Events

Today has been today: neither good nor bad but elements of both.

It started with my morning call from Wildcard. Despite yesterday’s tension*, he was fine this morning.

I hadn’t slept well though. My mind had been racing. I lay there and my whole body needed him. Not in a sexual way, just wishing he was near.

I mentioned to him that I hadn’t slept well and that I had both missed him and dreamed of him. He asked if I had dreamed we had been fighting.

It was a flippant remark. Humour, perhaps. But wow, it cut deep. *We have never really had a full blown argument: where both parties are angry and accusatory which is why I say ‘tension’. Most times, he or I are upset at something the other has done. It rarely last more than a couple of a hours. There have been 2 occasions where it has lasted longer- when I really hurt him, but unintentionally. But no, we have never actually argued (fighting in his language).

It cut deep enough to wound. Yes, there have been a number of fights/tensions between us recently. Two over the last two nights in fact. I mentioned my feelings about this yesterday and about how I can’t blame him if this, me, I become to much drama.

I cleaned my house and just thought about this. I couldn’t help myself. But I put music on, singing at the tip of my voice. Yes, sometimes there were tears (thank you, James Morrison) but I cleaned and was productive.

Early afternoon I went to help my sister prepare for her date. She was entertaining at home and her house needed a good clean. I worked on her kitchen and again, weirdly, found some sense of calm whilst doing so. (I am never going to win housewife of the year). But, another win.

I’ve received notification that the school have accepted my resignation. I felt relief and panic all at once. I don’t have to go back, I don’t have to fight. But, with the early resignation, I’m really going to have to work hard to settle things financially. I’ve just given up a large salary. One that was to help me sort my life out. But, I know I couldn’t go back. I never would have been happy there.

This evening has put life into a bit of perspective though.

Just before I was due to go to bed, my daughter and I got talking. She was asking about my family. It made me feel quite old really – it’s the first time she’s asked me to talk about my past and extended family.

However, in talking about my family, I’ve realised a few things. One, I’ve had a good life and a good family. And yes, I am getting old. Two, I don’t see enough of my family. Three, many of the people I look up to in my family have had real periods of uncertainty and change. And whilst life is never easy – events can throw your life off kilter – these family members had turned their life around. Worked for it. Found happiness again.

Maybe I’m not as big a failure as I think I am. Maybe this lesson has been that I can’t go back, I’ve got to look forward. I’ve got to change my life like so many of my family have done before me.

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Balance reminders

I’ve taken a shower today. That’s a positive. Don’t take showers for granted: at your lowest, even taking a shower is too much.

Other than that, not a great day.

I didn’t sleep well. Minor issues with Wildcard played – and continue to play – with my head.

I woke to an email from work with a date to see Occupational Health next week. Considering I only sent in my sick note yesterday, I felt this was very quick. I sunk lower in to that dark pit and have struggled to get out of it since.

Why would anyone think I want to talk about how I feel about my work, my life, to a medical professional who is being paid by my employer? Maybe that is paranoia or narrow thinking. Either way, the thought of doing so fills me with complete and shuddering anxiety.

*****

I’m writing a few hours after the above.

I’ve spoken to my union who have given me some reassurance about the OH appointment. I feel a little better.

I have unfortunately, had another issue with Wildcard. I don’t know what to think. My catastrophising brain thinks that maybe, these recent problems are heading for the end.

We’ve had a few challenging weeks. My negative and anxious mindset about my job have caused issues between me and him. He’s forgiven me each time but no one can be naive enough to think that is the end of it. It tips the balance just a little the wrong way.

What with that, and the more recent issues, worried he’s beginning to think I am too much. Not worth it.

I’ve got another major issue going on with my son which I haven’t mentioned yet here. It started at the weekend.

In both cases – my situation at work and with my son – cultural and language barriers are preventing me from explaining to Wildcard well, and him from understanding well.

I’ve tried.

I know what some of you are thinking – if he can’t stand by you now, then he’s not the right person etc etc.

Truth is, how long should a person have to stand by you? Why should they suffer because you are?

If he walks away, any semblance of happiness I have will go. I will implode. But, I can’t blame him. I can’t. He’s under no obligation. We are not married. Maybe, I have just become too much. I love him so much that I should not be a source of unhappiness for him. Even if it destroys what’s left of me in the process.

