Life Lessons with Monica: Taking A Big Step
I was ready to give up on myself and my dream again. Is this the right place to start? Yes, I think so, for you to all know, this is something that I have done for most of my life: Self-Sabotage. I had finished my first draft of my book, bragged, took steps that were probably too early to take at the time, but they were steps that kept me accountable. I started this blog, pouring new and old writing, poems that just popped in, ones written years ago that needed polishing, whirlwind thoughts that just wouldn’t stop flying through my mind. Setting up an author page on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and making it public knowledge that I, Monica Anderson, have committed myself to writing a book, and becoming a published author. Those first days were the biggest high I had experienced.
The outpouring of love and support from my close family and friends, my husband, David, listening to me talk on and on and on for hours about this revelation, and that revelation, and the way that I was going to set the book up, the word count for the day, the page count for the day, and sometimes on an hour by hour basis as the words came pouring out of me. Ah the majesty of writing finally after holding all the words that were begging to flow out of me for the last seven years! And then, as it so often happens, life came crashing down around me.
It was quick approaching time for the custody hearing that we had been preparing for during the entirety of 2020. I had poured hours and days and weeks of my life into combing through five years worth of text messages, breaking them down into bite size sections. Signing Release of Information forms from my therapist, openly allowing my therapy notes to become open access to my ex husband, his (hopefully only within the walls of the courtroom) vindictive lawyer, and the Guardian ad Litem assigned to represent the best interests of my children. I signed off on my psychiatric evaluation to be released. I was prepped and ready to sign off on my medical records. Why? Because I was accused of being an unfit mother due to diagnoses from my ex husband, false claims against me to the courts, and his passive aggressive way of attempting to use the court systems to assert control over me and my children once more.
Though the results of the hearing certainly could have gone worse, he lost his case for full custody, my children did not get the voice they deserved during those gruelingly emotional two days. Two days prior to Christmas Eve, the judge having just been exposed to COVID-19, and a lawyer’s argument that child molesters and murderers were allowed more face time with their children than his client, who had admitted on the stand to hitting the children, as well as having admitted on multiple occurrences that he had lied moments prior, not knowing that the rebuttal information was contained in a binder full of five years of messages. Bringing my twelve-year-old daughter in, swearing her in, and then while she was on the stand, having the judge tell her he brought her in simply to tell her that she didn’t get a voice in the room that day, and knowing it was simply because her father had objected to her being allowed to testify and stating that her mental health wasn’t fit enough for it, despite a child psychologist, medical doctor, and my daughter’s lawyer confirming she was ready and it was the right thing to do, it was something to help her heal, to allow her to work through the traumas she had endured in her life.
She was dismissed from the court room, the judge pushed for closing arguments versus giving the time my children deserved to be given consideration, and though two lawyers within the room (one of which was mine, the other was the Guardian Ad Litem) standing firm in what was best for the children mentally and emotionally, requesting supervised visitation, requesting safety and protection for my children, fighting the fight that I was not able to do because of a broken system that doesn’t give credence to one party over the other in divorced parental cases, and not allowing the child to have a voice that day. The judge chose not to care what was sitting in front of him, and my children have been forced to return somewhere they never wanted to go again, and my husband, their therapist, and I are now left to pick the pieces up after every visit. Walking out of the court room with the Guardian Ad Litem, being with my daughter for support as her lawyer explained to her that the judge had ordered their visitation to resume, every person within the building had to have heard her anguished screams of, “No! No, no, no, no!” right before she collapsed.
Thankfully I caught her just in time and got her sat down. All I could do was hold her as the terrified tears fell from her face, clinging to me as though she were five-years-old once again. That night, after having spent the last two months overcoming conversion disorder that causes severe and painful tics, suicidal thoughts, severe depression, taken off her meds, she came into my bedroom, clinging to her teddy bear, trying to talk when she had a tic that locked her entire jaw up and the words froze in her mouth. I was on the phone with her therapist discussing the results, explaining what was going on with her at that very moment, and working on a game plan for what to do from there, when as parents and her medical professional made the one decision that we knew was the right one. My twelve-year-old daughter was put back on vigilant suicide watch, and back on her medications. The final blow to her for the worst day of her life thus far.
