(This blog was originally written by me for LifeSurfer in 2015/2016)
Originally posted for Amyoes.com as part of the #lovemydetour series. To read the original blog, click here. To read more about #lovemydetour and Amy Oestreicher, click here.
Do you know the feeling of being in love?
You have that lovely feeling in your tummy and throat when you feel immensely happy and can’t get that grin off your face? I have that feeling almost every day, but the thing is… I don’t have someone I have a crush on.
It is my life that I have fallen in love with.
No, my life isn’t and wasn’t perfect. I was sexually abused by my uncle for more than ten years, and I was raped and mentally, financially, physically abused by an ex-partner who I met when I was only 14 and he was almost 22.
Due to one assault, my children were born prematurely, and when I escaped, my ex-partner vowed to take the children away from me, which he has tried to do ever since, making use of the judicial system but never once inquiring after the well-being of our children during this same time. I lost almost my entire family, but I regained a family of the heart in return.
There are many memories of when I thought I was at the lowest point in my life only to sink into a deeper hole. But as I look back, I notice that every sinkhole was actually a detour resulting in the happy life I lead now.
My most important detour was the moment I decided to be the author and creator of my own life. It laid the foundation of how I would handle difficulties in the future.
I was 24 in 2010 and the relationship with my second boyfriend had just come to an end. As I lay in bed weeping, I realized that it wasn’t so much the end of the relationship that I was weeping about but more the feeling of despair and not feeling I was capable enough to handle things on my own.
This was the same feeling that led me to the relationship with boyfriend no.1 in the first place and while I was escaping the troubles of boyfriend no.1 I gave myself to an even older man, boyfriend no.2 who was, in essence, a copy of no.1 although no. 2 wasn’t physically abusive. However, the emotional abuse was more refined and worse than with no.1 – they even shared the same name!
As I stopped weeping, my friend asked me: “Do you want to change?” “Yes!” I cried out. “Okay,” she said. “But it is important to work on yourself first. You are capable of handling things for yourself, and I will be here to help you hold the mirror.”
At that moment, I chose to be strong and to become my own author, to love myself unconditionally. I started to heal myself, find the spots within me that needed TLCG (Tender, Love, Care, and Growth). I broke the bonds with people that were draining the life out of me; I educated myself and traveled a lot with the boys.
I finally felt free.
In 2013, we hadn’t heard from my ex-partner for years, and a part of my university program was to study abroad for 6 months. My dream was to work for the United Nations, helping others so they could lead a life without abuse. Due to the controlling and abusive nature of my ex-partner, he suddenly showed up and used the judicial system to prevent us from going, and as a result, I couldn’t study in America to accomplish that dream.
But I didn’t break. I just found ways around this while still achieving the core things I wanted to do in life: helping women after trauma discover how to recover and to create a happy life for themselves. Sometimes the “how” or the “way” can change but it doesn’t mean our “what” has to change, too.
What I learned in the past 5 years is that I can always rely on myself. Always. I am incredibly strong and am resilient like a rubber band. I have learned to love my own company and to watch myself form the sculpture of my own life.
The most important part in all this was to love myself unconditionally and to discover who I am and what I need to create my ideal life, making decisions based on how I want to grow as a person. And to remember; it all starts with a decision.
You see me pictured here with the Oldehove, a churchtower in Leeuwarden (Netherlands) which was never finished due to the sagging of the tower. Some say that the Oldehove is a failed project, it stands here in this state for almost 500 years now.It’s something to be ashamed of as a city.
But to other people it is an symbol with a story to tell about all those people walking the 183 steps to the roof for hundreds of years now; muscisians, families, soldiers during the worldwar II and people from all over the world. They truly enjoy the view and stepping in the past for a few moments and some feel even proud of this unfinished tower.
To me the Oldehove is the symbol of a very powerful detour, full of resillience despite being ridiculed, challenged and threatend by nature, fire and even by it’s own citizens. Yet, still she stands tall for almost 500 years. Call that a detour!
Or like Mahatma Gandhi said: First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.