Are you ready for this?

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Location: United Kingdom

Yes...this is ALL about me, and mine. Marvellously self indulgent, feel free to tell me how splendid I am, leave comments, nice ones please, I have little kids and teenagers who can do the rude stuff. I am a grandma, to the glorious Joshua, I'm allowed to look frazzled and weary, I earned it. The older I get, the more I see that hanging on and being patient is worth it! They ( whoever 'they' are) are so right when they say you never know what is around the corner, it isn't always an articulated truck! It is vital to make the time for making memories, friends are the greatest treasure, I love mine. I am rich!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Subtle, perhaps not.

I love my friends, they are the kindest and most generous of all people and I never cease to be thrilled that we met, most of my friends are imaginary ones, ones that live behind a screen and some, I admit, I forget that I have never actually met. Sometimes I remind myself that I haven't met these people in person. I have met lots of my imaginary friends and when that has happened it has always been the most natural and easy of moments, as though we grew up together and of course this is who they are and of course we would feel this way.
I believe all the things my friends tell me, I absolutely do.
No matter how sad I may feel or how baffled I might feel at the wonderful things they tell me, I always believe them because they don't lie to me, neither do they say what they think I want to hear.
They are kind, funny, generous, honest, strong, clever, hard working, some work from home, some work outside the home, all are mothers, some from England, most from elsewhere in this big and sometimes scary world. They are all of these things but the one thing they are not, is subtle or underhand.
I wrote my last entry when I was ( can you believe this?) as low as I have ever been and I wrote exactly what I was feeling. I wrote it and briefly, I worried that I had written it and posted it. Then I let it go and didn't worry because actually, the thing that has yet to let me down when I feel as sorrowful and self pitying as I did on that day, is writing. I can write things I know I would never be able to say out loud to another human being.
I am what I am and I am who I am, I often wish to be different but  this is it. I rather like who I am, I don't like much of what has happened very much but despite how I seem to be lacking in self esteem, I'm really not. I am aware of my strengths and talents and I hope I don't belittle those parts of myself that I can be proud of. I am completely self deprecating in many ways and I suspect that will always be. When I was 18 and ( now I look at pictures) quite beautiful, with naturally voluptuous boobs, little waist, long curly, shiny hair and beautiful eyes, I thought I was fat and the ugly duckling of the family. I rarely care that I was never considered a stunning beauty because from the age of 15 I have always had someone that loved me more than they loved other people, they may have come and gone but they were there and while they were there I was never in any doubt that they loved me and that I deserved it.
So, I wrote the blog and I posted it and then I got on with what I do best, which is getting on with it. I have been quieter than I usually am and I haven't, I don't think, been as funny and supportive as I can be, I am, most definitely, running on empty but I am running, albeit in a spluttery and stop-starty kind of way.
I re-read the last entry several times because I was pleased at just how well it described how I had been feeling and if I am honest, still feel. I don't think too much about comments these days because since I made this blog private I think people forget it is here, that makes it easier for me to write what I want to write, even if it makes it less fun or rewarding ( because I am, to be fair, a comments whore, tell me I am FABULOUS, in writing because then I can come back and re-read and feel fabulous all over again)
The fact that I do write is the very reason, I hope, that no-one need worry. When I spew the misery onto the page (or into the post as is the way in this world of technology) the worst of it stays here.
Today, I started to get email notifications that I had comments on my post, as well as that I got some texts and some lovely messages on Face book and I smiled because I knew that one of my imaginary friends had read the post and sent our mutual imaginary friends a message that I was sad. So although the methods of the incidental messages of love and support were varied, they were all clearly sincere and most welcome.
I am glad that I wrote, quite clearly that the feelings I had towards H were not usual. I adore him and I know that he loves me just as much, it's funny that other people tell me how much he loves me much more often than he ever does. He doesn't tell me very often but he shows me almost every day. I do not get flowers or chocolates but I get so much more. He is the perfect gentleman which in this day and age is almost impossible to find and I will always love that I have that in my husband. I often wish that he would pander to my insecurities and say all those lovely things a woman longs to hear but if I am honest I suspect that it would be my undoing should he ever do just that.
