Juliet Ibrahim: Actress, Survivor
In my book which is a memoir titled “A Toast to Life”, I deeply narrated my triumph over the adversity I have faced at different stages in my life and my journey to true self-love. By telling my story through this medium, it is my intention to uplift women and remind them that despite the many challenges experienced, there truly is always light at the end of the tunnel.
We usually don’t know how strong we are until being strong is the only option we have. In terms of surviving tragedy and war, sometimes I think my strength may just be supernatural because I have no idea how I went through all that without giving up on life. The human capacity for survival is awesome. To me, survival can be summed up in three words, NEVER GIVE UP.
I am someone who always gets up again, even if there are setbacks. I have a survivor’s instinct. I’m not even sure where it comes from but I know that all of these little things make up my life experiences and morphed me into who I am.
On broken relationships
We shouldn’t fool ourselves into thinking that a woman grows up with the aspiration of raising a child by herself. At least, I didn’t.
Why is it that when a woman has sex with someone, whether her boyfriend or husband, and she’s left alone, that’s a reflection of her ability to make a sound decision?
What people say is: She should have been able to see into the future and know that the man she was having sex with would eventually leave her afterwards. Either that or we believe a woman should expect that by default, men will not handle their responsibilities. Now, if a woman thought like that, she would be labelled “bitter” or “scorned.” Labels that already plague single mothers.
The woman would have to keep her guard up especially as this would be used against her about how she doesn’t see a man for his potential but holds on to her past. That is; if you’re never expected to do right, it won’t be counted as your fault when you do wrong. It becomes the responsibility of the person who was wronged to somehow become psychic and know who she was dealing with, would do her wrong? Instead of the one who did her wrong to simply be tagged as an asshole.
Why is the blame always on the woman just because it was her choice to end a relationship that caused her pain? Two people who were once great for each other at a point in their lives may be better off finding love elsewhere after time has passed or things have changed. It is unreasonable to hold anyone accountable for their relationship status after their parental status has changed.
If a man doesn’t get “tagged” or “bashed” for being the reason why a relationship ended, why is the woman not given the same leniency, even when it wasn’t her fault?
This is why some women find themselves putting up with toxic relationships and wouldn’t want to let go because of this fear. They have to choose between being stranded and being damaged and unfortunately, they choose the latter.
For the sake of family, it benefits no one to remain in an unhealthy relationship. An absent father is better than an abusive or a deadbeat father.
I am still a hopeless romantic. I still believe in love, that old school romance, fairy tale kind of love and I am still waiting to find love. It doesn’t matter when it happens.
On single parenthood
Isn’t it funny how people seem to forget that there is no rewind button to undo everything that didn’t work out in our lives?
When I see the attacks on single mothers including myself, it is always mind-boggling, to be honest. So what is the decision-making sin that single mothers are so badly guilty of? Being single? Suddenly, “single mother” is defined as a woman who is bad and deserves bashing.
If a single mother is not in a relationship, regardless of the reason; she is always to blame. Yet we give men praises for being adulterers and jerks as long as “he is good to his kids”.
When a woman chooses to face judgment, stress and responsibility for her child as opposed to a miserable relationship at the cost of her mental and physical health, it is worth being commended.
I stopped letting these comments get to me a long time ago. That people are ignorant is really none of my business.
On starting afresh
I always advice women to choose themselves and be unapologetic about it. Choose you! Women are known to spend their whole lives pouring into others but listen, now is the time to be selfish.
The rest of your life is a time to re-focus. So, feel free to start afresh reinvigorated and equipped with the strength to be who God called you to be. Start a journey to boost your spiritual health and make new meaningful connections that add value to your future. Lay a new foundation. Embrace your struggles and learn to live with it.
Live your life to the best of your ability whilst doing everything within your power and means to stay happy and fulfilled. People will hurt you, oh yes they will, but you owe it to yourself to forgive them and let go of the negative feelings.