Life is a Journey. . . Never Give Up. Prior to 2020, I began 2019 with a vision board, which I hoped to achieve six primary goals:
- Get three new clients & Speak in five states
- Publish Memoir & Start a NPO
- Take a family vacation
- Prioritize self-care
Get three new clients & speak in five states. Last year, I began working with the Fostering Change Network Foundation and this opportunity emerged from networking with another alumni success. After we discussed our goals and passions, I was invited to provide consulting services, which radically opened the eyes of my heart. I have been invited to co-facilitate a week-long series of workshops for Foster youth in Mississippi in 2020!
In 2019, I provided my first training for foster parents about resiliency and the foster youth experience with a foster agency in Ohio. Throughout my training, I learned from foster parents as I shared my journey and facilitated hands-on experiences to build strengths for foster youth and families. I also traveled to Maryland, Kentucky, Florida, California, and throughout Ohio. I spoke at the following conferences, celebrations, training opportunities:
- Alumni Powerhouse Network Conference, Workshops
- HEMI, Moving Forward Ceremony for Graduates, Speaking
- PCSAO, Champions for Children & Families, Workshop
- California Blueprint Pathways Conference, Workshop
- Columbus State Scholar Network, Lunch & Learn, Workshop
Publish Memoir and Start a NPO. Throughout the past three years, I have been sharing lessons learned on my blog at kimberlycrhyan.com (formerly, kimberlycolleen.com). These lessons have revolved around resiliency, mental health and self-care. I am usually very open about my story and hope that my words can be helpful to others. I just realized this past week that I hadn’t posted any new blogs for three months. I have been diligently working to finalize my memoir and anticipate publishing it this spring! The official release is set for Foster Care Awareness Month in May 2020! I have three months to go and I am busy with the final details, from the cover design, to promotion to rolling out a complete marketing plan, The most important step in this process is forming a not-for-profit foundation, which will focus on growing inter-generational foster youth’s talents. When I look back over my life, there is one constant protective factor which has helped me to cope and practice hope through resiliency – the Creative Arts and freedom of expression to share my story. I seek to provide Creative Arts opportunities to foster youth, no matter their age. Everyone deserves a chance to discover and build their strengths.
Take a family vacation. We traveled to Florida and visited Disney, Lego-land, Clear-water Beach. My son and I had an amazing trip! We celebrated his 9th birthday and spent quality time with our family.
Prioritize Self-care. If you followed my blog from last year, you would have read about my self-care journey towards wholeness. At first, I wanted to get more sleep, get fit, get counseling, eat right, journal and meditate daily. Instead of accomplishing all of these goals, I addressed self-care on a much deeper level.
Fatigue. Exhaustion. Loneliness. Isolation. These were all feelings that lingered daily. No mater how positive I tried to be at home or work, there was a weight on my shoulders that wouldn’t ease up. The more I ignored it, the heavier it grew, until one day, I sat in the doctor’s office. My doctor asked me how I was feeling and that’s when it happened (again). Tears flowed from overwhelming grief. Was it seasonal affective disorder, or was it depression? Anxiety was always present. Fight or flight was always in my DNA. I has spent two years avoiding my feelings and putting on a facade that everything was okay. Just minimum okay, just barely surviving and wearing a mask. It was something I learned to do at a young age, when I was abused, I would close my eyes and pretend I wasn’t being violated, but it was the worst time of my life because I was a child and afraid to ask for help and threatened daily, that if I spoke the truth, I would lose everything and everyone. And guess what? In eighth grade, I went into foster care.
In June, I wrote about my anxiety and that’s when I started believing that things could be different, but it would take four more months to have a very honest conversation with my doctor. And that’s when I truly began prioritizing my self-care. After nearly 30 years of struggling with depression and anxiety, I was finally prescribed an anti-depressant
Wholeness VS. Brokenness
Healing does not always mean wholeness –
Sometimes we impede our own healing
when we use a band-aid
when we really need a cast.
when we don’t challenge ourselves
to get the support we need to succeed.
I realized that I didn’t have to prove anything to anyone. I also learned that healing is different for everyone because trauma, wounds and hurts exist at different depths. For me, healing means that I have hope through resiliency which propels me to break the cycle and give my child a future.
Time can tell us a lot about true healing. I don’t know if time heals all wounds. Cher sings a powerful song which I listened to over and over on cassette, as an 8th grader – “If I could turn back time.” Some wounds are treated with a band-aid, when they really need a cast. Our choices change nothing or everything.
Sometimes we have to do heart work and hard work, but it doesn’t always have a deadline or due date. Support looks different for everyone. Personally, I have an advisory board, people who I ask for help when I am struggling, questioning or hesitating. I utilize counseling, which is very hard because I do experience complex -PTSD. I don’t want to open up old wounds but my regular avoidance is a strong indicator that I need to see a therapist. The emotional hurt and trauma impede me from being my best and I know I will do better.
Last year, when I agreed to take an anti-depressant. I always thought I had to be strong. I thought in order to be a survivor, I had to use other coping mechanisms. There is so much stigma around medication, why did it feel like a failure to try something that was designed to help me have a better life? I very much struggled with my past and it took almost 30 years to accept that an antidepressant could help me have a better quality of life. I am now healing in ways that my guilt and shame are being transformed. The weight of the world has been lifted. We have to be open and willing to take as many steps as it takes to move forward, even when it is is uncomfortable.
I previously told myself, “I cannot be broken.” I believed this mantra would be the title of my memoir. I even visualized my book-cover at a bookstore and days later, it occurred to me that even in the places where I have tried to overcome my brokenness, gaps existed where healing was needed. More than ever, I had to be honest and change my coping strategies. This work cannot be done in isolation. A support network is everything and I appreciate my advisory board and my friends/family for believing in me, every single day.
Action – 4 C’s:
I am not a statistic. I am an alumni success! As I dream forward and make plans/goals for the next 11 months-
- Cope and trust the healing process:
- I will manage my stress and continue to build resilience.
- Choose wisely:
- I will be mindful and be kind to myself and others.
- Create order:
- I will maintain my progress and not procrastinate about my self-care/ I will journal weekly.
- Change our future:
- I will improve myself and prioritize my well-being to “break the cycle” and transform my the trajectory of my family.
My words become reality. I am finding a way to create order in my life with patience and persistence. I am a lotus growing in muddy waters – I am one with my purpose and affirm my place in the universe.
- What lessons did you learn in 2019.
- What do you need to complete? Start?
- How can you be more kind to yourself?
- Who will you ask for help?
- How will you track your lessons learned in 2020?