Once In Awhile, Right in the Middle of Ordinary Life, Love Gives us a Fairy Tale

 

Sometime in June last year, I was brave enough to step out of the cocoon that I had carefully built around myself, and joined Tinder.  Yes, yes!  I had heard the stories and some really HUGE horror stories at that.   Most of the “contacts” that I got were really dodgy and I didn’t even reply to them.  I just got this gut feeling.  (Something that I have learnt to trust over the years – and it has proved to serve me very well indeed).  BUT, then around the beginning of July, I got a message saying “I like your smile”.  I was intrigued…

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After some time (a few weeks I think), I had the courage to reply.  My reply “Are you an axe murderer?”  His reply was hilarious, just my type of humour and as the saying goes, that was that.  We started chatting.  Firstly on Tinder and then later onto Whatsapp.  I couldn’t wait to get messages from this interesting individual.  I couldn’t wait to learn more about him.  Conversation was easy, without strain or any of the forced pleasantries that often come with talking to someone that you barely know.  From the very beginning, he held me captive with his wit and charm, forever the gentleman and always polite.  By this time, he even had his own “pling” for messages, so that I knew it was him when messages came through.

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After a few weeks of the back and forth banter, I decided that it was definitely time to meet this person that had so poignantly piqued my interest and intrigue.  (He had already said that we should meet for coffee sometime!)  So, I built up the courage to ask him to meet and give me a where and when.  I was fully planning on doing this properly – meeting at a coffee shop with some escape route on standby, but it just didn’t happen that way.  All the time we had been chatting, I just felt safe with this man.  There were no red flags or alarm bells that rang.  Again, I trusted my instincts.  He was booked off at that stage after just having some type of surgery, so we agreed that after work that day, we would meet at his house for coffee.  (He lives exactly halfway between work and home – very convenient!)  The day at work seemed to drag on – as is so usually the case when you are looking forward to something later that day.  And then it was time!  And then my stomach was suddenly inundated by butterflies.

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All the old familiar comments from my childhood and from ex started playing their usual dance in my head.  Horror!  He had only ever seen head shots of me – and at that stage I was still on the large side.  What if everything that I had ever been told about no one ever wanting to love me or be seen with me were true?  So I tentatively sent a last message before I left – “you do know that I am quite big?” and I waited for the reply, fully expecting that to be the last I would hear from him. But that was not the case!  The coffee date was still on.  My heart soared, but then so did my nerves.  Suddenly it occurred to me, that I had gone to work dressed very casually, no make-up or anything.  But the meeting was set to be, and that is how it was.  I climbed into my car and started to make my way to my destiny.  (I had already googled searched / stalked his house, so that there would be no surprises!)  Tentatively, I pulled into the driveway – I knew it was the right house from Google street view!  I phoned him and told him I was there!  By this time, I was shaking from head to toe, I was so nervous.  The gate opened and I was greeted by very enthusiastic dogs – which still happens every time I visit! And there he was…. The man that knew almost everything about me and still accepted me for me.  I climbed out of the car and was greeted by the biggest, gentlest hug I had ever known.

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And there he was…

The coffee date turned out marvelously.  We chatted for hours – he knowledge of the world and things I have never even heard of, is immense.  I never grow tired of listening to his tales.  Every day I learn something new from him.  Driving home after that first meeting, I couldn’t stop grinning like a stupid school girl. (I still do that every time I think about him, or hear his voice, or read his messages!) So on the 25th July, it sort of became official – I had a boyfriend.  I had Daughtry playing loudly in the car and one song in particular came on:  Never could the timing of a song be better.

