Learning

I got the job! I felt a lot of things, relief being the main one. No more stressing about my future, money or job applications. I have a job.

I would not exchange this past year though. It’s been really hard but it’s been a real learning journey. I watched a Facebook video that summed it up perfectly:

When you’re surrounded by darkness, don’t assume you’ve been buried. Think that instead, you’ve been planted.

I’ve been in the dark. I’ve felt the weight of the soil. I’ve fought drought and floods, heat and cold. Now I’ve pushed through. The journey is just beginning though: I’m just a little seedling. But I’m strong, I know that.

This weekend is a big one. My daughter’s 18th, her party, and I am going to see Wildcard for two weeks.

I’m feeling many, many feelings and emotions about both events. But I’m not letting them overwhelm me. It’s a battle sometimes, but I’m winning the war overall.

Although I should be doing a number of things on my prep list, I’m sat relaxing with an ice pack on my shin. Sunday’s gardening for the party resulted in a horsefly bite which is now infected. It’s trebled in size since Sunday and is red, hot and firm to the touch. I have been given antibiotics but I’m terrified – my mum suffers from lymphadaema and cellulitis and has never seemed to be completely clear of it for some years. I’ve long been scared that I will get this. My leg is elevated and I’m taking my medicine so I just hope that I start seeing some improvement overnight or I will have to be seen again.

It’s hard not to attribute this to my weight, although horseflies aren’t prejudiced. Mum is severely overweight. She wasn’t always though. And then of course was my Aunty’s comment that I had been ‘really skinny’ the first time I’d visited Wildcard – a stone and half lighter to be fair – which hasn’t helped.

But, to ensure the self-hatred knife gets truly embedded in my newly reformed confidence, I ran in to an old friend this afternoon as I was shopping.

Not to speak to of course. I saw her before she saw me and then something I’d bought triggered the door alarm and I returned to the till. So she definitely saw me.

We haven’t spoken for about six months. Before that, probably another six months. This was the friend that I used to go out with a couple of times a week – shopping walking, coffee. Our friendship deteriorated rapidly when I started my relationship with Wildcard. She was prejudiced, jealous and disagreed wholeheartedly with my relationship. Some of her words still haunt me – she was someone whose advice and support I once highly valued.

We drifted apart. She re-befriended her long time best friend that she had fought with when she became closer to me. She didn’t contact me when she contracted Covid and became seriously ill – instead, allowing her best friend to contact a work colleague she didn’t actually trust. But then, I didn’t contact her either.

We met briefly last year. She was due to return to work after long covid and I was about to sign my termination agreement.

Last week I actually messaged her – I’d been thinking about her and had discovered one of her favourite artists was visiting our local city. Her reply was dismissive. She didn’t take the olive branch and our two message conversation ended there.

When I spotted her, I was struck by three things. 1 – I didn’t want to speak to her. I was embarrassed and knew there was nothing to say that meant anything anymore. 2 – I was happy to see she was with her daughter and two grandchildren (small babies) and that the 5 year feud was over. 3 – she had lost a lot of weight. As in, barely recognisable.

I’m slightly shamed to say, that’s what I am now obsessing about. She had lost a lot of weight when we first became good friends and then plateaued. She then put a little back on. At that point, I lost my 3.5 stone. I’ve now put some back on and she’s lost even more.

I’m really, really pleased for her. Her life appears to be back in order now. I wish she hadn’t seen me still in the struggles of mine but that is entirely pride.

We meet people for a reason. At a particular time. We support them, they support us. And when that need is no longer there, we drift apart. We fight for those we can’t live without. We fight the grief of when we lose them because they can’t or won’t be with us anymore.

I’m hoping when I next see her, my pride will diminish and I will have the confidence to say hello. I had a feeling that this would have been unwelcome though- by the time I left the shop she was walking away. She could have waited if she wanted to speak to me – clearly she didn’t either.