I’m sat in my wilderness, cold and shivering.

I’ve made myself get out of my bed.

My daughter has pointed out that I’ve done all I can in each and every situation of my life that’s causing my stress. Despite the hours in bed and my overall anxiety, I have actively tried to find solutions and help for all of them. It was a positive reminder.

I will hold on to that.

Apples

Here’s a question for you… do you know where your happy places are?

Now, before you answer that – as I am sure certain things jumped straight into your mind – think carefully. Really think. Don’t answer with what you are supposed to say. What everyone says. Just let yourself think.

Yesterday, as my post spelled out, I was not in a great place. I haven’t been for weeks.

If we rewind six months, I was contemplating my future. Unsure of what to do, I spent weeks…months not deciding anything, and feeling the pressure of the decision.

In the end I chose to go back to my career. I was swayed by the job I was offered and the money it would give me. I made a plan. How I would use the money wisely this time to build the future I want. How I would take the job offered to me to ease myself back in, rebuild confidence and learn. Find myself.

There and then, as 1st September loomed closer, I felt positive. Excited. Nervous, yes, but up for the challenge.

From day one, it has been awful.

Everything I had been told was a lie. Whilst I had been told the road was tough, I accepted the role on fabrications of ‘solid teams’, ‘high staff morale’ and ‘recent improvements’. I was swayed by ‘major investment’, ‘forward thinking management’ and ‘good behaviour’.

Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope and Hell No.

From day one, I saw the divided senior team of which I was supposed to be part. I wasn’t part of either side. I wasn’t invited to meetings. I was ignored.

The rooms hadn’t been renovated. Instead, nothing worked. No whiteboard, electrical or otherwise. No ability to print.

No key, no pass, no induction.

Timetables and rooms were wrong. Resources were given two days in advance of teaching and yet I was expected to be leading a department who had not been led for years.

Behaviour…. well. They ignore you. They bully, fight, swear. They’re obnoxious and intimidating. But it’s ok, ‘once they get to know you they’re good lads.’

What has been made apparent from my five weeks there, is actually, there is no team. There is no care. There is no leadership. People will tell you they feel sorry for your situation and then load you up with an unobtainable and excessive workload.

Within two weeks, I’d burst in to tears. I wanted to walk out. I was told about how ‘mental health’s an important part of the school’ and maybe I was ‘expecting too much of myself as a perfectionist’. I later found out that this leader had huffed and puffed when she’d found out I was upset and had to speak to me. More lies.

The new academy is hopefully taking over soon (I was told they already had.) But, one teary outburst and lots of happiness since, I know that my card is already marked no matter what they say.

The last few Sundays, working all day, I’ve been miserable. Snapping at my children. Fighting with Wildcard. Crying. Feeling sick.

Tuesday, I woke up ill. The flu-like symptoms that had threatened descended. I planned one day off then back in. At 6am, my whole body screamed differently.

And so it continued.

Whilst I was unwell, I realised that probably half of it was stress. I didn’t want to get out of bed. Work dominated my dreams and waking moments.

After a few heartfilled conversations with friends, family and ex-colleagues, I made my decision and called the doctors. I have two weeks off and a resignation letter ready to send.

I’ve probably thrown away my career. Not sure I care anymore. I’ve cried more about letting family down and worrying about money. It has passed for now.

So, step one complete, I’ve forced myself out of bed.

Yesterday, I made myself pick the apples on my dad’s tree. I waded through 6ft nettles and weeds. I got stung and scratched. But I felt a sense of achievement.

I sat in my happy place – a place I have avoided- and I wrote in my dad’s journal for the first time in 3 years.

And, gazing at the basket of apples, journal on my knee: I felt at peace.

Descent.

I’m sinking.

It’s a slow descent. I suppose I should be grateful for that.

Maybe, maybe…I’m not yet stuck. Maybe, there is still a chance – through determination and strength – I can pull myself out.

I’m tired though. I don’t feel like I have any strength.

And so, slowly slowly I sink.

Perhaps you’re wondering how I got myself into this sinking sand, this bog, this black hole.

Truth is, unfortunately, I saw this coming. Let me explain.

