Monday, November 29, 2010


It was my birthday on the weekend, and I couldn't help reminiscing.

Mostly about last year's birthday, in 2009.

We had arrived back home from a family holiday in Samoa the day before.

The holiday had been gorgeous; the best family vacation ever. We all agreed.

As we'd been eating and drinking a lot that week; not to mention enjoying sun, sand and a temporary taste of luxury, I'd told my now ex-hubby not to worry about a present.

I wasn't expecting him 1. To forget my birthday and 2. To not worry about a present. After all, he'd bought his sister one at the resort, and had a tattoo done for himself, and I'd expected, just maybe, a tiny piece of the cheap but gorgeous jewellery I'd admired whenever we went past the shop near the gym. But no. Hey, I'd just had a lovely family holiday, so I wasn't about to complain.

Still. It was a pretty lonely birthday, not least because we were living in another country, and I had no family support and only a couple of friends there.

The previous year, my lovely big sister had arrived (surprise!), and we'd spent a lovely weekend together. Possibly the best birthday ever.

That year, there were no surprise visitors.

The kids had school that day, my Ex had work, while I had a travel story - on Samoa - to write from home. Not exactly party stuff.

Dinner was uneventful, partly cooked by me, and I went to bed early with the kids.

I've been used to grown-up birthdays for a long time now, so shouldn't have felt disappointed, but still I felt, quite empty really.

The following day I took the kids on my own to the Auckland Christmas Parade while my ex fought battles and killed things on his computer.

I should have known then, that something was wrong, because just a few weeks later the marriage and my family and life as I knew it, was over.

I think a tiny part of me already knew it. Which is probably why I cried when I said goodbye to the childrens' teachers on the last school day of the year, not to mention the friendly couple at the corner shop, and our nice building manager. I am pretty sure I already knew that was the last time I would see them, but I just couldn't admit it.

The next day, the kids and I found ourselves on a plane to Australia, even though we'd hoped to do some more sightseeing in and around Auckland first. Yes, it was nice to be coming home to see our families, but it would have been nice to have had a say in it.

It was the Beginning Of The End.

I can't go into details of course, but a lot of my lovely followers are aware of the fact that this year has been the toughest of my life.

I've been lower than I've ever been. I've cried longer and harder than I ever thought possible, and I've seen my inner pain reflected in my eyes.

I've fallen, I've gotten back up again, and I've pulled myself together to hold out my hands to my kids to stop them from falling. But there have been great highs as well.

I've learnt a lot about myself and my life and why I do the things I do. I have forgiven myself for occasionally taking the wrong path, and dammit, I actually like myself!

The kids and I have a stronger bond than ever, and when we are together, we can be happy and just be. There is no tension; no fear of doing something wrong and being punished or put upon. We're a team, a family on our own terms, and we are solid.

I've rediscovered how awesome my family and real friends are. I've been aghast at the fairweather ones, who have stayed as far away as possible; which has made the friendship and support that has come from sometimes unexpected quarters, even more special.

I no longer feel ashamed to admit to battling depression and anxiety. As my psychiatrist says - and yes, I do see one - there would be something wrong if I didn't feel depressed and anxious after the hell I've been through.

Depression and anxiety are a part of me, and like so many illnesses and diseases they can be treated and managed. And they are being being managed fine, thank you very much.

As one always finds with adversity (Blimey, I sound like the Queen here): You either sink, or you swim. And as the late Winston Churchill once said; When you're going through the hell, you bloody well get your head down and get the hell out of there. (I may have just paraphrased him there).

I started the year broken, but by my birthday, I'm stronger and wiser than before. I am fully in touch with my values and my beliefs; which battles I must fight, and which I can choose to let go.

The cracks are still there, but a little emotional superglue works wonders.

And on my birthday, I was overwhelmed by the love and kindness from all my peeps - online, offline, family and friends.

Thank you for making me feel special, not just on my birthday, but every day. 

And a super big hug to my kids who are the most amazing humans I've ever met. I love you guys. All the way to the moon and back, and even more than that. You are the best gift a girl could ever ask for.



Diminishing Lucy said...

I have a big lump in my chest now. That must have been hard to write. xx

Wanderlust said...

Wow, what a moving post. I know some of your story, not all of it. I empathize with so much of it, as you might guess. I am glad you have found some equilibrium. I hope that a year from now I will look back and say the same thing. Wishing you continued peace and lots of love and good fortune in your future. xx

Unknown said...

Thanks girls. It was hard to write Lucy, only because there is so much more to it, but you know, some things must remain unsaid.
And it's the emotional superglue Kristen. Sometimes it cracks, and I need to apply a little more, or perhaps shore it up with some tape. But I'm getting there. Same to you of course, and I can't wait to meet you next year.

Ms_MotorbikeNut said...

Everyone has ups and downs in life. I totally understand your downs as I get more then enough of them myself.

I always try to be as strong as I can be so my hubby doesn't see how worried or down I get at times, but in his own way he knows how down I can get.

Remember true friends will always stick by you.

(((( Hugs ))))

Thea said...

Oh man, tears here!!
I'm so sorry you've had to go through all this. The pain comes through loud and clear in your words.
But I'm so happy to hear you're OK.
Hugs and kisses from me to you sweet lady. xoxoxoxo

ruddygood said...

