Trip 7, Day seven

Last night, a thunderstorm clouded the sky and sent beautifully dramatic streaks of lightning across the sky. I don’t know whether it’s because I was on the third floor or because there is less light pollution here or even the fact there are less trees than home, but the sky was spectacular. And for once it wasn’t me making a storm.

I didn’t wake at a silly hour this morning either but that’s often the way when I’m here. It seems to take me quite a few days to settle- in every sense of the word. That’s part of the reason that a week never seems enough. Or maybe it’s the long gap in between. I’m not sure.

I woke at gone 7am. I washed and went back to bed. I could have fallen back to sleep but I’m conscious in a few days I will be back to work… I can hardly believe it.

I felt morose this morning. One of the things my reading has taught me, and I’m working on, is taking time to scan your body. Where are the feels? What emotion is creating them? Today’s moroseness is not something self-imposed from my overactive and demanding mind. No, It’s just genuine sadness that my time here is coming to an end. I can say that with all confidence because I’m beginning to see how true sadness feels different to the imposed sadness of my mind.

This morning’s kisses were firm and loving and repeated. I think he’s feeling it too.

We had our usual morning routine of bed and hugs and phone but when I tried to move away, he pulled my face back down to his chest. So I happily complied. There were more kisses from him too, snatched between videos. And then he showered my face with kisses like a firework going off – sparks of lips and beard all over my face. He told me after that I was to no longer as for kisses as he was now in credit by a thousand.

I can’t explain the pure joy that emanates from my solar plexus when he comes home. I feel like my whole world lights up when I see his face, and hear his voice.

In the evening, he took me out to a cafe – the one he took me to that very first night I came here, over three years ago. Unfortunately, it didn’t go as well this time.

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Trip 7, Day six

It's actually the morning of Day Six now. Last night I struggled to finish this post and I'm still struggling now. 
I trying to be positive. I'm trying to not dwell on the negative, on my fears and insecurities. 
It all seems heightened here. I think because I have nothing else to do, nothing else to consume my time but thoughts of him. I'm over-analysing everything: taking the temperature of his love so frequently that the readings are false and confusing. So is the love life of an anxious person, I guess. 
I am relaxed. I am happy. But I'm also unsettled still, a thread of doubts running through my day. I'm looking for my voice in all this, like my counsellor told me, but I can't find her at all. 
²There are so many voices in my head. Some tell me he doesn't love me enough. Some say he's not making an effort. Some say this is real life, every day. Some say I should live in the now and enjoy every second: this is what I long for when I am at home, just to be with him. Some say my expectations and romantic inclinations are too high. Some say he has shown his love and care again and again.  Some say he will never love me like I love him, and I should walk away. 
I don't know how to find my voice. I don't know how to find the truth. And I hate myself for it. I hate my negativity. I hate my indecision and overthinking. I hate that I may, once again, be ruining something wonderful. But I also hate the idea that I may be living a lie, wishing and waiting for something that will never be. Most of all, I hate that my head is full and I can't see the truth for all the noise. 

So, that was this morning, early – before he’d come in.

I sensed there I was spiralling and so I got out Tolle and went straight to the relationship part:

“The Power of Now”

Everything he said there is so true. Wildcard is not abusive or unkind or disloyal. Whilst no one is perfect and yes, he makes minor mistakes, it’s my own needs that are causing the issues.

A way that’s helped me see this, is by really thinking about my triggers and how this links to the bigger picture. What I get upset with him for is usually a bigger indication of my own internal demons than his. A sobering thought.

So I was a little surprised when he came in so early – I was still reading. He came to bed, wrapped his arm around me, and the phone came out as usual. But I was ok with it. I focused on his body being near mine and how wonderful that was. Before long, the phone was away, and he held me as he fell asleep again, and I loved every second. Appreciated every second.

On this high, I continued to read today, finishing Tolle and starting on “Homecoming”. I felt wonderful joy after completing the book and look forward to similar with Bryant’s work.

I feel like my brighter outlook was rewarded as he actually managed to come home early! We spent a relaxing afternoon, laughed and ate a good dinner. He tickled me until I screamed with laughter and then made beautiful love to me . And in a way, I felt like I’d been rewarded by letting my light shine – by dismissing the negative, he was able to shine also.

Does that make sense?

Trip 7, Day five

I awoke at 4.30am to the sound of a howling dog in pain.

Trouble was, I then couldn’t get back to sleep.

