Last Year Of My 20s

Most of the time I sit looking at my life and think WTF?!

The plan was to be married by 25, first child at 27, a second one at 30 and maybe the last one at 33. I am turning 29 on the 5th of May and girl is not married so clearly that plan failed. 

Then I also had “if plan A fails, I’ll just be an unmarried rich aunt with no children” what a LOL! Coz I am nowhere near rich but swimming in debt so that plan is not feasible either.

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Thapy and I am learning to be a grateful child of an alcoholic. And all my life was based on planning. I learned to plan so that I could outsmart or be steps ahead of my alcoholic Dad. He went out to drink early in the morning and sometimes came back late at night or the next morning.

He would promise to go to the mall with me and buy me nice things, which by the way he even died having not done. I would sit up all day waiting for his return rehearsing what I would say to him when he gets home. I mean I have had enough of his disappearing act and was not going to let him trick me again. But he will come home when I am asleep and leave before I woke up. But hat did not stop me from planning my moves though, just in But that did not stop me from planning my moves though, just in case he came back home while I was still awake.

One time he said he would buy me flowers because I am his princess and I deserve flowers. See, I did not care about flowers until this guy said this. On that day I managed to stay awake until he got home, as he entered through the gate and struggled to make his way into the house. I looked closely at what he had with him and I did not see any flowers. I thought they were in the brown plastic bag he was carrying. 

Finally, he got into the house, I greeted him with expectation and excitement, and asked where the flowers were. Daddy dearest, put his hand in his pocket and pulled out three dry, most dead sunflowers I have ever seen. He then handed them to me and said, “Ke ao mablomo a hao Thapi” (Here are your flowers Thapi).

I was sooo disappointed but managed to convince myself that at least he tried. Little did I know that was the moment I started making excuses for him and other people. I accepted the flowers because they made me feel special regardless of their state.  In hindsight, I realise that I could’ve accepted his efforts without taking the state of the flowers personally. Could’ve just accepted the flowers and move on, but no, not me – I accepted the flowers and overanalysed the deed and you know – I thought that rejecting the flowers would mean I am rejecting my Dad.

As a result, I went into self-pity and started measuring my worth to the state of the flowers, which had a knock on my self-esteem. I started accepting bare minimum efforts from others – because now my focus and fulfilment came from others and not from myself

While others were giving me crumbs, I was going all out to please them (the same way I tried to please my Dad with good behaviour). I then became a people pleaser of note. The older I grew the better I became at pleasing people because now I could manipulate people into doing what I want. I would tell my Dad that I will pass with flying colours at school if he will take me to the park when I visited during the holidays and, we would agree and of cause he wouldn’t keep his part of the deal. So now I had to come up with a way that I can ensure that he keeps his end of the deal … that required a lot of planning and calculations.

That behaviour was then extended to other people I had relations with, I then planned everything to the T, presented it as a suggestion and should the other person agree, I continue making more “suggestions” based on my original plan – then, in the end, they think they came up with the whole thing only to find that was my plan all along. 

I became self-reliant, I prayed to God (the same God whom I was introduced to in Sunday school – the God that punishes but also forgives and provides our every need), I would talk to God like I am giving him some instructions because I mean “Ask and it shall be given unto you” right? I would pray and tell him my plan and what his part is in it. 

So 26 and a half years of my life was based on the approval of my plans by others – I completely relied on other people’s approval while I thought I was very dependant on myself. People’s approval brought me joy and their disapproval brought me anger and resentment but I would play it out like “I did not care anyway”. 

Basically I am addicted to chaos (disguised as drama) and I am easily attracted to dysfunctional or distractive people because that is an environment I thrive in, I keep this pattern going so I can recreate my childhood pain, as that is what I know anyway. Peaceful or rational people bore me because they lack drama, chaos is normal to me and order rubs me up the wrong way.

An analogy:

– I thought my existence caused my Dad to drink and make promises he couldn’t fulfill. (I did not cause my Dad’s drinking and his promises were just that – his promises, had nothing to do with me).

– I also thought that if I accepted the flowers, he would be eager to stop drinking and actually do better. (Nothing I do or say can help him control his drinking, that is something he needs to tackle on his own).

– And I thought if I am thankful and see his efforts he will eventually stop drinking and start being a responsible and promise-keeping Dad. (My thankfulness won’t quench his thirst for alcohol – I cannot cure it).

This I discovered when I started a new journey of learning and unlearning a lot of things about myself and doing it, one day at a time.

Now I know (took me a while to admit) I am filled with pride, lust, greed, the need to control and people please. I am also very fearful of not getting what I want and scared of losing what I have. I am not perfect but seek perfection in others. Sure these traits I picked up as I grew up with an alcoholic Dad and in a dysfunctional home – I have now surrendered my will to that of the God of my understanding, who loves and cares for me and that I am powerless over others. Some days I make good progress and some days I fail but the difference now is, I now know and have accepted myself as human – I am learning to be gentle and kind to myself in the process.

Sooo am I over 25? YES.

Am I married: NO.

Do I have a child? NO.

Am I rich? NO

But guess what? I have a long list of things I am grateful for:

– I have a loving God and I am his favourite.

– I have all my body parts and as they function they should.

– I have good physical and mental health.

– I have a loving family and awesome friends.

– I have a caring boyfriend.

– I have 1 – a job and 2 – that I LOVE.

– Have food in the house.

– I have a roof over my head.

– I have a car that is my favourite colour (RED).

– I can string words together.

– I have my Adult Child 12 step program and fellows that help me on my journey of recovery.

I am reintroducing myself to myself again, I am learning to seek all the things I need from myself – I know that my God has placed these in me and they are accessible through time spent with him.

I had neglected the spiritual part of me because I was so focused on achieving material things. This year I have had a glimpse of how I am not quite ready for the materialistic gain I seek.

I now know that I can start over as many times as I need, I do not need to know how everything will pan out because what will be – will be. All I need to know is my favourite verse – Romans 8:28 “… all things work together for good to those who love God”. 

I just need to keep doing the next right thing, over and over again.


Guest Contributor

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Priscilla Mandlate says:

    Youve acquired a lot of wisdom from the time we met back in 2009 to 2020. I see it.


  2. This is the best thing I have a read in a long time. This has brought tears to my eyes.
    Bless your soul. You have spoken for so many of us who don’t have words to voice out our feelings.


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