There I sat, looking at the tattered pieces of my children, holding them through tears and fears, telling them that it would be okay, that they were going to get through this, that maybe, just maybe the case and what was drilled into their father about how he was talking to them, how he was treating them, and how he needed to stop, get counseling, get evaluated, and make a change for their sake, that just maybe it mattered. This was the one thing that would make him see reason, would make him rise up above the way he was acting, the choices he had made prior, and the damages he inflicted upon them and stop, just stop. All we had left was holding onto hope. It is still all that we are left with. Hope.
If you have read my other posts, you know that I use tarot cards and oracle cards, utilize YouTube resources for pick a card readings to help give me guidance, comfort, and a deeper understanding of myself and life in general. You know that I have high respect for Carl Jung, and I believe that Shadow Work can change your life. This is why. This was the big event in my life that forced me to look at the way I had given the control, power, and identity of who I am, to another person. That despite having kicked him out of the house, asked for a divorce, stood up to him finally when he pulled that fist back to scare me, and didn’t flinch when he punched a dent in the door next to my head the day he moved out of our house, despite those moments of strength, despite the freedom I had gained, he could still make one or two comments about his impression of me, his accusations of who I am that are merely projections of himself onto me, send me into a depressive spiral out of control. That day, December 23, 2020, in a nearly empty courtroom, having been painted as a failure because I chose to not be the parent for him, chose to respect the wishes of my frightened traumatized children, and get them help when they had asked it of me, that was my Tower moment that nearly ended my writing journey in its tracks.
Finding myself smack dab in the middle of questioning everything about my spirituality, my faith in the Universe, faith in myself, and most of all, losing all faith in the justice system completely, I was angry, sad, depressed, confused, and fighting to not give up hope. A couple weeks went by and I began rethinking what I wanted to do with my life again. I had committed to my writing, committed to following my lifelong dream, my life’s purpose, the one thing that was just for me, that made my heart sing. But life had just thrown a curveball so large that all the things I thought I had overcome came around again in a different way. I decided I was going to do this thing, or that thing, make jewelry on Etsy, sell crochet pieces online, something that I enjoyed but monetization of it made the love dry up and it just became a weight of expectation and work that didn’t bring me the same joy that writing does. I started trying to find my way back to the Divine, back to my spirituality, and so I downloaded all sorts of free trial oracle apps on my phone. Every single one I was drawn to at the time was Hay House. For nearly the entire week of free-trial time, I ignored the prompts to sign up for a free email this or that.
Honestly, I can’t even tell you which app it was that I finally gave in and submitted my email, but I know that it was a moment in which I was led by my Higher Self, led by the angels who could no longer get through the painful haze of what I was dealing with enough to tell me that there was something important and better coming for me. I was ready to give up on my writing. That was where I started, and then I received an email from Hay House for a free 7-Day Writing Challenge webinar series. I didn’t think twice, I just clicked the link and registered for it. The first day of the webinar I had to fight off every self-sabotage instinct to skip it, to just watch the replay (which I wouldn’t have done), but I decided I had signed up for this for a reason, and damn it, I was going to do it. If nothing else, it would at least let me get a glimpse into the life that I was ready to walk away from.
It was a full-week of the most uplifting hours I had experienced. I found my community. I found support, and I found my voice once more. I remembered all the parts of why I do this, not for fame or fortune, but because I know there are other people out in the world, going through similar experiences, lost and alone, and needing someone to give a voice to the parts of darkness people don’t speak about. I volunteered as tribute to do that for others, I willingly chose to write a book about every deep dark thought I had had about myself, and about what I found along the way to pull me out. How could I have ever thought for a moment about walking away from something that important to me? Something that was meant to help others, to bring to them that one thing I kept preaching to my children to hold onto: Hope.
Every day during the challenge we were given an assignment. I diligently worked on it as though back in college, having daily homework. I was writing every day. I wasn’t posting on social media until the last couple of days when the haze of everything before was lifted and there was a salve to the pains from the community I had found, or rather the one that found me. Hay House saved my book, the book that still yet has to be published, but that I have no doubt about making its way into the world anymore. Hay House, came swooping in and reignited my passion, and helped me heal. The final assignment was one I struggled with. Day seven, they challenged us to Take A Big Step. Sure, one of the suggestions was join the Hay House Writing Community, but that was a step that was already a given, and I was blessed to have gotten a boon of the first month free on that last day. So what to do?
