For me.

I’ve done it again, but this time it wasn’t my fault. I wrote and redrafted a post five days ago. And then I left it to check and post later. But whenever I do that, as with this time, I forget about it and don’t post it. I have a large number of unpublished but finished posts like that.

That’s why, often, my posts are published and they have mistakes. I will read them through of course but – as I was taught in Uni – if the writing is fresh, your eyes will read what your brain planned, ignoring the mistakes. Therefore, you won’t pick up all the mistakes just the glaring ones. This is where ‘fresh eyes’ come in- someone new to check, or leaving it a few days.

On this occasion, Covid is to blame. Oh yes. I’ve got it again. I’m now on my third day in bed and have a lovely crop of coldsores appearing around my nose for good measure.

And yet, I am pleasantly spritely. Why, I hear you ask?

Possibly, cabin fever. Maybe, I’m so well rested, I’m happy? No, I was really ill and only the last few hours have I started to feel well.

My last, unpublished post was a different matter. I talked about how flat I felt. How I have lost hope.

By stopping the obsessive thoughts about my future with Wildcard, I’d actually removed my hope for them too. So, by taking away all thoughts of them – by focusing on just the present- I’d removed the negative but all the positive too. I felt flat and well…everything is pointless. It’s what happens when you have no direction.

I know, I know. I obsess about him in general. My posts are mainly about him. I don’t know how to change that. My career is a distant, painful memory. I’m floundering in a present with no direction – the only thing I’m certain about, is that I want him.

Anyway.

Back to now. What has changed today?

I can’t tell you exactly. But I will try.

1) I watched a great Netflix series. Something I was genuinely interested in. Why is this important? Because having fun, particularly on your own, is important for your happiness. I’ve realised I do very little which is fun.

2) I called my ex-tutee and his family today to catch up. It was lovely speaking to him. Made me remember I have done some good in this world, even when I didn’t feel my best.

3) Despite not getting paid for this week, I’m getting more money than I thought. Hopefully, I will be ok.

4) Someone helped me this week – showed me a true and genuine kindness that I will never forget. It has come at a time of need financially and personally. And it felt like a gift from my Dad.

5) I’ve started Tony Robbins’ free five day challenge. Although it’s been pretty similar to a previous challenge I’ve done of his, it’s had a real positive effect on my thinking. That is what I need.

6) I spoke to a counselling service today who have offered me some support. I’m lacking someone to talk to, to help me process my overthinking. Counselling and CBT can help.

7) I realised something. In the three years of my relationship, we’ve dealt with Covid, my career going down the drain along with my confidence, me being over-emotional and everything else in between. He’s still here. He’s still loving me and calling me. I’m not my best and he’s still here.

As Tony Robbins says, what happens in life is for you not to you.

Do I really want wildcard here, when the rest of my life isn’t ready? No. Life is giving me a chance to sort myself out because that is the right thing to do whatever the outcome of my LDR.

As Tony says, I’m in the winter. A life cycle has ended for me. Winter can be long but underneath the surface, bulbs are starting to sprout and trees are storing energy for those glorious leaves again. I feel flat because I’ve not yet set my course, my direction….the ones I can choose.

Well, I’m going to. And I’m going to do it for me.

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Trip 6, Day 9

So, I’m here again, sat alone in the airport with nothing but my bags and my sorrow.

We awoke late, no doubt exhausted from the emotions and poor sleep. But our love making was passionate and intense and beautiful. His throw-away comment afterwards, not so much.

Whilst I can’t deny that I want him all the time – I’ve never felt anything like it – is certainly isn’t all I want ‘every time’.

I remained quiet and snuggled closer. He was soon more relaxed himself. At this point, I attempt to talk, whilst he was so distracted by his game. A cunning strategy, I thought.

I told him that I was truly sorry for my constant tears and that I wasn’t sure myself why I behaved like that. I told him how much I loved him and that the only thing I knew; each time I was scared he didn’t want me. That’s what they all had in common, somehow. He didn’t say much but he listened. I soon hit his limit and, content I’d said the most important things, decided to try to make the best of the rest of the day together before I left.

We stayed in bed a long time, watching things on his phone. At one point, he got up to tell me that he was thinking of going to work. I stayed silent. He went out the room came back within moments and got back in bed. I knew the ice had broken some what when he showed me videos from his YouTube channel of ten years ago, laughing to himself.

The rest of the day passed in relaxing, tears and me desperately trying to combat the pain in my chest and the shaking of my hands.

