*originally I was going to post this on The ROHO Project but it felt like more of a “mama saying thank you to wee bee” post than an official ROHO Project post, so here it is, just for you:
Dearest Wee Bee,
This summer, we took a dream that had been percolating for a reallllly long time and made it come true.
It seems so simple, typed up there in that single sentence.
It seems simple, and yet that single sentence does not begin to reveal the incredible importance of this moment for The ROHO Project, and especially the value of this dream becoming reality in my own life.
And while I’m not sure if I can put this into a neat and tidy package of words because it is a big tangle of feelings right now, me being me I will do my best and fumble through an explanation. To do this, I’m going to take us all the way back to a day well over a year ago doing CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) in my psychiatrist’s office.
For those of you who are not familiar with CBT, one of the big parts of this framework involves pulling apart your core beliefs- the things that you believe about yourself that form the basis for how you view yourself, others and the world. Having experienced various types of gender-based trauma over the course of multiple, successive relationships in my past, these core beliefs were deeply entrenched due to being repeatedly reinforced. After all, we always look for the evidence to prove those things that we believe, right? And for years this evidence was handed to me on a silver platter.
Sitting there, working through these core beliefs with my incredibly insightful psychiatrist, something kept nagging at me. Pulling apart core beliefs was, for me, not quite enough. The thought that kept swirling around in my head was this idea that maybe our core values are just as important as our core beliefs. Maybe the idea of what we value most is just as important as the long-standing beliefs that we hold about ourselves. And I can tell you, the numero-uno-top-of-my-list-always thing that I value? My ability to take what happens to me and give it meaning and purpose in my life. It is the only way that I have been able, time and again, to make sense out of what happens in my life.
As Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant write in Option B:
“It’s not surprising that so many trauma survivors end up helping others overcome the adversity that they have faced themselves…after undergoing a hardship, people have new knowledge to offer those who go through similar experiences. It is a unique source of meaning because it does not just give our lives purpose– it gives our suffering purpose. People help where they’ve been hurt so that their wounds are not in vain”
Because often we can get stuck (myself very much included!) in all those bad things. But when we can look back on those bad things and say “so THIS IS WHY it happened- so I could bring this good thing into the world,” somehow, it gives you the strength to carry on.
And so these six Welcome Home Kits, the first of many that The ROHO Project hopes to spread out to women and their children to support them in rebuilding their lives, represent years and years of dreaming and seeking advice and finding support and researching and planning and DIY-ing. They didn’t just appear overnight. But they did, indeed, begin in the dark. And now that it’s morning, with huge thanks to a tremendous group of supporters and encouragers, including the bestest and brightest wee bee, they have come true.
*Our first six Welcome Home Kits contained not only gift cards to The Home Depot and HomeSense but also copies of The Darkest Dark by Canadian Astronaut and Spaceship Commander Chris Hadfield, an incredibly inspiring Canadian children’s book.