Mental Health, Story Time

What Happened After I Shared About My Abusive Past | Depression | Part 3/4

And here we are with part 3. I have no idea how many parts are still left of this story but aww well. Here we are anyway. Before I begin, I just want to thank everyone for all the love and support I’ve received. I’m not going to have a long and stretched out introduction this time around. I’m just going to pick up where I left off last time.

Part Two — https://fitcouchpotato.com/2019/01/14/what-happened-after-i-shared-about-my-abusive-past-depression-part-2/

November 2018

As mentioned in the last part, in the middle of October I asked for some distance from my mother. The first two weeks, I talked about my feelings of my mother and all of the in between with my new therapist every single day. Near the end of October, my mother posted something on her Facebook page and all that anger that just started to go away came flooding back. So, I went off my Facebook, switched to my husband’s profile and unfriended her. It wasn’t like I could delete my mom from my life but I had to do something. I had to truly give myself time to heal. To let go of my anger and forgive. I don’t know how I should even begin to explain how I felt after I asked for that distance…I don’t want to say that I was relieved to have her out of my life because that sounds horrible…but the truth is a part of me did feel relieved. I was just so angry at her and once that anger dimmed away, disappointment set in. I was also just relieved that I could take this moment to just concentrate on me. Not worry about everything bad happening in her life. I didn’t have that negativity in my life anymore and that made a world of difference. So, I guess I felt relieved that I cut something negative out of my life? I missed my mom don’t get me wrong. I talked about her nearly every single day with my therapist. When something intense happened in my life, I wanted to call my mom and talk to her about it but I knew that I needed time. My therapist actually said something that really helped with this. When you’re ready to hear whatever your mom has to say, that’s when you’re ready to talk to her. She is right. When we finally have the conversation we need to have, she is also going to have things to say. She has her side of the story and I need to be prepared for that.

My mother’s birthday is in the middle of the month and I was in turmoil about it. It was a big birthday and I wanted to message her but I didn’t want to invite those negative feelings back into my life. I talked about my mother’s birthday with my therapist for the first two weeks of November. I was truly in turmoil about what I should do. When I send her that message and asked for space it was a gesture to myself that I was going to put my feelings, my mental well being first. I knew that my message hurt but I decided to put myself first. The Sunday before her birthday when my father and I had our weekly Skype he mentioned her. He has mentioned her before, almost every week since I broke off contact. In the beginning, it was nice to hear that she was seeing a therapist and truly working on herself. I was happy to hear she was doing something about it. Taking those first few steps towards change. It made me feel like my decision to put some distance between us was the right decision. That I was doing the right thing and I could let go of my guilt. In this Skype session, my father said he would send on my birthday wishes to her. I was relieved to hear this because even though the last thing I wanted to do is put my dad in between us, it also solved my inner turmoil. I would still be able to wish her a happy birthday but I wouldn’t do so by personally messaging her. I wasn’t in a good place mentally at this time. I was very low and struggling. I was in a middle of one of my darkest days (read week) yet and I could barely breathe through the depression. It was bad. Life was pretty fucking intense. On her birthday, my dad wished her happy birthday from me like he promised to do. I was relieved and put my phone away and just forced myself to get out of bed and at the very least go downstairs and be with Dankie. It was incredibly difficult to muster up the energy to get out of bed and go downstairs. It wasn’t long after my father sends her my birthday wishes that he messaged and said that he truly thought that I needed to send her a birthday message. I know this doesn’t seem like a big deal, or maybe to some it does. It was a big deal to me. I was in a very low place mentally and my father knew this. He knew why. I opened up to him about this. I set boundaries and when he didn’t respect these boundaries and pressured me into sending my mom a message, I felt betrayed. I had a long conversation about this to my therapist and she told me that I was allowed to tell my father this. Tell him that I felt that he disrespected my boundaries and I felt betrayed by this. If it wasn’t for my therapist, I would have never thought to do this but I needed to do this. If I didn’t that betrayal I felt would have build and build inside of me and in return undo all the good I was trying to do. He apologized and promised to think a little more about it in the future. He would be more sensitive and he has been.

I always preach this but nothing is going to change if you don’t take any steps to change it. My relationship with my mom would still be toxic and negative if I didn’t message her that day. My relationship with my father would suffer if he continues to make insensitive comments that hurt my feelings. I was terrified before sending these messages. I didn’t want to hurt their feelings but it needed to be said. Our relationship is stronger because of that. I did end up sending her a birthday message and like I had predicted, I had welcomed back all of those negative feelings. She didn’t say anything wrong but by opening up myself and welcoming her back into my life even for just a moment, that anger came back full force. Those negative and toxic feelings threatened to drown me. I struggled a lot to pull myself out of my depressive state. Thinking about it now, I was in a depressive state most of November. It was hard but I was getting better. My new therapist was an enormous help throughout this month. I learned a lot of techniques that I could incorporate in my depressive state to help. I learned to be gentler with myself and how, to be honest with those around me. To be open about my feelings. She also made me realize that sometimes other people’s actions towards me is not a reflection of me but instead of them. She truly helped me a lot. I’m happy I decided to give Talkspace another chance. I was convinced after my first month with them that online therapy is just not my cup of tea. Turns out it’s all about finding the right therapist for you. I did cancel my subscription within in a month but this time around it was because I felt ready. I have learned new techniques; my mindset has changed and I knew that I got this. I wasn’t in denial anymore. I had accepted that life is just going to fucking suck sometimes. I had accepted that I have depression but I knew that no matter what was thrown my way. I would somehow make it. It wouldn’t be easy but I have all the tools I need to pull myself out of it. I also wanted to take her tools that she handed me and run with it. The last thing I wanted to do is become dependent on her.

