The rat, the dog and the Honeysuckle

Oh sweet, sweet coincidences!

I will learn your lessons.

The scent of the honeysuckle is bordering on overpowering for some, but not for me. My garden, overgrown as it is, doesn’t have many flowers. There’s quite a few buttercups. Some determined forget-me-nots made an appearance weeks ago. If you look hard enough, you can see a cheeky aquilegia, popping up here and there. My daughter bought me a couple of plants which I potted and they look nice. And in the overgrown ivy, the weight of which is pulling down the decorative fence my dad and uncle built, there is the almost luminescent glow of the red-pink climbing roses that my dad loved, the ones we put in his coffin and a fact that I had forgotten about until this moment. (It’s the anniversary of his death, and it’s my uncle’s funeral this week. Another coincidence.) And then, blending in with it all visually are the honeysuckle.

I can’t remember when I planted them. I would guess around 7 years ago or a little less. If I remember rightly, it was definitely before dad died, when I went throught that gardening phase again. I had subscribed to a garden magazine and bought them on offer. I think there was a clematis too, but I guess that one got smothered by the ivy.

Cheeky aquilegia and my birthday pots.
Dad’s roses
Can you spot the honeysuckle?

When I was stood outside at 5am this morning, dressed only in a vest top and knickers and an air of despair, the scent of honeysuckle was one of the three things that hit me. The scent was stunning and brought me to a halt. The second thing, was how beautiful the morning is at 5am. I breathed it in through every sense and cell of my body: the green, the smells and the sound of garden birds. A sense of wellbeing like no other enveloped me in a warm embrace. The last thing was that I knew, there and then, in that second, that Everything was OK, and I know now that Everything will be OK.

**************************************

The past few days have been hell. I can say that now I’m on the other side. I’ve been tortured by my own mind.

My children left on Wednesday evening. As always, it comes with a sense of relief that I get a break and a sharp pang of loneliness that they are gone and I will never get used to that oxymoron of feelings.

Thursday I was overwhelmed with loneliness. It was a beautiful day and I was determined to do something but with a heart-wrenching acknowledgement that I didn’t want to be alone. I didn’t know where I wanted to go. A museum? An art gallery? I knew that being outside made me feel better and I considered a National Trust property. But the desire to be with someone stabbed at me every turn. My sisters and daughter are on holiday. Wildcard is in his country, where I should be if I had got on that booked plane a few days ago. My friends? Ha! What friends?

As I tried to decide where to go, past friends haunted me. Why have they all disappeared? Am I such a bad person? Do I walk away or do they?

That loneliness just compounded everything I was feeling already. Dark, dark thoughts. Hopelessness. Helplessness. Despair.

At some point over the past few days, I’ve prayed for help. I’ve prayed for my dad or my grandad or any of my family to help me. To guide me where I feel lacking.

The first coincidence is that I opened up WordPress in an attempt to write out my feelings, but couldn’t. Instead, I went to my notifications and saw that a previous post had been liked: 5am. Not remembering what it was, I read it. It was from December last year, and recounted the exact feelings and situations that are now plaguing me. Six months later, I’m back in the same situation.

Now is not the time to go into detail on this point, but the summary is this… I have, yet again, to make a career decision. I’ve a number of opportunities in front of me and I need to decide between money, time and career prospects. I’m stumped.

The coincidence of opening that post and reading word for word that I am in a similar situation (but with a lot more positives, I hasten to add) was not lost on me. I didn’t see the positives yesterday, I saw that I hadn’t moved or changed. The acknowledgement that I was still stuck, lost, undecided…wasting my life…added another layer of self hatred and despair on to me.

I’ve contemplated everything the last few days. The thoughts have been fleeting but there. Maybe I’m better off not here. What good am I to anyone? I’ve failed in everything. I’ve lost everything. I’m alone and no one cares. I’ve dwelled on my time at my last school. The end of that time has destroyed me and my confidence, even now a year later. (That I know now, sitting in my garden breathing in honeysuckle.)

I’ve considered my relationship with Wildcard. Is it worth it? Am I waiting round like a fool again, only to be left at some point? How can this ever work? Will he ever, truly and officially, commit? Today, of course, Honeysuckle Day, I see how consistent he has been, unlike others. Whilst he has not yet committed to me in the way I want, we have discussed it and he has been consistent in every other way, more than anyone else. My fear of losing him, my everything outside my children and sisters, terrifies me. I know I will never love again when I lose him, whichever way and whenever that may be.

I went to bed last night broken and dejected. A failure. I couldn’t sleep at first, not because of my thoughts, unusually, but because of the rodent.

I could hear it gnawing.

I suspected a rat. The noise was too loud. Plus, a few days ago, I noticed that there was a lot of carpet fluff that had been chewed off upstairs near a closed door. I’d shut all the doors and blocked a previous hole I had stupidly left open from a previous year. The coincidence here is that I had stupidly said, not a week ago, to my neighbours, that I’d had no mice in the house since I had my cat Arlo.

