Serenity – the elusive butterfly


I started this post in the middle of last week and then just didn’t finish it. My original thought was to post on the serenity that I am finding more and more often. Then that serenity disappeared in a puff of smoke – burned by the demands of work; the busy times with children; a plethora of things I committed to with friends (clearly me saying “no” has a way to go); and some drama with an employee’s daughter being physically attacked. It took up a lot of my time and my mental energy. And me burning the candles at both ends leaves me very weepy and not in control of my emotions, indicating that getting enough sleep is critical for my well-being. I cannot compromise on the amount of sleep I get. And certainly not by 2 or 3 hours.

The sleep issue gets to me somewhat. I have always been a night owl. I prefer the quiet and the comfort of the darkness. I like how it enfolds everything. I like the peace that it offers and the calm. The fact that everything slows down and there is less bustle and noise. I revel in that. So to now be tied into recognising that I cannot stay up until 1am and enjoy that time to myself, else the next two days I am weepy and struggling to stay centred, makes me feel a little sad. Like I am relegated to missing out on my favourite time of day.

I know that I should aim to be asleep for the required number of hours to enable me to be robust and cheerful on a daily basis, but I must be honest, it feels like deprivation. This results in resentment, as I feel like I have been deprived of so much for so long by my relationship with my ex and my relationship with my mother.

I was not permitted to have certain friends. In fact I was barely permitted any friends. I was not permitted time with my family. I was not permitted to drink alcohol. It was frowned upon that I wore make-up. I was not permitted to wear perfume. I was not permitted to engage with men in general. I was not permitted to go to certain places. I was not permitted to talk about certain topics. I was not permitted to disagree. I was not permitted to have my own opinion. I was not permitted to do so much more that I have not listed here.

It was in those night hours where I felt free. When my ex was asleep, it was my time. Truly my own. I was not at risk of being lambasted in anyway. I didn’t have to tread on egg shells or risk being ridiculed, criticised or being told off. I didn’t have to be responsible for anyone. I could just breathe.

Daylight hours were hard. I had the full responsibility of running a house, running a business and managing children, some at school and some at home. There was no moral support. There was no support (apart from my bra). It was incredibly draining, doubly so with being on edge, wondering when the next bout of trouble would be flung my way.

“How dare you agree with what others said in front of me, when that was not supportive of me. You clearly don’t know what love looks like and how to be a good wife”.
“You are so stupid to have let yourself fall pregnant. Get an abortion immediately.”.
“Who asked you to speak?”.
“You did not ask my permission to do that. You have no idea how to communicate and what a good relationship looks like.”.
“You need to be fixed. Get a therapist.”.

Interestingly, a lot of this has dried up since I moved out of the house. It took a little while, but I hear so little of this talk now. My ex still tries the power plays and still tries to manipulate me, but he is very aware that anything he puts in writing can be used against him. He is not so careful with what he says. Therefore, I speak to him as little as possible in a verbal context. I prefer being able to take my time to respond to an email or a WhatsApp than be on the spot having to respond at once to his jibes or accusations or whatever the flavour of the day happens to be.

One day, I hope that I can sit back and be only mildly irritated by the garbage he spews out of his mouth. I am pretty much at that point with my mother. Still a work in progress though – all the time. It turns out there is no shortcut to recovery and awareness.


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