When will it end?

What with all my poor health of late. I just wonder what life has in store.

I have numerous friends dealing with horrific health problems. No I’m not the only one.

Then last week my gorgeous, smart, loving daughter in law had surgery last week for an ectopic pregnancy. That would be bad enough but this was the second in under a year. Making this not only a tradgedy in itself but life changing for her and her little family. She so wanted a second child.

Several months ago I learnt that my best friend from school had lung cancer. If that wasn’t bad enough her brother died of covid at the start of the year. My friend and I had lost touch for a number of years when our children were young. In those days there were no mobile phones and no internet. I found her again through Facebook about 8 years ago.

We both had busy lives and always promised we would meet up again at some point. I had moved away from the area 33 years ago. Our communication was intermittent but we were still in each others thoughts. During one of our more recent communications I had promised that providing I was well enough I would make the effort to go and see her this summer.

Unfortunately it is now too late. My dear friend passed away peacefully yesterday morning.

Why is it that the good people in this life have to suffer so much.

Fractured not broken

The other night and it was at night I wrote a post about waiting. I wrote it because I had been reading Abbie Greaves book The end of the Earth. It had taken me back to when I was a young adult. I couldn’t sleep because of the thoughts going round and round in my head. Once I had written it and I apologise I didn’t read it through so there are bound to be errors.

One of my new blogging friends Bitchy after 60 commented that with everything I have been through it would have broken most people.

That post only scratched the surface of what my life has been like in the last 50+ years. I’m not broken yet. I have many emotional fractures and my body is falling apart but nothing has broken me yet.

Last night mother asked if I had experienced depression or anxiety in the last year. The question was in relation to the covid-19 pandemic. The answer is no. I am lucky to have technology that has allowed me to keep in contact with family and friends. I could also order whatever I needed online. I also have plenty to keep me occupied. My garden, reading, knitting etc.

That doesn’t mean I haven’t experienced anxiety or feeling in low spirits. I have but more in respect of my health than the pandemic.

Waiting

Last week I wrote about Abbie Greaves book The Silent Treatment and I was looking forward to reading her second book The Ends of The Earth. I finished reading it a couple of days ago. I would recommend it however it is a heart felt tale of love and pain.

Reading this book was bitter sweet for me. I enjoy Abbie’s writing but some of the characters took me back to my past. I’m not saying that these characters in anyway resemble me or my past. There are aspects of this sad tale which remind me of one of the bad times in my life.

Some people in my real life know bits of my story but I guess my mother is the only one who knows most of it and even so I didn’t divulge some of my truth until many years later.

When i was 20 I had been engaged for 2 years to M. After a falling out with his mother I was treated more like his mistress/dirty secret than his fiancé. Eventually I had had enough and broke it off. Some months later I began seeing A. He was an older man but we got on really well and he treated me so much better. He was serving in the army but we spent as much time as we could together. We had mutual friend that he stayed with at weekends.

At the time I had joined the Territorial Army in my spare time. I remember once being embarrassed when A had dropped me off for my weekly training. Someone commented about my dad dropping me off. Anyway it was t few days after my 21st birthday that I had been away on a weekend training exercise on Salisbury Plain. When I got back on Sunday night A met me at the barracks to take me home. He took me to our friend’s flat.

He wanted sex. I was tired, battered and bruised. I wanted nothing more than to sleep. He forced himself on me. I made it clear I wasn’t in the right frame of mind or body for sex. That didn’t stop him. I don’t remember how I got home, I guess A drove me. The following Saturday he came to see me. I told him we were finished. He was not happy. He raped me in my parents living room. I never saw him again for which I was glad. I never told anyone what had happened.

At that time police were not sympathetic and I knew that I wouldn’t be taken seriously, after all he was my boyfriend and this was years before domestic rape was recognised. Later I. The year I got back together with M. It didn’t work out, I had changed. Not only that but I found being alone with him difficult. I couldn’t cope with intimacy, I would always see the face of A looming over me. After several months I broke off my relationship again.

I found an ad in the local paper for a week in Austria traveling by coach. By this time I was 22 and in need of a break. I was travelling alone. Being one of the last passengers to catch the coach I had a seat behind the driver. During the long drive I got chatting to both drivers. Once in Austria we were split up around the village. If memory serves me right there were three of us staying in the house where I was staying.

Through out our stay there were events and trips each day. Most of the group were couples or groups. I was just me and often found myself with the drivers and our tour rep. Looking back I know that was a mistake. I was beginning to feel an attachment to the taller of the drivers C. We were spending more and more of our spare time together. Until I ended up spending the night with him. C was an older man (apparently I prefer older men), but younger than A. Amazingly when I was with C I didn’t see A’s face.

By the time I returned home we had swapped phone numbers. He had my home number and my work number. Whenever he was between trips I would catch a train to London where we would stay in cheap hotels. He told me he wouldn’t marry me but he wanted us to live together. I spent a few days with him staying with a friend of his. I applied for a job at his local airport.

Then the unthinkable happened. I hit a call from an older woman claiming to be his wife. S was 14 years older than him and he was 14 years older than me. I guess I will never know the real truth. C told me that he had married S to help her and her two daughters (my age). Every time he tried to leave her she cut her wrists or some other cry for attention.

For months I had to have my calls screened both at home and at work. S or her daughter would call me saying nasty things. I stopped seeing C. Then one night he arrived at my home saying he had left her. He couldn’t take it anymore. The next day we found a bedsit near to my work. That first week it was great coming back every evening to my meal cooked for me. The two of us together making plans. It wasn’t so great for C, he wasn’t used to being in a strange town alone all day with no work. It was his off season.

He told me that he had a friend in Norfolk who could give him work as a taxi driver Monday to Friday. He would be back at the weekends. He never came back. I refused to get upset. I couldn’t phone him, we didn’t have mobile phones in those days. After a few weeks I had a phone call from the Samaritans supposedly searching for C on S’s behalf.

I stayed at the bedsit until the end of our 3 month contract then moved back to my parents. While I was at the bedsit I didn’t see anyone outside of work and a few visits to my parents in the next town. I couldn’t give up on C, I couldn’t forget about him and move on. I needed to know where he was and what had happened. I kept my grief tucked inside me. I never cried, my health began to suffer.

I remember one day phoning my mother at work in a panic. I felt as though my life had collapsed, I didn’t know how I would get through the next minute let alone the next hour. I don’t remember what happened next but I got through the day. My work was suffering, eventually I handed in my notice. I knew I couldn’t carry on with my job in the state I was in.

I managed to persuade my Dr that I needed help but I didn’t want pills. He arranged for a councillor to visit me at home. Unfortunately he was about to change jobs so I only saw him the once. He told me that I was clinically depressed. We went through everything in my life that was making me feel so bad. That helped, just breaking it all down into different problems.

About a month later I got a job working in a bar then a job as an hotel receptionist. One afternoon on my way home I stopped at our local supermarket. On the way out I saw a face I never expected to see again. It was C. He waited for me to walk me home. As soon as I was home I ran to the bathroom to be sick.

It was 11 months since he had left me. He thought he could pick up where he left me. He explained that he had gone to Norfolk as planned but he had phoned home to check how S was. She was in hospital after another suicide attempt. So he went back to look after her. Now she was well and he was able to leave. I saw him a few times over the next couple of months.

I became pregnant, he said he was decorating the flat for S then we would be together. I lost the baby. Suddenly he was unavailable again. He did arrange to see me over the August bank holiday. Bizarrely I stayed with his younger step daughter and partner. We had become friends over the phone. She didn’t agree with how her mother and sister had been towards me. Anyway when I was supposed to see C it was S who turned up. I was suddenly very ill in the bathroom. Later we spoke and found that neither if us were the bitch we had thought.

Over the years I have wondered what happened to C and S. I moved on with my life. I met the man who gave me my four sons.

Abbie’s book was nothing like my story but it did get me thinking about it. I just remembered that one of my colleagues way back then once said to me. ” Your live life might not be happy but it’s interesting” . Thinking back on that comment I don’t know why she thought it was interesting.

Disrespected

I have just been reading about a cleaner who retired from her job after 35 years. Her latest boss had been cruel and disrespectful. However the cleaner showed that she was the better person when she left. The note she left behind reminded the staff that they should always be kind and not think themselves better than anyone even the cleaner.

Back in the late 1990s I had gone back to work part time after having my children. I had a part time temporary job for 4 months. I took the summer off to look after my children in the school holidays. When the children went back to school I took another part time job until Christmas. It was in the accounts department of a local distribution company. I had always liked working in accounts. It is possible that I could have enjoyed working there but I didn’t. I dreaded every day and couldn’t wait to get out of there on my last day.

It wasn’t the work, it was the staff. All young women and one man all working full time and had been there for quite a while. I was the part time assistant. I was treated as though I was stupid and didn’t know anything. Nobody spoke to me. Unless it was a condescending comment.

Just because I was a mother working part time they thought I wasn’t worth as much as them. None of them had yet started a family. I hope that after they had a family they might have remembered what it’s like to be a working mother and maybe try to be kinder.

After the Christmas holidays I was able to go back to the first job. This time I was there for 8 years. Working with much nicer people. I wasn’t the only part time worker and everyone was treated equally. I only left there when I was on sick leave whilst going through my nasty divorce. The Company was in the midst of a restructuring. The part time temporary staff were the first to go.

What three words?

Recently I bit the bullet and joined twitter. I’ve found a few people to follow. I don’t really interact on there. I’ve left a couple of comments. My posts on here are automatically posted on there. I currently have zero followers but that’s no surprise. I doubt anyone even knows I’m there.

Browsing earlier I saw a tweet from someone I knew a few years ago.

What three words are you looking forward to saying when the pandemic is over.

For me it will be when I see my family and can say…

Let us hug

Do you ?

Do you?

Looking into your pale eyes
As they sparkle with your smile,
Our faces just inches apart as we laugh and chat.
Do you read what is written in my eyes
Do you see the hidden desire

The need to reach out
To touch your face
To taste your breath
As together we allow
Our lips to meet

The light touch of your hand
About my waist
So brief yet indelibly
Burnt into my memory
To cherish until next time

Do you have any idea
Of the calm turmoil
You create within
Your touch, your smile
These things I crave so much

Do you want it too
A time and a place
Where we can share
Much more than
A simple kiss

Spaces

Something else I wrote back in 2008

Spaces

Spaces everywhere
Spaces full of noise
Where children play
Where dogs bark

Spaces everywhere
Spaces full of things
Where books spill over
Where food wrappers collect

Spaces everywhere
Spaces packed tight
With houses and shops
With factories and schools

Spaces everywhere
Spaced dotted with things
Where occasional trees grow
Where lone sheep graze

Spaces everywhere
Spaces full of activity
With people hurrying
With music shouting

Spaces everywhere
Spaces that hurt
Spaces that feel so empty
Spaces where you should be

My Decision

Around 10 years ago I wrote this piece about my decision to divorce the other parent. How I felt 2 years after the event.

It has been a couple of years now and I don’t have any regrets. Some time ago, I think it was the middle of last summer my mother asked the question.

‘If you had known how hard it was going to be would you still have done it?’

I consider this carefully before replying. I am not sure why as I knew the answer, there was never any doubt in my mind.

‘Yes most definitely, it was the best thing I could have done.’

Indeed it was the only thing I could have done. I had given it my best shot. 19 years of my life I had given to that man.   But the day had come when I realised that enough was enough. He couldn’t understand it when I told him I didn’t want to continue living with him. He couldn’t work out what was wrong with me. We had a good marriage didn’t we, we never argued did we?

He was right in a way, as until the last few months we had very rarely had a row. Firstly he was never around to have a row with as he was always either at work, pub or asleep. (the perfect marriage in some ways).

Secondly we never rowed because, when he was around he made me feel so useless and weak that I never dared to argue with him and on the occasions when I tried to vent my anger on him he would turn it around to be my fault. Like the many Saturday mornings when he came home from shopping. (I wasn’t allowed to shop I spent too much, whereas he always bought bargains – you know the deals where if you buy this you get that free or the end of date things).  We had a freezer full of things we would never use and a fridge full of things that had to be eaten in one day but nothing for the rest of the week.

He often came in with a mood on, this would make me grumpy, (no one likes to be moaned at for no reason). Because I was now grumpy he would complain about my mood and stomp off to the pub.

During all these years he would tell me that I was

‘fat, ugly, useless with a brain like a sieve’

Now after so many years of being told this it becomes hard to believe otherwise. I believe that if you get married you should try to make the marriage work. I was not going to give up easily. I had to try to make it work. Besides I had nowhere to go and 4 children to consider. Because I had done such a good job of trying to make our marriage work he had no idea that it wasn’t working. The end of our marriage came as a big shock to him. For me it never really was a marriage. I had never been in love with him. We had never courted as such, just fell into a relationship as when we met we were both getting over broken hearts and needed someone to turn to. If I hadn’t got pregnant the marriage would never have happened.

Now, though we are divorced and I have never been happier. Financially we were never really solvent as a couple. Does anyone know a solvent alcoholic?  But we did have two wages coming in, his full time wage and my part time wage (part time!! I worked longer hours than he did for half the money).

Now it is just me and the boys, I am the only one bringing any money into the home. It has been a struggle and there are days when we have to keep our coats on because it’s too darn cold and I don’t have any spare cash to buy gas. (Yes I have had to get a key meter for both the gas and electricity). There are days when we have just 2 slices of bread and no milk. But we manage, I have not killed any of them off yet.

Are we better off now? Financially no we are worse off but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, it isn’t going to be like this forever and now that I have a full time job that I enjoy things can only get better.

However we as a family unit are much happier. Gone are the days of dreading the door opening, wondering if he is in one of his soppy drunk moods or in a nasty bad tempered mood that has everyone either cowering behind a cushion or hiding away in the bedrooms. Gone are the days where everyone had to be silent or risk his bellow of

‘Stop that noise’ or ‘be quiet’

In the past two years there has very rarely been a cross word spoke between any of the five of us. It took me a few months to realise that he was never going to be here again chastising me for staying up late or reading when I should be doing something else. I can have friends here if I choose. (visitors were forbidden when he was here).

Our house rings with the sound of music (not always to my taste, teenagers!!) and laughter where before there was only silence broken by shouts of ‘silence’.

There is an air of confidence about us all that was not there before. I have learnt that I am worth so much more than I ever knew. I am happy, I laugh, I joke, I feel sexy, I feel worthy, I have finally come to love the person I am.

As I said at the start this was around 10 years ago. The first few years after our divorce were challenging to say the least.  Harassment charges, death threats, an injunction to keep him away. Things have moved on. We are now able to be civil, we share a grandchild and communicate far more frequently than in the past. We are even able to be in the same room with our offspring. The next big challenge will be when we both attend our son’s wedding later this year. I’m sure it will be fine. I couldn’t have imagined this 10 years ago.

Being nice isn’t wrong

I have been thinking about my life. I wouldn’t say that it has been a bed of roses but there have been moments of joy and I have people on my life that  am grateful for. I have a loving family and supportive friends.

When I was between marriages I was given a book to read. why men love bitches

I tried to take the advice given in this book but eventually I came to the conclusion that if I took this advice and behaved accordingly, yes I might meet someone but they wouldn’t know the true me. It wouldn’t be easy for me to be anything but a nice person. I always think of how the other person would feel if I acted in certain ways. I don’t want to be a bitch in order to get what I want. I need to be true to myself. If others don’t want me because of that then that is their loss not mine.

In the last year I have gone through a tough time especially the last few weeks. I’m not saying that the time before this last year was not tough also. However it is the last year that I am thinking about right now. I am not going to delve into what has been going on, those who know me already know anyway.

What I am thinking about is that when people like myself have a tough time with the people around them, basically get treated badly for being a nice person. The general view is that the person being treated badly is in the wrong for allowing others to treat them as a door mat. I guess that people like me are thought of as being too weak to stand up for themselves.

I can’t speak for others but for myself, I don’t view myself as weak, I am actually fairly strong. However I do try to be a nice person, there might be rare occasions when I fail. Some people in my life have not treated me very well. I might never forget but I do try to forgive. I do my best to treat others as I would like to be treated. I know that many will think I am wrong, I shouldn’t allow myself to be treated so badly. I do not deliberately allow myself to be treated badly. I just try to be a better person by responding with kindness.

I do think there is something wrong with society if people who are kind to others are looked at as being wrong. In my mind it is those who treat others badly who are wrong not those who are treated badly.

Living on the edge

 

I am writing this for myself more than anyone else. I need to work out how I am feeling, why and how to do something about it. I don’t know about anyone else but for me putting it down in words helps me to work things out so this is what I am going to do now.

I am aware that when I am unhappy my family and friends will automatically think that the trouble stems from my marriage. There have been times when this has been the case but not at the moment.