Yep, I invited them in with that comment.

I banged about, and let my dog out of my bedroom to see if he would scare it off. Sure, one of the cars would have been better but they do nothing on command so the dog would have to do. The rodant was scared off luckily, enough so we could fall asleep. On my visit to my mum yesterday, we’d talked about the menagerie of pets and how tying they were – part of the reason I hadn’t pushed to use my plane ticket to see Wildcard and why I left mum early to get home to check on them. In answering her question, no I would never get rid of my dog because he makes me feel safe: I bought him when Dad died and I felt so alone in the house. He makes me feel safe.

So we slept. Until 4.30am and the sound of the gnawing woke me again.

It was loud. I wandered out and turned lights on. It was coming from my son’s room, next door to mine, and I walked in to find the noise. I felt the reverberations of the gnawing on the bare floorboards under my feet and I jumped in fear. I stamped on the ground and the noise stopped enough that I went back to bed. It of course started again as soon as I lay down. Somehow I knew that blocking the hole had trapped it.

I went to the bathroom. As I bleakly considered what the hell I was to do as i washed my hands, wishing again I wasn’t alone, I heard a bang and a squeak and shrieked as I saw the rat, being chased by my dog up the stairs and on to the landing. My dog stopped- either by my shriek or as I now suspect, by the scratch he received on his nose the moment he nearly caught it. The rat, now confirmed, hid under the large antique dresser on my landing, close to the previous crime scene of chewed carpets.

This, this was the point that I went downstairs and outside, noting it was 5am as I strode through the kitchen . This was the moment that I stood on my lawn in my knickers, wondering what the hell I was to do, when the smell of honeysuckle, the vibrancy of the morning green, the symphony of birdsong all overpowered me. It didn’t matter that I hadn’t wed the borders or even cut the grass. It was beautiful and peaceful and perfect. This was the moment that all the coincidences came together…when I knew that I had received my messages, my answers, my support, one way or another.

Be it a message from my family, from God, or my own mind…I’ve heard it.

Everything will be ok.

************

If you are wondering, I took my older cat – the only one around – upstairs, after locking my dog in the kitchen. The cat wasn’t interested and ran back downstairs. I went back outside and found a spade, let my dog back upstairs, and attempted to singlehandedly move the antique dresser whilst hoping I would be quick enough to grab the spade and whack it. Realising my optimistic stupidity, I was moving the dresser back when I saw a flash, heard a sound of something ‘falling’ down the stairs and realised the rat had made a dash for it and had no doubt escaped down and out the open doors to outside. My dog made no move to stop it and had simply watched it go and then looked at me. With a small scratch on his nose and the fact it had ran straight past him with little fear, I could hardly blame him for not attempting to get it again. He’d done his job. And seemingly, coincidences have now done there’s.

Trip 4: day 4 …😔

It’s 5am. I did it again.

I’m finding this hard to write, pausing before every word because I don’t know how to explain. My feelings are undecided, confused. I don’t understand myself.

I don’t know where to start.

I will be succinct and factual. That’s something new for me, isn’t it?

I was angry with him. I lost my temper. OK.. so why?

He came home at lunch and everything was fine after the previous night’s hiccup. We spent the day on the sofa. He watched a national football game. We played a game of draughts. He watched a series on his phone and played his football computer game. Later, I asked if we could watch a film together and he said we could, in the evening. But when that time came, he said he was too tired and we would do it Sunday.

I got a quick kiss and a goodnight and he went to bed. I was disappointed and angry. I sent him a sarcastic message.

He didn’t see it. I then heard the music from his game and I lost it. I stormed out the bedroom, stood at the end of his bed, glared, and stomped back.

He followed.

I was angry. I said that I wasn’t his wife, I was his girlfriend and he needed to make an effort. Ouch. He replied that they are the same thing, aren’t they? I said: “I’m your wife when you put a ring on my finger.” Ouch. (I would still want an effort if we were married though, surely? I’ve been down that road.)

He was genuinely confounded. He laughed at first as we rolled off what he had done that day. But he had absolutely no idea what we could have done instead. He was confused and surprised.

Problem is, neither could I. This is why I am confused. This is why I am writing this at 5am to work it out.

Did I feel happy? Yes. He spent most of the day on the sofa with me, his feet in my lap. I enjoyed when we played the game and when we took 10 minutes to take a walk on his rooftop. I would take this over not being with him any day.

Was I frustrated? Yes. I’ve come a long way, spent a lot of money, to be sat on a couch watching him play a football game on his phone. I felt like I had made all the effort. Throughout the day, I sent pictures of him on his phone (with humorous but clearly frustrated captions) and at one point danced around the room to get his attention.

Did I enjoy the day? Yes. Did I want more? Yes.

