2 Steps Forward 1 Step Back

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It’s been 5 months.

I must say I have never been more focused and determined. It started with research, reading online, self help books, YouTube videos, yoga, meditation, therapy the list goes on! Being unknowingly codependent my entire life and finally opening my eyes has left me fighting for things I didn’t even know I could have had, for things I never knew should have been there, simple things like mutual respect and  love. Having been surrounded by toxic people most of my life, I had never known when to stop giving, when to stop fixing, when to move on.

5 months on I can see clearly for the first time. Being able to analyse people for the first time. Not just their words but their actions. Boundaries are being set. Toxic people cut out of my life.

It does appear like this is going to be a life long game of me constantly having to centre myself, constantly checking in with myself. Constantly having to stop to analyse and understand my emotions. Being honest to myself and to others about the things that matter.

From being jobless, helpless and broken, managing a part time job, single after nearly 8 years,  I have come too far and I never want to go back.

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Futile

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I felt your pain as you scratched your face bloody, I held my tongue as you argued over something so meaningless because I knew how much you were hurting. I felt your pain as we visited the hospital for your allergy tests and they showed up negative for everything you couldn’t eat, unexplained. I felt your pain as the doctors prescribed more steroids and finally felt your relief at finding a herbal med that appeared to ‘help’. I felt your frustration after researching how a lady had taken these medication and developed kidney failure. I was there by your side as you struggled every day, figuring out what you could and couldn’t eat. I was there by your side  as you screamed feeling so defeated. Through the worst of your days, I was there. I was there as you stayed in bed all day on your birthday, crushed and depressed, crying. I listened year after year as you moaned and complained strangers/family/friends looked at you different, treated you different because you thought your self to be ‘ugly’ and I assured you, you were and will always be handsome in my eyes. I told you over and over you were everything to me, that I will always be here for you as long as we both upheld up the foundations of this relationship.

We stopped going out, you said you didn’t want to, that you couldn’t eat outside food and you became so insecure, so I said it was okay. You stopped hanging out with my friends and I made excuses on your behalf. I tried my best to buy you free from foods so you didn’t feel so lonely, I tried to cook us fresh foods that you cold eat because we were in this together. I let my life become all about you. You needed me, I was there, you were jobless yet again, I gave you money, you were in overdraft yet again so I gave you more money. You liked my nails painted so I painted them. You didn’t like my hair up so I kept it down. You didn’t like my small glasses so I wore the oversized ones. You didn’t like my shoes so I bought new ones. You made last minute plans and I said I’ll be there. You specified times you were free even though I knew you had no other plans but I took all the time I could get with you. You turned up unannounced after work whenever you needed me and I told you how happy I was to see you. You talked on and on about all you worries, your problems, your struggles, same story everyday to a point where my voice was no longer heard, my problems unimportant but I listened. The little boundaries I had, you broke down  and I let you. I let you consume my time, my space. Every time I said no you relentlessly pushed until you got a yes. Every time I was happy you somehow manged to bring me down. Every time I was hopeful you somehow manged to make me feel just like you, lost confused unappreciative of everything I had but I kept coming back to you and I didn’t know why. I truly believed you will never stop loving me. I truly believed as you pushed me away, belittled me and made me feel like I was nothing that at the end of our troubles which went up and and down, up and down like a frenzied roller coaster, that you always had my best interests at heart just like I had yours. That I meant everything to you just like you did to me, that you will never do anything to hurt me although you had for so long. That you wouldn’t break down the trust we had in each other, although you had already done, so many times before where deep down I had stopped trusting you. Where your promises meant nothing and your words so empty but I needed to hear them anyways because I just couldn’t let myself believe that we were past saving, that my love couldn’t fix you, that the more engulfed you became with your dreams of money and power the less you heard my voice. My voice became a whisper to silence.

We sat to watch the sunset but I felt so alone. We lay together side by side on this huge bed but we were so far apart. I sat there and I cried but you were past caring. I tried because I knew this was it. I tried to hold on, I tried to fix you, I tried to fix us but my tears were meaningless to your eyes, my pleading words just hollow whispers to your ears. 7 and half years later, I finally found myself falling, this time no empty words to catch me, into a shroud of darkness, so lonely so broken like I had never felt before.

She’s Home

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Just as I drift off I hear her coughing, pushing off the sheets I rush to her, worried. Pulling out the suction tube to clear her airway.  It’s a game that’s played throughout the night. I’m happy she’s home but seeing her unable to sleep just coughing, coughing and still in pain, it breaks my heart. I wish I could do more to take away her pain.

We have become good at looking after her now. Helping to clean her stoma twice sometimes three times a day,  helping her with the  humidufier machine, suctioning the phlegm throughout the day. As much as her voice annoyed me before I wish I can hear it again.

I can see the pain in her eyes as I comb her hair, hair falling out in clumps. I hold back the tears and joke it off.

She’s home

She’s recovering

That’s all that matters

All we can do is be there for her

Always and forever

 

Better Tomorrow

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It’s been many months since the diagnosis, the operations, the lengthly hospital stays. The needles, the blood the tears. She is so much better, most days happy, on her feet smiling, no longer being suffocated by the invisible hands of cancer at her throat.

With tomorrow fast approaching, those thoughts I had pushed away and locked deep inside, they unwillingly crawl out of that locked chest spreading it’s darkness .I had read all the articles, the numerous studies, numbers and percentages flashing in my head. Cancer may find it’s way back, death and devastation in it’s path. 6 months after her 2nd op they had taken their samples. Only tomorrow will tell. I sit here and write these thoughts, releaving myself of the overwhelming emotions that I struggle with. She’s doing well.

One day I will write about the past year, I will write about my mother’s fierce battle with cancer, but today is not that day. Today is the day for happiness and hope that all is and will be well.