I’ve been paid for the first time from my school. It’s not a great wage. A number of things could have affected that: it may not be a full month depending on when their cut off date is; my tax could still be wrong; my SEN payment may not have been added. I also need to remember that as I now get holiday pay, this is no longer calculated into my daily allowance. It still seems low though and even when I put the figures through an online calculator, I’m about ¬£400 down.

This morning when Wildcard came in, I got my accustomed kiss but no hug which I immediately called him out on. He then asked me how I’d slept and I told him the truth: after waking at 4.30am I’d struggled to get back to sleep.

I’d thought about money and work. And I’d thought about him. It was rather indulgent of me: Tolle’s work centres around not thinking about the future. But it’s hard not to, particularly at that time of night.

He of course asked me why I didn’t sleep and I, of course, refused to tell him. Why? Because nothing good comes from repeatedly airing my fears to him. We both know what they are. I’ve learnt my lesson here too, from the past. Talking about my fears in our relationship does nothing but put a black cloud over our week. So I kept quiet.

He asked me, over and over and over again. And I didn’t tell him. I know it is triggering his own anxiety. Despite being closed off in many ways, 3.5 years of being his has taught me something. He will worry about what I was thinking about and I don’t want that. But his silent wonderings are better than an atmosphere and hurt caused by my words. So, I stayed silent.

This morning, he opened his arms so I could rest my face in the place where his neck meets his shoulders, whilst he played his game. And then, I decided to play too, my own way. Living in the now, in the moment, caressing and kissing his body: showing my love.

This is something else I’ve learned. For all his bravado, he is as self conscious about his body as I am of mine. Women, we are stupid if we believe otherwise. He is masculine and beautiful with a dark, hairy chest and stomach and I just love it. He says he looks like a monkey. I say he is masculine and sexy and handsome. He repeats that he looks like a monkey. See what I mean? So I touch and caress and kiss so he knows how much I love every last millimetre of his body just as I love every single fragment of light that is his soul. I love him my way, show him, give to him.

After he holds me and I tell him I love him. He says, “I love you too.”

But then it’s breakfast and it’s time for him to go to work. He asks if I need anything, and I point at him. He then jokes that he will just leave work and sit next to me every day then. I tell him that he asked a question and I answered with the truth. He blows me an elaborate kiss as he walks out the door.

So here I am, with a full head and a full heart and an empty day.

********

And that’s that. I’m half way through my trip.

My day consisted of washing clothes, listening to a few podcasts, sunbathing of sorts and watching Queen Charlotte again. And missing Wildcard of course.

It was a long day and he didn’t get home until 6pm. I was so glad to see him and I think he was glad to see me too.

He was tired and so again, I just tried to let him relax. He sensed my restlessness though.

So, I tell the truth: I’m waiting for him.

“Waiting for you to be relaxed.”

“Waiting for me to be relaxed? Why?”

“Well, then you might be ready to talk to me or something.”

“Talk to you about what?”

And with my final, ‘I don’t know’, that was that.

Moments later, he was on the verge of sleeping and I can’t blame him. Working solidly in the heat for those long hours, he must be exhausted.

By the time I’d come out of the bathroom however, pondering what to do with myself, I saw he’d moved to the bedroom. So we lay, limbs entwined, whilst he relaxed and we watched things on his phone.

******

It’s actually Day Six now. I couldn’t finish that post yesterday.

I actually tried to finish it in the early hours of the morning. But I acknowledged that I’d let myself descend into negativity and overthinking, whilst proclaiming I hadn’t.

I’ve spent the time since Wildcard went to work reading the rest of Tolle and writing a reflection. I’ve brought myself round.

And so… back to last night.

We spent the evening on the bed, legs wrapped around each other. He continued on his phone. Sometimes I watched with him, sometimes I focused on the feel of his hand in mine. At one point, he played a game where he wouldn’t hold my hand, instead, resting his fingers on the back of my hand. The more I squirmed to hold his hand, the more he moved back to his position. It made me laugh.

We made love. He teased me with that too: seemingly focused on his phone whilst apparently absent mindedly loving me to a frenzy. Afterwards, I again let my fear add fuel to his simple words and triggered me into a reaction he couldn’t understand. We were on different wavelengths and my overthinking and fear took me there.

This man loves me. He knows my head is negative. He knows I overthink and I worry. Yet he’s still here. He loves me anyway.