As the days pass by, I know I can’t live without Wildcard. But I also know that something has shifted there, too. I can’t put my finger on it but it’s there. A few weeks ago I was really anxious about it. I also started putting the pressure on for this trip – setting a benchmark of expectations that will only cause stress and arguments when I get there .

But…there will come a time soon when I may need to make decisions. That is – if he doesn’t make any.

I’m finding it hard to picture our future now . I don’t know how this will all work out. It scares me. I want to fight for him. But maybe, like my once-was friend , he won’t want that.

My plan? Enjoy and see. Let my little life-seedling bask in the warmth and see what happens.

Talking to myself

I’m at crisis point decision-wise. It’s now or never.

I have a number of paths ahead of me.

The first is to jump back into my career, at a stage not far from where I left it. Responsibility, good pay and my career would be back on track with barely an issue from my year’s absence. I have a very good chance of getting this job.

But…I don’t know if I want it. Thinking positively, I may love it again. A new school, new ethos, new situation. Or, I maybe I will feel frustrated at the symmetry of two academy chains and hate what it has made me become.

The second is to stay with the company I am with. My boss wants me to stay and has offered me an improved package to keep me. Up until recently, I’ve been happy there. But it is a much lower salary than I am capable, albeit for less stress. I’m also unhappy with the way he has gone about trying to keep me – some very large red flags are waving at the moment. I don’t like being manipulated and that’s what he did. I recognise that he needs me to stay on and he is thinking about his business. I also acknowledge that he has been great other than that. But….I’m not happy with him and I can’t let it lie. It’s a nasty irritation that I can’t ignore.

Then there’s the job I have an interview for. I want this job. I have no idea on the salary but I don’t care if I can make it up with tutoring. It excites me and will challenge me and will look good on my CV. It will develop new skills and experiences and I think it will give me job satisfaction.

I think I’ve just answered my question.

However… this job is not guaranteed. If I go for it, I am going to have to pass on the other two opportunities. If I don’t get it, I will have to find a new job. I don’t trust my boss-with those-big-red-flags will treat me well again.

Am I being injust and unfair?

Should I go for money? Or time? Or potential job satisfaction?

Insatiable

There is a hard stone in the middle of my chest, weighing me down. I feel like it’s threatening to pull me over and then down, down, down in to the earth.

Very little seems to take away the sensation. I’m binge eating like never before: each day telling myself that tomorrow I will eat better. But my non-hunger is insatiable. Nothing helps so I keep cramming it in. I crave salt and then sugar. I am thirsty. Nothing satisfies me.

I miss him.

I always miss him. Every day. And every time I go, I don’t want to leave him. But this time was different. I didn’t want to come home.

When I did, the world seemed dull. Like all the colours were muted. Cold seems to seep from the ground and into my bones. I walked into my home, and I hated it. I hated everything about it.

My children arrived and for a moment, when they hugged me and kissed me, my heart was light again. But soon they were bickering and arguing…the dishwasher needed emptying, food needed cooking, and needed to unpack…and I didn’t want to. I don’t want this life.

Just thinking that makes me feel bad. Another stone drops into my heart, heavy and aching. How can I be happy leaving my children behind? I’m not.

But nothing, even them, is erasing that heaviness in my chest.

Last night, for a moment, I was free.

As I do sometimes, towards the end of our call, I ask him to tell me something nice. He usually does the opposite in jest and makes me laugh, or acts like a pantomime dame in his over exaggeration.

But last night, he told me he misses me. He misses my lips and my kisses. He misses my face and my smile. He misses my eyes, he misses my laugh.

And my heart felt light. I felt my soul soar, I was surprised at his honesty, his tone, his rush of words like he had no control. And I told him, “you sound serious this time baby.” And this time, this time he was.

Along comes the fool

This post was written six days ago

Sobering, heart wrenching reality. Wow, it hurts.