I packed my bags. We had dinner. Then, we went to his room – no longer mine – and he took me in his arms to kiss and hold me. When I cried, he exclaimed that I wasn’t really leaving him, he would be there on the phone as always. When I told him, “but it’s not this” he looked away, and I swear at this point there was emotion he was trying to hide. My married friend told me her husband only admitted how much he was upset by her leaving years later – how he had hidden it to be strong for her. In reality, he cried and was as upset as her. I can only hope. He may also have been thinking, ‘thank goodness it’s not like this all the time’ but even I doubt that.

And I doubt that because of his behaviour in the airport. Me, thinking just rip the plaster off and I will get going, him being surprised and asking, “you’re going?” The way he looked in my eyes when I finally dragged them to his. The way he grabbed my hand, hidden by our bodies (no pda in this country, remember) when my tears fell yet again. When he gave a quick, lawless kiss and told me he loved me.

So, here I am, sat in the airport. It’s busy, and the light is fading. I’ve actually been able to find a seat and am reluctant to move despite needing to use the restroom.

Don’t think I’m not guilt ridden. I am. Guilty that I wished soo hard that my flight would be cancelled. Guilty that although I miss my children, I would stay longer here if I could (damn you new job). I feel guilty that I cried. I feel guilty that I made his mum cry when I did. I’m guilty that I hurt him.

Trip 6, Day 6 – highs and lows

He came early this morning. I sprang up from bed delighted, like a child, and he joked that I should ‘stay back’. He grabbed his customary chocolate that I brought – for his sweet tooth, to sweeten his breath or for energy I’m never sure. He then got into bed. No phone…

He held me. I held him. And I let my hands wander and touch and caress – not for him as such, but selfishly because I want to commit every millimetre to memory. Although, he did enjoy it, obviously. We made love and after he held me again. I can’t get enough of him. I once read something – a poem perhaps – where the narrator said they wanted to crawl inside their loved one so they would be with them always. I found the analogy bizarre when I read it, and a little gross. But I get it now.

My soul craves his. 
My skin needs his.
I want to melt into him -
For we are one.

I’m unashamed when I say I enjoy sex. But this is not about sex. When we make love, I am as close to him as I possibly can be and that is what I want. I want him and his love to consume me – my body, my love, my heart and soul. That is what making love truly is and I can honestly say I have never felt like this with any other man in my whole life.

Eventually, it was time for breakfast. He was a little distracted and rushed to head out to work. As his parents and I were still eating, there was no goodbye kiss but as yesterday, I watched as he went to leave. Hidden by the wall, he turned and with humour in his eyes, blew me a dramatic kiss out of sight of his parents. And as the door closed behind him, his face was in the closing space and he gave me another and I smiled, openly and happily.

******

Today, I was lucky as he was able to come home for dinner. It was a nice surprise and broke up the day. He went back to work after of course, and in a change of routine I lay down on the bed.

I spent the remaining hours until he came home reading past posts from the time we met. It was eye opening. There was so much I had forgotten.

But it’s more than that. You can read how steadily, I fall in love with him. You see my inner conflict and fear as I combat the negativity of people I once called friends. You see my growing excitement, anticipation and anxiety as my first trio looms. Interestingly, now from a distance, you can see him falling in love with me and being equally as nervous. It was a wonderful thing to re-read and experience it all.

At this point, he came home. Finding me lying on the bed, he too broke routine and joined me. We watched a TV show together and he made me laugh. I listened as he repeated the English dubover of his Korean show and felt heartwarmed that he was trying to improve his English this way.

All too soon, we were called for tea. And all too soon after that, we were getting ready for bed.

After the usual rituals of goodnight, kisses, then washing my face, brushing teeth etc, I got into bed and picked up my phone to see…it was 8pm.

8pm

I was shocked. Don’t get me wrong, I know he is exhausted and I also know he goes to bed early. But 8pm? Really?

So, I did my usual. Allowed myself to stew and then messaged. I didn’t say much, honest. Just expressed my…surprise…at the time. He offered for me to go sit with him but, no. I cut my nose off to spite my face and told him: ‘It’s OK, forget.’

Within moments, he was with me. He told me he would stay until 10pm, my usual bedtime back home. Any protests by me were ignored. He cuddled in, shut his eyes and went to sleep.

I tried, a couple of times to wake him and tell him to go. He ignored me. So I lay for some time feeling like the worst girlfriend in the world. And then, surprisingly, no doubt shrouded in the warmth of his loving arms and acceptance, I too slept a little.

Trip 6, Day 5 – waiting

Today has been a little different.

It started the same although Wildcard came to me a little later. Not that I was clock watching or anything. Whilst still being his jesting self, I’ve noted that he is paying attention to my needs with a keen eye and held me much longer today when he saw I needed it.

