Once upon a time there was a girl...

Let’s start with some truth that you didn’t know. In January when I started this journey to ‘Self Discovery’, I was curious to why some people were so adamant towards being single. I didn’t believe being ‘single’ was something to enjoy. I completely misunderstood the concept behind a woman who calls herself single and a woman who chooses to be at one with herself.

I was told from both men and women that we must serve our men, especially when they’re doing things for you that ‘no other man would’. I became a ‘single’ parent after experiencing what was labelled as an ‘abusive relationship’. I certainly didn’t hold my man up when I knew he was mistreating me, and that in its self caused more conflict in our relationship. Our belief of what the correct way was to produce the perfect relationship was different to how our actions made us feel. We communicated and shared these thoughts and emotions to each other but it wasn’t with the intention to listen to the other person to learn. Sometimes in relationships we listen with the intent to respond with manipulation in order to control the outcome of the revelation to our own benefit. We want to hear them express themselves so that we can sugar-coat the deep dive that their emotions stemmed from so that we can access it at surface level for convenience. I’m going to tell you a story...

Love was never blind; you just tolerated what you didn’t want.

There was a time when I thought I was in love with someone. We met when I was young and hopeful for a love that I truly wanted to flourish. We connected almost instantly because of our creativity. I was in a rush to buy a black shirt with my best friend at that time for our choir performance at a church in the city centre. He served us at the tills and she invited him to come see us after a brief conversation. He said he would when he finished work, which I didn’t believe. Half way through our performance, my bestie nudged me and whispered ‘there’s that guy’. He actually turned up, I was impressed. On my way home he hopped on the same bus as me and I guess we got on pretty well. He said he did music and though I was more into acting, I had to sing three solo songs to pass the course I was studying at that time, so I could relate to his passion for performance and writing. Soon after, he invited me and my friend to his performance which was exciting for us. It was in a club, the kind of environment that I’ve never experienced before. I was genuinely amazed when he performed, I thought his interaction with the crowd had us all going, his confidence was on fire, and he lifted everyone’s energy. That was something I hoped to achieve for myself one day in the future.

Everything about our relationship happened at a steady fast pace. He’s older than me, so I understood at that time that he would have known what he wanted more than I did. He lived in the ‘real world’ and I was a young ambitious girl, freshly made out of college, looking for my next aim in life. I was on the verge of adulthood and I was just happy to embrace the new experience. I never questioned what ‘love’ was at that time with him, even when I saw the ‘red flags’ that I was told was ‘red flags’. I was more involved with the endless feelings and emotions that I was holding onto for dear life whilst trying to understand myself and responsibilities as a young adult.

After a while the excitement for my own creativity started to feel buried. I became more concerned with the importance of my relationship with him rather than nurture the fiery passion that burned within me to develop myself as an individual further.

I threw myself into work with a lie, that I was accepting and accomplishing adulthood at a high standard. Sometimes when I got back to his home, dinner would be warmed and ready for me, a bath with candles lit around it would await me followed by a full body massage and the rest is history. On the good days, things always felt absolutely unreal. I’ve never had someone ‘love’ me the way he expressed his interest so passionately towards me. It felt great and at that time I didn’t give a damn what anyone said because I knew what I felt was real. We were both fire, so together we created a bigger flame which eventually burned us both.

There were times that I was made to feel as a ‘woman’, I am less than him. He should be in control, the main decision maker and his impression should be felt first. I understood that ego, because he was a star in his eyes. He had an expectation from life and from me, one that I struggled to upkeep because we were not on the same page, but we sounded as if we were from the way that we spoke. Our actions communicated a completely different language, one that I understood, but didn’t know how to verbalise without being criticised or accused of undermining him as a man. It was even more difficult to try to understand who I was meant to be when I didn’t feel that freedom of expression, even if he disagreed with me.

Some people listen with the intent to react rather than to respond. I don’t think a lot of people realise how easy it is for that to become a personal trait.

When I became pregnant I started to feel numb from reality. I was embarrassed. It was embarrassing for me to be so proud of a relationship where so many other people saw the cracks in our foundation but I didn’t listen, because I didn’t feel that way. I believed everyone goes through their fair share of hardship before they can evolve into something beautiful. I thought I knew we were capable of that. It was embarrassing as a young woman to feel so belittled by a man that I thought I loved. It was embarrassing to be brought home in a police car with my five month old baby during the night when my family had urged me not to move in with him. Except for dad, dad knew I would make my own decision, instead he told me ‘you never know someone until you’ve lived with them’. I thought I knew better.

