The new month came and I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it. I ended October eating chocolate and fending off anxiety from my job search. I went to my therapist appointment hoping that my heart could find something to ease my nerves. The depression and anxiety were pushing me to points that made me forget how far I had come. After publishing Wounds are Wounds my heart felt at peace. I needed to tell my story and reach out to people. I didn’t want to sit twiddling my thumbs and wondering if I was doing anything good. My therapist asked me how I was doing. I thought about it and realized I was actually doing well. I talked about how proud of I was of writing and sharing my story. Finally giving life to what my heart had been aching about for several years. I decided to take some time to find a way to feel good about myself and how far I had come. We did an exercise that was supposed to help me feel mindful of things. In my mind and heart, I decided yes I was ready to take the next step in my healing. Honestly, I wasn’t quite sure what that step was. But I took my inner child by the hand and said okay let’s do it.
That was 13 days ago. I decided after my appointment that I would give myself permission to ask for help when I needed it. Whether it took time to be with my cousin whom I had never really met since we grew up in different countries. She and I were several years apart, yet living very similar lives. Our children are a year apart coincidently. She had invited me to come and stay a few days with her and her daughter. I said sure when I got a spare moment. That spare moment came last week and well I took it. Like most of my relatives, she wanted me to rest and enjoy the break. Honestly, that was something I was not used to. My mind kept saying do this don’t do that. Just sitting and reading a book or watching Gordon Ramsey’s Hell’s Kitchen was something I felt like I needed to do. I just needed to breathe.
Two weeks have gone by since I started this post. Several changes have happened. A job that I applied for called me for a screening interview. It was my dream job being a receptionist at the local H&R Block. I didn’t mind that it would be a temporary seasonal position. It would be near our apartment and within walking distance. My heart jumped for joy just to be picked. All the long hours of applying and waiting for a call back was getting to be difficult. Several of the positions were emailing me and saying that they were going with someone else. I had been talking to my cousin and also my roommate about how it was getting to be difficult to be turned down several times. I started to think twice about my skills. So that was why I started putting my attention towards other activities like watching shows I hadn’t seen in a while and reading books. I wanted to enjoy the little things in life and hope for the best. My goal was to be working or have an interview by Halloween.
It was after that when I realized that I was putting too much energy into it and being anxious about it. The day first was my therapy appointment and got a chance to express my thoughts and concerns to my therapist. It was then that she showed me the Calm app and I decided to give the meditation option a try. For several mornings I would try the free sessions and kept my self on a strict regimen. Whenever I got anxious I would put something on to help me find my center and help myself. For 3 weeks I did this exercise. I felt my body start to relax and my mind ease through things. As applications went out I kept my mind still and positive. There were days that I was cooking dinner and washing dishes. Reminding myself about how I would be celebrating my first year back.
It was around the milestone that I got the screening call for the receptionist position. In my heart, I couldn’t see myself working in retail again especially with the holidays coming up. I just wanted to be in an office and using my customer service skills in a totally different environment. I kept looking at my Indeed App at the jobs applied. Hoping that the next phone call or email would be an opportunity in the making. When I got the call I calmly answered the questions and I felt my confidence soaring. Then getting the request for an in-person interview was the confidence boost I needed. For the first time in a long time, I went to the interview calmly without feeling nervousness. My mind felt like an elementary school student getting picked to play on a team. I decided whatever happened I would do my best and let things just happen. Let my actions and resume do the talking. I can tell you that it went well and was told that I would hear something within the week. A week ago today I got the call that hey wanted to move forward with me and if I was still interested. I calmly said yes and I am waiting to hear about the next step.
One of the things I have learned this month was how much I was trying to get myself better and at the same pace as my peers. I have to be honest that is very exhausting. I didn’t look at how far I had come in the past year. I mean not only did I make up my mind to return back to America after taking a break to find myself. I need to praise myself for publishing a piece online that many people have been complimenting me about. I took a training course to help me brush up my customer service skills and completed it. I worked two jobs and learned how to get around Mill Creek and Everett. That is a lot to accomplish in a short time.
You might be wondering what I have planned next for December. Well, this time I am just going to do my best and not plan too much. I figured that way I won’t feel disappointed if things don’t work out.
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The ideas for this post have rolled around in my head for a few days. Between all the posts on social media about sexual harassment and abuse, my heart was torn thinking about my own scars.
In the past couple of months, I have felt and sensed my own personal milestones come by. When I left my son’s father, my son’s birthday, and now the last time I saw my son. I know that the emotional scars haven’t quite healed because I can still feel the pains of anxiety and depression. While I was abroad I didn’t really get a chance to mourn or feel anything. I was going between anger and sadness over what my mind was trying to understand what was happening in my life. Did things really happen or were they just thoughts my mind was replaying over and over. Why was I easily startled by the single noise that triggered by bumps of vehicles driving by?
I should enjoy life and all that it is bringing to me. From the food I eat to the beverage that I pick from the local Starbucks. I am lucky that my family wants to see me grow into a person who is confident and enjoying life. Not worrying about whether I could pay for something that I know I could.
A few years before I was married I had applied and was hired to my first full-time job with benefits. I remember (and my mom reminds me when the depression fog comes around) that I was making a very good wage that I not only could take care of myself and shared my prosperity with others in need. She would remind me how even with a small wage I was always wanting to help others or even give back to my parents who helped me for so long. She would smile and mention the jewelry I would find for her at the local stores. “That is the kind of person you are, Molly.” she would smile and say.