After breakfast and his departure (apparently my half hearted suggestion that he stay with me was something out of a romantic film. Boo.) I sat and did a bit of home housekeeping with emails and checking my online banking. No sooner had I done that, than my ex messaged asking for money. I said OK, as I usually do, but then sat stewing for half an hour before sending a rather long irate text. His attempts to pacify me were poor to say the least. My attempts to be calm even less so.

I need to cut more ties. I know it and so does everyone else. His need for financial support still, five years later is now just frustrating. Even more so because for the past 18 months, I haven’t had the same money I used to. Frustratingly of course, I took the leadership job in September to help with this situation: higher pay to get to a point where he can be taken off the mortgage I pay, and therefore he has no hold or threat over me anymore.

As one of my New Year’s reflections was a real desire to get a much better handle on my finances, I spent some time this morning in subtle planning and exploring. I want to get to a point where no penny is uncounted for.

Wildcard’s beautiful inscribed gift with ‘my wife’ on has given me some more hope that some point soon we will finally marry. I’ve thought this deep down for a while, and it’s not that he hasn’t already said this, but I think he has probably considered me his wife for some time. For him, the paperwork is a legality only needed if and when he decides he is ready to move to the UK with me. I suspect for the time-being, he’s actually quite happy with the arrangement.

And I understand why. I spent the afternoon in the kitchen with his mother. She showed me how she cooks some of her amazing, traditional dishes. We talked, albeit stiltingly, of her traditional role. He is well looked after and cared for, is providing the role of an elder son exactly as his culture and religion state. He has a career, a car…a life. I’m part of that life every single day with the multiple calls we have. He is not after a visa – whilst the UK is appealing, he has much more to lose here than many of his fellow natives who seek a foreign marriage. He has little desire to leave his parents, potentially give up his job and car, and move to a cold wet country where the culture is so different to his.

But I do know he loves me. I just still don’t know if it is enough, if I am enough, for him to give up on what he has.

His parents are wonderful and I love them dearly. I can’t pretend I don’t feel pangs of guilt at my hopes of dragging their son away. I wish there was another solution but there isn’t. In the past I’ve suggested us marrying but waiting some time for a visa – for me, it will give us more flexibility on our visits and I am happy with that for now. He doesn’t see it that way, so I will have to wait a little longer.

*****

I wrote this earlier with some resigned acceptance. Whilst it is not what I want – I want to be with him as closely and as often as I can – I do understand the situation and ironically love him for it

Unfortunately, subconsciously, this must have lodged somewhere. Like an annoying sticky bob seed.

Later that day – a day that passed by so quickly as I talked with his mother – he came home and there was joy in his voice as he greeted me. We ate and then I watched his daily ritual of preparing the sofa to relax – moving cushions, getting his water and phone charger, getting the warm blanket – and was heart warmed as I noticed him prepare my area too.

I soon joined him, his feet in my lap as always, my hand touching his skin. He plays on his game, I read on my phone. The last few nights, his mother has joined us too – making her own little snug opposite us blanket covering her and phone in hand. We’ve laughed as Wildcard has danced or done one of the many jesting things he does that makes me love him. During this time, he turned and asked what time I was leaving on Saturday. A simple question and no doubt as they were discussing plans as Wildcard is hoping to take the day off.

But it lodged in my heart. It found the sticky-bob seed of resignation and inflamed it. I started counting the days left, particularly as I had calculated that at best he would only work Thursday morning and take the rest off.

I couldn’t help it. I couldn’t.

I worked out that, with his brother coming Feb and Ramadan in April, I would not be seeing him until at least June. Five months away, again. And that thought, along with “I don’t want to leave him” is like an automatic push button on my tears. I turned my head and tears fell.

I was careful. No sobbing or weeping. No body heaving. But he knows, as he always knows.

“Are you crying?”

“No.”

“Look at me.”

I moved his strategically placed pillow and crept up so I was now resting in my place, on his chest. He asked why I was upset and I explained. He hadn’t considered how events would prevent my visit until the summer. But he spoke of us traveling again, south this time if I wanted. He joked I could try to fit him in my suitcase but then remembered his gift and reminded me that was what it was for.

(My waterworks have started again)

And then, I just lay in his arms and he held me – longer than I thought he would – until I was calm again.

Once in bed of course, I started again. I messaged my friend and she reminisced on the times she had felt this way when her relationship was long distance. It’s normal, unfortunately. There’s nothing to quite compare to the anguish of knowing you will go back to waiting. Even when you are soul brimmingly happy, as I am.

Trip 6, Day 2 – stupid

I didn’t sleep well the first night. Don’t get me wrong, I was exhausted: I’d left the house over 12 hours before I had finally arrived at Wildcard’s home. And there’s no doubt the maelstrom of emotions of a trip like that take its toll. I just couldn’t sleep as I often can’t in a new place but more so because I was longing for him.

