Thursday, July 7, 2011

Down but up again


By ASHINI ANNA

When life deals a blow to your plans, the best defence is to move on.

THERE are times when we think something has come to an end. There are times when we feel nothing can be done anymore. There are also times when we just shut ourselves away from the outside world.

Being human, that’s normal. But the truth is, we have to move on, no matter what.

I didn’t know suffering until I was 26. Being healthy and smart, and born to a wonderful mother and father, I was pampered and got everything that I asked for. I did my basic degree and education diploma, and was posted to Johor. Then I got a transfer back north in no time.

I always thought I was lucky.

But then, everything began to change. I married and got pregnant. In just four months, my marriage ended in divorce. I became lost.

Being single and pregnant, I felt like my life had turned upside down.

I started to feel the pressure from society, my relatives and friends. People looked down on me and I stopped going out just to avoid the dreaded questions: “Where is your husband?” And, “Are you divorced?” They began to treat me like an outcast, as if I was some kind of alien. Some of my friends even told me it was the end of my life.

Then I stopped attending functions, too. At one point, I asked God: “Why me? What did I do to be treated like this? Why are you punishing me?” And I was hoping He would answer me.

Months passed and I was lonely and scared. I was so ashamed of my life that I kept away from friends and the outside world. My parents were the only people who gave me strength, which kept me going.

Then, instead of was worrying about my life and future, I decided to do my master’s degree. And I did.

Right after my first semester exam, I gave birth to a healthy and handsome baby boy, who became my reason for living. He is my everything.

My parents took care of my son – they sacrificed a lot for him – while I continued to run around for my work and my classes. Finally, I managed to graduate on time.

Meanwhile, my old friend, Sara, came looking for me. She had searched high and low, and phoned every workplace that I’d been in before she managed to trace my handphone number.

Since then, Sara has become my best friend. And I started to get help from others as well.

Remember the questions I’d asked God? While doing my master’s, I managed to find the answer: I had not been grateful for whatever I had earlier. I took everything for granted.

Now, I’m grateful for everything I have and whatever that has happened to me. It has made me more mature and I now know what I want in my life.

And I realised that God has mysterious ways of turning us into a better person. Ma always says: “Some people will change if they listen to advice; some people will only change if they have had enough with their life.” Guess I’m one of the latter.

It was heartbreaking having people talk behind my back, but I’ve moved on. It’s not hard to be a single parent, but it is hard not to be accepted by society.

Why bother about someone’s marital status? Look at what she has done for society and her achievements instead. There are many high-achievers among single parents.

Recently, I was offered a scholarship to do my doctorate and I am very grateful for that. My little one is growing up healthy and my parents are still the rock I stand on. Thank you, Ma and Pa, I’m very grateful to both of you.

As for my best friend, she is always there for me whenever I need her. Thank you, Sara.

One thing I’ve learned these past four years is that life goes on. And I have begun to admire those who have achieved what they want, despite going through lots of suffering.

To all the the single parents out there, I would like to say: “Always be grateful for whatever you have. Don’t worry about what people think and live your life. No one knows what’s in store for us in the future.”

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