Does effort = feelings? In my head, at that moment in time it certainly seems to.

He told me, there and then, “I don’t show my feelings.”

So, let’s unpick that right now.

I undoubtedly show and tell my feelings probably too much. Losing my dad taught me the importance of telling those you love how you feel as often as the feeling hits you. He shows his feelings, of course he does. But he is very guarded and I feel like there is a whole well of emotion hidden that I don’t comprehend. So, if he doesn’t or can’t spell it out for me, my over-imaginative brain makes up its own mind. As I’m anxious and afraid, it’s often negative.

He’d told me that he hadn’t wanted to cuddle and kiss in bed with me because it always leads to sex and he didn’t feel like having sex (you can imagine how my self esteem dealt with that one at first!) because he was tired and ill.

He’d told me that he hadn’t felt well all day (which I should have known, apparently) and that he had said we could watch a film on Sunday before my flight home. He said we had spent all afternoon and evening together on the sofa (true) so what did I want? What did I want to do?

What did I want…

Alone time. Holding hands. Cuddles. Kisses. Not worrying about his parents walking in. Being unguarded. It didn’t have to be sex. So that’s intimacy, overt signs of love.

What feelings did this situation trigger?

I associate low effort with low interest. My ex husband didn’t try, took me for granted. I eventually walked away. Alongside that, I believe that if we are not making an effort he will get bored and find someone else.

I don’t need taking out BUT if we had gone for a walk (it was raining) or a coffee, I would have felt special. If we had watched a film, it would have felt special because we were doing it together and his attention would have been on me, weirdly. We would have been alone in his room.

My self esteem states that if he doesn’t make an effort, he isn’t interested because he doesn’t tell me otherwise.

So….although I’m not usually bothered about material things or being taken out, when there is no other evidence (like him telling me) I have no other choice but to associate an engagement, a date, a gift, an activity, physical intimacy to his feelings.

Is that it? Is that the problem?

The argument ended with his frustration and my fear that I’d caused another row. I didn’t understand my own behaviour. Why was I arguing about something that deep down I wasn’t actually bothered about? I genuinely don’t care about going out if he doesn’t want to. Material objects are worthless without the thought behind them. I now realise, on some levels, that it is true. I do believe that, even if I seem like I am contradicting myself. I wasn’t bothered. I enjoyed sitting on the sofa with him, his feet on my lap or getting warm between my thighs. I enjoyed him winking at me when he caught me looking. But, as I have to use his actions to understand the depth of his feelings, perhaps I by extension am looking for the substantial always fearful that we are not.

He sat on the edge of the bed frustrated and said he didn’t understand me. Eventually he lay down, his arm draped over his eyes. I was knelt between his legs and rested my head on his lap, gazing into the distance and trying to figure what the hell was going on in my head. It raced from explanation to excuse, trying to understand that rush of anger over something so silly.

With my head on his lap, I kept apologising and telling him to go to bed. He didn’t and said nothing.

After a few moments he sat up and ran his hands up and down my arms. He then planted soft, soft kisses on my lips and cheeks. The kisses became more passionate. He half lifted me and twisted me towards the bed.

“Is this what you want?”

I told him that I had been happy with the kisses and that I knew he didn’t want to have sex so it was fine, we didn’t have to.

We made love instead.

Trip 4: day 2 reunion

He was over an hour late. I kid you not.

He had warned me the day before that there were issues at work and I was aware of the possibility that I may have to wait for him.

When I landed, over-brimming with excitement, I sent him a picture of the airport from the aeroplane window. Within moments he told me he had just got out and would be there within 30 to 40 minutes.

Knowing that his time is not like UK time, I expected him in an hour. I waited in the airport for that hour but as the place emptied – it is small despite being international – I started to feel uncomfortable and a little sad. Why could he have not made the effort to be here, waiting, like he always did?

I went outside and wandered amongst the flowerbed and trees outside the airport. After what seemed like an age but was only 15 minutes, I spotted him walking towards the airport. My heart lurched.

I can’t pretend a part of me wasn’t put out. But on the drive to his home, I reminded myself that he had warned me about this and I had repeatedly told him it was ok. I know there are things going on in his workplace.

Apart from that, the ride home was filled with laughter. He has a knack of making me laugh. It was so lovely to see his parents who had wanted to come with him to pick me up, and I hoped that this meant that their recent feud was passing.

When we arrived, I gave out presents and was happy they were so well received. He apologised that he hadn’t bought me anything. Again, I’m not materialistic and presents are not important to me. I didn’t expect one. And yet, when he said that – acknowledged it- it hurt.

And so, that inner voice is talking again. She’s been fed now and has the strength to whisper in my ear. My brain likewise is looking and finding evidence that what she says is true, because that is what our brains do.

She told me that his kisses were not passionate enough.

She told me that he didn’t sit close enough to me at dinner.

