Body Love, Story Time

Celebrating My ‘Imperfections’ | The Story Behind Five Of My Scars

This is a semi-random blog but I thought it would be nice to have something more light-hearted as a nice little break after I shared about my struggles with infertility. Those blogs tend to be a little intense, to say the least, and I need a breather. My website needs a breather. This blog was inspired by my cat who just celebrated his second birthday. A few weeks ago, Speculoos scratched me on my palm and it scarred. A few days ago, he scratched me on the same hand and this one will probably scar as well. I scar very easily. For the longest time, I was ashamed of all my scars. They’re unsightly. As my body grew with my nearly unstoppable weight gain (PCOS sucks!), I was confronted with a lot of stretch marks. I have angry red stretch marks all the way down my inner thighs and don’t get me started on the tummy stretch marks. My self-esteem took a dip and I find myself always covering up. I wanted to hide these marks. My body is tainted and ruined. As some time has passed, I got pretty annoyed at this trail of thought. It’s so incredibly tiring and I don’t have the energy for this bullshit. Who gives a fuck about some scars and stretch marks? I have other things to worry about. My scars are unique. They tell a story. My stretch marks show growth. They show my struggles and one day they will show that I carried my children. I should be proud of them. And so, I’ve decided to choose my top five scars and share the story behind them. Quite a bit of these scars have faded over the years, some you can barely even see anymore.

Scar One

IMG-9384.jpg

The wound on my knuckle is a fresh one that I got from gardening.

Long ago, in a distant land, a little girl was too short to reach the kitchen counter… The little girl…uhmmm…she…nevermind. I would’ve continued in this writing theme but I don’t know how to make this shit funny and I’m tired. I’ve talked about this scar before (years ago on my now deleted Instagram) and it’s still one of my favorites. I always wanted to help my mom and one of her biggest pet peeves was dirty dishes laying around. So, as a little girl, I would gather all the dishes and put them in the sink. By putting them in the kitchen sink, I mean throw them in because I can’t reach the counter. I had a little step and sometimes I would get the step so I could reach and other times I would just hope they don’t break. It’s a miracle that the glasses didn’t break every single time. On the day I got this scar, my brother was babysitting. We decided to clean up a little bit and I went around the house to collect dirty dishes. I threw them into the kitchen sink while my brother wasn’t looking. He, without checking, filled the sink with water and soap. I hopped on my little step and helped wash the dishes. A broken glass nicked me on my hand and I cried. I don’t remember it hurting a lot but it bled quite a bit and this scared me. I must have been seven at the time. My brother cheered me up and distracted me from my oouchie by making me a cast. Back then, I really wanted a cast. Someone in our life had a cast a while back and I thought it looked so cool. My memory is a little foggy but it could’ve been my dad? My brother’s DIY cast was toilet paper (to catch the blood) and clear tape. He wrapped my entire hand and for the rest of the day, I was quite happy to show off my cast to anyone who would spare a glance. I think I even asked him to make the cast again the next day. It’s a fond memory and over the years the scar has helped me a lot with directions. I’m super bad with telling you what’s left and right and to this day I will steal a glance at my scar to check. The scar is on my right hand. In school when we learned about directions (north, south, west, and east), I often used my scar to cheat on tests. My scar looks like an ‘O’ which stands for Oos (East in Afrikaans). I love this scar and would never dream of covering or removing it even if I could.

Scar Two

04.jpg

My nails were so pretty before I had to cut them because of you guessed it, gardening. Onno is off this week so we’re trying to finish our backyard. I will probably write a blog about it.

