It was my first choice. You know – back in high school when you were asked the most dreaded question of every senior in high school – what do you want to be when you grow up? I could always see myself as a counsellor. Even back then I understood there’s a roadmap each person must follow in their own life and to follow it with blinders, so to speak. Letting go of the need to look to the “side” at what others were doing or wondering what they thought I “should” do. To walk healthy in mind, body and spirit knowing we each have challenges in these areas. My walk in life so far has included many twists and turns. It was tough being raised in a family I didn’t even know before the age of 5 and now surrounded by adults and other kids that were strangers to me. In some ways, they still are strangers. Being removed from my mother and father’s home was supposed to make me safer; more protected I guess. What no one may have considered is how unprotected I would be emotionally, mentally and then spiritually.

I don’t remember having much of a voice; nor acceptance of me as an individual. Now being the youngest of 5 children (only one of them being my biological brother; the other 3 being my half aunt/uncles), I didn’t think there was room for my ideas, opinions or thoughts. Its more like I had the distinct impression life would be easier if I just didn’t talk; especially about anything important. Once, giving a slight clue as to my inner self and the depression I was feeling, one member of the family said, “Christians don’t get depressed.” That was the last time I said anything about how I felt for a long time.

This lead to my first coping skill: say silly, funny things to get people’s attention. I becameImage of Coach Mimi the class clown. Little comments from the back row would get those around me laughing and hide the fact I was scared to really tell them what I was thinking about the topic discussed.

I’ve seen the court orders that came out of my mother’s fight to have us returned to her home. How absolutely panicky and humiliating it must have been for her to firstly, not know where we were for 3 months, and then, to realize, it was family holding us away from her. To have the guilt she still feels removed from her countenance and replaced with Love would be the ultimate gift. I wish I could give it to her. To be set free, accepted, not judged and loved would have been gifts. Instead of these, she received recrimination, judgment and hate from those who professed to be doing “what Jesus would do.”

My father’s abandonment of me was degrading. I felt trapped and for several years after being left with this new family, I had dreams of my father dying and being buried under my bed. Night after night waking and refusing to move for fear he would know I was laying in a bed over his grave.

And so another pattern was started. My childhood coping skill: to just not move, be quiet as a “mouse” and whatever another was doing, it didn’t matter. Soon it would be over, the light would come on and I could move on without notice. I told no one. I acted normal. As a Pisces water sign, that was the easy part. Now, I call myself a chameleon because I can adapt to my environment so well, people think I belong. I think I belong.

Marrying at 20 as I had the romantic idea a husband and my own place would erase all the negative effects. What I realize now is I still showed up as me. Marriage, children, job, house, money…none of these, or lack of them, made or broke my life. The happiest time in my life was when my children were small. Teaching and instructing, showing and telling, playing and singing became the norm. I loved coming up with games to teach the kids their letters. I read to them all the time. I sang songs with their names in them. These things still make me smile!

Underneath, there was a volcano brewing. I ignored it.

Telling the story now, from where I’m sitting in life, the volcano blew and I survived! Then I learned how to thrive. Now I can lend a hand to those sitting on top of the same life-circumstances volcano as I was sitting and learn to thrive as well. I no longer crave love, acceptance or a judgment-free environment as I’ve created those and live them.

This is what I offer you… Love. Acceptance. Both judgment free.

Warm regards to you,

Coach Mimi