The last few days I’ve really tried. I realised how much I had let myself go. I’ve started my face care, pampered myself. Even put makeup on when the furthest I’ve gone from my house is the coal bunker. I’ve tried to install some pride and self esteem in myself.

But the puzzle pieces have slotted together this afternoon. And I realise just how ridiculous I am.

My family have long teased me about how I act around Wildcard. They’ve joked about my constant laughing and smiling, and even how my voice changes. On Christmas Day they laughed as I practically ran to pick up the phone as I hadn’t spoken to him all day. My sister mimicked me by grabbing a Barbie doll, and copied how I flick my hair and laugh like a school girl, taking great delight in showing him.

I laughed with them, although it stung a little.

Today, when my daughter got up, I exclaimed how much she looked like me – I had braided her damp hair last night and today it is hanging in chocolate waves like mine. She laughed and said, “not quite”, before pulling the expressing I apparently make when I’m talking to Wildcard – engaging my natural pout and widening my eyes. She joked again at my voice and laughter. And it stung a little bit more.

Just then, Wildcard called as he was on his way back to work. Determined, I kept my voice neutral and said hello. He was part way through his usual sing song “hello daarrrrling” when he stopped in his tracks.

“You didn’t say it.”

“I didn’t say what?”

“Hello darling, you just said hello”.

Then it dawned on me. “Oh..so when you say ‘Hello darling’, it’s not you being affectionate, you’re laughing at me.”

He laughed at that and continued with his impression of me. I told him what my daughter had said and he laughed again, “so she has noticed too?”

My eyes filled up. I thought he was doing something nice. He was laughing at me all along.

He was about to show me something else I apparently do when I kiss him, when he was interrupted by a work colleague. We made a hasty goodbye.

It doesn’t matter that he messaged immediately to say he was just laughing with me, and that he loves me. The damage is done.

And so, the puzzle pieces slot together and form a picture of a clown, an idiot, a fool. Something everyone laughs at.

So, after two years, why do I do that? I pondered as tears streamed down my face. I don’t realise I am doing it, but clearly everyone else does.

Because I’m trying to be something I’m not. I’m trying to be the beautiful, sweet young thing..when actually, I’m an average, overweight 41 year old.

I feel like such a fool. Who am I trying to kid?

The reason he doesn’t show me the affection I want is because he doesn’t feel it.

The reason he doesn’t give me compliments is because he doesn’t see anything worth complimenting.

The reason he hasn’t proposed or bought me a love token is because he isn’t sure he wants me. I’m not worth celebrating or treasuring or championing.

I’m just entertainment. A nice girl. A fool.

Just

I can’t help but think that these journeys are unnecessarily complicated. I’ve only just published my last post which I completed yesterday because of the complications.

My experience through the airport of Wildcard’s country was relatively simple. Except that no one knows how to queue. People were pushing in to check-in from all angles. As I can’t speak their language there was little I could do but glare. Oh, and watch Wildcard as I waited. He stood at the barrier until I blew a kiss and waved him off. I watched him disappear for a moment then reappear, trying to see me in the queue again and then slowly walking to find his parents who were sat someone in the airport. I felt a pull from my solar plexus as he walked away – like my heart was pining for him as the distance grew, a complete physical manifestation of missing him.

So, due to the queue jumpers, check in took longer than needed. I had originally booked a priority ticket on Ryanair which gives you a 10kg carry on and a handbag. I had brought a 20kg case with me inbound as I had gifts to give Wildcard and his family and also brought toiletries etc, some of which I have left there with the bigger case.

Of course, once I had filled my smaller case with the gifts from Wildcard’s mum, I decided to buy a 20kg case pass again. I shouldn’t have bothered. My small case weighed 6kg. I prefer not lugging it round, it’s true, and security is easier with liquids and electricals packed away. But I’m not sure the cost justifies this. Is it more economical to buy the 20kg case when you buy your ticket? I’m not sure. Plus ‘priority’ is a joke. I’ve been on 8 flights this year and only once has Ryanair honoured priority pass. Plus, I think most people buy priority anyway, so it hardly makes a difference.