Now, right now, I surrender to my current fears. I accept that I have them. I see them. But in seeing them and accepting them, they’re no longer who I am. They are a separate entity. And that’s what Day Six will work on.

Trip 7, Day four

It’s been a lazy day today.

Wildcard has been working all day, and working until late. I missed him to the depths of my core and kept checking the clock until he was home.

Unfortunately,  he’s told me that he will have to work these hours for the next couple of days. That’s a real disappointment. He told me that he was arguing with his colleague about it this morning. There’s nothing to be done however. It is what it is. His colleague proclaims that Wildcard didn’t specify he was also busy in the week, just the weekends. Wildcard feels he knew he was busy.

Either way, long days without him. If I was feeling negative, I could say that it is actually easier with an ocean between us. But I’m being positive. So I will be grateful for my mornings and my evenings.

The hard part is knowing what to do with myself when he gets home.

He always comes over for a kiss: pressing his lips to mine firmly,  holding the touch just long enough. In that exact moment, I’m satisfied. And then he pulls away.

Oh I’m so demanding! And yet I try so hard not to be. I’m laughing internally at the audacity of myself and my expectations. No, that’s not right – I don’t expect it. I long for it.

I just want him near. But he’s an adult human being- he’s been in work all day. He goes about his evening like any other working man: gets changed and washed, lies on the couch to relax whilst he waits for dinner.

And I understand that. I give him space. I sit a little way from him and he plays his game or watches something and I just wait. I tell myself, “this is real life honey, not some fairytale”. But the yearning I have inside, just to be close and touching! It’s not even desire for sex although I can’t pretend it isn’t that either. It’s just desire for him. I just want him and feel so dissatisfied as I sit and wait my turn in what is a completely acceptable and normal situation. I know that I’m being unreasonable, but I can’t help myself.

Because I start to feel frustrated. I start thinking stupid things. And the longer the status quo continues, the more stupid my mind gets. I’ve learnt that this simple, normal situation triggers something in me. And if I’m not careful, those thoughts and fears dominate my mind and my emotions erupt.

As I am trying to be a positive being, I will say this. I am fighting it and working on it. I am conscious of it and the unreasonable nature of my feelings. And so this time, whilst I can’t pretend those feelings don’t exist, they have been more under control than in the previous trips.

After a little while, I got up to take my medicine. Within minutes, he had followed me.

Trip 7, Day one

I made it! I’m on the train, waiting to head down to London. There were so many times this week where I thought I wouldn’t make it. Or even go.

A lot of what we have discussed in counselling- and regular WordPress friends will already know – is that I don’t trust myself. I have so many ‘voices’ in my head: different interpretations, opinions, versions that I don’t know what to believe or trust.

A lot of that has come through the trauma of what happened in my work and the entrance of the devil academy. They destroyed my faith in who I am and what I am capable of. For two years – and I can hardly believe it’s been that long – I’ve been fighting with the pervading lack of confidence and belief in myself. I want to believe the truth of who I am but can’t. I was – am – lost.

This then affects every decision, every relationship. If I can’t trust myself, there is no way I can trust them. I see the worst because the worst was thrown at me and it destroyed who I thought I was.

So, I’m on the train.

I’m on the train even though my children and my sister don’t want me to be.

I’m on the train even though a part of me doubts Wildcard’s feelings and commitment.

I’m on the train, even though I’m scared it’s the wrong decision.

Those are all voices, guilt, thoughts running in my head. They’re the reason I woke at 5.30am. The reason anxiety still plagues my head.

But, there’s another voice.

A voice that tells me how exciting it is to travel and that I am going to see the man I love. A voice that reminds me that I work very hard, I try to be the best person I can, and I deserve this trip. A voice that reminds me that people don’t want me to go because they love me, not because they want me to be unhappy. A voice that whispers that it’s ok to be scared but it’s better to be brave: to think about the enjoyment of now instead of being scared about what may be.

My counsellor talks about the radio in my head. She says there are lots of channels – some negative, some positive. Some channels are actually the voices and opinions of others. One of them is me: the real me. I need to find that channel and turn it up.

I fear that when I write on here, you’re not always hearing my channel. You’re hearing the fearful channel, the worst case scenario channel, the anxiety channel.

I need to find my voice, my spirit: the one who is happy to be alive, proud of my achievements, content with who I am. The voice that is positive and joyful and free.

I hope you get to meet her too.

Counselling hangovers

It’s been a tough week. Again.

