Life summed up in one word: Handbags.

Writing blogs is something I love to do. It isn’t easy finding the time these days working five days a week and attempting to get back into University Study. With my busy days while I do have the inspiration sometimes the ideas just don’t show up or I am unable to still my mind long enough to take an idea and turn it into a blog.
Not today!
I love mornings when I wake with a fresh mind.
Particularly when it is the weekend and one doesn’t need to rush out the door for work.
Often on a weekend morning I lay there and ponder over the past week. I lay there recalling random moments at work, home and just my general life that I have currently. I think about how I am feeling. I encourage myself as I recognise how much I have grown in so many areas of my life. Occasionally those negative thoughts hobble around in my head. I say hobble as it describes something a little louder. Negative thoughts can be loud.
This morning inspiration and a fresh mind provided me with another blog to share.
As I lay there I was thinking about lots of stuff. Thinking about my life and some of the random scenarios of late. I was thinking about how life feels a little all over the place. That’s when I thought about my hand bag….
Most people who know me, know that my handbag is quite heavy.
Handbags are useful for keeping lots of things. A woman can’t live without it.
Over time the hand bag gets cluttered with all sorts of interesting pieces.
The other night my sister and I went out dancing. Occasionally we go out for some de-stressing. During the night we had at some point bought chips and gravy. We obviously hadn’t finished them as the leftovers went into my handbag. In the morning I found chips and gravy mixed in with all contents of my hand bag.
Quite amusing really. 😊
Last night I grabbed my handbag and turning it upside down emptying everything out of it as it needs a good clean. I’m planning on going through everything that dropped out of my hand bag so as to decide what should remain in there and would should get thrown out once and for all.
Life for me feels a little like that handbag right now.
Essentially you could say that my empty handbag represents a few concrete realities in my life. I have my own place to live and a job. I have family and friends. These are certainties. I have two of my children living with me. My daughter and her fiancé now live in Canberra too!
One year ago my life turned upside down like my hand bag and everything fell out.
It is all those other bits and pieces of my life that are still all over the place such as emotions. Some days I think I have it together emotionally and then without warning my emotions get the better of me.
When life has turned upside down it is difficult when pieces of your life are in limbo land. While you may have a few concrete realities in place it is all the other areas of life that seem to take quite the journey in making sense. You think you know what you want and then suddenly you don’t know what you want.
When I go through all those bits and pieces that dropped out of my hand bag I need to decide what remains and what goes. I am quite the hoarder. I don’t like wasting anything. While I bought myself a new concealer several weeks ago my old one is still there. I can’t throw it out as its not completely empty. A woman knows how to get the last bit of makeup from most applicators.
Often in life we grab onto things we don’t need holding on tight in case we need it.
Like the contents of my handbag we need to do a stocktake of our lives from time to time.
Are we holding onto something or someone? Should we be letting it go?
It’s often good to sit back and consider our motives. Equally as good to think about whether we should be letting go as it may not be good for us to hold on. Sometimes fear has us holding on.
We may believe that the opportunity won’t come around again so we hold on.
It’s tough letting go.
As we shift through all the bits and pieces in our lives eventually that which is meant to stay will stay. If I never emptied my hand bag there would come a day I would not be able to carry it any longer. I can justify holding onto items. That is easy to do when hard to let go.
Sometimes we talk ourselves into things.
When life has turned upside down and all of the finer details in life have not yet found there place it can be a vulnerable time. In that situation you need to keep your head on and not allow the vulnerabilities to have you making wrong decisions or holding onto something you should just let go.
These days I’m regularly reminding myself that I don’t yet know who this new me is. As my life changed I have changed. That I cannot afford to be too hard on myself when I feel as though I have stuffed up.
Second guessing oneself in this new situation is so easily done. I knew who I needed to be previously. I had worked out what I needed to do to get through each day regardless of the underlying marriage issues. Whether it was healthy or not didn’t matter as I was used to being in that situation.
Since my life turned upside down I am still waiting for certain areas of my life to turn right side up.
For the time being when life is uncertain it helps to focus on the areas that are concrete.
When your feeling vulnerable and second guessing decisions or situations its ok.
I am reminding myself as I am reminding you the reader that life will eventually fall back in place.

♥What’s meant to be will be and that which doesn’t belong will exit.

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Yes, it hurts ….

There is a calendar on my kitchen wall, “compliments of my very supportive sister”. The calendar is getting crossed off each day and is etching closer to the day that marks one year of a broken marriage.  In exactly one week will be one year of living life single and downsized, downsized in terms of a family which is now broken down and scattered here and there.

Nearly one year ago my life changed as did my children’s lives.