She whispered that he didn’t need to take his phone down to the car when he went to pick up the papers he had left.

I counter argued with the tender kiss he pressed on my neck as he moved past me as I looked out the window….

We had an amazing dinner – his mum had gone all out to make my favourite foods.

He then suggested we went to relax. We went to his room, cuddled, and soon intimacy followed. He laughed that he wouldn’t be able to sleep next to me as we would not get any sleep. See, I told her.

Later, we went to have tea and cake with his parents again before bed. He couldn’t do enough – checking I was OK, making sure I had everything I needed.

That’s being a good host, she said. He doesn’t have to do that, I replied.

I lay in bed and after 30 minutes he messaged, asking if I was OK. I replied I was, and told him I loved him. He sent a stream of hearts and kisses and hugs emoticons.

He hasn’t told you he loves you, yet, she pointed out.

I slept fitfully, waking repeatedly for no apparent reason. At 5am and got up to go to the toilet and went back to bed to read a little. I heard noises outside my room and felt a little guilty that I may have woken someone.

My door opened and he was there, asking if I was OK and saying that he couldn’t sleep too.

He climbed in to bed next to me and we bundled the blankets around us to keep out the cold. I instantly felt more content with him there and started to feel drowsy…until I was the opposite. What followed was the most tender and intimate love making we had ever had. We then lay together, limbs entwined. Even when he turned over, his legs wiggled back to find me and envelope mine.

See, I told her. He still hasn’t said he loves you, she replied. But hasn’t he just shown me? I exclaimed. Perhaps, she retorted.

Hearing his parents stirring, he got up to leave and gave me a kiss.

I wish my inner voice, my imposter, would just shut the hell up.

Out with the old

Hello WordPress friends! 😊

Since my last post, I’ve been a hive of activity and positivity.

I completed two online, ‘free’ 5 day courses. These courses were run by life coaches: the first by two amazing women, Cheryl and Donna and the other by the enigmatic Tony Robbins.

Donna and Cheryl’s course definitely gave me the ‘aha’ moments they promised. They covered imposter syndrome, limiting beliefs and how to counteract them. Knowing that I wasn’t alone in the feelings and thoughts that have plagued me, discovering what may have triggered these thoughts from childhood, finding that confidence in myself that I thought was long gone…nothing short of transformational.

For over a week after this, my mind was a flurry of passionate planning. The muggy fog that was my head began to clear, and ideas and passions poured out of me, no longer suppressed by my self doubt.

At this point, Tony Robbins course began. Bigger, brasher, with thousands of participants,  Tony gave well over what was promised with sessions lasting 2.5 hours plus each night. As fate would have it, Tony’s course built on what I had already learned and shored up my confidence and determination, and gave me some key techniques to move forward on my dreams and my relationships.

I have filled a journal with notes and ideas, exploring who I want to be and the life I want to live. I’ve said before, this blog was supposed to document this. I’ve long felt that this blog was a failure because it didn’t document any positive changes. It became a vehicle to explore my thoughts and feelings, an online journal I guess. I feel differently now. This blog does chart positive changes. We are all on a journey, we take many paths and routes. My route has meandered. It’s sank to dark depths and slowly crawled upwards again. But it has done what it has supposed to do. Giving me Time. Time to work through the black hole, the quagmire, the sinking pit which was my inner self: full of self doubt and frustration. A purpose unfulfilled, a potential life not followed.

I don’t know where I am on my journey. It has been a long time already, and I’m ok with that now. A break down, a divorce; counselling and journaling; self help books and online courses…all have played a part in moving me steadily up that path.  

I have a vision for my future now. I have realised what I’m good at, what my passions are and what I believe is my purpose. I now need to work for it; climb up the next incline and shrug off the ever-gnawing self doubt.

It’s going to take hard work. But hard work is easier when it is leading towards your passion.

I have an analogy to end with, to exemplify my journey so far…

When I abruptly ended my career as an Assistant Headteacher, I had to step foot in to that building after-hours to collect my things: 18 years worth of paper resources and books. A huge collection. There was no time to sort and organise. They were put in huge cardboard boxes and taken home. For weeks and weeks, probably months, the boxes sat piled up in my living room and even in the boot of my car.

When I started tutoring in November, I started searching through those boxes for resources I needed. In December, as I tidied before Christmas, I sorted through those boxes and stored resources in newly bought filing cabinets. Piles of unwanted paper filled a huge cardboard box. I’ve used this paper to start my fire each morning.

It was hard at first. Seeing notes and ideas and planning from years ago, seeing the eagerness and positivity and dedication which was thrown back in my face when the academy took over, burning into nothing.

Now, in February, I feel nothing as I burn the last few pages. I see a life well-led, a life where I gave my all and helped many. That life is over and instead I feel some pride as I twist the pages into mock- sticks for my fire. Out with the old.

