What’s Love got to do with it?
They say “self-love is the gateway to happiness”.
I’m writing this article under a cloud, yes I told you it isn’t all rainbows and unicorns, and recovery is a daily battle. I don’t wake up every morning and feel fantastic, ready to conquer the world. But as promised “I’m showing up”.
To get you up to speed, see my previous articles (this is part four of a series), found on the menu bar under Jo’burg Gypsy.
I left home at age 17, with the intention of doing things my way. I was a determined and head strong young woman; I had no time for weakness, things or people that did not directly benefit me and my path.
My life motto: work hard and play even harder. This I did for a solid four years. Not giving a damn about anyone and anything. Details of this story, might be shared at a later time….It will take a lot of baring of my soul, which honestly might not be good for you dear reader. It aint for the faint hearted and I don’t want to scare you away so early in our relationship.
You can imagine how devastated I was when I fell pregnant age at age 21, unmarried and basically still a child myself. Not to mention that one of my life objectives was NEVER to have children. This was not fitting in to how I saw my life turning out. But there was more in store….I was pregnant with twins!!
There is a LONG line of twins in my family; who knew the Universe would deem me fit to carry on the next generation of twins. As I lay on that bed having an ultra sound, my Gyne laughed and said, “How good is your relationship with your parents”? “Not too good”. I replied. “Well my advice is” he said, “Get your Dad a bottle of whiskey, let him drink half and tell him you’re pregnant; at the end of the second half tell him its twins”. With tears streaming down my face I informed him that my dearest Daddy didn’t drink. His reply “Oh shit we have a problem”. Shout out to my amazing parents…. David and Gladys, you were exceptional! They took me back into the home fold and helped me through a traumatic pregnancy and birth of my daughters.
Life took on a whole new dimension of accountability. I looked at the situation and thought ‘accident control’; how do we deal with this? I realized for the first time that my actions had a major effect on my future life!
Motherhood is not for the faint hearted… You give so much of yourself to that little person/s that it’s easy to lose the essence of YOU, who you are, what you need/want, what you used to like and dislike. “Me” time, becomes a thing of the past, as does your sleep!! And we won’t go into the lack of intimacy with your significant other.
After the birth of my twins, I lost, among other things, my identity. I went from being young, carefree and footloose to…. the “twins’ mother”. And it came with serious responsibilities that I just wasn’t prepared for.
But the universe wasn’t done – two years and two months later I was blessed with my little singleton, another daughter. (I then became ‘The girls mother”)
I would remain just that for 23 years.
I didn’t realize I had lost my identity until it was almost too late. My girls no longer needed me, they wanted me, but didn’t need me. My life’s purpose had literally been pulled from underneath me. I was suddenly nothing more than an empty shell. I felt like I imagine a baby bird feels when its parents boot it out of the nest; helpless.
Thanks to my tenacious personality (said tongue in cheek) I raised three very non-patriarchal, liberal and opinionated women (my precious fourth one only came into my life later on, but damn, is she building her own powerful character, and it’s beautiful to see. World, watch out)!
But back to my lack of identity. Recently I realized I don’t have a ME. I don’t have a purpose, meaning and direction any more. I had pushed away all external support. No one to call up randomly and say “let’s paint the down red tonight”. No circle of friends to turn to and gather support or encouragement.
I also realized I’d sacrificed my entire soul raising these women. At the time I believed I had no other choice. I had no time then for what I thought were insignificant relationships.
How do you find yourself after 23 years of just giving and giving and not taking yourself into consideration? I did what I learnt, going through a major recovery process; I turned to my journal. I wrote about the honest and sometimes brutal conversations I had with the 21 year old me.
Firstly I forgave her. I had been disappointed and very angry with her for falling pregnant. I believed she had ruined all chances of a successful career and a perfect life. Yet I know now for certain, the Universe had other plans.
Then I wrote down all my feelings from the moment I fell pregnant to the moment I gave birth and started the process of dealing with the situation at hand.. I spared nothing. For the first time in 23 years I could be brutally honest about how I felt then. I was angry, forlorn, trapped and without any sense of identity. The wreck I saw in the mirror every morning did not resemble the person I used to be. She had quietly slipped away.
I know She’s there just waiting to be released and revamped……and loving myself a little, is a damn good place to start. So here’s to going through my mid-life identity crisis and looking forward to the journey!
We’ll continue in a fortnight, so please join me then.
The Story of Sylvia-Rose is contributed by her to this blog site.
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