I don’t own a plunger

•July 27, 2015 • Leave a Comment
This is what I should have. I do not.

This is what I should have. I do not.

I’m an adult.

Let me correct that: I’m supposed to be an adult. By definition, and by the age indicated on my license, I’m an adult.

As I sit here just before midnight on a Monday night waiting for my sheets to dry — because maturity has clearly not taught me to put them in before 9pm — I know that just down the hall, my toilet is clogged. I do not own a plunger.

I’m a mother. By my birth date I am a full-fledged adult. I have a career, bills to pay, a mortgage. I buy groceries and plan meals. I chuckle at young girls in clubs that get stupid drunk by 10:30pm and have to be escorted out of the bar. I buy multivitamins, and make sure I have fresh water at all times. I make sure I have foods from all the food groups in my kitchen at all time.

But, I don’t own a plunger.

So, how adult am I, really?

Then I realize I’ll often eat cereal for dinner (after Owen’s gone to bed, of course). Those all-the-food-groups foods are for him, not me. I try my best to watch my nutrition (especially now as I’m trying to once again get myself back into shape and a body I’m happy with), but sometimes I succumb to the Miniwheat charm or perhaps the Tostitos with Boirson cheese spread… but I digress.

I look at my parents and I wonder: When do I get to be as mature as that?

Then I also remember my father still starts food fights to this day, and we laugh like teenagers at camp most weekends when we talk about God knows what topics and drink together on the deck … but that might be a topic for another entry.

Does maturity come when I finally purchase that plunger?

Adulthood means being prepared for anything and everything, right? This non-existent plunger has really made me stop and take stock of everything (plus I need a distraction from wanting to use the toilet I can’t use since Owen is asleep and I can’t exactly rush out to the local hardware store to purchase one at midnight…).

How adult am I really when I only take my garbage out once every few weeks?

Truth be told, I let it pile up on my balcony since I’m three flights of stairs up and I just can’t be bothered to drag it down with me until I’ve got about 5-6 big bags that I then have to trek up and down in one evening of hellish choring that leaves me breathless and cursing my inability to live like a real human being. Same goes for the recycling — but hey, I get brownie points for the actual recycling, right? I mean, it gets done eventually.

I don’t own a plunger.

It seems like such a simple, nondescript item to have in one’s home — yet I don’t. I checked: I have a fire extinguisher. I have a can opener, I even have a melon baller (who the fuck has a melon baller but not a plunger?). I own martini glasses I’ve only ever used ONCE and it was for a desert, not a drink. I own diamond-shaped wine stoppers. I have a miniature hammer. I even have a ton of those little furry sticker feet you put on furniture so they don’t scratch your floor. I have all the medicine and antihistamine you could ever hope to find in my bathroom cabinet, and I even have a cat de-fur thing.

Yet, I don’t own a plunger.

I can’t help feel this is a metaphor for something … unclogging the shit in my life and not being prepared for it at all … but maybe I’m just tired (and not quite the adult I thought I was). And I think my sheets are finally dry.

It’s OK to not be OK

•July 25, 2015 • Leave a Comment
Take time

Take time to not be OK

I think one of the worst questions anyone has ever asked me is: “Are you OK?”

It’s a horribly open-ended question that terribly loaded and can be difficult for the one being asked to answer. I know. I’ve been on the receiving end of that question more times than I care to remember. My usually response is a nod and, “Yup.” I could even go so far as to smile and laugh with a wave of the hand, “Sure! I’m fine!”

Well, I’m not.

And I’ve never accepted not being OK like I have now. And it makes me feel good to admit and to embrace the fact that I’m not OK. I’m struggling with a lot now. I’m doing my very best to keep myself positive and take each day as it comes, but I’m not in a cheery mood most of the time. I have a million things on my mind, and on any given day at any moment in time I could very well burst into tears for no apparent reason. That’s just how life is right now. And I’ve accepted it.

So, those around me have to, as well.

If I look teary-eyed, don’t ask me if I’m OK.

If I seem frustrated, angry or am generally anxious, don’t ask me if I’m OK.

If I’m unusually quiet and want to left alone, don’t ask me if I’m OK.

I’m not. I will be. But I’m not right now.