Scar number two is on my other hand. It’s a scar that I had more lows than ups with as everyone constantly thought it was a self-harm scar because of the placement. I self-harmed very briefly (I didn’t feel that much relief from it) but those scars never took. The scar is also a reminder of when things were bad and this used to bother me a lot. I originally got my wrist tattoo to hide this scar but the design didn’t quite work out because of the less than legit tattoo artist. I’m a bit surprised that now that I’m thinking about it, I don’t love this scar too much. It brings up some bad memories but I’m in an emotional and fragile state at the moment so it could be bothering me more than usual. The story of receiving this scar is a semi-silly one. I was eleven and over the weekends I would take over the dining room table and play with my barbies. I will play out a fantasy world and story and every part of the table was a different part of the world. I used to stick these little fairy dolls onto my barbie’s stomach with tape when she would be pregnant. I had a lot of fun. The dining room table was right before the front door and in the summer, we would often leave the door open for some fresh air. One day, a wind caught it and I saw the door start the slam shut. It’s one of those doors with a really pretty window in the middle and I knew that if it slammed shut and the window broke, I would be in a lot of trouble. So, I ran for it and stretched out my hand to stop it. My hand went straight through the window and it broke all around me and nicked my wrist. I remember I was too scared for being in trouble then upset about the pain in my hand. My stepfather at the time somehow blamed me for everything and yelled at me as I bit back the tears, cradling my bleeding wrist. While my mom cleaned up the broken pieces of glass, I cried in the bathroom and cleaned my wound…Yeah, maybe it isn’t the best memory. I normally don’t mind it as much. I barely notice the scar but when I stared at it as I was writing the story of how I got it…it’s a lot. It’s really sad. If I could remove it or cover it up, I will. I actually plan to eventually cover up my wrist tattoo and I will take that opportunity to hide it under the ink.

Scar Three

03.jpg

If you strain and really look you can see the scar. It’s incredibly faint and I’m kind of sad about it. Also, excuse the leg stubble.

Now, this is a good memory. I actually got the same scar twice because I’m really bad with directions. The first time I got this scar I must’ve been seven or eight. Back then I loved nothing more than taking a drive with my daddy on the back of his motorbike. It was just after my parents’ divorce and back then I would only see my father every second weekend. My father picked me up on one Sunday for a short little drive and he was running late to something on the way back and I quickly hopped off the bike, kissed him goodbye and went straight to my room to cradle my leg which I burned on the exhaust pipe. I remember being so scared my mom would be angry at me that I cried over the burn on my leg for a good ten minutes before a close friend of mine came into the room and saw my leg. She called my mom which then raced me to the bathroom to apply some cold water on it. My mom called my dad and he recommended to add some butter and ice to it. It left a scar that faded over time but just before it could fade completely, I climbed off the wrong side of the bike and burned myself on the exact same spot. Luckily, we were on our way to the doctors for my dad and the doctor quickly applied the correct treatment and I just sweated it out. It still hurt like a bitch though. The scar is quite faded by now but boy do I love this scar. It reminds me of my precious daddy and the fond memories we share over my childhood. I remember in Highschool this one boy actually recognized the type of scar and asked if I got it on a motorbike. We bonded over it as he had the exact same scar on his leg. He was quite impressed with my comfortability with bikes and it gave me a great ego boost at the time. I wish I’ve learned from my mistakes but I will most likely burn my leg on the exhaust pipe if I ever climb on a motorbike again. I’m really bad with my directions and I ALWAYS forget. My dad had his bike for a few years after the last burn and he would always climb off first and express that I have to climb off on the other side. On my defense, the exhaust is on the right and I’m right-handed…

Scar Four

02.jpg

I had to outline my scars because some of them were so faint they are nearly impossible to see. The mark next to the outline of a scar you can’t see is one of my birthmarks.

The story of how I got this scar is so funny. The scar has faded so much over the years you can barely see it so I’m actually going to deep dive in my old photos and see if I can find it. Wish me good luck! Okay, I’ve resurfaced one hour later and I’m wheezing and cringing at the same time. I went in deep and I only found one picture where you can kind of see the scar. I promise it was super prominent.

IMG01077-20121219-0945.jpg

You can see it a bit more in this picture but back then I was tan all the time and it would blend in with my tan. It’s so strange to see myself before any of my tattoos. I was 15 in this picture by the way.

Before I jump in and tell you the story, I figured I should share some of my favorite pictures I stumbled upon when I went down the rabbit hole. The rabbit hole was so deep I even found some old selfies with the high school boyfriend.

IMG00273-20120121-1901.jpg

Someone thought she was so edgy. I can’t. It’s so cringy. The unmade bed really takes it to a new level. I was fifteen maybe sixteen in this picture.

