“In case you never get a second chance: don’t be afraid!”C. JoyBell C.
“And what if you do get a second chance?”
“You take it!”
We’ve all been there.
Maybe it is that lost love, the one that got away.
It could be that opportunity you walked by. Not taking a chance due to fear or self-denial.
What if instead of not doing something, you’re thinking about something you regret having done?
There is something all of us wish we could do over. That thing that nags us late at night when we can’t sleep. Sometimes we even put it away in a shoebox hoping to eventually forget it ever even happened.
My Second Chance
I’ve had a lot of moments in my life that I wish I could do over. However, I tell myself that I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t taken the path that I did. The work that I do helping others through their own grief and depression is important to me. But it is only because I understand and empathize where my clients are coming from.
I want to share with you today an excerpt from my memoir The Shoebox Effect. Go ahead and grab your tissues because this part was hard enough to live through. Every time I read it, I’m transferred back to that moment and already I can feel the tears filling my eyes.
The death of Dreyfus symbolized much more than just the passing of a beloved pet. His loss, so painful, disturbed the slumber of my demons, awakening them with an angry vengeance. Renewed and alert from their many years of rest, they came prepared to collect their denied justice. I laughed at my own foolishness. Who did I think I was believing I could contain trauma in a little beaten up shoebox? Did I really believe my actions had no consequences? That I would truly move on as if nothing had ever happened?
My eyes drifted over to the shoebox which was now located on the top shelf of the bookcase in my home office where I could see it. And although its physical location was now out of the closet, I was not. My mind was still held captive behind emotional prison bars. I felt I had not yet served my sentence.
Over the years, on the occasions I allowed myself to think about what happened in November 1978, I would daydream of her. My daughter. My beautiful innocent little baby.
Where was she? Did she know about me? Was she happy? Was she living the life of the advantaged as I was promised? Had I done the right thing?
Obviously I had. She was well over eighteen now, and if she had wanted to find me she would have, I convinced myself. After all, I had never received a phone call, a letter, nothing. I took that as a sign she was living a happy, healthy life and had no need to revisit the past. In addition, I was also confident that Dr. Sztowticz, the physician who had arranged the private adoption, had told her new family all about me at the time of the adoption. So I assumed this information had been made available to my daughter and that she was making a conscious choice not to seek me out. I was prepared to accept that fact; however, my inner voice was unmerciful.
She taunted me relentlessly and forbid me any peace: You gave away your baby to strangers! Who does that?
Unlike a death where there is support of family and friends, a show of compassion and respect, there was none offered to young women such as myself in the 70s. Women who surrendered their babies, regardless of the reasons, were expected to just literally sign and hand over our infants like we were selling a car. The expectation was to pretend we had never given birth and accept that a two-parent home with financial resources trumped being a single mother.
Professionals, such as the doctor who solicited me and handled the adoption, were legally allowed to overreach and play broker, Adoption not only began as a loss; it began with a lie.
Memoir Writing as a Second Chance
I’ve heard that some people believe that writing a memoir offers the chance to create a new, or different, version of their lives. An unreal do over so that they can wipe away the reality of their mistakes. I even read where someone said that it is a fictional tale of what we wished had actually happened.
Forgive me while I laugh for a moment. For me, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
My memoir is another kind of second chance for me. It opened old wounds so that I could heal. Writing my memoir forced me to face experiences and memories that would have preferred kept tucked away on a shelf. It also gave me new life and a way to heal.
Writing The Shoebox Effect has given me yet another second chance. If you’ve read my About Me page, then you know about one of the most important do overs I’ve ever had. Although the journey leading me up to that moment wasn’t easy, often is was quite hard, the ending was pretty profound.
How to Find Your Own Do Over
I may not have been able to help myself or my situation in the past. That wasn’t my life purpose and the timing wasn’t right. But as someone who knows all about the blessings that come with second chances, I want to use my own experiences to inspire and motivate others.
If you’re looking for someone to talk to about creating your own “do-over” in life, be sure to contact me. I would love to talk to you about my coaching services and how I can help you create a new, positive future.
What is that thing that you regret missing out on or giving up on? What would you do for your own second chance?
“The Shoebox Effect is more than a memoir…it’s a movement.”– Marcie Keithley
What’s in YOUR Shoebox?