Turning Stressors Into Memories

I remember when I was eight years old, my dog, Radar, was my best friend. I loved that dog. Sadly, he got really old and weak. One day we let him outside to go potty before school and he never came back. We looked everywhere trying to find him. My mom got us in the car searching. We found him. He was hit by a car. He died. I was devastated. This was my entire world. He was my best friend. I was so sad for a long time. How would I ever get over this?

When I was ten years old, I loved going to the “creek” with the kids down the block from me. We would look for frogs to catch and release. We had a blast. One day, my dad heard me curse. Who the *#$% knows what I said, but he was mad about it. He grounded me from the creek. I was livid. All my friends were going and having fun without me! My world was collapsing. That was so important to me!!

When I was 15 years old, I threw a party at my parent’s house when they were away in Chicago for the weekend. They found out (shocker!). Maybe I should’ve remembered the neighbors are all friends and they chat! That was the last time they trusted me in their house alone. Anyways,… when they found out, I was at an 18 year old’s graduation party. This guy was the cutest. And he liked me!! Well, we were hanging out acting SO cool 😜 at his party, getting close, when I hear my parents’ truck screech to a halt in their driveway. My dad starts yelling at every person, “Where’s Kimberly?!” Omg, so embarrassing. As I did the walk of shame to their car in front of- what felt like- the entire school , I could feel the fingers pointing, people laughing, any hopes of a social life pulled away from me in that instant. I was devastated. Embarrassed to the point of no return. How will I ever face anyone at school again?!

I remember being 19 years old in college. My boyfriend and I broke up. He didn’t take it well. He lashed out against me, my friends, and my family. Threats made to anyone and everyone that got close to me. He became aggressive. I had to get a PPO. He took me to court. I “won”. Won πŸ™„. The stress and anxiety that went along with this situation put me in the ER. I lost 32 pounds in three weeks. I failed classes! I never failed classes in my life. I’m an all A student! This was the worst thing that ever happened to me. I didn’t know how I was going to get out of it. How will I ever get through this?

When I was 22 years old, I was a newlywed. For the first time, I was not living in the dorm or with parents. I still had one semester of student teaching to complete- in case you’re unaware, that’s where you work full time for free and also have to pay full tuition πŸ‘Œ. I had to have other jobs to pay for living on our own! So I also worked full time as a bartender five days a week. The other two days I worked as a dance teacher at a local studio and also coached a Middle School dance team. I never saw my new husband. Our lives were stretched thin. We had no time for anything but stressing about bills. I hated this stress. The schedule. The never ending bills saga. How will I ever get out of this?! I can’t live like this!!

When I was 28 years old, my husband and I decided that we wanted to start our family and have children. We tried. And tried. And tried again and again and again. You get the idea. No baby. We went to my OB for help. After a thousand tests, she discovered I have PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)- a common fertility issue in women. This diagnosis left me devastated. I couldn’t conceive naturally! What kind of woman am I?! This was the worst news ever!!

When I was 30 years old, I was pregnant with my second child. I was hospitalized at 34 weeks along, on Christmas Eve for itching I had on my hands and feet. I, somehow, had cholestasis- a super rare liver disease that was incredibly dangerous for the baby and increases the risk of stillbirth. They had to schedule a c-section delivery at 37 weeks to try to give me the best chance of a live and healthy baby at birth. This was horrifying news. Why me?! Why my baby?! How will we ever get through this?!?!


My dog died.

Punishment for swearing.

High school social life being destroyed.

Messy breakup.

Working multiple jobs.


Stillbirth scare.

These are significant events, not because these are the worst things to ever happen in my life, but because these events are the first time I’ve dealt with loss, pain, hurt, stress, surprise, horror, in that way. I’ve had other pets that have died. I have had other breakups. I have had multiple jobs to balance. I’ve been in the same situation after the first time for most events. It’s not as memorable as the first because I was able to navigate through it easier than before. With each experience comes a new opportunity to improve my internalized thoughts for a healthier and more rational reaction. It also comes with appreciation because my problems could be much worse.

If all our misfortunes were laid in one common heap whence everyone must take an equal portion, most people would be content to take their own and depart.

– Socrates

When life hits you with a heavy dose of reality and gives you something you think you can’t handle, just know that you’ve experienced many of “those” situations in your life that, in the moment, you felt you couldn’t handle or would ever make it through.

Get connected to your reality, your real life, instead of your emotionally soaked self-talk narrative about your life.

– Gary John Bishop

What I’ve come to learn is that life is a series of events. With each event comes learning- learning about yourself. What you can live with and handle, and what you won’t. It can be traumatic and devastating to you in the moment because you’ve never experienced it before. You’re novice status. A rookie. This is uncharted territory. You’re an expert in many things, but not when it comes to these. If the same event that’s stressing you out now happened to you over and over, year after year, it’d be somewhat easy for you because you’ve had experience with it and know what to do. Think about the things that are easy for you, but others that are dealing with that now are overwhelmed. For example, a new mom trying to breastfeed compared to a veteran mom who breastfed three babies for a year each. Or someone training for their first 5k compared to a trained marathon runner. What about the first year teacher trying to plan engaging daily lessons for her students from scratch? Compare her to the 25th year teacher who knows exactly what she’s going to do and how for the entire year. The super breastfeeding mom, the runner, the seasoned teacher all have more experience in those specific areas, which has to led to a comfortability in an area that used to be their stressor. Their stressors have evolved into something different. Yours will too!

If you were able to take a step back from the current stressor you have in your life and play it out as if it were going to happen again next week or month or year, what would you try next? What would you do differently? Don’t beat yourself up for a misstep, misjudged situation, miscommunication,… you’re no expert here. None of us are. That’s why it’s hard for you. Give yourself a break.

You haven’t come this far, to only come this far.

– Rachel Hollis

You WILL get past this. And then your current issue will become just another memory as you move forward to deal with the next stressor of life.

Breathe, my friend. You’ve got this.

We are all in this together.

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