The other day, I went into our room and saw that he had taken his pillowcase off his pillow and hadn't replaced it. I had just ironed a whole pile and so I put a fresh one on and forgot all about it. Later that evening after he had gone to bed, I got a text, sent from his iPod that said " Thank you for my pillowcase, I sure do love you a whole lot" Now to most women that wouldn't mean very much but the fact that he rarely says ( or writes) those words it was heart stoppingly glorious to me. There is something to be said for not spouting those 3 little words 15 times a day. I know that he finds it difficult to say because in his life he has been told he is loved while being shown that he is of no importance at all, by the very people who should never have done anything to make him doubt he was loved.  Life is very black and white to H, his experience of hearing ' I love you' is that people are liars, so when he hears those words, he doesn't feel joyous or in anyway fluffy. He feels wary and distrusting. I have learned to say things like " I love you, in the most sincere and truthful way" which makes him laugh, which in turn means he felt good when he heard them and as time has passed he is much more able to hear the words and enjoy them, in fact he often uses the fact that I have said them to reply with "And I, you." which is marvellous because he hasn't actually had to say them at all! If I call him on the phone he will often wait until I have said goodbye and then he will say, very quickly " love ya now" and hang up because ye gads let's not get into a discussion about it!
He is good for me and I for him. Even when I could punch him in the head, I am completely sure that he is right for me and I am also certain that I was made especially to love him and accept all his quirks and foibles and embrace almost every one of them.
I am so thankful for my friends and love that they are sufficiently caring enough to rally together and make me know that I am loved. Thank you one and all, not at all subtle but every one truly splendid.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Going back to where happy used to be.

I went back today, way back, years and years back to where I recall being happy. I didn't plan on going there, I planned on running away because being here is too hard.
I am all out of fine. I can't even say it anymore "I'm fine, thank you" because I'm not.
I would settle for fine, I had no idea how positively fabulous fine was until I wasn't anymore. Fine I mean.
I was running away because staying would have meant the rage getting out and honestly, where does that get a person ? Sweaty and disliked usually, neither of which are things I enjoy being, so I ran away. It felt like such an adventure to begin with, a delicious and indulgent adventure, SOD THEM ALL! I put petrol in the car and I pointed the car East, or West, South or North even, who cares?  I turned left but I don't know where I was to begin with so it didn't matter a jot, did it?
I left, telling H that I was going and I didn't know where or when I would be home and he sent me on my way with a punch to the back of the car, which was helpful.
I cried a bit as I drove the car away from where I was and that was OK, no-one could see so there was nobody to reassure, nobody to apologise to, nobody to care, crying was OK and I didn't seem to have a choice in the matter anyway so I just did it until I stopped.
 I drove and I got on the motorway and it was quite a new experience because I discovered that I didn't seem to have packed my careful in the car as I ran away. I didn't care about being safe as I drove which meant that I could go as fast as I needed to and overtake and not worry, as I normally do about the what ifs, all those terrible mishaps that could and most probably would befall me if I wasn't overly careful, tyres that blow out if I were to go over the speed limit, slippery patches of road that I may not have been ready for, other drivers who never remember to pack their careful when they get behind the wheel of their cars, not like me, I never forget my careful.
I rather enjoyed the drive to where I used to be happy and I didn't even seem to have to plan the route, my misery knew where the happy was and it was so much further back than I imagined. I thought, on those odd occassions when I would allow my mind to drift back to real happy that I had last had it when I was quite grown up.
I thought that coming back to England had made me happy but it would seem that coming home made me relieved, which isn't a bad thing altogether, relieved is a good feeling and can often be mistaken for happy.
Perhaps I was happy when the littlest boys were born and indeed, when Elijah was born, my sweet Elijah with his enormous brown eyes and his his sweet and accepting nature brought with him a delicious feeling of completion, a knowledge that this child, this beautiful and much wanted child was my last. I had done it, had my babies and this one dotted the i's and crossed the t's. He sucked his thumb and he stared with those huge eyes and without saying a word he let me know that I was fine, just as I was. Just as he gave me all those things I had quietly longed for in a baby, I gave him everything he had wanted, which was a place in this family and to be adored for being just who he was. Completion is a splendid way to feel, almost as good as happy.