057.JPG

I laughed so hard when I saw this one. My dark past…the duckface phase. Burn it. I was eighteen in this picture.

AND NOW DRUMROLL PLEASE FOR THE BEST PICTURE THAT HAS EVER BEEN TAKEN OF ME. IT’S PURE PERFECTION.

199.JPG

You’re welcome!

I got this scar when I was thirteen (maybe twelve) years old and it’s another burn scar. Most of my scars are either from something sharp cutting me or something hot burning the shit out of me. For years I used to eat instant noodles after school. It was my favorite snack time and thinking about it now makes me feel so uncomfortable. Unhealthy is an understatement. This peculiar time, I made my 2min noodles (South African slang for instant noodles) and rushed back to my bedroom because my favorite show was on; Mew Mew Power. I sat down to quickly and the hot noodles spilled all over my leg and burned the shit out of me. It hurt like hell. It was a really bad burn, a second-degree burn. The entire burn was a big blister and it took weeks to heal. Unfortunately for me 2 weeks after I got the lovely burn, we had a school trip. It’s was a bit to early for me to swim but when I saw all of my friends swimming, I felt so sad that I couldn’t join them so I did and the grossest thing happen. The skin of the burn just slid off and disappeared into the filter of the pool. The wound was angry and pink. It wasn’t super painful but it scared all the boys and the girls got angry at me because the attractive lifeguard saw it and ushered me over to get first aid. Years after the wound, my friends would often tease me and call me 2min noodles. It was fun times.

Scar Five

IMG-8690

Out of context, this picture is a bit strange. I made a funny because I posted a really nice picture of myself everywhere and this was the picture I send to my best friend. They were taken seconds apart. Anyway, you can see the chin scar in this picture so I get to share it publically. Yay!

This last scar is probably the one I felt the most self-conscious about mostly because one day a beautician pointed it out and said it ruined my face. I tried everything to lessen the appearance of the scar. I applied really expensive body oil which is supposed to make scars and stretch marks disappear almost instantly. The very same beautician that made me self-conscious of the scar was the one who sold this product so that’s great. Humans are great. I got this scar when I was fourteen years old and like most chin scars, I tripped over a loose rock and scarped the shit out of my chin on the pavement. It bled like crazy and I remember coming back home with blood all over my neck and my mom didn’t bat an eyelash. I’ve always been a little rough and would often come home with some wound. I simply rinsed off the blood and after my mom checked the wound and gathered that I didn’t need stitches, we cleaned it and applied a band-aid on it and that was it. The funny part (maybe only to me) was that I was chasing after a boy when I tripped. I don’t know why I find that that part funny. The scar might be prominent at times and I certainly hated it when I was younger but now, I don’t mind it. My husband has the same scar on his chin. He got his when he tried to do tricks in the pool and hit his chin on the edge. He was around the same age as I was when he got his chin scar and I find this fact so adorable.

And that is the stories behind five of my scars. Scars shouldn’t be hidden or seen as something dirty ruining a clean canvas. It’s the story of your life. It’s the bumps and bruises that shows your story. It shows that you’ve lived. The same can be said for stretch marks. You should always celebrate your ‘imperfections’, only then will you find your true strength.

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

010101

Before you go, I would love to hear the story behind your favorite scar.

 

 

#dutch, Dutch, General Life Tips, Good Old Fun, Other, Story Time

An Average Day Of My Life Now Here In The Netherlands Compared To An Average Day Of My Life When I Still Lived In South Africa

Shit, that must be the messiest title I’ve ever written but I can’t think of anything else so let’s just go with it? I’m sorry.