I chose this path tentatively. It took many weeks of thinking, considering and angst to choose this path. And once I chose it, and realised it was not how I had been told it would be, I believed that perhaps fate had led me here. Maybe I had lessons to still learn.

Because despite my excitement and determination and fervour…this road was not the one I expected. I was prepared for the potholes and the dark and the bad bends. I just didn’t expect the whole road would be full of them.

I tried to contain my panic. I tried to be positive, brave. And then I became aware.

In the distance, almost too far ahead to see, I sensed it.

I didn’t want to believe it. I tried ignoring it. At one point, I even searched in the dark, hoping to find something to cling to…to stop me falling.

And strangely, it was whilst I was fumbling in the dark, looking for strength, that I realised it was too late. I’d already started to fall.

Everything is in slow motion now.

Occasionally, as I fall, I sense the world of destruction that lies ahead of me. I see my downfall. You’d think this would give me the stength to claw my way out. It doesn’t. The panic only makes me fall quicker.

Overwhelming is the sense of failure. I’ve clawed myself out of the depths twice now. I’ve dealt with the aftermath, spent an age cleaning myself of the remains of the darkness that cover you, even when you are stood in the light.

Resignation is not a good thing.

I see the world in 360 degrees. At times my mind frantically searched every degree, looking for answers, looking for a way out. But as I spin, I sink.

Other times I’m frozen, watching my slow descent into darkness. And that’s the worst. Part of my mind is still in the light. I can see where I am heading as I can see where I came from. This is where the fear lives.

I fear this place. I’ve dwelled in its depths before.

But I’m not in its depth yet. This is a slow descend.

Maybe, maybe…I’m not yet stuck. Maybe, there is still a chance – through determination and strength – I can pull myself out.

Defining the dream

I haven’t written half as much as I wanted or probably needed to, about my last trip to see Wildcard. In summary….it was wonderful but challenging.

At times I felt so loved and cherished- not just by him but also by his family. I felt so much love from them and for them. I was happy and content.

At times, I felt confused. I felt like I wasn’t sure how he felt about me, what was happening.

Once again, there was no conversation about our future. There was no proposal. I half expected this, but I can’t pretend there wasn’t hope somewhere.

I came home frustrated with myself for my conflicting feelings. I came home disappointed that he hadn’t committed.

A few days ago, I told him I had posted a parcel out – the photobook of our little holiday with his parents, and some other little gifts. He asked why I had posted them, and I replied: because I don’t know when I’m coming next – do you?

He then did his typical thing. He joked. He told me “next year”. I did my typical of not being sure if he was serious, and became distant. At this point, he told me he was joking and that I could come when I want, as long as it didn’t coincide with his brothers coming (which I wholeheartedly understand).

It had unsettled me though, a little. Because it was clear that he still has no concrete plan for commitment.

This was brought up with my sister and we had a long conversation. She said my family had expected me to come home engaged. We discussed this. I told her that neither of us were in the position to do this – I needed to sort my career, finances and house. He needed to secure his parents and wait for his brothers to be in a position to help. When I said I would give him one more year, she surprised me by asking why I would put a limit on, if he was all I wanted?

Good point.

Because, as my London friend commented: I don’t want to wait for him, only for him to change his mind at some point in the future. I am TERRIFIED of this.

Waiting for it is not helping me. I’m anxious and clingy. I’m needy and demanding. It’s not the waiting but the uncertainty.

I truly believe that he thinks all is well. His actions would suggest that he believes me to be his wife and when the right time comes, it will be made official and he will move here.

The problem, of course, is that my life has undergone a massive upheaval is the last 18 months. The upheaval isn’t over yet. Most of this is completely outside of him and his control. THAT, I need to accept.

I’ve been unable to truly determine what I want from my life for a long, long time. I had once achieved all I wanted. Yet, I wasn’t happy. Most of that has now changed or disappeared. All I know now, is that I want him.

What does that actually mean?

Finally, finally, I’ve allowed myself to truly think about that. I’ve made myself daydream about a weekend in the life with him. I felt it as I wrote…every touch, laugh and look. You can find it here:

https://startingfromthemiddleblog.wordpress.com/2022/08/14/dare-to-dream/

I can’t coast any longer. I’ve made one decision- about my career – and whilst I’m not sure it is the right one, I’ve made a plan. This daydream was about my love life and my family life. It’s something I haven’t dared to do for a long time out-of fear.