I knew I wasn't happy when Isaac was born, just 11 months after Seth, alone in that hospital room as I experienced my one and only birth with all that medical intervention can offer. An epidural to ensure there was no pain and pitocin to make my body do what bodies do when they need to push a baby out. Complications and near tragedy, followed by a lonely and abandoned 48 hours in a hospital thousands of miles away from everyone I knew and loved. No visitors, apart from a fleeting face behind the door who asked where the baby was, I answered the face, that belonged to my husband and told him the baby was in the nursery because he hadn't been breathing when he was born, so he told me that he and his family, consisiting of men, father, brother, oldest son, nephew would go to see the baby, in the nursery and the face left and didn't come back. Apparantly the baby was interesting and worthy of seeing. I'm not sure what I was. I am sure I wasn't happy, I was and am still sure of that.
Seth's birth was different. 9 months after our wedding which was 2 weeks after I arrived in the States it was all unbelievable really and surreal. He was perfection, this child, immediately different and extraordinary and there was such pride and satisfaction when he was born. It's a great feeling to be so proud of making an extraordinary person, one must never scoff at the good kind of pride, not the kind that comes before a fall of course, only the good kind.
I wasn't happy when I married H, I was terrified and on auto pilot, I somehow knew that this was the right thing to do, I am one for allowing fate to take a hand and the whole meeting of H was so incredible and unbelievable that when I am not feeling as I do right now, I can speak of it as though it was all miraculous and the hand of God was at work. That's when I'm not feeling like I do today but I do feel the way I feel today and so the story seems stupid and insane.
Who in their right mind ups and marries someone they don't know and don't actually like because it feels like the thing to do? Who on earth would leave their home and family to live with someone who is so eccentric that even after 12 years you still can't understand how they work or what they are thinking? Me. That's who. It usually feels like a good thing that I did, it is not usually a thing of regret. Usually.
Of course I hadn't had happy for years before I met H, I had abject misery, complete and utter terror, numbness, humiliation and acceptance but not happy.
I had not unhappy while I was married to the first one. A pleasant sort of 'this will do' feeling injected with some truly splendid moments of smugness as each glorious child was born. Whenever I doubt my worth in this world I am in, I can lift myself up by knowing without any doubt that I have made the most spectacular and perfect children. I don't care what other people think or say about my children, although if  I am honest, people say fabulous things about them because they are, each one, spectacular and perfect.
The first one left, of course. Of course he would leave, he has told me often since then why he left and how inevitable it all was and he also told me, as often as he could to ensure the message sank in and stayed embedded that no-one would ever love me, he hadn't ever really loved me, he said and nobody would because when all is said and done, what is there to love?
I never know, to this day whether he is unbelievably astute in his predictions or if his constant hammering home of the fact has made me, in a prophetic and, for him, overly wise way, completely unlovable.
H respects me, I can't deny that and he is a gentleman. He does not mistreat me in any conscious way although his very nature and the cursed aspergers with all it's emotional baroness confirms what the first one told me so often. Soft words of emotion and tender moments of affection are not readily given by people with aspergers. Facts are what they do well, honesty comes in bucketfuls, loyalty and steadfast regularity are traits a wife of a man with aspergers can expect and enjoy. When the first one left I didn't believe that  I would ever trust a man again and then there was H, someone so extraordinarily unable to pretend or flatter it was ridiculously easy to believe that when HE promised to be faithful, he would never, ever, for even a second, consider being anything but faithful. When someone with aspergers likes something, they like it for ever. They like it and they embrace it and that, as they say, is that. I like not worrying about whether he will stray or leave me because I have enough to worry about, it's nice to not have that added to the mix. Of course it would be magnificent to believe he stayed because he was so in love with me that no-one would ever come close, imagine someone feeling that way, about me. Imagine.