I’ve been meaning to write this blog for a really long time now. I don’t know why I just never took the time to sit down and write this blog but I’m here now so let’s start with the introduction. This year in June, it will be 2 years since I’ve officially immigrated. For those who don’t know, I’m originally from South Africa. I came to the Netherlands just after finishing high school and met my husband six months in. We fell in love and wanted to spend the rest of our lives together but we needed to figure some stuff out. How will we make the distance work? My au pair year ended and I went back to South Africa with the idea that I will come back after a few months and stay with Onno for the entire three months of my tourist visa. This was our test. Do we want to take our relationship further? He proposed just before I came back and for the next year or so, we worked on the partner Visa so I could immigrate to the Netherlands. It was a long process as we had to wait 6 months until I turned 21 to start the process. Onno came to South Africa to meet my family. We had a little wedding ceremony for my family in South Africa as we planned to marry in the Netherlands later that year. We started the long process early February and I landed in the Netherlands as an immigrant on Onno’s birthday. It was surreal. Although it was my third time coming to the Netherlands, I always had a return ticket, but this time there wasn’t anything like that. It was different. I did promise my parents that I will try to come back to South Africa every two to three years and so far, I’m planning on keeping that promise with a planned trip to go to South Africa in August 2020. What I’m trying to say is that I’ve lived in the Netherlands for a while now and I like to think I’ve adjusted to my new life here. I still struggle in the winter but that’s just because it’s really fucking cold. I love the snow though. I will take the cold every day if it means I get to play in the snow.

Things that were strange to me, in the beginning, is perfectly normal now. So much has changed over the years and I’m so thankful to call this country my home. I thought it would be fun to compare my daily life in the Netherlands and my daily life in South Africa. It’s completely different. Let’s start with South Africa.

South Africa

The time frame of this is only a few months before I immigrated. I lived with my father for a few months as I thought it would be really nice. I grew up with my mother I really wanted to live with my father before I left the country. At this time, I was doing the online nutrition course so I feel it kind of compares to my blog and book workload at the moment. As weekends were always different, then and now, I’m just going to choose a random workday. Let’s make it a Tuesday.

My morning started really early when I lived with my father. He gets up for work before the sun rises so I got up with him to make him his breakfast, lunch, and iron a work shirt if needed. Waking up at 05:30 was incredibly hard in the beginning and 8/10 times I would climb back into bed after he left for work but eventually my body adjusted and I would stay awake. As those times were rare, I’m going to say I went back to bed at 6am once my dad left for work. Depending on how tired I am, I would a) read until 07:30 or b) sleep until 07:30. If I chose to sleep until 07:30 I would then read for 30 minutes and get up at 8am. On average I was out and about at 8am. I would then make myself a cup of coffee and open up the backyard so the dogs can go for a run on the field next to my father’s house. Most of the time I would sit on the chair in the sun while the dogs ran and enjoy my cup of coffee (oh how I miss coffee). The dogs would come back in at 08:30 and I will go back inside and clean up from the night before. This could be packing the clean dishes away from the night before or just cleaning the countertop. I didn’t deep clean or anything like that, it would be just a quick clean in the kitchen and that’s about it. At 9am I will return to my room, get dressed and start my studies. I would then study for about 3 hours before finally having breakfast at 11am. After breakfast I would a) return to my studies if I need to or b) go to the shops. I went to the shops quite often as there was always something I needed to do. If I didn’t drop off one of my dad’s work pants to get fixed, I would go pick up his pills at the doctor. I would usually buy all the groceries at the end of the month but I would run to the shop to top on milk, bread, vegetables and fruits for me and etc. Most of the time I would need to go to the shops once a week. I would take my father’s car and get everything done and be back at the house around lunchtime. Depending on my father’s workday he would sometimes come home for lunchtime and other times I would drop off a meal at his work (if there weren’t enough leftovers from the night before). I would then take a small break as it would be too hot to really concentrate and I would be tired from the busy day. It’s then when I would switch on the TV and watch some program. It was a lot of day time TV. Usually around this time, Botched would be on and I would watch an episode while drinking another cup of coffee. After an hour break, I would get back to my studies and study until my father gets home. I would always try to finish my studies for the day by the time he got home so I could bond with him. He would get home between 17:30 and 18:00. Some days he ran later but, on most days, he would be home around then. We will catch up with each other’s day and just have a talk as we watch something on the TV before I start dinner. I like to start dinner at around 7pm. Most of my meals are quick to prepare so we will have dinner anywhere from 19:30 and 19:45. I think on some days I would make dinner earlier but it’s been a while so I’m not sure anymore. Did we eat dinner at 7pm or did I start dinner around 7pm? After dinner, I will watch a little TV with my dad and after an hour or so I will go clean up the kitchen and hop in the shower. I would then normally go sit in the lounge with my dad for another 30-45 minutes or so before he would go take a bath and get ready for bed around 9pm. Sometimes I would watch some more TV but most of the time I would be so tired from the long day I would climb crawl into bed around 9pm and read for an hour or so until I fall asleep. Oh, there was about two months where I would walk with the dogs on the field next door but I always did that when my dad was home and he could keep an eye on me as South Africa can be a dangerous place. Walking alone is a big no-no. Oh, and I would feed the dogs as dinner was on the go. Who could forget that?