November was a big month. It was difficult but very much needed. By the end of November, I felt reborn. My mindset has shifted and I felt good. I finally stopped regretting sharing my past. I finally accepted everything that happened and most importantly I was truly healing. I was allowing myself to heal. I was letting go. There are just no words how I felt when everything just started to click. It’s just that moment of peace. It’s that moment of relief you feel when you remove your bra at the end of the day. It’s that moment of relief you feel when you take a sip of water when you were dying of thirst. It’s that moment of relief you feel when you get back inside the warm house after you walked the dog in the cold dead of winter. It was just peaceful. I let go of all that anger and resentment. I started to heal. My heart was picking up those fallen pieces and feeling hole again.

I don’t want you to think that it was all sunshine and rainbows. The same intense things that forced me into breaking point earlier the year was still present but I just had the right mindset for it. I didn’t have that extra baggage to carry. I still had some weight on my shoulders but I lost more than half of it if that makes sense. It’s very difficult to explain everything without just telling you what this intense thing is but I will share when the time is right. When I’m ready. I guess what I’m trying to say was that I felt better but life wasn’t suddenly farting unicorns and silly pandas. It was still very difficult but I was on the right track. I had my old spark back. I was truly losing myself in writing my coming of age story (Chocolate Chip Cookies And Pink Nails, now completed) and just finding so much joy in the entire healing process. For the first time in months, I felt truly happy. I was healing.

I’m going to end this part here. There is still more I want to say about this entire journey but I’m going to leave that for part 4. Again, and I truly can’t thank you all enough. Thank you for all the love and support. I’m so grateful that I have a platform where I feel safe to be able to share something so personal. I did not think I was going to start of my year by talking about something so vulnerable but it feels right. Writing this story just kind of happened. I started writing part one after a message from my father (it will probably come up in the next part) and I just really wanted to talk about it. Before I knew it was taking it way back and just letting it all out. I literally wrote part one two hours ago and I feel so good for doing so. No one has read it yet but it’s out of my head now. No idea if this makes sense. I will see you in the next one. Much love, Cassy xxx

Mental Health, Story Time

What Happened After I Shared About My Abusive Past | Depression | Part 2/4

I have no idea how to start this blog. I always try to have a nice introduction but 9/10 they get away from me. Last week I uploaded part one of everything that happened after I shared about my past with the promise with part two soon. This is part two and this is going to be a hard one. I really don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings but I do feel that maybe by me sharing this story, someone out there will feel less alone. So, before I stretch this introduction out, I’m just going to jump straight in.

Part One — https://fitcouchpotato.com/2019/01/07/what-happened-after-i-shared-about-my-abusive-past-depression-part-1/

October 2018

The month of October was even harder than that first month. I didn’t even know it was possible but yeah it was. When I say I felt raw and vulnerable, I truly mean it. For years I’ve kept my abusive past as my own dirty little secret. Even though there was nothing to be ashamed about, I just couldn’t even think about it. Thinking about it hurt too much. I ended up part one by saying that by telling the world and opening up that can of worms forced me to think about. I had no choice. Suddenly it was right there in my face and I couldn’t play the denial card anymore. I had to deal with it. I had to think about it. I had to come to terms about what happened. That was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. For years I only survived by refusing to think much less remember the abuse and suddenly my world was flipped. It was a very raw experience. One of the hardest things I had to do that month was something I never thought I would do. I cut off ties with my mom. Only temporarily and I will explain more in a bit. I just want to take this moment to say that I don’t hold any resentment and anger towards my mother. Not anymore anyway. We both needed the time apart and it has made our relationship stronger. We had the conversation we needed and this has allowed us both to heal.

I really don’t want to write this next part but I already spilled the beans so I should probably explain. My relationship with my mom has truly seen it all. We’ve been through the highs and the lows. My mom has made her fair share of mistakes and there is a lot of things she has done that I would never do with my own children. Wait, that doesn’t sound right. I don’t want you to think that my mom is a bad mom. There are some things my mom did as I was growing up that I don’t agree with. How she acted and responded to things is not something I would carry on. Wait, that doesn’t sound right either. This is incredibly hard. How do I even explain this? It’s something so incredibly personal that I’m not even sure if I should be sharing this but it’s so important…

Let’s try this again. My mom made some bad decisions and I was pulled along with them. She has hurt me without meaning to do so by these bad decisions. For a long time there, my mom was just a very toxic and negative person in my life. That’s sounds wrong too. I don’t want to hurt her feelings if she decides to read this blog but I also want to help someone else struggling with something similar…The path my mom was on wasn’t healthy and her negativity was affecting my mental health in a toxic way. Yes! That’s it! Her response to the news was the hardest to deal with. She definitely took it the hardest. She was the one that brought this man into my life. She was the one who felt at fault, I guess. My dad made it quite clear that he blamed her. Honestly, I don’t know what she was feeling because I’m not her but her immediate response after I shared my past was…I don’t know what to say, it was negative. It was just not something I needed nor wanted to hear. She like my father asked why I didn’t tell them back then but this just rubbed me up the wrong way. In my eyes, there were moments where he abused me in front of her and she laughed it off as a joke. So of course, the young me would think her mother wouldn’t do anything about it. It’s really as simple as that. There is no nice way to say that. We called about a week after I told her the news and she said she was angry at him, at herself and at ME. She was still so in turmoil about the news and I don’t think she meant this but it hurt when she said. Up to this point I had desperately tried to let go of my anger and just truly let go and heal but by her telling me she was angry at me for not telling her back then. It cut deep. It broke my heart. It was like a dam exploded inside of me and I was so incredibly angry at her. I was so sick and tired of the same old bullshit and her negativity in my life. Something needed to change. She was making me feel like the worst daughter ever for not telling her back then. And for telling her now. She was in such turmoil that the stress was keeping her up at night and making her sick. I felt guilty for hurting my mother and then I would feel angry at her at the next moment. I wrote this poem one night.

