Seven years (and one minute) ago today I was a Strong, Highly-Intelligent, Confident, Kind/Caring/Loving, Financially Stable, Fun-Loving, Independent, Ambitious and Proud, Optimistic/Hopeful/Positive Woman. I was a bit guarded, scared of being hurt, but at the same time open to the possibilities that life would give me. I went out lots, dancing, drinking, laughing, and having fun. I was free, I came and went as I wanted, the only obligation I had was a fat diabetic cat.
Today, I am broken. I feel like I am an alien compared to that woman who 7 years ago today went out with a friend & that friend's work friends, hoping to have a good time, not knowing that my life would be completely and utterly changed after that night.
I know that I am still emotionally strong, if I wasn't I wouldn't have been able to make it through the last 10 months. I don't always feel strong. There are days where it takes all my strength just to make it through the day, but I keep going. I feel like I should be fighting harder for my boys, but don't know how. Physical strength - that is gone, I used to bench more than my weight but due to my illness, I have lost a lot of physical strength, and it is worrisome how quickly I become tired carrying the 2 boys in my arms. Still I am lucky, I am sure that my Doctor will get things worked out, and even though I am weaker than I was, I am still able to push that double stroller of boys over 3 km/day, still able to play with the boys, still able to do 4 loads of laundry a week, still able to get things done.
I am still highly intelligent, can't take that away. Although I have learned, that I don't understand or have the stomach for playing games with people, so, while it may appear that I am not smart enough to play to win, in truth it is that I rather be honest and respectful than play games.
Confident hmmmm, this one is very hard. In some ways my confidence is ok; in others it has been completely decimated. Being back at work has been a huge boost to my self-esteem, being appreciated and acknowledged, knowing that I am damn good, and being the smartest one in a room of pretty smart people, helps. If I think about it, I know that I am still pretty great, but it is not easy to remember that, when you have been emotionally pummelled the way I have been. I see men looking at me, and I know that I am attractive, but I don't feel it. I know that I have the sexiest feet ever, but there is no time or money for pedicures anymore so it is hard to remember just how sexy they are. The first time I wore a bikini to the beach this summer was really hard, the second time was way easier, just a matter of believing the truth (I am a fine ass sexy woman), instead of letting the emotional response take over.
Kind/Caring/Loving - there is absolutely no doubt that I am still all of those things, even more so. Opening my heart to someone, caused a cascade reaction in me where I was more open to everyone, then having children changed things even more. Knowing that all the people I have helped and been kind to in my life, have helped and supported me through this time, has reinforced my belief in Karma. Knowing that what I put out is what will come back has kept me focused in the right way.
Financially Stable - LMFAO!! 8 years ago, I had savings in the bank, some investments, RRSPs and a bit of consumer debt. I had over 100 pairs of shoes + lots of boots, tons of purses, and months worth of clothes. Today, I have nothing. Savings - gone. Investments - gone. RRSPs - gone. Shoes - half gone. One week's worth of clothes that fit. Debt - increased. (I will of course fix it all, but it is going to take time and a huge amount of self-control and sacrifice.)
Fun-Loving - absolutely still fun loving. I don't get to have the same kind of fun that I used to, but I still love to have fun. Right now I enjoy the kind of fun you have with a 3 year old & a 1 year old, and I am working on getting the time to have adult fun.
Independent - I never stopped being independent, however I did become accustomed to having a partner to share with. It has been very difficult to balance the need for independence, to not rely on others, with the reality of my life. As much as I want to believe that I can do it all by myself, a 3 year old a 1 one year old all week every week is just not ok, asking for help has been hard, but I am getting better at it. One of the hardest things has been the changes in decision making. I was very used to making my own decisions, I got used to making decisions with someone - in some ways hard but I did it. Then someone started making decisions by themselves that changed my life, and the anger over having some of the terms of my life dictated to me has been huge.
Ambitious - hmmmm, I do still have ambitions, I still want to rule the world, however I have taken a huge dose of reality and know that I need to put my career ambitions on the back-burner for a while. I'm doing what I need to do at work, I'm making sure I'm on the ball, contributing, and performing well but I'm not looking for the next step right now. I'm concentrating that extra energy on the boys, giving them the love & stability that they need to be able to deal with the hole in their life.
Proud - 1,000,000X more proud of myself than I have ever been.
The last 10 months have been really hard; the daily grind, the exhaustion, watching a good friend destroy themselves, the financial strain, the stress, the shock of going from being treated like an angelic princess to being treated like a third rate piece of shit, watching a beautiful sweet loving little boy fill with anger, having that anger taken out on me, being diagnosed with an illness and not getting it stabilised, re-living huge amounts of my own child-hood pain, toilet training a boy, being embarrassed, being taken advantage of, being insulted, being cursed at, being so scared for my children's future, being lied to, and having something real and beautiful mocked and erased.
Not only have I dealt with all of this, but I have dealt with it with grace and honour. Yes I have spouted some angry words (mostly in the first few months), but in all honesty I have treated people with respect and dignity even while they were treating me badly. I have honoured requests. I haven't bad-mouthed people. I haven't broken promises. I have kept secrets and not exposed the lies being told to everyone, to save people's reputation and relationships. I have responded with calmness and understanding even while I was shaking with anger and pain. I have been patient beyond belief.
Guarded/Scared of being hurt, but open to possibilities - Ha! I shouldn't be scared of being hurt anymore, because there is pretty much nothing that could hurt more than what I have gone through (except for something happenning to my boys). At the same time, I know that the walls I used to have to protect myself are a joke compared to the ones I am re-building; Great Wall of China! I honestly don't know how open to possibilities I am, I think that I am open to most of what life might present me with, but at the same time, I cannot imagine ever opening my heart to another man again.
The only obligation I had was a cat, and now I have the biggest obligation ever. I am 100% responsible 24/7 for the two most precious little boys. There are times when it is overwhelming. There are times when it is so hard to deal with having to do everything by myself. There are times when it is terrifying. But I am the lucky one, because I have them and they are my joy, they are why I am still here, they are why I will get everything else fixed, because they need to have someone who will do everything it takes to give them a great life. I will not settle for them having the shitty life that I had, regardless of the similarities in our situations. I will not settle for them to have the shitty life that their father had. I will not settle for them to be less than their possibility. They deserve nothing but the best, they deserve to not want, they deserve to be surrounded by people who love them, who are there for them, who show up, people who put them first.
Do I regret going out for that night of fun 7 years ago? NO!!!!!
Well, of course not, because if I hadn't gone out that night, I wouldn't have my beautiful boys, but it is more than that.
While that night led me to a place I never wanted to be, that night also led me to places that were wonderful. I know that regardless of what has happenned, I loved someone truly, sweetly, honestly, and fiercely, with everything I had, with my heart, my soul, my brain, and my body, and I loved everything that someone else was, their mind, their body, their soul, their being. I have loved someone in a way that many people never have and never will; some because they just never have the opportunity, some because they have been broken and are too scared to give themselves fully, and others that are just not capable of loving anyone more than they love themselves. I have also been loved in a way that many people never get to experience. There are times when it is almost impossible to remember that I was loved so much, there are times when I can't forget and therefore cannot understand what is currently happenning, and there are times when it would be easier to pretend that it didn't happen, but it did, and it was amazing, to feel that love, the kindness, the unbelieveable fiery passion, the fierceness, the protectiveness, the thankfulness that I existed, the awe that I chose him, and the unbreakable connection.
So I continue my journey through this life, dealing with what I have been given, what has been taken away, trying to get through the sadness and anger, trying to revel in the smiles and laughter, surviving, striving to more than survive, and still believing in happy endings.