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. It’s the first week of my son’s GCSE exams. He’s ill prepared with a steely determination not to revise. He’s anxious and dealing with the third ADHD medication this month.

And whatever his teachers think, underneath the bravado is a child who knows he’s messed up and it’s probably too late to do anything. He’s admitted as much before – “I’ve given up and will just try in college”. Heartbreaking for a child with so much knowledge and ability. It’s what I’ve feared for years. So, hardly surprising this week hasn’t been good. Admittedly, it’s got to the point where I dread checking my phone, a wave of nausea hitting me, as I wonder how many messages he’s sent me and how he’s reacting.

I really don’t know if counselling is helping. I know it’s early days and I welcome the encouragement I’ve received: I know that I need to give it longer. The problem is, I’m finding it’s just bringing everything negative to the surface. Maybe that’s the point of counselling: a purging of the poison. Clear out the system. However, it just feels like a black cloud following me round all week. The feeling that I’m just not good enough for anything or anyone.

This week, I’ve had a row with my sister (a rare event) and I’ve been feeling generally negative about everything and everyone… but most of all, about myself.

I’ve been writing this post for days. I keep adding bits, removing bits. Mainly, I hoped this would change and I would be able to post something positive.

Not yet, my friends. Not yet. The hangover continues.

Counselling two and three

I did start writing about last week’s counselling. I didn’t finish and I didn’t post it. It was too hard.

This week, She started by saying how proud of me she was – the fact that I had come back. She didn’t think that I would.

In exploring where my extremely high expectations and demands came from, we dredged up elements of my childhood.

This week..

Well, this week, it continued. Why do I care so much about what other people think? Where do my negative feelings about myself  come from? Me, apparently. I don’t have a good thing to say about myself it turns out.

We worked out that these pressures to work hard and succeed didn’t come from my parents. They came from myself. Self-imposed. A bar that I increase repeatedly and then hate myself when I don’t achieve it.

I have a lot of anger and emotion that I am continuously trying to suppress. And hate myself when I can suppress it no more and it comes out, because then I see myself as weak and a failure.

I was asked where I had got the idea that crying meant weakness. I’ve no idea. I was never made weak for crying as a child. And  we realised that I don’t see others as weak when they cry. Just me. For others, I feel empathy. Me – hatred.

I did recollect some difficult times in my teens when I had angry outbursts, and how others reacted to it. As I grew older, I worked on that. Maybe that’s where it has come from.

I know a few years ago – still convinced I was too emotional and wore my heart on my sleeve – I was told by a few different people that I was actually the opposite. I hid my feelings too well. I am still surprised by that now.

This perception that I’m not enough, not good enough – well, it seems that my self-worth comes purely from praise from others – it permeates every area of my life from personal to professional. But at the same time, I need to feel that I’ve earned the praise to believe it. It’s part of the reason I worked so hard.

I was asked to define who I was without the academic and career success. I had no other words but failure. I was proud of myself when I helped others. That was it.

And so, linked to that, we realised that as my most constant praise-giver,  the loss of my Dad was huge. He gave me something that no one else has – love for who I am. Constantly, repeatedly and consistently. 

A day later, I’m pretty exhausted. It’s been two very difficult weeks. The counselling aside, my son is struggling again. It’s exam season. I’m going to see Wildcard in just over one week.

I don’t know if this is really helping. I trust the process and I am willing it to work. Thing is, I’ve been told I’m too hard on myself before. I’ve been told that I try to repress my feelings too much before. Where has it got me?

Back in counselling.

When it rains

This morning, I woke to a dim light and the recognition that I couldn’t hear as many birds as yesterday. It’s raining.

And, despite my accomplishments yesterday – I kept walking round outside to admire my handiwork last night – today is missing that buzz of happiness.

Although, to be fair, it’s only 8am.

It’s not that I don’t like rain, I actually do. Those huge droplet rain storms that appear out of nowhere – even though your anxious about getting soaked, there’s something thrilling in running in it as huge drops cascade around you. Or those light showers that send little releases of cool on a hot day. One of my favourites is a summer rain storm where the quality of the light makes the green of the garden almost illuminous. And you can’t beat a decent thunderstorm when you’re safe in doors, looking out at nature’s anger.

The rain this morning has given a little disappointment but has also given a small element of hope.

I’m disappointed because I can’t get back out into the garden to tackle Sideshow Bob’s hair of ivy and rosebushes. Read about this here: https://wp.me/p86hNl-BH

I’m hopeful, because maybe the last of my dad’s hens will appear once the rain has gone.

