Sometimes, in fact, most of the time, God’s plan is not my plan… And, no matter what I might think “happiness” is, God’s version is a billion times more intense.
Intense happiness. That’s what He has planned for my life. He knows better than anyone what happiness means to me, and what needs to go on inside my brain to make me feel happy.
Over and over again, I am proved wrong about what I think should happen in my life. I find myself surprised every time at how amazing my life has become. At how my plans for my life have been magnified, and changed, and made into something so incredibly huge – so much more that I would have ever thought possible… And at how my prayers have been answered.
I haven’t written for a while… things get so busy, and life happens. SO much has changed in my life! When I look back, I see God’s plan in every single thing… I see my prayers answered over and over again:
Firstly!! I have my daughters back in my life… My youngest spends 3 nights out of every 7 nights in my own home (I have my own home now, too – more of that a little later). My eldest spent the weekend at our home at the end of last month… for the first time in over a decade, I had BOTH my daughters sleeping under my roof. God is so good…
I have a man in my life. The father of my youngest daughter. He, too, has been through a lot, and has given up a lot to be with me, and to help me get my life back on track. He spent 11 years loving me from afar, while I went on the path I needed to go on to find clarity and direction, and to learn how to surrender… He has been understanding and supporting, and he will do anything to protect me and provide for me. I do not want to undermine my ex, but the lack of these two things are what killed that relationship in the end. I know the drugs played a role, and then flowing out from the drugs came the lying and the stealing… I understood that – that was part and parcel of the life we chose to live… But, to me, a man needs to protect and provide. I have always believed that – my father was a great example of that. And now I have that… along with love and support… Because he loved me all those years, and he now has me back, I am appreciated… his prayers were answered, too. My youngest daughter’s prayers have also been answered – her mom and dad are back together. God is faithful…
I have moved to a new little town. Away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Now, I know that I loved the city life. The vibes, the constant availability of everything, the friends I made, the fellowship that helped me to clean my life up and all else that makes a city life… But moving away from the places that I knew from my street days, the reminders of all the places that I had slept, and begged for money, the dealers down the road, the attempt on my life, the using… being in a new place, where I knew none of the “bad things”, was a blessing in disguise. I know that you cannot move away from addiction, and that you can find drugs anywhere and everywhere… But somehow, being in this town with my new man and my daughter, felt clean. A new start. I grew up in a small town, and small town life became familiar to me – it felt like home again. It was an unexpected part of the Plan. It happened so fast, too – what started as a weekend with my daughter, ended with a whole new beginning… God is mysterious!!
I have a new home. It’s our new home. My new man and I. It’s small. And neat. And I just LOVE living there! I think that only if you have lived on the street or been homeless, will you understand what I mean when I say I never had a “base”. A place where your stuff is. Always carrying everything on your back. Or, even when I had a temporary sleeping place, always worrying that your stuff is not going to be there when you get back because you’re kicked out, or its stolen. Not having a cupboard, a bath, your own dishes… Not having a place to just be still. Never really sleeping – in case something bad happens, or someone finds you. Not having a home feels like you’re always falling – and like you’ll never land on your feet. I have mentioned many times before on this blog how grateful I am for the smallest of things – hot, running water; a bath; clean clothes to wear every day; food to eat… now I have my own stove to cook my own food; a sink and soap to wash my own dishes; a washing machine to wash my dirty clothes – all the things other people complain about doing, I do with absolute joy in my heart because I know what it’s like to not be able to do all those things! Having my own home just gives me the base, the platform, on which to do them all. Not only do I have my own bedroom, but my daughter has her own bedroom, too. She’s not there every single day, but every single day when I get home, I look into her bedroom, and I say THANK YOU to God for that space that she can call hers. It isn’t the most kitted out room, but it has everything it needs for her to be at home, in her own space. We have a TV. A microwave. A fridge and freezer full of healthy food. A couch where we watch DVD’s on our DVD player together. A table where my daughter and I paint our nails together, and do her homework assignments together. We have absolutely everything that we need, more than I could ever have wished for! My home is where I am at peace. I am so grateful to have it. God is AMAZING!
On top of all these blessings, not only do I have a job, but my new man and I have our own little business! It’s by no means huge, and it’s by no means glamorous. We have a workshop where we repair and service cars. It’s ours. And we pour our heart and soul into our business to support our little family. It’s hard work, and it can be stressful. But it teaches me every day to lean on God, and to trust Him. No matter how bad things might look to me, at the end of the day, we make it – and we have so much to be thankful for! God always provides!