I’ve started to analyse it. In my next post, you’ll hear what I think this all means.

Dare to dream

I wake early, just as the morning light is starting to glow outside the window. I stretch and feel the warm strength of the body next to me. I turn carefully to see the night black hair and beard and caramel skin. I inflate with love as I breath him in.

Cautious not to wake him, I gently remove him hand from my waist and he turns over in the movement so I can see his toned back. I smile. I’m so happy.

I get up and dressed then quietly leave the house, dog bounding in front of me. The morning is warm but there is a cool bite to the breeze.

I return 30 minutes later, relishing in the fresh air and the warmth to my muscles. I feed and water the dog and jump in the shower.

I’m still amazed that I’ve managed to keep the weight off. I’m definitely not perfect, but I’m fitter and slimmer fitter than I’ve ever been. I dry off and wrap the towel around me and go back tonight room.

He’s still asleep. As I towel dry and brush my hair, I watch him knowing that I must wake him soon. I moisturise my body and just as I reach down for my underwear, I hear his voice deep and sleepy, calling my back to bed.

I crawl in next to him and I feel so happy, excited and content as his arms circle me, our legs entwine and I feel his soft, soft kisses. Before long, we are making love.

Too soon, we are getting up. Whilst he showers, I go down and make breakfast and put something in the slow cooker for later.

He comes down and I inhale when I see his black hair, wet and brushed back. He teases me and we laugh. I hurriedly drink tea whilst he eats before I leave the house for work.

I arrive home before him. I check our dinner, before changing and doing some chores. He arrives home and kisses me sweetly before changing and lying on the couch.

Just before dinner is ready, he gets up and sets the table and we sit and eat together, talking about our day. After clearing up together, we both sit on the couch, his legs in my lap. I catch-up on a few emails whilst he plays on his phone but after half an hour, he calls his parents. I speak to them briefly, missing them, and telling them that we will be over to visit soon. I leave him to talk to them and go upstairs to put away some washing and freshen up.

Before long, he has followed me upstairs and he grabs me, kissing me and slapping my bottom in jest. He changes and we lock the house before getting in the car.

He loves his car. It’s one of the first things he saved up for and it is his pride and joy. We drive for around half an hour, music playing with words I think I will never understand, and arrive at the seaside town.

After checking and double checking he’s locked the car, we start to walk hand in hand. We stroll towards the beach and walk along the promenade in the fading light. I know people look at him – I love to look at him! – but the squeeze of his hand and his jokes and laughter make me know I am the only one for him.

We make our way to a bar and sit outside drinking soft drinks and talking and laughing. Soon we are heading home.

As I put a load of washing om, he takes the dog out. When he returns, we lock up and head to our bedroom. He turns on the TV as he lies on bed and I sit and take my makeup off. I then get in alongside him, and read a little, my head resting on his chest. My eyes begin to droop and so I put my book down and kiss him softly. He turns off the TV and we kiss a little before I turn and go to sleep: he puts his headphone in and plays on his phone whilst I sleep.

I wake in the morning to his body holding me tight and his hands caressing my skin. We make love again, slowly and luxuriously, and then I reluctantly get up to shower.

I make coffee and take the dog in the garden whilst I drink it. Before long, he joins me outside and drinks his tea whilst we plan the day ahead.

He takes the dog out for a run whilst I prepare breakfast and call my children to check when they will arrive.

Once again, we eat together and then he goes to clean his car whilst I prepare a picnic. My son arrives during that time and I sit and listen to him whilst I finish preparing.

We have a wonderful day out. I love watching him with my son and the relationship they are building. They are friends and I am so happy to see how relaxed they are – that is until their competitive side comes out!

We arrive home late in the afternoon and the pair of them go on to the xbox whilst I start preparing dinner. During this time, my other children arrive with their other half. The house is filled with laughter and talking.

He helps me prepare the rest of the food and we cook together, listening and laughing at the sibling taunting. Finally, we go outside and eat around the table, nightlights glowing in the garden and the smell of honeysuckle in the air.