And I’m going to take the time I need to not be OK. I’m going to take as long as I need, actually. Everyone who tells me to buck up and move on or grin and push through; they can go to hell (no offense). I want to cry. I want to take on all the sadness and the despair, and I want to learn to get over it. I want to truly feel it all, all the bad, so when I feel the good it’s a real good. Not a covering-up-the-sadness good. I want it to be real. It has to be real.

A huge part of me being OK and feeling that real happiness in the near future is doing what I’m doing right now: Sitting on a balcony in Whistler, BC with a glass of wine, wind rustling through the forest just beyond my reach, cool mountain air whipping my hair and keeping my breaths deep and clean.

This will make me OK. This will keep me grounded. This will make the happiness real. This will make me better. This will get me out the other side.

That’s why I take these moments, for me. I often get odd looks when I explain how I simply booked two extra nights in BC after a business trip to spend, alone, in the province. Without plans, without commitments, without any schedule. Just to be.

Today I drove aimlessly, stopping often to stand outside, arms outstretched to the sun (or rain) just to breathe. Just to let nature wash over me. It’s a liberating feeling. Yet equally stifling.

Spending so much time alone, with yourself, is very revealing.

When you’re not OK, you realize lots of little bits of yourself that aren’t as pleasant as you’d first thought. Those darker regions in the mind you make have ignored or hidden more deeply come to the surface. It’s intense. It’s eye-opening, and it’s actually pretty amazing.

It’s true what they say: You can’t love someone else until you love yourself.

I don’t think I every really loved myself. In my previous life (which is how I like to see it now), I hated more of me than I loved. I know that now. I know it because I’ve been changing, evolving, and improving those bits. I love a lot more of me now than I have have before. I’m not at 100% but I’m a helluva a lot better than I was.

So, am I OK? Nope. Not yet. I know I will be, soon hopefully, but I’m not there yet. Trips like the one I’m on right now help my soul, my heart, and my mind. Detaching, letting go, taking things moment by moment and just going with the flow of things is an amazing way to relax my mind and really get in touch with myself all over again.

Tomorrow it’s back to reality. I’m sad (but so excited to see Owen after 5 days away!), but I’m also happy to bring back a newer, more-OK-than-before me.

-30-

•July 3, 2015 • 1 Comment

ending_beginning

Getting to the end of something, anything, was the epitome of childhood. Finish your homework, you get to go out. Finish clearing up, you get a treat. Finish that sentence and you’ll either be reprimanded or rewarded. Finish your nap sooner so you can go out and play. Finish your broccoli, it’ll make you strong and healthy. Finish school, you’ll be the smartest — ever.

However, as you get older, endings take on a whole new meaning, and they just don’t seem as… fun.

Putting a final stamp of “done” on something (or for those of you in the communications/journalism know, a -30- to signify there is truly nothing more to come after that point) just isn’t as satisfying in some cases. Family members pass away, pets die, jobs are lost, friendships fade, relationships tank, people move away, and suddenly you desperately don’t want anything to ever end again.

I realize I’m not too good with endings.

In journalism school we learned about something called the inverted pyramid: Put all the important bits and juicy information at the very beginning of the article because readers usually only make it about 2-3 paragraphs in then taper off and never finish anyways. So, the ending didn’t matter. Because no one ever got to it.

I think I took that lesson literally. I never really thought I’d get to any endings. At least, not the endings I’m dealing with now.

Perhaps I’ve been living my life like an inverted pyramid. And as all the juicy interesting bits are starting to taper off, there’s not much left … and I’ve not put together a proper ending, a valid conclusion. And I’ve suddenly realized I have to. And it scares the shit out of me.

I don’t mean that my life has to come to an end soon, as in the conclusion has to be written NOW — just in case anyone was about to pick up the phone or come rushing over here. No, no, I’m saying things need to be concluded and closed in order to move on to the next more appropriately written piece that I think should read much more like a feature column with an appropriate beginning, middle, and end.

I’m not good with endings.

When I was 13 years old, we moved from a small little town to the big city. The small little town had been my home for two years, and my summer and Christmas home for 13. I had been attending a private boarding school in said town. I had friends. I loved it there. And then my parents told me we had to move.