Jesus said that He came so that we could have life to the full. I suppose that that means different things to different people. To me, the life that I am living right now, is fuller than I could ever have imagined. I’m not talking about the material aspects of life – the physical things. I’m talking about the heart of things. About relationships, love and peace of mind. I’m talking about what life really is all about. Out there, when I was on the street, I lived in darkness. Always ducking and diving, hiding, looking over my shoulder. I was never at peace. Now, even though we still have to deal with life – we have difficult days too, we deal with unhappy clients, we have to cope in tough financial times, even handle death (my grandfather passed away), and all sorts of other things – I feel at peace. I have my bad days, of course – I’m still human. I get angry, and sad. But at the end of every day, when I lay my head down on my own pillow, in my own home, surrounded by my family, and covered in grace, I am grateful for my full life!
Last week I went to the optomistrist to get my eyes tested. Because I have been neglecting my health for so long, and abusing my body with toxins and stress, I can actualy feel it – not only in general pysicality, but my eyes seem to be showing a dimmer, duller view of my world.
In general, I don’t like doctors, dentists, gynae’s or anyone that has to poke around in my space bubble to tell me what’s wrong with me. The optomitrist wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be though, she was very explanetory, and not intusive at all.
Right at the end, after all the tests were done, she put a pair of lenses on my nose, and said: “How’s that?”
“WOWWW!!” I exclaimed. I couldn’t believe how perfectly clear the letters were in front of me.
And then it it me – my eyes were REALLY bad. I only realised how bad they were, when I had the new lenses on my eyes, and saw what things should actually look like.
Isn’t that so true of life. You have no idea how bad things really are until you’re out of that situation, and experiencing things as they should be…
When I was out there, living on the streets in dirt and general chaos mixed with a dose of dysfunction, very quickly, things that other people would never even consider doing, became absolutely normal to me. It was normal to sit on the floor in the street and smoke crack – right there. It was normal to not eat, to not have a job, to hustle all day and night, and use in between. It was completely normal to have to find a safe place to sleep every night, and to carry every possession I owned in a single bag hanging over my shoulder, going with me wherever I went. It was normal to be ducking and diving from mall security, and shop managers. It was normal to walk kilometers and kilometres, to make money, and walk kilometres and kilometres back to buy and use, and then walk that same circle again – 4, 5 or even 6 times a day.
When I think about how normal that was to me, I actually become exhausted! The stress. The late nights and early mornings. The lack of relationships, compassion for others, the self-centred behaviour that revolved around me and my drugs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, non stop for years and years. Each day was as mundane and unsuccessful as the next. I achieved nothing! I gained nothing! I lost everything. And everyone. And this was all completely normal. I tried to plan how my day would go, I tried to plan to go and do something about getting clean, see a clinic, get some help… but drugs had to come first – after that, drugs is all there is…
How could that be? How is that even possible? It just becomes so normal to do what you need to do to survive. It’s all about making sure that you don’t go into withdrawal, and once you aren’t sick anymore, its about getting as much money as you can, as many times in a day as you can, to get as high as you can – to escape the reality of life and feelings that were too painful to acknowledge. Then, at the end of the day, it’s about making sure that you have enough drugs to find a place to sleep, enough drugs for the night to help you to sleep, plus money or drugs for the morning to help you to wake up. Nothing else crosses your mind after that first hit when you wake up. And you’re so sick by the time you do wake up, that you cannot do anything until you have that first hit. You don’t think about eating because using drugs takes away your appetite, so only when you start feeling dizzy or you look down and realise that you’re dissappearing, do you use whatever is left after you have your drugs, to buy some bread or juice or anything to just get you to the next destination, so that you can make more money to get more drugs and a little more to eat. Survival. From one hour to the next. I couldn’t go more than 3 hours without using, or my body would start going into withdrawal. Once you’re in bad enough withdrawal, you are too sick to even think about going anywhere and you just get worse and worse, until you go into fits, or land up on hospital, or even die. You cannot allow that to happen. I had my boyfriend at the time, who couldn’t last 2 hours without using, so he would make sure that we did what we needed to do, to get what we needed to get, as fast and as efficiently as possible. The days turn into weeks, the weeks turn into months, and before you know it, that is what your existence consists of. It’s normal.
