What I Saw In the Dark.

There was once a version of myself who kept running from dealing and healing with my own pain. Afraid to be alone with the thoughts and fears of the past. In the present, I was a perfect storm of my own fears. Combined with fears from the knowledge of what my loved ones had endured, let alone the fear mongering that swirls around us all, everywhere, all the time. Media and social media outlets, just hoping we fall. If it bleeds it leads, right? Isn’t that how the saying goes? I should know. I inadvertently took part in it all. Terrified of what the future held. Horrified, heartbroken and pissed OFF, after researching true crime for so long. This little light of mine felt like one speck of ember that I just could not stoke within the present to be there for myself, let alone my children, ex husband, or anyone else. Frozen in fear, of what I could not control.

Turns out, the joke was on me. The audacity I’d possessed thinking that I actually had any control at all of the outcome of any situation, whatsoever. The day I dropped to my knees and asked God to take the pain away, was one of the most brutal and beautiful moments of my life. And you know what? He came through. Turns out, He never left. I just ran scared and let fear take over and steal precious time that I cannot get back. I can only recognize and rise from the depths of my fears. But I had to reflect on those fears and face them, in order to do so. My faith is a constant surrender, as there always have been and always will be; tests of faith. A daily devotion of letting go and learning to live in love. Finding new ways to serve Him through love for self, loved ones and community.

Ever had an anxiety attack? Hugs and solidarity to you, my friend. You are not alone. Ever had one at the happiest place on earth? Two separate trips. Oof. By the second trip, I was a shell of myself. Completely dumbfounded and shattered by what I’d discovered. How could I not see what was actually happening all this time? I’ll tell you why; Ever see a fight break out in the halls of your school and spectators wanted to watch the fight, so they whisper for everyone to keep it down so the fight lasts longer? It’s kinda like that. There’s a scene in the movie ‘The Other Guys’ that also sums this analogy up quite nicely. I’m sugarcoating with humorous euphemisms, but I’m also trying not to be the same beacon of bummer that I’d gotten used to being for so long.

Even on vacation, I did not know how to quit my research. I did not know how to stop worrying. True crime, fear, and curiosity consumed me. Dwelling on the unkown, while stealing precious time. I’d been trying to figure out another unsolved case to cover, after nearly a year of not putting out an episode of my podcast. Since I was close geographically to one case that has always been dear to my heart, I decided to look back into it. Even though, the detective I spoke with years prior, had already told me evidence was severely lacking and that she would likely never see justice. This child victim’s father had once reached out to me, so I decided to look him up to see if there was a way I could help find answers. This time, I decided to use a search engine, rather than a directory or rifle through emails. And, then I saw what I could not un-see. A pattern/mindset that I’d been overlooking. Refusing to see? Perhaps.

There he was. His mugshot. For allegedly doing something similar to what was done to his child at the hands of another, he’d allegedly done to someone else’s adult child. And that’s when I started to see what I hadn’t been seeing. My depiction of closure and justice was completely shattered in that moment. To be fair, I of course know that this behavior is not always how the father/parent of a murdered child conducts themselves. Nevertheless, the clarity was for the best. But. Like I said; you can’t un-see, once you see it. Where do the retaliation cycles end so that forgiveness can begin? Hi pot, it’s me…kettle. It’s not my place to judge how others process pain. Nor is there anything I can do to prevent it from happening. Knowing even that tidbit of said crime pattern, doesn’t change the fact that I cannot control anyone’s free will. Nor how they process their own emotions. And I sure as shit have always hated when it was forced upon me. So. I had some real soul searching to do.

It’s why some of these cases remain unsolved. Why some jurisdictions refuse to work with one another. It’s the Wild West, but on a global scale. And everyone’s got someone they’re avenging. A family member to search for. Loved ones to protect. Keeping the cycle of vengeance and retaliation going, because it has felt like the only option. Afraid to let those they protect see that dark side of the real world. That dark side of ourselves that manifests so differently in each and every one of us.

Way too many factors from every angle involved, to accurately point the blame at any one specific group. Though, we do keep trying, don’t we? Once I saw what was happening, though. I began to experience everything with a fresh set of eyes, and noticed that clarity seemed to come more freely when I just accepted even the hard and/or tempting truths that come along with the beautiful clarity within the journey, as well. There were so many unsolved cases that once consumed me, they have wound up becoming resolved once I just go of the need to know & just waited for the answers by busying myself. Brutal parts of this journey and all….it is so worth it. Keep going.

As some of you may recall, I got a lil bitchy and big headed on social media outlets the past few years. Best of intentions, turned into blaming my fears and emotions on everyone else so that I didn’t have to face my own actions. Thus, adding more weight and stress to sit dammed and stagnant within this vessel of mine. Not to mention those who saw me in person and witnessed the negativity that I was projecting firsthand.

They saw the wild, panicked, fear in my eyes. To those who saw that I wasn’t in the present moment while in my state of frozen fear and still held compassion? I thank you for the catalyst. To those who stoked the flames and tried to destroy me at my lowest? I thank you for the catalyst. I gaslit myself, and dismissed myself as just some silly stoner, after seeing the things that I saw. Recognized enough mugshots & age progression sketches, that all of a sudden gaslighting myself was nothing at all. Survival skills, by any means necessary. What do I know….little old me? It was safer that way. Real talk? In addition to my faith, Mary Jane was a saving Grace that helped me heal and process all this bullshit and turn it into beauty.

