In the beginning
I didn’t think as a little girl I will end up where I am today. For starters, I am yet to meet my prince charming or even see him at any Cinderella kind of party. To this extent, I may not be happy with my dad who bought me all those novels, Mills & Boons, Pacesetters, Danielle Steel romance novellas and all. I am still hoping… I even have a prayer for my husband on my prayer wall right in my bedroom – well a second one to be honest. Such a prayer coming from a sister who has had such a roller coaster near outright crazy emotional life is almost an illusion if you ask me. But I need to break the silence and hopefully inspire and motivate someone with my journey from surviving to thriving after multiple abuse.
When I describe my journey in brief, you may end up praying for me or wishing to be like me, who knows. Well let’s go; my professional profile today looks and feels more of something like a ‘Jacky of all trade trying to master many of them’ although this didn’t also kick off that way in my little mind. From dreaming to be a doctor and specializing as a paediatrician, I instead ventured into the legal profession, qualified as a lawyer, and now multi-function through consultancy, research, publications as a blogger and author, and now a co-founder of a mega coaching and training start up in Cameroon. I am also directing a foundation for epilepsy and mental wellbeing, and yes maybe I’ll end up a doctor after all, given my recent twin diplomas obtained with merits and distinctions respectively as a psychologist and a BSY Registered CBT Therapist.
Above all this, I am a single mother of 3 boys bordering already into teenage hood with all those raging hormones. I therefore feel I have had quite an impressive and outright thrilling journey which has been literally put, a journey from surviving to thriving after multiple abuse.
Wow, it’s been one big journey for me. One that started in the city of Douala Cameroon on the 18th of January 1979, precisely in the bubbling neighbourhood of Deido (joy still runs around that area even after all these decades), through secondary school at the renowned Seat of Wisdom College Fontem, then Saker Baptist High School Limbe, the University of Buea, University of Yaounde and much more. I loved reading and writing, and passed O’Level Maths under the threat of repeating the whole GCE if I failed just that one subject.
On the emotional scale, from one unconventional love to the other ( my first memoir titled My Unconventional Loves: My Hurts, My Adulteries, My Redemption details all that – for which I got a Voice of the Voiceless Award in 2014), seeking for a refuge in a sham of a marriage, my journey accelerated so haphazardly leading up to an attempted crash in 2009. I was so exhausted and attempted suicide. I am not ashamed to say this because I know I was saved by Grace back then so that I could share all my tests which are now testimonies. I hit a real rock bottom in my life, one in which I lived such parallel lives, smiling outwardly, concealing all the mental, physical and emotional abuse and yet hating myself and my life so badly on the inside. When you get pregnant 6 times and have 3 kids, when you have been beaten both physically and neglected emotionally, when you yourself has abused yourself with several wrong turns before making a right – ah you’ve had a journey.
When even the scales couldn’t tell me my weight, I knew it was time for a revolution
In the midst of all my anguish, I also had a rocky relationship with faith and food. I lost any belief in the former, and fell so much in love with the later. I couldn’t find God in my mess and misery and, in spite of all what I had learned in school, so my disappointments were driving me crazy. I was also by then in a marriage rushed for reasons I can’t tell (although I am as guilty as any other party in that marriage), and now non existent except on the paper on which it was signed. I love cooking, and so naturally eating was a good solution or so I thought. The more my ex husband would not eat my food, the more I’ll cook and eat double, triple and amazing portions. One day the scale read 115 kg and I knew it was time to end it all. Death didn’t come when I tried; and then I met someone who told me there was more to life than what I thought. He told me my self esteem could only be measured and appreciated by myself, and only I could turn around the tides in my life with faith.
My Revolution and final Turning point
It took me 4/5 good years to shed so much toxic emotional, mental and physical baggage. I think I lost the weight in less time thanks to rigorous exercises and watching my diet, but then I also had to figure out how to sustain this new shape - and that dear reader, is also where more mind struggles come in.
