Someone can face a difficult moment in her life at one moment or another. Sometimes, dealing with hardship and overwhelming situations can be tough. overcome a situation and move forward one must be determined and persistent. One can overcome obstacles with the help of their inner strength. Challenges sharpen someone's critical thinking.

My struggles through hardship and determination towards set goals have shaped me, making me strong and confident.

Whenever you are terrified of being alone because your self-esteem is being chipped away, you will hardly realize it’s abuse.

The lay off.

Two years ago when I lost my job as a banker, I was devastated. I had just come out of maternity leave, being told that my job was vulnerable to redundancy so they had to let me go. I froze; shocked questioning their decision. How could there be no need for me? I was good at my job despite being a mother. Being in a toxic relationship, I was even more confused about where to start.

Later on, I was called for a resignation letter, offered a settlement agreement, and was told to think about it and leave. I wondered how I will break the news to my boyfriend, with his toxic masculinity, what will be his reaction? will he be of help?

Being a mother, with a small child, in an abusive relationship, and with no assurance of getting another job was a tough one. I had no resources to tackle the discrimination. I felt so limited and isolated. Those words kept ringing in my head, I was in distress and felt helpless. I stood there for a minute my body physically rejecting those words. Losing a job was not an easy experience.

Having an abusive boyfriend was worse. My head kept spinning; fighting with the thought of where I could find an employer who could understand my situation.

The grieving moments.

As I was processing the reality, I bestrode between anger and denial. I had been a banker for three years. I had seen it grow over the years and so did I, made friends, and it became part of my life. It was hard to think of a place that felt like my professional home could not allow me an opportunity as a profound mother to return as a better version of myself.

I managed to drag myself home.

‘Why are you home early?’ He asked.

My mind was blank. I cried. He kept asking and softly I managed to tell him about being laid off.

You could see some sparks of anger in his eyes. He grabbed my phone crashed on a wall and turned to face me with pure rage. His fist was connected to my forehead and I heard an open-handed blow.

He was not yet finished, he grabbed my hair and gave me another hard slap reaching over my throat, squeezing and bruising it instantly. In between the gasping I managed to croak ‘you loved me once!’ and in disgust, he let me go. I was numb and terrified. He walked out, leaving me with pain all over my body.

‘Are those injuries?’ the doctor asked.

I paused.

‘I was playing with my son and he bruised me’ I lied, it was one of the many lies I had told about the relationship. The thought of telling the truth was humiliating, how would people think of me? and he constantly reminded me it was my fault anyway.

The doctor was persistent, I brushed off the topic. The bruises were painful, he gave me some painkiller prescriptions.

The toxic boyfriend.

It did not start like this when I met my live-in boyfriend five years ago. He was sweet, loving, and very attentive. He signed for dance classes (he was a dancer), took me to silly photoshoots, cooked for me and we would watch movies until late at night. He would wake me on time for work as he headed out for his hustles. I was already in love with him by the first time when he punched me for coming home late.

He apologized the next day with a gift. The circle began. The second time he slapped me I was in our bedroom folding our clothes. He said it was my fault and I had pushed him. I was in shock, thought about living him that night but I was frozen with indecision. He apologized, begged me to stay, after all, I loved him so I chose to stay.

I believed him when he said he was the best I could ever find! when he changed my wardrobe and insisted I should not plait my hair. I learned to see myself through his miserable eyes, he made me feel unattractive, unwanted, unloveable and he was the only one who could stay with me. I was stupid not to realize he was talking about himself.

I thought I knew every sign of an abusive relationship until I found myself in one. I thought I was too smart to fall into the hands of someone who’d hurt me physically and mentally. I thought it would be so obvious when I needed to walk away. I once looked down on friends and family who were in abusive relationships and felt they were too weak.

The bounce back.

As days went on I felt better, could it have been a good thing? I processed the next step, updated my resume, and contacted my network. Sometimes I would battle with my emotions that came with baby blues, a toxic boyfriend, and losing my job. It was not easy. But I had to let the past go, it was important not to hold onto those feelings. I had to adjust my crown, being an amazing moment to start to dream again.

There were so many possibilities and opportunities. I just needed to be creative and embrace a change. Being laid off was an opportunity to reinvent and build upon me. With every difficulty, I realized I was not powerful or in control of life's happenings. I realized my potential when hardship came knocking, doing my best not to judge how I felt whilst focusing on the brighter side.

I moved in a less interactive phase of researching companies, posting on online platforms, and networking through my professional contacts. Three months later I landed a job through an online advertisement with an NGO in the region. I was happier the job suited my interest.

My dreams of being a working Mom and being able to provide for my son came true. Through the difficulties, I had realized myself. I was better off on my own, having a toxic figure was not healthy for my son.

The end of a toxic relationship.

A month down after I had lost my job my boyfriend kicked us out. He said he didn’t care where we would go, he never loved me and I was so stupid to think he’d find me attractive. Those words opened my eyes.

It had happened so gradually, starting with sarcastic putdowns followed by stupid remarks, escalating to punches with apologies and it will never happen again, by the time I realized I had already invested myself and my self-esteem had been chipped off drastically.

When you try to leave the abuser makes it seem like you are overreacting with remarks like “it is ‘cause you acted this way that I responded that way and it was not a big deal”. But when you leave it starts to dawn on you, he had made you his fool. The more you stay the more it destroys your self-esteem.

The beauty of life.

I am so glad I chose to leave him, putting a distance between us. I refuse to hold on to what happened and let it rule my life. I refuse to wake up every morning grieving about the past. I let the past stay in the past and I chose to focus on my future.

My new job has taught me many things, I wake up eager to interact with new people who add value to my life, learning new things. I am excited by both my job and being a mom, watching my son grow every day is a blessing. Being able to feed him and attend to all his needs without a toxic figure in our lives was all I ever dreamt of.

As I watch him grow, I remind myself there could never be any important thing in this world than being his mother. Through every step at a time, him falling and standing, drawing and counting, talking and crying makes me realize every pain was worth it.

As I’m still evolving, having fun imagining how life will be. I know I made a better choice as a mother for my son. I am in a different better world now. Life has its shares of thorns which are faced daily, but only those who accept every challenge and overcome them, are the ones who know its truest sense and appreciate it.

‘Uneasy lays the head which wears the crown’. I overcame the prick of pain and now I’m able to adjust my crown. Through every challenge, life gave me a second chance. With every dawn, it brings with it another opportunity. It's up to you to wake up and find what matters. In between the hardship, you might find your strength.


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