I lost my mind. I thought my world was ending. I cried. Endlessly. It was horrible. I didn’t know how to properly end it. I didn’t know how to accept that one chapter was truly closing and another about to open. I couldn’t look to the next pages. I couldn’t look to the next plot. I could only focus on the loss of the current one.

The same thing happened when my parents threatened to leave the province I’m currently in and move to another when I’d just started CEGEP. I had just started dating my boyfriend (who’d then become my husband and now my ex) and I was desperate to not close that chapter. I couldn’t accept it. I cried. Endlessly. And they said they’d wait till I finished school, and they did. The moment I graduated University, they couldn’t sell the house quickly enough.

When my 19-year-old cat was on her final days, I couldn’t bring myself to put her down. I watched her whither and wear away. I cried. Endlessly. I finally, after weeks of watching her hobble around (in a diaper no less as she could no longer control herself), took that final (ha ha) step to bring her in, and even then SHE made the final decision and the ending into her own paws and died in my arms on the car ride to the vet.

I think I was forever grateful she did that. Saved me having to end it.

And now, as I work with a lawyer to finally, legally, put an end to my marriage after a full year of separation, I can’t handle it. I’ve cried. Endlessly. And I can’t imagine the ending. I don’t want the ending. I know it’s the best thing. He’s moved on. Fully. Completely. And I thought I had, too. Fuck, I thought wrong.

Perhaps it’s the simple fact that something is coming to a close — finishing. That’s what I can’t stand. I know I’ve already accepted us being apart, so why would this upset me all over again? I feel like an idiot. What, I thought we’d fall in love again? Bullshit. I imagined we’d get back together? I’m not that stupid (I hope).

But, do I still care about him? Deeply. Maybe that’s the dumb part. I wish I didn’t care. On so many days, after so many tears and cursing at myself I wish I just didn’t fucking care. After all, I’m the one that broke us, right? Why the hell would I feel something now?

I wish I could breeze through it like it seems he is. I wish I could just walk away, not a flutter of an eye, not an emotional outburst. It would make things so much easier for everyone involved. One day, I’ll ask him how he did it. How he shut me out so quickly. One day I’ll want to know. I’ll need to know.

A very dear and smart friend said something profound as I cried over text messages to her: She told me that while the door was closed on us, I was happy with it being open just a crack. She’s incredibly right. And now it’s about to be shut and locked for good. No more crack. No more opening.

It scares the crap out of me. Makes me feel alone in the ending of it all. Makes me feel panicked as to what will happen next. This is all so final, all so complete. At least, it will be once the paperwork is done. I’m terrified. Utterly and completely terrified.

I should be feeling relief. A sense of freedom even. My parents are ecstatic. They want nothing more than for both of us to be happy (even if that means being happy apart). They want me to start my next chapter. But I can’t for the life of me fathom legitimately ending this current one.

It’s all so final. So …. -30-.

To Escape or to Embrace?

•June 28, 2015 • 1 Comment
Life's all about that journey, right?

Life’s all about that journey, right?

It’s a funny thing… No, perhaps funny is the wrong word here. It’s an interesting thing to hit emotional rock bottom. I’ve been crying for the better part of two days now, and I’ve been so wrapped up in my own mind and thoughts that reality is a bit fuzzy. Truthfully, I feel grateful knowing I can still cry. I’d been “dry” for so long I thought maybe my heart really had frozen over this time. Being emotionally tough became a great protector, a massive barrier that’s kept me safe, kept me sane. Well no longer.

It always amazes me how fickle and undulating life can truly be. One moment things really are fine, good even; then the next you realize bills are way overdue, your rear tire blows out on the highway, you come to the realization that being alone for a great deal longer really is a reality, and your colleague essentially unveils his complete lack of respect for you and your work as a professional in your career. Bam. Life takes a savage, stomach-turning plunge. And in light of all that, do you escape it or do you embrace it?

I have a hard time with this.

Fight or flight. Face it or run from it. Take it all in or push it away.

I’ve had to embrace a great deal over the past few years, most notably my own infidelity and the life I’ve now had to build for myself and Owen because of that life decision. I embraced it — as jagged and painful as it was to hold on a daily basis I held on fucking tight and didn’t let go. I took it all in. I accepted it. I opened up about it, and I took full ownership.

