Corona change

It’s Thursday so I probably shouldn’t be thinking about this yet but, hey, it’s what I do.

I may, or may not be back in work full time on Monday. Being honest, I started this half term week with the understanding that I am back in work full time from June 1st. Since then, I’ve been in school, spoke to the Head and was told ‘it is up for discussion’. And then yesterday, the local authority published a report saying that despite government instruction, Lancashire does not yet meet all the requirements to reopen schools due to the levels of Coronavirus. So, who knows?

The point is, things are changing every day. I’m not political but there seems to be no clear direction, no leadership: ambiguous comments built on ambiguous comments. I can’t believe that, even though hundreds of people are still dying every day here, we are being told that we can ‘stay alert’ but go out when Wild Card’s country is still in complete lockdown with under ten people dying a day. They’ve had under 200 people die in total. And they are still in lockdown.

But, thinking about change with the forever-changing possibility that I am back in work, I’ve considered how life has changed for me.

I’m exercising. Regularly. I know, I can’t believe it myself. It started months ago with a free 30 day subscription to an online exercise site. And then I just took some of the exercises and started doing my own thing. Each time I do the routine I add more repetitions or a new move. I’m now up to 30 minutes three times a week. On top of that, I’m walking for 30 minutes most days too. That is a big deal for me. I haven’t exercised that much or frequently since my early 20s. It probably needs improvement but, you know what, I’m proud of myself. I actually have muscles – definition – in my legs.

Talking of which, I haven’t put any weight on over lockdown. That is another achievement. Due to my gluten intolerance which was diagnosed last September, my eating habits completely changed and I dropped a significant amount of weight very quickly. I wasn’t eating properly though and that couldn’t be sustained. I was upset that I’d stopped losing weight at first until my best friend pointed it out – I’m eating properly, no longer denying myself anything (apart from gluten) and yet I haven’t put any weight on. I still need to lose some weight which is why I am increasing my exercise and have started to log my food again. But no weight gain is good.

I have had a face skin care routine from August last year when a friend introduced me to double cleansing. (I may have a slight obsession with face products now). But since lockdown, I’ve been much better with moisturising my whole body – I exercise, shower and moisturise. Similarly, whilst my relationship with Wild Card has ensured that I wear make up everyday, not just when I’m in work, scrolling through Facebook Watch videos has taught me a few tricks and my make up looks much better, more natural. I hate the whole ‘Instagram plaster your face until you look like something out of Star Trek’ look (sorry girls) but I’ve found a happy medium now.

Talking of happy mediums, I’m afraid I am not one of those people who took lockdown and completely transformed their house. I kind of thought, if there is a chance I could get corona and die I don’t want my last days to have been about painting the living room. But my house is cleaner and more tidy and I have organised and sorted through a few key areas. My garden is also looking better but not finished. I’m OK with that.

I have been reading a lot more though. I love reading, always have, but the last few years have seen pockets of reading and longer periods of not. I was just too tired. I’ve read lots of books since lockdown and I’m loving it all over again.

Being a teacher and therefore a key worker, I have worked over lockdown. I’ve been going into school a couple of times a week and setting and checking work each day. But there has been balance too. Yes, my job is very important to me, but my family and health are more important. It was hard at first – guilt plagued me – but I’m slowly finding a better balance between it all: work, home, family, me. Of course, this will all need re-evaluation when I go back to work.

And you know what? Despite the sometimes tumultuous ups and downs, I’ve been able to sustain a long distance relationship with Wild Card. I mean, how difficult has this situation been and yet we are still together, still loving each other. Yesterday, he told me I am his life. That’s a big statement from him – he’s normally about actions rather than words – and it has really touched me. 😊

So, how has this situation changed your life for the better? Remember, every cloud has a silver lining.

A different life

Heysham coast line, my photo! 

Having depression can make you feel trapped. Walls of anxiety – often self imposed – tower above you, threatening to crash down at any moment and smother the life out of you. 

I’m starting to come out of that: the walls, although still there, are crumbling at the edges. Doorways are appearing, offering a glimpse into another world, a different life.  I just need to be brave enough to walk through. 

I have had two fantastic days out this week. The first was on Wednesday with my friend when we went to the Lake District and then called in at Heysham on the way home. I can’t tell you how exhilarating I found that day. We chatted none stop on the way, so much so that I missed three (yes three!) junctions. We then laughed for about half an hour as we recalled seeing the sign for Scotland. What this did mean though, is that we came at the Lakes from the north and drove past Ullswater, stopping periodically to take in breathtaking views in the spring sunshine. 

We eventually made our way to Bowness and walked and browsed the many shops that line the streets. Although it is naturally a place for tourists, I love Bowness. The place still manages to retain its charm. 

