I'm moving this week. It is supposed to be one of the most stressful experiences one can go through and I agree!! What to keep? What to throw out? It's not that I have stuff that I don't like, it's just that when I look at the pile of boxes I feel so exhausted that I begin to wonder: Do I really need all this stuff?
Yesterday I was packing yet more boxes and came across a tiny pair of little girl's pajama bottoms. As I held them in my hands I was suddenly transported back three years to that first night we spent in the women's shelter. I had literally fled with only the clothes on my back, a couple of changes of clothes for my son and absolutely nothing for my daughter,,in fact, in my haste I grabbed two shoes for her that didn't even match (one a sandal and one a shoe!). That first night the staff handed me pajamas, underwear, socks and toiletries, they had been donated by someone who will never know the full impact of that gift.
The tears welled up as held them yesterday and noted how tiny those pajama bottoms were. My daughter was just two at the time and I used to think of her as my little shadow - now I understand it better, her silence and need to be with me was because she was traumatized, As I looked at those little pants I began to think about how much has changed for me and my children over the last three years; I accept how hard it has been for all of us yet there has been incredible sunshine in the darkness and the little town house that we moved into was part of that goodness.
First of all, let me get something straight here...I don't think anyone would voluntarily choose to live in a geared to income townhouse survey unless it was seen as a step-up from other circumstances! I'm not being a snob, I'm being a realist. To live in a survey is to be sandwiched between strangers, to have to deal with noise and temperaments, to have to mind your own business.....
Ahhhh but to live in a survey is also to be secure, to know that there is someone on the other side of the wall that can alert the police if you yell, that you are secure on both sides and that it is only the front door and the back door that can pose a possible entry point. To live in a survey is to know that there are others nearby who are struggling just like you, who are also living with the crappy plumbing, the leaking basement and the abundance of dog poo ...you know what? I have enjoyed my time here.
So why am I moving you ask? Because I know that it is the right thing to do, it is time for my kids and I to embark upon the next stage of our journey. We are moving to another rental property but this time it it in the country and it is not a townhouse, it is a little house with a big garden and most importantly, it is a fresh start for my son. Children who have been traumatized by domestic violence often have troubles in school and with peers. My son deserves to have a chance to leave his reputation behind him, he deserves a chance to be just like any other 10 year old boy, no longer to feel like he is the one "with issues".
As I write this I am surrounded by boxes and bags of all sorts, my little townhouse is an absolute mess and I am in no way ready to start moving in 2 days! I will miss this place but it is time to move on. Funny isn't it? When we are in a situation or a place, we often feel like things will never change, yet so often they do. This fresh start for me may not be the answer for you. You may need to stay where you are for the time being, but know this: trust yourself. It is a scary thing to make big decisions, scary for anyone but definitely scary for someone who has experienced Domestic Violence - we are not all that experienced at trusting our own instincts and decision making is often fraught with second guesses (speaking from experience here!). If I leave you with anything, I hope it is to encourage you to go ahead and make decisions...I want to encourage you to tell the little voice in your head to shut up, the one that says you can't do it, that you can't make good decisions and I want to encourage you to take a bite out of life! Take that course! Join that group! Apply for school! Make that move! You can do it and so can I 🙂by