Life also changed for my ex-husband.

The truth is that while most people recognise when things are not going well the reality of a family unit collapsing is a shock to everyone concerned.

Regardless of the pain and hurt within a marriage relationship when a family falls apart it affects everybody. The pain and emotion is tremendous and difficult to describe in words.

No matter the reasons for the marriage breakdown there are no miraculous formulas to help one forget about those family moments each shared. To remember them is to hurt and ache for what is now lost.

As a mum of five children my life revolved around my family. I loved being a mum and still do. There is nothing I can ever do to get those moments back ever again. They are over, done and dusted.

It is possibly one of the reasons why it took me so long to finally get the courage to leave my marriage as who in their right mind wants a broken family. I continued in the unhealthy relationship for decades. My children kept me focused on something wholesome and good. I had purpose. I was busy, too busy to think most days. And had my thoughts taken me to places in which I felt lonely in my marriage there was nothing I believed I could do about it. It was simply too difficult.

Most parents would relate to the idea of staying together for the sake of the kids.

The fact of the matter is that not all relationships are doomed. There are relationships that have the potential of being restored. When a relationship can be restored and operate in a healthy way then why not? Everyone wins in that case…..

When I was married my values and beliefs kept me in the marriage. I firmly believed that marriage was something you didn’t give up on easily. That no matter what went wrong, no matter how hard it was that it was each partner’s willingness and dedication that would have them forgive each other and sort out their issues.

Believe me, I tried so hard.

In the midst of trying so hard I got lost. So much of who I was went missing too. To keep the peace I had to refrain from communicating my needs. Whenever I did communicate my needs I got the silent treatment. I was made to feel like it was wrong to have needs. I recall the moments that I tried to communicate. It usually began with me feeling extremely anxious as I knew that it was not going to be an easy task, that I would be met with all sorts of resistance. Despite my intentions and desires of wanting to have a close healthy relationship, my ex-husband did not share that value.

He would make me feel de-valued, unwanted, rejected and confused. In my mind I thought it was normal to approach your significant other when hurting and needing to talk to sort things out. I believed in sorting things out. He on the other hand was always on the defensive. The minute that I attempted to have a conversation with him I knew it was not going to be easy. He would use his many words or even the lack thereof to let me know that whatever I was feeling was my problem. That he was not at fault. That somehow everything I was feeling was my character flaw.

Often he would quote the bible to me, telling me that I needed to forgive him.

When things got really serious he would then write me a letter. In the letter it would read and list out all of the areas he would ask for forgiveness from me. The difficulty I had with that was his actions continued being hurtful.

Often times he would inflict so much emotional hurt on me that eventually I would cave into depression for weeks on end. On several occasions when feeling completely depressed and overwhelmed he would suddenly turn into the ‘superhero dad’ and tell the kids he was going to take them out for the day. He never spent time with them unless I was depressed. He would then use his methods to convey to the kids that mum had issues, that she was the problem. When I had those moments of depression he would ignore me by giving me the silent treatment.

He made me feel as though there was something wrong with me even when I was depressed. He was not supportive or compassionate.  To him I was invisible.

This type of interaction created such anxiety. It happened so often that I knew what was going to happen every time I approached him with a problem. I knew that no matter how I spoke to him it was not going to be favourable. On occasions I experimented with different types of communication. I tried the meek and mild version, the strong and assertive. I tried the Christian wife version of being humble and loving. Decades later it was obvious that it didn’t matter what I said or how I said it, it was always going to be wrong. It was always going to be an issue that I had created which meant that he didn’t need to take any responsibility for his actions.

There were many occasions in which his attempt at doing something loving for me was equally as hurtful.

On one occasion I recall he and my eldest son had gone on a road trip to Sydney. When they returned I excitedly went outside to greet them. My ex-husband was pulling bags out of the boot of the car. He went on to say that he had bought me some expensive perfume. Then immediately after stating that fact he finished the sentence with “your son said you stink so I thought I would get you some perfume”. I’m almost embarrassed to type this as it sounds so awful, but that is exactly what happened.  Suddenly the idea of receiving perfume as a gift got turned into something so de-valuing.

On another occasion when we were at a shopping mall without prior warning my ex began walking into a jewellery store, all spur of the moment. Naturally I followed him wondering what was going on.  The store assistants were doing their job by asking my ex “how can we help you today”. My ex went on to say with a very loud and sarcastic tone “my wife is here to spend all of my money so can you help her find some jewellery”.  Hmm I’m not sure about most people however that moment was gone for me. I had no desire for any jewellery what so ever. Despite my sudden lack or desire of choosing jewellery he forced me to pick something by making such a spectacle of me in front of everyone in the store.  I felt so embarrassed in front of all the sales assistants.

