Sometimes we go through trauma and don’t even realize it because we think we’re strong. And we think that we know what’s about to happen. Then hours later, it hits us.
I knew I had to appear for a court hearing for my mother’s conservator, and I knew what I was up against. I knew what I was going to say but was not informed that he would be there. I was not informed that his lawyer, and the temporary conservator that I managed to put in place, and her lawyer, would also be there. So I found myself sitting on the benches of Superior Court on Hill Street in Downtown Los Angeles – not bracing myself – but definitely not aware of what would transpire.
When my mother’s evil conservator walked in I tried to gauge my emotions. If someone were to ask me what would I feel, the list would be long: angry, sad, frustrated, antagonistic. A lot of emotions would be on that list but at the time I think my body and mind went into shock.
So when I found myself standing in front of the judge and hearing the lies being told from the conservator’s lawyer and heard the truths being told from the lawyers on my mother’s side, my hands started to sweat. I made the decision to wear one of my mother’s rings to the courthouse and I have wider fingers than she does, so it only fit on my pinky finger and it started to slide off my hand.
I thought to myself, “Should I take it off and put it in my plastic purse? Or should I keep shoving it back on my hand?” Yes, these were the ideas running through my head. Thankfully, I was not trembling and I was able to stand up, but the sweat was a key sign that I was going through some type of trauma.
Then when it came my time to speak, I was eloquent. I was poised. I was honest. I was direct. I wasn’t babbling or crying or unable to express my thoughts, despite the fact that the devil, my mother’s conservator, was standing only a few feet away.
I left feeling proud of myself. I thought, “Ok, I’ve been going to court multiple times to try and remove him so I should be seasoned by now and not have any emotional fallout.”
I was wrong.
I went home. I went back to work. I went about my day. Ten hours later something inside of me came unleashed.
I started to bawl. I started to unwind and whatever emotions I managed to suppress came over me and took over my body. It makes me wonder, what in me allowed me to keep all those traumatic emotions sucked inside enough to be presentable in front of the judge to speak my truth and tell my purpose?
It’s almost as if I learned something invaluable about myself. I learned that if I need to pull it together to get through a hearing I can do it. I can remain calm and, despite my sweaty palms, I can make it happen.
But it was exhausting. It is exhausting to put the body through that type of experience because at some point all the pent-up emotions will pour out. At some point, the pain, the suffering, the turmoil that you suppress exposes itself, and you just have to be ready. You have to accept it, and feel it, and let it breathe.
I say all this because we all know about PTSD. But, everyone’s experience is unique, yet – as terrible as it is – when you can find your strength in such trying situations, and come out well enough to walk home a mile, and go to work, and live your life only to learn later that your body, mind, and soul were affected, you do come out on top.
You come out a survivor and yeah, I still have to face the next court hearing. I still have to face this monster, but guess what, I’m even closer to being ready for the next round.
Every trauma, I’m discovering, makes me stronger; and it is my hope, no matter what you are going through, it will do the same for you.