Moana made me do it

We all have the crunch moment. That moment of no return. Moana inspired my divorce.

There’s a time when you look at your partner and realise there is nothing left to say or do. It’s over. You have exhausted every promise, heard too many “never again”s. But there was an again, wasn’t there?

And again, and again.

Separations often occur after Christmas, or during a period of immense stress, like a new addition to the family, and it’s also not uncommon for it to happen when there is a significant loss in the family.

In my case, I started to assess things seriously on an afternoon when I was watching Moana with my 3 year old and 1 year old. I received a phone call which interrupted the viewing. I received the news that my Grandmother had gone into intensive care. It didn’t look good for her. I knew she had little time with us left.

My daughter loved Moana, so we watched it repeatedly. The relationship between Moana and her Grandmother often made me tear up as my Grandmother was also important to me. She was my biggest advocate. I always felt like unlike many others, she truly “saw” me.

“Sometimes the World seems against you

The journey may leave a scar

But scars can heal and reveal just where you are

The people you love will change you

The things you have learned will guide you

And nothing on Earth can silence

The quiet voice still inside you

And when that voice starts to whisper

Do you know who you are?

I am Moana Song of the Ancestors

The person I loved had changed me. I didn’t recognise myself or my husband anymore. Our relationship was competitive and bitter. I constantly felt on guard, I was regularly judged and attacked by him. Whenever I objected to how he spoke to me, he told me off for being “sensitive” or a “feminist”.

I’ve lost count of the times I tried to approach the relationship “afresh” or the number of e-mails I sent begging him to be kinder. But there was that quiet voice inside me. The one that knew I deserved real happiness.

I was about to lose the only woman who had ever shown me unconditional love. Unreserved pride. An abundance of kindness. Without her on my side, I knew I’d need to become my own cheerleader. I had to learn to love myself the way she loved me, or I would be ground down until I was too weak to remember who I once was.

It didn’t feel like that was such a distant prospect.

It wasn’t at this time that I asked my husband for a divorce. But we did separate. The Disney lover in me hoped somewhere inside him was a Prince Charming, ready to reveal himself – ready to pull our relationship in rather than letting it cast adrift. Instead, he pulled off what remained of his mask, and found a way to constantly remind me why I was leaving him.

Every time I hear the “Song of the ancestors” from Moana, I am reminded of the empowering moment I told myself I deserved more. When I watch the end, I am reminded of how little there was of myself left, but I still knew who I was.

Enough to realise I deserved better.

“They have stolen the heart from inside you, but this does not define you. This is not who you are. You know who you are.”

 

 

My two word mantra

“Fuck ’em.”

Yep, that was my 2018 mantra and I’m rolling it into 2019.

Some people need to be taught a lesson in kindness and empathy. I am not one of those people. I’m overly sensitive. Some have even said gullible. I always look for the best in everyone. You’d think this would make the world a softer lovelier place.

It doesn’t.

It means I’m often taken advantage of. Walked all over. Unless I surround myself with like minded individuals, it often works against me.

My ex and I had blazing rows, but one thing he would never dispute was the fact that I am kind. Also quick to forgive. I often forget too. Life’s too short, right?

Wrong.

My ex and I were arguing like cat and dog in the lead up to our wedding. It was (at that stage) the most stressful period of my life. That in itself should have been a red flag. But one sweet smile from him, a loving squeeze, and I went back to believing in the “good version” of us.

I will never make that mistake again.

My ex uses the “fuck ’em” attitude on a daily basis, to his own detriment. He completely lacks empathy. He always puts his own needs first, and uses other people to facilitate him in getting whatever it is he is after.

But enough about him. Softies like me, we need the “fuck ’em” mantra.

Us softies often put our own needs last, particularly once we’re parents. We’re people pleasers. We thrive on making others happy. We give up our seat on the bus. Smile at strangers on the street and cry at nappy adverts.

We’re soft people in a hard world. That is special and to be celebrated. There are many advantages to being intensely in tune with not only your own emotions but those of others. But where we share in joy we also share in others suffering.

Worse still, narcissists and abusers latch onto empaths. They love bomb us, charm us, then gradually work on grinding you down. They can’t resist it, it’s like shooting fish in a barrel.

Unfortunately regular communications with an ex (due to shared childcare) can give them a further opportunity to manipulate and exert control. New found single parenthood can also make you feel self conscious – which is daft considering how many there are of us.

But regardless, we look at the adverts with nuclear families and can’t help but feel inferior. When these moments attack my sensitive low self esteem, I mutter out

“Fuck ’em”

Not angrily, I have no anger towards happy families. Obviously. We’re a happy family too. I say it with joy.

“Fuck ’em” can be interchangeable about “fuck it”. The main emphasis is on the fact – none of it really matters.

It doesn’t matter what that judgemental woman on the train scowling at your kids behaviour thinks. It doesn’t matter what your ex Mother-in-law says about you. It doesn’t matter if your ex is prioritising his new found squeeze over your kids.

YOU HAVE NO CONTROL OVER THESE THINGS.

We do have control of how we perceive things though, so turn those perceptions around after mumbling “fuck ’em/it” under your breathe.

We make our own stories. We write our own narrative. We create our own reality. We choose how we shape our world. Nobody else cares about our business, or has walked in our shoes. Most people are more concerned with themselves.

You owe nothing to anyone, and nobody owes anything to you. It is nobody else’s duty to take care of you. Make things better for you. We are responsible for our own self care. We don’t wait for others to suggest we do something for ourselves. We need to always fill our own cup first.

As a single mum I am more aware of this than ever. If I am not strong, if I am not happy, I have less to give my kids, my boyfriend and my friends. My sanity, my wellness matters. I’m everything the kids have most the time, falling apart is not an option.

And what helps me from not falling apart? Fucking it all off.

And repeat after me “Fuck ’em”.