Bloody wonderful post, Bronnie - hurt like hell to read and yet, at the end, I'm smiling like an idiot at how far you've come.

That kind of journey is hell to live through, as I, Kristin and others know, but look where it's brought you and your beautiful children; to this safe haven, in your head and your heart, where you can rediscover yourselves and each other. Where you can move into a wonderful new space, both in the world and inside, where you are safe and loved and whole.

Biggest hugs. x

Emma in Canada said...

"There is no tension; no fear of doing something wrong and being punished or put upon. We're a team, a family on our own terms, and we are solid."

How this hit home! When my partner went back to Australia for a wedding earlier this year, there was an immediate difference in our house. No walking on eggshells. I wasn't yelling at the kids becuase I didn't worry that if I wasn't yelling he would be. It was peaceful. Even my 2 youngest (huge daddy's girls) noticed a difference without realizing it was his absence that made the difference.

I don't know what is going to happen to us, I am hoping changes can come about without the relationship ending but I am not holding out a ton of hope.

So Now What? said...

You deserve happiness. It doesn't have to be in the form of gold necklaces or parties, but you need to know you are loved. I hope you do because you are special hearted lady. So ready and willing to give. His loss xxx

Yvette Vignando said...

Bronnie, I love the way you write with your heart, just the right words and just the right amount of soul-bearing. Lots of hugs to you - it's plain on the page that you are fully in touch with your values and beliefs and it is generous of you to share them with others - I am a huge fan of story-telling and I truly admire people who can tell their own stories with openness, grace and truth. Happy Birthday x

Pauline said...

I hate to hear of anyone going through those tough times. But I'm glad to say that, although it's taken a long time, I can now look back without any anger or sorrow (those two used to get so mixed up for me). One of my daughters has an expression she first used as a teenager and which I use occasionally - it is what it is, accept it and get on with it! It was those words that got me through I think. You have your wonderful family and you will get through for them and with them.
Take care.

Glow said...

What a lovely post. And here's to emotional superglue - may it always be there when we need it most!

Unknown said...

I love your honesty and I wish you many more happy birthdays to come. You're a strong, brave woman and deserve joy. x

Kylie L said...

I have no idea of your story but I'm so sorry to hear what a tough year you've had. I know you've been moving, and i hope you're over the worst of it and settling into your new place. Wishing you peace and recovery and happiness over the next year- may your next birthday be your best yet.

Unknown said...

Thanks you all, you are so kind. Pauline, I often use the: It is what it is thing also. It's part of accepting what we can't change, and dealing with the stuff we can.
Yvette, thank you for the way you described my post on twitter: a post about being broken but more correctly about becoming whole.
You guys are awesome, I am blessed to know you xo

Karen Brooks said...

Oh Bronnie, what a heartfelt, raw and inspiring post. Thank you so much for sharing, for caring and for being wonderful YOU! Xxxxxxx

Maxabella said...

Such a moving post. There is a real strength here and you should be proud of the journey that you have taken from one birthday to another. Talk about growing up!! Best wishes for a happy year ahead. x

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on making your way through - and in finding the strength to do so.

I know from experience that when you're in the depth of a hole - the sides seem so steep and you think you will never get out....but eventually you do.

Happy Birthday

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Very honest and moving post Bronnie. I hope that you hear that you are great and loved!

Veggie Mama said...

Liking yourself is the greatest gift that can come from all of this. <3

Rubyjaz said...

Hi Bronwyn, Excellent blog, I am so glad you have come through so positively. You are a wonderful person & deserve happiness. Give me a call when you are settled. Amber

Unknown said...

Oh Bronwyn- I'm SO SO sorry this is so late!! Things have been crazily hectic lately with work deadlines and preparing for our move and popping down to Newcastle to try & do some advanced I'm really behind in catching up with blogs!

Anyway, that was a wonderful post and you know how much I have always admired you and your strength. As someone who was there in Auckland during that difficult time - and even remeber asking you about your Samoan holidaty! - I never even guessed at the turmoil you were going through. You kept up such a cheerful, strong face - I don't know how you did it now that I know the real story. Anyway, as was already said by another commenter - it's his loss and you're better off without him.

Sounds like your birthday this year was special in its own way, even if it didn't have the traditional trappings. Belated Happy Birthday!

ps. hope we get a chance to catch up before we leave Brisbane!

Anonymous said...

Hey Bronwyn, I've just read your birthday blog and I can tell you I feel your pain.......It is the most destroying feeling when the one person who is supposed to love you can't even be bothered to remember what I call "Your special Day"......been there done ironic that you've experienced the same and me.

The words I often use are "What doesn't kill us only makes us stronger"....I'm sure you know what I mean.

As you know I am the outcast in my family.....but I would say to you if you EVER need a hand just let me know.

Keep up the good work.
Love Sue

Hear Mum Roar said...

It's a very sad post, but I love that it has a happier ending. Life will always end up ok if we keep chasing that happy ending

Unknown said...

Thank you all so much. This post come up in my memories today and I have to admit it made me cry. I'm glad I didn't know how much more I had to endure in the years that followed, but another visit on, I'm still here, still strong and have my amazing kids with me. There's so much to be grateful for and I thank you all for sticking with me on the ride.