Rain, clouds and coffee.

Following yesterday’s post, it’s not to say world is always rosy now. In fact, it definitely has a horse manure hue and stench to it at times.

I’m sat in Dobbies Garden Centre in a smart grey suit. I’ve just eaten a very expensive and below par gluten free bacon sandwich which I paid the extortionate price of £4 for. (Note to Dobbies, saying you have ‘gluten free options’ and offering tiny frozen gluten free bread only, is not the same thing). I’ve just managed to spend £90 in two shops, which is interesting because that’s over half of what I would have earned if I had gone into work today.

I left the house three hours ago and set off to do my first day of supply teaching. I didn’t want to go. I didn’t sleep last night for the first time in months because I didn’t want to go.

I’m loving my tutoring. But if I don’t work, I don’t get paid. Due to where I work in the various school, my half term is split over two weeks. So today, arguably a half term day, I thought it best to do a day of supply, you know to get some money in.

I have been hounded by, and finally signed up to, a supply agency. Having never been on supply before, I’m not sure how they are meant to work, but I’m not impressed so far. They’re pushy, presumptive and focused on business and not their staff. I was asked at interview what I wanted to be paid a day and I told them. With my experience, I don’t think it was too much – and they agreed – but it still works out less than what an experienced teacher would earn over a day. Oh well.

Imagine my ‘delight’ then, when I discovered that they were paying me £30 less than requested, only £10 more than a newly qualified teacher (I’ve been teaching 18 years). After some discussion, they offered me an extra £10 and I agreed to do the day begrudgingly. I needed the money and felt that it was worth a try. They promised to discuss further after the day.

So, as I drove through the pouring rain, navigating through motorway roadworks and traffic jams, imagine my surprise when they called me to day that the school had cancelled and could I go elsewhere? I’m not good with sudden change (SEN?!) And I was annoyed at the presumption that I would just agree – they’d actually told the school I was available. The school is one I tutor at, and am doing well in. But having witnessed the plight of supply teachers there first hand, and not wanting to undo all the positive relationships I have made there, I eventually declined after some umming and ahhing. They were surprised and not happy.

Neither was I to be fair. All too quickly, my head descended in to its mind fog; fear and limiting beliefs and inner voices choruses for attention. Had I done the right thing in declining? Can I afford to not work like this? Is the agency going to ‘let me go’? How do I actually feel about that.

So, I drove. I drove with no particular idea of where I wanted to be, but I knew I didn’t want to go home just yet.

Eventually, I walked through the rain to a supermarket and filled the basket with healthy fruit and vegetables. I went to a second shop to buy ambient goods, applauding myself on my economical shopping whilst inside fear raged.

And that’s when I ended up at the garden centre. I needed a coffee, maybe some breakfast and perhaps would spend more money I don’t have.

As I wrote the above, I was called by the agency. They were apologetic about the morning and the impression they had given of themselves. I likewise apologised for seeming awkward. We had a long discussion about what they can offer and what I am ultimately looking for (?!).

After, I left the coffee shop and meandered through the garden centre. I’ve bought some seeds and treated myself to a rose for Valentine’s Day.

The sun is shining now and the clouds have cleared.

It’s easy to allow the negativity and fear to take over. In that state, decision making is useless. I needed time to think, and I did so. I needed time to talk and I did so. I’ve still spent money instead of making it, but so-be-it. I feel more positive about supply next week.

In the meantime, I need to keep making positive steps towards my own business and future. That’s the I love way to ensure I’m doing what I actually want and not what I must.

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.

Birthday balloon.

I’m in bed. I’ve had enough already and it is only 3pm.

I want my mum. I want my dad.

My sisters asked me to call round for a coffee in the garden before I went to collect my daughter. I then collected her and due wanted to come back with me. We had lunch. My sandwich was delicious but now I feel like a balloon. I never eat that much bread, gluten free or not. My sister arrived with food for later. She ranted about the supermarket. I had to get money out for something being delivered.

I want peace

Despite this morning’s intimacy, Wildcard has not sent anything. I usually get an e-card or a video or a picture but there has been nothing. It is his words I am craving. His love. I need to feel loved and wanted.

His country has definitely closed borders for another month, probably to cover Ramadan I guess. Some people think it will be June.

I just feel meh.

Blue

As some of you have perhaps worked out, I’m not feeling too great at the moment.

My ‘pretend everything is ok’ generator has kicked in so I am still functioning each day. That’s a good thing I suppose.

But underneath that fake brightness is a swirling maelstrom of negativity, doubt, avoidance and confusion.

AVOIDANCE

I haven’t logged in to my work emails in two and a half weeks. Sure, there is no requirement to do so. The first week I consciously decided not to, to give myself a break. But as the days have slipped on, I’ve found I just don’t want to know. It’s just another thing to worry about – the academisation, my career….???!!!!.

I started the six weeks holiday with a plan to transform my house. Yeah, that lasted a week.

After a few months of lockdown frugality, my spending has increased somewhat. I need to get back in control before I start overspending. But I am avoiding doing it because …I just am. The situation is not helped by the following….

NEGATIVITY

My ex husband is well and truly pi#$ing me off. He has had some financial difficulties this past year, in part through bad luck and in part through his own actions. He has not given me any money towards the children in over a year. I pay for everything. I have also lent him money that I am not going to get back. His situation recently has become critical and he and his mother and now talking about how ‘he walked away from the marriage with nothing.’ First, this house was my childhood home. We bought it at a reduced cost from my parents. I have paid every mortgage payment since then. Second, he has contributed little to the household for the majority of out marriage – one of the many reason I divorced him. Third, I took on all our relationship debt when he left. He walked out of here with a clean slate. I reduced his child payments to help him afford a house. I helped him financially to get a house. I’ve paid for every birthday and Christmas present for our three children for years, whilst he has sat and enjoyed the gratitude from them as they did not know he had not contributed. Even if I had been able to give him a more substantial lump sum three years ago, that money would have long gone by now. He would still be in this mess because he is an idiot and I am not carrying him anymore.

DOUBT

Does Wildcard really love me? Is this as special as I think it is, or am I projecting my romantic sensibilities on an impossible situation? Do I want him so much because I can’t have him? Do I want him so much because of how attractive he is? Maybe he is just after a European wife. Maybe he thinks I’m stupid and naive and that I’ve fallen for his lies.

I’ve joined a Facebook group of other women waiting for borders to open. There is no denying, there is a pattern. Many of the women are older than their boyfriend. They’ve talked about the jealousy of their boyfriend’s friends because he has a European girlfriend…that has made me nervous.

But he calls me every day, multiple times. A ridiculous amount of times if you listen to my daughter, who believes it is actually more like one day-long video chat with a few breaks in. His actions very, very much suggest he loves me. He cares for me. He knows me. He inspires me. He makes me laugh. He shows pride in me. He shows jealous and anxiety when he thinks I am unhappy with him. He shows me he loves and misses me in all these ways every day. What more do I want?

CONFUSION

So, if he really does love me… what’s going to happen? There is no sign that the borders are going to open anytime soon. When will I see him? Will he wait? Should I be holding out at my age? Should I be looking closer to home? Would that make me happier? Could I cope with losing him? Would he pursue me or just move on quickly to one in a long line of women who want him?

So, yeah. I’m feeling blue.