Logistical and money challenges abound. I’ve twice had to borrow small amounts for food but it hasn’t been enough to eat properly. Went shopping, had to make a choice between bread and toilet paper. No brainer. But shame prowled the corridors of my being when I got to the till, and had to count pennies, literally. I tried to hold myself together and couldn’t, didn’t. Not inside. Please god don’t let anybody see what I feel like inside.
Then epilepsy medication ran out. Okay, that’s scary. Had to ask chemist if he’d sell me 10 –which I’ve got money for – and keep the rest of the box for when payment for work comes in. Felt humiliated. He said would only sell me a minimum of 15. I had R50 in a bank account I wanted to close. Couldn’t draw the money till the account is closed. Probably get it next week. Not enough money for 15 tablets.
Pressure building. Asked my mother for rent, but couldn’t ask her for money for food or the medication. If only I could get the shame off my back. And I need medication. Last night I felt trapped. Nobody to turn to, nobody to ask, waiting on banks. Waiting for somebody or god to tell me I’m not a bad person. Please take the shame off my back. Waiting, waiting, waiting.
Woke up this morning early. No money for the train to get to therapy. And something kicked in as I walked between the kitchen and the bathroom. It’s enough torture now, enough waiting for God, it’s enough of not having enough food. Enough terror, enough apologizing to my mother and the world. I’m not going through another night or day of terror.
The only action choice I could see in front of me was to walk to therapy. Two hour walk, that’s easy. On the way is a chemist who might sell me 10 tegretol. I will let myself have solution.
It was a beautiful morning, sun rising over the ocean, the air freezing, winter cold, bracing. I held my head up high as I marched, and said to myself, it’s enough of the terror and the debate whether it’s okay or not for me to ask for help outside of my mother – and it’s enough of the shame. It’s time to give myself the right to not be ashamed of myself, to decide what I need to be able to move forward, and to give myself permission to ask for it.
I greeted people I passed, and they greeted me back. It was fantastic to be alive. I walked into the chemist holding onto my dignity. I neither begged nor pleaded nor apologized for the fact that all I could afford were 10 tablets. She sold me what I needed. So I got to therapy and I have the tegretol. And I had an epiphany to boot.
Wherever I’ve come from; whatever I’ve done that I wish I had done differently; however many times I’ve failed in my purpose; no matter what my age; I know where I want to go, and I have an idea of what I need. God or the universe or my mother or my family are never going to tell me I don’t have to apologize or that I’m okay.
I have to decide it for myself. And I just did.