Why are you the one that’s angry?

Why are you angry?

You always just stood there

You watched his hands tighten around my throat

You never said anything

Why are you angry?

You always just stood there

You watched as his words destroyed me

You never said anything

Why are you angry?

I should be the one angry at you.

I truly was angry at my mother at that moment. I was also hurt. I don’t even think the word heartbreak can truly describe what I was feeling in that moment. As time passed and we entered the first two weeks of October, this anger just kept building. I was pissed off that instead of just saying she was sorry she was turning the whole thing around. She wasn’t sleeping. She was angry. She wanted to call him and tell him a piece of her mind. It was just how she was feeling and there wasn’t a true moment of how do you feel? Are you okay? Honestly, I just wanted a fucking sorry. I wrote this poem the same night as the previous one.

Just a sorry

I just want a sorry,

But I know I won’t ever get that.

Sorry this happened to you.

Sorry I didn’t do anything.

Sorry that I said nothing.

Sorry that I couldn’t stop it.

Sorry that you couldn’t trust me with the ugly truth.

Sorry I brought him into our lives.

Just a sorry.

That’s all I want.

Now that time has passed, I realize that what I wanted to hear from my parents’ when I told them about my abusive past was sorry. I wanted them to say sorry because the really ugly truth is, they both played some role in it. My father wasn’t my knight in shining armor. Yes, I realize I never gave him the opportunity but there is a reason why little me didn’t think I could go to him. There were stages in my life that I didn’t think my dad cared. Not because he didn’t care it was more like there was a block. He had a very strict and hateful girlfriend who hated my guts. It wasn’t a joy to always go down to visit my father on school holidays because this woman always made me feel like a piece of shit. I guess, in my mind who was so used to insults thrown my way connected the fact that when my father didn’t stand up against her emotional abuse, he wouldn’t really do anything about the horrible abuse that was going on at my mom’s. I don’t want to make excuses for myself but you have to understand that my way of thinking back then was very different than how I think today. My mother wasn’t my protector. The person who kissed the nightmares away. She didn’t jump in and protect me when things got bad. It’s really that simple. It sounds horrible but it’s the truth. They both played a role and I just wanted a sorry. Sorry I wasn’t your knight in shining in armor. Sorry that I didn’t say or do anything when he was choking you in front of me. Just a good old sorry.

In the middle of October, I snapped. My mom had made a status on Facebook about how horrible my brother is. Their fight has been going on for years and I was so fucking sick and tired of the same old bullshit that I snapped. I reached out to my brother and mother and tried to arrange a meeting where the two could just sit down and get it all out. I felt that the both of them were in the wrong and they needed to be adults about it. I just really didn’t like that Facebook status. My mom rejected the offer to meet and made snippy little comments on that post and my last little string snapped. I was done. I couldn’t take it anymore. Something had to change. This can’t continue. I just don’t have the energy inside of me anymore for this shit. So, I messaged her. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

17 October 2018 

This message is incredibly hard to write but I know this is the best decision I can make for myself right now. I need some time apart. The both of us need it. We need time to get our thoughts straight and heal. Mentally I’m in a vulnerable place and I need to take all the steps I can to protect myself. I will be honest with you, these last two months you’ve caused me so much pain and distress. I know it wasn’t your intention but I just can’t have the cycle repeat while I’m in such a place mentally. I’m trying my utmost best to put my past behind me and let go of all the anger I have left. On most of the days I’m not angry, I’m almost at peace but then you would say something that would spark that anger. And this anger is toxic. It’s destroying all of my hard work. I’m sorry. The last thing I ever want to do is hurt you but I need to be selfish and think about myself and my feelings. I wish you the best and I will contact you when I’m ready. That’s when we can talk about everything but we really do need this time. Before we both say or do something that we regret. I love you but I need to say goodbye. I hope you will understand and respect this decision. I honestly think you should take this time to reflect about everything and get your thoughts straight so we can have the conversation we desperately need when we’re both ready. 

I realize that this is a very personal message to share but it’s such an important part in this journey of healing and forgiveness. Sending this message was hard but it was needed. For the both of us. She needed time to process everything and get her thoughts straight and I needed the time apart. I just needed things to change. I just couldn’t have the same shit repeat over and over. I felt drained. Two days after sending this message, I reached out and got a new therapist. I don’t want to go into too much detail about my mom’s response to the message. She was emotional as expected but respected my wishes and we took the time apart. The last two weeks of the month of the October was hard. Really hard. Honestly, the entire year of 2018 was hard but things shifted for me after I shared my past. Life wasn’t suddenly easy but I was growing every single day. I was pushing my boundaries and truly trying to heal. I was putting my past behind me. Or at least starting that process.

