Finding Purpose in the Mess ✒️

The scariest thing about becoming a single mother was losing myself in the midst of all the madness. Managing the brunt of the responsibility for my children made it difficult for me to know who I was outside of motherhood. I had two children depending on me for all that I could possibly give, whilst I diminished by the day. My wardrobe was out of style, my body out of shape, my face etched with marks and a non-existent social life. I was way too burnt out to care about my appearance, and far too tired for exercise or to find time for my friends. My soul was weak.

Prior to my situation, I was living my dream as an actress. I wanted to be an actress ever since I could remember and when it was just my daughter and I, I had time to pursue those ambitions. Trying to juggle my acting career after my son was born became virtually impossible for me. My daughter was about to start secondary school and I had my son with me pretty much all the time. I was working as a main actress on a drama series when I made the decision to quit acting. It literally killed me to know I was giving up on something that I wanted so much, that I had worked so hard for, but the reality was I had no fight left in me to keep the aspiration alive. In all honesty I had nothing; I barely had the confidence to step out onto the street, much less on set. I decided I would go back to my day job as a Housing Officer, once my maternity leave had ended, and get some financial security for my children instead. Times were hard and a stable job seemed like the best option.

When my ex-partner abandoned his responsibilities as a father, he also abandoned his financial commitment to the home we once shared and I was faced with an array of debt. Then my workplace dropped the bombshell that my part-time position had been terminated and I would have to reapply for a full-time post. It seemed like no matter how hard I tried to better my situation the odds were stacked against me. I was at a really low point in my life; I was constantly beating myself up about the mess I was in and I didn’t know where I was heading.

Although things were difficult, I was enjoying being a mother and experiencing the many joys and blessings that come with it. I was torn between the decisions to either provide a steady upbringing or financial security for my children. Finding a balance between home life and work commitments as a single parent is one of the hardest things to juggle and unless you are in that situation you will never really understand it. It’s easy to pass judgement as an outsider and say that single mothers need to get jobs, but then what happens to the children who are left to be raised by child-minders or after school clubs? I know there are millions of single mothers out there who have chosen the path of working a full-time job, and many are doing a brilliant job of juggling the two. However, I wanted to be there for my children and give them the right input for the milestones they would reach in their lives.

I felt anxious when I turned down the offer at my workplace to take on the full-time role. I was financially challenged and had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I kept questioning whether or not I had made the right decision. To make matters worse, if I had asked my ex-partner for financial support he would have told me to get off my arse and get a job, knowing full well that he wouldn’t take care of his child if I did. Being 31 and a single mother to two children with no plan for our future made me feel stuck. For the first time in my life I felt lost, lost in the repetition of school runs, changing nappies, making dinner, washing clothes, homework, bath times and reading bedtime stories – with zero time for me.

It wasn’t until my sister gave me a film called ‘The Shift’ by Dr Wayne Dyers that things started to turn around for me. I watched the film in awe; it was as if it were speaking to my soul. It taught me about purpose and pursuing your dreams outside of being a mother. It brought me back to a time before I had children and the love I once had for writing. I remembered how it made me feel when I used to write, how happy and at peace I was.

From that point on my journey to success began.

I didn’t really know what I wanted to do at first, but I knew that despite my situation, I wanted to make something of my life. I eagerly enrolled on a BA (Hons) Housing Management course, not knowing how or when I would find the time to study within my rigid routine that already left me worn out by the end of each day. But in the same breath it was a chance for me to start living again, a chance for me to step into the next chapter of my life. It was time for me to dream again.

The day I walked into the Housing Management course, I knew straight away that I had made the wrong decision. My heart sunk, and Dr Wayne Dyers’ voice popped into my head, ‘Don’t die with your music still in you,’ he said. ‘Housing is not my purpose so what am I doing here’, I thought, and I got up and left. Although I was afraid of messing up my opportunity, it was the first time in a long time that I felt in control of my life. I took courage from that and went back to my first love – writing.

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Now, almost four years on, I sit here writing this blog sharing my single-parent experiences with you, in the hope that my story will inspire other single mothers to go after their dreams and live their purpose outside of motherhood. I won’t sit here and say that my journey so far has been a walk in the park, because believe me, it has been far from easy. I’ve had many sleepless nights, been overwhelmed with stress and worry, and there are days when I lose all motivation and want to quit my quest for success. Having two children dependant on me and meeting their needs before anything else often makes my progress a little slower, but I appreciate that every step takes me a little closer to my dream. My dream to inspire and empower others through written context and visual performance.

Other women who have recently become single mothers have reached out asking how I got to where I am today. My advice would be to accept your situation and be honest with yourself about it. It is okay to still be madly in love with the man you created a life with, even though he rejects you and his child. It is fine to feel burdened, tired, unworthy and angry at the world. It is totally understandable for you to hate him and to be jealous of his new girlfriend… But it is not acceptable for you to remain lost within the mess. It is not okay to give up on a life for yourself outside of motherhood.

You did not set out to be a single parent. You were brought on this Earth to be the best that you can be… and that has not changed.

