I did it! Since writing my last post about learning to drive, I have passed my theoretical exam and took 20-hour lessons, and now I can drive (alone) to practice before taking my driving exam. Ok, it will not be for this year, but early next year (2021), but he, COVID happened and I’m amazed that I have still managed to get this far.
Each time that I was waiting for my driving instructor, I was waiting there with 18 ish-year-olds…I was by far always the eldest, and this made me realize (and the obstructor pointed out a few points as well) that there are advantages and disadvantages to learning how to drive (a manual btw).
So this is what I have come to realise about learning to drive at over 40 years old.
What I have come to realize
Is it learning difficult when over 40? YES
I’m a passive driver. In other words, slow.
My bladder is elderly, even though I’m not yet. Had to make a few stops during lessons.
It certainly does not come naturally to me…but maybe it would not have come naturally to me at 18 either.
I did not think that I could swear in a certain way.
I now understand why people complain about old people behind wheel.
I also understand why some people tend to associate a personality with a special mark of a car (thinking of BMW’s and such)
I never really realized how many people on the road are a hazard (or simply being idiots) Just crossing the road without looking, throwing their car doors open without looking for oncoming cars.
• This is me on my way to therapy. You can almost not see it in this picture, but I have tears streaming down my face. • Sometimes I feel like I don’t need the therapy anymore, that the time that my therapist puts in me should be spent on someone else. • But then this happens. I cannot stop the tears. For no other particular reason than besides the fact that I am still dealing with the aftermath of what has happened to us. Meaning that sometimes I think that I have recovered gracefully from all that had happened, just to end up almost where had I started. • I know that I will feel better. I know that my therapy will also help. But I also know that I will feel like this again. • And before you start judging me, maybe thinking that I like the attention that I get from coming from the abuse that I and my daughter have suffered. —-> Then shame on you. • I have as much right to tell it as it is and hopefully, it will help others know that they are not alone, as I have the right and the delight I get from sharing moments of happiness that happen, the mundane things in my life. •••It’s not all good and it’s not all bad. It’s just life.
I was raised with having no cable tv and to make matters worse, we had BETA instead of VHS. The horror! Meaning that I could not borrow any videos from my friends. (hey, I grew up in the ’80s)
So when I became the independent teenage mom that I am today (not so teenage anymore), I said hello to cable TV. Oh, the hours we have spent, just flipping through channels, never really finding something worth watching. Besides Friends.
Then came digital tv, you could now have the tv on demand, skip the commercials. What a luxury.
But I came to realize that we were watching less and less tv. It would only come on in the evening, preferably with Sushi, and my daughter and I would watch 90-day fiancé on TLC together or Doctor Pol on Animal planet, while mister six would be watching his own program on Netflix.
But that was about it.
I was paying a lot of money for something that we were not actually using , plus being a single mom, wanting to buy her first car, I wanted to make some cuts here and there. And with cutting the cord and only keeping the internet, this made a significant difference.
So yesterday was our first evening without TV, my daughter switched on a video from YouTube on how to train Doxies (her’s is a pain in the bum, *mister bark-a-lot*). We were actually watching something useful for once, instead of catfishing people on a 90-day fiancé.
But it still feels weird to me.
I miss the channel flipping, even though I found it annoying before.
I just have to face the fact that I’m becoming old and that I am now finding it easier to understand how old folk don’t like change.
But I DID CHANGE, so not that old yet. Ha! 😀
Still want to watch tv/tv shows online, in Belgium? These are the options.
We all know NETFLIX – Available for all screens via Chromecast, on Apple TV and Smart TV (LG, Sony, Philips, Samsung, Haier). You already have a subscription from 7,99 € per month.
Sooner – The largest online catalog of arthouse movies. Subscriptions start at 7,99 €. Thousands of films, selected by a team of film lovers. A dozen new films are added every week.
Amazon Prime Video – Just like Netflix, Prime Video from Amazon gives you on-demand access to movies, series, and documentaries. Maybe less popular series than on Netflix, but often real gems! Subscribers to Amazon Prime get a free subscription. Otherwise, you pay 5,99 € per month. Available on Smart TV, Apple TV, Android TV, and now also on Chromecast.