I’m going to round off this blog here. The next part I want to share is really long and I don’t want to make these blogs too long. Part 3 will be up soon but until then thank you again for all the love and support. The last thing I want to do is hurt my parents’ feelings. They’re not bad parents. Yes, both of them had their moments but don’t we all? No one is perfect. I truly hope that by opening this can of worms and truly writing about everything will help someone out there. I don’t know how this can help someone but I feel like this story is something that needs to be out there in the world. Much love, Cassy xxx

Part Three — https://fitcouchpotato.com/2019/01/21/what-happened-after-i-shared-about-my-abusive-past-depression-part-3/

 

Mental Health, Story Time

What Happened After I Shared About My Abusive Past | Depression | Part 1/4

I was going to have part two of the renovations go up today but it felt more natural to talk about my depression and anxiety. So much has happened after I shared my secret with the world on the first of September. I’ve made leaps and bounds since I shared that post. There is quite a bit I want to tell you so buckle in and enjoy the ride.

September 2018

I started the month by sharing my secret. I didn’t know it was something I wanted to do till I wrote the message. I didn’t know I was ready to share it till I woke up one morning and decided to share it. I was so desperate for things to change that I was willing to just rip off the band-aid and get it over with. I don’t know what reaction I expected or what I would feel afterward but boy. It was a lot. I felt ten emotions all at the same time. I didn’t even know it was physically possible but that’s just how I felt. Overwhelmed with raw emotions. My parents’ response was what mattered the most and seeing their response come in was hard. They responded how you would expect. Anger and confusion. Anger as in, I’m going to kill that monster that hurt you. Confusion as in, why didn’t you tell me back then? I could’ve done something. They also needed answers. What happened? When did all of this happen? Why didn’t you tell me back then? I could’ve helped you. This hurt me in ways that I’m going to try to explain now.

He came into my life when I was nine years old. I will never forget that moment that I met him. Back then I used to visit my father every two weeks for the weekend. We lived an hour away so while I would stay with my father my mother would stay with her friends. A few months prior she met him and was ready to introduce him that one night. I can tell you where we were, how the air smelled like and everything. That moment is so clearly imprinted on my brain as I’m writing this now, I’m transported back to that very moment. He didn’t act strange or did anything that would cause any frowns but something inside of me just knew. That little voice inside my head screamed that this man is faking it. He is wearing a mask. Who he portrays himself to be is not his true self. It was just that gut feeling. I was young and had no idea what it meant. I figured I just didn’t like the man because my mom was dating him. I struggled a lot in the beginning after my parent’s divorce to accept the men, she brought home. They weren’t my dad and I wanted my dad. My mom and he got engaged and married within the same year. Everything was normal. He was friendly enough and eventually I convinced myself to ignore that gut feeling. I was just uncomfortable with him because he is marrying my mom. Within days after the marriage, the mask dropped and I learned who he was. Monsters are real. My gut feeling was right. To this day, I always listen to my gut feeling. I don’t ignore it.

When my parents asked why I didn’t tell them back then it was difficult for them to see. I tried to explain but I don’t think it has truly sunk in. I was so incredibly young and impressable when the abuse started. I just thought what he was doing was normal or that it was no big deal. I was overreacting. Everyone’s step dads demanded to see them in their bra’s. The few times I reached out to adults nothing happened. They pushed it aside and acted like it was no big deal. There were times he would abuse me emotionally and very rarely physically in front of adults as it was seen as a joke. So, in time, I saw it as a joke. No big deal. It was hell and I was terrified the entire time. The abuse kept getting worse and there was just no way to escape it. I could only stay stubborn and fight of the will to end it all for so long. He left when I was sixteen and I pushed everything to the back of my mind and forced myself to just go on with my life. I couldn’t focus on it too much. I couldn’t allow myself to open that can of worms. Years went by where I didn’t think much about it. I managed to convince myself it was normal or that no one would believe me. There weren’t bruises. I’m just overreacting. So, when my parents asked me why I didn’t tell them it was hard to tell them that I didn’t think they would do anything. I didn’t think they would believe me. I was convinced they would tell me it’s not that serious. Brush it off and then send me back to him. I was convinced that I would get in trouble. Obviously, I realize that I was just brainwashed and my dad would probably have beaten the guy to a pulp. I realize that now but the thing about abuse when you are so young is that you don’t know what this person is doing right or wrong. Or eventually, you start to believe that you deserve it. You’re a bad child and you deserve to feel like this. NO. There is nothing wrong with you my sweet child. You don’t deserve this pain. Please reach out to adults. They won’t be angry. If the first adult doesn’t listen to you, go to the next one. And the next one. Force them to hear you.

I said before that I shared my secret because I wanted to be free from my past. I didn’t want to be ashamed about what happened anymore. The first two seconds after I shared the message, I felt free. I felt giddy and just like this massive weight was off my shoulders. It wasn’t until I saw my parents’ response where suddenly it felt so real. For the first week, I felt incredibly guilty for telling my parents’. They were struggling with the news. They were hurting and I felt bad about it. Where I had years to come to terms with my past, they just got this big bomb on them out of nowhere. My dad called a lot. He needed to know what happened and fuck it was hard to talk about it. I’ve only told one person in the entire world almost everything that happened. Even then it took me some time to feel ready to tell him everything. I’ve also talked to my best friend about it but we never went into detail. And suddenly, my father wanted, no needed some details. It felt dirty as I was trying to just say some of it. He needed to know if I was raped. My mom needed to hear that too. I wasn’t raped. For the longest time, I thought because I wasn’t raped, it doesn’t count. The truth is although I was never raped, I have no fucking doubt in my mind that it was next. The weeks leading up to his departure of my life, there was gestures and hints. Hugs where you can feel it. Urgh, I feel sick to my stomach.

