There once was a girl who had a perfect life. She had a beautiful house, a beautiful child, and a handsome husband. She lived in a dream world in a foreign country, where she had a job that motivated her to get up every morning so that she could go spread knowledge. She had two sweet, fat cats who were affectionate and friendly. Her parents were always supportive of every decision she'd made. People often told her how lucky she was, and she would nod politely or maybe just smile. What can you say, when you are sure that people are seeing exactly what you want them to see, and not everything that is hidden underneath that smile? She was skilled in the art of pretending.
But the thing about those beautiful houses is that there were so many problems with the neighbors, she stopped sleeping. She had expectations about her husband intervening, and because he was so passive, it kept him from reacting. But she swallowed that awful feeling, worked hard, and bought a new house. It was supposed to be a fresh start.
That beautiful child was a handful -- he's got anger issues, and health issues, and after spending so much time alone with him in the first year of his life, his mother was exhausted. She started resenting the person who wasn't around to help. She felt like a single mother. Alas, the older he got, the more comfortable she felt, so she was sure it would eventually be okay. She tried to push away her negative feelings.
Her husband was handsome, but his first love wasn't his little wife or his child, it was his job -- and she was partially to blame for that because she had a tendency to push him to be more ambitious, to go further, and to put herself second (or to accept, even insist, on being second). So one day when she woke up and decided that she wanted to be first instead, she could clearly see that it was impossible to reclaim her spot in the hierarchy of the household. His job came first, and that was that. She tried to accept her position in the household. She really, truly tried.
And then there was her job. For such a long time, she had settled and taken jobs that kept her busy. She always said she didn't teach for the money, because there was no money. For three years she did over the top work with sub par income, and she started to believe that was her value. Then one day, she started to wake up. She started to see that she could have a better job, where she could earn the money that reflected her skills, and she took the opportunity. It was like a fire was lit inside her and she suddenly felt like herself again -- a fun, ambitious, motivated person. People appreciated her. People needed her. It was a far cry from her life at home. It was the shake that she needed. She opened her eyes over the course of a year and by the time they were open, she realized that she was terribly unhappy and that something had to give. Work should not be the highlight of anybody's life.
In between, the house situation got worse. The baby grew more and more attached to the husband, who didn't like how angry his wife was all the time. He, in turn, grew angrier and angrier, which fed the baby's anger. Everybody was angry, and everybody was fighting all the time. The girl spent more and more time at work, throwing herself into her projects, always looking for more. The boy grew suspicious and started questioning her every move. She stopped talking to him. Their lives, which were already headed in opposite directions, took a sharp turn.
One weekend she took the baby and left. She couldn't take it anymore. She spent that night awake, with her son in her arms, thinking to herself about her future. This would be her life next year. This would be her life in five years. This would be her life in 20 years. 50 years. On her death bed. This, she realized, is the best that she could do if she chose to stay in this situation.
The next day she came home and asked for a separation. Her husband was fed up with her unhappiness and her constant search for something more and her withdrawn, uninterested attitude, so he agreed.
A lot has happened in the life of Travelling Amber since that day, and it hasn't been easy. I've felt isolated from my friends and family, and I've thrown myself even further into my projects and my work.
It's been a long time coming, but this is the end of this chapter. It's not the end of the story because I'll always have something to say, a need to document my life. Travelling Amber, however, stops here. For now. I can't find it in me to keep on writing about my life when I can't speak freely about the most pressing issue that's affecting me. I plan to take my writing elsewhere and start over. A clean page. A fresh slate. Fill in your favorite metaphor here. For the first time in my life, I don't know what tomorrow looks like. I don't know what next week or even next month looks like, but at least I know it's my own. My tomorrow is there for the taking, and I can make it whatever I want it to be.
Although my heart is empty and my mind is racing, my eyes are wide open. I'm seeing possibilities that I never thought I could have. I'm finding strength that I'd tucked away a long time ago that's given me courage to wake up every morning, to put my feet on the floor, and keep on living.
I know this isn't going to be easy, but it has to happen.
Thanks to everybody who has been reading me over the last four years. I'll let you know where I am when I'm ready, and you can always send me an email or contact me on Facebook. I came here to write about myself for my family and my friends back home who have all dwindled away over the years, but I stayed for the community that this outlet has provided me. For that community, for the support, for the understanding, I thank every last one of you. ... but now that I'm awake, it's time to go live my life.