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Written by Aysha Scott

Edited by Shayanne Campbell

Week 4 – The Fear of Falling in Love Again 💔

The day I discovered that my ex-partner had moved on with someone new, my heart shattered into a million pieces. It was as if my world had fallen apart. Not only because beneath all the madness I still loved him; but he was now giving some chick all of our son’s time. It broke my heart knowing how much our son needed the love of his father, but he had chosen to give it to her instead. He quickly moved her in and began a carefree life of extravagant dates, holidays – you name it. Whilst I struggled not knowing how I would get the next pack of nappies or baby milk, they sat in the Shard sipping on champagne. As I battled through the cold days, not being able to afford a proper winter coat because every penny went to the demands of a newborn child, they were tanning in Monaco. I felt numb.

It took me a long time to accept that my dream of being a family unit no longer existed and that I would become a single mother again. That the man I once called my soulmate, who I gave five years of my life to, just disregarded it all and treated me like I was nothing. It took time to rebuild my self worth, to embrace my situation and even to laugh again. However, when it comes to meeting someone new, I’ve given up on the idea. ‘I’m done with men’ is what I tell myself. Not that I am turning the other way or anything, I have just decided to focus on ME, my children and my career instead.

Had he been there for our son, maybe it would have been much easier to move on. But being bogged down with a child 24/7, I had no time for anything else except to ensure that I kept my head on straight. After all someone had to be the sane one! What would have happened if we had both given up? What cracks me up about absent fathers is that they walk around downgrading their children’s mothers but regardless of what you may think of that woman she is holding the fort for YOU, so show some respect. “My baby mum’s crazy” is a common phrase used by men who are bitter and scorned. Well guess what? That same crazy woman you laid down with and created a life and that same crazy woman is raising your child and doing the best she can… alone. It is the shit my children’s fathers have said about me, but I don’t even respond. Because any man that has 1 million excuses as to why he has not laid his eyes on his child, but can still blissfully move on with some new chick, is beyond crazy to me. No woman should come before your child. Period.

I know some people will question that I must have known he was going to be a deadbeat or play a minimal role in our son’s life, but there are situations where you have no idea that it will end that way. I never really thought about more children after becoming a single mother with my daughter, but after being with my ex-partner for five years it got to the point where we began talking about babies. Although it did not end well, we shared a fun loving relationship throughout the years. He had a daughter from a previous relationship and seemed to be a good father. He took great care of his daughter, and my own, playing a proper role in their lives. He seemed committed to our family unit. It felt right.

I did not meet my father until I was 11 and watched my mum raise seven of us alone, which gave me a longing desire to raise my children in a complete family unit. My father is a drug addict and chose his habit over his children. He has been in and out of my life ever since I met him. It was only after I separated from my ex-partner that I realised the negative effect that my father’s absence had on me. I have a fear of rejection and my bad choice in men tend to reflect the father figure that I never had. My father taught me nothing about the qualities of a good man, and he sure as hell isn’t a role model to look up too.

Recently, though, things have been great. My children are thriving and I have achieved a great amount. I have written and produced two short films, showcased a theatre play and have set up my own company, A Scott Productions. I will be creating more films and running filmmaking workshops in schools in the near future, which all keeps me busy. But as we all know it can be an extremely lonely experience, as a single mother. When the kids are tucked up in bed, I am usually off to bed behind them at 8-9 pm or up until late working. I often feel unsexy and my passion and charisma has gone out of the window. The thought of having a man around my children and coming into my bubble scares me. The thought of them being abandoned by someone they may get attached to, scares me even more. Will they like him? How will he fit into my time? Do I want someone with children of his own? So many things run through my mind.

Breaking up with the man you love is devastating for anyone, especially when you have a baby to raise alone in the midst of it. I did have a brief fling two years after the breakdown of my relationship, however I still had a barrage of emotions towards my ex-partner. My head was everywhere and it was short-lived. When I look back he was actually a nice guy, but the deeper issues of my situation created a fear of falling in love again. I built a wall around my emotions so high that no one can be let in.

It has been four years that I have officially been single, and I’ve come to a point in my life where I am ready to love again. I know I deserve love and should not be too hard on myself, but there is always that voice in my head saying, ‘what if you get it wrong again?’ I then make excuses about it; that it is still not the right time for me. Being so focused on my children and my career has put me in a rut when it comes to dating. I have been on a few dates, admittedly having lots of fun, but it gets a bit much when they want to see me all the time. When they begin to catch feelings I back off or end up pushing them away.

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I know it has nothing to do with my ex’s because I have allowed myself to go through the emotions and given myself time to heal from that situation. I respect myself far too much to go back to a man who treated me like nothing! No, I do not look back. It’s more the doubt and worry that I need to free myself from. As much as I am fulfilled on my journey to success, I know I must allow myself to love again. I know I must allow myself to feel passion, euphoria and all the delightful things that love brings. So that when Mr. Right comes along, I will be vulnerable enough to say ‘I am afraid of falling’ and he will whisper ‘I have wings’.

Written By Aysha Scott

Edited By Shayanne Campbell – shayannec@yahoo.co.uk

Photo Credits: Raheem Lloyd