Monday, 20 November 2017

Today

I got married 13 years ago today. I feel it fitting that I commemorate the little girl who, on that day, had her whole life ahead of her. That little girl who always saw the good in people. That little girl who barely knew herself but thought she knew it all.

She’s a trooper. She had no idea how much she would learn and grow quite quickly in the years ahead. She would slowly lose herself. She would learn almost immediately the “roles she had to play”. She was really good at these roles. Never one to complain about anything. About the lack of money or about how tired she was. A warm home cooked dinner was always served to her family amongst a tidy house. Her goals and interests would be put aside for now. There just wasn’t time or energy. She would lose touch with some friends because, well they weren’t in the same stage as her. They were out studying or working or partying or travelling. And she was playing her many roles of mother, wife, daughter, friend and sister.



She was exhausted but she just thought this was how it was meant to be. There was always something to worry about but again, that's just part of life and being an adult. You have responsibilities and bills and little people to think of constantly. When you have 2 kids under 2 before your 21st birthday there is little time to sit and ponder.



She would sometimes question if this is how things were meant to be but this was all she knew so of course this was how it was meant to be. She had beautiful healthy daughters, she had so much to be grateful for and nothing to complain about. Complaining meant that you weren’t grateful and she was grateful. It could be worse.


She opens up to some of her closest family and friends about how she thinks she feels. Some tell her to be patient. Others are shocked at her admissions. She quickly stuffs everything into a box and pretends that box doesn’t exist. She continues to play her many roles. Very well. Almost too well. She is even more exhausted.



Challenges are thrown her way but she is a capable, strong woman. She powers on and powers through. She throws herself into her kids and her home and her social media accounts to keep up her roles. To keep up the facade. The challenges are like snowballs, small at first but they keep getting bigger and gain momentum fast. She is still there. Strong. Supportive. Dealing with challenges she would have never even thought of. 


She learnt quickly that it was her role to support others and support herself as best she could. The “never rely on others” prophecy had fulfilled itself and she learnt a long time ago, how to rely on herself and God. So, she prayed and prayed. She prayed that she would be always be able to take good care of her daughters. Not much beyond that. Just to be able to take good care of her girls.


These snowballing challenges had to be tackled head on, before an avalanche started. So she did just that. She did and has always done whatever needed to be done, for her girls. With growing girls she wanted them to have and be, better. With many moments of doubt and guilt and insecurity she slowly found her footing. She slowly found her voice. She slowly found herself. 


If you asked that little girl 13 years ago what she thought her life was going to be like, she wouldn’t have been able to even fathom the challenges she was going to overcome and the amount of inner strength she had. She walks with an air full of wisdom beyond her years. Her determination and motivation wax and wane. She shifts from confident to scared multiple times a day. Though she is exhausted, it is a different type of exhaustion. It is one of content. Content that she has spent her day fulfilling her purpose. Content that she did her best. Content that after 13 years, the light at the end of the tunnel seems that bit brighter and that bit closer.


Step 103.

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Update

I haven’t posted in a while. I’ve been writing my thoughts down and have just been scared to push publish. Many times. Afraid of what I’m not exactly sure but I woke up teary this cloudy Saturday morning and I just want to get to the bottom of why.

Interactions with my soon to be ex-husband have improved but aren’t great and I think I fear that they will never get to where I need them to be. I’ve begun to try and accept that things will always be this way simply because he has shown me that he is only capable of so much. He continues to show me that he is clueless in so many departments.

I don’t hate him, though some of my friends beg to differ. I really don’t want to exist in a hateful mind frame. I know I definitely don’t like him, at all. I understand we have children together so on that level I am willing to communicate with him but when he tries to have a casual conversation with me about anything other than the children I am just not interested.

I’m not interested in knowing anything about his life except for his work schedule which impacts when and where he will pick up the children. Apart from that I really don’t care. The same applies in reverse. I don’t care to share details about my work, my social life or what I do in my spare time. Unless it affects the children in anyway then I don’t see a reason in having to share it with him. And the more he asks questions and pries the more I shut down.

I like the think it’s just a protective mechanism. I know what this man is capable of and I just want to protect myself and my children from it. 

I have communicated to him many times that he is not welcome in my home, by himself. With someone else or a group of friends is fine. But the fact that he is still asking me just yesterday if he can come over with the kids, when he is parked right outside of my house, just reinforces that he doesn’t care about anything except his agenda. We ended up walking around the corner to my mums house after a quick text to my mum who understands how I feel about having him in my home. I called him out on it. I tried to explain again my position on situations like this and that it was not my job to facilitate what he does when he with the children. i know it went into one ear and out the other and as frustrated as I am I think I will have to come to terms that I will have to have many more conversations like this.