She may have lost her voice but I will  not lose her. The only woman in the world I love. I cannot see my life without her. She is everything. Mother’s love is like no other.

Stranger at the Door

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I hid behind my mum, shy, nervous, clutching onto her dress as a man walked through the doors. A huge box in his hand overflowing with grapes and red apples. I had never tasted these fruits before, these new fruits, one soft juicy the other crisp and sweet did not exist where I had come from.This strange man with his nice big box of strange fruits. It was custom in those days to bring fruits as gifts when entering one’s home.

He looked so big, a little scary and worn out. I looked at my mum to see her near to tears, beyond happy overjoyed at the sight of this strange man at the door. He put his box down on the table happy to be here, pulling out the chair and sitting on it.

Appa I came to call him. Appa meant dad in my language. Such an unfamiliar word on my tongue. At the age of 6, my dad came from London, enrolled me at my first school, taught me my alphabets, disciplined me, bought me my first ice cream cone, took me to the zoo. He was a scary man, strict. I grew up afraid of him. He would beat my brothers when they were naughty, hit me on the head when I got my answers wrong, made the boys do Thoppu Karanam (common punishment where they had to grab their ears and do sit ups), using thin tree branches as canes.

We came to know dad as the man that disciplined us, kept the kids in line, kept us educated, working day and night to pay the bills and put food in our bellies, providing us with a life that he never had, giving us options.  A man I never truly knew and still to this day I wonder as I pass him on this street,  strangers. I know he cared for me, does he still? After all the violence he has seen, all the people he has lost, after all the nights he has worked, the sleep he has lost, bringing me to the person I am today, was I allowed to have my own beliefs. The second time he fell into depression, the paranoia, I had set that off, my actions, my beliefs, my values that were different. I grew to tell myself that I couldn’t blame myself, that he has been through so much growing up, all his bottled emotions. I could not be blamed for falling in love. Parents were to be supportive, loving understanding. I will not judge someone on their so called ‘cast’. I will not fall prey to gossip. I refuse to make those my beliefs.

Walking around on tiptoes, I dare not touch his belongings. He has grown paranoid, more short tempered, suspicious of everyone around him. He hides it well, words rarely spoken.

He is a different man.

The stranger at the door.

 

 

 

 

 

A Land of Beauty

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Chapter 2

I remember the tiny boat almost like a banana boat. I remember sitting there with everyone, lanterns were instructed to be turned off,  sitting there in hushed silence as we left in the midst of the night to escape the violence. Now everytime I read about the Syria and Iraq citizens escaping the massacre and destruction, trying to cross the savage sea into Europe on a boat, it takes me back to that day when I sat on a boat in hushed silence, in the dead of the night so we can escape atleast to the city for a safer haven.  That single memory glows strong from my little age of  5.

There was a reason we left it all behind. I trace my memory back to when I was 13, standing there in the back yard of a house that was no longer my mother’s. All the land my parents owned, the houses that belonged to them, most signed off to family members, relatives or sold.

I see the neighbour’s hen, proudly walking, her chicks neatly in line as they weave around trees away from the stray cat that watches them and under the hole in the fence where they disappear.

Red hibiscus trees lined against the left side of the fence made of dried woven coconut leaves, beautiful red flowers waving in the light breeze that blew.  A lime tree short, as you drew closer the many green small fruits can be seen hanging against the green leaves. A papaya tree but no papayas, a jack fruit tree stood tall, large prickly fruits. Ah the sweet sweet taste of a jackfruit, the yellow flesh as you ripped it apart, the stickiness it leaves behind. The wood apples can be seen high up, took me back to an image as a child, sitting there with a half cracked open woodapple it’s brown pulp mixed with sugar, mouthwatering treats. That’s what I enjoyed as a child. The delicious coconut pulp that we used to scrape and enjoy as the juice dribbled through our fingers and the toddy palms that would grow so high in the trees. Small dark in colour, similar to a coconut but smaller,  the sweet jelly meat found in the centre with its pockets of bursting juice. ‘Nonku’ it was called. These were what I  feasted on as a child, the treats I enjoyed. Not haribos and sherbets and chocolates. Such sweets were never heard of and chocolates were rare, unseen.

Sitting there in the moonlight on chairs out in the front yard, only two lamplights glowing in the house, the sound of the dogs barking up the uneven dark street, the whistling and buzzing of the insects in the trees, I surrendered to the peace. The excitement and adventure of this day closing to an end, thankful for the cold concrete that could be felt through the sheets I lay on, I closed my eyes picturing the stray cat with it’s half bitten ear.

To be continued

 

 

 

A Land Of Beauty

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I’m rather surprised over the many years I have resided here in this large multicultural city of London, not many people have heard of the fruits I indulged in growing up as a child.

Living in a village was beautiful, I didnt realize it’s beauty until I returned there many years after, a little bit taller, a little more wise. Walking through the large gates of my mother’s home, my body exhausted after the day’s journey in a van from the main city, I stood there in awe.

Living in London for so long, the memories of home had become distant, a little faded over the many years.

The house stood large, the yard stretched far and wide, the sandy yard with its beautiful jasmine trees, little white flowers of fragrance that bought back memories. A baby goat ran past me into the back yard.

Following through, the front yard curved around the looming brick house to the back yard. A well was built there near the large mango tree which towered above the house, boasting it’s large fruits, hanging- most green but some ripe and ready for the picking. Looking forth after much sandy ground, the ground was more soil, hard with grassy plains, leading to the growth of more trees -oh so many trees were looming in view.  Breathing in the fresh air, the sound of hens clucking, the hot sun beating strong through the tall coconut trees, I thought to myself what if I had never left?!

To be continued