A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. My life has been full of ups and own, triumphs and trials. Some times one seems to prevail over the other but for me, I've always been able to see the brighter side of things. Or, as my friend and I call it, the "pretty bird" syndrome. I know I've blogged about this before but it was 2 years ago so a little refresher.
Due to my health issues, my memory ain't what it used to be. I've also had some cognitive changes. One of them is just a complete and utter inability to stay angry or upset about something. Now I've always been a positive person anyway but this goes beyond that. It's as if I were talking about something very in-depth, look up to the sky and cry, "Look at that pretty bird!" and then forget what I was talking about.
Yeah, I call it pretty bird syndrome (PBS). So to reiterate, no birds are involved, just my forgetfulness. :-)
I just wanted to call that to ya'lls attention. So you see, I can have a very personal or heartwrenching post and then in the next breath, sing the praise of a new fabric softener. (Still loving the Bounce dryer bar, btw. LOL). So I'm not really manic-depressive just pretty birdin'. :-D
Alright so onto today's topic. )Yeah, still trying to catch up for my dismal performance blogging this summer.) For some reason, I was thinking about my first solo living experience. Well that's not quiet true. I first well and truly lived alone when I was 19 and pregnant (that should be a tv show lol). I was on bedrest from 2 months onward and lived alone in my mother's old trailer. Hmmm nice times. :-/ I wasn't even supposed to stand up long enough to cook or clean, can you imagine??
I went on to have 2 more babies after that. Eh, what can I say, I live on the wild side.
What I was thinking about though was my first real apartment. For me, by me. This happened after my divorce from the boys' dad. As we lived where we worked and I no longer worked there (I was on disability for my end stage renal disease) I was the lucky girl who got to move.
We had already decided to divorce (it was at my behest... loooooong story) and the boys' dad was actually moving to another apartment on the campus. I was told, in no uncertain terms, that I was not allowed to move to the new place.
So there I sat in an empty apartment for a few days waiting for the first of the month when my new place would be ready for occupancy. I actually slept in the floor of a closet. No joke. He came and washed the carpets and the only dry place I could sit or lie down was the closet.
Looking back now I am horrified anyone could treat the mother of their children that way. I wouldn't even put my dog in a closet! Ahhh well the past is past and I pretty birded it away.
So after my few days in the closet of shame I was able to move. Oh what a gem this little apartment was. Please appreciate the sarcasm dripping from every word I just wrote. It was $350 a month which even then was by far the cheapest thing I had found.
Well let me rephrase. It was the cheapest place I could find that did not include having a single room with one lone hanging lightbulb and about 13 men living in one room on the other side. Not joking here. Oh or one that wasn't located in our local "street entrepreneur" part of town. Oh my. THAT was an interesting place.
So what did my $350 get me? Actually I got 2 bedrooms because the apartment I was in was built into a hill so the back rooms (the kitchen and a "den") had no windows. A room cannot be labeled a bedroom without windows.
Anyway I got a huge kitchen, the back windowless
Oh and I got 6.5 foot ceilings. Yeah no joke. When me, in all my 5foot2inch glory walked in, I thought, how cozy. When a 6'4" friend did the same, he said, "Oh my god, I'm gonna hit my head!!!!"
As I was the one who initiated the divorce I didn't feel it was fair to take everything. Even though we had both worked (actually I worked more than him because I had worked while he was in college) and a lot of things came from my family, I took only what I felt was mine.
My worldly possessions included the cooking utensils I had began to accumulate as I learned to enjoy making a meal, my personal effects, a computer, and a love seat. I did decide to take that because I needed somewhere to sit and somewhere to sleep. Yep, I slept on a loveseat for a while but hey, it was an improvement over the closet! ;-)
Oh and I brought my clothes. What a pitiful assortment I had! As I had lost so much weight really nothing fit. I remember going to a yard sale and buying a blue plaid pair of shorts for $.50 and found a white tshirt for a few bucks. I think my sister had given me a pair of cut-off blue jean shorts and I had a t-shirt my dad sent me from Georgia.
Honestly that was about it. All of my other clothes no longer fit after I had lost 30 lbs. Easiest diet ever; just too sick to eat. lol
So there I was; sicker than I had ever been in my life, 26 years old, practically penniless and alone. In many ways I was happier than I had ever been in my life. The boys' father was... difficult at times. He was very controlling and made my life hard in general. Please don't get me wrong, he is a great dad but as a husband, let's just say he had a ways to go.
I finally had the freedom to just be me. I could make decisions, decorate my home, go to the store when I wanted. Little things, really, but they meant a lot to me. I did have my sons; please don't think I've forgotten them. They were with me almost everyday or at least every other day. Now I have a lot of guilt for not being a 100% full-time mama for them but you have to understand my situation.
I was soooo sick. I was vomiting multiple times a day, had horrendous headaches that wouldn't go away and all the stress from the dysfunctional relationship with the father. At the age of 26 I was faced with possible death and definite surgeries, dialysis, and hopefully one day a transplant.
While at the time I think I was in denial, it really was a lot to bear. I had no support either. I wasn't religious so there was no church family. My mother had a boyfriend and a job, lived in another city, my sister was married, 2 kids, working, and my best friend and her husband were also friends with my ex. All of our other friends were from the place we had both worked and they sided with him.
Alhamdulillah for it all. During a time when I could have drowned in depression or alcohol, I did neither. I just lived the best I could. I learned to take time for me. I painted my toenails and remembered how to be feminine again. I read books and cross-stitched. I started writing poetry again that didn't have to rhyme. LOL
And I tried to give my failing body a little rest.
I remember my appetite being so poor from my illness that (along with my lack of $$$) I would buy one sweet tea with lemon every few days or so from Captain D's. They had awesome sweet tea! And every 2 or 3 days I could buy one container of veggie lo-mein for about $4 and eat that for a couple of days. I lived simply and oh so frugally.
I had about $900 a month in disability if that. After paying $350 rent, $350 car pymt, utilities, food, supplies... can you see how I ran out of money before I ran out of month? lol It wasn't hard. I tried to work briefly but my health was so bad I couldn't even last 2 weeks.
Please understand I am not saying any of this because I pity myself. I'm saying it as a way to remind myself to be grateful for my blessings, to be content and happy in this life Allah swt has given me. And, I guess, to remind myself that alhamdulillah I can survive. :-)
I think this is one of those posts that is just gonna peter out. I have no grandeloquent ending, no moral, just a reminder that life will go on despite illnesses and sadnesses and that, inside ourselves, we have the strength to be.
Ma salaama ya'll