Disney + – It has finally arrived in Belgium! Just in time for another imminent lockdown maybe. On Disney +, you can discover the best stories from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic in one place. From hit movies to timeless classics and new originals – there’s something for everyone and all of this for 6,99 € monthly.
TV Vlaanderen – Want to watch Belgian channels? Well TV Vlaanderen is a streaming service that allows you to watch live on 18 top channels (including VTM, one, Canvas, FOUR, FOX, National Geographic, BBC Entertainment, Ketnet, …). You pay 9,95 € per month for the “light version” and can play everything through your TV via AirPlay or Chromecast. They also have options for through satellite or antenna.
I’m hoping that Acorn Tv will one day be available in Belgium. Just love British comedies and mysteries. Pleeeeeeeeeaaaase!
Cutting the cord, have you done this already? Any regrets? Any favourite streaming website? I would love to learn more about this trend.
Little eyes love watching everything we do and so I try (but I don’t always succeed, far from it) to model positive traits.
During pre-COVID times we would visit a retirement home with a few people from church, but due to the COVID restrictions, we are sending the people some cards with words of encouragement.
Just a small act, but its something that we both love to do (drawing and crafting) and we can do together.
We CAN teach children compassion and kindness starting from a very early age and help them to develop a heart for serving others And not only themselves.
It doesn’t even have to be difficult. There are SO many easy ways parents can help raise kids who have a heart for others and who want to serve others. They say the children of today are self-centered…let us as parents prove them wrong.
Here are some examples of ways that we can serve others during the current COVID Pandemic:
Calling or Video calling people we know are alone
Dropping off a meal and a drawing/card at your neighbors, elderly, single parent, or again someone you know living alone.
Making masks together to give away freely. Follow this link for the proper way of making a face mask.
Think local. Let’s support struggling local businesses.
Shop for neighbors and/or friends.
Donate games of toys that your child doesn’t play with anymore to a family in need (clean properly first 🙂 )
Chalk up someone’s walkway with nice saying, happy pictures, and colorful drawing
Order takeout from local restaurants
Show an example to your children of saying thank you to the medical care workers.
Offer dog walks.
Making the effort to stay healthy. Don’t underestimate how much you’re helping by simply following public health guidelines. Even by just staying at home as much as you can and practicing social distancing when you do go out, washing your hands you’re making a vital difference in your community.
While doing all of this, don’t forget, little eyes are watching. Good job!
Almost every day we’re reading news about women and girls being murdered, tortured, or raped. Turkish people have started a campaign, demanding a better law system and a better support system for women. I’m sharing this picture for every girl or women we lost and for the survivors amongst us, and to support their cause. Only the international pressure to the government can help Turkish women (or any other woman in that case) to finally get their rights.
Say ” NO” to violence against women.
My abuser, my ex-husband, received 5 years. But will be free after doing 1/3 of his time. Barely giving his victims the time to heal and leaving me to deal with the ramifications for the rest of my life.
But as a woman of faith, I will leave it into God’s hands who has already been faithful (despite how many of you feel) and he gave me the fierce perseverance that I and my daughter both share.
So…” Challenge” Accepted. Cherishing, supporting, and believing in women is one of my greatest joys. Women loving me, supporting me, and understanding me is one of my greatest strengths. ? Big love to the women who nominated me, all of whom I am enormously in awe of and inspired.
I could have never got to where I am now alone & I hope no woman ever feels she needs to. I hope she knows she’s supported. That her fellow woman stands behind her, that she’s worth being celebrated in every victory and has safe hands to hold her when she’s low. We are a sisterhood and together we stand.
We love glorifying pain, trauma, and abuse as God’s will. We love making God a violent, manipulative man just so we can make sense of the hurt in our lives. But…
That isn’t God.
That’s the effects of trauma and pain working against us in favor of itself and the ones who harmed us.
Want to heal?
To be clear: to heal, you must be ready/willing to accept that the pain is not the sum total of who you are, who you can become holds the greatest possibilities for your future and that you are not alone as you make the journey to wholeness.
I was not chosen/called/favored to be raped. I didn’t need to accept that to heal from it. Do you see how dumb that sounds? It’s nonsensical and antithetical to God’s heart to suggest that these experiences were sent as positives.