On a previous trip, also unable to sleep, he’d come to my room at 2am for cuddles and intimacy. I knew he wouldn’t as he had been grey with exhaustion, but I hoped he would.  I woke a few times from deep sleep, groggy but somehow internally alert,  just hoping.

Eventually, I woke at 7am and brushed my teeth, washed my face and applied some mascara so I felt presentable. Not long after 8am – early for him ❤️ – he came to my room and we quickly cuddled under the thick blankets, sheltering together from the cold of the room. Finally, finally, we had the intimacy I’d craved for hours..days…months. I lay with my face in his the warmth of his neck and I could feel his pulse on my lips. You can’t get much more sensual than that.

As he was working, I was ever conscious or the time and the fact he would have to leave me soon. But 9am came…9.30am came…10am came…and he was still there. He eventually got up to see whether breakfast was ready and we went to eat with his parents. And again, I just felt so happy. They’re my family now and I love them all so much.

Soon after though, he had to leave. I got changed and applied the rest of my makeup and then sat in the lounge. I painted, I read and watched a film. I ate beautiful, flavour -bursting sweet apples and waited. His mum asked whether I wanted dinner but smiled warmly when I said I wanted to wait for Wildcard to return home.

Again, surprisingly, he was home by 4.30 – much earlier than I anticipated. We had a beautiful dinner – his mum had gone all out with small herb and lemon fish, ‘meatballs’ made with fish and a gorgeous tomato sauce,  salad, fresh bread and a vegetable side dish full of garlic and lemon juice.

After dinner, we went back to his room and he suggested a film. Funnily enough, from making that suggestion as he walked into the room to getting to bed he’d changed his mind. He was tired again. He got comfortable and started to play his game ans I attempted to lie next to him, but I kept making him cold or pulled the covers to tight etc. He wasn’t unpleasant or sharp or anything other than pointing out his discomfort, but I guess my own tiredness made me emotional: I exclaimed that I couldn’t do anything right and a few angry tears escaped. He patiently explained that he was just telling me and encouraged me to get close again, unaware of my silly tears but probably knowing I was sulking.

Before long, his game abandoned, he held me close and we made love: tender and gentle and beautiful.

In the evening he went to the gym and I slept a little. On his return I showered, and then his mum presented the delicious New Year’s cake she had made. We ate huge slices with tea and Wildcard exclaimed that at only 8.30pm, we had started the New Year’s tradition a few hours too early and we all laughed but continued to eat the delicious cake. His mum, exhausted no doubt from the mammoth feast she’d prepared, retired to bed early.

I had a feeling New Year’s Eve would be quiet and I was correct. It was an ordinary night with the addition of best wishes and good cake. By 9.30pm, he was also ready to sleep.

This isn’t what had bothered me when I went to my/his room, stomach churning with anxiety and head clashing with anxious and obsessive thoughts. I can of course say this now, a day later, now those feelings were allowed to be aired and purged from my stupid head.

Day three wobbles have now officially become day two wobbles. I am certain that the overwhelm of emotions, the excitement, anticipation, travelling and -unfortunately- expectations no matter how much I try to ignore them – play their part. I’ve talked before about how our brain is programed to search for evidence of what we are thinking. ..

So his silence to my ‘I love you’ earlier…the way he’d pulled away too quickly from my kiss, not holding my hand when I tried to hold his, not returning the pure delight on my face when he came home from work…all of that had festered and built up all day. (See the sensible translation below)

My brain was now on high alert, I felt sick and I’d opened the floodgates to every fear I’ve continued to have for three years. I’m not good enough. He doesn’t find me attractive. He doesn’t love me like I love him. I’m annoying him with my constant need for physical touch.

Once he’d made his bed in his room, he came in to find me sat in bed with a full blown strop. Ooo I tried. I was determined not to start a row. I was certain I could avoid a Day three two wobble. I’d just keep quiet.

I think this was the longest I had ever held out. I said ‘nothing’, ‘I’m good’, ‘I’m fine’ over and over and over. I didn’t cry.  Problem is, I couldn’t  look him in the face, and my hands were wringing when they weren’t holding me together.

He was insistent, persistent and patient. Eventually, feeling sick to the stomach, I simply asked for a hug. He tried to barter for answers, but then got up and held me. And then made me tell him.

I explained the overwhelm, the confusion – am I too clingy, needy touchy-feely?

He told me he loved me kneeling on the bed so our faces were inches apart. He told me he loved me a lot. He told me he loved all my hugs and kisses but reminded me that this was very different for him as it’s not in his culture and also, he was just like that – joking and being awkward. Did I not know that?

