Regular readers will know by now that I’ve had a more colourful past than most. I had a dysfunctional upbringing and left home at just 15. Certain things I went through as a child lead to major bouts of depression as a young adult. I was angry at the world back then, and felt very sorry for myself. I flirted heavily with the devil on many occasions. Made bad decisions. Did things I’m not proud of. Used to drink way too much, party way too much, and sleep with guys who I wouldn’t even look at sober let alone bump uglys with. Eventually I had a breakdown aged 22, and sought help via an amazing counsellor. She taught me that I needed distance from my destructive family, that I deserved to be loved and how to respect myself. Although she tried her hardest, she couldn’t get me to tackle my love of booze or getting obliterated. That would come later, along with breakdown number two.
Ten years ago I was made redundant from the large bank I was working for. I toyed with the idea of getting on the property ladder but decided to go travelling instead and booked an around the world plane ticket. I had many adventures and met lots of interesting people, a good handful of them are still a part of my life to this day. The trip was the best decision I ever made – not least because it was where I met the love of my life. I’d been on the road for almost six months at that point, and in SE Asia for two. We met in a bar on Serendipity Beach. It was supposed to be my last night in the town before heading elsewhere, and it was his first night there.
I don’t know if it was love at first sight, but sparks definitely flew. We had six blissful weeks together and each day was an adventure. When we went our separate ways (him to Australia and me home) it was horrendous. After a couple of days in the UK I realised I was making a huge mistake, and within a fortnight I was on a flight heading down under. My future was uncertain and funds were fast running out, but I knew I would regret not going and seeing what could have been. We spent a year between Oz, the SE Asian country we met and home, then decided to head back to Asia more long term around our first anniversary.
It was all such a whirlwind, we didn’t have a solid plan and thought we’d look for English teaching jobs when we got there. After less than a week we were given the opportunity to set up a shop above an established charity. The previous occupant had left rather dramatically and they needed new folk upstairs that they could trust. A few weeks into being back things reached a very messy head with my family and I cut ties with them all. I was a complete state for a long time afterwards. Looking back I was totally incapable of setting up a new life in a country where we didn’t speak the language or have any real friends. We lasted almost a year, but things were not as we imagined they would be. Being a tourist in a place like that and living there as an ex-pat are two very different things, which we discovered the hard way.
When we returned home at the start of 2006 it was separately. We then had an awful ‘are they on again are they off again?’ relationship for the best part of the year. During this time I worked for a man who would give Meryl Streep a run for her money in the Devil Wears Prada. Breakdown number two came in the November, and I finally woke up to my addictions and got clean as they say in the movies. I also realised I was in great danger of losing the best thing had happened to me. Hubby gave me one last chance thank goodness, and we headed into 2007 under very different circumstances. I was no longer unable to have a glass of wine without finishing the bottle. I no longer had any interest in going out partying all night. I worked incredibly hard to became a better person than the one I was perhaps ‘destined’ to be given my background and start in life. At the beginning of 2008 I was presented with a beautiful diamond and we were married a year later, while pregnant with our 4yo. By then I didn’t have to work hard to be a better person, I already was one.
It hasn’t been sunshine and roses from then until now. Hubby and I have overcome massive obstacles since we became parents, and continue to do so on a weekly basis. I still have the odd moment whereby succumbing to the dark clouds is my only option. Just last week I had an awful day, woke up in a fowl mood and went to bed in one. But we’re all allowed an off day every now and then, and I don’t beat myself up for them like I used to.
There are people that you meet who seem to easily breeze through life. It’s as if they were born under a lucky star and it follows them everywhere. On the flip side some folk get the rawest end of the deal – I can’t even comprehend the pain of losing a child or husband. For most of us though, how we deal with the hand we are dealt determines our fortune. You can call me a plethora of things, but lucky is not one of them. I have taken massive risks over the years to obtain my happiness, and I have to work hard to maintain the status quo.
We all have control over our own destiny, and it is up to each of us to ensure that we live our lives being the best we can possibly be. I truly believe that anyone can change their ways – no matter how naughty or wicked. Anyone is capable of breaking away from what I call the cycle of dysfunction. You just have to want to badly enough.