The entire month of September was just an ugly emotional rollercoaster. I felt raw and vulnerable. I regretted my choice of sharing my past at least once a day. I regretted opening that can of worms because I hurt so much. I didn’t feel free from my past instead my past was suddenly ALL I could think about. I think I’m going to stop this blog here. It’s a lot and I just need a moment to process everything. Part two will be up soon. I just want to take this moment to thank every single one of you for all the love and support that I received when I shared my past. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you all. Much love, Cassy xxx

The blog I referenced too: I Suffer From Depression and Anxiety — https://fitcouchpotato.com/2018/09/03/i-suffer-from-depression-and-anxiety/

Part Two — https://fitcouchpotato.com/2019/01/14/what-happened-after-i-shared-about-my-abusive-past-depression-part-2/

 

Story Time

My Funny Foreinger Story With The Public Transport Here In The Netherlands

I’ve told this story to a handful of people here in the Netherlands and it’s always a good chuckle. The other day I was like oh wait this would actually make a funny blog on my website so well here we are. Alright so we know by now before I can start my stories I need to throw a bit of background information out there otherwise some things won’t make much sense without it. So excuse me while I do that.

Where to start? Wait I know. South Africa and the Netherlands are completely different and at the beginning of my au pair year, you could guess that I was still learning the ropes of it all. So the one main thing that was completely new to me is the public transport. We have public transport in South Africa but it’s in no way reliable nor safe. It also won’t get you everywhere you would want to be. Here in the Netherlands, the public transport is pretty damn amazing. Yes, there are some delays but you can go anywhere by train and it’s relatively clean and I haven’t had a problem with safety. I mean I don’t need to worry about being mugged or stabbed so that’s great. Oh wow, that’s dark. Before my year here I had no idea what trams are. I knew of trains and busses. That’s it. So it’s safe to say that my first independent tram ride makes one funny story. Alright, that might be enough back story. Let’s get to the interesting bit and also I hope this blog turns out to be funny. We can’t have another key story.

I was probably only here for three weeks, one month max when I had to go to Den Hague to get my permit. To get there I would have to take two trams. The first part was easy as I had to climb on the tram close to the house and just take it all the way to the city. It was when I got in the city when everything derailed. First of all, the trams suddenly looked different so I wasn’t sure if I could still use the card or if I would have to get a new card or anything like that. It went from a blue and white tram to a red and cream tram. So the night before my host mom tried to explain the system to me but I had no idea what she was talking about but the only thing I knew was the tram number, 8. So I jumped on the first tram with the number 8 on it and scanned my card. It read ‘Overstap Ok’ which basically means the transfer went great but I literally had no idea what that meant so I kept checking in and out in hopes it would say something different. In a complete panic, I called my host dad to ask if it’s okay. He was like get off my back I’m at work but said all was good in the world. I for some reason did not believe a single word he said. A person nearby was like no it’s fine. I still was unsure but sat down anyway. 20 minutes later I was starting to get worried. I haven’t heard my stop yet and the tram just turned around? It was also at that moment that the person who scans your card walked along. I was so terrified that my host dad and the kind stranger was lying to me and I would have to pay this massive fine that I jumped out the next stop. In the middle of fucking nowhere. I waited for the tram, bought a ticket when the card did the ‘Overstap Ok’ thing and hoped that somehow this time everything would be okay. That hope came to crashing halt when we stopped at the central station. I was right where I started and by now I was convinced it was the wrong line number. I climbed off, walked around, trying to build up the confidence to ask the information desk. Keep in mind that I was convinced that no one in the Netherlands could speak a lick of English and I could barely understand Dutch, much less speak it. Finally, after a good few minutes, I decided to stick with line 8 and see where the road takes me. This time the tram actually went in the right direction and I was in such a panic that about the card not working and the train ticket already being expired that I jumped off at the first stop that began with an R. I was so completely stressed about the entire situation I just wanted to walk the rest of the way but it was a good 45min walk so I waited those 15 minutes before I climbed on the next tram and kept my eyes peeled for the building.

The rest was pretty okay. I saw my stop, climbed off and got what I needed in 30 minutes before taking the tram back. Luckily I climbed on the tram going in the right direction and the rest was smooth sailing. It was only when I spoke about the entire situation with my host dad that I realized that every tram line has a tram to go in each direction. I know this is so obvious and I can’t believe this didn’t cross my mind but hey it makes a fun story to tell now. I also realized later on that I was paying for the same trip twice so that’s great. I still get confused sometimes heck I bet even some Dutch citizens get confused. I mean sometimes they have the different companies and it gets really confusing.

Just recently I had an incident where it was a different company but I checked in with the other company and I realized it way too late and then when those scanners came around I proudly played the confused foreigner card because well the poor bloke was trying to explain the system to me in broken English and I was just like alright buddy I’m fucking lost now. He surrendered and I got out of paying the fine. Funny enough on my way back the same bloke scanned my card and this time around I did everything correctly so that was really awkward. In my defense, I still don’t understand what he wanted me to.

Thank you so much for reading and I will see you in a click!

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Story Time

My Husband Stressed Over A 2000 Euro Key For Years

This my favorite story to tell because honestly, it’s hilarious to me. If you ever meet me in person ask me to tell this story. I get so passionate about it with hand gestures and voices. So this story is the key story.

When I met Onno he was already in his apartment in the city for a few months and at first, he always said that his second key is with his parents. I didn’t really care as I was only going to his place on the weekends and who needs more than one key anyway? About a month after we started dating he finally confessed that he lost the key and when I asked him why don’t you just say hey I lost the key and get a new one? His reason was very sound. In his contract, he signed that in the case of a lost key, he needs to pay for the replacement of the entire building. It is one of those special keys that can open the front door and your apartment. That is quite a mind-blowing, probably only to me, that they were able to do that for five different apartments in our building like wow technology man. Anyway to replace all of those keys is ridiculously expensive; over 2000 Euros. So you can understand why admitting that he lost the key is the last thing that Onno ever wanted to do.