The big day of taking steps to make this all official is coming up and I only worry that he will make things more difficult than they need to be.

I think the biggest hurdle that I’m still learning to get over is the complete lack of ownership he has in this situation. I’ve been reminded many times that his stance is “you started this, this is all your fault”, not understanding how he played a contributing role in any of this. That is a hard pill to swallow. It takes some getting used to be thrown under the bus like that. I understand that a marriage is a team effort so if things don’t workout its never just on one persons shoulders.

Chin up Sarah, the kids just woke up, get back to it.


Step 102.

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Socialising

Attending social events or gatherings, when you're filing for divorce in about 2 months kind of sucks. My Indonesian community is a big one and information can spreads wildfire. So you can't blame me for sitting at a wedding or attending a gatherings, trying to screen who knows what about my situation. 

I mean, in the grand scheme of things I don't really care what people know or think or think they know. And I don't think people care that much really. or at least they shouldn't. It doesn't matter at the end of the day because I get to go home with my girl tribe, where we create a safe, relaxed environment where we feel cherished and nourished.

People talk. People are talking. About me. My own extended family included. And only a handful of people have been brave enough to approach me about my divorce directly. Currently the vibe is "is it true? Are they really getting a divorce?". And though I'm not wearing it as a badge of honour, if someone were to ask me to my face I would tell them. Because it is what it is and I'm not ashamed about it. And as hard as I try to shield my children from any emotion damage this divorce may cause them, if they see that I'm okay with it, I hope it helps them be okay with it.

Sometimes I find it easier to just avoid certain situations and audiences. I really can't be bothered ensuring people that I'm okay. So many greetings go as follows;

"Hi Sarah how have you been? how are the kids?"

"Oh me and the kids are doing great, how about you?"

"really? you're really okay?'

"Yeah I'm great how are you?"

Granted, like everyone else, I'm not great all the time but how else am I meant to respond?

"Oh me? Yeah it's exhausting at times both mentally and emotionally. I'm trying my best for the girls but really I'm very hopeful for my future and I know I'm doing the right thing."

That's a little heavy. True, but heavy.

I ran into a dear high childhood friend yesterday and as we caught each other up on work and kids and life, she asked how my husband was and I just had to lay it out that we weren't together anymore. And like any other time that I've done this in the past I am met with a "Are you serious? Oh, I'm so sorry, but you're a strong woman." 

I know I am strong and I know I am capable, but it's nice when someone reminds you of these qualities once in a while, because I tend to be harder on myself than I need to be. I'm guilty of that a lot and I'm working on it. The sting of failure still gets me when I am at social events surrounded by married couples and family units. I wonder if that sting will ever fade. 



Step 101,




Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Are you happy?

My four year old loves to ask me this question. And because kids shouldn't have to deal with adult problems I always say yes. As forced as it was sometimes.

As weird/bizarre/worrying as this sounds, in the past, I used to be too scared to ask myself this question. I think because the answer scared me. Simply because too often, I wasn't.

There was a constant dialogue in my head that would go like this:

"Sarah, this is not okay. What if, for the rest of your life..."

"SHUT UP! It's fine. It's fine. It's okay."

"But... its not fine. It's wro.."

"I said SHUT UP! It is fine. This is fine."

I'm not sure when it happened but i had come to a point where I accepted that my life would be fine. Aiming for a great, exciting, fulfiling, rewarding life just seemed silly. I had lowered my standards to "fine".

I remember the moment when I was not okay with being "fine" anymore. The moment was quick but ugly. The moment was the straw that broke the camels back. But the moment was enlightening. "Fine" was no longer acceptable.

A life changing event like divorce comes with a lot of reflection. On yourself. And on the past. It sometimes hurts to look back because I literally cannot believe the state my marriage had gotten to, so I try my best to focus on the present, from a position of gratitude, because the present could be far worse. And when you are trying to single handedly parent 3 children whilst working full time there really isn't much time or energy to look beyond the next few days.

So I try and find joy and fulfillment in the everyday. I find joy in picking up my 4 year old from day care and hearing about her awesome day. I feel fulfilled every time me and my girls sit around the table for dinner and have a (poorly cooked, probably quite rushed, thrown together at the last minute) home cooked meal and just talk about everything and anything. I find joy and fulfillment in my daily commute to work as I drive in the car which I paid for with my own money, singing at the top of my lungs to my favourite feel good songs. I feel fulfilled every time I finish a good workout.