Maybe I’ve used up all my embracing for a while.

The want and need to escape is stronger now than it ever has been before. I don’t just mean get away for the weekend or take a few days off work and lock myself in my condo to watch NetFlix, I mean truly escape from it all. Escape from the life I live and how I live it. Escape to the opposite of what I would normally do, how I would normally be, just to feel like I’m NOT me because, after life takes one of those sever plummets down, being me isn’t really the best thing.

The feeling that being me as I am right now just isn’t working, so I need to escape her, is quite real. I need to try a different version of me. I need to make a change somehow to escape the me that’s caused all this emotional blackness. I hate how weak I’ve become and how weak I feel for being so broken by such mundane things (as mentioned above). Getting emotionally worked up over something that really shouldn’t affect me to that extent.

So, I’m a single mom with no hope or prospects at changing that. Why should that make me sad? But it does. Oh my God but it does. I hate that it cripples me sometimes. I feel so unequivocally alone sometimes I don’t know what to do with myself. I’ve embraced it for over a year now. I’ve accepted my fate. I’ve tried to come to terms with it all. But when I realized I want to punch happy couples in the face, and that the knowledge that my ex is happily involved brought me to my knees in fits of gut-wrenching sobs, clearly something’s a bit off in the “embracing and accepting singledom department.”

And the ironic (I think that’s the right word here) thing is, I’m the reason for all these escape or embrace situations. I put myself here. I’ve held the wheel. I’ve taken the exits.

I have a quote on my living room wall from Marilyn Monroe:

“I believe that everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go. Things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they’re right. You believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself, and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.”

People change so that you can learn to let go.

I need to let go of the me that’s dragged me down into this pit of endless tears and blubbering stupidities. I’m being overly emotional and I’m feeling weak. I need to learn to let go. Let go of her and let go of the things that are causing the tear-filled outbreaks.

Things go wrong so you that you can appreciate them when they’re right.

I read this line often in the script on my wall. I repeat it like a mantra, like a slogan to keep me going. Not that everything has gone so wrong for me over the past little while, but truthfully there’s nothing that’s gone glowingly right, either. Things are just kind of bouncing along in neutral. I want to appreciate the right things, desperately. But at the moment I feel like that’s so far off in the future that I’d best not think about it too much.

Escape or embrace.

Escape or embrace.

Escape…

I desperately want to continue to embrace … but I need to find the strength in my arms, somehow.

Taking moments

•June 21, 2015 • 1 Comment
Breathing mountain air

Breathing mountain air

I’ve just returned from Germany and Austria. No, it wasn’t a vacation. No, I wasn’t backpacking or exploring unknown little villages and towns. I didn’t meet a bunch of fellow travellers. I didn’t get lost and have to ask for directions desperately in broken German. I didn’t have an oversize backpack with all my worldly possessions stuffed inside.

What I did do was take moments.

I was only there for two days, essentially. I spent one night in the air and two days on the ground, and the next flying home. It was two days of presentations, and driving routes, photo ops and scheduled driver changes. I was there to drive a new car (but I can’t talk about that here). It was a purely business-related trip. But I made sure to take moments, for me.

Our drive route took us through the Karwendal nature reserve, which stretches from Germany into Austria. Winding twisty roads collided with larger-than-life trees and a serene, picturesque lake was in the middle of it all. My co-driver found a fabulous place to stop and take photos of our car near the water with the mountains visible in the background along with the looking-glass water which was (despite the overcast day) a stunning teal blue colour. It was like a postcard, really. We couldn’t have asked for a better backdrop.

As my colleague fussed with his camera and angling the wheels just right, I slipped from the passengers seat and down the rocky embankment to the edge of the water. I may have shouted out a “I may or may not return” just to let him know I was no longer in the car, but I otherwise made the decision to explore at the very last second. I felt I needed to do it.

Lurching precariously from boulder to boulder I made my way to the edge of the water where I stood. In silence. Pure silence. No phone going off. No music. No voices. No talking. No traffic. No background noise of any sort. Just the sound of the water lapping ever so gently at the stony beach, and the wind in the trees, perhaps a bird every now and then.

