To Be The Other Woman

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By Renee Wangwe

“Renee, do you know how strong you are?”

These words were uttered to me at a point in time when I couldn’t even comprehend the meaning behind them. It felt like a mockery of my intelligence actually. Couldn’t she see that I was literally hanging onto life by a thread right in front of her?  

I think I mastered the art of deception and walking around with a smile on my face. Not many people actually see me break unless I trust them enough to show them. And this time round, I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t ready to fall for a man that was already taken.

I wasn’t ready for the attachment, the companionship and mostly, the guilt and withdrawals. I wasn’t ready to accept that I had walked into another girl’s world and loved what was hers as though it was mine. But life has its way of playing out and of course, there was a catch.

He couldn’t love me back, well just not as much as I loved him. Morally, it was all wrong. No doubt about that. And everyone is probably going to try and explain how I acted the way I did based on their versions of what’s right and wrong. There’s not much to it actually.

I saw a guy, I liked him and he liked me back. But it wasn’t that simple. There was no rush, but then again, there weren’t any brakes. So when I sped up and he slowed down, I finally knew… there’s no such thing as fairy tales.

I always believed I was a princess, but he showed me the ‘Happily Never After’. If I was Cinderella, the shoe wouldn’t fit. If I was sleeping beauty the kiss never worked, if I was Rapunzel my hair was too short, and if I was Belle then the beast in him tore me to shreds.  

He worked his way past my barriers and an unnecessary connection was formed. Was it the thrill of doing something wrong? Was it because she wasn’t around then so the guilt was almost nonexistent? I’m tired of trying to figure it out. All I know is that he was my escape. I let him fill in the void in me and agreed to settle for less just to kill the loneliness.

The hope of something blooming also fuelled my actions; when I gave him every part of me that I could. I allowed loneliness to drive me into the arms of someone I knew I didn’t belong with. He created a falsified sense of security around me and I think I was his escape too. It all hurts; loving him, losing him and losing me in the process because I had given out too much of me.   

So once again, how could she say I was strong when one night everything came crashing down on me? My mother, in her anger, said she regrets my birth… my father with his new wife, couldn’t care less and the alcohol did more of the thinking for me than I’d like to admit. How could she say I was strong when I saw my pack of painkillers one night and my hand stretched out on their own accord?

When one by one I put eight in my mouth and walked to another friends place and had two more. How was I strong when I lay on my bed that night and I was ready to go? When I shut my eyes hoping it would be the last time they shut. How was I strong when I woke up the next morning and was angry to be alive?   

And then people around me giving me scenarios of other people who ‘have it worse’ as they try to make me feel better. I am not inconsiderate of other people’s struggles, but are you trying to say that mine is inadequate? Are you trying to say that mine doesn’t deserve any attention because someone else somewhere probably has it worse?

Working on moving on and loving myself has to be hardest thing I’ve ever done. It is hard to tell myself that I deserve something good after what I let happen in my moment of weakness. But as days go by and with every itty bitty step I make I think I can feel the broken pieces of me come together. And if the whole experience was only a lesson, then trust me; I learnt.

I still see him around and there are silent moments when I miss him, the banter and the laughter. But I think I’d cut off my own hand before I’d ever allow myself to reach out to him again. I’d like to believe that I was created as a whole being and there’s no such thing as needing someone else to ‘make me complete’.

I see other couples and I realized I’m actually okay now. I’m okay not being held and caressed as I led myself to believe. I’m not there yet, but I have faith that I’ll get there and that love will come in its own time. I decided I’ve got to take it step by step, even if I have to tiptoe to get there.

I don’t ever want to fall apart again.


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Renee Wangwe

Renee Wangwe

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