There are entirely too many sisters (and brothers) whose lives have been transformed by all the pain and trauma they’ve endured. They deserve a freeing, liberating word that is rooted in their humanity and the truth that God loves them and would never cause them harm.
We live in a world where evil is present. For reasons beyond our control, people lean into that evil and cause harm of various magnitudes. It is unconscionable and it is not right. And it is not God’s doing. God is just as upset and heartbroken over what I endured as I am.
Where is God in all of this?
In the darkest moments of our lives, God sits with us and journeys with us through them. God holds our hand as we cry, cuss, question, and scream. And God pushes through with us as we fight for our wholeness and healing.
God is not sending pain in our lives to produce something glorious. We’ve not been “called” to pain and trauma.
God calls us to community, to hope and to healing.
God reminds us that God’s intention was always for us to flourish and be well.
Healing brings us back to that.
The “Why?” question is real.
If God is God, then why did these things happen?
Why didn’t God stop them?
These are valid questions and those who ask them of God are right to do so. The danger is when folks try to answer for God.
You can ask why all day, but can I be honest with you? No answer will ever be sufficient.
There’s nothing that will justify the presence of pain + trauma in our lives.
Think about what you’ve gone through. What can you hear that’ll make you say “Okay. I get it now”?
I used to ask why.
Sometimes, when I get mad at my current conditions, I still ask why.
That’s a real place. But “why did this happen to me” is not my posture. “What do I need in order to heal and move on” is where I land these days. Because that empowers and shifts the focus.
Healing is a beautifully messy journey towards the people we are meant to be. We are called to be healed, whole and well. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise and you don’t have to accept anything other than that truth to be free.
My deepest prayer for all of us is that we truly come to know God’s heart for us. It is big, wide, deep and filled with a love that is beyond our comprehension. We need that love to heal and free us. We need that love to truly live.
I (and others) have been sexually en mentally abused (gaslighting) by my narcissistic ex-husband for over a decade. Here I share my thoughts and my healing process and hope to inspire and encourage others. I follow many writers, bloggers, survivors, and share occasionally things that I have read that have touched my heart or rang true.
One thing that really shocked me as an abuse survivor was learning that there are some people who don’t want you to get better. And I’m not talking about your original abuser(s). There are others, such as subtle narcissistic abusers, who will try to keep you in pain. Here’s why:
There’s the ex-enabler narcissistic abuser. They covered up your abuser’s crimes, but now derive attention and their sense of value by pretending to be a co-victim. If you recover, they feel it discredits their continued charade, or shames them somehow, so they lash out at you.
There’s the narcissistic fake advocate. This could be a pastor, counselor, mentor, or activist. They love playing savior. “Helping” you feeds their ego. They claim to want to comfort and protect you. Really, they want you to remain stagnant in your pain and continue to need them.
There’s the narcissistic fake friend. Basically, for them, being your friend is a kind of virtue signaling. They like the attention and respect building up a victim affords them. But if you progress beyond victim status, you’re of no use to them. They want you to stay injured.
Then there’s the enabler false accuser. They want to exacerbate your pain until you spiral into self-destructive or erratic behavior so they can say, “See? She’s irrational. We can’t trust the sanity of people who claim to be abused. We must protect the careers of powerful men.”
Moving twice. Just moved actually last week, during COVID, and whilst they decided to break open my street for waterworks. Was I stressed? What do you think?
The ex-husband going to jail.
Did I mention COVID? Then lockdown?
And then trying to homeschool, move and provide my family with a bit of stability after all of this.
And everything has started to hit me right now. Probably because we are now settling down. Maybe because the restrictions of the lockdown are slowly loosening and I’m not ready to leave my safe bubble yet.
So, it’s due time to do some self-care and hopefully it will look a bit like this.
Ways to Self-Care:
1. Read more. I have bought 10 books this past year and have only read two.
2. Take more walks/bike rides with the dogs and son.
3. Ignoring news that is designed scare to scare me (us).
4. Finally focus on that hobby that brings me joy. (it’s a secret what,shhht)
5. Spending more silent time with God. Just quietness.
5. Taking a Facebook sabbatical as it’s been giving me some stress lately. I’m not deleting it, I will be back as I find it really helpful. But lately it’s been making me feel bad and insufficient. So I need a break. Yet , you can still find me on Twitter 😀
Anything that you would add to this Self-care plan? Lemme know!