Months passed and I went back to South Africa for a few months and the one key problem was completely forgotten. It was only when I came back for three months and actively lived with Onno that the one key thing became a problem. Oh, wait there was this one time while I was au pair that we got locked out of the apartment for a few hours in the freezing cold weather. Onno had a friend stay over and while he went out to meet me halfway (I was angry at him and didn’t want to come over like always did so he came to pick me up halfway completely and utterly hung over.) she went out shopping. Onno left the keys with her as he didn’t know how easy it would be to get me to his place (I was really angry.). What ended up happening is that she didn’t answer her phone for a long time and we had to wait for her to finally get back to access the apartment. Of course, this didn’t make me any less pissed at Onno. It was a bad and awkward weekend. The poor guy. Anyway back to the future where we started living together. At that time I was on a three-month Tourist VISA and you’re not allowed to work on this said VISA. So I was mostly alone at the apartment while Onno worked. I had enough to do with keeping the apartment clean, doing the grocery shopping and all that jazz…who am I kidding? It was pretty boring and I watched a lot of Netflix. In my defense, I was working out a lot back then. It was when I was still doing BBG, something I’m restarting today (it didn’t stick though. I’ve been trying to restart BBG for months now and it’s not sticking. I made a new game plan that by the time this blog goes up, should be in action for 3 weeks.) and I think I was writing. Who knows. It’s two years ago.

I’m getting off track. So Onno would leave the keys at the house while he went to work so I could go in and out. He would ring the intercom when he got home and I would ring him in. It was a system and it worked but it would’ve been nice if we both had our own set of keys. Other than having the real fear that if we lost this key we’re completely and utterly screwed all was right in the world. It really wasn’t a problem as I would go back to South Africa before we could blink and it would be a few months before I’m back to live here in the Netherlands permanently.

Wait, let’s put a pin in this blog. As I’m writing this, this story is coming off quite boring. I just feel like I have to give some back story to it otherwise it might not make any sense but in the process, it’s coming off as well not funny. Sorry about that but I’m almost 800 words in and it’s too late to go back now. Alright let’s return to regular programming in 3…2…1

Flash forward a few months and I’m officially back in the Netherlands. I wasn’t even here for a week before we started talking about finding a new place. It was a subject we touched on before but we just had to wait for me to well live in the country before we could really consider it. At this time I was also convinced that I would most likely study in Amsterdam or Utrecht and since Onno works in Utrecht we figured moving to a place closer in that area would be the smartest move forward. We started looking for a place to rent and this is when the dreaded key problem came up again. One, over a year later after Onno lost the said key, he still didn’t want to call the realtor company. He was convinced that our downstairs neighbor also lost his key as the two very awkwardly had an interesting conversation about the keys a few weeks back. Basically, Onno was in a faceoff with our neighbor. Who is going to call first and pay the 2000 Euros? So basically who is going to give in and move first?

Although I wasn’t exactly eager to hand over 2000 Euros for a key, I also really wanted to get out of our small apartment and into a place with a yard. We looked around and saw a few places but ‘altemilately’ – Here is where everything derailed. For the life of me, I couldn’t spell this word and autocorrect wasn’t coming in to save the day. Normally if I can’t spell a word and auto correct is useless I would retype my sentence so I wouldn’t have to use the said word but I was stubborn. So here are my attempts to spell this word correctly. Altemitately. Ultemitely. And finally auto correct saved the day and helped a girl out, ultimately – I refused to spend so much money on a place we would only rent. The rent was also ridiculously high. So to explain myself more, even though this might make perfect sense to some people but to me (a South African this literally makes no sense) it’s bonkers. Here in the Netherlands when you rent a place you have to put in your own goddamn floor and closets. The one place we found we even had to put up our own fence and it wasn’t like oh never mind we could live without the fence type of deal. It had to be done or your backyard is open to the public. They also expected us to plant the entire garden (it was newly built) and basically make their shitty place nice. Coupled with the deposit, moving costs and the really expensive rent it was just not worth it for us. I honestly just refused to basically throw all that money away on a rental house. It’s not my house. Why the hell should I put in the floor? It just blows my mind. Anyway back to the story.

In the end, we just didn’t have the money to pay for the rental place and for the new keys. We decided that hey let’s wait a few more months. Maybe the neighbor will cave and move first. Months went by where Onno would ‘occiosanely’- and we’re derailing again. Come on Cassandra. You use this word all the damn time why the hell can’t you spell it tonight and also auto correct why aren’t you helping me out tonight? Occosian. Occasianly. occasionally – ask the neighbor without actually asking about the key and his said living plans in the future. The one key story was forgotten for a few months before we decided hey we’re at a good place in our lives let’s buy a house.

It took Onno three months after our offer was confirmed, papers were signed and we ’re basically one week shy from receiving the keys before he finally made the call. A call he was supposed to make a week prior but ‘forgot’. I had to press the call button for him. Onno was a bundle of nerves and went into this long story that his parents were cleaning out their house over the weekend and couldn’t find our extra key and they couldn’t tell how long it was lost and blah blah blah blah. The lady on the phone basically asked Onno to get to his point as she didn’t have the time. Begrudgingly Onno said that we don’t have a second key and would like to get one. AND GUESS WHAT? For only 40 Euros we could get a new key in a week! I repeat. FOR ONLY 40 EUROS WE COULD GET A NEW KEY IN A WEEK. You can’t hear my laughter through the screen but I assure you, I laughed my ass off when he told me with this stupid embarrassed look on his face. I’m chuckling now just remembering it.

