By Asouka Edwards
It was the Easter weekend holiday, four days off from work where the tradition is to spend that time with your family on the beach or maybe take a trip abroad. It was just a few weeks since my husband of twelve years moved out telling me that he needed some space and time to become a better husband and could only do it at his mother’s house, he pleaded with me to give him a month and promised to be back, better than ever.
My gut instinct screamed to me that he was not moving to his mother’s place nor was he ever coming back but I but didn’t want to admit it to myself. If I did, I would have to take responsibility and make some choices, it would also make crystal clear that I would have to face the truth that I had been denying all along. I was in the motherland of denials! This cannot be happening; I was determined to fix it, to talk some sense into him, I couldn’t understand for the life of me how on this good green earth this was happening to me? I pay my taxes, I give back to the community, I follow all the law, bloody hell I am just a good person!
I kept calling him all weekend, almost to a point of obsession and desperation. He never answered. I was beside myself which really meant neglecting and dishonouring me in the entire situation. I made up my mind first thing on Tuesday morning I would go to his job and demand some answers! His job was close to my house and I had to pass his office on my way to work, it was the only sure place I knew that I would find him.
I wished somehow that for once that Tuesday followed Sunday; the days seem to be dragging, if only he would just answer his phone! I decided on Monday that I would jump in my car and drive to his mother’s house and his sister’s house, if he’s not by one he may be at the other. They were both in the same neighbourhood about a forty five minute drive away from where I lived. Heck I wasn’t doing anything anyway and he wasn’t answering his phone. I was taught to do whatever it took to get a result. It’s a done deal I am driving to Trincity.
I drove up the highway to my then mother in law’s house, there was no one at home, I circled the block twice like a proper stalker still saw no sign of life at the house , the roads were clear which got me more anxious, everyone must be either spending time with their families or abroad and here I was alone driving to find mine.
I drove to the other street where his sister lived, that house looked even more desolate, there was no one there but I saw our dog, which also left or I should say taken,when the husband left. I rang the bell, there was no answer, the dog was jumping up all happy to see me, I was just getting more and more upset and angry, the poor doggie was just in the wrong place at the wrong time!
Looks like I would really have to wait until Tuesday morning to get some answers.
I woke up early on Tuesday, scratch that, I slept very little on Monday night still calling and sending messages. I left home earlier than usual; I wanted to be there in time for his arrival at work. Fearful emotions cause us to judge, blame, attack, worry, become anxious and feel separated from others and create more fear within ourselves. I can say that I was safely holding on to fearful emotions so much so that I checked in to the Hyatt of fear and booked the penthouse suite!
I saw him driving up the street in his big brown HiLux van, as I sat in my car waiting for him parked on the street just outside his office. I was surprisingly very calm despite my frustrating and desperate weekend. He got out of his van; he saw me and the look of love and excitement that I once associated with him seeing me was no longer there, he looked frustrated and disappointed. How long did that look of love and excitement disappear? Why didn’t notice it before? It made my tummy flip in so many crazy ways.
“I was expecting you”
He jumped right in; I didn’t even have to ask any questions!
“Yes I went to Tobago with her, I spent the weekend ok?
“You are not getting it are you? I am working it out in my own time but can you just leave me alone for five minutes so I can”
“What? You went to Tobago for the Easter weekend and you are working it out?”
“Yes Kous, I need to do this my way”
“Where does being a better husband come into this picture? How does going away for a weekend with another woman make you a better husband?”
You never listen to me, never, I told you that I am doing this my way, you want things done your way, you just never ever listen”
He walked away and entered his building.
I was a mess, a hot and utter mess. I jumped into my car and started crying I just wanted the lies to stop, the empty sick feeling within my stomach to end.
There must be a quick relief, there must be some way for me to feel peaceful right now, things just seem to be spiralling out of control both at home and at work! There must be some way for me to get back in control of my life, for me to feel worthy again.
I recently started working as one of the senior managers for the” hottest” company in town they enticed me with a fantastic package and a challenge which I said to myself if I met it I would set myself apart from all the rest.
