If you had met me between the years of 2004 and 2014, you probably wouldn’t recognize who I am today. I am often surprised by the magnitude of the changes that I have experienced. I want to set the picture for you a little bit.
2003: I was a freshman at university. Having just graduated as the President of my class and the President of the Student Government. I had great grades and I had gotten into the university that I had wanted to. I was on top of the world. I was a go-getter.
In high school, I played basketball, volleyball and softball. I was chosen to be part of a program called United Youth. It was a small committee. If I remember correctly there were only 4 or 5 of us high school students in my area that were asked to be a part of this committee. Every week we met to go through hundreds of applications for grant money. We were the ones who were choosing who was getting what money and how it was to be used.
I created a program to get more students to come to the sporting events. Each student got 1 or 2 free tickets to each sporting event (for each boy and the girls’ respective sports). It helped to get more students to support the athletes and have fun in the crowds.
Leaving for university was the next logical step. I thought I had EVERYTHING planned out. I would get my degree in Political Science: International Business. (Looking back I often wonder what I was thinking.) And then a moment in time stole all of those hopes and dreams away from me.
2004 through some parts of 2005 I consider my lost years. These are the years where I lost every bit of identity I had and was walking around as a shell of a woman. I was barely surviving. Many moments throughout that time, I had thought about ending my life. I didn’t want to be in pain anymore. I am not even sure you can classify it as pain at that point. I had given up everything and felt very little at this point.
I hid who I was. The Samantha that I was talking about in the first 4 paragraphs no longer existed. I tried to erase her completely but that can be hard to do when you are living in her room and trying to pretend to still be her when family and friends are around.
And then I met the love of my life. The man who would become my hero and my husband. Now I still only allowed him to see pieces of me. More pieces than I had allowed anyone to see in a long time but he still didn’t get the whole picture.
I fell in love with him because he made me feel loved. He made me feel less broken. See, he didn’t know who I was before we met. He knew what had happened to me but he never saw that first Samantha. The Samantha that was going places and changing the world. He didn’t even know she existed.
It is a typical love story. We fell in love while living in separate countries. He moved to Wisconsin to live with me and a week later we were standing in front of a judge at the Milwaukee County Courthouse saying, I Do. It was fast. It was beautiful. It was magical.
We had babies. We moved countries. We moved provinces. Throughout all these years, I played the happy wife and happy mama. I loved my little family so much that I thought they were all I needed to move on from my trauma. They were here to save me after all.
THE TRUTH ABOUT BEING SAVED
For years, I fought back the demons. Thinking that I had won the battles. I put that fake smile on my face and walked through my life as if everything was perfect. Only to feel the crumbling happening inside. I thought that I hid it well. I thought that I had it all under control.
Until I didn’t.
I remember telling my son, before our big move to Alberta in 2014, that he could now be anyone that he wanted to be. He was so nervous to move away from his friends. It didn’t hit me until we moved and were settled that…
I could do the same thing.
There was nothing telling me that I couldn’t be anyone that I wanted to be. I mean, after all, I HATED the person that I was. I couldn’t stand the reflection looking back at me. I hated what I looked like. I hated everything on the inside. That hatred reflected in my marriage, in our sex life and my life as a mom. That hatred consumed everything even though I was putting on that smiley face every morning.
That was the day that I realized, I had to save myself. My husband saved me enough that I allowed him to love me. He taught me what love truly meant. But now it was time for me to learn to love myself. No one could do the hard work except for me. I had no idea where to begin at first.
Until I did.
USING BLOGGING AS A HEALING TOOL
I had never thought about blogging before 2014. I would have probably laughed at you if you told me years ago that this is what I would be doing with my life.
Yesterday I was asked if I was intimidated to share my story when I first began blogging and here is my answer.
At the time that I started blogging, I really didn’t have any emotional capacity to be scared of my story anymore. I had held it in for so long that by the time 2014 had come, it had done all the damage that it could do. It was worse for me to hold it in than it would have been for me to tell the world. And so I told the world. Well, the readers that came to my blog at least.