YOU HAVE TO LOOK AT YOURSELF IN THE MIRROR AND MAKE PEACE WITH YOURSELF
You have to have faith without which you’ll keep having those questions and musings which simply can’t be answered. Self doubt, low self esteem, you name them. After a two year miserable trip to my own version of Damascus, I met my Lord and best Lover on the way. He came to me in a dream and told me to fetch that Bible I had bashed to some suitcase for all that while. When I opened the Bible, behold I landed on Proverbs 3 v 5-6 … “Lean not on your own understanding...” could I have fallen on any other more appropriate verse for my vexed soul? I think not. I continued to dabble emotionally but finally finally in October 2016, I reached my turning point. Yes I had since May 2011 lost the status of Mrs by abdicating that marriage altogether and even leaving my sons behind oh I did suffer, but now I was back home and living with my sons in our own home and doing my best as a single mother.
Dear Reader do not give up, be inspired by my journey and keep faith
I may not grumble that much that I didn’t have many to be inspired by in my own surroundings, but it is true the way people taught you lessons back then and the way we do today are different. I for example never read any person’s real journey (someone from my community or even country), and I only got to be exposed to some memoirs when I was in my mid twenties. I didn’t grow up with the Internet and easy access to be able to look up stories and biographies, watch inspiring movies on you tube and so on, I really learned more from mistakes than otherwise. We also of my generation can honestly say the way we related with our parents is big time different from today.
Therefore dear reader, if you today are in any similar situation, start reading and writing. Read about other people’s stories – that literature genre called memoir. You even have some free ones every now and then on the Amazon. You will find other cases worse than yours and some better than yours. You will be inspired by stories of fortitude and resilience and maybe one day you’ll write your own story. You also have to reach out to someone, maybe even your parent, priest or pastor to begin with. I grew up thinking my dad was not reachable, he was stern and near stoic. He told me after my first memoir he wished I had talked to him. Today I talk a lot with him and am grateful for our renewed relationship. I went for a spiritual retreat and at the end of it I was inspired by the holy spirit to write my personal prayer. I have memorized it and say it everyday as often as I can remember.
My faith in God has been so renewed and taken on a wonderful meaning, no religion can contain it. I am happy and healthy and weigh an ideal 75 kgs. Some other steps I did was to start speaking up and writing more, sharing my journey through a blog and 5 books in total today, with a sixth one with editors. I also have a talent for drafting and delivering talks, I have done some impressive keynotes addresses at the Seat of Wisdom Ex Students Association (Swesa) USA Convention in MD 2015, and the Lebialem Cultural Association (Lecda) Europe Convention in Stuggart Germany in the same year, and much more. I recently finished a 70 days spiritual journey which included a four stage fasting from stuffs including food.
I don’t dwell too much again on the multiple abuse (from childhood to adulthood, wifehood and all), neither on who did what. - no time or resources for pity parties with Marie Abanga. No, I since left all of that behind, even switched from surviving lane to thriving lane. Could I have forgotten to mention Attitudinal Healing and the Ripples of Love Association in Cameroon where I am Secretary General? In a nutshell, it is possible for anyone who has FAITH, and chooses to FACE EVERYTHING AND RISE instead of FOLDING EVERYTHING AND RUNNING ( FEAR), to have a similar journey – Start by Breaking your own silence in whichever way you can. I am currently doing some live videos on Facebook using #MyVoice to share my domestic abuse journey, am also doing a weekly 'keeping it real' segment on Facebook, and some daily 'musewithmarie' prompts sharing my musings on personal development, relationships and much more.
Needless to say I am so happy and fulfilled living my purpose to inspire and motivate many from all walks of life with my personal experiences.
About Marie Abanga
Nowadays, I just keep it short and simple and say, I am every other woman. Maybe more hardworking than the typical mother, but a mother nonetheless. My website is www.marieabanga.com and I am on a few social media platforms too – if you google Marie Abanga you’ll sure get lots of results.