At the moment I wake up and wonder if my life is just a bad dream.
I had dreamt of starting a family. That I would settle down with a man whom I was proud to stand next to. Who also wanted to live a life that was memorable, not just watching TV every night.
I imagined that, on occasion, he would drive me up the wall and that we would have a monotonous everyday routine like every other family. I wanted to start this journey because I wanted all this – I wanted to face the challenge and be present in this life of routine and tradition. I wanted to be more patient than most, I wanted to be forgiving beyond his expectation and more loving than I thought I was capable of. I would stay present, humorous and fun.
I imagined that we would have children whom we adored and put our family life ahead of work or study and anyone else – that we would be our own little tribe; one for all and all for one just like the Musketeers. We would be our own company competing in a global marketplace, making wise investments of time in each other. Because life would have taught us that real companies fail, that markets crash and no one actually cares what degree you have we would value our own sanity above all else and our family members at a close second.
For this reason, we would practice selflessness by exchanging small acts of kindness every day; moments where you might not feel bothered to do something for this other person but you would do it anyway because the family comes first and inspires us to rise above our own apathy. This would foster a climate of gratitude as we dance by standing on each other’s toes.
But that didn’t happen.
When I moved in with the man I chose. He started to say I wasn’t pulling my weight. When I offered to make us a nice breakfast he accepted, when I invited him to get out of bed and join me in the kitchen while I cooked he prefered to read news on his phone staying in bed, this would repeat every time. He would come home too late to have dinner together. When I tried to speak about the future to give myself a time to look forward to, he would get irritated that I don’t respect how busy he is. He would not start getting up until the breakfast was already getting cold.
I was already pregnant…
So we kept making our home together.
We went to IKEA and bought curtain rails. When we came home he asked me to measure them out, which I did. I planned to install them for maximum strength and minimum effort. Once I told him I now needed his help to install the rails he asked me if I was sure. He insisted this what I had planned was silly and that it needed to be for maximum symmetry. He re-marked up the rails himself and while we hung them he made an offhand comment – ‘if only I always kept my mouth shut then it would all be fine’. …a joke he said. But I knew I was in trouble then.