She was in my title of yesterday’s post but I didn’t write about her. Probably because I felt so positive and what I need to say is negative. I’d hoped to find her there this morning, pecking at my patio doors for her breakfast but she wasn’t, like she didn’t appear at all yesterday.

Why does it matter? It’s just a hen. Because she’s the last of my Dad’s hens.

Dad had chickens all his life from a small boy until the day he died. And because of that, by association, I guess I have too. In the five years since his death, numbers plummeted by fox visits, natural deaths and goodness knows what else, until we were down to single numbers.

And now, I fear, there are none. Another piece of my father gone.

Today in general, I’m just feeling a bit flat. I don’t know if it the fact that the last hen is gone or the fact it is raining. I don’t know whether it’s because I now face a day of monotonous housework instead of being outdoors in the sunshine. Maybe it’s because I’m alone.

Whatever pride I felt in myself yesterday was tinged with the constant wish that I wasn’t tackling this house and garden alone. I want someone else who cares – a partner. I want someone whom I can talk to about our plans and projects, someone who will be enthusiastic when I’m not – and vice versa- someone to build a home and future with.

That person was never my ex-husband, even though his name is still on the house deeds. Unfortunately, I’m doubting whether I see Wildcard as that person either.

*****

It’s stopped raining. And look who is back:

Big boots and hens

I’m tired, sweaty, itchy, dirty and thoroughly proud of myself.

About two weeks ago, I retrieved my sturdy walking boots from the porch. They hadn’t been used for probably four years. Maybe four. They were dusty and full of cobwebs but in excellent condition. I vacuumed them sprayed them with insecticide, just to be on the safe side, and left them to settle.

Today, I vacuumed them again and put them on. They felt big. Big girl boots. Probably because the last time I wore them, I was wearing walking socks and was hiking with my friend. I was a different person then.

I was the type of person who went on adventures. I drove for hours, my friend and I, looking for somewhere new to explore. I worked in the garden – gave myself a project and did it. I hated my body – had no self confidence – but was willing to try to combat it through walking and gardening. I went on holidays with friends. I went out.

I was finding myself again. My Dad had died and I had grieved deeply. But I’d decided to start again, just like he had at 39. I was still grieving, but I had hope.

Today, I put the boots on and I mowed the front lawn. I haven’t mowed the front lawn in about three years. It had a strim at some point. I told myself I was ‘letting it rewild’ and I was ‘helping nature’. No, I couldn’t cope.

Three quarters of the way through mowing – it was hard work with grass so long – Wildcard called. By the time I returned, my lawn was covered with bees. Yes, bees. My neighbour said they were ground bees. I hadn’t seen many bees prior to this, which is strange, but nonetheless the lawn was alive with bees.

But this isn’t about mowing the lawn, although that was an achievement in itself.

No. Unable to continue, I drew my attention to the wooden fence at the side of my property . Not that you can see the fence. You can see that it’s leaning. You can see the rambling rose bush and ivy my dad loved are rampant. But no, you can’t see the fence.

Or should I say, couldn’t. I got out my trusty loppers, and I got started. I don’t know how long I’ve worked for, but my forearms and back are aching. It’s looking a bit like Sideshow Bob now as I haven’t managed the top yet. But I am so proud, just to have done that much.

In putting those boots back on, it’s like I rediscovered a part of myself that I had hidden or blocked out. I believed she wasn’t there anymore.

Turns out she was.

Counselling one

To say that I’ve worried about this first session is putting it mildly.  What was I going to say? What do I want to achieve? Do I want to drag it all up?

I walked into the centre and was met with a young girl. I tried not to judge. She is probably only a few years older than my daughter. How could she possibly understand what I’m going through?

But that’s the point of counselling isn’t it? She’s not meant to. She’s there to help me understand it. 

I went with it. I opened up.

What we’ve decided is that I need to find my voice again, find myself. I’ve too many voices (donkeys) and far too much overthinking. I lost my vision of myself – first when I had by breakdown, then when I lost Dad. The last part of it dissolved when I lost my job. Since then, I’ve been lost and unable to trust myself. Therapy will be about finding myself again. Or, finding a new me, the real me.

She was insightful. She listened. She noted my fear of losing Wildcard. She said I have unresolved anger at what happened at work. She said I have a huge barrier preventing myself from moving forward and we need to work out what it is.

And that’s all for now.