I told him I did, explained some more, and he just kissed me and said he was sorry. We hugged and kissed some more before he was ready to sleep. Once in his own bed, he messaged again to say he loved me and to wish me Happy New Year and goodnight. I still cried of course. By this point I was angry with myself for getting in that state and causing yet another issue. But, after some soul searching and journal writing, I finally slept.

Sensible translation:

So his silence to my ‘I love you’ earlier he’d said it many, many times by that point. …the way he’d pulled away too quickly from my kiss, we were stood in the doorway, right in potential view of his parents. not holding my hand when I tried to hold his, he was joking and moments after refusing, had grabbed my hand in his and kissed it.  not returning the pure delight on my face when he came home from work… this one is just stupid.

Allies

I’ve had a tumultuous time since I last posted.

I spent some more time in my new school and loved it. I also braved a day on supply in a primary school. I don’t know why I was so nervous about it – and avoided it – but I loved my day there. It’s given my confidence that if the work in the special school is not for me, I would be happy working in a primary. It’s also confirmed, again, that I want to start my business. The work situation has settled for now and I am finished for Christmas. In the end, I’ve earned reasonable money the last two months so the pressure is off a little.

I’ve become increasingly aware of how much the end if my leadership career still affects me and my confidence. I thought I was over it but it’s clear I’m not.

The situation with my son continues. We’ve had dramas, periods of calm and full blown anxiety at times. Most of the time, our anxieties have proved to be only that of which I am very grateful. Unfortunately, some immature actions have alerted agencies and us as his parents to his vulnerability to be influenced by others. His SEN makes him both naive and impulsive and his weaker social skills are also not helping. Support is in place now and I’m, finally, beginning to feel we’ve bolted the horse in the stable (rather than when it’s already left, if you know that saying). I can’t pretend I’m not worried but there is some comfort.

My son’s key worker has been a real support and is actually an ex-teacher herself. He has become a real ally. We’ve had some frank conversations about what has happened to both of us and the state of the education system here. She’s given me faith but also insight that I’m not over what happened. I’ve been put forward for more counselling and I’ve accepted. I think it will be good for me and help to release the poison of the past.

Things will Wildcard have been good lately and it’s only 8 days until I fly out to him for my sixth visit. Similarly, there’s been a few events and realisations of late which are helping me to understand him and our situation a little clearer.

My Facebook friend – the one married to a man from Wildcard’s country – continues to be a real friend and source of comfort and understanding. We talk a few times a week and her situation and place within the online community has helped me understand to a greater level, how challenging a marriage of different cultures is – regardless of how much love you have. I think anyone in an LDR of this kind acknowledges the differences but is blinded by their love and wish for a union to really see how hard it can be. My friend, five years into closing the distance, is still learning and experiencing the challenges of different cultures.

Conversely, the World Cup had also highlighted a few things which have led to meaningful conversations with Wildcard. His relationship with his parents and his loyalty and dedication to them, is not just that of a son but also an integral part of his culture and religion. Being the last son there, the eldest son, he feels this responsibility keenly. And, being the eldest and in thar position of responsibility myself once, how can I not understand that?

We’ve had one moment of tension recently, when he mentioned how his brother and his then girlfriend (now wife) had travelled and resided together. This is forbidden in his religion and is something that Wildcard would never do. Unfortunately, my face portrayed my….well, jealousy of this time they’d had alone together. I love Wildcard’s parents, I really do but of course I would like to experience time with Wildcard alone where he is not on edge. Ironically, of course, even if he agreed to it, he would be more anxious than when his parents are there. Wildcard saw my jealous contemplations, questioned me as usual and became frustrated at what I said.

I’ve no doubt that at this current time, he’s doing the best he can. I love him for exactly who he is – I love that he has integrity and is a good man. I’d never want to change him, just for some alone time. I explained that to him and he later told me I had done nothing wrong. The moment passed and has been forgotten. But again, it’s highlighted the type of man he is and why things are as they are.

So, all in all, as the year comes to an end, I’m feeling some peace going into Christmas. I’ve a very busy week ahead of me before I travel but I’m looking forward to happy festivities with my family and then spending a week with the man I love.

Happy Guilt

Wildcard and I have a verbal dance. Not being a dancer, I can’t complete this analogy properly but will say it is tango-esque.

He’s a joker, a teaser. Making me laugh for hours and hours is one of the ways he has consistently showed me his love this past few years. He delights in it.

Occasionally though, he will say something a little to the left of laughter…or, more likely, my mood will not see the humour in it. I’ve observed this trigger and know that it’s entirely to do with my fear of losing him and of not being good enough. We then begin our dance of tooing and froing…of empassioned pauses and fast turns, emotional filled, shocking and tense.

