A guest post from one of our girls. If you’ve had a hard 2015, we think this will get you inspired and motivated for 2016. Props to Shereen for being a positive inspiration to us all.x
I have been thinking about changes and who I was this time last year. I looked nothing like I do today. I looked 10 years older. I was too tired, unhappy with myself and what I had become and more importantly, this unhappiness came from a deep feeling of frustration with everything around me. This time last year, it felt that I was waiting for a call that never came. Now, I look back and realise that between trying to beat myself about the things that did not go according to plan and building my own wings, I set myself free.
Going through a divorce last year was one major life crisis and probably what made it worse is that it was unexpected. An ending perhaps that I played unconsciously very little role in. I was married for seven years and things had never been better. Suddenly, the man I thought I knew very well and trusted with all my heart walked out. I heard “There is more than one person for everyone”, I also heard “It is breaking my heart not to be with her” (the other woman) and I endured “I just realised that marriage was not for me”. Three days after his affair I listened to how I should put everything to one side, as a mother and as a person, and allow myself to accept a situation I am not happy with. He thought he was staying and that I would accept this because of my fear of being alone, to be after all a single parent. Little did he know that inside me, in the midst of winter, there was an invincible summer.
I remember waking up at 6 am to go to a fitness class in a warehouse with over 40 people to put my body into the agony of exercise to take my mind off my heart’s pain. By the end of the class, I drove home to tell him he must leave. Whatever the consequences were, I accepted. I knew I deserved better than a cheating man who preys on my weakness. Love is admiration they say and I refuse to believe in the kind of love that would continue to drag me down. Not at 31 and not with a child who deserves a happy mother and a great life.
Sometimes we feel when a man walks out, that it is because we are not pretty enough or intelligent enough. I refuse to conform to these ideas. He walked out because he was unable to be the man who deserves all the love that one can give, so instead in his fear, he quits. This fear that he is unable to be who you see him to be, regardless of how you might have repeatedly said how you loved him as he is. In the ancient world, Plato said marry someone with the qualities you lack; marry someone who will lift you up, make you progress and make you shine. This certainly has not been the case throughout history. We tend to fall for the one who breaks our heart, who makes us suffer and long or wait more. Not very wise of us if you ask me. Why do we constantly want what we know is bad and unhealthy for us?
Probably not the best person to quote here but Gloria Gaynor tells us how she spent many nights thinking how the mysterious “he” did her wrong and how she grew strong and learned how to get along. This woman did not just make this up. It is proven that we go through stages of devastation, anger and rage, remorse and guilt, sadness and from deep pain to channelling our feelings into a deep force that gets us through. For some women, this force is so powerful that they become invincible.
For me, I felt that that for so long I had put myself second, that I had forgotten about loving myself. So without hesitation, I channelled my energy into finishing the PhD that I had for a long time put on the shelf for the sake of my marriage, I spent more time with my son who often saw me anxious, stressed and unhappy, I set up a single parent group in my local area and the icing on the cake for me was, I found GirlCrew Liverpool (or rather GC found me). From here, I began a journey of empowering myself and meeting amazing women who believe, like me, that “together, we are stronger”, and who see life as tough but think so are we.
And as far as the dating scene goes, I have to admit it has for the past months given me remarkable insights into the human psyche. The knight in shining armour is indeed an idiot in tin foil and please do not think I am exaggerating here, he is in tin foil, posing with his mates on nights out, or face painted in IBIZA or he is an adrenaline junkie who is dangling from a helicopter in some stunt, or wrapped up at the top of Everest or saving the world with oceans and lands between you. God bless Tinder for opening our eyes to the world of men who are just as unsure and as insecure, as we are, about the prospects of finding love, happiness and the good life. The type of men I came across through my few months of discovery I have narrowed down all into categories; which probably all have in common the fear of “letting go”.
This encompasses many issues from commitment, to hurting from past relations, to insecurity and heart-broken to immaturity and not willing to give up the habits acquired in their 20s to make the decision to commit in their 30s. The pressure of growing up is sadly an obstacle. And of course, not to forget the “talker” who could sell you air if you wanted to, the smooth talker whose actions do not match his words. The one who is so ready to tell you how beautiful you are but would like to get by doing the minimum, if anything at all. I also came across the one who rides the waves; he is the one who you share so much with in common, who has the potential of being a great life companion in old age, but because he is so absorbed in his own self-discovery, his ego, or still suffering from whatever issues are underlying his soft appearance, there will always be a question mark about his willingness to make any step, his motives and intentions.
For the latter, Gloria Gaynor, once again comes to the rescue to say “Now you come dropping in expecting me to be free, now I’m saving all my loving for someone who is loving me”. So I guess the moral of the story is; it never too late to start over and accept what happened as a chapter from which we can learn valuable lessons from and now it is time to love ourselves, not let anything or anyone drag us down, tell us we are not good enough, pretty enough, smart enough… I saw that IS enough! And most importantly, we prepare ourselves to embark on a new chapter and a thrilling journey.