Saturday, 19 May 2012

Why Be Alone, Wen you could be Normal!!

How many women say "sometimes, it feels like my husband and I speak 2
different languages", and what happens when she's right, when you do;
Really do! No, I'm not talking mars and Venus, or culture/ethnicity;
frequent contributors on this particular blog! Instead; let me back
track to what inspired this post! So; 2 years ago I got married; and
for 2 years since, we've been battling the immigration system to bring
my husband here. He arrived in the UK no more than 2 weeks ago; so we
are both quite overwhelmed by our struggles being over, and by the
reality of the commitment that we made, and how that sort-of obligates
us both to live together! When you get married, people tell you about
hearts, flowers, dresses, mendi, cakes and fluffy happy things, but
they don't tell you about fights, about transitioning, about needing
space or about feeling like you've made the biggest mistake of your
life! Maybe, if they told you, no one would be stupid enough to enter
in to marriage! Thankfully, this is most definitely not the reality
for some people, but international/long distance or pressured
relationships certainly do, probably inevitably suffer from these
things! Put 2 independent minded, determined, free thinking souls
together in a 1-bedroom apartment, ask the dominant one to transition
the place from "her" house to "our" house; force them together for 20
hours a day; and what have you got; a recipe for tantrums and gnashing
of teeth! This is what has been going on for us over the past couple
of weeks; and though people keep telling me that its "normal" that I
should "snap out of it", "get over it", and just "live it", I feel
they all miss the point. Worse still; they make light of our
situation; and despite the pain we inadvertently cause each other,
I've realised something deeper over these past 2 weeks.

At a basic level, change is difficult; its tough on only children; its
even tougher on survivors. Before others scream "excuse" at me, I'm
simply attempting an explanation here! Personally; I am something of a
double-survivor; somehow dragging myself out of abuse, and then out of
a violent, complex marriage. This was my second/last shot, my chance
to get life right; to prove to others, then myself; that I could do
"normal". Now, I'm slightly less sure of myself, but in all the
arguments and flapping and panic, I realise one basic truth, that I
don't really know what "normal" is anyway? I grew up in a broken home,
I attended a "special needs" school where I felt estranged from many
of the severely disabled kids, and then mainstream school, where I was
even more estranged from all the "normal" looking ones! Then there was
the abuse, which caused things to become even more screwed up, for a
very long time; and then the dodgy marriage! There was only 1 place I
felt safe; and that was totally on my own! For 7 years, I've lived
alone in this apartment. I've hid behind its stone walls and built a
protective layer of heat, wood and assorted junk around the pieces of
my shattered heart. The foundation for this precarious ivory tower was
"better the devil you know", and though I battled with the inner voice
that told me "normal" was the only way to be truly happy, I resisted
falling for it; that is; till I met my husband!! He was kind,
balanced, hard-working and gentle; in short, what all women want; and
what my soul told me I needed! However, knowing that and accepting
that are very different things! I realise now that my heart felt
protected, by the prospect of long-distance, for a very long time! Not
really thinking beyond the visa; what would happen when we actually
had to do "normal". So here we are! Trying to learn to live, build a
home and grow together; and for me, perhaps the hardest test is
learning how to "love". See; when you've been abused, the wiring in
your head becomes rather disconnected, so when good things happen, you
don't permit yourself to get too attached to them, thus enabling you
to survive yet again, the pain that doubtless awaits you! Moreover,
when some one shows you love, humility or genuine compassion and
affection, there is a very loud speaker system inside which says "he
is not abusing, hitting or shouting at you; he doesn't love you at
all; not a bit! He doesn't even care!". This won't really make sense
to most of you, especially if you've been blessed enough not to have
experienced abuse! However; for those that have, you'll know very well
how this sort-of becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy; and can often end
up with those you love the most retreating to the hills; because they
can't handle you! And though you've unintentionally driven them away,
you feel peace because, heck; you are back to what you know; and
broken feels good, feels comfortable, safe and tranquil! What these
last 2 weeks have taught me, is that I must learn to love, not on my
terms; but on unconditional, selfless terms. More than that; I must do
the hard part; and learn to take love, to live it, hold it and embrace
it! there is no such thing as "normal" either; the lifestyle is up to
the individuals. One thing I did realise when I married, was that I
marked the end of a generation in both my maternal and paternal
families; I was an only child; and if I married and had a family;
while the line would carry on; it would be, it had to be; different; a
dramatic departure from all the car crashes of relationships and
connections I'd grown up with. If you are reading this and going
through something similar, relax! You are not "abnormal", no matter
what the friends, husband or anyone else says! You are just you,
coping in the only way you know how! I don't have solutions for you,
other than to recognise your own destructive cycles of behaviour;
counter the messages your mind is predisposed to responding to. Be
calm, be strong and make sure you get some time out! And in your every
waking hour; in prayer, in dua and in meditation; (and washing the
dishes too!), ask your creator to teach you how to love; knowing your
Lord is knowing yourself; so that when you accept his love for you,
then you become capable of embracing your spirit; and those of others;
this change, this pain need not be the end; it can be the beginning;
but ditch the "normal", throw away the manual and let yourself fly;
you'll fake it for a while; a long while probably! But then, slowly;
it will become real, closer to real; and then you'll be really there.
Just take each day at a time; and if I can do that, anyone can; the
secret really is, to keep breathing!