Positive v negative

“Well son, I’m afraid life doesn’t work like that. You will have problems every day and you have to learn to deal with them.”

Oh yes.

My parent-wisdom words, no doubt regurgitated from hearing them myself as a child.

Is it wisdom though? Am I teaching resilience there or perpetuating negative thinking? As in, they’re not problems but a natural part of day to day life?

April has been a ‘problematic’ month for me.

I came home from seeing Wildcard, exhausted after travel and heart ache, and threw myself into work. Then a moroseness swept over me. And flu. So my solution was to stay in bed for four days. Yes I was ill, but equally I was down.

I got better, but within a week I was ill again. The annual, ‘Is it hay-fever, is it a summer cold’ debate resulted in a fever induced covid test which of course, turned out positive.

I’m grateful I didn’t have it as bad as some. But it was bad enough, despite my three vaccines. Head cold, fever, tight chest, aching limbs and neck, cough and absolute fatigue. As the days went on, a temporary well feeling would be quickly met with a need to go back to bed. My re-test only became negative after 8 days, and whilst I could have followed ‘Government’ guidelines after 5 days to return to work, as I am sure they are banking on, I couldn’t face going and infecting someone else.

Unfortunately, morals don’t always pay and I will be missing a week’s wage in what will already be a tight month. I will survive. And that is positive thinking for you. Or possibly sheer dumb avoidance. I can’t change the situation either way and it could be worse. Maybe karma will send me some better luck.

Of course, positive thinking doesn’t immediately help my daughter when she has been ‘dumped’ by another 18 years old who has decided after months of sweet talk and pursuit that he doesn’t want a relationship. It doesn’t help my son who is still waiting for his ASD diagnosis or not as the case may be. In these situations, a dose a negative actually does the world of good – in life, it seems that things always be a lot worse more often than a lot better.

This is my current and forced train of thought over the booked but no longer required trip to see Wildcard in the May Half term. As both sisters and my daughter are away themselves, there is no one to house and pet sit. I haven’t really got the money to pay for train tickets and a hotel and Wildcard didn’t even know I’d booked and nor has he asked if I am going. So, I’m not.

No, I haven’t yet tried to move the tickets and yes, I have longingly looked at my flights and train ticket prices. But it’s impossible at the moment so I need to just get over it.

On the plus side, one of his brothers is finally going over after three years (covid) and as this was one of the stipulations for Wildcard deciding that he is ready to let his parents fend for themselves so he can marry me, I guess this is another occasion for trying to see the positive side.

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Trip 4 – day 6, hands (cont)

Read the first part of this post here:

https://startingfromthemiddleblog.wordpress.com/2022/03/28/trip-4-days-5-6-hands/

As Wildcard told me about his brother’s predicament and what seems to be an abusive marriage where his brother is the victim, I could see how marriage and a move to another country would be a scary prospect for Wildcard. He has made comments previously when his parents have argued, or even a rather disastrous marriage for his cousin where his wife turned out to be pregnant with another man’s baby.

I condemned what was happening to his brother but I’m not afraid to say that I took the opportunity to put my beliefs across in my favour. I want him to be happy, I would NEVER stop him from contacting his parents and I’m definitely not violent.

His parents arrived home from the shops and our conversation ended. Whilst his game resumed, I thought over everything he had told me.

I turned to him and said, “you know I am not like her, don’t you? All I want is for you to be happy and I would never hurt you like that.” As she is Irish and I am English, I hoped that he didn’t associate the behaviours culturally.

He playfully teased that I hurt him every second of every day and again and in that moment I saw that his way of dealing with difficult situations is to use humour. I don’t know why I haven’t noticed this before.

I finally took my shower and contemplated everything that we had talked about, everything that had happened this week, past snatches of conversations and my ever-constant anxiety. And there, in the shower, stomach churning and body trembling from fear, I decided that I needed to push a conversation possibly neither of us was going to like.

Luckily, when I got out of the shower he was in his room and I busied myself with drying, dressing and make-up application whilst plotting how to broach this conversation.