After the last time I used in April, I have a new found freedom, a new ‘normal’. I had no idea how great life could actually be, how relaxed and calm, and loving I could be. Life has a whole new side to it, and all of a sudden I see how bad things really were, and what life should actually look like. Its completely different. I might not have the things other ‘normal’ people have, like a job, and Saturday shopping. But, I no longer am merely existing, surviving, living for one thing, and losing precious time on this earth. I appreciate so much more than ‘normal’ people do, because I know what its like to have nothing, inside and out. I know how cold it is to bath in a bucket of cold water late at night with no towel, or PJ’s. I know how long it takes to dry clothes, when there is only one pair of clothes, and you only have a few hours at night to wash them with whatever soapy substance you can find, and have them dry and ready to wear by early morning – before the security guards tell you to leave the bathroom you just slept in. I know what its like to have no food, no bed, no blankets. I know what its like to have nothing, and to believe that it’s completely normal. I wasn’t striving to get out, I wasn’t so uncomfortable that I couldn’t bare it, I didn’t feel anything – emotion, pain, hard concrete floors. Drugs numbed it all. Drugs made it ok. Drugs made everything normal.
There is so much in life to be grateful for. The things I have been through, I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy (if I had such a thing). I can sit and mope and feel sorry for myself for the things I put myself through while using drugs, for the things and people I lost and for the pain I suffered. Or, I can look back in gratitude, learn lessons, appreciate what I have right now, and be excited to see what the future holds – knowing now what ‘normal’ should look like, and what life should consist of.
I choose to be happy every morning. I know things aren’t always going to be pink and fuzzy and great – I will have my bad days, as well as my good ones. That’s NORMAL. That’s life. And I am so grateful for life. To be alive.
And soon, I will be able to see life a little clearer, in all its glory and splendour, with my new glasses. I can live in my new level of ‘normal’ – which now seems to reflect rose colour lenses, happiness and contentment. I will bask in that while it lasts!
Since my last post, I have learnt so much!
I have learnt that there is nothing I can do to force people to do, or think, or be, or change. The only things that I have control over, are my thoughts and my actions.
I haven’t been present for many years – as a mom, a daughter, a sister, a grand-daughter, niece, cousin or a friend. I have been living in the shadows, hidden away from all things good. Believe me, I regret that. What I regret most is that I will never get back the time that I have lost with my girls. All the special milestones, all the happy memories… the homework I never got to do, the sports I never got to support. So many moments are lost forever. I cannot change that. I believe that, that in itself is torture and punnisment enough. BUT! My eldest daughter has every right not to involve me. She has been hurt deeply by my self-centred behaviour, and I know that I still hold resentments towards my mother for leaving my sister, my brother and I when we were so young. Though I desperately tried to gain her acceptance for many years much later in life, she hurt me and abused my trust over and over again. I had to make the decision to cut her out of my life, because she tortured my soul. All that I can do for my daughters, is to be here, present, available, loving, caring, kind and supportive.
When, one day, Rebecca is ready, she will know that I am here. I will make sure that she knows that my love for her has only grown, and that my love for her is unconditional. Larah is under age, she is under the influence of others, who don’t understand addiction, and who do their best to interfere with our relationship. Luckily, though, I have had the fortune of seeing her much more often than Rebecca’s condescending and unforgiving father allowed, so I know that Larah and I have a special bond that will never be broken. She is my sunshine – she makes me happy when skies are grey. She makes me happy when I’m happy, too. She is just the most amazing little bubble of fun and positive energy. She understands that I love her. Nothing will ever change that. I am ever so grateful for our memories – few as they are, they are so special.
Rebecca barely knows the real me. Her father has always drilled into her what a useless human being I was and he continued to tell her that I didn’t care for or love her. She was brain washed for years. And he is as manipulating and controlling as could be. He always saw life as this ‘competition’, and he did everything he possibly could to ensure that I ‘lost’. Physically, emotionally, mentally and even spiritually. If there’s anyone that I blame for my time lost with Rebecca, it would be him. What an angry, nasty person he turned out to be. My ‘high school sweetheart’ from hell. BUT! I cannot change him either….
I have to stay positive, choose to be happy. By doing the right thing, and growing, staying kind and full of mercy, by trying to be a better person than I was yesterday, I am moving forward. I am building a life that will make up for the years that I have made mistakes, and learned lessons from, all the mistakes that I made taught me how to be a better person. I am bulding my foundation. A solid, strong foundation. A foundation based in love, grace, strength, courage, kindness and positivity. Because this time I am leaning not on my own understanding, but on God’s unfailing promises, I know that things will only get better. And they will get better in His perfect timing. Not when I want things to be done, my will has only led me into dark and unhappy places. It is His will, and His love that will keep me going. In His strength, I am strong.
Yes! I miss my girls! My heart aches to be with them, to hold them, to have them in my life. Of course! It hurts like hell! But these things take time. Trust takes time. My words mean so little to everyone at the moment. It is my actions that count, my response to life, and all it’s little surprises.