I have a similar feeling as I start to build resources in my new onedrive account. Circumstances have meant that the majority of my electronic resources are lost. I could pursue them, but I won’t. Starting again, building something new and fresh is invigorating: I’ve enough of my old paper resources to inspire me.

Out with the old and in with the new. It’s never too late and it doesn’t matter how long it takes. Just keep moving forward, pausing along the way when needed, sprinting when you can, but always heading towards the new, leaving the old behind.

If this post gives even one of you some hope, I will be happy. Reach out if you need to. I’m here.

Crave

I should be used to the insomnia by now, but I’m not.

I dread going to bed because I know I will lie there and think of him. And my situation.  Equally, I dread going to sleep because of how often I dream about school. No closure there then.

I’m not sure why I posted my last post. I mean, yes, those thoughts and feelings were valid at the time of writing. It’s funny how you see things differently after a sleep. Or seven, in this case.

Wildcard, unfortunately, wasn’t seeing anything differently. Ever since that last outburst- which was 100% my fault – he’s been off. Yes, I know, we’ve been here before. And yes, I’m probably being a little oversensitive/paranoid/self absorbed but he half admitted it last night. He also keeps saying “so, you’re starting again…” which is a bit of a give away. I haven’t started anything …in the past week.

Of course, at this time of year, everyone starts evaluating and analysing their life. I’ve recognised just how hard this year has been for me and I’m determined that next year I will be more positive and proactive. Mel Robbins is leading the way in my thinking and I highly recommend you looking her up if you want some excellent coaching and life advice. I’ve been dipping in and out over the past 18 months but I’m committed to seeing things through to the end this time.

Some of her advice hits a little hard at times, mainly because you realise she is right. A lot of my ‘issues/anxieties’ with Wildcard are actually anxieties about myself. It’s not his place to make me feel good about myself, neither consciously or subconsciously. More and more I’m realising that I have to start loving myself and who I am. I feel like I’m in the eye of the storm at the moment. Things are ok, but I have some real tough decisions to make. I need to trust myself and my judgement. 

Whatever this was with Wildcard has blown over now. He often tells me that he just needs time and he will soon forget – he laments his terrible memory. I, on the other hand seem to store things in my head to make inaccurate equations with later.

My London friend’s words are still rattling around. I thought my conversation with Wildcard mid-December had banished them, but apparently not. They’ve been resurrected now more times than a tacky Hollywood villain.

My head just can’t seem to process my current situation. I do suffer from anxiety and due to previous relationships, I have anxious attachment. But there are fundamental things that my head can’t figure out. Like…

We’re in a long distance relationship – do these things just take longer? How is covid impacting on what would have happened? Are we following his culture or mine in this? Or, is he just commitment phobic and I’m being stupidly dragged along? Or, am I putting on too much pressure because of my own low self esteem – I need his formal commitment to make myself feel valued? My London friend thinks he is just waiting for someone better to come along. It’s easy to believe that when you dislike yourself.

My biggest problem is I cannot trust my own judgement any more.  It is affecting every area of my life. I thought I was a good teacher. I thought I was doing well. I thought I had finally ‘cracked’ the weight loss. I thought I had got myself in to good habits. I thought I had found the love of my life and dreamed of him being with me and being a family.

I love him exactly the way he is – I love everything about him. And yet sometimes I crave more, but I know this is more about my insecurity and self esteem than anything else. What I crave is confirmation that I am not imagining anything- he loves me, completely.  We will be together one day. In these moments, it doesn’t matter how many times he has called me or told me he loves me. My mind craves more.

Problem is, I’m never satiated because it’s coming from the wrong person. It needs to come from me. What I mean by that is he tells me he loves me, every day. He shows me he loves and misses me, every day. I know that. But I’ve recognised that when I’m feeling insecure and anxious, I crave the ridiculous over the top stuff. But that isn’t him: I just want it because of how I feel.

It is not the first time I’ve thought something along those lines. I remember writing a post about how my past relationships had caused me to be anxious – it wasn’t my fault! – but I’m a toy train on a circular track. I stop at the same stations, only to move on and come around again. I’m hoping this real focus on coaching, such as that by Mel Robbins, will help me change the tracks and send soothe my cravings.

Realisations

Sometimes my emotions come out of nowhere. Don’t get me wrong, I have a vague awareness of them. They dance about at the edge of my consciousness: teasing, hinting then disappearing temporarily with my metaphorical flick of disdain.

So when they do return, they return stronger than ever. My emotions and I may run the dance a few times before they explode into my vision, refusing to be subdued any longer.

I have known this about myself ever since my breakdown. My highly skilled counsellor made me see this – how dampening them down for so long just prolongs the inevitable .

I have learnt a little since then. I’ve learnt that I need time alone sometimes. In these moments, I may allow an emotion to float to the surface. I may even write about it on here a little. My technique is nowhere near perfected though. That is a definite.

