I had the dream of attending university and getting my degree. I’d be the first member of my family to have a bachelor’s degree. My parents had to leave school in grade 6 and my sisters left school at 16 to start working. Our family was poor.
I followed in their footsteps. Dropping out at 16 and going from one dead-end job to another. Getting married for the first time and having babies. That marriage didn’t work and I was back on my own with limited means and not much of a future. That’s when I decided I wanted to and would apply to the University of Toronto and get a degree.
And then I met my ultimate foe. I didn’t know that at the time. He was devoted, loved me from the moment we met (red-flag), told me how he would take care of me, the girls and I wouldn’t have to worry anymore about money or stability. Sounded so wonderful, I fell right into what would ultimately be the most destructive relationship of my life.
I mentioned how I planned to go back to school and how excited and nervous I was to start applying. His words were so painful: “Susan, you are far too stupid to go to university.” I cried for days, tore up my application and went back to day-to-day life but a small ember remained and I would tell myself someday the time will be right and he’ll support me to pursue my dream.
After I ran for my life, I began to re-build my life and that little ember started to grow but his words about being too stupid would come and try to extinguish that tiny ember. But it survived and despite my fear and my very real lack of self-confidence, I stepped into my courage and made the trek to the University of Toronto to speak with a counsellor.
On my way there, I got off the subway several times and I would stand there with my heart racing and I could hear him laughing at me. I would push the laughter away and get back on the subway. A trip that was supposed to take 30 minutes took me 2 hours! But I went to the meeting and she was so warm and supportive and showed me all around the campus. I felt like a kid in a candy store. Scared but alive. Pursuing my dream one tiny step at a time.
It’s true that he had hurt me beyond description but he had also given me a gift. He had given me the opportunity to heal my inner wound, to take full responsibility for my happiness and success, and to love and value myself to the moon and back!
I successfully completed my Honours B.A. with Distinction with a double-major. It was the best experience of my life and when I had those moments when his voice got inside my head, I would smile and tell him to fuck off, you’re not wanted here and keep going.
Now, I will be a featured speaker at the University of Toronto and my book, Courage and Grace, will be available in their bookstore. That’s a big deal.
I took back my spirit, I grew and my sparkle can never be dimmed – it’s just too damn bright!
Believe in yourself, step into your courage, awaken your potential, and step into your future free from toxic love. There is a big, bold, blissful story waiting for you. I know because I’m living mine.