I remember (not quite clearly), my mother wanting to run away from my father. Some of the images coming to mind are blurred probably from my willingness to forget, I don’t know. Psychologists say when a memory hurts too much, our natural instinct is to block them out as if they never happened. Maybe that’s what happened but recently, I’ve been having flashes, faint flashes of my mother wanting to leave the house. Unlike most people, I never felt abandoned like she was leaving me, on the contrary, I was aware of just how much she loved me. The reason she was leaving however, was obvious. He stood right there, adamant and arrogant as he locked the gates and insisted she wasn’t going anywhere. Why couldn’t he beg her to stay? Or say sweet things. Wasn’t he in love with her? Those were the kind of thoughts that ran through my head.
How long did she think of this decision? Was it pre-planned? Knowing my mother, it probably was.
Thinking of all that now in retrospect, I can see the missing links. I see now why commitments are generally a problem for me. How do you commit to what you can’t even get yourself to believe in? How do you commit to what you don’t trust?
I could never quite understand why a person would stay in a relationship that was clearly quite toxic for them. Why they would render themselves as a sacrificial lamb on the alter of violence and abuse of every kind seeing the harm it was causing them. Well, I never really did till now – when I’ve become the very thing I judged the most. Now when I’m stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea. In times like this, I wonder, what if he hadn’t stopped her? What if she ran away? Would he have missed her? Or maybe begged her to come back. What if he remarried? Would his new wife be half the woman my mother was? Most of all, I wonder, would she have regretted it? Would I have wished she didn’t?
Questions like these plague me as I stare into his eyes, pleading, asking me to marry him (as if it would make everything better) I wonder if like my mum I should suck it up and stay and say yes or if I should walk away, knowing that I deserve better, hoping that I find that better and never have to worry of staying just for the kids. For years, I watched my mum go through the motions. I watched her not be out – of – her – mind ridiculously happy, watched her “manage” and “stay strong” and everytime, I was reminded of what I wanted, and this was not it, not even close.
Strengthening my resolve, I close my eyes, ignoring the tears making their way down my cheek and the pressure from the stares of people who knew nothing of my struggle and I whispered the no. Softly at first, then more audibly as my courage grew. His face, a mixture of anger and disappointment with a subtle hint of surprise. I didn’t care, it was too late to back down now. Wiping my tears, I did all that was left for me to do – I walked away from everything that seemed certain and crazy and truthfully painful, I walked into the unknown. Scared, terrified and unsure of the next step, I did what my mother never could.
This story got me thinking of how so many times, we stay in bad situations that are clearly unhealthy for us, probably because we are used to the pain, or can’t find the courage to leave. For some of us, it’s the pressure of “what would people say” and for others, it’s the fear of the unknown. How do we leave all that we know to be certain and dive off the cliff into a large sea of uncertainty. What if it never gets better? How do I go forward? How do I survive? Most importantly, what if I’m wrong? To you who is struggling with making hard decisions, you who is comfortable in toxic situations because “it’s all you’re used to” To you who can’t find the strength to walk away, here’s a message for you
You are stronger than you’ll ever know. You are worth the finest, most precious, the best, very best. You struggle because you do not know who you are, more importantly whose you are. You do not fully understand how valued you are. You are not trash to be walked upon or garbage to be treated haphazardly. You are gold – the type that sits on the mantelpiece for all to admire. The type that is cleaned and treasured day in and day out because the owner understands its value. You are precious. Don’t feel guilty for wanting more, for thinking you deserve better, you do. I have made you for so much more than your pain, don’t get comfortable with it. You are royalty, choose wisely, know which battles are worth fighting