Was I tempting fate? Was now the right time? It was time to find out.

Moving my now packed bags, I sat on the bed next to him. He put away his laptop, and then got up and left the room temporarily. He asked if I was ready to eat and I said no, I wasn’t.

I could see he was a little concerned – not like me to turn down his mum’s wonderful cooking – and he sat back down next to me.

“What baby?”

I could hear the concern in his voice. Now was indeed the right time.

I moved to sit on his lap and we kissed a little before he made his usual cheeky comments about me, and whether I had finished or not.

I huffed a little and lay back down, back turned, until he wrapped himself around me and kissed my cheeks.

“Why do you do that?”

“Do what baby?”

“Pull me in then push me away. Love me, then take it back. Why?”

He was a little stunned, once again rolled out the humour, but I stood my ground.

I told him that so many of the ‘problems’ I have, the ones where he says I’m making a problem where there isn’t one, comes from my not fully knowing how he feels. I reminded him that he has admitted he doesn’t show his feelings and so I have to guess, and often I guess wrong. I told him I was talking seriously, and he needed to be. He wasn’t, but tried a little.

He asked me what I thought, then. I refused at first: knowing that I could be wrong, hoping that this didn’t end badly and conscious that he may just try to make light of it, as he does. As usual, he pushed: as usual, I caved.

I told him that I knew he loved me but had no idea what his plans were for the future. I reminded him that we had now been together 2.5 years and we had not had a serious conversation about our future for some time. What was the waiting for? He said “next year”, half joking, and I told him he had said this before and reminded him of the June trip last year where the promised conversation never happened. He was surprised, and laughed a little, but I could also tell he was listening and my words were hitting home.

I told him that I knew he was afraid of marriage and he didn’t need to be, and I said I also understood he worried about coming to the UK and starting again, he was concerned about his parents…at that, he told me he didn’t want to talk about that now. He also told me that lots of people ask him why he is not married and that he is only one of two in his friendship group who aren’t.

I asked him again what he was waiting for and that if he had no intention of marrying me, he should let me know. By now, he should know. I reminded him of his jokingly pushing me away when I had mentioned it the evening before, and said that had made me feel like he didn’t want to marry me at all. He was shocked and said he couldn’t even remember the conversation- as he’d been half asleep at the time. He genuinely sounded surprised but I can believe it only to a point.

He denied not wanting to marry me and said we could get engaged when I next came and asked me about a ring. I told him that I did not care for expensive jewellery as such, and pointed out that the ring I was wearing was little more than twisted metal and a pearl and that I loved it. He took it off my hand and tested it on his own fingers to gauge its size.

He also continued to joke a little – hardly unexpected as this is his go-to in most situations. But then he asked me to marry him with my own ring, hesitating putting it on my finger multiple times in jest before sliding it on to my finger. He told me he would buy me a ring next time and we kissed.

I can’t pretend I fully believed him: he’d had moments of sincerity amongst the joking but he had put my own ring on my finger -hesitantly – and I knew no more in that moment than I did before. Often the situation which caused my overthinking. We stood up for dinner and as we did, I began to pull off the ring to put it back on my right hand. He turned and exclaimed, and I started crying… when he asked why, I told him that I still didn’t know anything.

He held my hands to stop me from moving the ring any further, kissed me and told me that he loved me and that we were engaged. I dried my eyes and followed him into the dining room, still shocked and confused. I didn’t know what to think. Was he serious? Appeasing me?

As I sat down, I pulled the ring off my finger and played with it, unsure what to do next. He came back in the room as fate would have it when I threw it on the sofa beside me, and he asked me what I was doing. I replied that I didn’t know where to wear it so I wasn’t going to wear it at all.

He asked which hand was for engagement and I told him, and he again told me to put it on that one. So I did, and there it has remained.

I’m not naive to believe that this is official and there has to be an element of him appeasing me at this point. To be official, we would need to tell parents and that didn’t happen as we ate across the table from them.