“Start Of Something Good”
You never know when you’re gonna meet someone
And your whole wide world in a moment comes undone
You’re just walking around and suddenly
Everything that you thought that you knew about love is gone

You find out it’s all been wrong
And all my scars don’t seem to matter anymore
Cause they led me here to you

[CHORUS]
I know that its gonna take some time
I’ve got to admit that the thought has crossed my mind
This might end up like it should
And I’m gonna say what I need to say
And hope to god that it don’t scare you away
Don’t wanna be misunderstood
But I’m starting to believe that this could be the start of something good

Everyone knows life has its Ups and downs
One day you’re on top of the world and one day you’re the clown

Well I’ve been both enough to know
That you don’t wanna get in the way when its working out
The way that it is right now
You see my heart i wear it on my sleeve
Cause I just can’t hide it anymore

[CHORUS]
I know that it’s gonna take some time
I’ve got to admit that the thought has crossed my mind
This might end up like it should
And I’m gonna say what I need to say
And hope to god that it don’t scare you away
Don’t wanna be misunderstood
But I’m starting to believe that this could be the start

Cause I don’t know where it’s going
There’s a part of me that loves not knowing
Just don’t let it end before we begin

You never know when you’re gonna meet someone
And your whole wide world in a moment comes undone

[CHORUS]
I know that its gonna take some time
I’ve got to admit that the thought has crossed my mind
This might end up like it should
And I’m gonna say what I need to say
And hope to god that it don’t scare you away
Don’t wanna be misunderstood
But I’m starting to believe
Oh I’m starting to believe that this could be the start of something good.

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I cannot believe how one person can have such a positive impact in my life.  Everything that I thought I knew about love and life and everything in between has been turned upside down by this amazing man.  Even when the demons in my head start playing tricks on me and I start believing them – he patiently allays my fears and assures me that he is not going away.  He has taught me that love is good, kind and patient.  The amount of care that he gives me is beyond measure – even when my pain levels are at their worst.  He gently takes care of me, even driving me to doctors’ appointments when I can barely walk.  He has shown me the good side of life – how to laugh again, how to smile.  He understands me and accepts me for me – flaws and all – and best of all, its okay and he comes back again.  He knows my history, and has met my demons and seen my quirks (and there are a lot) – and still he comes back.  This man that has changed my world, and found a way into my heart, and shown me that there is good in the human race (read men).  Being with him is easy.  Its not awkward or forced.

The way he stands with my patiently while I listen to the chime in 200 necklaces for find the exact one, the way he wipes away my tears when I am in so much pain that I don’t know what to do any more, the way he sits through graduations because I am petrified of public speaking and I have to emcee the proceedings, the way he listens to me rant and rave about things that are totally beyond his control but just listens, the way he holds my hand because I am petrified of flying, the way he orders extra lemon for my water (and lots of it), the way he holds my hand in public, the way my hand fits perfectly in his, the way I fit perfectly in his embrace, the way he gets excited for me when I sit watching another aeroplane go by, the way he watches “chick flicks” with me, the way he held me when I was broken when a friend passed away and he didn’t even know her, the way you “window shop” shoes and make up with me on the internet….

Being together is the best thing in my world right now.  His touch, his smile, his eyes, his embrace, his love….

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David Wilson, words could never explain or describe fully how much you mean to me.  I could never thank you enough for everything that you do for me.  You allow me into your bare soul, clothe me in your honesty and love me unconditionally.  You are the other half of me that I have craved my whole life.  You ease my soul and put my fears to rest.  I cannot wait for the many adventures that still wait for us.  You have my heart and soul.  I love you plenty much, always and forever.

The art of living with debilitating diseases in a world full of stress.

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It has been too long since I have put the proverbial pen to paper.  Life has been hectic, to say the least.  Just as you think that you have a minute to spare for a quick post, six months have passed and then something else seems to crop up that needs more attention at that moment.

I have three chronic (and sometimes very debilitating) diseases.  They are ankylosing spondylitis, fibromyalgia and hyper mobility – couple this with major depressive disorder.  Yay!  So much fun in a career that is renowned for its high stress levels and fast paced days.  The more stress, and the longer the period of stress, the more the diseases rear their ugly heads.  There isn’t a day that passes that I do not have enormous pain.  The level teeters between crazy bad an in tears bad and not being able to move.  The trick is to try and get up every day, put a smile on your face and continue with the best and most favoured lie of all time “I’m fine!”

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On the days that are good, meaning that it’s easier to smile and actually get things done, I tend to forget my limits and then go all out trying to get everything done while feeling in a semi decent state of almost normality.  Pity about that – because I generally tend to overdo things and then end up regretting it for the next few days with it being almost impossible to move.  Can you imagine going to your boss and booking off sick because you did too much ironing the day before!  I have great difficulty in finding a balance in my life, to be able to do everything that needs to be done and listening to the boundaries that my body is insisting on.