Nearly two years of postponing this call out of pure dread, putting our life on hold a little bit and having this awkward face off with our neighbor who had no idea, we got our second key for 40 Euros. It turns out that the management of the apartment went to a new company and they didn’t make a big deal out of the whole key thing. Onno is convinced that if he called them sooner (if only with a few months) we would have had to pay the 2000 Euros.

Now that I think about it…maybe this key story is only funny to me?

Update from future Cassy

I wrote the first part of this blog months ago before we even moved. We had to wait however for our deposit before I could share it online. We didn’t want to take any risks when it came to such a big deposit that would really help to smooth things over at the bank after the renovations. Getting the deposit back was anything but easy. Now that I think about it, I can probably write another blog just about the troubles we faced to get back our money but I will spare you all on the details. We moved on the Saturday with all of the big things, the bed, couch, table, desk and etc. Basically the entire apartment. That Monday I went through to Rotterdam to fully spring clean the apartment while Onno did a few things around the house. It was a boiling hot day and anything but pleasant. It was a lot of hard work. The next day we had to return the keys. Onno went through as he had to be present for the check up from the rental agency. The person was late and it was a long and boring procedure. They basically walked through the entire apartment and took pictures so they could send it back to the owner who would then see how much of the deposit we would get back. Let’s say the shower door was broken. The owner would then hire someone to fix the shower door and withdraw the amount from the deposit. He would need the pictures as proof.

They promised that we would receive the deposit within two months we finally closed that chapter of our lives. Life got pretty damn crazy soon afterwards and before we knew it, it was just shy over two months later without a single peep from receiving the deposit. We called to hear what’s going on and that’s when we found out that the company received the pictures from the real estate agent last week. Apparently, the SD card of their camera was acting up and it took a while to fix the problem. They then promised they would have the deposit in our bank account by the end of the month. The end of the month came and went by without a word. Moral of the story after four months we finally got the deposit. It only took a dozen or so calls and unanswered emails every week. We did get the entire deposit back which is pretty great but what a journey it was. Reading through this blog in the editing process, I realize that maybe this story is only funny to me. Oops!

Thank you so much for reading and I will see you in a click!

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Mental Health, Story Time

Goodbye For Now | A Break From Social Media

I’ve written this blog only to scratch it a few sentences in too many times to count. I don’t really know where to start or what to say. I’m just going to talk to you, I guess.

I’ve taken a break from social media a few times by now. They weren’t really that long because I always felt this pressure. You see I don’t want my blogging to be a hobby. I want this to turn into something bigger. I want to publish my stories and be an author. It’s always been my dream to be a writer and starting this blog lit up the fire inside of me that was dying out. I started writing when I was about fourteen. My friend at a time loved writing stories and before I knew it I started to write too. Before that I would escape in worlds created by other writers but for the first time I created my own world. My own little haven to fall into. I wrote through the darkest time of my life. It was my outlet and then I stopped. I don’t really know why I stopped. I can probably give you a lot of excuses but to be honest something changed. I changed. I was finding myself, exploring new things and falling. I don’t really know how to explain it to be honest. When it comes to my own feelings and thoughts I struggle to put them into words.

I want to take a break. I’m too overwhelmed. I have to many things happening and if I don’t take a step back I will collapse. At first I felt like I should just write my blogs and eventually all of this will pass but the thing is I can’t get myself to write about it all. I can’t find the words. It feels wrong and fake to write these funny little blogs because I feel like I’m hiding myself. Maybe today is just a bad day. Maybe I’m overreacting and next week I will be okay and write till my fingers go numb but another bad day will come. I’m not even sure if I’m making sense. My brain feels foggy and I’m struggling to understand. I’m really not okay. I need space. I need some time to pick myself up completely. These last few months I’ve been stumbling a lot. Something would happen that would knock my feet right out from underneath me and I would push myself to get up but the ground underneath me is falling apart and I’m stumbling.

A part of me feels like I’m letting my readers down. A part of me doesn’t want to stop working on my blog because it’s been doing so well. A part of me wants to get more followers and subscribers and just go big. A part of me doesn’t want to disappoint the few that actually read my blogs. But you know it’s not all about that. I don’t want to care about the numbers and statistics. It’s not why I originally started this blog. The more I’m trying to explain what’s going through my mind right now the more I’m going in circles. I feel like I’m not making sense at all. I have no idea how to go about writing this blog because to be honest I can’t really put it into words. So for now I’m going to get technical.

I’m going to take a break from social media and my blog. It’s not going to be a short break either. I don’t want to come back on my next good day. I want to come back where my good days are often and my bad days are rare. I need time to recover and heal. I need time to concentrate on my mental health and get myself back on my feet. I need to stand on stable ground and run forward. To be able to do that I need to take things off my plate. I need to concentrate on the little things. I can’t continue going through circles like this. I need to grab the bad days at its ball and get through them. Because let’s face it. Social media can be draining because there is this pressure to be a role model. To be open and raw but I can’t do that now. How can I open up about my feelings when I don’t even know how to describe them? How can I be raw when I’m not ready to share why I’m raw.

I want to heal and then come back and share the things that I really want to share but don’t have the words for it yet. I’m not sure how long I will be off social media, it can be 3 months or 6 months or a year. I have no idea if I’m honest with you. A part of me wants to say that I will still upload blogs every now and again but I can’t half ass this break. Otherwise before I know it I will be back to putting too much weight on my shoulders before I’m ready and break down again.