Sidenote in reference to Facebook:
Unbelievers may use my story to point out hypocrisy and sin in the church, and they are right in doing so (my husband being a proclaimed Christian), but the very existence of my faith is proof that God is real, for, without Him, I’d have lost my faith a long time ago. And so, by calling out abuse, I proclaim Jesus Christ.
Tell me, have you cried today? Did you wake up having trouble breathing last night? Did you and your partner/housemate/child have a fight? Did you put your kids in front of a movie just to be able to take a bath and wash your hair? Yeah? So did I.
Times are uncertain. The news we hear every day at 11:00 in the morning is rarely reassuring. Even when we’re being told each day that all is stabilizing. Between health measures, social distancing and fear of the virus, your breathing is quickening.
Belgium is on a break, but you feel like you’ve been stuck in a rut for weeks without being able to get out of it. You’re dizzy, out of breath, you feel nauseous, but you have to pretend that all is well and that you are enjoying it. Posting positive pictures to Instagram with hashtags#TogetherAtHome #MyPandemicSurvivalPlan
So that your brain will finally believe it and give you a break, but also to make your family feel somewhat good or better.
You’re the focal point of your household. The pillar. The one that keeps the roof from falling on your head. The lifeline at the end of each other’s line. The moral support on your keyboard at all hours of the day.
You’re made resilient. Everybody knows that. But then, the incessant “mommmmmy” in your ears, the “what are we eating”, the “what are we doing”, the “how are you”, the “did you take time for yourself today”, the “you should go for a walk” irritate you to no end.
You don’t feel like taking a walk to breathe. You want to go to the spa. By yourself. For a week! You slightly envy your friends in a solitary quarantine. You find it hard to sympathize when others tell you they’re bored… Honestly, you’d just send everyone away.
But you won’t. Because you love them. Because you know it’s just a bad time and you know it’s gonna be okay. You roll up your sleeves, tie your hair up and put a smile on your face so your kids will remember this as their best family vacation ever.
You’ve always been a strong woman. You’re going to be Wonder Woman when this is all over.
I’d like to tell you that your eyes won’t be wet today. You won’t clench your teeth, you won’t smother a scream in your pillow, you’re gonna be okay and that you will be able to wash your hair.
The truth is, I don’t know. What I do know is that Wonder Woman always wins at the end of a movie. It won’t be any different for us.
In this post, I am sharing with you my positives for us during this self-isolation. We are all in this together to flatten the curve we need #StayAtHome.
The pandemic crisis we are currently experiencing, I really didn’t see it coming (probably like all of you)! It came from behind, sneakily and suddenly! It has shaken up my life, my daily routine, without me even having had time to prepare for it.
At the time, it was almost unreal. It started with parents not being allowed to collect their children inside of the schools, but wait for them outside. Very unusual for our school and I knew then (and also after reading about what was happening in Italy) that the schools would soon be closing. And they did two days later. March 14th, 2020 was the last day.
At the very beginning of this isolation, my first reflex was to continue my little routine as before. I didn’t immediately cancel the coffee and play dates I had planned for the following days with my friends. In fact, some of my acquaintances were still posting photos on Facebook of the gatherings they were doing with their loved ones during the weekend. I know, it wasn’t the best idea…
Then, I listened to the news and the press briefings of the Belgian government and I understood how my own actions or behaviors had a real and important impact on the spread of the virus. Respecting public health recommendations and social distancing, even with our close entourage, is essential if we want to save lives. So I canceled everything: playdates, lunch dates, and even our church (a great big part of my social life) had to cancel bible studies and Sunday services. Then began my real confinement.
It’s pretty rare that I have so much time to spend continuously inside the house. The members of my household consist of my 26-year-old daughter, my 6-year-old son, myself, our two Dachshunds, cat, hamster, fish, and turtles. 🙂
At home with the “kids”
My daughter still needs to go to work and so I understand that she wants to relax during the weekend, but when she just sits in the coach, gaming or on her phone while I’m trying to make diner, entertain her little brother and do the washing up, it frustrates me and I can get a bit sharp-tongued.
