Change, Healing

On being brave

I’ve moved 21 times in the past 15 years — never more than two hours away from the town where I was born.

I hate everything about moving. Each time I swear will be the last. But for me, moving has always been dependent on other people.

Each move triggers the horror of the first one I remember: 1985, ages 6 and 7, and attending 3 different schools in one year. It was this year that thrust me into depression and loneliness, a state I’m fighting to recover from nearly 30 years later.

The depression worsened every year. By the end of high school, despite an average grade above 90%, I was trapped. I’d learned long before that hoping or planning was futile — I was always wrong and my parents were always right. I’d relinquished control over my life in exchange for my survival.

At age 20, my closest high school friend convinced me to move 2 hours away where she attended university. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a true move, as I was still tied to my parents and hometown.

And the moving years began — escaping my parents; being lured back; poverty; husbands and boyfriends who left; roommates who married and moved on.

In 2013 I took a brave step forward: choosing to move of my own accord.

Nothing happens the way we hope it will. The cycle of pain and poverty is relentless and follows wherever you go. I’m alone and lonely, and 10 months from now, won’t be able to afford my rent.

But what counts is that I’m making progress. Once a week I go to physio and have a Skype session with my therapist. Every week, they remark on how well I’m doing since I made the decision to leave a place I know was wrong for me. I may not belong here either, but the smartest decision I’ve ever made was simply choosing to go.

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