Even when I was abroad and living on the kindness of my family and friends that was what I did. I was giving to the mother of twin girls who couldn’t breastfeed enough milk for them. It would bring tears to my eyes thinking of my son who I couldn’t breastfeed because the stress would affect my hormones. Then there was the boy who needed shoes so he could go to school. I mean how could I let someone else not go to school. Especially when his family couldn’t afford for him to have shoes or clothes at that.
The hardest part of my healing is realizing that I am a good person… actually I am one of the few good people in the world (according to many people who know me). The mental scars keep me from remembering that. The abuse I felt was economical (saying I couldn’t balance a checkbook or even a pay off a credit card at the time), verbal (insulting my intelligence or that my mother resembled King Kong), and worst of all emotional (withdrawing affection when I didn’t do things to the way he wanted them like cleaning or folding clothes). I am a very affectionate person. Giving me a hug used to be the best way of letting me know that you care. After I was told multiple times that I was supposed to stay on my side of the bed (in fact there were pillows dividing us) or couch. Everything inside of me felt like I didn’t deserve love or anything towards the fact.
These days I find it difficult to look someone in the eye especially if it’s a man. I would constantly argue with my father about little things especially if I couldn’t do something right. “You can’t do anything right!” the thoughts would chant in my mind. “You can’t clean or even take care of yourself!” Many times, I get verbally defensive arguing about how much I am trying. Other times I get quiet and sad wondering how long it will take for me to understand some basic instructions. “Your way is wrong it has to be this way!” would constantly ring in my head.
Pretty soon I will get depressed and wonder if anyone really cared enough to give me a chance or look at my achievements versus my challenges. “It’s not you. It is just not the right fit.” Became something I have heard in the last few months. I was a quick learner that just couldn’t grasp “it” when I was under pressure.
It was while I was abroad that I went back to my reading and writing corner of my healing cocoon. I knew that it was one thing that I knew that I could do. Yes, I couldn’t go online as much to publish it. But I knew that someday when I would get the chance to return to America I would do whatever it took to dream big and self-publish my work on my blog. I felt like Starting Over 2013 would be my second chance at making it big. Many times, I heard that my blog was a waste of time and that I shouldn’t use my energy writing to a world that might not listen or take my words seriously. Every time that thought would come to me I would get upset because I knew of the millions of people who were suffering silently the same way I did. If I hurt someone out there was hurting even more. Since I have come back I have read about young children as young as 5 dying from self-harm even suicide because someone bullied them. I would get so upset because I thought of my son who would be about the same age. I feared that perhaps this could be happening to him and I wouldn’t even know it.
To this day I don’t even hear much about him. Around in 2016, I decided to not write or communicate with his father because of the lack of internet connection in the area that I was in. It brought me to tears to think that my son was upset that he didn’t get his visit because I couldn’t even connect on the internet. I remember receiving the email. I wanted to write him and say it wasn’t my fault. In fact, when people would ask me if I had heard from him I would turn my head away mentioning that I was not able. People in Holeta would hear my hurtful questions about when the network would be working. Was this normal? I wasn’t normal for a mother to not speak or email her son.
Yes, a reader that was also the reason I didn’t get to blog as much as I wanted. Oh, the creative juices were there. It’s just the connection to the internet was not there. Since I have come back I have been told not to share as much. Not to mention things in case his father would read them. It was like the cloak of silence was being put on me. Now, when I see other people saying their own story my thoughts would pound in my head. “Why won’t you say something, Molly.” So, I write, blog, tweet, and share when I feel it’s alright.
The last straw in my mind was this week when the “woman’s blackout” was displayed online. That night two separate people messaged me on Facebook messenger with the announcement. I didn’t know if they meant it or just were spreading the word. The thing was that it was several hours after the fact. The next day I went on my profile and wrote about how it made me felt. I made it for my friends only to know. I wasn’t ready for the world to see it. Nobody knew the truth. I hinted at it many times or briefly spoke about my situation. I mean who would believe that an Ethiopian American woman would go through this. Towards the end of my stay in Ethiopia, I felt comfortable enough to share with some people my story. Some of them looked at me like it was hard to believe. Okay being a pastor’s daughter didn’t help the situation at all. I mean how many people my age would return back to their native land and live with their family? Not many if you think about it. Many people knew that I had a son. A few asked where he was. I would mention that he was with his father in America. I mean what was I supposed to say his father didn’t want him to travel with me because I was from another country. That is only half of the reason.
It has been a few weeks since I began this post. I took the time to think over things through and figure out why I wanted to write this in the first place. One of the reasons I began this blog was to help me as I was dealing with life after leaving my son’s father. It began as a way of writing out my thoughts especially as I was getting ready for my divorce hearing. It was not an easy decision to leave him. One thing I have always wanted to say is that a wound is a wound no matter what kind it is.
Verbal wounds can leave a person feeling like they are nothing. They can rob a person of their confidence and self-esteem. Emotional wounds are just the same. It leaves a person afraid of everything and everyone. When you don’t get a hug because something you did was not to a person’s liking it can affect you in many ways. I was told normal people don’t get compliments or positive reinforcement. I can’t explain how much that hurt me. It made me feel like I couldn’t do anything right.
To this day when people hear my story, they look at me in awe. “You are so strong!” I tend to look away because I don’t feel strong. I just did what I had to do to survive. As I get ready to publish this my hope is that I can help someone who might be going through a similar situation. I want to give hope and shed a light on this subject. It took me most of 2017 to get the courage to say I need help. Yes, it is a scary thing to talk about. The hardest part is not looking somebody in the eye. When you are afraid and hurt just looking someone in the eye is the hardest thing you can do. Trusting that they won’t hurt you is the next hardest thing.
Just a reminder you can make a difference! If you don’t someone else will.
As posted on Facebook