As the night turns to chill, we return to the house. My daughter and her partner leave but the rest of us play games for a while before we all return to our rooms.

When I wake in the morning I am alone but see the coffee waiting for me on the bedside table. I can hear him talking to his brother on the phone downstairs amongst the shouts of my son reacting to the game he’s playing. I lazily walk downstairs and am greeted with breakfast and a kiss. We eat and then I get ready for the day.

My family soon arrive and its all hands on deck as we prepare a huge dinner for us all.

As I prepare, I watch as he teases my niece and nephew or talks to my sisters. I feel so much love for everyone here right now. And happy – I’m so, so happy. Life isn’t easy and we have our ups and downs but I knew this moment was worth waiting for.

Tumultuous.

That’s the best word I have.

It’s that time again. I sat in the airport.

I’ve cried. I taken so many deep breathes I’m surprised I can’t fly myself home.

I think I’ve felt every emotion this trip:

Excitement, anticipation, longing, anger, frustration, boredom, contentment, happiness, anxiety and deep, deep love.

It’s been a strange trip for lots of reasons, but I guess all those feelings already say that .

Last night, I didn’t want him to leave me. He knew it, I knew it. We had a very small disagreement. He couldn’t understand why I was upset about leaving. He reeled off all that he’d done to make me happy. He said that this wasn’t the final time, so what was the problem. All I can say, is thank goodness I’ve started to read “Men are from Mars”. This situation could have been a chapter. I couldn’t understand why he couldn’t just see that I was upset because of how much I loved him, and why wasn’t he upset? But then the words from the book hit me and I just told him he had done nothing wrong. I just wanted him to know how I felt.

This morning he came to me, as always. He was tired and hadn’t slept much. He curled into me, wrapping his arms around me and our legs entwined. We made love then cuddled for a hour, watching things on his phone.

Throughout the day, he has repeatedly blown kisses and winked at me – much more than usual. He kissed me passionately repeatedly – again, more than usual.

After we ate dinner, I went to my room to finish packing….well, ok, I went to collect myself as I couldn’t breathe.

He followed and we lay again on the bed. He caressed my skin as we lay there in silence. He kissed me gently. We said nothing.

So maybe he doesn’t cry. Maybe he doesn’t overtly tell me that he will miss me. But I saw it and felt it in every extra kiss, look, touch.

I’m about to board the plane. I’ve not cried for half an hour. That’s progress I guess

Days 7 and 8: little

It’s the little things.

Grabbing my hand to cross a busy road and then moving me so I’m not on the side where the cars are.

It’s shouting me to come see a funny video he’s just watched.

It’s asking me if I’m tired/ok/good when we are out.

It’s checking I can swim – by making me demonstrate – before allowing me to properly swim alone in the sea.

It’s checking with the restaurant that the food won’t contain gluten.

It’s driving for hours just to show me all the beaches and beautiful places he knows I will love.

It’s sandwiching my hand close to his body when I grab his arm in a crowd.

It’s going to find a chair to sit with me outside when he was probably more comfortable on the bed.

*****

It’s late on Day 8 and I’m pretty tired.

I’ve had a wonderful couple of days. Yesterday we woke at 5.30am, ate, packed the car and set off on a road trip. Wildcard drove for hours and hours to show me some famous and stunningly beautiful cities in his country.

Today, we went to the beach and then he continued his tour, showing me a gorgeous marina and then taking us out for a dinner of fresh sardines and salad.

Tomorrow, I think we are moving on and he’s told me that we may go the long way back, taking in a few more places on the way home.

I’m so glad we have another week.

Trip 5, Day 4, 5 and 6

This recount is a little late.

The inevitable happened.

Seems like no matter what I do, or how I try to think, it will happen regardless. I guess my emotions need some kind of relief.

Positives from it: his mum knows he loves me. Whether he has openly told her (I doubt that) or it is assumed, I’m not sure. And as she knows I love him, this has to be a good thing.

I’m also certain that, dare I say once again, there will be no proposal. I also doubt there will be any discussion. He seems content with the status quo and the knowledge that we are committed.

I’m not sure if my fear comes from my own beliefs or that of others – “if he knew, if I was the right one, he would have already asked.” Defensive, positive me would say he already has. In theory anyway.