I look back now and I smile. I enjoyed those few months I lived with my dad. It was a lot of fun, sometimes it was a bit frustrating as my dad wouldn’t really help with the house duties but I wouldn’t trade those days for anything. Oh, I always do the laundry on a Monday so sometimes I would iron my dad’s work shirts on a Tuesday but I would always postpone it until about Thursday or Friday. I hate ironing.

Netherlands

My morning here in the Netherlands starts bright and early. I usually wake up at 7am when the husband is up and about but on certain occasions, I would snooze until 08:30. I love reading in the morning so once I wake up, I will read until I feel like starting my day. I try to get up and start my day around 9am but I also don’t beat myself up if I snooze for a bit longer. It really depends on my frame of mind or my mental headspace. Ideally, I want to get up at 7am and work but those days are very rare. Anyway, so let’s just go with the usual where I’m up and about at 9am. I will get dressed and work behind my computer until 10:00 to 10:30. In this time I would normally work on my blog: respond to comments, write a blog or whatever I need to do for my website. If I’m not working on my blog at this time, I’m writing (creatively). I have a set routine when it comes to balancing my blog and my stories. I tend to work on my blog every day all day for a few weeks until I have about a month of blogs scheduled in advance and then I will switch over to working on whatever story I’m busy with. It’s a fine balance but overall, I write every single day. Hence why I developed tendinosis. Oh, I should probably explain this. About a month ago, I found a lump in my hand. Normally, I would let these types of things go. I’m not going to rush to the doctor and instead see if it will go away. My breast cramps, oh it’s probably normal. I won’t Google it because that will fuel paranoia but it’s probably nothing. I don’t feel lumps so it’s all good. There is blood in my poo, oh it’s okay. All normal here. It’s nothing big. I did eventually ask the doctor about it once when I was there for something else and it’s normal with people with celiac disease. So, nine out of ten, I just leave it with the thought that if it gets worse or anything changes, I will go see the doctor. But…this time around I couldn’t leave it. I’m in such a fragile piece of mind, one simple lump completely spun me for a loop. I had to know what it is. I couldn’t stop touching it or wait to see if it will go away. I need to know what it is. Two days after discovering the lump, I made a doctor’s appointment. It was quite embarrassing to go to the doctor for something so small but I just desperately needed that peace of mind of knowing it’s nothing or at least knowing what it is exactly. I have tendinosis. Tendinosis is a degeneration of the tendon’s collagen in response to chronic overuse; when overuse is continued without giving the tendon time to heal and rest, such as with repetitive strain injury, tendinosis results. Even tiny movements, such as clicking a mouse, can cause tendinosis when done repeatedly. So, my insane amount of writing every single day gave me a very painful bite in the ass. Typically, you treat this by resting and taking things slowly but well I’m always going to be a writer soooooooo …basically what I’m trying to say is that I’m hurting and I need to take more breaks in between to not aggravate the situation. I might see a physical therapist soon so I can get some massaging techniques to help but yeah. If it gets worse and I can no longer move my fingers, they will inject it with a steroid and then if that doesn’t work, they remove it surgically but that’s obviously the last choice on the table. All in all, this last month writing has been a bit painful. I get cramps if I write too much and it’s just sensitive all together. I’ve tried to limit how much I write a day but I’m working on something super special that I want to launch in April so I need to buckle down and work hard. I’m almost at the finish line and then I can take two weeks off from writing altogether. Maybe I will even take a month but I have no idea what I will do with myself if I’m not going to write my days away anymore. Oh, I know, study for the 2 big immigration tests I have to do this year. Did I mention I need to my driver license this year as well? Yes, it’s a lot of fun and I can’t wait. I’m completely off topic so let’s go back to my usual day here in the Netherlands.