In the words of ‘Dory’, Nemo’s little forgetful friend: ‘Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming’. Just keep going forward, and have faith! As long as I am doing my best, I trust that God will do the rest!
And, in the mean time, while I am busy doing my best, I will do it with a positive attitude. I will remain kind, and happy. Why would I want to spend my life any other way?
Today’s lesson was hard. I didn’t expect it to come when it did and I had no idea it was gonna be so hurtfull…
Being in touch electronically with my eldest daughter has been a real blessing – not that we say much to each other, but there’s communication. And I am really careful about “pushing the boundaries” because I do not want to lose her all over again. Its never more than a 3 or 4 sentence conversation, sometimes it’s just me telling her I love her or miss her, or when she’s sick, asking her how she feels. Its not a lot, but it’s more than I had before, and I am super grateful! Even when she doesn’t reply – at least now I get to tell her how I feel!
I get into my dads car, and as I put my seat belt on, he says to me: “Your brother called.” I could hear hesitation in his voice – he already knew that I was a little upset by the fact that my (non existent) mother had my daughter (the eldest one, that I haven’t seen in 4 years, but who I have been texting so carefully) for the school holidays, and that she had taken my daughter to see my brother. It wasn’t that all of this had happened that was upsetting me, as much as the fact that I found out about this via a profile picture on Whatsapp – my ENTIRE family says nothing to me about this whole reunion. So anyway I got over that, and I brushed it off as my brother not wanting to ‘upset’ his wife (who cannot stand me, and relates more to my narcissistic mother than I do)… My dad keeps quiet for like 5 seconds, so I say: “And??” and glare in his direction. After a brief sigh, he says to me that my daughter told my brother that she cannot handle the long messages I send to her and that she doesn’t know what to say to me.
Well, of course I exploded – I just couldn’t believe that. Why would she say that? It hurt so bad! It felt like she had stabbed me through my heart. Here I am doing my best to keep this simple and to just express my love for her, and she’s saying things like that? I wanted to cry, but my dad could see I was hurting and he said to me:
“My girl, she is a teenager (she’s 16). Teenagers think they know everything, and they just want to do their own things. They really aren’t worried about building relationships with their parents – they are looking at boys and concentrating on their friends. You cannot let things like this affect your life and your decisions. Just keep your eye on the prize, keep moving forward. In the end, that’s what she will see.”
How does he remain so calm?? Just like that I realised that, in life, a lot of people are going to upset me, and a lot of the time it’s gonna be family (isn’t that so sad?). I can’t let other people’s behavior steal my joy.
He then proceeded to tell me that my brother asked how I am. In my mind I’m thinking, you know, he has my number too. I guess I should be grateful that he is asking about me. But I feel like my entire family don’t support me. I get it. I stuffed up. Many times. But family is supposed to be there through the good and the bad. No matter what. He’s my brother. He was also using drugs at one stage. I don’t understand that. Especially him. My sister carries on with her own life overseas. My mother proceeds to hurt me in whichever way she possibly can, through manipulating and bad mouthing – nothing new there. My eldest daughter is saying the craziest things for some unknown reason. My youngest daughter is manipulated by her father and ouma – my dad who has always ALWAYS been there for me is the only real family I have (except for my youngest – she wants to be there, but is held back – soon, Angel, soon!).
And as sad and true as that is, my dad is right: I cannot let their behaviour affect my life today. I am doing the right thing – for the first time ever, I am taking control of my disease, I am learning how to deal with life on life’s terms. I am working hard and focussing like never before. I am doing the right thing!! And I have done all of this without their support this far. I can’t let all of their issues and lack of support affect what I am doing for my life. I am lucky enough to have a God that teaches GRACE, FORGIVENESS AND LOVE. I will do my best to live that way. No matter who, or what, or when, or how! He is my Guide to living a GREAT life. He is who really matters!
I have found a new way to live. I don’t need other people to accept that. I don’t need anyone else’s support, when I have my fellowship, my youngest daughter in heart, my dad and my Creator. I will be the better person, and tomorrow I will be even better. Because, no matter how other people behave, I am on a journey, a journey of compassion and enlightenment! Nothing and no-one will stand in my way. Family or not!