Regardless, it is the morning of Day 5 and it hasn’t happened so probably won’t. I’ve feared for his love, as I always do, and I’m now appeased.

******

It’s now the evening of Day 6.

It’s been an eventful few days considering I’ve stayed in the house.

I met his aunty, unexpectedly. He’s told me that it’s not his extended family’s business who he’s in a relationship with and that they would know when it’s the right time.

But she arrived and out I was rolled. I liked her. She was elderly but spritely and I could see she had a good sense of humour. She greeted me with a handshake and a Muslim blessing and said goodbye with lots and lots of kisses on both cheeks and an invite to visit her home. 😍 She didn’t speak English but it was ok.

Wildcard and I have had a tricky 24 hours since then. An honest mistake, anxiety, sulking which culminating in me asking if he wanted me to go home early. He said yes, because that’s what he does when I ask stupid questions, but it blew over and we kissed and made up.

Since then the sir has cleared and we have got back to the start of the week.

Tomorrow we will travel North and visit some beautiful cities for a few days with his parents . I’m excited. Very.

Trip 5, day 3: The switch.

I can hear the crackle of the open fire. Something delicious is on its way for dinner.

It’s been another lazy day. So far, apart from a mild hiccup last night, Day 3 wobbles have not surfaced. That’s not to say they’re not there- they are – but I’m managing them. Just about.

I’ve read two books, doodled, listened to music, played online games, played cards, and stared at Wildcard any chance I get.

It’s very hot here. Too hot to venture out. I’m enjoying relaxing, I really am. Honest.

I keep remembering that this is his holiday too. He needs to relax even more than me. He’s not had a holiday in two years. And believe me, it’s not that I want to be pff out every day either. I love just being close to him. It’s just…I don’t have the means to entertain myself like I do at home. At home there is always something to be done. Here? Nothing.

There’s always thinking. I have the time and capacity for that. I love him with an astounding complexity. There’s no other way to describe it.

He’s sleeping now.

******

The meal was delicious.

I will admit, I did start to feel a little…restless. We played cards briefly, but I didn’t find a game that he would latch onto so it was a couple of games and then he’d had enough. I drew, I read. Yup- restless.

Maybe ‘restless’ is another cause of Day 3 wobbles.

I tried hard, I really did. I acknowledged that my big feelings were affecting me. I tried my best not to let them escalate or alter my behaviour. Admittedly, I was a little quieter today. But that’s ok. No outbursts, reduced sulking, no arguments.

And then, it happened.

In one of our jokey moments, I’d whined about wanting affection ( I literally whine to torment him – very fun). He didn’t understand however, so I explained it to him by stroking his arm and squeezing his hand. He replied that I wanted to be treated like a pet? That man has a real sense of humour. 😆

He must have taken it on board though. A few hours later, to my surprise, he reached out and stroked my hand and arm. I couldn’t believe it.

Let’s be clear here, he does touch me. His feet always find themselves in my lap or nestled behind my back. He will sometimes steal a kiss as he walks past. He slaps my bottom. When we are alone we cuddle and entwine legs and arms but we’re just not alone very much. To put this in context, it’s not his culture to have regular PDA. And I probably want far more than my fair share as I figure I’ve missed out on it for months and I’m a romantic. And he is irresistible. But…well, there isn’t a lot of it. Or, enough of it.

So, as I stared dumbfounded our hands, his hand swirling patterns on my skin, I got a lump in my throat. I turned away and admittedly…there were few tears. The fan was the most interesting thing in the room. As always, he noticed. He asked why I was upset and after a pause I replied, “because you don’t touch me like that very often.” He was a little shocked.

Since then? Woah. I’ve had stolen kisses at every opportunity. In the car he grabbed my hand in between gear changes (he has never done that before). He’s caressed my skin. It’s like I’ve flipped the switch somehow.

And I wonder if, in this circumstance, it’s about what you don’t know. They’re not a physically demonstrative family outside the European norm of two kisses on the cheeks. He’s never brought a girlfriend home before – probably never spent such a prolonged time with one. He’s a man set in his ways each day.

Of course, there’s a good chance he will forget this all tomorrow. But for today? We’ve survived Day 3 wonderfully.