These things might seem meaningless or irrelevant but I've come to learn that the small things are the big things.

Without the small things this big things don't have meaning.

Somehow within my marriage I developed the idea that my true happiness and my sense of joy and fulfillment were not important. Everything and everyone else came first. I'm not the first wife/mother/woman to do this but I had come to realise that this was the message that I was communicating to my 3 amazing girls.

It both saddens me and brings me joy to type this but, since the separation I have never seen my children this happy and relaxed. 

The possible impacts of the separation on my children were always buzzing in my mind. I expected to be having to manage and deal with a lot of emotional, weepy and/or angry children. And at times all 3 have each picked one of those emotions and simultaneously ganged up on me. Overall, the vibe in our house is relaxed. My eldest who was chronically shy has come out of her shell like never before and is now a confident public speaker and is on the debating team at school. My middle daughter hasn't had a panic attack in many months. My youngest is known at daycare for both her eagerness to help others but her enthusiasm and determination to learn and try new things. Seeing my children thrive like never before brings me more joy than I could ever imagine.

So am i happy you ask?

Well, I'm definitely happier than I was before. That's for sure. 


One day I hope to be happy as this gorgeous girl is on the swings.





Step 100, 

Monday, 3 July 2017

Growth


Looking at my last post makes me laugh at the irony of “getting rid of my favourite things”

I am getting a divorce.

I look back at the person who wrote that post and she had no idea divorce was in her cards.

She had no idea that straws would eventually break the camels back.

She had no idea that she would wake up and realise she had completely lost any sense of self.

She had no idea what she really needed to get rid of.

But she eventually woke up.

And she realised a lot. Very quickly.

She realised her capabilities stretched beyond anything she ever could have imagined.

She understood that the right thing to do isn’t always the easiest thing to do, but it still must be done.

I don’t want this post to just be about my divorce. I’ve done lots of other things since that post. I got a full time job that ticks all the boxes of being close to home, flexible enough for a single mother of 3, allows me to practise any faith and working amongst a team that is awesome 98% of the time. I’m not even going to stutter when I admit that, I’m good at my job. 

I also graduated. Whilst working full time for the last year of my degree and going through the separation. I graduated while trying to navigate a minefield of other responsibilities and challenges, but I still managed to do it. My parents and my children were in the crowd to literally cheer me on. I could hear them yelling “Go Mummy!” as I proudly walked across that stage while whispering to myself, “Girl, you actually did it! Don’t trip!”.



I turned 31 and sky dived. Sky diving was always something I've always wanted to do and with no one telling me not to and the financial abilities to do it, I had nothing stopping me. Jumping out of a plane taught me that I am braver than I know but at the same time, in the grand scheme of things, me and my life and my situation and struggles are quite small. Looking up at the endless sky and looking down at all the people and places below you as you tumble through clouds, really changes your perspective.



Overall, I am hopeful. I know that this divorce was the right thing to do. I know that I gave this marriage and any chance of reconcile 100%. I don't have any regrets. I know I did the best thing for me and for my girls. I have had moments, and still do though far and few between when I question my decisions, but those moments are swiftly followed up with a sign that the hard but right thing to do was done.

I have a new found vivacity for life that I didn’t even realised had slowly died during the course of my marriage. I didn’t even realise that I had a backing tape on repeat in my mind that just kept telling me “this is it, and its okay but this is really it. This is how its going to be forever and it's okay”, when really it wasn’t. After news of my separation had slowly leaked out to friends and acquaintances, comments from long time friends such as “yeah you got really quiet once you got married” or “welcome back baby girl” opened my eyes to the fact that other people had seen me lose myself before I even noticed. 

I went through a stage where I thought my failed marriage was a waste of 12 years our of my 31 years of life but my mother, my councillor and close friends are quick to remind me, my marriage was far from a waste. My marriage brought my 3 beautiful girls into this world. My marriage funnily enough taught me independence, strength, resilience and in the end it taught me courage. My marriage taught me what is unacceptable in a loving relationship. My marriage taught me that you can’t rely on other people to make you happy. My marriage taught me that self respect is the first key to getting others to respect you. My marriage taught me that having standards and expectations for any relationship whether it be between a couple or between friends, is healthy and necessary. My marriage taught me that open and honest communication is the key to success. 

Above anything my marriage taught me that sometimes the hardest thing to do is the right thing to do, but it still must me done.


Step 99,

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