Last night’s gem isn’t hard to qualify as I was clearly in that mood yesterday as you can see from my post. I was feeling fear and doubt.

After writing that post, he called as usual, and I tried very hard to raise my positive energy and cast away my fears for another day. And I succeeded at first.

He then made a joke. It was a common one, something he says regularly- daily, even. It’s a joke which I laugh at, accept, feel warmth about 98% of the time.

Today though, I followed up with a question…

And he, as usual, continued his joke. No, he didn’t think of me that way. It didn’t even enter his mind.

The dance stops dead. The female lead freezes and stares at the male.

I was triggered. My mind shifted out of our usual joking – the joke we had had every day – into new territory. It side stepped into a new beat.

I questioned again, digging, clarifying…emotions overriding common sense. At this point, I’m glazed over, mind racing. There’s a lump in my throat and I feel the too-familiar tingle of tears in my eyes.

She spins and turns away….he stalks towards her.

He’s not oblivious. He knows that I’ve entered the dance, stamped my feet and sauntered away. He, of course, chooses to dance.

He questions me – why am I crying.

I reply, I’m not. I’ve managed to stop it.

He retorts, you haven’t. You look like you will explode.

The dance continues.

So I ask again, you really don’t think of me that way?

Yes, he says finally with humour and depth and truth in this eyes. I think.

At that moment she relents and is swept into his arms in a final montage of love.

He says I’m stupid, of course, with humour. Why would he be with me if he didn’t think like that? Why do I ask these questions when I know the answers? Indeed, why do I? The voice of sense is in my head…she sits there smug, knowing the truth but watches as my inner imposter takes the lead for a spell.

This morning I called him when I woke. He was in a good mood and as we greeted each other, he gave a huge grin and was chuckling to himself as he did something on the phone.

“Why are you laughing?”

“Nothing.”

This of course makes me nervous. My brain goes into overdrive- what …or who…was he laughing at? Was he speaking to someone else when I called? Have they sent him something?

“Why are you nervous?” He asks.

“I’m not.”

“You are. Why are you nervous?”

“What were you laughing at?”

“I’ve sent you something. You haven’t seen it yet.”

Oh. So when he was laughing and doing something on his phone, he was actually sending me something. Oh.

I look at my phone and he’s sent a series of photos and I gasp and put my hand to my face and then laugh with him. At first, I don’t remember him taking them but eventually the memory breaks.

The photos are intimate but in an innocent way. We are in bed together and it was one morning when I was there. In the photos he is shirtless (it was the height of summer) and I am wearing a vest top but we are cuddling: with him looking at the camera and me with my head against his chest. Intimate, innocent, but kind of sexy. In the first of them, the angle isn’t great as I look at the camera too, and it’s not very flattering for me, and I remember telling him I didn’t like the photo so I moved to rest my head against his chest and closed my eyes. In the others, it’s recorded a loving moment and I hadn’t remembered or realised he’d taken so many.

There’s been a few times I’ve thought I’ve caught him taking surreptitious photos when I’ve been reading or when I was crying at the airport, saying bye to his mum, and I’ve just gone along with what I was doing- if he wants candid photos, let him. I take them often enough. But I’d forgotten this moment, and in its intimacy I realised once again that he loved me when he took them and he loved me enough this morning to have been looking at them before I called. So, yes, he does think about me in that and every other way.

I ended the call in happy guilt. Guilt that my mind jumps to the negative, so quick to allow my inner demons to cloud my judgement. Happy that he has proved again that he loves me and wants me.

About an hour later he called again, this time in his car. He was waiting for his parents as they were travelling to see family for a special event. He looked jaw-droppingly good. I asked to see what he was wearing and he panned out, a little reluctantly.

I told him he looked delicious, and he said he’d brought the blazer jacket I had bought him some time ago.

“Is that the jumper I bought you too?”

“Yes,” as he moved the camera to show me again and I glimpsed the ring I made him and the watch I bought.

“Baby! It’s like I’m there with you!”

He smiled shyly and looked to the side – the gesture he makes when he’s showing his true emotions. He laughed a little, and showed me his footwear – which I’d also bought him. 😍

“Oh baby, I’m there with you, hugging you with the jacket and jumper and ring and watch and the shoes!”

We both laughed and smiled at each other and then his parents got into the car.

As we ended the call, I thought about the fact that today, he had surrounded himself with many the things I have bought for him over the past three years. He didn’t need to – he has other things he could wear that I haven’t bought. But he chose to.

Now, I’m just happy. 🥰

You win, You lose

I’m on a little break. I’ve been doing some much needed housework today. I don’t know if it’s just me, but before we put up the (probably dusty) Christmas decorations, I feel like I need to Christmas clean the house.