The plane out was delayed slightly which added pressure to my already tight schedule. My second flight to the UK (which I am now sat on, waiting to move) was not until 6am. I landed at 10pm, and once we had disembarked and went through security, picked up luggage and walked what seemed miles to the pick up point, I was wondering if it was worth going to the hotel.

It was. I travelled less than 10 minutes on the complimentary airshuttle and arrived at a comfortable hotel room with a huge bed and spacious walk in shower. It was 11pm before I had spoken to Wildcard, showered and looked for taxi options. Annoyingly, the hotel shuttle didn’t run until 5am and I needed to be at the airport for 4.30am. Check your hotel carefully. Airshuttle buses run at unique times for every hotel, if they even have one.

I didn’t sleep wonderfully well – my head was filled with Wildcard and the thought of a 4am get up – but being comfortable on a huge bed was better than sitting on a hard metal chair in the airport. Even if I had not slept, which I did, being comfortable for 5 hours was worth the £45 for the hotel. There were no comfortable facilities at the airport for my wait, although there may have been if I had booked a transit/connecting flight??

I woke, dressed, made my way out of the hotel and found a convenient ATM right outside the hotel. That was the simplest part of my morning. It all went downhill from there. I ordered my taxi via Cabify. This is the second time I have used them in Spain. I was quoted €13 for a 10 minute journey which is still cheaper than the €25 cost of a taxi transfer via the hotel. As before though, the taxi never arrives on time even though you can watch their journey on the interactive map. Secondly, there were a few other people waiting for taxis which made me wonder why the hotel hadn’t honoured its hotel room + transfer package if there were a few people needing it. Ah well.

The taxi driver didn’t speak English. We managed to communicate that I was going to the airport. He took me to the wrong terminal. I didn’t know this until I tried to enter the terminal and was told to go down two floors and get a bus. Sounds simple? It’s not at 4.45am when you are 15 minutes late and don’t speak Spanish. Plus, there was noone around which gives the airport an eerie feel and you can’t follow the crowds in the hope of getting to the right place.

But, I got there and managed to get to the right terminal. My next problem was that the UK Gov locator form wouldn’t accept my vaccination QR code and so the Ryanair staff wouldn’t check in my bag until I had done it. So, I stood at the front of the queue furiously fighting with it. Eventually it was done and I made my way to security. I weaved through the empty barriers and watched people walk straight through the ‘priority’ section, even though that was for disabled people or prams and they were neither.

The security alarm went off twice as I tried to walk through and the security didn’t speak English. You can tell they were talking about me though as I was ‘wanded’.

Soon I was finally, finally through security. I had a little time to grab a coffee and wish for the millionth time I wasn’t gluten free as I tried to ignore the beautiful fresh sandwiches and pastries on offer. Likewise, the plane offers nothing gluten free for breakfast. I’m probably hangry as well as exhausted.

I’m now on a train heading towards the centre of London so I can catch my final train back up North.

The flight to London was fine – practically empty – which makes the 4am get up worthwhile. I don’t know if it is covid or me but I really hate packed aeroplanes now.

When we landed though, I felt the physical pang in my chest. I was in the UK, home, and as far away from Wildcard as I can be. My heart aches with missing him. My heart tornadoes with thoughts and feelings and fears of the future.

Why can’t I just love him and him love me, and why can’t we just be together?

Just so you know

Aldi is having a ‘special’ on Gluten Free food! How nice!

Except…erm…most of us have to eat every day. And, well, don’t choose to have an allergy/intolerance to Gluten or indeed have Celiac disease.

It is a lot better than it was. Asda, Tesco and Morrisons deserve hero status in my book. There are now lots of options, and even better, the prices have come down. I no longer have to pay £3.50 for a loaf that is smaller than a 400g normal loaf.

BUT…

There is something else that really, really irritates me. And I’m sorry if this applies to you. I am. But this is how I feel.

