Daily Archives: October 3, 2019

What’s going on in that beautiful mind…

It’s hard, isn’t it? Getting to the bottom of an issue. We all have these defense mechanisms. We start thinking certain thoughts as if by default. Thoughts that have nothing to do with what the real issue is. 

Personally, in personal relationships, my personality goes wacko (you see what I did there? Couldn’t resist. Apologies…). I micromanage. I manipulate. I demand. I provoke. I tease. I do everything but facing the fear that I might get hurt. This can be with the kids I raise, the men I date, the people I work with, or close friendships. 

First, I think I’m doing the right thing. I’m planning. I’m thinking ahead. I’m setting boundaries. I’m enforcing rules. I’m managing. Call it what you like. I’m caught up in solving one problem, or another, using one tactic or another, refusing to face my main fear: that I’m not good enough. That I’ll lose all the people I love, or projects I care about, because I’m not good enough. 

Yesterday (now the day before yesterday), I said something so incredibly stupid to one of the kids I raise I’ve spent 24-hours beating myself up about it. She wanted to stay with her grandmother, like her brother, just coming home here and there when she feels like it. I told her that was not acceptable and she needed to come home to do homework. Of all the idiotic things I could say. Homework. Really? 

I’m worried about her attitude, her friends, that the township has done a number on her, but as my head has been stuck in “if I only had the money to get her out of there…or hadn’t spent all my money on her brother, we wouldn’t have these problems as we’d live a nice life in a nice house and she’d be in a nice school.” In short, had I at least gotten her into a better school, she’d be better off and we wouldn’t have half the problems we now have. 

In my mind, the future scenario of her tanking school and ending up miserable using drugs, played out. The scenario everyone around her have been fretting about. In my head another scenario was playing out as well: the past couple of years of visa problems and issues with her brother and feeling inept as a mother because of it. 

She wants to be loved, not lectured. She has over and over again said she wants to stay with me, but I’m “too strict.” And hearing those words on the phone yesterday I flipped. Fear. Panic. A sense of failure. 

I understand she wants to be with her biological family too. I have never prevented that. She has always been allowed to stay in Hangberg for that reason, but in the past I didn’t like it because of her carer’s adult sons being drug addicts and she never having any rules, resulting in hanging out with the wrong people in the middle of the night. So I enforced rules. 

Staying with her gran is different. There are no crazy drug addicts there. They still live in the thick of gangsters, addicts and thieves, but the house is relatively safe. And as there are so many of them, her brother can’t cause much harm. 

Parenting kids born into a drug den, one of them being on the autism spectrum with severe behavioral problems and aggression, without the financial structure to support it has been hell, frankly. I’ve done everything I can and usually it hasn’t felt like enough. I’ve been stuck in other countries swearing and panicking about losing the children. I’ve awoken at night hearing them scream my name. I’ve cursed the fact that I couldn’t afford enough therapists and special needs schools/better schools. I’ve cursed not having enough money to take them on stunning adventures. I’ve cursed the fact that I have to work twelve hour days to survive instead of spending time with them. I’ve cursed the fact that I couldn’t afford investing five million rand straight away to get a permanent residency. I think I cursed the whole of South Africa in the process. But somewhere along that road I woke up. I decided to take charge of my life and do what I can. And ever since that day it’s been a journey up a mountain instead of falling down a mountain. It’s been hard. It’s been so fucking hard I’ve wanted to kick down walls and sometimes I’ve felt so overwhelmed I didn’t want to live. Not like I wanted to kill myself, I just didn’t want to keep going. I didn’t know how to find the power. But every time I did. And life changed. 

A friend of mine once told me that she looked upon her children and realized they weren’t hers. They belonged to themselves. And that’s what I’ve tried to remember, while also remembering that children, as much as they kick and scream, sometimes shouldn’t get their way. Because what they want isn’t good for them. Being a parent is sometimes not about being loved, but about doing the right thing. 