I wracked my brain, what could I do? Of course the easiest answer floated through my mind: “Finish the damn book, Monica.”
Sure, that is the obvious answer, so I went to work. Busting my butt, allowing all my time to be consumed, and as I slaved away on the editing, I ended with 20 additional pages to edit! Math was not in my favor. I knew this was going to take me longer and rushing the process was not the way to give my book the nurturing it needs in this stage of editing.
Back to the drawing board, what to do? My stomach flipped, excitement mixed with nervous nausea. Okay, so the thoughts floating through were, it’s time, it’s time. I have had a blog, a sort of haphazard, get my thoughts and unpolished pieces out into the world so I can focus on my book. Set up for free through WordPress, it gave me an easy out. There was little commitment, minimal effort involved, but a built in community to give me some feedback. Great. It worked for awhile, until it didn’t. Here I stood, fork in the road, questioning myself, am I really going to do this, am I really going to make the commitment this firm? Yes. Yes, I am.
It still took me three days to take the step, but I did it. I purchased my domain. I copyrighted my logo. I invested in myself, invested in my writing. And then, I took Reid Tracy’s advice and I released, for the first time, the edited Prologue to my book. I put it into the world, and sent it to my friends and family, put it on all my social media author pages, and shared, shared, shared. Why? Not for the reason you may automatically think. This was not done for bravado, for self-satisfaction, nor to tie my worth up to the responses I would or would not garner from putting a piece of my story out into the world. I did it for the sake that I am now fully accountable to make this happen. I did it to commit and invest in the book I was meant to write, the purpose I put into my words, and the journey I had undergone in order to live my life’s passionate purpose. I did it for my dreams, goals, and to overcome that part of me that kept trying to tell me: You aren’t good enough. You’ll never achieve anything. You’ll never be published. Do you really think it is a good idea to put yourself out there like that? What about the backlash from the truths you are going to share about yourself? No one is going to read your words, no one will care. You will never amount to your heroes in the industry. You have no experience, you have no degree, you aren’t a professional, you’re just a nobody.
Guys, I am telling you, screw that voice streaming through with nothing but negativity. Seriously, just tell that voice to shut up, visualize duct taping his or her mouth. Sit that part of yourself down, and don’t try to reason, but instead be firm in your words and tell him or her: “I get that you’re fearful, worried, anxious. I get that you and I have both been through hell and highwater, but you know what, none of that matters. We have a voice, we have a dream, we have a purpose, and we are going to live it. Now it is time for you to take a backseat, and for me to run the show from now on. I appreciate the role you have played, I know that it has been a means of protection after a lifetime of hardship, but that isn’t our life anymore, and now it is my turn, and I have made up my mind.”
Expect some fight coming back, but stand firm in your resolve. I have, and I will, and I am now accountable on a public scale for that statement as well. I decided to live my dream. I decided that I do not need to know the end result because the end result will be what it is meant to be, and all that matters is that I get to live my life creating, sharing, and feeling my heart and soul ablaze with passion every single time I sit down and write something. Whether or not the writing is perfect, I am still creating, and what a majestic thing that truly is. So thank you to Hay House for helping me find my way in the darkness, and reminding me that that was what I set out to do for others when I made the decision to live my life as an author. Thank you to my family and friends for supporting me thus far, and for making it clear that you will always love and support me through this. And thank you to all the people out there, reading my words, and being a part of this journey.
I took my big step, I committed to my destiny, I hold myself accountable for making my dreams manifest into my reality. I invested in myself. I stood up and stood firm in what I am doing, and where I plan to take this, and I believe in it. Take a step today, take a step into investing in yourself, in some way. Whether you have been vacillating on getting healthier, reading something new, doing a new project, starting a new hobby, following your dream, forgiving yourself for something, forgiving someone else, or just trying to find something more. Take a step forward, open the doors of possibility, and don’t hesitate. Just trust yourself.