Heysham by contrast seems almost barren and wild. The little shops and cafes I remember from my childhood visit there are shut but a walk to the little church and chapel on the cliff is well worth the stroll. The views are beautiful. There was a moment when the sunlight broke through the cloud and glistened on the sea. Unfortunately, my photography skills do not do it justice. 

The wind blew from the sea, whipping my hair around me. With that sunlight, bright and glittery, I felt such hope that things could get better. 

The National Trust manages the coastline and there was a little hilly woodland that we also walked through. Small and quaint it may be, but we both enjoyed that hour walking around that little piece of historic coast. 

Today, with the same friend, we have spent the day in Liverpool. I love Liverpool – it is my adopted city. Culture, history, shopping, architecture – Liverpool is a beautiful place. We went to the Walker Art Gallery which is fantastic, particularly with its current Victorian Artist exhibition. Some of those paintings truly take my breath away. Shopping, a delicious meal and then home – another great day. 

No matter how stark and bleak the world may be, it is so important to break through those dark clouds or those open doorways. I started this blog to document finding me again. Me without the stress of a failing marriage. Me without the pressures of my career. Me without the guilt of being a working parent. As I have said before, I didn’t expect to fall to depression and anxiety after the split. Rebuilding those connections to people I care about, and places that I love is helping me to remember that this life is worth living. It is not about existing day to day, but about making memories. A life worth remembering. Of course there will those days where my time is consumed by the constant struggle between motherhood and career. There will be days when my biggest achievement will be temporarily getting rid of the dirty washing pile.

 And that’s OK. Because those days when I am busy being a mum or a teacher make wonderful times spent with a friend or my children or my family all the more special. And I deserve that. I deserve to be happy. I deserve to have a life worth living. 


The question

My little holiday has given me a real lift.  And I really don’t want it to end.  I am absolutely exhausted but I am riding high on the memories of what life can be like. 

Please don’t think I am naive.  Countless holidays are reserved for the few.  I’m talking more about that opportunity to be me. To just have to consider my own happiness and well being,  just for a few days.  To be free to do as I choose,  just for a little while.  

My children are my world and rightly so.  I would never,  ever,  change that. And I love my job despite its stresses and strains and the frustration I feel from it at times. 

The end of my marriage has left a small space,  void, in my life.  Before the split it was filled with anxiety and hurt and anger and frustration and grief and disappointment.  It was not filled with love and happiness and contentment and equality. 

Please understand me when I say I do not want my children or my career to fill that void.  They have their place,  a very dominant and important one.  That little space is for me.  

This week – amongst flashbacks of sunshine and laughter,  dancing and Flirting,  talking and  pampering – I have considered how I can start to give myself more time for me.  Regular time.  

What would I do? Where would I go? Who would I go with? 

All my friends are married with children.  Meeting up with them always meant meeting up with partners and children too.  Pretty awkward now I am on my own. 

My husband was my only companion and yet that is precisely what he wasn’t.  I felt lonely and frustrated.  I often felt more like his mother than his wife.  

There are definitely things I can do alone.  Cinema,  beauty treatments (!), night school.  And I will do them.  I will find the time: I need to find the time.  But…   I don’t want to fill my little void with loneliness again either. 

So,  the question…   I have been asked it so many times already. When are you going to start dating again? 

I know that I am nowhere near ready to start a new relationship:  that I am absolutely certain about.  I am on the long slow road to recovery from anxiety and depression,  no new partner should deal with that.  Dating is a heart wrenching business and my heart is still pretty wrenched. Despite the self esteem boost that holiday flirtation can bring,  I am thoroughly disgusted with my weight and body. 

And then there are the practicalities.  Where would I go to meet someone?  Work colleagues are out,  I have no hobbies outside of my own home and I don’t particularly want to resort to trying to find a man in my local night club or pub like my twenty year old self. 

Some of you are thinking Internet,  I can almost hear you.  Been there done that.  Internet dating is a jungle filled with predators like the common spotted married man or the common stalking desperado.  Not to mention the not so rare looking for perfection so unwilling to get to know you.  Last time,  I met quite a few weirdos and liars and one man who I dated who was lovely but not right.  The odds are not worth it.  

I once read that you have to happy with yourself for love to find you.  I agree,  but no soul mate is going to come knocking on my front door and that is the only place they are going to find me.  

And I am second hand goods now,  not in the best of condition.  Renovation will certainly improve things but I don’t want to be an antique before I’m put back on the market.  I need to lose weight but I am just on the wrong side of depressed to truly care at the moment.  Ironic,  as a good weight loss would do me the world of good.  

So,  WordPress friends,  I’m going to go back to my memories and flashbacks for now in the hope they will spur me on to get myself out into the big wild world,  alone or not.