There were days that my own journey felt incredibly overwhelming to me and it’s one of those things that at times scared the piss out of me.
Get Ready for a long read!
My life started off on a rough note when I was placed into foster care at the age of 2, with my younger brother (he’s 2 years younger than me).
I spent 14 years in the foster care system, 2 group homes, and 1 foster family, never nearing the phase of adoption.
During the times with my foster family (age 6-13), life was awesome and life was incredibly messed up.
I was molested by my mother’s boyfriend.
I was abused by my foster parents (physical, verbal and emotional abuse). There were many of days I came up with my things being thrown on the floor, being yelled yet for not talking about my problems and that I would be nothing – a worthless whore and an alcoholic.
The foster family separated me from my brother when I was 13 because I was a bad influence. In other words, I tried alcohol and a cigarette for the first time, wrote in my diary and was deemed a bad influence.
But when you met me, I had a perfect life and not a single problem in the world. I was happy, at least that is what I portrait. And I made up stories.
Stories I believed would give me the attention I craved and made me fit into the world. And that is how I lived my life.
Trying to fit in into the world where I felt completely lost.
When I ended up in the last group home, I lost my way. Sex, Drugs, and Music became my life, and every day after school, I would meet up with my friends, get high or drunk because it is what we did and that is how I fit in.
Being a misfit. A teenage rebel.
When I was 14 years old, one of my social workers pulled me aside and told me:
Petra, you are not stupid. You can graduate high school and become anything you want to be.
It was just the words I needed, to help me go from failing at school to graduating at 15 with top grades. I landed the job I wanted (Veterinarian Assistant) and started working and learning the trade.
3 months into the job, I decided it is a great idea to move in with my mother because I didn’t have to have rules anymore. And she was my mother!
3 months after that I quit my job because my physical health couldn’t keep up with the demand of the long hours and I returned to partying.
I met my now ex-husband in May of 91, officially were a couple in July and in October I was pregnant with our first child. The challenge, he was an American Soldier and I was a German girl believing in him to rescue me.
As life would have it, he returned to the states while I carried our child and gave birth to him, always believing that he would return one day. Instead, I ended up flying to the United States with our 8-month old son, but not to be with him (at first).
When my Visa was about up, I stopped to visit him, we rekindled and got married.
The challenge was that he always asked me what I was thinking, that I am not being vulnerable enough and that I don’t stand up for what I believed it. I believed I was being me all the time, and I couldn’t see that I truly was hiding parts of myself.
I simply didn’t know how to unlock the thoughts and feelings I had and share them with the people I loved.
And it’s taken me years to find that voice and go after what I wanted. I always talked about the things I would do one day – but one day seemed so far away.
We had a few more kids together and a college degree in the making, because I was all in supporting my then husband by doing the bookkeeping/accounting – something I am apparently good at. It was on again and off again, we tried but just couldn’t figure out this whole marriage thing both bringing the challenges.
We separated and I started doing my own thing. Always chasing the next thing, the next dream, the next love, trying to move out of the frustration that I called my life.
I fully believed life didn’t have to be difficult but dammit I just didn’t know how to get there. I did know I wanted to help people, specifically foster kids because I could relate to the abandonment and the feeling of rejection.
After all, I had been a reject myself.
I drank way too much alcohol and ended up with a DUI and I realized that if I continued this path, I would make my foster parents prophecy come true.
My life was so much about proving everyone else wrong and showing them that I can. (This is important to note).
And then my world turned upside down. Just as I was finishing my degree in Accounting, my youngest son was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder that untreated would leave him to brain dead, in a coma or kill him
It was that pivotal moment of hitting rock bottom, knowing life is too short to not do the things I wanted to do. And in that moment, while dealing with the unknown of the Urea Cycle Disorder, I dived right back into college to earn my Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling.
Little did I know that I would be asked to either quit or keep going. My son required a liver transplant if he as to have any chance at life at all.
And I did the only thing I knew how to do and survive: Keep going.
I coined the phrase: To dream is to believe in hope.
While my son was fighting for his life, I studied, I made art and shared his journey.
In the process, my core was shaken up and had me asking myself, who the heck I am, what do I stand for and what in this world did I want to create. I was out of complete alignment with everything I personally stood for and it was time to find my voice.
And I started going after the things I wanted, the things I was so sick and tired talking about!
I wrote a book and published it.
I had an artisan store supporting the local arts (it’s now closed).
I worked as a therapist and says “Yes, this is it. I want to help all the families at risk” and in the process, became Girl Friday, but I truly believed in what I did and that I did make a change.
I wrote another book.
And since being free to be myself is at my core, even the job as a therapist came to an end.
I also decided I don’t need to prove anything to anyone! I am not a foster kid reject but a foster kid success!
And here I am free in being myself who loves coffee and music almost as much as I love myself.
I remembered years ago, watching this reality to show “Starting Over” and I dove in learning about life coaching, what it meant, what it will look like and decided that working for myself in this capacity is THE thing for me.
I want to yell into the world:
Take that dream and make it happen. The time is now! Don’t wait.
This is what gets me fired up, helping you – supporting you and guiding you into your dreams.
And if you read this far, you know it comes from the internal work first before it can transcend into the outer world.
It starts with rewriting your story and all the bullshit you tell yourself and then become who you want to be!
Love to you!