All this information isn’t new. And it kind of depresses me (excuse the pun) that at 41, I still haven’t figured it all out. Is that what life is?

Tonight I had two realisations that may help my journey of helping myself.

I have talked of my eldest son previously: he has ADHD and is likely to have autism too although this is still being investigated.  Over the years, I have learned his triggers and have become better at understanding and managing them.

What I’ve never realised, is that I have my own too. Odd, as I have also written that I suspect that I have something too.

Tonight’s trigger resulted in another emotion filled dialogue with Wild Card. It’s not an argument.  But it’s not nice either.

In hindsight,  I realised the following:

  • There’s an external trigger.
  • I mull over it in my head
  • I try not to – try to be positive, ignore it
  • I fail and it turns in to either a spontaneous outburst or
  • He notices I’m mulling and makes me tell him
  • I tell him the surface issue
  • He doesn’t react how I want him to
  • The floodgates open – defences come down, and all sorts of buried thoughts and emotions erupt
  • He talks me down
  • I think that he is better off without me/I’m ruining our relationship
  • He calms me and eventually tell me what I needed to hear
  • I ponder and realise he was right all along

Of course, I wonder why he can’t tell me what I want to hear straight away. Cut out the middle man. Go straight to the soothing part.

I love everything about him. Yes, sometimes I wish he was a little more forthcoming. But I wouldn’t change him. Who he is now, is who I love. What I think I wish for says more about me than him.

And one of the things I love about him is the way he makes me think differently. Yes, it’s tough. He just to wade through emotions and preconditioned thoughts and ideas…but eventually he gets there. And when he does, something in my head shifts, just a little.

He tells me what I need to hear.

Truth is, I realise that I do indeed have triggers. Now I need to learn how to self soothe them. Deal with them. Not push them away, because then they grow stronger – from a two headed monster to a multi headed monster.

The second realisation, which again was pretty obvious now I know it, is that I try to self soothe with food.

The food numbs my brain, just a little. Some attention is siphoned off my problem and onto the food. The saltiness of the tortilla chips. The sweetness of the chocolate. My brain goes into an involuntary tug of war between problem and taste sensations. The more my problem wins, the more I cram into my mouth to balance it.

Then, one of two things happens.

A tsunami of binge-created guilt hits me. Success! My problem is now forgotten in the complete self loathing that is dominating my every thought. It’s a week trodden path of working out how much I’ve blown it, hating myself for doing it…etc etc.

The other is that I eat to the point of fullness or sickness. Once again, bingo! My physical feelings overpower anything else in my head. This is a pretty nasty one because it is a two hitter- the guilt surely follows the physical feeling.

Therefore, my realisation is that I eat to feel not to numb.

Now, I need to find out what to do about it

Of what we think

“I dreamed that my mother had a baby. I asked whether it was a boy or girl but she wouldn’t tell me, no one would tell me. And then I asked you, and you told me it was a little girl.”

He told me about the dream this morning. Whilst I don’t subscribe to dream dictionaries as such, I do believe in the symbolism of dreams and that we dream of what we think.

Yesterday an earth shattering clang was heard across the land. It was the sound of borders closing again.

Who knows how long for this time? But I believe it played on his mind as much as it is playing on mine and his dream says it.

Our age gap only matters in one distinct area and that is reproduction. I know he wants a baby. He has told me. He has shown me. He loves children. He wants a little girl. He dotes on his cousins and children flock to him, including those in my family.

After my last child, I swore I would never have any more. I was done. But that was before Wildcard. That was before I fell so in love with this man that all I want is to have his baby. Not just for him, but because I want his baby too.

I’m 4 months off 42 years of age.

I know women who have had babies at 42 and older. It happens. But we still seem a long way from that point. He wants to marry first. I get that. I respect that. But it takes time, a lot of it. And I am definitely not getting any younger.

The borders shutting have delayed everything again. Any hope I had of seeing him at Christmas have been destroyed by Omicron, who definitely sounds like some futuristic robot villain.

So my biggest fear, the one which has simmered on for two years like some nasty potent spell of doom, is that he realises that I can never give him the child he wants and he leaves me. Even though he loves me, he leaves me to go off into the baby making sunset with some lithe and fertile youngster.

Covid exacerbated that fear. Omicron is now blowing it up like a huge neon zeppelin for all to see.

And, after he recounted his dream this morning, I have to believe that it is on his mind too. Apparently his mind feels it is still possible. Here’s hoping.

However, his dream added the final kick this morning and I’ve been a bag of nerves ever since. Despite a great day – I’m loving tutoring – those shut bordered are closing in on me.

At the end of our call, I couldn’t help myself.

“Will you wait for me?”

He told me no.

He also told me it was a stupid question so deserved a stupid answer.

Half an hour after our called ended, he sent me a message-

“I love you baby. Stop crying now.”