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I have mentioned before that part of my “charm” is an array of OCD traits.  These seem to rear their head at a time when I least need it.  Mostly, of course, when my stress levels are at their worst.  Then of course the stress levels are worsened and the pain worsens exponentially to that.

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There is no cure for these diseases, as much as I wish and pray that there was.  The best that one can hope for, is that we can get the symptoms under control and slow down the progression.  This is a fine balancing act between killing my immune system, but also leaving enough of it that I don’t get ill from every germ that might decide to cross my path.  This is especially tricky being that I deal with throngs of people every day at work.

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Both the AS and the fibro are all encompassing diseases.  Each of them attacking various parts of my body.  This often leads to unexpected injuries that you take for granted that it is just another pain.  The danger in this is that you end up doing irreparable damage.  I once walked around on a broken leg for a week.  It was only after the swelling wasn’t going down that I decided to get it seen to.  The AS is a form of rheumatoid arthritis and is most prevalent in my spine, hips and shoulders.  Although, my ankles, wrists, hands and neck are also affected.  Not only are the joints affected, but strange sets of muscles too, for example the intercostal muscles between my ribs making it difficult to take deep breaths (because the muscles don’t allow the lungs to expand properly).  The pain is all encompassing, exhausting, a continual fight with your own body to get through the most normal of every day tasks.

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Every day is a struggle – taking handfuls of pills in order to be able to stand and function for the day. Sometimes I actually get it right but there are other days that it just doesn’t all come together and just trying to roll (fall) out of bed becomes mission impossible.

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These diseases have robbed me of my active life.  So often I have to cancel plans at the last minute.  This kills me slowly inside.  I cannot do some of the simplest things in life – like grate cheese, open a bottle without help, clip my bra strap behind me.  Admitting these shortcomings is the most difficult.  For most of my life I have been completely independent, and now more and more I have to ask for help.  A humbling and frustrating position to be in.

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More than anything, I wish to be pain free, to be able to do the things that I used to do with ease without the threat of bone crushing exhaustion and pain.  Perhaps, one day there will be a better solution, but for now I continue to plod (sometimes crawl) along and get through each day, some how.  I could not do it without my amazing team of doctors and specialists. They are absolutely phenomenal, always willing to lend an ear to my cries of agony.  My GP and physio are especially phenomenal – even on the worst of days, they are there with words of encouragement and a gentle hug to let me know that things will be okay.

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So until we find a better solution or a better concoction of remedies and therapies, I will continue to “be fine” and carry one each day as best as I can.  I cannot promise that tomorrow will be tear-free, but I can tell you that I will do my best to get through the day and give of my best in everything that I do (albeit it slower than normal).

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An Unexpected Delight

It has been too long since I put the proverbial pen to paper and wrote a post.  I have been meaning to do it, but I have not been sure of what to write.  So many thoughts flitting through my brain at the moment and life is changing at the rate of knots in a gale force wind.

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For some time, I have been completely disillusioned at work.  My place of sanctuary had become a place of loathing.  I began questioning everything that I once cherished and loved about its hallowed halls.  I felt more and more that my soul was being destroyed and in a way that was comparable to the destructive marital relationship that I fought so hard to get free from.  We are working under strenuous circumstances at best and being the type A personalities that we all are, we will kill ourselves making it work.  This is a topic that I often discuss with my dear psychologist (she is definitely my sanity preserver and giver.)  The question that she posed at our latest get together was “what will happen if you stop making it work?” and the other question “how far/long before the system breaks down despite everyone’s best attempt at keeping everything together?”  Both are very good questions, and I have answers to neither of them.  She compared the staff to 10 ton trucks.  Machines capable of immense workloads and great capacity.  But, as she was so quick to point out, they can only carry 10 tons.  Yes, you may be able to over load them once or twice, but if you keep over loading these work horses they will eventually break.

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For many months I have questioned whether or not I was actually making a difference in others’ lives.  Especially as I am an instructor, it is quite a necessity that you have the ability to make extraordinary and profound changes in other people’s lives.  With the turmoil of last year, I often ended with the joy of having to write reports as to why I had said or done something at work that others thought was not actions befitting my career.  It is with this in mind, that I entered this year with trepidation and angst.