This is what I know. He would not have gone as far as he has unless he wanted to. He doesn’t do, or say, anything that he doesn’t want to. He could have shut down the whole conversational at any point but didn’t. Whilst he was his usual humorous self, there was some sincerity there. So all I can do is be appeased with this pre-engagement commitment and hope than whenever I go back, there is indeed a ring and an intention to tell people. Until that point, I can be happy that there has been some clarity between us, I’ve called him out on a few things and I feel better for it. But, I’m not telling anyone until that ring is officially on my finger.

No, it wasn’t the romantic proposal that my head constantly conjured, hoping that each opportunity would be met with a planned declaration of his commitment. I wonder whether, if I had said nothing, he would have kept this status quo until forced to do otherwise by another force. He is aware that this happens in my own country- people live together, unmarried, and even commented on my own mother’s situation which gave me this idea. However, he has always said he wants to marry me in the future. How long in the future that may be, is in his hands.

Trip 4: days 5-6, hands

Well, once again I am writing from an aeroplane seat, waiting for take off. I’ve struck lucky – only me on my row! It’s 7.40pm in the evening and I have a 3 hour flight before a hotel stay and early get-up for the train home.

I’m calm, I’m happy. That’s good isn’t it? Unfortunately, life has also taught me to be guarded and anxious, so let’s see how long this lasts.

I left off writing after a passionate post-argument making up session. Perhaps less said about that the better. Wow, will suffice.

Saturday morning, day 5, Wildcard came into my room and all was well. As it always is. I commented that his parents had got up early, and he replied that we would go out for the afternoon once he came home from work. I was surprised and happy and wracked with guilt about the argument the night before.

We had a wonderful day as we always do. He drove for hours and hours, taking me to much loved places. We took selfies with each other, photos with his parents and ate slices of sugar sweet apples as we travelled.

On the way back we went to his local city and walked through the market. He bought a jacket with some money his brother had sent him and I smiled as he tried it on, heart-warm from how handsome he looked and how much he wanted my opinion.

As we walked through the busy market, crammed with colour and noise, sellers and buyers, I clung on to his hand frightened of getting lost and heeding his warning.

He is never comfortable when I hold his hand and I have never understood why. I thought it must be his culture or perhaps he just doesn’t like it. He always holds my hand when he needs to keep me safe though. Later, tired after a long day and hugging each other as we waited for dinner, I again attempted to hold his hand and snuggled as close as I could get. He sleepily asked, ‘What are you doing?’ And I replied I was getting close to him. Turns out all the times I’ve said that and haven’t always got the response I wanted, was down to that he didn’t know what it meant. Equally, when he went to pull his hand away from me, I asked him why. His response surprised me and made me realise that we all have our hang-ups. He hates his hands, thinks they’re small and like a woman’s, and I recall a conversation long ago when he said that a girl had made an unpleasant comment to him about them. I told him he and his hands were perfect to me, which they are, and not feminine at all. They’re slender, yes, but definitely male. From that point on he did not pull away when I held his hand.

Bolstered by this honesty and acknowledging his sleepiness – a natural antidote to his tendency to greet meaningful conversations with humour and teasing – I went for it. Be proud of me WordPress. I told him that next time I come, I want to get engaged. He was shocked, surprised and jokingly pushed me away (antidote not working as planned). I tried not to get upset – he was joking after all and I figured an out-right no would have been said with more seriousness. We’d had a great day and I wasn’t going to spoil it by pushing further. We were called to dinner, ate, and I happily, and uneventfully, said goodnight without a murmur of sulking. I had learnt my lesson.

I woke early the next morning, having dreamt unpleasant dreams of my old school, forgetting and failing and then a fire that spread through my town as I raced through in a car I owned 18 years ago.

I messaged him and soon he was there.

I don’t pretend to be particularly experienced in the bedroom. I have had a conservative amount of partners but more than the four serious/semi serious relationships I’ve had. I’ve had good sex and bad sex, and a spectrum of in between. What I have never experienced, is what I have with him. He has had less partners than me, is younger, and yet somehow makes me feel something so uniquely wonderful it makes me question why anyone would have one night stands. And, yes, I have had them.

