Thursday, 13 August 2015

Can you do for yourself what you do for others?

I am my children's' and my partners biggest cheer leader, biggest supporter and all round motivator.

I can give an example of true hardship and utter determination to make things better for daughter no 1.

I think my eldest daughter (then my only daughter!) must have been about 2 yrs old when we were both in homeless accommodation.  I remember walking into the room with its green plastic covered mattresses, one wardrobe and one bedside table and thinking that I had hit the lowest of the low.  I found used needles in the wardrobe and that just confirmed that sinking feeling I had.

Here I had the most beautiful, funny, smiley little girl that deserved the world and yet this is where we were...

It is a long story as to how we had arrived at that point but the crux of it involved moving away... far away from a physically and mentally abusive soon to be ex-husband.  BUT... just for a moment I would like to step back in time a little because it is very relevant to the blog title.. Can you do for yourself what you do for others?

My husband at the time, was manipulative, abusive but not in the typical way you would expect.  No, this had happened over time, until you suddenly had no part of yourself left, no confidence, no sense of self.  Constantly thinking you had done something wrong and apologetic at the drop of a hat....

The type of person that meant you would get to the front door, put in the key and sigh before you walked through the door wondering which husband you would be met with.... The one in a good mood and so meaning a good night would ensue or the one that was in a bad mood which would result in.... well the levels would vary from bad to pretty darn awful.

The day I came out of hospital and we as proud parents walked into town with our baby in her pram ready to show her to the world and my husband turned around to me... completely out of the blue and said "how do I know she is mine?".... "it's obvious she is yours she came out of you, how do I know she is mine?"  I was speechless, utterly lost for words... mainly because we had hardly ever spent any time apart as I was not allowed to see my friends etc... anymore and if we ever went anywhere we did so together.

Anyway that is just an example.... So, onto my point.  When my daughter was about 5 mths old it was another argument, another situation, but she woke up, we both rushed to her but for very different reasons... My husband got there first... he was shouting the whole time time and by this time she was getting hysterical, I found myself pleading, just pass her to me, I will calm her down, put her back to sleep we can go back downstairs and you can say whatever you need to say to me... I was panicked, in that I need to stay calm kind of way.... even when I think about it today my heart feels as though it will pound out of my chest...

He moved her away from me quickly banging her head on the door while doing so, still shouting, no remorse, nothing.... To this day after that moment I still cannot remember how long it took to get her in my arms or even how I convinced him but I did.  I got her back to sleep went downstairs and it continued... but this time it was like I was not even there.  I felt as though I was floating above my body, looking down and I just thought if I was a fly on the wall and this was happening to a friend what would I say.... I would say get the hell out.... And that is exactly what I did.  BUT it took me to think of it as if it was a friend before I acted, as if it just being about me was not good enough, as if I was not good enough to deserve better.

Back to the homeless accommodation.... This was a big turning point - I went to my step parents for Christmas and my then ex-husband was seeing my daughter over the christmas period but on the phone to me the entire time saying he was going to take her off of me as I could not even provide secure accommodation for her.  Now if this happened now in this time I would equally be strong enough to say and even think hang on a second, if you had any love or concern for your daughter you would financially contribute to supporting her, (which never happened as he saw that as helping "me out") and so we would not be in this situation.

But, it did make me think right... I need to do something drastic otherwise my gorgeous little girl is going to be living with someone who thinks she is a pawn, who does not love her and well, I just could not have that!

I found a new venue in Taunton, I walked in and asked to speak to the manager.  The man behind the bar said he was the manager.  I looked him straight in the eye and said - you need to employ me over the Christmas and New year period.  He chuckled and said "oh do I, and why is that?"  I told him that I would make him more money than anyone else he employed. He told me to come in that evening for a trial... I then worked over Christmas and New year as much as I could. And true to my word I did make him more money, every time I was offered a drink (and that happened a lot!) the money went into the till.  By the end of my time (so New years eve) I was £50 shy of the deposit and fees for a flat!

I would never have dreamt that I could be as bold and as confident as I was that day... But it was no longer about me - it was about my baby, her security and her having a Mum that would do anything to get them out of the situation we were in.

I still look back at that time in awe, of seeing that I had the strength, confidence and determination to overcome my fears, my insecurities etc... in order to get something done... But it still also leaves a burning question in me.... Would I ever go to those depths just for myself?

It's interesting to see, hear and feel the strength we have when we need to help those we love and yet we need to love ourselves just as fiercely, we need to be as determined to help ourselves, improve our lives for us.

So, my question for you is... Can you do for yourself what you do for others?

Can you do for yourself what you do for others?

Love Life and Laughter

Traci x

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