How Will You Allow Your Story to Shape the Rest of Your Life - Summer Christiansen
Updated: Jan 17
Hi - it's Katie! J & I want to thank Summer for sharing her story as a guest post for our blog. We are honored. She put a lot into this - she had to reach back into painful parts of her past, and delve into painful parts of her present, to be able to write this piece. While doing this is very healing & therapeutic, it's still a rather difficult process. So, Summer: we thank you for your courage and your willingness to share your story so that it may help others! We couldn't be prouder to have you as part of our Goddessté tribe! You belong here! We look forward to working with you more in the future!
You can follow her on IG at @livelifeclearlyllc, on FB under the name Live Life Clearly, & her website is www.livelifeclearly.com
With that, I hand it over to Summer. . .
My story is one of loss, self-hatred, triumph and hope. My trials have shaped the trajectory of
my life and I am forever grateful for the role they play in the person I am and the person I will
continue to become.
I watched as my four-year-old self sat by the front door, heart beating fast and heavy in her
chest, waiting for him to walk through the door. She was almost always disappointed when
Daddy never appeared on the other side of that door. After my parents’ divorce, I felt that loss
for many years. I would waste half my life wondering why I wasn’t worthy of his love and time,
and I was forever concocting ways to prove my worthiness to him.
As my mother struggled to navigate through being a young, single mom of two kids, my brother and I were witness to the abusive relationship she was in. I have an image of walking down the hallway to find him pinning her up against the wall by her throat, choking her. I found out years later that my older brother often used himself as a barrier to protect me. This protection came at the cost of a relationship with my brother, who resented me all through adolescence. Again, I spent countless hours trying to understand why I wasn’t worthy or good enough for love.
Right after my mom left her abuser, she met the man to whom she has now been married for 34 years. He is also the man I call my father. He tells the sweet story of the first time we met, when a little blonde-haired girl came bounding down the stairs, jumped
into his arms and, without hesitation, asked, “Are you gonna be my new Daddy?” Soon
after they were married, we moved to Ohio to live with my grandparents. One night he
left for the store and didn’t return. I remember being so confused and, again, feeling that
unbearable dread that I was unworthy of love, and I hated myself for being flawed. My
mother was devastated. Two weeks after he went missing, he was found hiding out in a
ditch near northern Florida. My father is a Vietnam War Veteran and had been experiencing extreme PTSD. This resulted in what is called Traumatic Reenactment, in
which the person enters an unconscious state of reenacting their experiences and
trauma from the war. To this day, he has no recollection of the time he went missing.
I always had a thirst for knowledge and a love of learning. By the time junior high rolled around I had lost that love. I felt the obvious difference between how I learned and how the teachers taught. I began to see, at a very young age, just how different I was from the neurotypical kids around me. I couldn’t sit in my seat; I couldn’t stop talking and, although I had a thirst for learning, I couldn’t pay attention! By third grade I felt how different I was from the other kids—except of course for the kids that were just like me! The troublemakers, all the boys, who also had the pleasure of having their seat moved next to the teacher’s desk! Score for me!
By middle school I was a regular in the principal’s office for getting into fights or disrespect to
teachers. I began to hate the girl I was becoming. Hormones had me all kinds of crazy and then dealing with the repercussions of a divorce and all the messy that comes with it. Then there were my grades. Grades are the one thing that teachers, parents, your nosey aunt Martha, and anyone standing in line at the grocery store will measure your past, present, and future success on! I was constantly embarrassed and humiliated by this unrealistic expectation and standard that EVERY student in America is held to. On top of it all, I was diagnosed with epilepsy after a random series of seizures with no known cause. They did EKGs and tried several medications until they finally found one that controlled my seizures. Seventh grade was hard on us all!
After endless teacher conferences and discussions with the school principal, my parents
decided to discuss my challenges with the school psychologist. They decided to proceed with a series of tests that explored my learning style and how my brain responded to specific stimuli. These tests resulted in a diagnosis of ADHD. The diagnosis provided validation and gave a name to the face of my struggles, but this was only the first step of the many that should have followed. My parents and I continued to lack the skills we needed to partner together and figure out what success looked like for a child with ADHD.
As a result, not much changed after the diagnosis. Highschool became the same rodeo as
junior high, and I felt lost and alone. My relationship with my parents continued to deteriorate
and caused so much heartache and contention in our home. Highschool is hard enough and
becomes even more overwhelming with trying circumstances. Trials on top of hormones equal doubt and confusion in everything you do. Every step felt like I was wearing weighted shoes and I constantly forced myself to keep trudging on.
Towards the end of my senior year, things began to look up, and I got a job and applied for
colleges. I was accepted into Southern Utah University’s music program. For reasons we will
never know, unexpected avenues open, and our lives begin to unfold in a way we never thought possible. It was in college that I met my husband and our connection and relationship changed the trajectory of my life. At age nineteen I married the love of my life and we recently
celebrated our twentieth wedding anniversary! Sometimes the Lord just knows what you need
ya’ll! Being married at nineteen doesn’t work out for everyone, but for some reason I was
blessed with someone who accepted me not just for the person I was, but for the person I
wanted to become.
After I had my third child, my struggles with anxiety and depression began. It is a feeling of
helplessness. It is a feeling you don’t get to choose but instead chooses you. It is an intangible feeling that threatens its presence around every corner, beneath every surface, and quietly waits to destroy your peace. It is a battle I fight EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
If we are captured by horrible circumstances or mental health challenges that are through no
choosing of our own, what do we have the power to choose? When the darkness from our
trials lurks just beneath the surface and welcomes us with open arms, what do we choose?
Choices are funny things. We typically deem them as good or bad, right or wrong, but often our challenging circumstances lack a perfect answer to their impossible quest for solution.
Sometimes staying in bed all day and allowing the darkness to hold us is the RIGHT answer!
Sometimes deciding to shut everyone out until you feel you can get your shit together is the
RIGHT ANSWER! The power of living a life of clarity and intentionality lies in HOW we let our
story, our choices, and our challenges shape the rest of our lives. I have chosen to let my trials
lead me down a path to help other parents find clarity inside themselves and show up to their
relationships as the person they want to be. I have chosen to let my story lead me down a
career path as an ADHD Life Coach for parents of ADHD kids/teens. I want to fill the gap
between the ADHD diagnosis and the essential parenting skills needed for connection and
partnership with their child/teen. I have developed a model to help parents experience
personal transformation and partner with their teen to design their path for success.
Every day, I try to welcome that thought of growth
through trials (I often punch it in the face, but I do try)! Every road I’ve traveled, every choice
I’ve made, and every trial I’ve come through has led me to this point in my life. Every
challenge I have experienced has shaped the woman that I am and the impact I know I can
make on this world.
How will YOU allow your story to shape the rest of your life?
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