It's funny, isn't it, that a woman, of my age, with no physically pleasing attributes to speak of, stuck in this old, fat body can still long for some kind of romance. Ridiculous, some may say but I don't say that.
 I find it sad to still long for just a little of that again. I know I am lucky to say 'again' which tells the fact that I was loved that way once and I was. That love would have made me happy if it had been mine to keep. The trouble was I didn't realise just how much I was loved and neither did he until we were grown up and knew what love wasn't and by then it was too late and promises were made to other people and lives were being lived and that's how it goes, sometimes.
Sometimes you have to do what is right even though it feels wrong and you let go of happy and hold onto dignity and righteousness and hope that one day that will be worth it. It is worth it. I have never, not once, regretted doing what's right and I hope I never do.
So I went further back and I skipped right past teenage years and all that angst because dear life, if that wasn't all so bloody exhausting and pointless. Does anyone enjoy being a teenager do you think? It's all so intense, so dramatic and woe is me and perfect and terrible and glorious.
I went back to Seven.
Not intentionally of course, the car drove that way and before I knew it there I was, right back where I lived when I was seven.
Being seven, is, quite possibly the time when happy was. Of course, I know that not all children are happy when they are seven but I'm not all children and this, my blog, is all about me and I was happy when I was seven.
I went to the house where we lived, my mum, dad, sister, brother and I. I thought, when I realised where the car was taking me, that I would find the house for rent and that would have my answer, we would live there, in that house where I was happy and we'd all be happy but it wasn't. It was lived in and I have no idea if they are happy there or not and also, I don't care because my care appears to be broken.
I drove to the beach that back when I was 7 and my brother was 9 and my sister was 10, seemed like a long way away from the house. We walked there often, my brother and sister and I, on our own, whenever it was hot and sunny. We'd take a bag of sandwiches and a bottle of drink and enough money to buy a blue ice lolly each and we would stay there, all day, until it started to get cool and we'd walk home again, all on our own. I don't remember ever being told to be careful, I am sure we never had sun screen. I know we didn't have phones or instructions or set times to be home and we would almost always meet up with our friends, who were there, at the beach with the deep water and the dangerous cliffs and no parents. There were adults there, of course, I suspect that even back then, in the days of happy and lives without fear, there were parents who didn't let their kids go out all day on their own with the unspoken instruction to be home before the street lights came on. Perhaps they were parents that had known fear as children or knew, as I now know, that terror is around every corner and that bad things happen to good people and you can't ever be too careful.Those parents were few and far between though, way back when. Not like today when only uncaring and stupid parents would let their 7, 9 and 10 year old children walk to the beach alone and stay there for hours and gloriously carefree hours, day after day until they came home as brown as berries, blissfully tired and ravenously hungry. 
If I miss happy it can be said that I miss safe more. I can remember and recall the feeling of safe without any effort at all. Sadness starts early, I suppose I first knew sadness when I was 14 or so and bullied at school and even as miserable as that was ( and it was miserable) when I walked in the door, when I went home I would feel safe and secure. No matter what went on outside those four walls, when I was within them, nothing could hurt me. Ever.
I am sad for grown ups that can't ever go back to find happy, those adults that can't, no matter how far back they go and how thoroughly they search, can't find a time when they were happy and safe. I am so sad for those people that it could consume me, if I wasn't so good at discarding and ignoring those things that would consume me.
As young as I was, and seven seems to be the age of all remembering, I knew that this was how I always wanted to feel. I knew that no matter how old I became, no matter where I lived or who I lived with, the one thing I would always need would be that feeling of walking in through the door and knowing that nothing could hurt me. I wanted my children to know that feeling and I know that despite being tossed from pillar to post, having to live in different houses, different countries and at times in other peoples' homes I have managed to always ensure that my children feel that way.
Well done me.
My whining and pitiful point today is that I have reached the point where I am no longer able to pretend anymore that I don't need that feeling too.
I am done.
All out of brave.
I have no more reserves of courage or strength. I ran out of pretend happy.