One of the students in the latest course that I have been presenting, has turned out to be such a blessing in disguise.  She has managed to brighten my day on more than one occasion.  She is a beautiful soul and completely different to her class mates.  I felt an instant connection with this young soul.  She has had a rough time during her course, with a very ill (critical) family member and yet she still passed the course well (with distinction).  I admire her for her tenacity and courage of conviction.  After class ended today, she told me that  I was her inspiration.  This was a life changing conversation.  She reminds me of myself at her age.  In fact the parallels of our lives are astounding. This young and beautiful woman made my soul soar.  I made a difference to someone’s life and it was acknowledged.  This seemed to be the sign that I have been waiting (longing) for.  If I can make a positive change in one person’s life at least, then surely I am doing something right.  So thank you, beautiful lady, for your kind and amazing message that you sent to me.  You made this old soul very happy.  I wish you all the best in your future endeavours.  Never forget that you are where you are supposed to be at the time that you are supposed to be there.

roseThis rose is for you – for all the roses you sent to me in the messages earlier.  Never give up, brave soul.  Keep fighting, and remember :

 

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The Line Has Been Crossed

Never expect. Never assume. Never ask. Never demand. Just let it be. If it’s meant to be, it will happen.

I came across this quote on the Twitter feed this morning.  Never a truer word has been spoken.  Something clicked in me this year.  Well in my head at least – the body is not always willing to comply (like today).  This is time for me.  I need to be the best the I can be.  So I have started a grueling diet and exercise regime.  This is difficult to follow, but the results are already showing, and my excitement is growing.  This is not a new year’s resolution, but more a “the time is right now” type of thing.  I am tired of fighting the system and getting nowhere.  The time is now, the line has been drawn.  And as I get more into the exercise routine, the more I remember the good times in the past when I was lean and trim.  Half of me wants to lose 50kgs (yes, I am that heavy) and the other half is working towards a size that I want to be – the elusive size 16.  I have often managed to get to size 18, but then something always happens and I end up putting the weight straight back on again.

I have decided that as last year was my year for freedom, this is the year for me and improving myself – not on an educational level (that never stops in the job that I am in) but on a spiritual level.  I no longer want to dwell on the negative and let it get me down.  I have to reduce the stress levels in my life, there is no two ways to that.  The amount of stress is causing muscle atrophy at a rate that I cannot replenish, no matter how hard Dewald the Biokinetist pushes me.  I am going to try new things this year and broaden my horizons.  I am going to become more socially involved.  I have learnt that I cannot cower in the confines of my little flat forever, as much as I want to.  So campaign #sweet16 is in full swing – not only to get to size 16, but to grow my inner peace and my soul.  This is the year for me.

Breaking Old Boundaries with New Adventures

In the past my life was dictated by expectations and ruled by ghosts of days long gone.  I felt comfortable in not trying anything new, but to continue in the monotonous rut that became my safety net.  My life was predictable to say the least and then came 2015.  If you had asked me this time last year what my life would look like now, there is no way that I would have predicted the turn that it took.  Everything that I knew has been changed topsy turvy.  I went from being married and living in a huge house with many pets to being single and living in a small apartment and no pets.  I am looking at changing career after being in my present career for 17 years.  My children have grown up all of a sudden (in all honesty, it was more out of necessity than choice).   And I am now faced with choices of what to do and when to do it.  I am no longer bound by the old boundaries of shoulds and can’ts.

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This has been a year of firsts and of seeing how far I can push myself before things become too unbearable.  I have just returned from a cruise – a life-long bucket list thing.  Amazing.  Although the winds were high and the sea was choppy, what a totally awesome experience.  Definitely one worth repeating.  During the cruise, I had to face various demons.  Firstly, the unknown and therefore not having any control.  Also, I had to deal with throngs of people in a confined space (and no where to run and hide).  Imagine over 2000 people on one boat, all stuck inside because the weather is bad.  But of course, I will find something aviation to amuse me.