Sitting at the laundromat on a Saturday afternoon. Watching life go by, watching other people doing the things they do on a weekend. Some of them off to a family braai. Some of them off to watch a movie. Some of them buying new outfits for their dinner date tonight. Some of them buying what they need for a trip away. All sorts of people walking out of the shops with bags full of goodies! Most have a smile on their faces, probably excited for whatever comes next. To them it seems so normal. To me, it is everything but normal…
Not so long ago, Saturday to me meant an easier day – a day where more people were out shopping, more people were out spending money. It just meant that the chances of me finding a friendly face, someone to help me get through the next few hours of pain and humiliation, were greater than any other day of the week.
Trust me when I say that asking pure strangers for anything is the most difficult thing in the world. Especially when its a lie you’re telling. And even more so when the lie you’re telling involves non existant babies, and in that, a small truth that hurts more than the lie itself: I might not have the baby that I am claiming not to be able to feed or provide nappies for, but I do have 2 daughters that I have completely neglected. Everytime I told that lie I felt the truth stab me in my heart… the tears that would roll down my cheaks were very real, and more genuine than these strangers would ever know.
I have no idea how many people I asked to help me on a daily basis. On Saturdays it was twice that amount. After a while the lies I told became my truths. I was living this fantasy life in front of the world, and behind closed bathroom doors I was drowning the emotional pain that I felt the second I was alone. My weekends were in no way ‘normal’.
Even though I am not in any way living that life anymore, my weekends are not like those of the people that I am watching today. I am still without a job, in a country that has a massive unemployment rate. I live with my dad, and he has his parents (my grandparents) to look after, too. We have to watch what we spend. Once a month, the Saturday after pay day, we go shopping – to get whats needed, and maybe one or two small things that we see as ‘luxury’. But its nothing like these people that come walking out of the mall with a massive grin on their faces, and with huge packets filled with new and exciting things from all the shops my dad and I don’t even bother to go into. I have made things tough for him. I have a lot of ‘paying forward’ to catch up on. I know that my dad is only too happy to see me alive and healthy. And he gives me much more than I deserve.
My weekends are relaxing. I get to spend quality time with my dad. We watch DVDs together and every now and then we will go to the laundromat or shopping, or even to the flea market. Just being able to sleep in, not having to worry about getting enough money to numb the pain every 3 hours, being able to eat when I’m hungry, or drink coffee in the morning – all these small little things are luxuries to me, something I would wish for in the past. Having a chilled day with my dad, building on that relationship which has become my lifeline to something as close to a “normal” life as I have seen in over 10 years, that is what’s important to me.
Will my Saturday’s ever look like these people’s? Who knows… for now, I’m grateful to have a home to chill in, DVDs to watch, a couch to chill on, coffee or juice or tea or hot chocolate even to drink, and food to eat when I am hungry. A hot bubble bath on the cold nights. A cupboard full of clothes to select from. I have what I need, and my weekends might not be “normal” but they are just perfect the way they are!
Sitting around the bonfire tonight, looking at all the different people around me, all of us just watching the flame dance before us, listening intently to a true story being told. I was once again reminded how cunning our disease really is. There is absolutely no discrimination, addiction can happen to anyone. Everyone. I see a circle filled with glowing faces, all there because they, too, want to do better at life, they also want yet another chance at getting this thing called life, right…
These people have been through the worst kind of experiences. They have really had it tough. I heard a psychiatrist say the other day that 99% of all addicts have endured some form of child abuse or trauma. I know that I used to numb the pain, to escape this cruel world. And the more I numbed the pain, the more the people in my life tried to hurt me. The day they took my daughters, was the day I stopped caring about my life. I remember when I was living on the street, struggling to survive, how ‘normal’ people would treat me. Like I was the lowest form of life. Like I was worth nothing, less than nothing. Of course, I already knew that. I felt exactly like what they were telling me I was. Not understanding why I did the things I did, why, no matter how hard I tried, I could not stop using.
I look up and I see these sparkled eyes looking intensely into the fire, listening to one person telling the painful truths that led him to get help. The truth is, that we all only want to get help when the pain of change becomes less than the pain of staying the same.
All this pain, all the struggles that these human beings, these people, had to go through in a life that was already so difficult to understand. Yet, here they are, doing whatever it takes to try and Read the rest of this entry
I had to start all over again. And I had to do it on my own, without ‘him’. I couldn’t believe what he had become. I couldn’t believe I had to lose everyting all over again. I tried. I did everything I could to save him. But he wouldn’t listen, and so after 11 years and 2 months, I had to end my ‘happily ever after’. And now I will start a new and different life. With friends. I might not fall asleep in the arms of my soul mate, but I will have a life! And I will have a relationship with my daughters. And I have only my dad to thank for being there for me no matter how bad things got….
And I’ll Say It ‘Til The Day I Die!
Its Been A While: