Life and Death

Last night Sylvie, my middle daughter,  posted a photo of herself with her dad’s girlfriend on Instagram. She added a comment with hearts and love. I admit, I felt a deep, dark pang of jealousy and resentment. Then I reminded myself that the kids like her a lot. That compared to his previous girlfriend who was an awful woman who caused us all a lot of pain and heartache, she was a nice person for my kids to have in their life.

Then I saw my older daughter Ruby post a photo too and despite me telling myself that it must be her birthday for the girls to be proclaiming their affection so publicly, jealousy stabbed meanly.  Insecurity. Resentment. Jealousy. 

This morning my son Tom posted a photo of himself with his Dad and sisters with the comment; They mean the word to me. 

What about me? I thought. Where’s my love?

I also had a weird feeling that something had happened. I flicked through FB and saw that there had been a fatal crash in town the night before. A woman had been killed.

Then Ruby rang me. It was Kelly, their Dad’s girlfriend of a couple of years.

I’m so shocked and saddened for him. What a terrible loss. I feel so impotent but I know he doesn’t need my support, he has a great circle of friends and his family are very close. I do feel like I should be there for my kids though. I’ve spoken to Tom and Ruby on the phone. They’re in shock. They are sad, especially seeing their dad so inconsolable. A massive part of me wants to gather them up and distract them from witnessing so much anguish but this is real life, isn’t it? Their Dad has every right to be in pieces and he shouldn’t have to put on a brave face. As Rob keeps reminding me, there’s nothing bad about children experiencing grief and sadness. They are human emotions. Life isn’t happy all the time. I grew up with a mother who hid her tears from us at all costs. It turned crying into something shameful for me. I feel desperately uncomfortable about crying in front of anyone. I distinctly remember the morning of my brother’s funeral not wanting to attend for fear of crying in front of a room full of people. It wasn’t just a fleeting thought – I seriously considered hiding out. Not going to my own brother’s funeral! I did go but I didn’t go to the wake afterwards. I hid at home, ignoring all the texts from the friends who knew me best, the ones reassuring me that I would be surrounded by love and understanding.

I want my kids to be able to express themselves without crippling anxiety. I want them to be able to be vulnerable when they are in safe company. Now is not the time to distract them. They need to be there with their Dad. To see him cry and to see his friends and parents comfort him.

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I write all this as if they have the same problems I do but thankfully they do not. They are good communicators. Sylvie is the only one who is more of a closed book but I feel that’s more of a personality trait. She’s just different to her older siblings. More private but she will talk when probed a little. Especially with her older sister and as long as she’s opening up to someone, I’m not so troubled by it.

 

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I have begun to read about step 4 in A Woman’s Way Through the 12 Steps without really feeling I’ve accomplished step 3. I feel like I need to table step 3 and carry on otherwise I’m going to get stuck. I’ve felt flat this week. Almost depressed. I’m not sure if it is connected to being sick with tonsilitis? I haven’t been for a run in a week and I have no urge to. I’m sure this must be a huge red flag to Rob and normally I would force myself to go purely to make him feel better but I just don’t want to.

When I get like this I start thinking about antidepressants. My first experience with happy pills was when I was a single mother to a very young Tom and Ruby.  I was put on fluoxetine (prozac) and felt better really quickly. I stayed on them for 6 months I think and weaned off. It was a success. Subsequent times have been a disaster. I have ended up seriously suicidal a couple of times and another time put on a lot of weight. All of these times I was drinking about periodically abusing other pills like Valium. I always felt much better when I came off them and started to feel again. Apart from the first time, I’m really not sure if they helped or not because I was drinking quite heavily at the same time.

Have any of you got any pearls of wisdom on anti-ds? Do any of you use them in your recovery? I feel like anxiety has played such a big part in my previous relapses that taking medication for it might be a huge help. Rob is so anti it though, that it feels like I will create another obstacle for us. I don’t want to put on 3 stone again for sure but the thought of having a prolonged period anxiety free is so compelling. I know that the last pill I was prescribed is often prescribed for bulimia. So maybe it would help with having negative compulsions?

This is just something that I’ve been mulling over the past few days. Maybe I’ll feel differently tomorrow. Maybe when the weather warms up and stays bloody warm and dry, I’ll feel more motivated again.

Bleghday

The weather changed and so did my sunny mood.

Yesterday morning Fable and I had our breakfast in the garden. We were wrapped up in socks and cardigans but it felt so good to start the day with the sun on my face, drinking hot tea. Fable had spent most of the previous day pottering around in the fresh air and to be outside again, well it felt like a new beginning. A fresh start. Yesterday I knew I had to stay at home all day. We have no spare cash until pay day and Rob had to go into work so I had no transport to pop into town but it didn’t matter to me at all. I felt relaxed and looked forward to spending the day with my baby, reading, listening to the radio and playing in the garden.

