I have come to a long over-due realization, I don’t actually owe anyone anything. Now not to sound ungrateful I owe many people, well ok not many, but I owe some people an eternal amount of gratitude. Beyond that, beyond being grateful for lessons, for kindness and for understanding and opportunities I don’t owe anyone anything.
Yet over and over I find myself going above and beyond for certain people. I let a lot slide, a crazy amount actually from various sources and frankly, right now, I have had enough.
Let me put everything in perspective, from the time Princess was four months old I have for all intents and purposes been a single mom. Yes the ex was around, but he was forever leaving for up to three months at a time, he never worked for more than a month in that time and he literally stole everything of value I owned to buy either drugs or alcohol. He abused me financially, emotionally and physically and it took him almost killing me in front of my eldest child for me to walk away for good. Let me be honest to the point that I have never received a single cent in maintenance for either of my older kids, I have been a mother for almost a decade and not once in that time have I had a sperm donor support my child/ren or me to be fair. No support financial, emotional or otherwise from paternal family at all.
The reason I feel compelled to spell this out is simple. I understand as well as if not better than most people what it means to battle. I can remember being a mother of two at the age of 19, having just had the ex walk out on me again, not having a cent to my name, locking myself in my bedroom and crying until I couldn’t cry anymore at not knowing what the hell I was going to do. We survived. We always do somehow.
Fast forward to today. I have met the man I am going to marry, we are expecting baby number four and we are happy. We do not by any stretch if the imagination have a lot, not in terms of material or financial means anyway. That said, what we have we have fought really hard to have. D was unemployed for pretty much half of last year, with this I incurred a ludicrous amount of debt, insane how quickly it happens actually. This means I have very little of my salary as actual fluid income at the end of the month. In fact our disposable income in non -existent. That said, we always get by. We never have the wheels fall off completely, and at the end of each day, when it is just us in our bed, after we have checked on sleeping children, we are so incredibly happy and the love that exists in that space can withstand so many things, we know because it has.
We are both incredibly generous with our time and love, we accept so much from so many people and as such often find ourselves hurt when people take advantage. We have been very supportive to B, D’s brother through his divorce, we never judged him for choosing to leave, we never asked any questions, we didn’t point fingers or blame, we just provided him with a space where he could go to be loved and supported. We had a moment with him last week, where I felt incredibly judged, and was so hurt by the fact that I imagine it will be a while before he and I are ‘friends’ again.
I loathe people who take things for granted. People who do not understand what is important and who put themselves ahead of everything and everyone else. I feel justified in being annoyed because I can honestly say the last time I though just of myself was when I was 16 years old, before I saw two lines on a home pregnancy test.
I know what it is to want more. I know how it feels to have nothing and no one. I have hit rock bottom a few times. I have never backed down from my responsibility. I raised my kids, alone for the most part and can only hope one day they will understand how hard it was and how I may have made bad decisions but I was not equipped to do better. I hope they know I chose them over money and material possessions. I chose to raise them rather than give them to my sister as was suggested or my mom because still today to my very core I believe no one will ever love them as much as I do.
I may be rambling and swinging between topics but my point is there. I need people to understand that it is so incredibly hard for me to allow people close to me. I have huge trust issues, I have been so badly hurt in the past it’s a wonder I am not a hermit. The fact that I still despite or maybe even because of this am a nice person, well most of the time, pregnancy hormones permitting, is a big achievement in my mind. The fact that people still try to impose their own short comings and negativity onto my life bugs me, the fact that at the end of the day people still take advantage of kindness and the fact that people genuinely just seem to care about themselves has left me with little hope.
I am sad because I tried so often just to feel as though I fell short. I am sad that despite my best efforts to be nice I am the one who ends up miserable when people take advantage. I have bitten my tongue and brushed my own feelings aside so many times I have lost count. I have allowed others to come before me in my life and as of right now, I have had enough.
I actually do matter. My children matter. My relationship matters. My space and boundaries matter. And to me, they matter more than anything else that anyone else is going through. I have chosen to work on mine and my family’s happiness, the rest can wait.