Each spring as I notice the little buds pushing forth their flowers I’m reminded of my own grand escape. That moment when something in me snapped and in the words of Anais Nin, the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
All I remember feeling was a sudden emptiness. What had been difficult for me up till then no longer made sense. Why was I in love with a man who made me feel unworthy? Why was I convinced that if only I was able to do x, everything would change for the better? Why was I wasting my creativity on making up excuses to justify the abusive actions of another?
And as I sat there in my chair, honestly answering each question that came, I realised that I was untangling myself from a whole host of deeply rooted false narratives that had coloured my life.
What happened next was a far cry from the disaster my mind kept predicting on repeat. Instead, by trading in everything I knew for close to nothingness, I gained a new form of courage. I swept him out of my life along with all the beliefs that had allowed him to become a part of it.
On blind faith, I accepted that I already had everything I needed within me to start again. I took the risk. Just like that, I snapped off the dead branch and everything that was on it fell with it.
From that point forward I refused to accept a single narrative about my life or about love and relationships. I accepted everything as complicated. Everything was fluid. Everything was interdependent. And what I had learned through my ordeal was that I couldn’t stop things from happening. At best, I could only direct the flow.
So I started to write as a means of making sense of what I was going through and it was through my writing that I met someone who offered me a teaching position at a university in Istanbul. An opportunity I wouldn’t have had if I had still been catering to the abusive tactics of what was now my ex.
That fall, I rented a tiny flat in Fener and got on with my life. Everything was crisp and new and for the first time in years, I had a space of my own in which to find myself. And it was while I was finding myself that I met A. Three years later we married.
Five years on and I find myself living next to a man who amazes me each day with his love and support. Not once had he ever made me feel like I was incomplete. And even during our earliest moments, when I felt completely broken – he saw me as a whole. He adapted to me – expanding and contracting in his response depending on what I felt I needed at the time. Not once was there an issue.
Marrying A was nothing like marrying U.
There was no glamour followed by loud, incessant insecurities. There was no need to constantly find ways to preserve a fragile ego. Two years in and there are no blurry lines or confusion about how I feel because there is no gaslighting. Our love isn’t transactional. There are no hoops to jump through.
What I’ve learned from my marriage to A is that love is kind, warm and yielding, open to new ways of seeing and supportive. Love takes your hand. It builds with you and protects your wholeness even when you feel broken. It encourages you to blossom.
If I had to choose one word to describe my marriage it would be ‘quiet’. A deep resounding quiet that cushions the warmth between us. And within this quiet, there is flow.
Laying the groundwork after an abusive relationship is never easy but untangling yourself from the roots of false narratives and beliefs and holding space for yourself to blossom into the unknown is oh so rewarding.
That is what each spring reminds me of as I see the flowers begin to blossom.