Shops, restaurants, cafes are going out of their way to prepare vegan food. It is everywhere. And that is not a bad thing, I guess, except for one detail. Gluten Free comes a miserly second to this approach. And why is this an issue?

Because, I would guess, the vast majority of Vegans choose to eat that way. Most Gluten Free eaters do not choose to be Gluten Free. (I know some people do as they think it is a weight loss tool. Words fail me).

Gluten makes me sick. Really sick. Between 20 minutes and an hour after eating it, I go quiet. I am dazed. My nose goes bright red. My head feels heavy. My breathing quickens. And then I just flop. And I can’t move. I’m drowsy, lethargic, can’t walk unaided. I will sleep for hours. Later, I will have crippling stomach ache and diarrhoea. And the shivers. For days my stomach will hurt me.

I don’t choose to be Gluten Free. Most Gluten Free substitutes taste awful, cost the earth and have more calories in them.

Just so you know. It is great that there are most vegan choices. Just don’t forget that Gluten Free is not a choice for most.

Happy?

I forced myself into action yesterday. In cartoonesque fashion, I pictured a numbing bubble coming from my solar plexus and consuming me, anaesthetising my pain and fears.

Of course there were ripples of hurt which threatened to pop said bubble. But I didn’t allow myself to dwell.

Instead, I sat with my legend planner – the new one I bought when I first realised I had issues at work – and planned how I was going to work on my house in the next 8 weeks.

For, I realised, with or without him my life will go on. That’s a fact.

I had my union meeting yesterday too and things are moving along. My settlement should be completed in the next few weeks. I will paid until Christmas but officially leave their employment at the end of August. This means that I can start a new job in September. I just need to find one.

So, I reasoned, that gave me eight weeks to spend time with my family and get my house sorted. There is tidying, cleaning and decorating to be done. As seems to be the annual tradition, the kids want to swap rooms. There’s plenty to do.

My numbing-bubble visualisation got me through the day. I thoroughly cleaned the lounge and made dinner. I didn’t allow myself to go back to bed. As I said, I can’t pretend that my hurt didn’t threaten to overwhelm me. I just didn’t let it.

Wildcard called me as much as usual yesterday. He was a little more chatty. The slow thaw continues. I even got a kiss goodnight. I actually plucked up the courage to tell him what my ex had said. I could see him thinking and processing that, and I know that he will need time to do so.

Later, I spoke to my London friend about her upcoming trip to see her boyfriend and we discussed Wildcard’s continued sulkiness. She advised that I be normal now and don’t bring it up again. She was surprised he was still moody- over nothing – but said it showed his jealousy. I took her advice on board.

So this morning, I chose to be happy. I put my makeup on before he called. I sent a lovely good morning message. And when he called before work, I was bright and cheerful.

“Why are you happy this day?”

“Because I love you.”

He pulled his usual face in attempt to tease me. His parents got in the car because they wanted taking somewhere, and Wildcard kept me on the phone the whole journey. Once they had left he asked me again:

“Why are you happy?”

I told him that I had spent the week crying and not sleeping and feeling sick. I couldn’t do it anymore. I was choosing to be happy.

He said little but again I could see this running through his mind.

As he parked up at work, I said my customary goodbye whilst he said his sulky one. But as I showered him with phone kisses and I love yous, there was a little amusement there which he tried to hide.

He is still sulking. I am still nervous. But there is nothing more I can do. I’ve apologised and cried till I couldn’t breathe. I’ve not slept and panicked and ruminated. I’ve tried to explain, ignore and now I choose to be happy. Not because I am, but because that is what I need to do.

Maybe I should have done things differently. Maybe he is overreacting. But I still love him. This will need discussing at some point but when he is ready.

In regards to my August trip- well, that remains to be seen. I could cancel, rearrange or…and here is a thought…actually go. I’ve looked at some hotels which aren’t too expensive. I have a week to make a decision. Let’s see what the next few days hold.