He knows me so well.

I have come to the conclusion, after much pondering, that I may well have had my second breakdown/burnout/whatever it’s name is now.

The weird thing is…I didn’t feel it, as such. I’ve felt crushing anxiety – that much is true. About a year ago I upped my low dose antidepressant because of all the bother that was starting the academy take over. So, yes, the anxiety was there.

What wasn’t there, was that deep dark numb pit that I fell in. The one that, last time, I hadn’t known was swallowing my whole path until I was in it head first. When I think back to that time – weirdly around this time of year too (!!!!) in 2017, I can’t remember a great deal. I remember that first moment. I remember days staring out the window at the field opposite accompanied by my cat and a hot drink. I remember that I didn’t shower much and I wore my depression hat – a glittery silver woolly hat – to hide my grief.

So no, that hasn’t happened. I’ve avoided the deep dark pit. Don’t get me wrong, a few times I’ve thought I’ve seen him far up ahead but I was wrong.

Anxiety- yes. Depression – no. However, there are signs that I’ve not been quite right recently.

First, Wildcard noticed. He notices everything. Second, I’ve put weight on and my nails are short. Third, I can’t get on top of my house. You’d think with not working for 6 months I would have mastered it. Despite feeling like I’ve tried nearly every day, I’ve failed. Completely. More recently, I’ve even stopped with my facials and putting make up on and I think that was why Wildcard was so suspicious when I went to the Christmas Market spruced up like a turkey. This last month I’ve stopped using the Fabulous App. I’ve stopped drawing and painting.

There is sufficient evidence there to say that despite feeling otherwise, I’ve had some sort of mental episode. Why haven’t I felt the depression? Well, it could be my tablets working. It could be that I am generally happier (that needs some pondering). It could be because of Wildcard. He’s the only new thing in my life.

I’m avoiding stuff though. I’m plodding along, doing whatever I actually do each day and avoiding a whole heap of crap in the corner. I know I need to deal with it. I know that if I don’t, eventually that pile of crap is going to devour me. I just can’t seem to start or sustain a start.

I was notified this week that I have been writing this blog for five years. Five years! My blog is nowhere near as successful as some, and particularly some of you who read my blog. I know in part that’s because I don’t always put myself out there and join in with other blogs. Something else I stopped doing and need to start. But my near 500 followers mean a lot to me, the ones that have been with me for a long time (Anna and Susie) and those who comment and give me advice (Kay and Writerswithoutwords). Thank you to all of you. 🥰🥰

It was a shock though to realise that I started this blog because my life had been through a major life changing event- the permanent separation from my husband. I wanted a new life, a new me, and this blog was going to document that. My Cinderella style transformation.

Yeah. That hasn’t happened.

Life has hit me with a few more catastrophic events to deal with.

And yet, I am a very different person than I was five years ago. My priorities have changed. My goals. I’m still lost but in a different way.

I’ve written before about not quite knowing how I want my life to be. Not being sure how or where to start.

I think I’ve realised that there is a really good reason I haven’t done much over the last six months.

I just wasn’t ready.

Six months rest and recuperation is nothing over the course of a whole life time. So my friend wisely said.

And so, whilst I didn’t feel it the same, I acknowledge the time nonetheless.

I was not ready. But now I am.

Ouch.

I’m ill.

It started Friday with that prickly, tickly throat thing. By Saturday morning I was bed ridden – head cold, cough, temperature, sore skin and aching body. Everything hurts. You know the type. I’ve completed three lateral flows but they have all come back negative. So it’s just your usual flu. How nice.

I’m vain and sentimental enough to want to speak to Wildcard often as he cheers me up but not want to because I look awful. What a cruel world.

Yesterday I had ‘joined them for lunch’, as in, he had propped me up on the tea kettle, always looking at him. My favourite thing to look at. He turned to speak to his parents and whilst I had no idea what he was saying, I caught that face. The one with the twinkle in his eye, where he seems to speak from one side of him mouth in an almost cheeky mutter. He was saying something cheeky and funny. He then laughed.

I felt this absolute tsunami of love wash over me, right in that instant. So much so that there were years in my eyes. I can’t tell you how much I wanted to be with him, right there, right then.

He’s called me multiple times today. He’s laughed and joked at my broken voice but has been caring too.

Tonight, after what seems like 48 hours in bed, I finally got up and made soup and watched TV with my daughter. We are watching a series together.

In the scene, the hero stares lovingly at his girl. As he slowly reaches down to press a kiss on each of her cheeks, my mind was taken back to only a few months ago. I’d been stood in the doorway to his apartment as he washed his car. He finished, brought in the coiled hose and brushed up the last of the water. Closing the heavy door behind him, he turned to me, glancing up the stairs before grabbing me. He kissed one cheek and then the other. He kissed my forehead, my nose, my chin and finally…finally….my lips. It was the most romantic and loving thing he had ever done.

