Back in 2017, when I was still healing in Holeta, I started wondering who I was, what I wanted to do when I got back to America, and how I was going to get better. When I moved to Cheney, I was getting over the pain of getting let go from the spa. Emotionally hurting from the wondering if I had made the right choice returning to Washington.
I lost track of my goals and honestly wondered who or what I had become. I knew that I was coming back so I could find out what had happened to my son. We have been apart for so long that I began to wonder if he hated or forgotten me. Many people have told me that taking the trip to Ethiopia was the best thing I could do then. Hurt by the wounds of someone I thought had loved me. For the first few months in Holeta, I was hurt and angry. Where had everyone been when I needed them the most. When I was sleeping in the shelter with my son by my side. That is right for a few months. I stayed at a hostel with my son because I was far from home with nobody to lean on.
For a few months, I trained in the school of hard knocks. Not trusting anyone afraid of the one person I thought who cared. You look out for yourself and do not trust anyone who became my motto. The thought of caring for anyone else other than my son was severe. I became hard-hearted and a shadow of my former self. The lawyer told me to do whatever it took to get a place of my own and a job to prove that I could take care of my son without his father. So, I put my kind loving aside and made that goal in front of my mind. It hurt that all my family and close friends could not go with me to the court. I had to start over and make friends within the community and hope that the system would find me to be the right person as I always knew I was. Those first few months of preparing was difficult. Still terrified of his father, I looked over my shoulder and hoped for the best.
The jokes and teasing even traveling train of thoughts in my mind I had to do whatever it took to prove myself. I was thankful that my mentor was able to go with me to the hearing. Of anyone in my inner circle, she understood all too well what I was facing. All the stress and anxiety went into another corner of my mind as I went into the courtroom, ready to face the judge and the man who hurt me verbally and emotionally.
So how do you go from being a kindhearted, loving person to someone who is searching for herself? Well, there is no easy answer. When I think about what has happened in the last 10 years, the only visual I can come up with is Alice falling down the hole after the white rabbit.
The fateful trip to Washington after my divorce was a turning point in my life. All the stress, anxiety, and depression that had weighed me down from the past year finally took a painful yet healing turn. To be blunt, I had an emotional breakdown. It began the night before we flew out to Seattle. I was asleep on the couch in our apartment with my son sleeping in his bed in his room. That week I was packing our things for the trip, going to a parent-teacher meeting at his daycare, and on top of that, getting over bronchitis that had me using an inhaler trying not to cough too hard. For the past few months, I was trying to live in a post-divorce world and emotionally coming off the roller coaster that was my life. I was told when the ride goes up to be ready for the down because it could be a doozy. Boy, was it ever. That night I had this vivid dream of God telling me that things would be alright. I just needed to hold it together just a little longer to make this trip home. The plan was that I would be gone for a few weeks and back in time to head back to work and back to life after divorce.
As planned, I had a friend drive my son and me to the airport for my healing trip with my mom. It was a special birthday treat that she felt I needed after being gone for so long. The last time she saw me, I was crying that I had to go back even after being sick from Irritable Bowl symptoms and whooping cough (little did we know these were the first signs of my body dealing with the stress and anxiety of my life)