Gaslighting myself brought its own set of challenges, but I did what I had to do to get through that period of my life. That’s how I felt at the time, at least. In addition, I took my fears, pain and rage out on one political extreme, while overlooking the mirrored behaviors of the political climate that felt safer to me, while in PTSD burnout mode. I’m here to tell you, just from what I’ve witnessed along the way, that the fuckery I mentioned above with all the pot and kettle stuff? Well, I believe that it happens in every category and subcategory of existence. That positive and negative charge is within every single aspect of life and that it’s up to us to grow and learn how to responsibly absorb and project our own energy and the energy of those around us. Yin and Yang, anyone? More on that another time, perhaps.

Fanning the flames of retaliation, I victimized myself and cried out for unity. All while creating a greater divide with my own words, my own actions and inactions. Pointed the blame and searched for the answers and peace, everywhere but within. I take responsibility for the ripple effect that I had created while in burnout mode. I hurt a lot of people I care about by assuming and lumping them into unfair categories. My fears, ego, and insecurities, had misjudged and misplaced what I deemed their beliefs to represent. It was wrong. I was wrong. Not the first, nor the last. Never alone. And to those who are the pot to my kettle? You are forgiven and I hope that you can find it in your hearts to forgive me. Life is too beautiful not to push past the blame game. That said, I respect that we’re all learning our own lessons within our own timelines. I can’t change what happened. But I can keep getting back up and learning from the lessons along my own path.

Some of you reading will recall how I passionately wrote & spewed about what happened to my mom and her siblings. The abuse that they endured, that I was so oblivious to seeing for what it was. Retaliation. A refusal to end the cycles of abuse. I was pregnant with my second child, while my deep dive into true crime began, back in 2016. Seeking this justice for my mom and family, I thought would bring her, myself, and all connected, the closure to live life without fear. To leave the pain behind, knowing that despite the statute of limitations having expired for what had been done to my own family, that all would be fixed once he was finally behind bars. Feeling like I was somehow protecting my children, to boot. In reality, I was too scared to leave the house for the longest time and I missed out on a lot of precious time that I can’t get back with my loved ones. Time that I essentially, wound up stealing from myself.

I didn’t know how to make myself feel safe, let alone anyone else. Convinced I needed to seek all the answers, and that would make my world feel like one big security blanket. You know, once all the “bad guys” were caught. While waiting for the DNA results in a very restless & paranoid state, I proceeded to badger hardworking detectives and spout off my thoughts on heavy hitting topics while pregnant, hormonal and straight up terrified. Let’s just say, I’m not proud of the way I represented myself. But I’m proud to see just how much fear that I’ve overcome and just how much I’ve learned from this journey for the better.

My mom’s mom was alive when I lived in such fear and anger. She was alive to hear of me tearing down her name all over the internet. I had been so oblivious and highly insensitive to her own suffering and inability to change her situation. The gravity of regret, gravity of what was really going on and how little could be done to justify, all around. She passed very soon after I realized that her trauma response was also, to freeze. I never got to tell her that I found out that she didn’t have a choice. That I’m sorry.

Her death hit me harder than I’d anticipated, given I hadn’t grown up knowing her. After receiving news of her passing, I prayed. Trying to sift through the feelings of grief, anger, regret, sorrow. And while praying, I told her that I forgive her. Right when I said “I forgive you” aloud, the lights flashed. It wasn’t your typical lights flashing type of moment. It was a bright, warm, sensation that I can’t quite put into words, but that I physically felt and witnessed. No ordinary flicker. I dropped to my knees and asked for forgiveness. Asked God to take the pain, the fear and the anger away. Asked for that pain to be hung on the cross. Told Him that I finally understand that I have zero control of anything, and that I surrender and trust in Him.

Each day, is a new prayer of surrender. I can say wholeheartedly that my outlook and the way that I love myself and others, has changed for the better since that day of surrender. Because I am finally taking the time to heal from within and let go of what I cannot control. To practice in the mirror, how I perceive, reflect and project my own energy. I have gone from looking at my reflection and saying “Ew”, to wholly loving and accepting myself from within on out. All thanks to the good, bad and ugly, of this journey.

As Easter approaches, I reflect on just what it means to hang my fears/ego/control of outcome on the cross. I am reminded of the gravity of what I am asking of God and of Christ, and the beauty of what spring represents. Rising from the ashes into the highest version of oneself. Christ’s Resurrection. Spring’s abundant beauty. I am reminded to do my best to keep breaking my own cycles of negativity and temptations of fear of control of outcome. So that I hopefully don’t have to keep asking my words, actions, inactions be hung cross as often. And instead, can focus more on offerings of love and kindness, thriving vicariously in light of Christ’s sacrifice.

My point in sharing, is by no means to force my beliefs onto anyone. If anything, I firmly believe and respect as a Christian, that everyone has the right and the freedoms within themselves to figure out how to interpret, label, perceive, the rise above their own fears, pain, insecurities, ego, rage. On and on. An ‘omnist’, for example, is someone that respects everyone’s right to believe what they want to believe. I grew up being taught that Christ’s love lives within our Sacred Hearts, so that’s how I roll with and interpret my own energy. Do you! Figure out what lights up your board and get to “L-I-V-I-N”. You got this. We got this. Go team. God bless. Om is what you make it.

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