared.

I especially believe this because my son, despite the circumstances of his conception, is an awesome little (big) boy. He’s going to be twelve soon, which is really strange to think about. Throughout the years he has been an excellent motivation to keep being a better, stronger, more resilient person despite the many times it has been so incredibly difficult I have seriously wanted to quit.

In no way do I view his entering into my life a ‘breakage’ of anything. His existence has opened my eyes to many things and given me a perspective of the world that I would never shun. I don’t yet know what my purpose truly is, but I know it isn’t to sit still feeling broken and helpless.

Since the day my mom first told me this story, I’ve never looked at anything the same.


If you have a story of something being ‘broken’ but turning out to be ‘prepared,’ I’d love to hear it.

Feel free to comment below or blog it and link to this post to get my attention.

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Not a Post About Crochet (Only)

The past few days I have been working on something special.

I was going to log on and write a post about it the other day, but what I ended up with was The Other Things I Am. Needless to say I was exasperated that day… motherhood is really trying sometimes.

One of the things I had meant to say with that post was that, in addition to writing and a bunch of other things, I crochet as well. Like writing, I haven’t crocheted in about a decade, until recently. Working with yarn has a tendency to reduce stress, so I took up knitting and restarted my crochet habit around February time.

I first made one of these special things I mentioned a couple of months back, using a free pattern from one of my favourite magazines. I altered the pattern slightly and used different yarn and a differently sized hook. What it made was a larger, monotone version of the stuffed toy, for which I designed some clothes. Namely, a ballerina costume and little ballet slippers. A picture of it even made its way into my favourite magazine and won me a ball of yarn. Woo!

While I made the toy, I had a friend in mind.

This friend of mine has been trying for four years to adopt. She doesn’t even want to adopt a baby, which are a more popular choice for hopeful parents, but a girl who is older and has been orphaned for some time, of which there are plenty. For a while she was trying to adopt from Russia because, at the time, it was her most promising option. Then her country legalized same-sex marriage. And that was it; all her money wasted (because adoption is not cheap), emotional rollercoaster ride back to square one. (Russia says “NYET” to any country which allows same-sex marriage, regardless of the sexuality of the hopeful parents.) She was devastated.

Now she is trying from another country, as there are no matches for her in her own country, and so far that’s looking promising. I have the highest hopes for her that she will finally have the joy of being a mother (even though it is such a challenge sometimes) and while she was visiting most recently, I gave her the toy I had made.

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The bear has now gone overseas to go live with my friend, and hopefully soon, her new daughter.

Another friend of mine saw the bear before it was given away. The other day she called me and asked if I’d make one for a local charity event whereby the bear will be in a big jar and donations will be raised as people guess the name of the bear to try to win it. Saves counting jelly beans! So I got right on it, and have finally finished the last little ballet slipper today.

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As I was making it, I thought of the first friend again. As I’m sure most of you have heard, the US recently legalised same-sex marriages. While I am pleased for the people who have been waiting a long time for this, and would like to join completely in their joy, I can’t help but think about how many parents-in-waiting are out there, and how many Russian orphans are out there, who have not been able to be matched because of Russia’s rules on adopting to places where same-sex marriage is simply legal.

I should clarify, the ban for adoption to US parents came into effect late 2014, not the other day. I am not sure of the exact reasons for the ban, maybe just a bit of animosity between the two countries who aren’t exactly friends, but as several states had already legalised these types of marriages, it would not be far-fetched to say that Russia didn’t want its children around same-sex marriages. This feels wrong.

It would be easy to say “Well that’s Russia’s problem,” and not be entirely wrong to say that. But there are children not at fault for simply being Russian, and parents meeting every other criteria for adopting from Russia who are not at fault for simply being from a country which has legalised same-sex marriage. The US is a leader in most political trends, and I would bet many countries will now follow in its steps.

I wonder what Russia’s problem is with this subject. But Russia and the adoption fiasco are just one example of divided opinions about who should be allowed to marry. One doesn’t even need to leave the house to see how divided people are about this. And maybe you think I’m going to give a strong opinion one way or the other…

But I don’t know what the correct answer is on this subject. I can see where people are coming from when they say it’s destroying the family unit, not that I agree with their opinion. And I can see where people are coming from who say “love is love,” not that I agree that same-sex marriages should be legalised. I see how people say that heterosexual marriages are not so great themselves, how divorce should not be legal, and I see there are plenty of same-sex couples who have been together longer than hetero couples.

I’m not a psychologist and I don’t know what exactly children need and how different genders of parents affect their development from a factual scientific perspective. I do know that growing up without a dad sucked. My mom wasn’t gay, but I can’t say whether another woman around would have been harmful, in fact it would probably have been beneficial. I know a lot of gay guys who are excellent around kids. I know a lot of terrible heterosexual males who have failed miserably at the “dad thing.” I know both gay and straight moms who have failed and succeeded in raising good kids. I have had quite a few homosexual friends throughout the years who have been excellent friends, many times even better than the heterosexual ones.

I am also well-versed in the Bible but will probably never attend church again. I still haven’t covered my thoughts on religion and won’t get too far into that today, but I will say this:

Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

There are a lot of innocent people who are adversely affected by the legalisation of something which makes so many others so happy, and what I’ve learned throughout my life is not to get caught up in any sensationalism about anything political. Politicians can be tricky, clever bastards.

I do not wish for my homosexual friends to be denied the right to marry. But I feel that marriage these days has too many legal implications to be just about the marital union of a couple. There are other things to consider: Who gets to be the recipient of the life insurance pay-out once one of them has passed? Without the legal recognition of the relationship, insurance companies can keep all those thousands they’ve collected in life insurance premiums. That seems unfair. There are exponentially more roots to this tree that many people, including myself, do not see.

What I do think is that for people preaching religious principles, I sure hope they’re respectful with their words at the very least. I think the best way to put people off the message you are trying to convey is to be rude about it. For people who are jumping for joy, I sure hope this is as good as you think it is. And just like all the people who have commented on my posts wherever they’ve been seen, saying that I “just need God,” not knowing one way or another what my relationship with a deity has been throughout my life, I hope people know that being gay is not something church can cure, just like depression and anxiety and PTSD are not cured by a preacher.

How ironic is it that one of the biggest reasons I have PTSD and that a lot of undesirable things have happened in my life is because of a preacher in a church who was married and had a heterosexual family?

What I’m trying to say is, there is no black and white answer to this, or to many other things. But there are innocent children affected by adults everywhere because of their opinions and actions. And I am almost positive that having two parents, or even one parent, regardless of whether they’re heterosexual or not, is better than being stuck in an orphanage somewhere.

This adorable, innocent bear, reminds me of all the kids waiting to have parents. And it reminds me of all the people repeating opinions, regardless of whether they are the genuine beliefs of that person or concocted by the media and politicians, fighting against one another over this. What I see is people fighting one another, innocent children denied parents, and amazing potential mothers and fathers of all sexualities desperate for a chance to show children a loving family experience, denied this opportunity.

I’m really not sure which is worse, or what the solution may be, but just like I hope my friend gets to be a mother soon, I hope everything works out for all the right people and for all the right reasons.

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