I guess reflection tends to happen at this time of year, as one year draws to a close and a new year is upon us. Lots has happened, so much so that my blogging has been somewhat lacking but I think now is an appropriate time to ponder some important questions.
Today happens to be my personal academic tutor’s last day before she moves into her new role at a different university. It would be hard for me to not start this piece reflecting on the impact that she has had on my educational, work and family life. I met with her on Monday for my final tutorial and she began by saying that I was very bright and that she had been thinking about my early years and life now and was wondering whether being ‘bright’ is an attribute that has carried me through life. I don’t know the answer to that, but it has made me think about life journeys a lot.
The conversation began by reviewing my grades and predicting my grades for the next two years. Now, I know she didn’t say I was ‘bright’ simply based on my academic results so far however it is important for me to identify how the conversation began. As a student, I research, I read, I plan essays, respond to feedback and ask for advice and help when needed. I can see why in the context of our conversation, I could be considered a ‘bright’ student. So, after ponding on this for a few days, after a few more conversations with other people, I can certainly confess that outside of my student persona and university life I am not that ‘bright’ and certainly have made decisions in my life that have not been ‘bright’. I’m sure everybody can say that about their own actions/choices at different parts of their life, but what is worth considering is the underlying reasons. I want to pick one to consider….
Past relationship – (lol, cigarette break as I consider how best to approach this one)……… This man, with his name is permanently scarred on my thigh (sorry dad) was my biggest lesson in love and life. I am so thankfully that I experienced ‘love’ at its worst but I can only say that now after being free from him and working on myself for the past two and half years after I was left inconsolable, heartbroken and an absolute mess. I blamed this man for everything when I kicked him out of my house one fateful Sunday Morning, with our dream holiday only months away and the contract phone he still had in his pocket, in my name and payment from my bank account! Still holding the ‘sexts’ from at least 4 other women and containing images of his child that he denied was his and was adamant he didn’t see.
Let’s add a bit on context here – this man lived with me, paid nothing to support me or the house and watched me go to work 6 days a week, come home, cook and clean while he got stoned in his car and then watched T.V (after being out all day ‘at work’ on the phone I paid for, sexting other women)! In addition, he had a secret family which I suspected at one point and when I asked him, absolutely insisted that what I was saying wasn’t true. His account was, he had slept with a girl who got pregnant and when the baby was born he asked for a DNA test and the girl disappeared and he never saw her or the baby again! Now, this is not a ‘white lie’ and the normality of his story made me think I was wrong because, who the hell would lie about that, right!!?? Well, I was right and subsequently, the day I kicked him out he ended up back at this girl’s house with her and the baby.
I had worked a 6 day week and Sunday was going to be our only day together. We had planned to take a walk up the Malvern Hills and then go for breakfast. Sunday morning came and we both got up, I went to make a cup of tea and when I went back upstairs I could see him in his car smoking weed. When he came back inside he said he was going back to sleep and couldn’t be bothered to do anything! I went alone and the walk was the best thing I ever did.
I made the decision while walking that this was not the life I wanted and it was going to be down to me to sort it out. Following the walk, I went to see my mum then went home where I found him still in bed, at 1pm, watching a film! I was downstairs washing my work clothes and he text me from bed asking “what’s for breakfast babe?!” LOL you can’t make this up! Anyway, that was it. He missed breakfast, packed his stuff and was out the door. Only to return 5 months ago, out of the blue, knocking on my door on a Monday afternoon to ask if we could ‘pick up where we left off’ (because his child’s mum had kicked him out too). I politely declined his offer!
What have a learnt from the most horrendous heartbreak? Yes, he was horrible but actually I was the one who allowed it, who somewhat accepted it and I turned a blind eye for ‘love’ even though it was only me who was giving love. I had nightmares about him cheating on me (which he was) and he used to call me mental, crazy etc and I used to think that I was so I stopped paying attention to my own intuition. I look back now and realise that I liked providing for a ‘family’ and being able to pay for everything myself and I still do, but what I also realise is how he manipulated me into to doing this, and made me feel bad and guilty whenever I suggested he pulled his weight a bit more. Also, it was my own choice to financially support him, the house etc and this is a result of me being afraid to ever be reliant on anyone else. My rational is, ‘when this is over, when he is gone, if I have my house, my car, my phone and I’m not reliant on split costs, then I will be ok’. It is only now I am realising that while this is a sensible rational, it is not actually a rational that is needed when two adults enter into a serious, committed relationship (on my way there!!)
Anyway, this is a ‘not so bright’ choice I made and did so knowingly. I did it because I feared being alone and wanted to have a ‘family’. I allowed it for too long and blamed him for too long instead of working on myself and my own issues (you have to have issues if you allow that). Thankfully, everything worked out ok and this is all a distant memory that doesn’t have me sobbing my heart out now, but it did. For years, and then I was left to deal with no only the damage that made me allow it in the first place, but the damage it created for my future relationships.
It’s an on-going process. This whole experience taught me that trauma from my early life has impacted on my relationships which then lead to a toxic relationship that damaged me even more. It taught me that I spent too much time wanting to blame someone and then I realised that the time I spent dwelling on the actions of another person was time I was wasting that could have been spent on myself and my own recovery. It taught me what love isn’t and it taught me that ‘not so bright’ choices for me are part and parcel of traumatic experiences.
I would love to hear some ‘not so bright’ choices and the learning that came from reflection so if you read this and feel at all comfortable to, then please share!
Here’s to a 2019 with one less ‘not so bright’ decision!