Monday, January 26, 2015

Why I need to leave a footprint

why I need to leave a footprint


Everybody has an innate desire to find a meaning in life. Some people spend their whole lifetime searching for the ever elusive meaning of life. It's why people turn to religion, or believe in fate and destiny. There has to be some sort of purpose. It has to mean something. It doesn't matter what the meaning is as long as there is one. 

I've always had a huge drive to find meaning in my life. The need to find meaning got overwhelmingly stronger after dad died. My psychologist recently told me people who've suffered trauma or lost a loved one have an even stronger desire to find meaning in life because they need to find a reason to go on while in the midst of intense grief. I'd never really thought about it before, but it makes total sense. Dad dying was one of the most pivotal times in my life and certainly the most pivotal up to that point. Ever since he died I've always seen everything in my life as either before dad died (when everything was good) or after dad died (when everything went to shit, for lack of a better word). Whether its a complete coincidence or not everything bad seemed to happen after he died and I can't help relating everything back to that point in my life.

For a long time after dad died I decided that my purpose in life was to be someone elses punching bag. I endured abuse, a controlling relationship and continuous emotional abuse because I took on the role of the victim. I had horrible self esteem as a result of only really being told negative things most of my life, so when people continued to treat me that way I accepted it. I found meaning in life by deciding there was no meaning to my life. I had a core belief though that if I was the one taking all the crap from everyone that at least I was stopping someone else from enduring it. In a twisted way I thought I was helping others by putting up with being treated badly. It stemmed from feeling that I was indeed worthless.

I look back on those years now and I feel so sorry for that girl. Part of me wants to shake her and knock some sense into her and part of me wants to hug her and tell her she is worth it. I can't believe I spent so many years that way. I wasn't really living, more drifting through the in and outs of day to day life. 

Thankfully though I woke up. I spent years suffering in silence desperately hoping someone would save me from my daily hell. Of course it never happened. In the end that didn't matter though because I decided if anything was ever going to change I needed to be the one to save myself. I didn't have anyone to stand up for me so I had to stand up for myself. So I did.

I no longer feel like the meaning of my life is to take shit from everyone else. I no longer feel like there is no meaning to life. I honestly still don't know exactly what the meaning of life is, or if there is one big overriding meaning, but it doesn't matter. For now my desire in life is to make sure I leave a footprint on this world. I need to feel like this was all worth it. I need to know that I went through all the crap for a reason. It has to mean something, anything. So I'm trying to use my story to help others, to let them know that there's more out there for them. That you can change direction no matter how hopeless your situation may feel. This blog is one of the biggest ways I'm making sure to leave my footprint. There's so many cases where a digital footprint can be seen as a bad thing, but this, this is a very good thing.



Even if the only footprints I leave behind once I'm gone are this blog and my family then thats enough meaning for me.


Toni x

Linking with Eva, Alicia and Kirsty



39 comments:

  1. I'm so sorry that you've lost your Dad. I have not yet endured that kind of grief but I will not escape it. I imagine the world shifts enormously and that you would be very much reassessing what life is all about. I'm glad that you have helped yourself and have such a positive outlook now. I'm fifty and still searching and learning about the meaning of life and my purpose and role in it. I think we are always looking and learning. You most definately will be leaving your footprints in this world - in the physical and digital world! :-) xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think it was an even bigger deal because it happened when I was so young and still kind of working out what the world was all about anyway. I have no doubt I'll probably go through my entire life not knowing what the meaning of life is, but searching is the fun part :)

      Delete
  2. This is beautifully written and I can agree with you that our blogs are a way of leaving behind a meaningful footprint. Sometimes I worry that I don't capture enough memories of my children as they grow, but then I remember that I'm capturing so much more as I write my blog. So glad you were able to move on from the person you used to be, you seem to be in a much more 'grounded' place now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. One of the main reasons I started my blog was to record my memories. I hope that one day my daughter will go online and read my posts to learn more about me as a person and what our relationship was like when she was younger and can't remember.

      Delete
  3. I loved this Toni. The death of a loved one changes people, and you have risen up from his death and your dad has given you the ability to understand life at a deeper level. Beautiful. I found you @myhometruth link up #IMustConfess

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very true Natalie, I've never thought of it that way before :)

      Delete
  4. Funnily enough the little magazine I founded (and ran for 15 years) for Aussie Christian women was called "Footprints" ... making my mark on the world in my own little way ... and of course it continues with my blog and other writing today. Plus my family too though now the kids are grown I do have those moments where I wonder if I had/have any influence on them at all!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sure during the teenage years I'll wonder if I have any influence at all too.

