Sunshine Susan

Susan used to say that she needed a new husband but that the old one restored would do nicely. The thing that really made her sad was that no matter what sort of help she tried enlist, including medical and spiritual she met with increasing resistance. She quite simply was not strong enough to cope with that marriage. Her husband then did the greatest kindness he had ever done, he divorced her.

During that marriage she had shrunk and shrunk until even she wondered who she was and what she could be. Since getting divorced Susan has been on a journey of discovery. Who is she and what could she be? Like many women who have escaped what they once called a difficult marriage it slowly dawned on her that it was really an abusive marriage.

She sort of forgot who she was

Her opinion about herself was the result of what her husband said about her. One obvious example of this was that he worked hard to try and persaude her that the degree that she did was not worth the paper it was written on. She started a three year full-time degree in combined arts shortly after they met. She studied history and geography and all the modules she took were based around local and regional studies.

At the same time he was working full-time and doing a degree in chemistry on a part time basis. It should have taken him five years so as he had a two year head start they should have finished at the same time. But three years after Susan had completed a degree he still had a year or two to complete as he had failed then repeated a year so many times. In fact he never completed the course as eventually his manager said enough was enough.

His response was that she only managed to get a degree because she did an easier option. In some ways she did have an easier option in that she was a full-time student when he was studying part-time. It was also subjects that interested her and that made it easier to study. However, that was not an excuse for the barrage of comments about how worthless her degree was and how hard chemistry is compared to geography and history.

After living in that kind of atmosphere for a few years it was hard for Susan to believe that anyone would accept that qualification. She applied to do a training course that was only for graduates and had a huge shock, she was accepted. Someone actually thought that that piece of paper had some kind of value. It was not a waste of time and effort.

Imagine that being repeated in just about every aspect of your life. You can’t be trusted to speak to people, or dress appropriately or spend money.

Talking of spending money Susan became extremely cautious of spending money while she was married to the point of developing an irrational fear of spending which shared so many features with an eating disorder that she labelled it financial anorexia. After getting divorced she had to learn how to spend money again. She could actually go out and spend a few pennies buying more exotic things like bell peppers and brocolli. In other words she did not have to stick to the cheapest possible vegetables.

Why use the name sunshine?

It was not her idea at all. She was on a zoom call with some friends and she looked away from the screen and when she looked at it again the label said Sunshine Susan. She was in one of those looking at the keyboard while listening modes. Listening to what one of the group members saying about her being a sunshine. It was as if she was saying that Susan was sunshine in their lives.

That was so different to how she had lived her life. She had believed that she had to hide away to rotect other people. She had developed a quarantine mentality. In other words she had to hide away to protect other people. It was if she had such a terrible sickness that she had to stay hidden so that those around her were protected from her.

One of the things that she had learnt in the church was that not everyone appreciated the spiritual disciplines or spiritual gifts that she used. People either warned her against doing what she believed was right or made mock of what she did as they did not understand. On top of that she heard people complaining about business being evil and saying how much better it was to give everything you had away to others.

Rather than create a fuss and avoid arguments she learnt to be a chameleon. She aimed to blend in with others and hide the fact that her ways of doing things were different. The last thing she did was stand out and be herself. Shine like herself and people would hate it as they would see the difference. Her ways were different. Her ideas made her stand out.

Sunshine is different

Imagine telling someone who thought like that they were like sunshine they would miss if they were not there. It was shocking. It was very different from the way they had learnt to live. It was nothing like thae the dark shed with windows covered in dark curtains she dare not move so that she could see out of the area she was confined in. Nor was it like the chameleon who that changed its colours and camoflague so that it stayed inconspicious and protected itself from those who might attack it.

It is so bright that it cannot be missed. Sometimes when the sun is low in the sky such as in winter or sunrise or sunset it can be blinding. Here in the UK this is why trees at the sides of some roads are such a blessing as they reduce the impact of the sun when driving at certain times. Driving into the sun can be really hard especially if there are no buildings or trees to shield you from the sun.

Curious sun when it is wintertime and things are not really growing gets in you eyes when driving. Has Sunshine Susan struggled with blinding people because she has been in a winter season?

Sun at the end of the day or the beginning of the day is also hard to cope with. Has she been blinding people due to fact that she is getting things off the ground or find her when a project is low in the sky.

Heulwen

This is a Welsh name that was on a list of names for baby girls in a local newspaper. It means sunshine and to English ears is pronounced like Hile-wen. Of course there are other names that mean sunshine but as Susan lives just inside Wales this one is worthy of a mention.