Mud

Ever had one of those dreams where you are desperate to get somewhere, or away from something, and even though your panting and sweating and giving your all, you are not getting anywhere? It is like your feet are in quick sand or mud and there is nothing you can do about it.

I’m living that at the moment. I know I need to keep busy. I know that there are lots of things that I could be doing – should be doing- in regards to a new job or career. Motivation is like the tide at the moment – sometimes it is there, sometimes it is not.

Today, I didn’t want to get up. I haven’t logged on to my online course. But I did finish my painting and I have worked through another few chapters of my self-help book. I also, finally, picked up my increased medication.

The book has made me consider all areas of my life and what I am not happy about. It has then asked me to write down all the excuses I have for not doing something about my unhappiness. Fear and confidence seem to play a big part. No surprises there then.

But, I am not going to get anywhere unless I do something. And that is what the book is about – motivating yourself through the fear, the lows and the mud-wading dreams.

It is also interesting to see where I can’t change things because they are out of my control. Most of my concerns around Wildcard are just that – things out of our control. I wish knowing that stopped me worrying. It doesn’t. And out of all the areas of my life, it is the one I worry about the most. Well, until all this bother with work.

Work. What a sticky yucky mud-fest that has turned out to be. An area of my life that I once had really pride in. Now? Here are my choices…

  • Go back to work and ‘fight’ for my job whilst watching my back and being very aware that they want me and my expensive salary gone
  • Quit. Find another teaching job. There are few teaching jobs at this time of year and none at my level. Unlikely they will want to pay me for a standard teacher post as I am too expensive.
  • Quit. Try tutoring. I’ve no idea if this is enough to keep me afloat financially.
  • Quit. Get out of teaching completely. How transferable are my skills?

It is a mess. And of course, I am getting differing advice from different people. I’ve wanted my own business for along time but, savings are few and I am alone in this.

I will never know unless I try. I’ve had two weeks of intermittent wallowing. I’ve another two weeks off. Time to put my all into trying. Wish me luck.

Kick

Wednesday was a day of promise and productivity. Thursday was a slump day that slid into a morose Friday.

I’ve bought a book from my favourite motivation speaker, Mel Robbins. I couldn’t read it. I’ve still got my online interview to complete and two courses to start. I did neither.

Instead, I meandered around the house, aimlessly trying to find motivation only to somehow find myself back in bed. My settlement letter finally arrived – recorded delivery, so they didn’t need to keep calling to ask if it had arrived.

My cat walked in dripping with blood from an unknown source. A £220 trip to the vet later and we are still hoping he will be ok.

I had two missed calls from an unknown mobile number. No messages left. That had me in an anxious state for hours until they called back and it was Occupational Health organising a meeting.

And whilst the celebration of Eid means my gorgeous boyfriend is less hangry and tired, three days of family time means reduced time for me. He still called and text regularly and told me he loved me and missed me, but calls were short. I know I am being completely selfish here. I just really needed him and wanted him.

My sister chose this week to have another argument about him. Whilst inunderstand her caution and wariness, the only arguments she has for me not being with him are:

His nationality

Her disbelief in long distance relationships.

Hardly concrete arguments. I said she is prejudiced and negative and whilst I understand her concern, she doesn’t need to bring it up all the time and be critical without just cause. Apparently because she loves me and has known me the longest, I should listen to her. I do, I just don’t need to hear it all the time. Or see the look on her face.

My other sister, whilst generally supportive and stuck in the middle, is going through her own crisis at the moment. Covid has delayed her nursing career starting (ironic, I know). She is anxious, paranoid and is arguing with her husband. She doesn’t listen and she doesn’t let things go. She is also constantly needing financial help – fine, when I have the money, but I don’t know how long I will have it for.

So, in summary: I’m feeling very, very sorry for myself. I feel like I am kicked from all angles.