After about an hour or so of work, I will go downstairs and open Dankie’s cage. After we cuddle for a bit, I will drink my supplements before I sit on the couch and chill. If I found a good book the night before, I would read in this time or if I found a good series, I would watch an episode. It depends on the mood. I usually drink a cup of tea. Dankie usually wants to go out for a potty break and I will let the cat in as Dankie goes out. Around 11am I will give the kitchen a quick clean although I don’t always do this. I do tend to some cleaning around this time but it’s not a heavy cleaning session. I just tidy everything up session. If I’m in a depressive state I will often just sit on the couch and watch series all day or read. I will go up around 12pm to work some more if my hand allows it. Ideally, I would then write for two or three hours. I normally stop when my hand hurts or I’m hungry. If the weather is nice Dankie will be outside in this time period and if it’s raining, he will be in his area with his toy. I normally eat around 2pm or 3pm for the first time. My appetite has been extremely weak this last year or so but I’m taking small steps to eat my three meals everyday. I usually cuddle with Dankie on the couch as I eat breakfast and I will continue to relax there for an hour or so. I usually do the shopping on a Tuesday or a Thursday as the shops are less busy on these days so if needed, I will go to the shops by bicycle, if not I will take Dankie for a walk although these last two weeks I’ve been walking Dankie at night with Onno. If I don’t go to the shops or walk the dog, I will usually just become one with my couch until 5pm. Depending on how I feel I will sometimes do a bit of housework, play around on the internet, read or play sims as I wait for the husband to come home. Sometimes I would even go back upstairs to write some more. I try to have everything finished by the time he gets home so we can just be together. He comes home around 7pm and I will talk his ear off before I start dinner. After dinner we chill on the couch and then if I didn’t walk the dog that day, we will walk him together around 9pm. After our 30-minute walk, I will hop into the shower and go up. Onno usually stay downstairs for another 30 minute or so. I usually read for a few hours once I’m in bed. It’s a pretty relaxed day. Some are crazier than others and some days the biggest task I do that day is getting out of my bed. I don’t punish myself for feeling like this, not anymore anyway. I realize that I’m not a perfect human being and as long as I take small steps every single day, then that’s good enough. Some days I’m a superwoman that does everything without a hint of break and other days I’m a couch potato. AND that’s okay.

***

Although I’m on the other side of the world, my day is still similar. I don’t mind that. It’s different but some things never change. I’m grateful that I get to spend my days here in the Netherlands. I’m grateful to have such a supporting and loving husband. I’m grateful that I have the opportunity to follow my dreams. I hope you enjoyed this blog, it’s a bit random but I had fun so I guess that’s a win. I hope you all have a wonderful day!

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

010101

 

Story Time

Funny Foreigner Fail | 12 O’clock Alarm Story

I always forget about this story but once a month a little reminder rings through the air and I have a good chuckle. So, I figured why not share this story so you guys can have a good chuckle as well. This is my 12 o’clock alarm story.

You’re going to need some backstory otherwise this story might not be so funny. Here in the Netherlands, they ring an alarm on the first Monday of every month at 12pm. The ‘luchtalarm’ is a siren or alarm to warn the residents of dangerous situations. I’m directly translating this from the Wikipedia page and it’s messing up my flow. I’m going to read ahead and translate everything into my own words. Basically, it’s an alarm system that can be used to warn the population when there is a danger. I had no idea that the Netherlands had this system at the beginning of my stay here but I recognized the sound from the movies and my first thought was BOMBS!