Today I’ve started in the kitchen. I’ve washed a lot of dishes, cleaned windows and window ledges and wiped down cupboard doors. It’s now 4.20pm. Thing is, I don’t put decorations up in the kitchen. Hmph.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I probably need to go back to the doctors which is an irony in itself. I feel like I need to go because my anxiety seems to be over-riding my ability to make decisions. Yet I’ve just, finally, made the decision to go to the doctors.

On the whole, I’m ok. I’m functioning. I’m going to work, cleaning the house (of a fashion). I’m showering. Eating. Communicating. I’m not lying in bed.

But I’m also not happy. My brain is like a car engine on high revs. I’m constantly thinking, worrying, contemplating, indecisive, annoyed with myself, anxious. My choice to take action is working as I’m functioning. But there is no contentment, no happiness, no peace.

I don’t want to go back on antidepressants. They’re a very necessary sticking plaster but I’ve been on them before. Don’t get me wrong, there are times I just want my mind to numb. I’ve sick of thinking and feeling. But having been depressed before, having had an additional major anxiety episode …I recognise that this is different. I’ve managed so far without taking anything. I’ve not fallen apart, though I’ve felt close.

I don’t know what the answer is, other than going to speak to a professional. I don’t want to be on medication if there is another, better way of reconditioning my brain to work differently. But if medication is actually what I need to be on – coming from a family where all my mother’s side have had major depressive episodes – then, begrudgingly, so-be-it.

I don’t like who I am now. Not really. I don’t like being perceived as weak and indecisive and emotional. I’m tired of worrying though.

I will be going to see Wildcard in exactly 4 weeks.

As is perhaps understandable considering my general mindset at the moment, I’m feeling a real spectrum of emotions. It’s safe to say I probably always do, and probably need to search back through these posts to prove it to myself. But this time feels a little different.

I long to see him, touch him, love him. But fear seems to be over-riding my excitement at the moment. I’m no longer scared of travelling and haven’t been for a long time, and just feel the usual mild angst of ‘Hope I don’t forget tickets/passport etc’ or ‘Hope my connections all run smooth’.

No, I’m scared of what may or may not happen whilst I’m there.

Long followers (thank you!) Of my blog will know that I want to marry this man. They know that he has told me he wants to marry me, but there are things he needs to organise at home before making that massive leap to marrying and moving to another country, culture and language.

I’m scared he won’t propose again. I’m also scared that he will.

We’ve just passed three years together. Covid is an annoying blip on the radar not an incoming meteriorite. Some of the conditions he needs to see at home to prompt a life with me are beginning to happen. So…you’d think it would be possible, for him to propose. Believe me, my over romantic, over active, over thinking brain has constructed lots of exciting ways for him to propose this trip. Cue disappointment leading from unfulfilled expectations. Been there, redesigned the t-shirt to a full body suit.

I want this man like I’ve wanted no other. I love him like I’ve loved no other. I love everything about him. Everything. I want him to propose. I want to take our life off slow-mo and get started on the real-life us part.

I am also, absolutely terrified. My work situation is tenuous as I continue float about, refusing to make any real decisions. Therefore, my finances are also nowhere near where they should be, to get married and move him here. Therefore my house is also absolutely 1000% not ready to receive him, with the ever growing list of work that needs doing.

My son is struggling. My daughter is struggling. My sisters are struggling. My ex is struggling. I’m struggling.

Life is in flux at the moment. And bringing someone here, someone who will rely upon you to keep them safe and secure and happy when your life is like that… well, it’s not fair.

It needs more than love, doesn’t it?

If , and that really is a big if, if he were to propose, I have no idea of when he would want to marry. I don’t know how he sees a wedding. I do know he would want to apply for the visa shortly after.

And this is another little seed of fear spouting and growing and invading… I should know, shouldn’t I? He should know my life is in flux, shouldn’t he? Maybe my sister was right, all those years ago. Maybe Wildcard and I don’t talk about the deeper things enough.

So, if he proposes – or not – I both win and lose.

But this is what I do know.

This man found me when I was broken. Barely a year after my dad’s death and my major breakdown. He found light inside me that I thought had gone out. He’s coaxed that flame through covid, through the major anxiety period of leaving my career and my indecision ever since. He’s still here. He’s still calling me, and loving me and giving that little light the fuel it needs.

So, I win and I lose. But maybe, for now, that’s ok.

What is it…?

I’m 42.

Is this a mid life crisis? Is this what it feels like? I’ve had a successful life in Western terms: University education, promising career of promotions, married, children, mortgage, own car. Admittedly, no savings. No drugs, crime or deviance in my life.

