I am having an amazing time doing this blog…it fills me with such hope for the future and has made me see that life is this confusing journey that we all experience in our own way with our own interpretations…
The way we were brought up, the lessons we learn along the way, be it pain or happiness shape us into the people we are.
I can see so clearly why those that are brought up in poverty and with hardships can become hard and unforgiving, but the beauty lies in those that turn around the negative to become the positive force in their own journey and those that join them on it.
Last night I was so fortunate to get a message from my BEST friend Julie. We have been best friends since high school and in true best friend form we started out bitter enemies, storming around the school campus screaming and lashing out at each other. Actually Julie scared me so I am pretty sure I was running at the time, this was to become the start of a life long friendship. That friendship was tested over and over by so many things. I became jealous of the life Julie lived, the freedom, the boyfriends, the fact that she was set up in a house before me, had kids before me and yet she did it tough, she battled in her relationships, she worked so so hard to have everything that she has and her marriage ended after 3 beautiful kids, houses bought and lives well and truly intertwined. You see that is the thing about looking over the fence to that ever green grass, it is seen through rose colored glasses. I should have taken my shoes off and stepped into her life to really see that she struggled terribly in the early years and still just like me has her burdens.
That’s a life lesson that I had to learn, to look at others and wish for their lives is a terrible waste of the time we have here on earth. We need to live the life our cards have given us, we need to really embrace all the challenges, good, bad, indifferent and move forward accepting everything that is thrown our way.
Julie has always been there for me, when I was struggling after Tom died, she came and vacuumed and cleaned my house, like a ghost, not taking up space or being in my face, she pottered in the background and made my days easier. She would always be there with food and comfort whenever there was a life drama.
Not to mention she showed me that you have to stand up and take a step away sometimes in order for change to happen.
In the early years of my marriage, when all was very rocky with alcohol and babies, I confided in Julie a lot about my feelings of wanting to leave, and she would empathize and be supportive and would always tell me it was my decision. Eventually I became the girl who cried wolf, always complaining and never taking action and Julie said very plainly…You will never leave Rachel, you have it too good !
Those few words hit home for me, I couldn’t keep saying I was unhappy and murmuring about leaving if I was never going to actually do it. So I went home, mid harvest, packed my house and my two boys up with Julies help and in one day moved my life into Moree. That was the very first time in my life I felt empowered. The first time since getting married that I felt I was in control. The first time I felt I could survive. Regardless of the fact that the future held much turmoil and reconciliation, that one comment and the ensuing move became the turning point in my young adult life. I gained an independence I felt I had forfeited to be married. That’s the reality you see, I left my Mum and Dad and moved into marriage and life with Lynden, I had not taken a step on my own, I was supported always by family and loved ones, I never had to think about bills, rent, phones, food, fuel, car payments…nothing until that point when I had a 5 year old and 2 year old to take care of in the roughest area in Moree. I had worked, I was always working, but I had a partner to share the costs of life with, I had someone to make sure all would be OK, now, I had me and I became very strong and very hard.
I have to give Lynden credit during this time, he was so busy with harvest, he came home to a house with one of everything left, literally enough to live but no longer the creature comforts a family create in a house. Ofcourse he raged initially but within a week he was on the doorstep and day after day returned to reinforce his desire to work it all out. Had I only had the insight I now have maybe we wouldn’t have railed against each other for so many years, if only I didn’t see the drinking as a weapon he was using to hurt me. Still that is my book, that is a bulky set of chapters in my story, but it made me who I am, it made me see the weakness in people and empathize with the pain of others, it is a lesson, a path taken by too many, a flaw a lot of people have, no different to drugs and gambling.
I want you all to know, this initial experience gave me strength unimaginable. It made me so much better for my children, I wanted my children to see that you do not have to settle in life, you do not have to live in a relationship that makes you miserable, you always have a choice and you always have the right to make that choice. My children have lived with the mantra … Life is too short to live unhappy… My son Sam must have heard that a million times, especially after his brother died, I never wanted my babies to live like I did, I wanted them to expect more, and find a happiness I know exists. I think this sounds as if I was living a nightmare, in one respect I was, I was brought up on a lie you see, I was the eldest child in a family of Mum and Dad that were happy. That never fought in front of us EVER and they always kissed each other goodbye and hello. If Mum said Black, Dad did too. So for me, I wanted the same fairytale, I wanted the husband that loved without measure and never argued always agreeing with me, and I wanted to be looked after like Dad looked after Mum.
Unfortunately my story is soooooooo far removed from that I was angry with my parents for the longest time for letting me believe that lie. I actually felt they set me up for failure. Still to this day they are that couple, the happy go lucky couple that support, listen and nurture. I am very lucky there is no doubt that I have them both in my life because they have lived their own hell with all their children and they have always remained Switzerland in every instance. They have sat on the fence, always listened, supported and helped when they could without forming any judgements. When I left Lynden they stayed on the farm and continued working with Lynden and throughout the district questioning and locals talking about the craziness of Lynden having them there, they remained and held firm and without exaggeration were his greatest Ally and held things together when Lynden felt it was falling apart. So I am forever grateful for my parents and their neutral dispositions.
This too is a lesson I am holding onto. My children are going to have hurdles, they are going to get hurt, and suffer through unimaginable issues but regardless I want to be Switzerland and remain impartial, always supportive but never becoming a dictator of terms or voicing my opinion. Opinions should be kept to yourself unless you are asked specifically to voice them in terms of people and situations. This I have learned through my time away as I had some of Lyndens family send me their opinions in text, they were harsh and I understand that they were sent from a protective place of love, but you know what…keep them ..because you never know the whole of a story…of which there is always 3 sides..Mine, Yours and the TRUTH.
Until next time everyone
Smile and Breath Deep
PS..Live your truth