There was this instant feeling of relief. It was no longer inside of me. I felt FREEDOM. Free from the darkness that had taken over who I was for 11 years. It wasn’t until that moment of hitting publish that I knew what freedom felt like.
We talk about freedom often. We are free on so many levels but there is nothing more freeing than sharing your story and just not giving a damn what other people think. I didn’t let it intimidate me because I no longer had to hide the fact that I was a victim. I took back my power all by allowing myself to put words on a page and hit the publish button.
6 SURPRISING WAYS THAT BLOGGING HELPED TO HEAL ME
As I look back on my many years of blogging, blogging has become so much more to me than a job. It is my passion. It has connected me to amazingly strong and powerful women.
There were so many years that I felt insignificant and small. Samantha Laycock
I have that quote on my website. It reminds me daily that I used to feel like I didn’t matter. That my story was just that, a story. It had no significance to the world around me. All the lies that I told myself just to survive.
1| I saw my past as my past. What do I mean? I mean that I no longer gave it authority over me. This doesn’t mean that there still aren’t days that I struggle because I do. It means that I have learned how to handle those days. I know what works for me and what doesn’t. I know that my past is just that, my past. It has created who I am today. Without my past, where would I be? That doesn’t mean that I would wish that on myself again. It means that I have accepted what happened to me and I have learned that through the experience, I have become stronger than I ever imagined I would be.
2| I recognized how far I had come. We look at our present and for most of us, never realize how far we have actually come. We think we are still stuck in that same place that we were years ago. Blogging through my journey helped to show me that I am NOWHERE near where I was years ago. That throughout the past 6 years, I am a different woman.
3| I saw the crap that I was still working through. Oh and the crap seems to come when I least expect it. It still comes. I am not going to tell you that blogging your story means that all the crap disappears because it doesn’t. I can now recognize what I am working through. I can now recognize the days that I need to step back and just be. Blogging has given me the outlet to be truthful with myself. I am sharing my truth for the world and the women that message me, remind me daily that my truth is helping them through theirs.
4| I got support from complete strangers. When I started getting messages thanking me for sharing my story, I was blown away. These women thought that I was helping them. When in reality, they were helping me to continue moving forward. It is because of them that I didn’t give up. They gave me the strength to continue even on the days I just wanted to throw it all in. I knew that they were counting on me. That is what helped me. Especially in the early days of blogging.
I was lucky and never received any hateful messages. For the most part at least. There were a couple that I did get BUT I was able to handle them better because I knew that what they said no longer mattered. You are always going to have haters in your life. Don’t let one of those haters be yourself.
5| It gave me a purpose. I was a mom and a wife but I was looking for something more. I love my family but I always knew that there was more to me than that. I know some of you are probably cringing at that but it is my truth. Blogging my story gave me a purpose. It gave me a reason to show up in life and to be the best that I could be. That purpose has never changed throughout all the years that I have been blogging. The delivery may have changed but the purpose never did.
6| It showed me who I really was. Blogging gave me a voice. It allowed me to find who I was behind all the layers of who I “thought” I was supposed to be. It gave me insight into my thoughts and feelings. It brought out the core of who Samantha was at any moment. Even writing this post I can find out more about myself than I knew yesterday. It reminds me that I am stronger than I think I am. It reminds me that I have passions that are worth exploring. It reminds me that to be myself is the best thing that I can be. It reminds me that I am showing my children how true self-love can change your life in so many ways.
Blogging your story can be incredibly scary for you. I want you to know, that that is okay. It is okay to feel scared because I felt scared. I doubted myself many times before I hit the publish button. The fear didn’t come from inside of myself and doubt in me. The fear came from wondering what those around me would say. Thinking that somehow they would think less of me. That is where those strangers I was talking about above, helped me. They drowned out the voices of the ones who thought less of me. I didn’t give them a chance because I was surrounded by too many other voices who were lifting me up.
If you are ready to share your story, I would love to help you do that. Let’s jump on a call where I can show you how I can help you share your story through blogging.