I can’t put into words how hard I know it is to rip yourself away from something that’s been like a daily dose of drug to you for a long time. It feels like your insides is burning and your heart is constantly sinking. You even question your self-worth; if you did the right thing. Could you have stayed to fight for the relationship longer? You then start to blame yourself; perhaps, if you didn’t react that day to his reaction, or maybe if you didn’t ask him that question that you knew would have started a heated conversation. Perhaps if you kept your mouth shut and respected him ‘as a man’ you would never be in this position. All the doubts that you feared would be true are now being spoken to you from this person you said you loved. Will you ever experience the heights of the love you felt again? Will anybody ever really love you? Are you really such a failure?

I’m not here to give you answers, because I don’t have them for you, but I know this: Once you make that decision in your head that you’ve had enough and you KNOW you’ve had enough, you will get out; whatever the situation may be. I know there’s a limit to how much one woman can take before she snaps, just like any man. You will know when you realise that you are living in a bubble of hope rather than courage, to make an effort towards positive changes in your life. That’s when you will question yourself and your integrity. No one on this planet has the answers for you but you, and sometimes the kindest thing you can do for someone that you love and hate, is to leave. Until there’s a balance of self love, your love will always be challenged with hate.

Life happens for you, not to you.

To know what I truly wanted, I needed to let go of what was no longer serving me. Once I established what was no longer helping my understanding or growth, I knew where to begin. Every journey begins somewhere and it was important for me to know where mine began so I could continue to make conscious decisions moving forward.

Being single is like learning to be ‘still’ whilst moving forward; patience. I learned to be still when I had no choice. I was offered my home and completely missed the feeling of gratitude in that moment of the offer because I was so focused on the end result. There is a process to everything and you can’t trust the process if you don’t acknowledge it. Trusting the process is a humbling experience as it forces you to have faith in knowing that you are powerful enough to take control of the direction of your life, but you have to be consciously aware or blessings will slip through your fingers and straight into your regret pile. It’s the same with relationships, I am still and patient whilst continuing my soul purpose which makes me feel just as much love.

It’s easier to know what you don’t want because you’ve either experienced it or knows someone who has. We also live in a society that teaches you to believe that what you want is outside of you, so we’re always reaching, pulling on thin air hoping to find a grip. Being at one with yourself helps you to realise what you want before you make the decisions to get it. Your intuition becomes loud and your true desire reveals itself. Being at one with yourself encourages the growth of true knowledge that only you can reach for yourself to find and sustain the perfect balance in which you are.

This year has been great on me. I felt everything and it felt amazing to feel alive. Even when I was down, even when I didn’t know what would happen next, even during my happiest moments, Id shed a tear of gratitude. I was placed in circumstances that have broken many, but it made me find my strength and for that I am grateful.

One year ago today I started this journey to see how much I could accomplish if I just focused on me. I wanted to have a car in my name, a house and this blog completed so that I can focus on the practical things in 2020. Little did I even imagine that I would be the first person to live in my home after the trials of being listed as homeless! I own my car, it may not be great, but it was a goal, and I’ve maintained my job that fits perfectly with the school run and parenthood. The bonus that I received this year was the realisation of my wealth and how I wish to use it. Personally, I believe true wealth is having a rotation where it’s not just me winning. I get to create my vision, I get to do what I love, and I get create opportunities for others to do the same.

The part of me that relates to you on an image on Instagram isn’t the part of me that will relate to your growth; and that’s why I share so much. I think the stigma around feeling vulnerable needs to change. Vulnerability is just another side to all of us, so the truth is, we are all vulnerable, and we are all victims of something. A prey to a predator is also a predator to a prey. I’m here to spark a thought and to shine a light on that place that feels the warmth of light but doesn’t reside in it; that place that knows darkness but does not reside in it. That place that I call, the grey area.

May the journey of the next twelve months open your eyes, lift your hearts and expand your minds to true love within yourselves. It all begins with you.

Once upon a time there was a girl... she came, she saw, she conquered; she then became a woman.

Here’s to 2020!

Much Much love to you all,

Lala Grey.

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