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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