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Then it rained.

And it was still raining this morning. And today kinda sucked. I just felt bummed out and negative about everything. And no matter how many times Rob tells me I can talk to him and be open about how I feel, I feel like when I have a day like this he goes all out to disagree with every statement I make. I think it’s his problem-solving attitude but FUCK, sometimes I just want him to agree with me! (You know, like a woman would!!)

Yeh, I’m going a bit stir-crazy too. I totally understand why you want to get out a few hours.

Ooh yes!! If we won the lottery it would be f’kin amazing! I’d book us a holiday right away!

I agree, there’s nothing nice to eat in the fridge.

NOT..

You have a nice home. You need to work on that urge to get out of the house. Meditate.

I’ve had money. I’ve had no money. It doesn’t make much difference to your happiness.

There’s beetroot in the fridge.

I know he’s just trying to help. I know I’m just having an off day. I probably need to spend more time agreeable female friends who know by saying YES when you moan about your current situation or fantasize about future, it means you get it out of your system, put the subject to bed and usually feel much better.

Today sucksYUP!

I’m not in the mood to cook.  – ME NEITHER. I’M GOING TO GET TAKE-OUT.

My kid is doing my head inSAME. I’M PUTTING HER TO BED EARLY TONIGHT.

OK, great seeing you. I’ve had a great time.. BYE 🙂 🙂

 

Can you tell I’ve got it on me today??

(Rob I love you)

 

Deb

I feel sad. I miss my mum. She is in the country, at my grandparents house and I was too scared to go and visit her.

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We last spoke in person on Mothering Sunday 2008. I saw her nearly a year later at my brother’s funeral but she blanked me. Or maybe I blanked her. I don’t know anymore. I know I was too scared to look at her.

We’ve been in contact again for about 6 months but only by FB and email. It was Mother’s Day here in the UK yesterday and I really wanted to ring her. For a few hours I believed I might but then I chickened out. I pushed it from my mind and only thought about it again this morning. I felt disappointed in myself.

I am terrible on the phone. Even before we became estranged we only spoke on the phone maybe once a month. Now I have no idea what we’d talk about. I know that we can’t have any real-talk. She doesn’t want to go over the past. Honestly, I don’t want to either but for different reasons. I think she doesn’t want to feel blamed. I don’t want to fall out again.

Going to see her at my grandparents doesn’t feel like a safe, neutral place for our reconciliation. When I fell out with my mum, my nan and grandad became collateral damage. I tell people they took her side because I haven’t had any contact with them either since. In actual fact, I walked away from them, like I walked away from my friends when I split with my husband. I felt like I didn’t deserve them. I didn’t want to put anyone in a position where they had to choose. I didn’t want to be rejected so I took the decision away from them.

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I put some stupid 80s song on YouTube earlier which made me so nostalgic. It transported me to a time where I was little and my mum was everything. I can’t quite put my finger on it. It was all colours and flavours. I don’t have many stand out, happy memories with my mum but I know there must have been a time where we had fun and I think that involved music and singing. She was 17 when she had me in 1978 so music like Dr.Hook, Barry White, Hot Chocolate and Meatloaf were the first records I heard. When I hear them now they make me smile.

 

If I’m honest with myself, I wish she’d make the grand gesture but I know she can’t.  I have always wanted so much more from her but without ever asking for it. I want her instinctively understand what I want and need from her and that’s ridiculous. It’s wrong of me. The only way I can get what I want from my relationship with my mum is to ask.  I need to push past my fear of her rejection.

I never thought in a million years she would reach out to me after so many years, but she did. So who knows what else could happen?

Body Art

I feel much better today. Phew!  SO much gratitude for drugs that are legit there to make you feel better. All hail penicillin!

Yesterday I read this post – Broken by fellow blogger Mark Goodson. It has inspired me to write a little post of my own.

I had my first tattoo when I was 19. It was a spur of the moment thing. A friend and I caught a bus to the next big town, something we often did as teenagers. There was sod all to do in Builth. We had one high street of shops where we grew up. None of these shops catered for teenagers. There was a newsagent, a shoe shop, a greengrocer, a toy shop and several clothes shops for pensioners. Oh, and 10 pubs on that 500m stretch alone. (Another 4 very close by!)

Skipping town for a day with your mates, smoking at the back of bus and spending all your pocket money on cassettes, clothes and make up was a Saturday rite of passage. It was all very tame stuff. We were all good kids. By the time I was 19 I didn’t feel like a kid anymore. I had lived in London briefly. I was working a couple of jobs and living in my own flat. In a few months time I would discover I was 17 weeks pregnant by the married man I was desperately in love with but at this point, he was a secret. Not even my best friends knew.