So why, please tell me, do I feel like I’m at that godforsaken crossroads AGAIN? The one where I have absolutely no idea which path to take.

And…what’s worse…I have no one to ask.

Yes, yes…I know…it’s my decision to make. My life, my decision.

But a rather alarming thought hit me before, as I was stewing in the unfortunate circumstances surrounding me. I genuinely have no one to ask. No father. My mother is, sadly, no longer the person I would go to for advice though I love her dearly. My younger sisters are struggling in their own lives. I have no grandparents. And…well…

Wildcard. Maybe my sister was right all those months ago when we argued. Maybe he and I don’t talk about anything deep and meaningful. I don’t tell him everything. I try. I give him the headlines, hoping he will understand. I’m not sure he does. And he rarely comments. Sometimes I ask him for an opinion and he won’t give me one. He says he doesn’t really understand or he doesn’t know. Not in all situations, granted. But in enough for it now to worry me.

But, what is it?? These are my problems and I have to deal with them? Or he’s my partner so we’re in this together? Hypothetically, of course.

Does he care when I’m upset or stressed? 100%. Does he try to cheer me up? Absolutely. Does he give me answers or suggestions? Occasionally. Am I trying to talk this situation positive? Yep.

My career is a stalled car. Quite a fancy one. I’m currently trying to decide whether to strip it for parts, fix it, dump it or upcycle it. I. Just. Don’t. Know.

What is it at the moment? Please reach out and let me know what you think of this….everyone around me seems to be struggling. My ex is off sick with stress. My youngest sister is at rock bottom. My other sister is struggling financially and feels something is missing in her life. My mum and partner are about to be made homeless. My eldest son was suicidal and has just been excluded from school. My daughter is as lost as me…barely finished studying, failed to get into Uni whilst also claiming she didn’t want to, walked out of an apprenticeship over poor conditions and pay, has no direction and is currently constantly ill and unemployed.

Is this a midlife crisis? Or is this just a really unfortunate set of circumstances? Is this Covid? The UK recession? The cost of living?

If this had happened 4 years ago, would I have had the strength and confidence to help them, like I used to? Should I be thinking about this…or again, are these their problems to solve? Do I carry their weight on my shoulders unhelpfully for all involved?

What is it? I’ve no one else to ask.

Resilience is relative

Just so you know, I hate that word. With an absolute soul shuddering passion. 
It's a word some people use to dismiss other's feelings and make them feel weak and unworthy. It tells them that they should be stronger, not show their emotions. It hints that you're being perceived as lesser, broken.
I really don't know if this is just British culture - stiff upper lip, you know what I am talking about - this idea that we should all be built with some innate iron strength to cope when life really is the pits.
Resilience is relative though, isn't it?
Someone losing their job with a bank full of savings and a spouse on a decent income is different to a single parent losing their job up to their eyes in debt. And yet, both will feel the strain in their own way, relative to their situation. Therefore, telling someone to be 'resilient' really annoys me. You, on your high horse...you have no idea how that person feels it's not your life, your context, its theirs. Just because you can cope in those set of circumstances but in your context, doesn't mean they can. 
Show them love. Show them care and empathy. Give them a little strength to find their own path to survival. Don't tell them to be resilient.

I saw my cousin last night (his wife is who I’d taken the pot rose to a few days ago).  He told me I was brave for what I had done in leaving my career. “Or stupid,” I replied.

“No.” He said. “You’d have been stupid to carry on, feeling like that.”

*****

It’s another beautiful autumnal day. Golden leaves are falling now. I’m sat outside in a short sleeved t shirt and whilst I’m not warm, I’m liking the slight chill to the breeze that’s rustling the leaves.

My mind was full of Amy last night. I didn’t know her well – knew her little son more who played with my son and niece and nephew – but knew her enough to say hello and stop and chat. I looked at her Facebook page and saw pictures of her happy little family and the gratitude she had for them.

Thinking about that little family’s loss now, things get put in perspective.

So what if I actually shampooed my carpet, only for it to go smelly, leading me to cover it in bicarb (Internet hack) which won’t vacuum up so I now have a cow patterned carpet?

So what if I left a job that left me soul broken? So what if I don’t have spare cash anymore? I have my life and my kids and my family and my Wildcard.

There’s so many clichés to say here….life is short, you only live once, you could die tomorrow.

Clichés are almost as bad as the word ‘resilience’. They are poignant and important but deemed irrelevant by over or improper use.

I’ve had a very lucky life, compared to some.   I’ve had a difficult life compared to others.

What I do know is I’ve spent a large part of it unhappy when I didn’t need to. Either because my head was stuck in the negative or I failed to change my life when I should have. No more.

Life is short but…

Life is beautiful. Life is Love.

If you let it be.