But she does go out and play soccer with her little brother, she drives me to the grocery store, gives me a big hug every evening. So, overall, it’s been great having her home so much instead of just seeing her briefly during the week and then comes the weekend and she’s off to her boyfriend in Ghent. Looking forward to having a “girls night” this weekend. Chips, wine, and a chick flick.
My six-year-old is such a happy easy-going child, but he is a child nonetheless. After about every 30 minutes he will as me “what can I eat?” hopeful that I would say, “Hey why don’t you go get yourself some ice cream or candy” and is ever so disappointed when I say to get some fruit or something healthy instead,
When I’m having fellowship or women’s bible study via ZOOM, he creeps up behind me, poking me in the neck with his tiny little finger “can I play on the Switchmommy, please, can I?” even though I laid out another activity for him. I usually give in and say yes (and then feeling guilty about the excessive screen time)
And he is very stubborn, we are currently in a trust battle.
Me: “If you promise to do something, I expect you to do it then.”
Mister 6: “No, I don’t want to”
Me: “Then you are breaking my trust, I respect that you have the right to choose some things, but this is something YOU promised to do, and now you will not“
Mister 6: “I just don’t want to! Now I’m tired of your words and your brain”….
He then walks out of the room…
? He is also learning about consequences —->no screen time until the end of time.
The fun side
But on the more fun side, I’m super proud of his creativity and imagination in inventing new games for himself. In fact, we take the opportunity to get out board games we haven’t played in a very long time or I had the local radio on and it was playing classics from the ’80s and so I was sharing with my son where I was in life and what was happening in the world when a particular song came out. We even looked up the video of the 80’s song “The land of confusion” by Genesis. Sad to realize that most of the world leaders in the video are deceased and it reminds me again how we are only here for a short time.
Another positive element that this confinement brings to my life is the possibility of cleaning up. My Lord, how happy I am to have ENDURING time to regain control of my house. I have so often wished that time would stop for a month so that I could clean my house! I feel so bad to be happy about it in the current context but I really needed to start cleaning, packing and sorting things out as we are to move again mid-May. Lord willing.
Big love for technology
ZOOM, why have I never heard about this application before. As a Canadian across the pond from home I regularly Facetime with my mom and sister, and the quality is never great, not even good. But I have been introduced to ZOOM via church. We do our weekly online women’s bible study and Saturday’s we have a prayer group and on most days there is fellowship tome. Meaning that anybody with the need to just not feel alone can join in and we have some chit chat.
I have gotten to know people that I have never spoken to before. I have had deep conversations with friends. It’s just pretty surprising how this damned virus is bringing people together.
Time to reflect
Finally, the thing I appreciate most about this period of isolation is the time I have to think. To reflect on my life, on faith… on my spiritual journey that I have been on for a few years now. I take the opportunity to take stock of my past choices in order to make the best possible decisions for my post-pandemic life. With the help of my family, therapist and close friends, I am learning to think about myself and my well-being instead of all the negative stuff that has been going through my mind due to what happened. Instead of investing my time in those who don’t appreciate it.
I realize as I get older that my time is precious, so I try to choose carefully who I want to spend it with and in what context I want to spend it. It is not always easy to think about myself because I have always wanted to please others, sometimes even at the expense of my own feelings.
Today, I give myself the right to express myself and to protect myself from things that could hurt me or take away my energy unnecessarily. It’s a long process, sometimes easier said than done, but I work on it every day and this episode of confinement gives me the opportunity to congratulate myself for the progress I’ve made and to set new goals to reach in order to be in perfect harmony with who I am, as I am in God!
So let’s all #StayAtHome
I do realize the COVID-19 sets off a financial contagion in the global economy with stock markets in free-fall and the OECD predicting a global recession, but this is needed. Our government (and most worldwide governments) publicly funded health care doesn’t have the capacity to handle even a relatively small surge in acute patients.
So #StayInside, let’s not spread this virus around and try to see the positive. That’s all we can do for now.
How about you? What does this time off bring to your life? What are your positives and most importantly, how can I pray for you?