I think it is the human condition to always go to the negative, to dwell on the bad and overlook the good. It’s also all about perspective really, one person’s walk in the park is another person’s devastation.
Things in my life are not all sunshine and puppy dogs at this point, I am facing a number of challenges that, at times, feel insurmountable. That said. I am still here, I still get up each day and keep on keeping on. Things have been better yes, but things have also been much much worse.
I don’t often talk about my life before D, the dark days of the ex, G. I tend to switch off when people tell me I don’t know how hard it is to be a single mother. I know. Trust me I know.
I can remember one day, at the age of 19, mother of two children, sitting on my bed sobbing at what my life had become. G had once again picked a fight, taken the last of our money and my car and disappeared. I was alone with the kids with no money and no food in the house. I did not know how I was going to feed them and I though at that point that my life was pretty much over. I was scared, I had lost hope and I believed the best was over. Looking back now I realise just how much I had to learn.
I can remember the day I was finally done with G for good, the day that little switch in my brain flicked over and I finally understood he was bad for me. We had gotten into another fight, about my brother’s ex girlfriend and him wanting her number. He had cheated on me before and I was not about to give him the means to do it again. The fight escalated, he had been drinking, as usual. We shouted, he shoved and grabbed my hair, we ended up in the kitchen. I found myself pinned to the floor, his knees on my shoulders, a knife against my throat. His eyes were dead, cold and totally devoid of anything but the desire to end my life. I cried desperate tears knowing my children would grow up without me, I wished I had never fought back because I didn’t want to leave them with the burden of having had their father in jail for killing their mother. The only thought in my mind was my babies. Somehow my son had gotten out of the bedroom I had closed them in, he was standing in the kitchen doorway, and screamed, the look on his face will haunt me forever, “Leave my mommy alone!”. It distracted him just long enough for me to get away, grab my son and press the panic button on the alarm. My son saved my life that day, I am certain of it. The next day G left. Seeing my son hurt by what he had done to me was the last straw. He was never given the opportunity to hurt either of us again.
For seven years I allowed this man to periodically control me. From the first salary I earned he would take my money and my things to buy drugs and alcohol. He made me feel worthless and hurt me in so many ways. He cheated on me, he alienated me from all my friends and family, he isolated me and made me feel like I did not deserve to be happy. He broke me. The scars are still there. Not just on me. My son to this day gets hysterical if anyone raises their voice to me. He still gets defensive if anyone is mean to me or about me. He has lived through and seen so much pain, and I wish, with everything I have, that I can take it all away from him.
It took everything I had to decide to try again, to love again and to let someone into our lives. I moved to Cape Town to start over with a man I believed was it. He was everything G was not, the total opposite. Until I got pregnant and he tried to bully me into having an abortion, until he turned out to be a frog rather than prince charming. I was alone again, scared half to death. I cried more in the month before I moved back to Johannesburg than I have ever cried over anything. Again, I thought my life was over. The truth is it was only just beginning.
It was at this time, my lowest of the low moment that D entered my life. I pushed him away, hard and for a long time. For some reason he stuck around. He was the friend I needed and my shoulder to cry on, he was everything I needed without me even realising it.
Now, today, three years later, the daily challenges I face seem meek compared to where I have been. They seem insignificant compared to the love I have and they seem a lot more walk in the park than devastation. After all, in life, it’s all about perception.