The last few months I have been feeling very lonely, not when I am alone but when I am surrounded by others. This could in part be put down to my poor hearing. I don’t always know what people are talking about, partly because I can’t hear but also because I have noticed an increase in private conversations going on around me. I don’t ask what people are talking about because I figure that if they want me to know then they will tell me. This I think sometimes back fires because they then think I am neither interested nor care about what is going on with other people.

 Now that there are just the two of us at home, there is very rarely any tension where there was a lot in the past. I don’t feel any need to gripe to my friends about my home life. Maybe this is part of my problem, I don’t have much of interest to say, so it’s possible that my friends think I am being aloof. The more I am excluded from conversations the more I draw into myself. I guess this has become a vicious circle. I have been trying to make more effort to be more sociable but still I feel that I am being left out in the cold.

Recently I attended a function where I had an opportunity to catch up with a number of people I hadn’t seen for ages which was really nice. This function involved a sit down meal (which was tasty). I found myself sat between two people I have very little to talk about with. The two people to my right were constantly looking at their phones, I know this was no reflection on me. I was actually pleased that the person on my immediate right did actually talk to me a bit. He is well known for not talking to anyone he doesn’t know well. Where I could hear laughter coming from all the other tables there was none from ours. That isn’t just because I was on that table, there were three people that I could normally have a laugh with, it just didn’t happen. Maybe if I had been drinking more (I had a glass of bubbly on arrival and a glass of red wine with my meal) I might have been jollier. I don’t drink much so when I do it goes straight to my head. Perhaps it was because I had been feeling in very low spirits all week that I wasn’t able to just let go and drink more or enjoy myself better. By 10pm I could easily have just gone home but the taxi I was sharing was booked for midnight. Speeches over I joined everyone in the bar with the dance floor. I found myself sitting on my own, (my choice) just watching everyone else having fun. Several people did try to get me dancing and some of the time I did. Other times I didn’t (something in my head was telling me “if you don’t feel comfortable doing something then don’t do it”).

By the time I got home and my husband asked if I had a good time, I was feeling very unhappy. I tried to identify why I was feeling this way. I don’t blame anyone else it is all down to me. Being on the edge looking in is probably where I normally find myself at functions. It has never bothered me in the past, I am usually quite content to sit watching everyone else having fun. This time though it has got me taking a long hard look at myself, and I don’t like it. It has left me feeling very miserable, and self-conscious. I can’t function properly. My husband has been very understanding and caring for which I am extremely grateful.

I have realised that although I have a sense of humour and love to laugh, one of my favourite sayings is “a day without laughter is a day wasted”. I do find it difficult to let go of my inhibitions and have fun the same way that others do. Is this genetic? Is this because I am so incredibly shy? Most people don’t realise how shy I am. In small groups of two or three I am fine but put me in a larger group I can’t be my usual self(even if that larger group consists of people I get on with in smaller groups). Even when my kids were little I loved being silly and doing daft things with them but couldn’t do it with other kids around. I love being daft and goofing around like the child that my mind still thinks I am so why can’t I be like that with other people around. Why do I always have to behave like a sensible grown up. Why can’t I let go? I am hurting myself with all these thoughts, I am making myself miserable and tearful thinking about what is wrong with me. My self-esteem is rock bottom. Where do I go from here?

I don’t blame anyone for not wanting to be around me when I am not much fun to be around. I know that the general consensus will be that I should talk to my doctor, I don’t want to take any tablets, the last time I went to see my Dr feeling depressed I was offered self-referral telephone counselling. This I would be more likely to take on if they worked outside normal working hours, I don’t believe that they do. I have just decided to contact them anyway. I don’t know what else I can do to get myself out of this misery. I feel like avoiding all contact with people, I know that is not an option and I will do my best to face it. Before this I have found comfort being with people who care about me but I’m not sure that I can face anyone right now.

I hate these feelings of self-pity, I want to get back to being the cheerful positive person that I like to be. The person who no matter what life throws in my direct I can face it head on and deal with it. I am so proud of the fact that whenever I get low, I allow myself 2 or 3 days to wallow then I pick myself up. This time it just isn’t working. Is it because this time the problem is not anyone or anything else it is me myself and I. This time I don’t know how to fix it.