The international day of imperfect and very caring women

Sometimes when I support others in their struggles or I’m with them as they make changes they wish to make, I feel so happy and so very proud of what they have achieved. But I also feel like a fraud.

Because this girl is incapable of doing the same for herself.
Living day to day and finding all the happiness and wonder just in that.
Through all the simple things that surround me.
Because I don’t know how to change things.
I tried. I tried harder than I ever thought I could try. But when faced with seeing everything that had been worked so hard for through half a life, vanishing through a bad choice they regret, and all the security and safety I had been banking on floating away, a part of me kicked in that couldn’t let that happen. Not just for me and my girl but also for P. Feeling safe is everything.
Because despite all the mistakes and hurts, despite the efforts to help someone who did not want to help them self and took all of their anger and frustration out on me, and despite the constant barrage of putting me down in the lead up to me leaving, I cared about him. I cared about him when he showed a complete lack of care and respect for me as I tried to find my way through what followed, I cared even when I was left feeling like I was completely nothing, Absolutely nothing. Right in the middle of something really difficult.
But that something also gave me a moment of belief and courage that I could make that change needed. And an encounter with someone who actually saw me and understood me, made me feel like maybe I was a someone rather than a nothing.
And during all those times that I was pushed down further, and all those judgements that surrounded me, and money that was withheld so that I had to struggle, I still cared.  But I fell out of love with him. I had always tried my hardest and done my best. I was a good wife. And I know that he knows it. Never demanding, always working hard, a good mum who looked after everything at home. Every lick of paint, every worktop wiped, every piece of furniture put together by these little hands. I wasn’t your fair weather and high maintenance wife. I got my hands dirty and did whatever needed to be done. Chief cook and bottle washer. I did the lot.  And inside I knew I had earnt the right to be treated with more respect than I was given. All I did was make a choice to try to find some happiness for me. Hoping that he also would take that opportunity to help himself and find happiness too.
Because I always Knew that underneath he was still the same kind and caring boy that I had met when I was 20. That behind the angry changes that others could not see but I felt every day, he was still the person who had made me feel the most safe and protected in all my life. I trusted him.
His control was also his protection and for a long time I valued that so much. My lack of trust in men being very low.

Sometimes in holding someone else’s traumas of life it is easier to see my own. I have been made to stop to see and feel my own. In letting theirs go I have been able to feel mine. I need to, so that I can try to make sone sense in where I currently find myself.
I doubt there are many others who would have put themselves in this position. I have no doubt there are people looking at me thinking I am weak, or stupid or crazy or even that I am living in blissful happiness. I think I probably prefer the last one. It makes me look less weak or stupid or crazy.

In fact the truth is that this is what complicated looks like. And despite appearances I am stronger than i look. And my strength comes from trying to do the right thing and care about those who have cared for me.
And P has cared for me.
When I woke up this morning he said to me “you are a cute package with fire inside. But I have never understood you and I don’t think I ever will. But I have always loved you. I have only ever wanted to protect you”
I didn’t really know what to say. In my head I was thinking if ever there was a more obvious father figure that would be it. Being safe and protected and loved. That’s exactly what I wanted. As for being understood, well that just felt like a luxury.
Well of course until I was.

Fear… an unpleasant emotion caused by danger, pain or harm.
Fear in what could happen often being more damaging than the actual event. It’s easier to disassociate yourself from something that is happening. To be completely numb in what that is.
But fear is something that runs through your veins. That clouds everything you do. That makes you anxious and worried and irrational.
That makes you withdraw and create something more beautiful to live in.
In being shown what hid beneath their exterior it was easy to instill that fear. And I could tell that they enjoyed that power.
So that when the lights are turned out and you quietly move your bed along in front of the door they wait outside knowing you know they are there .
I spent years being angry with my dad For abandoning me. For not loving me, for hurting me and for leaving me. For seeing us as something to be embarrassed of and creating something that saw him moving in better circles. Living the high life. He hurt me when I was little. An angry man that doesn’t know how to feel emotion. But in fact my anger with him has always been because in leaving he allowed a monster to find his way into our home. Only my dad didn’t know he was a monster and neither did my mum. But of course I cant be angry with her. Because she is the sweetest and kindest person in the world who was very vulnerable.
She didn’t know.
He was the sort of monster that hides behind a respectable facade. A man of the community who is held in high esteem. Educated and in a role of responsibility.
But a man who preyed on the vulnerable.
Seeking these women out. 6 times in total. My mum being the 5th.
Who would I ever tell. as he told me, If I leave, your mum will be left with nothing again. Back in the gutter.
Eventually she realised. It would make her so sad to know that when I found myself alone in the house with him, that I ran to the kitchen and picked up a carving knife to protect myself. He never came near me again but the fear was always there until I moved out when I was 16.
Always looking for someone to protect me and finding the opposite.
Until P.

And yet life happens. And for whatever reason it took its toll on P. The more well I did the less he felt. But I was doing it all for us.
Always it was for us. How sad that makes me when I think too much.

Today as I sat in exactly the same life as before I left,  I found myself wondering what I do to change anything.
I care about P so much.
It pains me to see him so broken and sad. I don’t want to hurt him. I see the times when he is lifted and I watch my girl feeling so much more carefree in life now she doesn’t feel responsible for him.
In fact today she became miss cuddles. I don’t know if she was still a little drunk from her night out but she hugged me every time I passed her. It was lovely.
But I feel like I am living a lie. Being everything I need to be. Being dutiful and good.
P has said to me a few times now… I don’t know why you are with me. You deserve to be happy.
And I always reply .. I am.
I have learnt how to find happiness in whatever life looks like and try to make the most of being alive. I won’t waste it. I have a natural urge to want to be happy. Always a glass half full .. but inside there is such sadness. And last week, holding someone else’s traumas and having nowhere to go to find my happiness, I  hit a wall. One that knocked me down in spite of all my trying. Feeling so very alone.

Because what I am struggling to do is love P in the way I once did. Love and care is a wonderful thing indeed but the love I need to feel is so much more difficult to change. Because it is something I have to feel. And I don’t.

What a very lonely road this feels but one I am trying so hard to walk..
And in a day that is all about empowered women I find myself wondering where the hell I sit in that world.
Could there be an international day for imperfect women who care very much. I think I might relate much more easily to that concept. Because i think I am strong .. but just in my own very imperfect and caring way.

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