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All of Me

I’m 43.

Having illnesses as a child that impacted my family’s holidays, gatherings, celebrations etc., I have always felt like I was/am a burden on people.

Most saddening, that I am a burden on the people I love the most. The people I only want to bring love, life and beautiful moments to.

People tell me I’m not a burden on them. But I tell me I am.

And as much as I fight it, my own inner voice, the 43 year old voice … the self-destructive one with roots clinging so deeply into the earth as if their life depended on it … that inner voice, is louder than those that are spoken from my loved ones.

I felt so lucky to be married to a man for 20 years, who always took it upon himself to tell me that he loved me and was never going to leave me. And somehow I believed him.

He became my carer, which is a hard thing to be. As my carer, he took me to doctor appointments, he called 000 way too many times than anyone should have to, he spent many nights trying to sleep next to my hospital bed, he watched me be unwell and have my life stripped from me day by day. For 4 years he did those things.

I have been, and sometimes still need to be, a carer for one of my daughters. And knowing how difficult being a carer can be, I made sure to try to get my husband all the support and respite he could get.

I tried to get him to see a therapist or support group where he could talk about the difficulties with the freedom of anonymity.

I tried to get him to go away for weekends or even whole weeks and stay with his friends or go wherever he needed to get rest and recharge his batteries.

I encouraged any hobbies he wanted to take up.

I tried not to get in the way of anything he wanted to do.

He never took me up on any of my ideas or offers. (For whatever that’s worth.)

Even in our 20th year of marriage, and even being my carer and all that comes with that, my husband still told me that he loved me and he was never going to leave me, and I felt so confident in his words. I figured if he was no longer feeling that way, he’d tell me.

A couple of months after the last time my husband told me he’d “never leave” me, he told me that he was “too tired to care anymore.”

One month after our 20th wedding anniversary, my husband moved out.

Because I was a burden. Because all of me was too much.

In two months I had become a burden. Or maybe I had been one for much longer? How long I had been a burden isn’t important.

What’s important is that I had lived my whole life with absolute conviction that I was a burden on people. No matter the relationship type, I still felt like I was a burden on them and they were better off without me in their life. Until I met the man I married. The man I spent 20 years married to.

That man convinced me that I wasn’t a burden on him. That man convinced me that my fear of always eventually becoming too much for a life partner, was just a fear.

For the first time in my life, I had allowed myself to think that there was a possibility of not feeling like a burden. And I felt secure that my husband wasn’t going to leave me.

I don’t want this message to come across as a blame message. It’s about my own belief of myself. My own judgement of myself in this situation.

I just wish I’d never believed it … that I wasn’t a burden. Believing it opened my soul up to be crushed, wrecking ball style. Believing it meant I would still be trying to put the splintered pieces of my heart, soul and mind, back together again, two years on.

To be clear, I wasn’t heart broken because of the love that was lost (that’s a whole other message). My heart, soul and mind were crushed because I had allowed my whole self-belief to change because of what this one person said, and suddenly they were proving my original belief about myself correct. What they had said, what I had believed, wasn’t true.

People are naturally flawed, beautiful, and complex beings. Relationships even more so.

Life is chaotic. Sometimes achingly blissful, sometimes stunningly heart breaking. But always chaotic.

I don’t think I’m shallow or naive. I know that people are all different. We’re all fighting our own battles, we all have our own stories, opinions, beliefs, choices, our own views on every situation. And we’re all living our own chaos.

I just wish I’d never believed it.

Zoe xxx

Go gently with people.

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