We had a good breakfast and I counted the hours left before my departure. I didn’t pack, nor did I go for my shower and eventually he asked why. I didn’t want to leave, pure and simple. Whilst my children are my blood, he is my heart.

We sat on the previously ill-fated sofa and he jokingly asked whether he was able to play his game and I laughed and agreed, as long as he told me he loved me. His brother then called and Wildcard spoke to him for a little while. Once finished, he told me about the problems his brother was having with his wife: her jealousy, control and sometimes violent behaviour. She’s Irish and according to Wildcard, has a mental health issue ‘with papers’ to prove it.

I listened in horror to what he told me. His brother is almost a prisoner – not allowed to leave the house without his paranoid wife, unable to call his family more than once a week, and all his wages going in to her account as she does not work. After three years, his brother still does not know the area or how to get out of the situation he is in.

One the one hand, we only have his version and I only have Wildcard’s but I have no reason to disbelieve him. I can understand the jealousy to a point (I would be a hypocrite if I didn’t) but what she is doing can not be making either of them happy and she is definitely hurting his brother and his parents – and why anyone would want to hurt them I don’t know.

Somehow, Wildcard being afraid of marriage and wary about the move to the UK started to make more and more sense.

To be continued.

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.

Trip 4: day 2, travel and arrival

If you’ve read my last post, you’ll know that I commented upon the challenges of a long distance relationship and the sheer amount of organisation needed.

Mistake me not, he is worth every second. Barring the first trip, Covid has been ever present in our relationship. Multiple tests, multiple heath forms… this week’s trip pales in comparison. But I will say it again, he is worth it.

I’m on the plane now. I’m tired but comfortable. I started to question myself and my feelings, wondering at the changes I feel and what that actually means. My conclusion is that the absence is not excitement but fear. I’m not nervous or scared. Ok, my connecting flight bothers me a little, but in general there is no anxiety at all. That has to be a good thing.

In a way, its kind of left a void. An empty space not filled with any emotion right now.

******

It’s two hours later. I’m still on my flight but we are starting to descend. I then need to check-in for my second flight and wait for the final hour’s journey to be with him.

As we have got closer, I feel like I’m slowly awakening…unfurling like a rose bud. My heart and body and soul are calling out to him and waiting for his answer. I need to touch his skin, look into those deep brown eyes with all their mischief and…love. Yes, love.

No number of hours on video calls can compare with being 5 minutes in his company.

I’ve listened to my music on replay and have been reading my book. I’m now bored and impatient. I want him.

*****

I’ve seen his face. Yes, still on a screen but I’m so much closer now. I could see that little twinkle in his eye and know he is excited too, no matter how much he teases me otherwise.

Considering my anxiety, the stop off at this airport was relatively stress free. I didn’t know where I was going and neither did a few of the staff, but check in and security was easy. I’m about half an hour from boarding my last flight. I can’t wait.

Trip four: Day two

I’m hungry. Urgh.

I have a 25 minute wait until my gate opens. The airport is busy, even at 6am, and I have found a comfortable spot I don’t want to relinquish. Oh, the trials of solo travel.

I slept fitfully last night, in part due to the strange room, and the rest due to noise and knowing I needed to get up at 4.30am.

A lot of the darkness has cleared however, knowing grief, which unfortunately I do, it will come again… but I’m safe for now.

I feel pretty today. I’m wearing a baby pink jumper with a cut out back, comfy jeans and black pumps. Somehow, washing my hair in whatever Holiday Inn provided in the shower has defined my natural curls. I feel cute. I’m just hoping that this lasts until 4pm when I finally arrived at my destination.

I remember speaking once to my London friend, and her saying that she hoped her boyfriend realised the difficulties of getting over there. In truth, neither he nor Wildcard have any idea. Searching for dates and tickets, getting time off, sorting kids and household and pets, insurance, currency, covid tests, train tickets, hotels. And then, for me, a day and a half of travel. Unfortunately, there is no direct route to his city from the north of England, so I have to travel to London or get connecting flights. It so happens that on this trip, to maximise the short time I am there, I’ve had to get a connecting flight anyway.