What this journey has taught me is that you can’t allow circumstance to dictate how you feel. I often get stuck in my head (I mean I’ve been berating myself for twenty-four hours by now — see the post about Your inner dominatrix…), but I’ve learned that if I pay enough attention, I can unstick myself. 

Today I wasn’t feeling happy. So I decided, instead of running around thinking manic thoughts about things to distract myself, or simply feeling miserable, to sit down and ask myself what’s truly going on. This is going on. This and a sinus infection.

Every day is an opportunity to grow. To face our fears. To face our pain. To grow beyond them. 

Still, when I came home yesterday, after writing this, I was sad. I was tired. I felt depleted. The toddler was gorgeous. He wanted to fall asleep on the kitchen sofa, so we were both lying under a blanket there, on one end each, so my toes faced him. He decided to play dog and bite my toes. He was hilarious. And so goddamn cute. And I just felt sad. Because I was worried about his siblings. I felt lonely without them. I was worried about his mother who sometimes thinks she can handle raising children, until she forgets to pick them up at daycare within two days. We’ve been discussing adoption. I’ll be able to soon. Six years late, but still. 

And I’m scared man. I’m fucking petrified of losing the kids. For six years my life has been about finding solutions to get a visa. To find a way to launch my career and be with the kids. Permanent residency. Adoption rights. Movies. Magique. From time to time I’ve also decided to approach topics like men and friends. Sorting out my dating life and social life. And I’ve made every fucking mistake under the sun during this time. If only I’d known back then what I know now. If only…

But I didn’t. And as the post Your inner dominatrix… explains, there’s no point with regret. The best we can do is from now on live as we want to. To honor the people we fucked up along the way by making the mistakes we did. Honoring them by being better people. Honoring ourselves. Making the world a better place by doing better. 

That’s the best we can do. And as I’ve barely had time to breathe in the past six months, maybe I also need to honor the fact that now that things have finally calmed down a bit, I’ll feel the stress. I’ve been sick twice in two weeks. Four times in three months. And throughout it I’ve been pulling 10-12-hour days six days a week. Sometimes I’ve been in the office with a fever. 

The past two weeks I’ve allowed myself to blog. Just that gives me feelings of guilt. Time to process emotions instead of work. I always try to teach the whole world my learnings through this blog. Teach myself. And it’s only when I write that I truly process things. And by writing down my learnings I avoid lecturing everyone in sight. Because people need love and encouragement, not lectures.  

I feel like a big ass failure at the moment, while also feeling like I’ve come a hundred miles since last year this time. But as the story goes, I never stopped fighting because I was bleeding. If there was one thing my father taught me is that you get up, and you go. You keep going. Till you get there.

I’ll go see my kids. I’ll talk to them. I’ll explain. I’ll live. I’ll learn. And the truth is, just because something doesn’t pan out the way you wanted it to, doesn’t mean you can’t be happy. Maybe there’s a better plan. For one, I’m putting resources in place in the township to help the kids. Maybe this will work better. Maybe we will spend time together in a more functional way. And I finally have time to spend time with all the other kids I mentor too, as I’ll spend more time in the township. That’s where my heart is.

Plus, I’m gonna take dance classes again, because the mentor I’ve put in place for the kids is a dance teacher. That alone is worth celebrating. Seriously. There’s nothing much that makes me happier than dancing. I’ll be the fool with a big grin on my face. I’ll be happy.

Happiness is a choice. A damn hard choice. A choice to be the master of your thoughts. To make the most out of what you’ve been given. To let go of guilt and regret. To learn. To move forward. To flow with life. To constantly grow. It’s not always easy, but it sure as hell is worth it.

And remember, you are beautiful. We all are. We just get a little bit lost sometimes.

Dizzy blonde, over and out.

What’s going on in that beautiful mind…

Image Source: https://za.pinterest.com/pin/507780926736019731/

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