My London friend and I have barely talked for two weeks. I don’t know whether that says more about her or me. She’d never shown a dislike of him up until that time: instead helping to calm my anxieties and appreciate him for the good man he was. Not anymore. So now, we have nothing to talk about. She is now in the same bracket as my sister and my old best friend: people who have openly stated their dislike and distrust of him, with no evidence, so now we don’t talk as much.

Whilst a part of me will always be wary, will always doubt and question (partly because of my past history, partly because of my confidence and partly because of what I know has happened to others) it is a very very small part. I love him and trust him. I don’t believe you kiss someone like that unless you want to and feel something.

If only I looked this cute when ill.

Options

Re-read that. Just let it sink in a little.

So went my conversation with my London friend a few days after my last post.

I’ve floated about in no man’s land ever since.

Long Distance Relationships are hard. Most people don’t believe in them or trust them. They can be isolating. There’s lots of advice out there telling you to ‘continue to live your life’ and I do. But you don’t want to miss a minute with your other half, set in the knowledge that this is all you have.

My London friend is in her own LDR with a man from the same country as Wildcard. So you can imagine the effect these conversations have had on me.

I haven’t been the same with Wildcard since. Or her for that matter. Her words play on loop in my mind whenever I speak to him. It’s not that I think she is right. It’s just that she could be. She found an anxiety I already had and amplified it. Now I can’t drown out the noise.

Without telling him what she has said, we have talked about our situation. And equally, some of what he says could be true too. I can’t underplay how much of an upheaval moving to the UK would be. He talks of starting at zero, nothing, of having to rely on me. He talks of leaving his parents alone, his career, his car, his friends.

And this is where the sharp edge of words come in to force – I am an option.

Whether he loves me or not, I am still an option. One that he hasn’t yet decided on.

He says he wants to be with me. He just hasn’t decided yet. For me there is no option: I don’t want anyone else. The course of our life isn’t decided though and there are decisions we need to make together. I suspect that his culture has brought him up to believe that he makes the decisions. I can’t be sure.

(She also says I make too many excuses for him)

Yesterday he posted a video on social media of him and his cousin’s little girl. It was cute. Adorable. He looked happy. And sexy.

And herein lies the next problem. If he waits much longer to make his ‘decision’ the option to have a baby may be taken away from us. I’m not getting any younger.

How long do I wait, then?

At what point do I realise that he is never going to commit, and move on? Or do I wait for him to find a better option and leave me?

He can’t win, really. If he had proposed too soon (which isn’t soon for his culture) my family and friends would have had the visa thief banners out. If he doesn’t propose then people accuse him of not actually loving me and seeing me as a option.

When is the right time? What time is actually acceptable?

Monday is our two year anniversary of meeting. Two whole years of multiple daily video chats. But I have only spent just over 4 weeks with him in person. He hasn’t physically met any of my family, including my children.

Am I making excuses again?

Tonight, as I dropped off my children, it occurred to me that I will be spending another weekend alone. That if I had someone closer, I would have arranged a date with him. Instead, I’m alone. I’ve had my videochat and we have said goodnight.

***********

As seems to be the way nowadays, I write a post, pause so I can edit and then….I don’t. So this update comes two days later on a bright Monday morning.

Saturday came and went. I couldn’t tell you what I did exactly. Half heartedly cleaned the house and fed my children – which is pretty much what I’ve done for the last six months – until it was time for them to go to their Dad’s.

Yesterday I was alone. I lazed in bed until a ridiculous hour, because, why not? And then, in a fit of frenzy, I decided to put some makeup on for the first time in a week and get the hell out of the house. I took myself off to a local pop up artisan fair – spent money I don’t have, reminisced about all the fairs I had done with my dad, considered whether I could actually start my own business this way and annoyed Wildcard because he couldn’t understand why I had all of a sudden put a face full of make up on to go to a market. He got over it.

I don’t mind his controlling behaviours. And the reason for that, is that I am actually stronger than he (and my London friend) think. He has never stopped me from going anywhere I really wanted to go. His sulking bemused me and makes me feel wanted. Once his own insecurities are resolved by showing him that yes, I did go out to a market wearing that make up alone, he relaxes. It’s no different to how I feel when he goes out wearing his sexy black jumper and dark blue jeans.

In the evening we had our usual chat and we discussed my anxiety with the slow start of my tutoring. He reminded me that there was a lot I could be doing (and what had I been doing for the past six months?) Whilst I waited. Whilst joking, he managed to call me out on a lot of my behaviours this last few months. Whether he realised he was doing this or not, I don’t know. But it set off a series of truth fireworks in my mind.

Seeing my distress, he probed my feelings. He said I hadn’t been the same since I had returned from my last visit. He asked why, what was wrong?

How to explain?

Read my next post to find out.