This will be my last blog post. When I started writing I had no idea it would change my life. That was 2.5 years ago.
After giving birth to Sophia, the future looked grim. I was both a matron and a prisoner. I guarded Sophia lovingly, watchfully. But I wasn’t free to go. I couldn’t walk. My husband resented me. There I was: “His rock,” incapacitated and emotionally dependent. Michael ploughed on, through my illness, the collapse of the ad agency (where he worked), and the demands of a newborn. We made it…
We were buitenlanders living in Amsterdam. I was an outsider. “Oh, the Dutch word for foreigner is so cruel!” The fragile friendships I’d made through work didn’t hold. My vrienden led thriving professional careers. They had no time for weakness. “My family?” It came as no surprise when my sister gave me an ultimatum. “Chose Michael or me!” I declined to answer.
Motherhood was lonely.
I stumbled on Amsterdam Mamas by happenstance, and immediately found comfort in the thriving Facebook group. It was, and still is, a hodgepodge of hypochondriacs, mother hens, blabber mouths, and sanctimums. Their loving posts and directive comments proactively interfered with everyone else’s business. Like me they were just longing to belong. I held back for a while, intimidated by the group’s more boisterous members. Then I surrendered, and I started writing. My daughter’s birth-story poured out.
Encouraged by Amsterdam Mamas, I wrote regularly. Sophia had started to babble, and summer had turned into autumn. I was having vivid nightmares. The nightmares took over my nights, veiled fragments of my childhood pursued me throughout the day. I felt overcome with anger and grief. Unable to understand my emotions, I dialled the number of a psychotherapist specialised in childhood trauma. Together we started to untangle my past.
Writing provided me with momentarily relief. I chronicled the painful insight I gained from psychotherapy. My words were anything but comfortable. They cut through my extended family’s assumptions. I was abused. My father is a psychopath. My father kidnapped me. Writing freed me from the emotional burden that was never mine to carry. I found peace in telling my life story.
Slowly my blog began to take a life of its own, I gained loyal followers. Amongst them were old flatmates, classmates, my high school English teacher, second cousins, and mothers. The unexpected happened. People were moved by my writing, they felt compelled to react and reach out.
On Thursday 4th August 2016 I finished psychotherapy. I was ready to begin my new life, as me.
That day I was scared. I understood all the behaviour patterns I needed to change. I also knew that I was emotionally inexperienced. I’d grown-up accustomed to second-guessing what other people wanted. Out of fear of abuse, I’d ignored my own voice. Over time, ignoring my voice had become second nature. I’d excelled at it. I’d become a cog in the machine of life. I didn’t know who I was.
To tame my anxiety I wrote. I wrote a new blog post every week. I wrote about yoga, I wrote about mindfulness, gardening, and spirituality. I wrote about my daughter. I wrote about friendship and music. I wrote about food and the modern Jewish identity. And in my writing I found myself.
Nine months later, this blog has reached it’s beautiful end because I’ve found who I am. I am a mother, a wife, a friend, and a writer. I love nature, art, and the divine.
I am transformed. I feel renewed. And with my gift, I’m going to write my first novel.