I will be honest, I wanted to throw this is his face last night when we had our little bicker. I didn’t, because I knew the bickering was my fault. Plus, he would retort that it was my choice to come, and my choice to come now. Which is true.

Yesterday, tired-grieving me allowed herself to fall into the always-unhelpful pity party which is: it is not like it was when I first came.

Of course it isn’t. It never can be. No, he didn’t message me constantly yesterday, but he was working and he didn’t the first time I came. I allowed that, and a simple and innocent comment from him (do you want me to go whilst you are eating?) To build into a sulky spat which caused an upset. Ah well. All is OK now.

And they have just called us to board early. Result!

Day one, trip four

I’m at my Holiday Inn Hotel and they are getting big stars from me. Staff have been really friendly and helpful, they’ve made a special gluten free meal and the facilities at the hotel are great.

Am I feeling any more excited? Maybe a little. Wildcard called me before and I felt sunbeams start to penetrate my morose mood a little more. Soon…soon, I will be kissing his soft lips. I can’t wait.

I haven’t been to this London Airport in over two years since the first time I travelled to see him. The last two trips have been via Spain and leaving from Manchester. Regardless, the difference is palpable. The train from London to the airport was crammed. In June last year, with advisories stating not to travel – which I ignored – the airports were ghost towns. Few people, closed shops…tomorrow’s flight will be a very different affair. I fly out at 7.15am, and am still trying to calculate when I need to get there. On one Ryanair page it says at least two hours before, on another just 1.5 hours. Decisions, decisions.

I’ve eaten and showered and now must try to sleep.

Grave

I’ve written a number of posts recently. They are currently sitting in the draft folder, that graveyard for the unpublished.

There’s nothing particularly wrong with them: they’re just incomplete. I write without a plan or even a clear process – diary-like, I write what is relevant at the time. Believe it or not, I am conscious of making mistakes (although I am aware I do) and will leave a post for checking and publishing later. This, clearly, often doesn’t happen. When I finally go back to the post it is no longer relevant so I don’t post it. Silly, really, as this matters only to me.

I’m sat on the 12.47pm train to London. I shouldn’t be.

The plan was to get the 18.47 train. But then life spun, as it often does I’ve realised, and my options changed.

On Sunday evening, my sister text me quite late at night, asking if I was awake. She called me, and let me know that my cousin was in hospital in a coma. He had collapsed whilst eating and they suspected a heart attack or stroke. His own father had died at a similar age of a heart attack. Unfortunately, many of my Dad’s siblings had heart issues, as did my dad.

I haven’t seen my cousin for a while. He is older than me and since Dad’s death, I see less and less of his family. This cousin used to visit my Dad regularly though – one or twice a fortnight – and was one of the few people who did. He had shown me kindness in the past, and whilst latterly had clearly been poisoned by my evil step-brother, I was sad about him.

I didn’t sleep well.

The next morning, I was informed that he had indeed died, not of a heart attack. It appears he had choked on his food. The ambulance did not arrive for 50 minutes.

I don’t know any more than this. My guess is that his wife had suspected the heart attack and maybe didn’t check. Or perhaps she was unable to help him. Either way, my heart ached for her and how she must feel now.

Yesterday I felt low, grave, morose. I drove to town to drop off my PCR test but there was no excitement. I got home, exhausted, and messaged my boss to let him know I was not great. He offered the rest of the week off and after much stressing and contemplating, I agreed.

At 10am this morning I changed my train ticket, hastily finished preparations, and here I am.

I still feel low. I should be excited, and there have been moments of that, but I’m not really.

As usual, I have put my own pressures and worries on to this trip before I even started. This situation has just added to it.

What I will say, is that his face has been the only thing to make me feel an ounce of happiness. He is like a sunbeam, breaking through my dark clouds.

I can’t wait to see him.

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.