And then…

Last night, my ex came by my house to pick up my daughter and to collect various items as it was his turn to have the children.

My beautiful boy: my ADHD, autistic 14 year old was in despair. He wouldn’t speak. He didn’t want to leave. He started crying, hyperventilating. Finally, finally, after a big hug he opened up.

He hates seeing me sad. He is worried about me being alone. He is scared that I am going to commit suicide.

And that, friends, was the biggest kick up the backside, slap in the face, reality check I needed.

How I handle this situation is going to affect my children. In a way, this could teach them the power of resilience and positive thinking.

Or, I could continue to feel sorry for myself and let them suffer as they watch me indulgence self pity.

So, this morning, I have got up: washed, dressed, applied make up. I’ve planned my meals for the week. I’m now going to start some housework. This weekend I will get the house in order. Monday, I am going to get my career sorted. Or start to.

I’m going to have bad days. That’s normal. My kids need to see that too. But they need to see that giving up is not an option, and the strong mother they have known is still there.

Birthday

In 55 minutes from this very moment, I turn 41. I feel old. Maybe 41 isn’t old to you. Maybe I am old enough to be your mother or big sister. Either way, my 41st birthday has hung around my neck all week.

I realised whilst lounging in the bath that I haven’t actually celebrated my birthday properly since my Dad died.

On April 2018, my Dad was in hospital. After an evening of pizza, cake and WWE (my son’s request as it was some big event), my sister and I drove to the hospital. Dad was drowsy but woke when we arrived and quickly reached into his hospital bedside to pass me a present and a card. I remember he apologised it wasn’t something more but I was just happy he was still with me.

The card, the last he ever wrote, is forever imprinted in my heart: it forms part of the tattoo that I had about a year after his death. There are photos of us too, me holding the joke moustache pencil topper (like dad’s real tash) to my lips as he kisses my cheek. Daddy. ❤

2019 I purposefully booked a week away in France with my children for my birthday. There were no presents or cards, no other family. I bought us a cake each from the patisserie and we did go out for dinner but it felt like a normal day and that is how I wanted it.

Last year, my 40th, I also chose to have alone. I had originally wanted a garden party in the summer but Covid ruined that. I had also planned to see Wildcard and not let on it was my birthday but covid ruined that too. My dad wasn’t there, mum wasn’t there and I couldn’t see Wildcard. So I spent the day pretty hard to myself with visits from my kids and ex and my sisters. I made my own dinner and my own cake.

This year, I am not ashamed to say that I also want some time alone.

I don’t feel like celebrating. I don’t want another year of me cooking for everyone (although someone usually makes my cake.) We can’t go out for a meal, I can’t see my mum, dad or Wildcard again. No-one can afford gifts and I certainly don’t want them to buy me anything, plus I don’t need or want anything anyway.

I lie.

I want my Dad again. I want my mum to visit. I want Wildcard to be here with my family. I want all the people I love to be around me. And I can’t have it. So because I can’t have it, for the third year running, I don’t want any of it.

Yes I am childish. Yes, I am sulking. But I am very much an all or nothing girl.

However.

I want nothing until tea time. Up until then, I am going to do whatever I want. No housework. No cleaning. No cooking for everyone else ( I love cooking, but noone really cooks for me. My dad did.) I going to eat what I want:

Fresh berries and yoghurt with a side of buttery sourdough toast. I may even have an egg.

A turkey salad sandwich and some crisps.

Ricotta and spinach cannelloni with a side salad.

Birthday carrot cake. Yes, that is a lot but I don’t care. I very rarely eat that much.

At tea time, I have invited my sisters and children and ex round and I am buying pizza for them. The above will be gluten free but the pizza won’t be. I feel like I have fulfilled my obligations to them.

Wildcard has asked me a couple of times what I want for my birthday. I told him the truth: I want him. That’s it.

“It is impossible.” He says.

I tell him he is an intelligent man and he can work it out. Let’s see what he comes up with.