We are still in the midst of the long holiday weekend here in this part of the world. People usually spend the long Thanksgiving weekend with their families and loved ones. The rest of us ‘orphans’ with no family here in this country are usually left behind. New York City has been so dead the past two nights because it is a city made up mostly of transplants who are mostly out of town spending time with their families.
This is the first Thanksgiving that I am spending without my daughter and while I do miss her, I’m also grateful for the break from the day-to-day physical exhaustion that is single motherhood. So I had a ‘no human interaction’ day yesterday – save for dinner with a friend and plan on having a peaceful, quiet ‘no human interaction’ rest of the weekend.
So more about my friend who I had dinner with. She’s been in this country for over ten years and has two small kids. She’s also just found out that her husband has been cheating on her with prostitutes for a long time.
Now this friend stopped working five years ago to be a stay home mom and wife. She used most of her savings to purchase the apartment which she and her kids (and until very recently, her husband) are now living at. Her husband verbally abuses her. She’s also had one episode of physical abuse where he dumped a hot frying pan of noodles all over her head. Whenever he gets mad, he empties the trash all over their kitchen floor. Since she’s found out about his cheating, he’s cancelled her cell phone, cancelled her credit cards, changed the locks on their door – did everything possible to make life a living hell for her. His parents are expecting her to just take it and stick on with their son because she doesn’t have any income anyway and “for the sake of the children.”
This friend is not a close friend though I’ve known her for about 6 years. I’ve only met her a handful of times and we’ve lost contact for many years. But two days after she found out about the cheating, she reached out to me. She’s seen my posts about my ex husband’s affair on Facebook and wanted advice on what to do next. So I’ve been meeting up with her a lot since then.
Yesterday she told me that she will file for a divorce this coming week. And let me say – I am so proud of her. It’s only been a month since she found out – and for those of you who’ve been cheated on before, emotions are usually very fraught in those first couple weeks or even months or even years. I’m so proud that she made a quick and firm decision not to live with this disrespect anymore and to protect her children even though she’s probably still hurting inside.
And to add to that – she’s in a – what would be perceived generally as – powerless position. She doesn’t have a job. Her savings are mostly gone. She lives in one of the most expensive cities in the world. She has two small kids – one who is not even 1 yet and the other who has early childhood development issues. And her husband is antagonistic and working against her. A lot of people would have felt powerless and would have either just accepted it and hoped for the best or waited it out. But she is choosing not to.
I asked her what she was going to do about her living situation. She said she will find a job that would be flexible enough given she will be a single mom to two kids. And she will downgrade to a smaller place in a cheaper neighborhood. She will do anything – even if it means life will be harder – because she believes she will be much happier leaving this situation.
And this, my friends, is the key message I wanted to say to you today. You are in control of your own destiny. Yes you couldn’t control what happened to you. Yes you couldn’t control the people who treated you badly. But you can control what you want to do about it. And you can control the outcome. Because you are the pilot of your one life and you chart your life course.
Even if you feel powerless in your situation – there is always a way out. And others don’t know you and they cannot tell you what you can or cannot do.
I hope this little bit of positivity gives you the hope and motivation you need to seize control of your destiny. And I wish you a good rest of the weekend.