How do you find gratitude in trauma?
I recently returned home to my old high school for the first time in over 13 years. As I drove into town realizations about my life came pouring into me and gratitude swept through me. I was able to drop a pin in time and actually see what has changed. There was an eerie peace quietly wrapping it’s arms around me. How often do you get the opportunity to have an exact fate and moment slow you in your tracks, remind of the exact moment, a SNAP SHOT perfectly preserved and KNOW and FEEL completely different and be able to witness your own transformation? I would have to say not often do we get an opportunity to say I KNOW this deja vu.
My daughter’s high school track meet was at my old high school in Waynesfield. I was going and I had mixed emotions. As I passed the spot of the old grocery store, Minnich’s, it no longer existed and instead the run down building was torn from the slides old western crippled and forgotten with old worn cars and parts scattered on a field of dirt. I stopped my car in the middle of the street as I stared at the run down building.
I realized at that moment I had entrepreneurship in my blood.
Although 20-something years ago when I used to bag groceries at my grandparent’s grocery store I didn’t even know what that word meant. It was in my blood, my generational blood, the chosen family. We choose our parents and I realized this was one of the reason I had chosen mine. Back then I had this same “Don’t tell me what to do” attitude that has fueled my passions and entrepreneurial nature and made me a NOT SO GREAT employee when I attempted that.
Back then I was Melissa Minnich, super-student, athlete, perfectionist, suicidal in the early years after the first round of sexual trauma and abandonment, and hiding self-hatred, family trauma, and abuse. What made me stop my car was not the run down store, the place I grew up selling ice cream and tapping on registers at 9 years old, but instead what sat catty-cornered to the store a house with a garage.
I stopped to observe the place that would change my life forever and would be the driving force behind creating a coaching, speaking and healing empire that will last beyond this lifetime. The site of my rape in 1994.
As I slowed and stared I was thrown back to the last time I had stopped at this exact spot 13 years ago. Before I decided to work on myself, before I decided to heal, before I wanted to change the consciousness of the world. Back when I was heading my first entrepreneurial business that would later see many of my colleagues and friends land in prison. When I pretended to own the world and hide in my destruction.
I realized as I sat there staring at this place WE all have a choice.
I always HAD a choice I just didn’t know I could choose. We have a choice to create a new response and to change the outcome. I have a choice to hold on to anger, pain, fear and resentment. I have a choice to find love, bliss and joy.
Thirteen years ago when I drove past this same spot I felt shame, regret, anger. I made a choice shortly after that to finally put my demons behind me and begin the process of change but at the time I didn’t know I was choosing. I just knew I couldn’t go on that way anymore.
As I slowly began to drive by I realized I HAD completely healed and changed! Not only had I put my demons behind me and I was able to look at that place while saying a silent prayer of gratitude.
Thank you for the lessons in my life and the challenges that have ushered me into my soul’s purpose. Thank you for allowing me to find my greatness and share with the world. Thank you for the fuel and the fire to make something of myself and not be brought down. Thank you for teaching me persistence and to never give up. Thank you for breaking me OPEN so that I could mend myself into something STRONGER, GREATER and MORE BEAUTIFUL.
I took a deep breath and I drove on. Gratitude filled my heart and joy filled my body as I realized this is what dreams are made of. Would I be where I am today if it wasn’t for this? I don’t think so.
I realized I had turned my rape into a flourishing business.
The rape, the trauma from my earlier childhood, the loss of my mother at a young age, the eating disorders and drugs had all been the foundation for this empire I was creating.
My last realization came as I stood at the track field at my old high school after Michayla had run her final event. I stood next to my father and x-husband and the man that saved me from myself all those years before was in the football booth. Gratitude rushed through me. 13 years ago I didn’t speak to any of them. In the throws of victim-hood you blame all or hide from those that you love in shame. I did both. I blame my father and x-husband and I hid from others that I deeply cared for.
During that fateful year in 1994 there was one person that truly changed my experience about love and humanity. That night over twenty years ago not only changed the projectory of my entire life but also brought another unsung hero into this world. That person was my teacher and coach and the only adult I felt I could tell what happened. Someone whom to this day I profoundly love. These are the everyday heroes, the ones that change a person’s life by standing in their truth. I’m not sure he realizes the thousands of lives that have been changed because he impacted mine. Coach Epperly as I used to call him. A true hero. I have so much gratitude
What I realized standing there with my family and having the opportunity to give my old coach a hug was how vast the connection to our past lives, to our soul mates and our soul family. Every one of us chose this journey, our soul’s journey, to have this experience and the roles that we chose to play in this lifetime. Thank you! I am so grateful for this experience.