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I Can

I got to practice today. I got to practice ignoring the “I can’t.” That’s one of those lies we tell ourselves all the time. “I can’t do this anymore.” “I can’t handle this life.” “I can’t get through this trial.” All of those lies. I got to practice ignoring them today.

When I stop listening to that “I can’t,” it transforms to “I have to” which becomes “I will” and then inevitably becomes the ever triumphant “I did it!”

I did it, today. Despite everything that was thrown at me, despite the lies the adversary tried to tell me, I did it. I made it. There is choice after all and I’m getting mine back.

Yesterday, I received an email from my lawyer that the ex was trying to get the court and police to forcibly remove the children from my care to be with him for the weekend. Because that won’t be traumatic for them at all, no sirree! This greatly confused me, because I had just communicated with our mediation contact about him spending supervised time with them on Saturday. But he must play games. I was not entirely surprised, however. It’s been about two weeks since his last episode. His current cycle is about two weeks, so he’s due for another. I just wish the kids and I didn’t have to pay for them. But of course this happens. Since the kids have been making great progress, and since I have been doing much better with my own healing, the adversary can’t have that. And since the ex is a convenient tool in his hands, he will use him to strike.

I could have even handled all of that without much of a hitch at this point. I’ve dealt with so many of his threats, it wouldn’t have even been very difficult to just be on high alert for a day or two until the threat passed, and then go back into functioning mode again. The thing is, hypervigilance is great when I don’t need my brain to function for much else. But I had to take a test this morning. A big, fat, “this costs $150 and if you don’t pass it you don’t get to stay certified as a teacher” kind of test. I’d been studying, prepping myself, and feeling pretty good about things. Enter adversary.

If you’ve ever experienced trauma, triggers, anxiety, you know how hard–how nigh to impossible–it is to focus on anything besides the trigger. I would be in this test for two hours, without access to my phone, a prime opportunity for him to show up at the babysitter’s and snag the kids without the sitter being able to do a dang thing about it. Law enforcement will not remove them from my care if they are not in danger. He’s tried using that method. Multiple times. But, if the kids are with someone else, there is nothing stopping him (at this point) from showing up and taking them. It’s his “right” as their parent. I’m working on getting the children’s rights protected, but the good old legal system takes time. Lots of wasted time.

Anyway, I arranged things the best I could to keep the kids safe, tried my darnedest to keep my head on straight, and took my test. Thoughts like “how am I supposed to do this?” and “I can’t think” played around in my head for a minute, but I firmly shouted them down with “I have to and I will do this!” I had to take the test this morning. There was no acceptable alternative. I asked multiple people to pray for me, I prayed for myself and the safety of my children, gave it all to God, and went into that test and did my best.

At one period, right at the mid-point of the test, I experienced a sudden and severe bout of anxiety. Everything shut down and I could only think about whether or not my kids were safe. I played out scenarios where I might be able to just go check my phone to make sure, but I was not allowed to do so during the test. So I breathed. And breathed. And prayed. And I looked at the next question on the test and forgot I was supposed to be having an anxiety attack. It just melted away. That’s what you call divine intervention. Another thing you’d call divine intervention is if I passed. That still waits to be seen. But I did it. I finished the test, I remembered correct answers, I guessed logically on the ones I didn’t know, I wrote essays and reviewed questions and clicked “Done.”

I did it! And the ex didn’t show up to kidnap my children this time.
I can do this. I do it every day, over and over.
Piece of cake.
And I spent the rest of today decompressing and relaxing and doing very little else besides things for myself. Because I CAN.

And let me just take a minute here to express my profound gratitude for the amazing people I have in my life. Words are not enough to express how blessed I am. My family members rally around me. My friends call and text and check up on me. I have a multitude of people I can trust and depend on to be there, to believe me, to love my children and me unconditionally and forever. These people are a big, huge part of why and how I know

I can do this life.

(PS I did end up passing the test! With a darn good score, I might add. I most definitely can do this life.)

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