I must have been here maybe three weeks when it happened. Everything was new to me and I just started to get comfortable with everyday life. I remember I was at the house, doing my chores and getting ready to walk the dog when the alarm went off for the very first time. I freaked out. All I could think off was bombs! Shit just hit the fan! We’re under attack! What the hell do I even do? Do I lock and board up the house and hope for the best? Do I go get the kids out of school? Do I go sit in the basement? I hid under the table as I waited for the alarm to stop. I had no idea what I should do and I was terrified. In the back of my mind was like oh you leave South Africa for a bright future and safe life and not even a month in you get killed by bombs? Wonderful! I was two seconds away from calling my parents and utter my dying words when the alarm stopped. I waited, terrified under the table for well the bombs. Once I noticed that nothing happened, I googled what the hell just happened and laughed myself silly when I saw that this was something they did regularly. They do this because they test and control the system. See if it works and can be heard but also to remind the public about the alarm. In November 2015 they stopped ringing the alarm in two cities with a high foreign population mostly because similar to me, they freaked out when they heard this. It’s also for those who had to flee their country because of a war. When I saw this, it warmed my heart. It’s so sweet that they would be so considerate of others.

That’s it. Not even 500 words in and I said what I wanted to say. It’s just something super funny that happened when I just got here and it always makes me smile. I did feel better about my reaction when I played tour guide for some family friends from South Africa. They didn’t hide under a table or anything, mostly because everyone was pretty chilled about it on the streets in Amsterdam. I like to think that their heart skipped a beat for a millisecond. Most Dutchies always chuckle a little when I tell them the story, heck I have a good chuckle when I tell this story. It’s just so random but the fear was real. I honestly have no idea what I would do in a war situation. It’s scary and it makes me so grateful to live in a place where there is peace.

I’m sorry this blog is on the shorter side. I can’t really stretch it out. To make up for it here is some cute pictures of my animals.

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

010101

PS both of my furbabies have their own Instagram profile.

Speculoos — https://www.instagram.com/speculoos_the_cat/?hl=en

Dankie — https://www.instagram.com/dankieeey/?hl=en

 

Mental Health, Story Time

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

I’m so excited to start with this last part that I’m just going to skip over the whole introduction and jump straight in.

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

December 2018

In the previous part, I mentioned that things just changed for me near the end of November. My mindset changed and I was healing. I wasn’t planning on messaging my mother till I was talking to my husband about it the night before. I was ready to let go and rekindle our relationship. After we had a long conversation about it the night before, I slept on it and the next morning I wrote out my message and send it to her. I won’t insert this message on here but I basically told her I was ready to talk and that I wanted some type or relationship with her. I did make it very clear that I expected more from her and I have boundaries she needs to respect if she wanted to be a part of my life. The last thing I wanted was for history to repeat and three months later it’s back to where we started. There needs to be a change if not then contact me when there is. It sounds a little mean writing this down now but I’m proud of myself. I expect more from the people in my life. I refuse to settle for a toxic and negative relationship of any sorts. I deserve more than that. Negative friendships? There is the door. It’s wasn’t just my mom that I distanced myself from. My mom responded the next morning and we arrange to Skype and just talk about everything. It was a two-hour long process and it was a shift in our relationship. We talked about everything and we were just about to round things off when I paused. I still haven’t gotten my apology. I want her to accept the role she played and say sorry. I had hoped it would come up naturally. A part of me was accepting the fact that I will never receive this apology and I had to make peace of this fact. I was about to end this call feeling worse than when we started. I knew that we couldn’t have any relationship until she apologized and I clearly needed to tell her this or she won’t know. It was hard and I had to muster up all of my courage together to tell her this. And I got the moment I needed. I heard those magical words and at that very moment, I forgave her. I forgave her for all of her wrongdoings. I forgave her for not being my protector back then. The moment I heard her speak those words I cried my eyes out. It’s all I ever needed to hear. It’s all I ever wanted. I’m sorry. My anger and resentment disappeared at that very moment. I truly felt free. This massive burden was off my shoulders and out my life. I felt so fucking light. It was a magical moment that brings tears to my eyes every time I think about it. It was a moment we both needed. We can now build a new relationship together. I have my mom back and it feels great. None of this would have happened if I didn’t ask for the distance.