Back then a small tattoo cost £10.  I had a card in my bag from my secret guy with a red, star shaped sticker. I thought that was a cool idea for a tattoo. It meant something to me but more importantly I felt it would impress him. It would symbolise our love. Oi.

I found it excruciating. I had it on my belly and later found out that is one of the more tender places. It was tiny though, so over pretty quickly. We didn’t have many options for artists back in the sticks and this place was the only parlour available to us. I went back there for several more tattoos in the following years which is baffling to me now because he was TERRIBLE. The red star kinda looked like an asshole but I found the whole process thrilling. It made me feel happy and excited in that moment. Tattoos are far more fashionable now but at the time I felt it made me stand out. Along with my multi-coloured hair and piercings, I found something that gave me a buzz. It gave me an identity and I felt cool.

If I could, I would erase all of my tattoos. Even the memorial ones I have had done for my brother. Even the ones that are well done. I would give anything to be bare skinned again. Every tattoo I have subsequently had done, I was searching for that original buzz. Most of my tattoos were done when I was high. The same with crazy hair cuts or body piercings. I had my nipples done a few times, the Christina, my navel, my nose, my lip done several times in different places and the Anti-eyebrow. I actually loved my lip piercing. I like the look of it on most girls. I loved having pink hair and blue hair. I wish Rob was more into it because I would definitely go pink again. I know I should do what I want but I also want to be attractive to him so it’s a tricky one.  I have always wanted long hair but would hack it and bleach it to death when I was high or depressed. I hate having short hair but I frequently cut it all off in turbulent times, making myself feel more ugly.  Knowing that Rob has a preference has encouraged me to not to grab for the scissors or bleach.

Good tattoos these days are INSANE. I am so jealous of the quality of some of the work I see online. When I say I would like to erase all of my tattoos, it’s not because I hate the look. It’s because I hate the quality of most of mine. I’m sad that they weren’t properly thought through. Most of them were cheaply done on a whim to try to replicate a certain feeling. Like a drug.

I have spent many months of my life wishing I could turn back the clock. Been miserable that it was me who did this to myself. I have felt the art on my body doesn’t truly reflect who I am.

I have felt judged by certain people for having tattoos – that I don’t give a flying fuck about. Anyone who judges me for being a middle-aged woman, mother, human with body art makes me laugh. What I care about is being judged for the shitty quality by cooler people than me, haha!

But as we get older, we come to accept ourselves more, don’t we? Or we are supposed to at least. I have stopped hating my wobbly belly. My large forehead is not going anywhere. I wish my teeth were whiter and straighter but I know they don’t make me less loveable. My tattoos are here to stay so I am going to stop hating on them. I wasn’t forced into having any of them. I paid for them with my own money. And I do feel fondly about each of them for different reasons.

The wrongly written quote

The wonky key

The covered up asshole (red star!)

The song lyrics and initials

They all make me feel something. The all have a memory attached. They are all part of me.

You know, looking at these photos, I don’t hate what I see. 🙂

I doubt I will ever get another tattoo but I like to look at incredible ones on the internet and drool. I always wanted a Frida Kahlo inspired one and a Twin Peaks one too.

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Woman down!

A sick girl in her bead

On a ten day course of penicillin for acute tonsillitis. I saw the Dr tick the acute box on her screen otherwise I would have described it as typical. I get a bad case of tonsillitis approx once a year but compared to how badly and how often I got before I had children, it’s totally manageable. As long as I get those antibiotics in straight away!

I’m flitting between feeling fine and really poorly. I have tried to read today but nothing’s going in so I’m going to admit defeat. It’s been a pretty good week.

Have a great weekend 🙂

Today’s snippets

Finished the chapter on Step 3 today in A Woman’s Way Through The 12 Steps. Thinking a lot about a higher power, spirituality, surrender and willingness to+for change.

I felt so much relief when I surrendered to the notion that I could no longer care full time for Sonny. I had fought for so long to maintain control over a situation which had been spiralling out of control. I was in utter turmoil until I accepted the situation and let go.

I liken my addiction to this. However, in the situation with Sonny other adult humans took over. There were other people to hand-over to. So I’m still mulling over this but I feel like I’m learning. 🙂

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Wish List – Inner Peace

I feel like some of the obstacles I have created for myself in my own recovery are shifting.

 

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This made me laugh and then inhale. I write often about how rainy days aggravate me. I’m sure I would cry over lost luggage if that ever happened to me but tangled Christmas lights??? NJNJNGNJGHNKJDNGNJHNGJNG. DON’T EVEN!

 

Dry

 

In AA someone talked about being a dry drunk. That they are not drinking but not sober.

A ‘dry drunk’ is a person who hasn’t taken a drink, but continues to have the same thinking and behavior as when they were an alcoholic. This individual has given up alcohol, but they haven’t given up their alcoholic ways. Alcoholism is more than a behavior; it’s a disease that affects all aspects of a person’s life, and simply stopping the alcohol isn’t enough to achieve full recovery.

