"There are admirable potentialities in every human being. Believe in your strength and your youth. Learn to repeat endlessly to yourself, 'It all depends on me."
I do not know if I am in my strength, and I am certainly not in my youth, but I am learning to repeat to myself that it all depends on me, there is no mistake about that.There was a time in my life when I was less aware of that and relied much more on other people to make my wishes come true. When I did not know that my happy endings depended on me.
I was not raised to be that self reliant. As a matter of fact, the opposite was true. I was not at all an emancipated and autonomous girl, although I did give the appearance of. It was all a big facade and I led people by the nose because my biggest wish was to act like a grown up and be taken seriously. I do not know if anyone fell for it, but I do know that men older than I was were always very much interested in me and that is how I ended up marrying one who was 11 years my senior when I was not yet 18 and still needed permission from my parents.
It very quickly turned out not to have been a very good idea at all, because he turned out to be an alcoholic which I knew nothing about having led a somewhat sheltered life and never having heard this discussed before. I was also living in another country, away from my family and friends, among a family in law that had not really taken to me and in which all the men turned out to have a problem with alcohol.
The simplest thing would have been to pack my suitcase and to go home, but I was still under the mistaken illusion that I was in love and I also had my pride to think of, because I had left my country to get married with much fanfare, although not with my dying grandfather's blessings. I had many dreams about him coming to me and shaking his finger at me and talking to me in a stern voice about how he had warned me and that I should have listened to him.
In the end, I was married to that husband for 19 years. I tried to escape a few times, but with two kids and no education and no reliable income, I found it impossible until the kids were teenagers. Just like my childhood, that marriage shaped my life and it took me a long time to get over it. It defined who I was: a white, middle class, suburban woman living in America. It can not get much worse than that.