I used to run, back when I was young and filled with energy, I would run for miles across country and I would think as I ran. I would begin my run with excitement ( yes, ME. I know. Bloody hell) and I would know what course the run would follow, as I ran, as always happens, the nearer I would get to the end the harder the course would seem. Beginning with vigour and energy, as I neared the end of the course, which would take me through fields and up hills, across streams and down winding country lanes, I would start to slow, by the time I was almost at the end and I could see the road where I lived, my legs would buckle and I would stumble, I would feel my lungs about to burst with the exertion and without fail, the last few steps would be heavy, slow and always felt close to impossible.
For 11 1/2 years I have moved from one country to another and back again. I have lived in nice homes, OK homes, miserable homes, I have lived in places I would never have dreamed I could live, I have lost homes because we had no money to pay the rent. I have lived with relatives ( not mine) because they were kind and let us live there when we had nowhere else. My children have lived in tents in a back garden because there was no room in the house and that, that right there, right then, was where the real unhappy began. I was losing the ability to give my family the safe feeling, the secure feeling, the feeling of walking in a door and exhaling and with the disappearing happy came resentment and rage. That was when I began to be mistress of all pretence. That was when I learned to smile and say how fine I was, thank you.
I sent my sons back to England and I denied myself the ability to see them for 2 years because I couldn't give them what I had always promised myself I would give them. So I sent them where they would have that safety and a door and some walls and security and I told the world that I was fine, I told myself that I was fine and inside, the resentment and rage started to grow.
I knew we had to come home, to England, where we wouldn't have to live in tents or with relatives who were kind and relatives who were not kind, relatives by marriage who whispered and hissed how unwanted we were. Who waited until others wouldn't hear and would would follow me around this house that wasn't his, this house where he had returned because he was useless and pointless and not wanted, which wasn't his anymore than it was ours and he would ask me if I thought his dad wanted us there, if I thought he enjoyed falling over toys and babies who cried in the night. He whispered lies to me and to H and to his father and he caused as much misery and contention as he could manage and he added to my hidden rage. He stoked the fire of my fury and resentment until I believed that coming back to England, even if H couldn't come too, was preferable to staying there with his relentless whispering and following and hounding and I came home.
H did follow because miracles happen and even though everyone said it couldn't happen he made it. He got here and the dynamics changed, I was back in control and I wasn't about to let go of that any time soon. Or ever.
I vowed I would never, ever, be in a position again where my door and walls would be taken from me. I would have a home, no matter what it took and I would get my sons back and I would build a fortress that no-one would ever take from me again and I did it.
In 8 years we have had 6 homes. I have loved 2 of those homes and actually, in one of them, for 8 weeks I was happy. I didn't need to go back to seven to find a time when I was happy because I was truly happy for 8 weeks in the summer of 2007. Perhaps that blissful boost of happy was only ever meant as a top up to keep me going through the following years.
I am at the end of the run.  I can almost see where I want to be, almost.
It is so close, the end of this long and exhausting run, that I can almost feel it and damn it all, my legs have buckled and I just can't muster that last snippet of energy to get to the end.
I can't, I just can't get to the front door and exhale.
In all my years of being depressed and afraid I have prided myself on not being one of 'those' miserable people, one of those staring at the wall depressives who can't carry on regardless. I have been able to do all that needs doing and on the outside appear together and in control, to say with conviction ''I'm fine, thank you."
Until today.
I can't speak today. I don't want to speak tomorrow. I have no desire to do anything that needs doing, I don't want to cook, or clean or get this house ready to hand back. I don't want to plan or imagine, I can't be bothered to try to explain to H how I feel because he won't get it anyway. He will say 'well just be happy then' or 'how is this helping?' he will look at me with that puzzled look on his face and then walk away or look away which is as wounding as a punch in the face. I can tell myself that he can't help it and I understand that but it doesn't make it easier to deal with.
I am, today, one of those people. I can absolutely see the attraction of allowing myself to close down, stop trying, give up, give in.
Perhaps tomorrow, I will find the strength, from who knows where, to drag myself back to that place where control means something, to return to the life of pulling myself together and stiff upper lip etc etc, who knows?  Today it seems impossible and I am allowing myself to do what feels best for me.