• Cate

Gratitude

Up until this point, I’ve been talking a lot about the adversity of being stuck in an abusive relationship. It may lead some to think that I don’t appreciate the support I do have. That isn’t true at all. I’m only trying to highlight why it is so difficult to get out of the situation I’m in.

It’s a big ask, what I need to propel my way forward. I can’t just ask a friend or distant family member to open their home to my family. There are four of us, after all. It is a lot to welcome a family with older children into your home when you have your own life to live.

I don’t have a place to go that can hold my children and I for a sustained period of time. I lack the resources to obtain and maintain gainful employment because of the pandemic. I am in the middle of a healing process. I am trying all sorts of things to become financially solvent enough to strike out on my own and sever my connection to my husband.

That is my plight. But these are simply variables in an equation I have yet to solve. I will solve it. I have confidence in my ability to break free. Do you know why? Because I DO have support. I am so grateful for the support I have. And though they can’t free me from my cage, their combined effort sustains my mental wellbeing and motivates me to continue forward.

I want to take some time to express how grateful I am for the support I have. I am truly blessed with amazing people in my life. This is important, because I am also shedding many unhealthy people. It makes them shine out even more than ever before.

I am firstly most grateful for my Auntie Jody. Her help and support throughout my life has been integral to my success. When I was a child, she was my safe person. As I grew up, she advocated for me when my mom told her how she treated me or humiliated me in front of others. When my mom died, she brought me cake on my birthday. She’s the only one who remembers to make it special.

When I left my first husband, she was there to hand me the key to my escape. She let me stay with her while I sought help. She celebrates me still and she’s the only one I call to share all the news with. She supports me and my kids. She is the only one I trust fully and completely with my children. My Auntie Jody is always there for me and I am so lucky to have her. She is the mom I choose over and over because she’s the one who gets me.

Next I am grateful for my step-dad. Though he is not as involved in my life as I’d like him to be, I am grateful to have someone to check in with every month or so. He at least has known me since I was a child and we can have lighthearted conversations full of puns and word play. He is always good for a good game of hide and seek. He comes up with some good hiding spots.

I am grateful for my amazing cousins, Becky, Courtney, and Renee. They didn’t turn away from me when I got my memories back. They believed me and support me. I am so grateful to have them on “Team Cate”.

I’m grateful to my Auntie Kathy, my mom’s cousin. She is the one who brought me to Cornerstone in the first place. I will be forever grateful for that. She has supported me with words of encouragement. She reminds me not to take life too seriously.

I am grateful for Cornerstone Advocacy Services as a whole. They helped me when I left my first husband. They were there when my memories came back and I was spiraling. And they are there for me now, as I again wade into unknown waters. I will always do everything I can to give back to them for all they have done for me and do for others. Cornerstone is Minnesota’s greatest hidden jewel.

I am grateful for my counselor at Cornerstone. She is innovative and supportive. She plants seeds for me to find and nurture. She has guided me through this healing process these last months. I would be lost without her light leading the way. I have her support and I am grateful.

I am so very grateful for my advocate, Marie. I can’t describe how much she means to me. She has been there since I first arrived at Cornerstone 9 years ago. She has cheered me on every step of the way. I have checked in with her now and again throughout the years. She is always in my corner with her pompoms held high. Thank goodness there’s a Marie on this Earth!

I am grateful for my friends. They bought my first jewelry pieces. They’re sharing my products and being supportive of my business venture. They have been by my side as I’ve gone from hill to valley in this healing journey. I am grateful for their listening ears.

I am grateful for my children. They keep me alive when there’s no hope. They remind me to pull myself together and to keep making progress. I love them each for the amazingly unique humans they are. The depth they’ve added to my life is so beautiful and raw and tender. I am blessed to have each one of my children. I’m so grateful to have them.

I am grateful to have had the opportunity to take dance lessons. I adore my dance instructor. He pushes me before I’m ready because he knows he can. He doesn’t give me trouble about my mistakes. He lets the tears slip silently down my cheeks when I’m in the soup.

I love all of the dear people I’ve met and danced with. They’ve been so kind and understanding, so accommodating. They welcomed me into their circle and I’m grateful to be there. I’ve learned so much and laughed more than I have in a really long time. It’s so much fun. It’s the first thing I’ve ever really done for me. I’m so pleased to have taken this risk. It has done more for me than I could have anticipated.

I am grateful for my cat. I am grateful for the roof over my head and the food on my table. I am so fortunate to have a computer to share my story with and beads to weave with. I am grateful for the opportunities I was afforded by my upbringing.

I am grateful for all the lessons I have learned throughout my life and especially on this journey. No matter how low I’ve been, I’ve found the path back to the top without ever losing sight of what mattered.

I am filled with gratitude. I have never forgotten how lucky I am to have the things I am blessed to have. I will never forget how precious my safety and wellbeing are. I have been through so much, but I am still optimistic.

Others have more and others have less. We cannot compare what we’ve been through. Our stories are all unique. The ones who heal and overcome adversity have the most to give, because they had the most, once, to lose. You begin to learn that there is more value in experiences and lessons learned than there ever was in any object.

I am fortunate to have come through all of this, still so optimistic. I will use my story to help pave the way for others who have been through so much. I won’t forget that the value is the human life, not the currency they can produce.

Though I have to explain some pretty awful things to help others understand what it’s like to be in an abusive situation, I won’t lose sight of my gratitude. It is because I appreciate each day of my life so much that I can do this. It isn’t easy to share my story.

I’ve given up a lot to do this. I do this without the support of my siblings, because they can’t understand what I’m going through, they are not ready to heal. I do this without the support of my husband’s family, though they have gone out of there way to be welcoming and inclusive. I don’t want to exploit his support system. I do this without the support of most of my extended family and certainly without my parent’s support.

As I walk into the unknown with my head held high, I have no reason to believe I will succeed except for the confidence in my experience, strength of will, and fierce tenacity towards moving forward despite the adversity. I will succeed because I have to. There isn’t another choice. Giving up is not an option, no matter how hard it gets. It has never been an option and it never will be.

It is hard for me to ask for help. Help has always come at a high price to me. I am willing to work for everything I receive, I don’t expect handouts. I don’t expect pity nor do I want it. I am so far beyond pitiful, I don’t belong in the same sentence as it.

If the compassionate reader does want to help, they might stop over to the shop page on my website and see if they are interested in purchasing any of the handmade jewelry I’ve got for sale there. If you like something, great! If you don’t, that’s okay too. If you feel like leaving some constructive and tactful feedback, please do so.

I want to earn my freedom. I want to get to where I’m going because I did the right thing and I stayed true to the path. This journey has only just begun. I begin with gratitude and hope.

I am grateful for each person who takes the time to read the words I’ve written. I am so grateful to have reached so many people and I am hopeful that those people will take the information I’ve imparted and use it to keep those in their care safe and free from harm. Thank you for the gift of your attention. I am so very grateful!

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