I come from a family of ten – six brothers and one sister. Our parents went through a very ugly split during my teenage years which led to a few sad and rebellious years. I haven’t spoken to my dad for eight years, until last week. It was my sister’s wedding and for the first time in years, I kissed him on the cheek and said hello.
Writing about this has taken a lot of inner strength and reserve. It’s quite a big step for me but there needs to be greater awareness of domestic abuse because too many people suffer in silence. I grew up witnessing and enduring physical and emotional abuse, and the pain will always be there. But I’ve learned there are things in life that will either make you stronger or weaker. And it is totally and completely up to you to choose how you respond.
The difficult times my family endured were soon eclipsed by the arrival of an evil disease which took my grandma away too soon. At the time, my sister was pregnant with her first child and my brothers were too young to understand. And as dad wasn’t around, I stood by my mum’s side as she watched my grandma lose her battle against cancer. I was her support and until this day, I still see her face, her heart breaking right in front of me. I would never wish such pain on anyone.
But like I said, bad things happen and you choose how it affects you. The experience made me appreciate life more. It made me stop and think, “I am not a victim, I am a survivor.”
“I want to build my dreams.”
From that moment of realisation, I pursued further studies, traveled to many places and, along the way, learnt so much about myself and what I can achieve.
Today, I thank my lucky stars that I woke up, that I started breathing my own air and experienced things I only dreamed of, once upon a time. There have been lessons learnt and when things turn bad or don’t go to plan, I know I have the inner reserve and determination to push on.
My label BUTTONS by Sarah Claire is an expression of my soul. I wouldn’t have started on this amazing adventure if I hadn’t changed my own thoughts about myself, about other people and the world around me. The feeling of satisfaction I get when I accomplish or try something wholeheartedly outweighs all the hard work and challenges I face daily.
And despite all the bad things that happened in the past, I choose the path that leads me forward.