These examples are only a tiny drop in the ocean of so much more that happened in my marriage. It is possibly the first time that I have shed a little more light into how I was treated.

One can imagine after being in a relationship that was quite unhealthy it is no easy task to recover from years’ worth of damage.

The first step to recovery was leaving. ….

 

Quiet Strength.

The word strength brings to mind the idea that something or someone is tough and strong. Strength comes in so many different forms. Strength is absolutely necessary for without it life and people would fall apart.

Seriously think about that idea for a moment……

Our bodies are made up of strength.

Without muscles we would be limp!

Our heart♥ muscle beats consistently from the moment we are 4 weeks old to our final breath.

We have strength in our bones which provide us with a spectacular framework carrying us so as we can move around.

Teeth can chew through just about anything when the stomach is screaming for food.

How handy are our nails for those small jobs that need a little assistance from something sharp and strong. When we don’t want to break our teeth we can use those nails instead.

Strength is everywhere!

It takes strength to walk, sit or run.

Even our face muscles need strength to pull off a smile 🙂

Does strength itself receive much attention?

I would answer that with a “no not really”. …. We know that strength exists for without it we wouldn’t.

Strength is quiet….

Strength exists in the background while our surroundings tend to take up most of our attention. We get caught up in that which is tangible such as what we can see, hear, touch, taste and smell.

Then we have emotional strength.

Emotional strength has similarities with physical strength however emotional strength has a voice when required. Emotions capture our attention. Emotions are hard to hide. If one were to write a story book about emotions every character representing emotion would be unique and different. Each emotion vocalised according to its name.

Sadness is vocalised as tears and pain, the face often letting others know that something is upsetting.

Happy is displayed with smiles and sounds of laughter and giggles. Happy can be loud and quiet.

Angry turns up with a sense of right and wrong displayed in so many various ways according to the situation. It can take the form of a look or a tone of voice letting the receiver know that something is not right. Anger is often represented with words. Anger can also be quiet. The angry person feels the burden while the other can often be oblivious to the facts.

Amidst our emotions there is strength.

Quiet strength.

It takes strength to move on from sadness. If we stayed sad life would be miserable to say the least. Strength turns up unexpectedly and quietly whispering words of hope and courage. Sadness helps us to deal with the pain of loss. It helps us to acknowledge our hurts and fears. Sadness reminds us that we are not invincible. Sadness can help us to make better decisions guiding us through a difficult time often waking us up to the fact that something may need to change. We may be sweeping issues under the carpet ignoring and pretending that everything is fine. Yet sadness consumes us and won’t let go until we finally give in and confront that which is hurting us.

Happy is everyone’s favourite emotion its light and fun. Suddenly our world feels carefree and exciting. Yesterday’s sadness is in the past. The happy moment is lifting and contagious. Even in the midst of trying circumstances ‘happy’ provides joy and peace. Happy lights up our face and comforts our aching hearts. Happy is healing and soothing.

Angry is often unstoppable. When a situation warrants change often angry turns up providing the necessary determination to put a stop to something hurtful or wrong. When we put up with something for far too long angry can come in like a freight train busting through those excuses that have kept us in situations which are damaging or wrong. This type of angry is a good angry yet then there is the bad angry, the one that can cause damage to others.

Often it is strength that keeps us going. Strength gets us out of bed in the morning. Strength fills in the gaps when we are feeling vulnerable and unable. Strength always turns up. While we may believe we have no strength, strength quietly waits for the right moment to step in. Strength picks us up off the ground when we fall. Strength gives us courage to walk away. Strength gives us the courage to not give up.

The quiet strength we each possess goes about unnoticed. It doesn’t need an audience. Strength doesn’t take long service leave and go on holidays. Strength doesn’t decide one day it has had enough leaving never to return. Strength is consistent.

Despite what life may throw our way strength quietly allows us to make it through any situation. The next time you feel at your weakest almost as though life is not worth the fight any longer remember that strength is in you. It is in your bones, your muscles, your organs, your breathing, your heart and in your emotions.

There are times in which we need to connect our strength to that of another person. As occasionally we go through situations that can be incredibly overwhelming that we need as much strength as we can.

It can take strength to admit or recognise what is going on in our lives. We often like to ignore situations as they can be too painful. We don’t want to feel the pain so we try and hide it. It takes strength to face what we are feeling. It is easy to avoid and ignore. However avoiding and ignoring always comes at a cost eventually.

Be brave, be strong!

If you see someone weak hold out your hand and help them up. Don’t ignore those that are hurting around you.

We all hurt sometimes!