Krista Tedrow: Magic prevails after childhood abuse and workaholism

Published by Nicole Grundmeier on

Krista Tedrow and daughter

Editor’s note: Adverse Childhood Experiences, also known as ACES, are traumatic events that happen to a person ages 0 to 17. Examples include physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, the death of a parent, the incarceration of a parent, witnessing a parent being abused, and more. The higher a person’s ACES score, the more likely that person is to suffer from poor health throughout life – not just depression and anxiety, but also heart disease, cancer, diabetes, premenstrual dysphoric disorder and other diseases. A history of childhood abuse can also affect adults in the workplace in various ways. The following column was written by Krista Tedrow and published on her 33rd birthday on LinkedIn. Fearless contacted Tedrow and received her permission to publish her story and her photos here. As Tedrow told me in an email, “Shame dies when stories are told in safe spaces.” Tedrow shared with Fearless that she has an ACES score of 10.

– Nicole Grundmeier, Business Record staff writer

By Krista Tedrow
Fearless guest columnist 

I was born 12,045 days ago. Today I turned 33.

Last year, I gave myself and my family the birthday gift of commitment to overcome workaholism.

The gift gave me back time with my daughter, husband, family and community.

Most importantly, it gave me time with myself to examine life’s proverbial question: Who am I?

As I pondered this question, my mind seemed to produce a door labeled “past.” I paused.

Opening a portal with power to suck me into the black hole of my past, swirling with memories from my traumatic childhood experiences of neglect, abuse, pain and abandonment was not something I had time for.

Except … I did have time because I wasn’t working 80-plus hours a week.

Then I heard a gentle voice somewhere inside of me whisper, “Do you trust if I ask you to open a door with darkness that I will also reveal the light? Do you trust that I love you and will show you how to let go of the darkness?”

A key appeared and unlocked the door. It opened slowly. It was dark. No light. Just like I expected.

Krista Tedrow at Kismet Coffee
Krista Tedrow

I heard the whisper again, “Look deeper. The light is trapped beneath the dark surface of circumstances that contradict the good memories. If you trust me, I will show you the beauty through the pain.”

I looked deeper, and suddenly, the childhood I couldn’t recall for most of my adult life was illuminated.

Some of the memories were almost too painful to bear, and I wanted to close the door … but I knew to heal, I had to keep looking. When all of the dark memories were revealed …

The magic began. For the first time, I witnessed de-LIGHT-ful and happy memories prior to the age of 7.

  • I was laughing and playing at a park with my little brothers as we splashed in a wishing well.
  • I was getting my ears pierced and so excited as I picked out “big girl” sparkle earrings – two pairs – so I could wear a narwhal in one ear and a unicorn in the other.
  • I was in first grade defending my belief in magic and unicorns with relentless conviction as I told the teacher it wasn’t my fault other people choose not to believe.
Krista Tedrow tattoo that reads "You are magic"

I heard the whisper again, “You see? There is so much magic to remember and so much magic to create because you are magic.”

The gift of time revealed that I am not my experiences, yet my experiences are part of the magic of me.

This year I am giving myself the greatest gift of all – expressing me with authenticity and restoring my 6-year-old self’s belief that anything is possible even when reality contradicts it.

Who am I? I am magic.

Krista Tedrow lives in Ottumwa and owns a consulting company called No Opportunity Wasted. She can be reached at