Without a doubt, I 100% believe that your life is what you make it. No matter how it starts. Every person is given obstacles in their lives that they have to decide how to work through and who they want to be when they hit the other side. I feel like I’ve had a million but one of the biggest challenges I’ve had was choosing whether I wanted to identify myself as a victim or a victor.
Let me explain.
I did not grow up in a pretty life. It was “typically dysfunctional” and abusive. From as little as I can remember, my mom genuinely enjoyed scaring the life out of me. She was obsessed with end-of-the-world, National Enquirer-type prophecies that had everything to do with major natural disasters like floods, earthquakes, volcanoes, etc.
The information that she enjoyed reading to me on a daily basis was TERRIFYING to me. I remember when I was 6 she put me on the school bus and said “today is supposed to be the last day of the world so if I don’t see you again, I love you…”
If the thought of the world opening up from an earthquake and swallowing me into the mouth of a ferocious volcano wasn’t scary enough before that day – it certainly was after. The entire day was a blur and fear pumped through my veins as my heart raced. I waited second after second for some kind of emergency drill to go off and let me know that I was about to die. When it didn’t and I returned home, I hid under my bed just waiting for the final days to take me and everyone I loved.
It was worse than a nightmare because it was my actual life, and I was so young I had no way to weigh the reality of the situation.
From that day on, I could not see storm clouds coming in, hear about Hurricane season, or watch the news covering any type of natural disaster event without retreating into anxiety and fear about the end of the world.
It seems so silly to me now, but I remember that I was still in tremendous fear when I was in college. I refused an assignment in my Geology class because I would absolutely lose myself to anxiety and depression if I read about volcanoes.
Not long after that – I thought “enough is enough.” I had lived, at that point, almost every year of my life in torment because of something that was beyond anyone’s control. I was over feeling victimized by my mother and letting her impact my life. And it didn’t take very long before I was DONE! I made a choice to change the reality that I saw when natural disasters happen and somewhere around 2-3 years later – I was studying how the earth layers when plate tectonics collide (all while living on a very large fault line.)
The challenge of overcoming fear and healing from past experiences is not easy and I do not believe that doing it is as easy as this situation makes it sound – this was ONE challenge that helped me understand that I can shift my mind frame. I can stop avoiding my fears and face them head on. I can stop feeling victimized by the life I was given and start being the victor of the life that I am creating!