Everything is coming full circle now. I am sitting on a crowded train, filled with the happy voices of children, speeding home from the airport in Amsterdam. I just dropped off my beloved daughter after a very merry holiday birthday. It is the end of 2017 and as I sit here gazing out the window at the fields speckled with sheep and the deliberately crafted canals, I wonder at the fact that I have come so far.
Just two years ago I was lying in bed, suffering from debilitating back pain and depression. I was 43 years old and I felt like my body was giving up on me. I was at the end of my life as I knew it. I began to have visions of myself experiencing an early death, full of pain and suffering. Everywhere I looked I saw people in wheelchairs and I knew the message was that if I didn’t take some kind of drastic action, a slow death would be my fate. So I began working on my body, rehabilitating myself from the beginning. Learning to stand, learning to walk, strengthening my body with physical therapy. As I realized how difficult it was just to stand up straight, the painful emotional trauma began to surface. I cried as I realized how far I had let myself go. How something as simple as standing was excruciating for me. My emotions began to come out as I allowed them to tell me what I’d been unwilling to hear. I got stronger. I got braver. Within a few months it was clear to me what I must do.
I had tried to wait until both my children were 18. I didn’t want to leave them until they were able to be on their own. They had been dependent on me since the day they were born. I had vowed not to abandon them like I had been abandoned. But as I looked at my life, and the example I was setting for my daughters, I understood clearly that unless I jumped, they would think it was ok to suffer from abuse for the sake of the abuser. I had to show them how to be brave and how to not tolerate mistreatment. I had to trust that my intuition was right and if I chose self love, they could also choose to follow.
It seemed crazy at first. I publicly shared my experiences on social media with all who would listen. Some people rejected me. A few people supported me. No one really understood my vague rants and seemingly chaotic choices, but if it wasn’t for those few who accepted what I said and supported my right to live my life, I wouldn’t have made it. The attitude of someone who loves you should be that you know best what is right for you. If you say that someone’s treatment of you is abusive, that’s all anyone should need to know to support you in that view. Through the journey I lost a lot of people I loved and who I thought loved me. But as it turns out, the truth really is a double edge sword. Sometimes you have to let people go.
It has been a long journey. Just like this train ride, people have come and gone. I have stayed my course, trusting what I know. Trusting my inner guidance. Knowing that my final destination is home. I had faith in myself. I had faith in my daughter. It wasn’t easy to be separated from each other and we have both had a dark night of the soul. But now that we are through it and we can see the light at the end of the tunnel, we both have a new understanding of the nature of this game we call life.
I had to leave first so I could make a place for her to come. I left that old life of negativity for a life of adventure. Most people where we are from only dream of a trip to Europe. I have created a home here. I look out at these cobblestone streets and quaint little cafes, famous museums and foreign land and I realize, I live here. I am home. It wasn’t easy to do. Most everyone thought I was crazy. But now that I’m settling in and actually living my life, posting pictures of my face being happier than I ever have been in my life, people are beginning to think twice. Was I crazy? Or was I telling the truth? Was it insanity to leave? Or was it insanity to stay? If nothing else, I have shown that the bar can be raised. That dreams can come true. And no matter what you have experienced until now, anything is possible.
Everything comes full circle