      Delete
  5. I think leaving a mark or a legacy of some kind is really what we all strive for. You are definitely succeeding with that Toni - your bravery in sharing the difficult parts of your life will be appreciated by many, not only your daughter, in future years x

    ReplyDelete
  6. I think you are doing an amazing job at making lasting impressions. Ones your daughter will appreciate, and many more people. Reading about your brave move from an abusive relationship will give many people hope that a better life is possible x :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm always surprised by the lovely comments I receive on that post :)

      Delete
  7. Bless, what a post. I can relate on some aspects. I love someone I loved when I was just 20, and then another when I was 24... long stories, but I feel as though I have so much to impart. Toni, you DO have to leave a footprint, not just for you but for your precious child(ren) x

    ReplyDelete
  8. Toni sending you big cyber hugs you brave, brave lady!
    You are leaving very wholesome, meaningful footprints in this world and ones to be proud of.
    I really have to stop by your blog more often because every time I read one of your posts I come away feeling a little more empowered, your beautiful words do that to me.
    Have a beautiful week! xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Dannielle, you nearly made me cry! Its always so surreal to read comments from people who love my words.

      Delete
  9. I had a similarly low opinion of myself for several years - meeting my wonderful hubby and falling properly in love for the first time changed all that. And you have already left a beautiful footprint in your little bubba.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I think what your psychologist said is so true and I felt exactly the same when my sister Kathy died and again recently when I sought help from another psychologist.
    I too wonder about the meaning of my life and am struggling a lot with that at the moment as I edge closer and closer to 40 and my life looks nothing like I thought it would.
    I think you are so brave and strong for standing up for yourself and making those changes in your life and writing about it as well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Its funny how life never turns out the way you expect it to. I never thought I'd be here today, but its still a lot better than where I was 5 years ago. You'll have an awesome time on your trip Zita!

      Delete
  11. Beautiful post. I measure my life around my mum's death too- funny how grief is so different for everyone but still has so many common markers

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Its interesting how we all react in similar ways even when there are different circumstances. Its been so eye opening going to the psychologist, I finally "get" why I've thought or done a lot of the things I have.

      Delete
  12. You certainly will leave a footprint! I'm glad you made the decision to steer your life away from that abuse. Death can take us to strange places and back again. This was a lovely post Toni xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep it certainly had a profound effect on the rest of my life! Thanks Vicki x

      Delete
  13. I'm so sorry that you had to endure that for such a long time, and I am glad if your footprint is in the form of powerful words.

    ReplyDelete
  14. This is a really lovely post because your strength, despite your adversities and your strong sense of purpose does come through. I think you have nailed it when you say that it is all about leaving a footprint, a contribution. At 46 I suspect the 'search' for the meaning of life is a lifelong one, but finding purpose in making a contribution, in whatever form, is the key.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have a feeling that I wont ever find "the meaning of life" because I'm not sure there is one. We're here because we're meant to be and I guess life becomes what you make of it. And besides why waste so much time and effort trying to find the meaning of it when you can live it. I think if we've managed to leave a positive footprint once we're gone then we've done it right :)

      Delete
  15. You are leaving a footprint! I admire your strength to come back from your dark place and am happy that you have found happiness and are ready to help others.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I'm so happy that you've decided that you don't take shit from people any more. You deserve to be treated well. Thinking about how you want to be remembered is a great way to think about how you live every day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In some cases I may get on the defensive a bit too quickly because I'm so ready to stand up for myself but its definitely a lot better than being walked all over :)

      Delete
  17. What a touching story Toni. I too lost my mum only 4 months ago - and I didn't realise until I read your post, but you're right - I do think of my life in terms of 'before she died' and 'after she died'. My mum didn't work, so upon reflecting on her 56 years of life we in my family feel that my brother and I are her greatest achievements and her legacy or 'footprint' that she's left behind.
    I hadn't really thought about my blog in the long term - but it's so true - once its published and it's out there, it's quite a permanent thing. And will be something I treasure and will look back on in years to come.
    Thanks for being so brave and sharing such a touching post xox

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've always thought about it in a long term because I've always intended on my daughter being able to read it when shes older so hopefully it stays on the net for years to come and there isn't some massive disaster and it all disappears :)

      Delete
  18. What a beautiful, honest post. Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I never thought about blogging like that before, but it's true, we are leaving our own footprint, no matter how small, behind by doing this. Don't forget the footprint you're leaving behind by being a mother, too :)

    ReplyDelete
  19. I'm sorry you had to endure all that pain.
    My footprint moment was losing my longed for daughter stillborn at 26wks, then my Dad almost a year to the day later.
    I love that footprint quote. It was my defining moment in starting a blog and I think I know what you mean about digital footprint.

    ReplyDelete
  20. This is such a beautiful, honest post and a reminder of how important it is to reflect about what type of legacy we are leaving behind. Hopefully it doesn't always take the same type of loss or grief for people realise this. Thanks for sharing Toni!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Beautiful post lovely, Thanks for contributing this post to The Sunday Brunch Magazine!
    All the best, Bel

    ReplyDelete