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From have a wonderful full body massage at sea, to attending a book launch, a movie premier, a cabaret show, a comedy and various other events this year, my life has become somewhat very unpredictable. At the very least I can say that I have been to some interesting events.  Some I wish to repeat and some not so much.  All I can say is that I really hope that I can continue to have these new experiences and that my life continues in this fashion.  I also hope that I can keep the demons at bay in order that I can enjoy these new adventures.

 

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Rage Against Incompetence

In today’s world, where living at break-neck speed is the norm, now more than ever we need a network of competent people around us.  This has never been more true than the very people that we work with day by day and side by side.

Considering that approximately one third (and in some cases even more) of our lives are spent in the presence of these people, I find that more and more it is becoming a deal breaker for me.  As with all things in life (or perhaps I am just old fashioned in my ideals), I believe that the leader (manager) should be the one to take charge and get the proverbial ball rolling, to add that certain unity and regulatory feel to the office environment.  And above all else, lead by example.  This to me means having responsibility.  YES, I said it.  For goodness sake, we are all supposed to be adults working in hugely professional career.  This willy nilly style of nothingness is cause for absolute chaos.

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Imagine if you will, 15 highly dedicated (but unfortunately not so motivated any more) professionals that are all type A personalities, perfectionists, people that just make things work irrespective of the circumstances in one big open plan office.  Add to the mix, a “leader” that provides no back up, no leadership and “micro manages” his staff leaving the important issues hanging like the Sword of Damocles.  In a department that is chronically understaffed and being pushed to the limits of  actually cracking, this a pressure keg waiting to explode.

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We are taught at a young age that we are meant to respect our elders, people in positions of rank (so to say) etc., but in all honesty, how can you respect someone that does not do anything to deserve it besides being in a higher pay grade?  It is this very situation that is causing the absolute chaos at a continuously building pace.  Its exhausting!  I have some of the least experience in my department and that is 17 years. I think you can get the idea of the type of experience that we are dealing with.  Sadly, more that half of the department are actively seeking other employment – both in this country and overseas.  (Our career opens many doors world wide.)

For the longest part of my life, my work has been my sanity and my place of solitude, my sanctum, my happy space.  Sadly in the last three years, this situation has changed vastly and not for the better.  I have mentioned before that I am hot-wired to form neat little packages in my head and I find safety in predictability.  I love the order that is found in rules and regulations, pre-planning and pre-testing.  As much as I love the career that I have – I gave up so much in order that I may graduation and qualify – I am now seriously considering quitting.  This in itself is posing another daunting problem – what would I do then?  Our careers are highly evolved and highly specialised, to the point that ours is the company that delivers this service in the country.  Having said which it makes us both very unique, but almost unemployable in any other field.  Sure, we have acquired great skills that are used in other fields, but does that make us employable on its own.?

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I am loathe to admit that all the years spent training to qualify in this amazing field is going to end up for nought.  But, I NEED to have the pre-planning. the rules, the LEADERSHIP.  Not the frustration and chaos that abound now.  This powder keg is ready to explode and its going to get messy and ugly.  As always in war, its the innocent bystanders that will end up with the most damage.  We will always do what we can to make things work, but at this pace and without the leadership needed, we will not be able to make things work for much longer.  That’s the sad reality.

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Finding Peace in Chaos

It has been a long-time survival method of mine to keep all my memories and thoughts in neatly packaged little boxes in my mind.  This has always ensured that I remember the good (well some of it at least) and the bad either gets forgotten or I can recall it in a very clinical manner.

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This tactic has worked well to my advantage until quite recently.  It seems that my hard drive is now full and in need of formatting.  More and more I am finding that these carefully hidden past disasters are starting to rear their ugly heads.  Not only as memories, but mostly in the form of impacting my day to day experiences.  The smallest things from times long ago are becoming huge in my present.

One such result is the fact that when father was due home, everything had to be in place before he got home.  Even the gate had to standing open for him as he roared down the road home.  Woe betide us should it not be done.   This seemly small every day occurrence from my childhood has now resulting in my having to be in control of every tiny aspect of my life.  Everything has to be in its place and everything has to be planned down to the last.  Any slight deviation of this leads to immense stress and anxiety.  Because father held the job that he did and because he remained cocooned in alcoholic stupor over the weekends, we never went out or had friends over to our house.  This survival tactic from way back when has now led me to a place where I cannot tolerate throngs of people and indeed cacophonies of loud  sounds.  The very thought of this sends my heart into the familiar racing pattern resulting in a lack of breath.  There are many other such examples that have crept into my world and stayed somewhere along the way.