We talked a lot more and then we hung up. I was in tears, incredibly emotional and immediately called my father. He was out in town and promised to call in 30 minutes. I messaged my best friend in the entire world and practically screamed that I got my sorry. She was absolutely ecstatic for me and then I got to talking. She always has this way to get my true thoughts and feelings out and I told her hearing my mom say sorry wasn’t enough for me to truly let go. I needed a sorry from my dad as well. I felt guilty for feeling like this. I was being too greedy. My father called before we could talk more about it and I told him about the conversation with my mom and how I finally got my sorry. I paused for a moment, mustered up my last bit of courage and told him what I needed to hear. That I needed the same from him. I needed to hear him accept the role he played in this, take responsibility for his actions and say sorry. He did. Just like that, I finally got what I desperately needed. At that moment, I had let go. Of all that anger, that desire for revenge, all of that resentment, of all that negative emotions, everything. I accepted my past, came to terms of it and healed from it all at that moment. Don’t get me wrong, what happened was wrong. The abuse is unforgivable and the monster will get what’s coming to him but it wasn’t controlling my life anymore. It wasn’t sucking out the joy from my life. I wasn’t broken being anymore. I don’t really know how to explain it. I was just at peace with my past. I wasn’t going to linger on it or allow it to control my entire world. I wasn’t going to just think of my abuse when I look back to my childhood. It wasn’t my identity anymore. I just let go and I was free. I wasn’t free for just a moment or at peace for a second. I was truly set free. I’m going to try to explain by using a bird as an example.

When I shared my past to the world, I had unlocked the cage I was trapped in. I had opened the door and could now leave my personal jail cell, but I couldn’t leave the cage. I wasn’t ready. When I message my mom and asked for distance, I finally left my corner and sat on the little cage door. I looked around the room but was unsure if I could fly. When my mindset shifted, I spread my wings and flew for the first time. It was freeing but my fears dragged my little body down and I dropped to the floor. When I had that conversation with my mother and I heard that sorry, I flew and flew but I never left the room. When I heard that sorry from my dad, I was able to fly out of the open window and leave my cage behind. That room is still in my house but I no longer lock myself away in the cage or limit myself to flying in that one room.

A few weeks ago, I was talking to my friend about something and I said this: “Don’t clip your own wings before you ever learn how to fly.” It is such a powerful quote. It fits so beautifully with my example, it just feels like fate.

Two weeks into December I got some bad news and slipped into another bad depressive state. It was intense and I cried constantly. The truth is even though I had left that room and was soaring through the sky, it was raining and my wings were getting heavy. Life is still insane and everything will make sense when I share what has been going on but for now, I want to end this part and story by sharing what happened a few days ago.

My father had sent me this picture and I immediately liked the picture. It was an old one of us and it just felt like I was looking at another person. I responded that we both looked so young back then and that I could tell by looking at the phone I’m holding in my hands. I found the fact I could pinpoint my age by looking at this old phone very funny. Heck, it’s ten years ago so it was just funny to see how phones used to look back then. My father’s response was unexpected. Before I continue, here is the picture.

bc84a68d-4b01-42ba-a3f3-4530fbbab9a7

I think I’m going to start off with my inserting his messages and then I will talk about it.

daddy messages 1

daddy messages 2

I can’t tell you how emotional this message made me. I don’t even know where to start. 1) My father is more sensitive to my mental health and is being gentler. 2) I didn’t see it coming. When I saw that picture, I just saw a younger version of ourselves. It’s a good thing. I mean what I said. When I look back, I don’t see all the bad. I see all of the good. 3) My dad was just being the sweetest about everything and made me miss him so much. Before I left, I made little notes for my dad. I was so worried for him all alone in that big house and put up little reminders everywhere. Take your pills. Don’t fall asleep in the bath. Take your food out of the freezer. Feed the dogs. Lock the house. It makes my heart melt to hear that these notes are still on, nearly two years later. I miss my parents a lot and this didn’t help much.

I don’t really know how I want to end this. There is so much more I can say. Life got really hard after I shared my story. It opened old wounds. It was a raw and vulnerable time. It was a lot of heartbreak, acts of bravery and hard decisions. It was anything but easy but I needed to go through it. I needed to go to my lowest of lows so I could build myself up from there. I had to stop clipping my owns wings and learn how to fly.

Thank you so much for all the love and support with this series. I needed to share all of this. Much love, Cassy xxx

PS I’m sorry about the weird spacing with the text images. I couldn’t really fix it.

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

Part Four — https://fitcouchpotato.com/2019/01/28/what-happened-after-i-shared-about-my-abusive-past-depression-part-4-4/