The 1st of October marked two significant events for me. I had now reached 18 months of complete sobriety and three years of total independent living. When I look at the woman I was then when I left the family home on that sunny Monday morning in 2012 with all my life packed in one van and the two loves of my life standing on the pavement waving me goodbye I felt the hugest sense of relief. However, that relief went hand in hand with total fear for this was the first time truly in my life I was totally responsible for me and not only for me but two other people. I won’t go into the detail of why I left but safe to say it was the right and truthfully only option open at that time. I remember arriving at my new flat and being met by the letting agent who was waiting for me with the keys. Various friends arriving throughout the day to help move bits and pieces into the flat, the building of the bunk beds, the taking out of the window to get a chair inside and the excitement of opening boxes and putting things where I wanted them. The creation of my safe place, my private space, my world. Getting it ready, cosy, homely for when the kids came to stay on the Wednesday for this was their world too… Well half of it.
After all the hustle and bustle of the day the time came for me to say goodbye to my last visitor, close the door and just be with me. Now I’ve lived with me all my life but now I truly felt like I was living with me. As I sat there in my flat that I was solely responsible for I remember feeling a huge wave of emotion. The cage door had been left open and I had stepped outside. There was absolutely no going back only forwards. Of course back in 2012 the life event was of course marked with opening and consumption of a bottle of Rioja and why not. Why the hell not. The following day I had a huge list of things to do. Council Tax registration, Virgin Media man coming for TiVo box installation, Scottish Power, TV licence, change my address on this, that and everything, contents insurance, do inventory for letting agent and email by midday, go to IKEA with friend to buy curtains, rugs and household things, etc. Oh it went on. Then Wednesday came and suddenly the excitement faded and a sick heavy feeling ached in my gut. I knew what it was. It was one thing finally being a single independent woman but quite another being a single mother. The way marriage had gone for me at that point in my life I had very little confidence that I could manage on my own with the children. Although I masked it well I was incredibly insecure in my own motherhood. I felt inadequate, incapable, fearful of getting it wrong. I knew this was a massive change for them no matter how resilient people tell you children are they are still two little beings whose world has been turned upside down with no control from them. They are at the beckon call of adults decision making for good and bad. What if the decisions I made as a parent were wrong? What if they didn’t like living here? What if they were really unhappy? What if I didn’t like it? What if, what if, what if? That first time I walked round to school to pick them up and bring them to their new home I was both excited and concerned for all those things but they embraced it openly and with great affection and I truly feel they do love living here and that it is their home.
Now three years on a lot has happened both good and bad but when I look at it all I see how much I’ve grown as a person. On the 1st October 2012 I just needed to step out from the cage but I didn’t realise how far away from myself I had travelled. How lost I had become and how much further I still had to go. The letting go of something you thought would be forever is never easy but sometimes it is the right thing. What I had also done was let go of me. The road back to me has been hard but worth it and I can honestly say I see myself now. I am accepting of myself now. I have found confidence in myself now. There’s still further to go but I’m on the right path at last with two shining lights to guide me. There is so much to be thankful for and each day is a blessing. So I try to stop often and think about where I am now in comparison as to where I was before the cage door opened. I try to be mindful of my liberation. To feel it in me, to embrace it and let its power give me strength. I want that for my children. I want them always to feel liberated and hold on to how important that is as human beings. To always know their worth and have self belief in themselves but to equally honour that in others. To know that sometimes we can get lost but the only way out of that is through it. Most importantly I want them to always know that they are loved.
I was where I should have been three years ago. I am where I should be right now but how exciting to wonder where I might be going.
Nighty night X