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So the trick is now to accept (or rather learn to accept) that sometimes (and I cringe) just sometimes, things can be out of place and I don’t have to have total control all the time.  The bigger trick is to uncondition my processing unit and start the reprogramming process.  The very thought of doing this is the start of my unraveling.   I have to now start dealing with the long forgotten and clinical memories that I have fought so hard against all these years.  So this is where I stand for now, on the brink of the unknown with very dark, deep and murky waters in front of me.

 

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Meeting a Heroine

Have you ever felt like you are constantly looking for something, rather some one for your entire life?  I am not talking about your significant other that one inevitably marries, but that special someone that just makes your soul smile and feel like its come home.

I am in the privileged position to have met my “other soul”.  A courageous and beautiful soul, whose worldly experiences shadow a lot of my own.  After chatting for some time over social media, I finally met this courageous woman.  The excitement that built up before hand was certainly tantamount to that of a first date.  I had connected with this special being on such a deep and meaningful level and now I was going to meet her in person!!

She is everything and more!  Such a brave heroine.  To me, she epitomises everything that I want to be.  Despite the challenges that she has had to live through, she has the most infectious smile.  Her love for others overflows and her generosity is huge.  A lady of boundless energy and wisdom.  Her pride and overwhelming love for her children is so completely evident in everything that she does.  Such a shining example to the world.

To me this wonderful person is like a unicorn; magical, majestic and rare.  I am the one that has been blessed by her presence in my life.  Each day I look forward to sharing more experiences with her and learning more about her.  She is by far my biggest heroine and my soul can simply not live without her.  Thank you for being a part of my life!!

Walking Away

An Open Letter to My Husband

I never believed in perfect love or in love for that matter…

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I had enough life experience at the tender age of 17, to know that love is far from perfect. I understood and was taught that a woman was there to please her man. Love was not an emotion in a woman’s psychological arsenal, it just was – a way of life, a living if you will. It was expected. With all the bravado that I could muster, I was telling you, “Anything that a man can do, a woman can do better”. Never was a truer word spoken in my very warped sense of reality. A reality in which a woman did everything, from raising the children, to running the household and even fixing the plumbing or electrical or what have you. When I met you though, I believed that you were filled with goodness and a purity that would make our relationship last. You had all the qualities that were so completely different to what I was used to. You actually listened to me, you treated me as your equal and you seemed to take joy in making me smile. You made me feel as though I was worth something and in that instant, I would have done anything you asked, and blindly at that.

Our relationship progressed with such speed, that I don’t think that either of us actually had the time (or even took the time) to take a step back and look at what we were getting ourselves into. Here we were, two children really, acting all grown-up living on our own and becoming parents to three gorgeous daughters. I am not quite sure if it was because it was expected of me, or if it was the next logical step, but there we were, husband and wife, at the alter pledging eternal love. I am sure that in that very moment, I meant what I said, but I am also very sure that it was done almost in automatic mode. Looking back, (and hindsight as always has perfect vision), I did love you – but I am not so sure that I was in love with you. Sure, we were in lust – but that is most definitely not the basis of any long-lasting relationship. Lust, obviously brought it’s own set of uncertainties and moral dilemmas. Between constantly fighting the demons of a childhood cloaked in horrors to the moral responsibilities of being a wife and mother, I not only forgot who I was, but indeed left that young child out in the proverbial rain.
As the years progressed and the different situations arouse in our lives, we seemed to somehow weather the storms. From living in the caravan park to losing fifteen loved ones in the space of six weeks, we carried on regardless. There were times that I felt it would have been better and easier to walk away, but I stayed. For whatever reason seemed good at that time, I stayed. Mostly out of blind sense of responsibility and of what was expected. Here I was living a life that was expected and ensuring that each day the family unit continued to function and that all duties were met and fulfilled. I stood by your side when things were up and I stood even firmer when things where down. I carried you and the family when you decided that life was too hard and wanted to end it all. I can quite honestly say that in that precise moment I have never hated any one more. Yes, I have never brought this up , but it affected me severely. Not only the family unit that we had worked so hard to create, but the mere fact that you were willing to leave a trail of betrayal and destruction. But who cares, you wouldn’t be there to see it all. I understand completely that I was not perfect and that there were actions of mine that caused such intense mistrust ultimately culminating in the fate of you chasing tablets with alcohol. So I learnt to keep my mouth shut – firmly. It didn’t matter how I felt, but as long as there was harmony in the household, then everything would be ok (or so I thought). After all, a woman is strong, there is always just that little bit more to carry on……

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Yes my career by this stage had taken off which entailed many long nights of studying. And yes, you saw to the house and the girls whilst I was studying. But when everything boils down to it, my career equaled the family’s success. The better I did, the better we all did. I gave up birthdays, Christmases, weekends, but we had a roof over our heads and food on the table. The all-important, implied and expected success. Every day I forfeited more of my soul for you to keep the peace. Between the bouts of temper, sullenness and depression, none of us quite knew where we stood. So it was easier to keep quiet, and do what was expected and keep the peace. This was a life I saw when I was growing up – so how could it possibly wrong. No matter that I begged my mother not to do it to herself, I did it and so much worse. In a world, where gender equality is supposedly the buzzword of the day – I was promoting the exact opposite in my own house. What have I taught my precious daughters? That it is alright to give up your own being? Throughout their lives I wanted to break the chain that was my childhood and yet I have done the complete opposite.
The love was there, for sure. Not in the same desperate way that it was in the beginning, but in a quiet way. And I am someone who needs to hear it roar. I tried everything to make you understand what I needed. I hoped my love would be enough to make you want to try to be what I needed you to be. I prayed for a time where your heart would soften and you would realise the importance of us having intimacy, companionship, fun… over and above the domesticity that was our lives, over and above the role we played as parents. I believed that our relationship as a man and as a woman was more pivotal in order to give off the best of ourselves as parents. I fought hard. I fought for years to make you understand this. I tried everything I could and nothing worked. I failed.

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The one thing I learnt about love is that it is never enough. Love is never enough to get you by when there isn’t money to put food on the table and there are kids to feed. Love is never enough when hurt, anger, pain and disappointment become the white elephant in our bedroom and we are both overcome with our own insecurities to deal with the reality we are faced with. Love is never enough when communication is non-existent. So what’s to become of us when love ceases to exist?
It’s a sobering thought to accept failure. To give in and realise that nothing more can be said and nothing more can be done. The physical ache I feel in my heart, I carry with me always. I wake up with it, I go to bed with it. It’s become a white noise I have grown so used to hearing, I live by its rhythm. I pretend I am okay for the sake of the children, I pretend I am okay so that people don’t ask questions, but inside I am dying. I am broken. I am depleted of energy, devoid of emotion and my self-esteem is non-existent. Making the decision to end this was hard. I have vacillated with this thought for years and finally realised that I am worth more than this.

Over the years though, I have matured. I have had a period of self-discovery where I realised that I was more than just a mother, more than just a wife. I am a woman. I have learnt that I have needs and wants – and yes, it is ok to have therm. I have learnt about love language – where mine is very different from yours. We don’t relate to each other and keep missing the point of our frustrations and not knowing exactly what we both need. I can no longer keep my feelings, hurts and frustrations to myself. I need to be able to release them into the world, to continue my journey of growth into the future. I want to be a person – I want to be ME, not Rodger’s wife, or the girls’ mother – ME! But I have forgotten who that is so I have to delve deep into myself and learn who I am. I want to be able to come home to a place of solace and comfort – not a place of fear and despair.

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I need more than this. I deserve more than this. I am making the change that is needed for the potential and possibility of getting every single thing I want and need, and to finally be happy and at peace. The process of healing the wounds will be long and hard, but it will provide me with a wealth of experience and the knowledge and inherent belief that I am stronger than I look and feel – the hope of the ultimate reward will be mine.  As Alexandre Dumas said: “He who has felt the deepest grief is best able to experience supreme happiness”.