You know my one year anniversary of this blog is coming up soon. I really wanted to push through to make it at that point but I can’t. It’s not fair towards myself. But hey the two year anniversary will be extra special then…I don’t know what else to say. I’m not sure if I explained myself properly or if any of this makes sense. Heck I’ve said that like twenty times in this blog but it’s true. I need to find my words again.

Thank you so much reading and goodbye for now…

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Mental Health, Story Time

This Blog Isn’t Even A Blog | Not That Important But Funny Though (I Hope)

Here we are once again. The day before a new blog goes up and I’m brainstorming about possible things to well turn into a blog. I have so many ideas but they all need more time to put into an actual good blog. Some things I just can’t throw together the night before you know. I hate this feeling so I’m really going to make it my goal to take time to write more blogs this upcoming week. I don’t have a choice. It needs to be done.

You know what’s unfair? You all already know what this blog turned out to be as well the title is a dead giveaway but here I am still racking my brain for ideas at 5pm.

So as always I turn for my husband for advice. While he basically ignores me and watch formula 1, I start to sing this song that has been stuck inside my head for WEEKS. I sing it every day and I only know like two lines. It’s ‘Can’t Help Falling In Love’ by Elvis Presley. The only part I know is “wise men say only fools rush in” and “I can’t help falling in love with you.” That is it. And yes in case you were wondering I did indeed start to play this song after my husband threw this curve ball at me. You won’t believe what he said. I can see the title now…

My Husband Thinks I Can’t Sing

So yesterday evening I got the shock of my life when my husband said I can write a blog about my ruined singing career. Which we both laughed at considering my singing voice is a screeching mess so out of tune, tone deaf isn’t even scratching the service. Shortest blog in the history of my website ever. Let’s see what else I can think of.

I’ve been stalling to decide what this blog is going to be about for 300 words and I still have no idea. Honestly this entire weekend I’ve been working on the renovations and playing Sims 4. That’s it folks. Nothing super exciting happened minus the fact that we bought our first car on Friday. A car I can’t drive even though I have a drivers license…to make a long boring story well rant short my South African drivers license is worthless here in the Netherlands and I have to redo the entire process. Something that I’m so incredibly excited for (not).

Other than that I’ve been reading a lot, painting a lot, eating a lot and playing a lot of Sims. Boy that was such a boring sentence with a lot of well a lots. My writing is such a mess. Excuse me while I play Sims for four hours while I watch Supernatural. Oh yeah that’s also something I did this weekend. I restarted Supernatural! It was a show I was incredibly obsessed with when I was in high school and I haven’t watched any episodes passed season 8. I forgot how good the first season was. Seriously amazing. I can’t believe I found it kind of scary back then. Once you see someone eat his own nose and feed it to dogs (thank you, Hannibal) a few scenes of some creature won’t even make you blink. Onno and I also found the walking dead scary as hell when we started watching it. Now I’m like oh wow that’s some great special effects and hoping no one touches my precious characters. Don’t kill my precious biker with a big soft heart. I just want to put them into a little bubble and protect them from the man eating zombies. What would you do in a zombie apocalypse? It took Onno and I five minutes to spell apocalypse correctly. I wish I was kidding. Anyway I’m actually one of those people that would just off myself and my family. I’m like I would rather die by my own hand then be eaten alive you know. Also here in the Netherlands you’re kind of screwed. I mean there is no guns here(which is actually a really good thing for everyday life. Other countries should catch on. *Glances at a certain country with a certain president*). So what are you going to fight all the zombies with, a kitchen  knife? Or you going to escape a swarm of them by bicycle? Plus the country is so small and with so many people, the virus would spread faster than a fart in a small room.

I’m loving all my metaphors recently. I’m seriously stepping up with this whole I promise I’m funny thing here on my blog. I completely went of topic but all this talk about zombies finally gave me idea for this blog. Perfect timing and all as I’m nearly 800 words in and probably lost like all my readers. I also really want to go play Sims now.

If you could be any animal in this world. What animal would you be?  The past and present. And why?

I seriously didn’t think this would be so difficult to answer. I mean that’s a lot of animals. I know it won’t be anything in the ocean as well sharks and I just can’t touch that ball of anxiety that would follow from being in the ocean. I could be the biggest and scariest whale out there and I would still swim away when a shark comes close. The fear runs that deep.

I would like to be an animal that can just sleep all day in the nice warm sun and have food brought to them. The life of a king. The only animal I can think of is the male lion so I guess let’s go with that. It fits with my life motto, in my next life I want to be a cat. I want to sleep all day and have food served to me like I’m a master. Basically I would want to be my cat. The worst thing he experiences is maybe one of two too many kisses from his mother (he likes it, I mean he always comes back for a cuddle) and a bath every few months. That’s it. Sign me up! Also when I told my husband this he said: “How is that much different from real life?” Someone is feeling sassy today.

My husband’s response to the question was so brilliant I decided to write out exactly what was said.

The husband: “Maybe uhmmm I haven’t really thought about it.”

The wife: “Well think about it now. I have a blog to write.”

The husband: “A bird but a big bird.”

The wife: “What bird?”

The husband: “A eagle.”

The wife: “Why an eagle.”

The husband: “Because I get to fly and look down on people.”

The wife: “You also get to shit on them.”

Couple goals? What animal would you be? And why?

I think I’m just going to cut myself off right here because clearly this blog isn’t going anywhere. This blog isn’t even a blog. Oh wait I finally have my title. I’m sorry for those who came here for actual meaningful content. Like my previous blog showed, emotional and mentally it’s a bit rough right now. I’m not all happy sunshine and rainbows so well I don’t really feel like writing much. I’m sure you all will understand.

Thank you so much for reading and I will see you in a click!

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