Sobriety, on the other hand, is more than just giving up alcohol. It involves new thinking, new behaviors and a new attitude, all things that are learned through the 12 steps. Recovering alcoholics learn to accept the fact that alcohol wasn’t the problem; their choices were. Alcoholism was the unfortunate symptom. – The River Source

I am dry and doing my best to keep my behaviours in check but I think I can state that I have never achieved full sobriety in my attitude. Before I met Rob, any attempt at becoming sober and staying clean was a battle of wills. I congratulated myself on periods of dryness and felt like I’d achieved something. That I was winning. I can see now that that is why I have continued to fail. I may have been dry but I wasn’t sober.

Working the steps

I find the first step straightforward. I don’t have any problem admitting that my life becomes unmanageable when I abuse substances. I am way past being in denial that I have any power or control. It’s step 2 where I keep getting stuck. Trusting in a higher power. Handing over to that higher power. Believing in one! I worked out last night by simply imagining what qualities I want in a higher power, that I am looking for an all-forgiving, non-judgemental parent. Not something I have experienced in my own life except to say that I believe myself to be one. Obviously I can’t restore myself to sanity.

Tried and failed x10000.

Rob said something about God being in me (Oh, did I forget to say he is a believer and that every time we have this conversation I flip out and accuse him of winding me up?!)

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It’s a lot to think about but I feel like I’m actually getting somewhere…even though I’m fully aware it writes like I’m just going over and over the same hurdle weeks down the line.

 

Learning

 

I had a discussion with Rob yesterday about school and learning and passing exams. I did great in school considering how much I skived. I did pretty well in exams too but I feel I learned nothing except how to pass said exams. I had a really good memory for learning lines when it came to theatre and I used this to cram the night before an exam and basically crap out the contents the following day onto a piece of paper. I left school with 9 GCSEs (a couple of A*s, 3 Bs, 3 Cs and a D) and 2 A-Levels (an A and a C). I can remember NOTHING that I learnt. A prime example would be history GCSE. History was the easiest for me to memorize because it was like a story. It flowed and made sense. On top of that was had a history teacher who was an examiner and a few months before the real deal he gave us a mock exam with a wink,wink,nudge,nudge. He more or less told us that it would be the same as the real exam. So I memorized a couple of essays and lo, I passed with flying colours. I would not have passed with an A had I not been good at learning my lines, as it were. I can honestly say that a week later I had totally forgotten what I’d written.

Rob didn’t do so well in school. He didn’t see the point of exams. He left early. For him to be enthusiastic about a subject, things had to make sense to him. I know teachers have a hard job. They have to teach fuckers who don’t want to learn. They have to hit targets. So unless everyone involved is passionate about the subject and the kids want to work hard it’s hard to reach a classroom of teenagers. He left school – realised you did need to pass those dumb exams if you wanted a decent job and went back to college and did them.

What I’m trying to say is that despite appearing to be intelligent because I did well in school I don’t think I am that clever. I’m not trying to put myself down. I know I am bright but after years of not really applying myself to any kind of learning and the skill of being able to memorize pages of writing firmly in past, I feel kind of stupid at times. Like when you’re reading a book when you’re tired. You find yourself repeating the same page over and over because you keep switching off.  Your eyes going over the words but your mind is elsewhere. I feel like that so often in my adult life. When I try to tell Rob what I discussed in therapy and I just don’t have the adequate words, almost like I have already forgotten what was said the hour before. I could be engrossed in the session, having epiphanies all over the damn place but when it comes to verbalizing it in the car on the way home it appears like I’m withholding and being evasive. I’m not! I want to share with him. I just get so flustered, I clam up.

I can read books on recovery and find paragraphs that jump out at me. I get a buzz that I’ve related to something. It makes me feel like I’m learning but ask me to explain it and why I personally connected to it and my mind goes blank. I feel despondent and I confess, it makes me want to give up on that particular book/podcast/article.

I’m reading A Woman’s Way Through the Twelve Steps and decided to screenshot anything that jumps out at me. Anything that I feel an immediate connection with. Whether I can explain that connection or not. I think this will help me. Like a child with flashcards. So I will be posting blog entries that just have screenshots because this is the best place for them being my recovery base and also Rob reads my blog, so maybe it will help him understand better what’s going on with me when I can’t find the words.

 

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^^This almost feels so obvious it doesn’t need to be said. I have been so frightened of my own feelings and so numbed to them that I have lost a true sense of my inner self.

 

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Yes, yes, yes to the micromanaging the lives of my loved ones. This is deeply connected to my codependency. Creating an image of myself of someone who is in control of her personal life. A competent human being. Most importantly, a good mother.

Ok, I have to go do that good mothering stuff now. I love days like today where I have an abundance of words that mostly make sense.