I had access to all the top players and politicians in the country. I thought yes I had made it! What else is there to prove that I was a success? They headhunted me for over nine months, the head of the Company would call me almost every two weeks and ask me to join the Company. I wasn’t interested. It just didn’t seem a right fit for me, then the Chairman of the Company called. I told myself this must be a serious offer for the Chairman to ask me personally, I told him no. He called me again set up a meeting and discussed his plans and where I fit in. I was sold, I told him that I would join and it would be worth the wait!
When I started the new job, I realised right away that the atmosphere at the Company though was toxic; I couldn’t believe the level of fear and terror with which it was being led. I had made up my mind to resign with a fear hanging over me on how will I pay my bills with only one income? My husband stopped contributing to the household the day he moved out! Then just on cue, the Universe responded, the Government changed and I lost my job and in the most spectacular way possible, on national TV. When it rains it pours! It seemed to be the hurricane season.
What could I do to make all this pain stop right away?
I drove up to the Lady Young, a long and winding road in the capital with fantastic views of the city, all set with high cliffs and long drops. I felt certain that driving off the cliff will forever stop this pain give me the peace that I so badly crave.
In my mind life was over, I convinced myself that I was a failure at my marriage, at making decisions and I just lost my job in a most public way. I just wanted to feel a sense of peace.
I accelerated. At that point of acceleration a thought came into my head as the car moved faster and further ahead, my mother she did the very best that she could and had one child, will she be alright?
The car was now going at a speed, my phone kept ringing and I glanced over at the caller ID because it just would not stop! It was Ruby. Ruby was such a darling, came to my rescue so many times during my seeming fall from grace, how could I ever deny her calls.
“Hey can you help my friend please, she’s really depressed and going through a bad bad time”
“Yes you are really positive and you can talk some sense into her, she’s here hang on!”
I pulled aside and stopped the car, as I pulled aside I looked at the view, what a beautiful city, I felt peace for that split second! How do I maintain this feeling?
The person came on the phone sobbing, telling me about her two year old baby that died suddenly struck by a sheet of metal sheeting that blew off her roof and the husband was blaming her and a whole other litany of woes that made me losing a job and husband that I knew deep down was not what was best for me, who was not honouring to me seem like a picnic at the Botanical Gardens with small coloured cheese and tuna paste sandwiches!
My word, here I am a hot mess and she’s calling me to talk about her challenges and issues
I pulled the car and stopped and we chatted for about ten minutes, it gave me a whole new perspective, things could be worse, no one died, and I didn’t kill anyone either, I was young healthy and had people who cared and loved me. Get a grip!
Right there I turned the car around and decided that God or the Universe must have a plan for my life and I need to be present and believe that I can get peace in some other way. I made a commitment to myself right there to live!
What I learnt is that what really mattered is being myself, being honest, being real, to own everything in my life fully, to do me with no excuses and allow everyone else the same courtesy.
It didn’t happen overnight but the journey to authenticity along with owning my own stuff and being free to do what I do also involves allowing others that same privilege it comes not judging someone and believing that you are better than them based on your station in life.
One of my favourite authors, Carolyn Myss summed me up nicely, she talks about how we tell ourselves that we are better than others because we don’t do what they do, that somehow somewhere we believe that if we are good people and do what is good that nothing bad SHOULD happen to us. That we try to make bargains with God, telling God listen I am a good person and I do everything right, after all I am special and entitled so please let nothing bad happen to me. It’s just life! Life happens, it’s a cycle and huge classroom!
When we have lived through years of noise and drama, pushes and pulls and maybe after years of internal and spiritual work, all that is needed is simply to be real. There is nothing like simply being yourself, nothing like the simplicity of just being you. Being real is not about giving something or getting something, being seen or making another feel seen, It’s just me, as what I am.
I’ve learnt to be real, to be me, to own my stuff, feel the feelings and if I am feeling like crap say it, if I am feeling great say it! I have nothing to prove to anyone. Authenticity I have learnt is part of being free.
The entire journey for me just boiled down to that. Showing up as Akosua, every single time!
Authentic is the only true way to live. Everything else is unfulfilling, superficial, and unsettling.
Excerpt from What Did I Learn Today- Lessons on the Journey to Unconditional Self Love by Akosua Dardaine Edwards