It was glorious. That moment. That moment in time reset me. Wait, that’s a lie, it wasn’t that particular moment of standing there head to the sky, eyes closed, arms straight and palms open. No, my moment of reset was when I crouched down and plunged both hands in the mountain-fresh, cool-to-the-touch water and felt that moment. That was my reset button. That was my rebirth, so to speak.

I didn’t stay there long. My co-pilot finished his photo shoot and we needed to continue on our way. For a brief moment I was upset I’d not taken my camera or at least my phone to show the rest of the world what a beautiful, perfect moment that was. But then I thought, no, that was MY moment. That was MY time. That was for ME only. And I’m happy no one else got to experience it with me.

That’s not the first moment I’ve taken.

In Iceland I stood, in near complete darkness as the sun was just about to rise at about 11:00am and listened to the wind howl across a snowy tundra while I watched Icelandic Horses trundle along beside the road we were stopped on. It was perfection. I breathed deeply. I felt alive. No phone. No pictures. No camera. Just me. No proof I did any of that, but that’s not why I did it.

In Marseille, France, I went for a short run the day I landed. It’s a great way to get to know the city you’re in (I think) and explore a little while doing something for yourself, too. While on that run, I came across a massive monument along the coastline, a huge angel of sorts. I have no idea what it was for or who it was, but it spoke to me. I stood under it looking out onto the ocean for quite some time. Deep breaths. Eyes closed. Sure, my run was recorded, but not that moment. That moment was mine.

On my run today in Montreal, I took a moment. A family of Canadian Geese (goslings and all) were strolling along the path I’d chosen to run on. Instead of just cruising by them I stopped. I stopped to smile and giggle at the ungainly babies trying to keep up with mum and dad. To watch the weird way their knocked-kneed legs scurried along, then came to a sudden halt when mum or dad stopped. How they grazed over blades of grass, their bills rapidly opening and closing as they took whatever nutrients they needed from the ground and greenery. It made my heart happy. It made my soul smile. And so I took that moment for me.

As I write this particular blog, there’s a thunder storm raging outside my bedroom window. I’ve thrown open the windows to listen. The rain is pelting the side of the building and my windowpane, and the thunder is deep and rumble-y (just the way I like it). There doesn’t seem to be any lightening, but it’s perfection. The thunder is spaced out enough to make my skin prick just a bit each time it cracks, but then the rain brings me right back down to serenity. This moment. Now. This is what counts, this is what matters. I am content in this moment. I am where I want and need to be.

Truthfully, I didn’t always take those moments. I didn’t always appreciate what was around me, what I was looking at, how it could influence and affect me. That hurt me as a person.That made me cold, uncaring, uninvolved. It stopped me from experiencing things that could better me as a person, better me as a mother, as a lover, as a friend. So much of our world flashes by us on a daily basis… it’s a bit scary. It’s even scarier that we let it. All the time.

I won’t preach about taking the time to enjoy the little things. That’s bullshit. Take the time to enjoy the things that make you happy. The things that make you feel content, make you feel whole. Those might not be little things at all. Those might be skydiving or getting a tattoo or completing an Ironman. Or they might very well be smelling flowers on an evening stroll, sticking your hands in a random European mountain lake or listening to the rain on a windowpane.

Whatever your moment is, take it. Breathe deep. It’s yours.

Dating in my 30s: WTF

•May 31, 2015 • Leave a Comment
If only it were that

If only it were that “easy”

By association, being older makes you wiser. At least, that’s what I was lead to believe. I have learned, unfortunately, that this is complete and utter bullshit, especially when it comes to the matter of relationships.

I may be older, but I am by far the dumbest I have ever been. Relationships are a complete and utter mystery to me, and I’m not even sure why. I’m one more lousy conversation away from purchasing the entire “relationship 101″ section at Chapters in order to gain an inkling of at least what not to do in all of this.

Truth be told, I went into all this knowing absolutely nothing. Before I started dating my now-ex husband, I’d never had a real boyfriend. Ever. And my 13-year relationship was hardly what I would call a “relationship.” We didn’t learn from one another. We didn’t evolve. We didn’t grow. We didn’t become our own people and by association make our connection stronger. Nope. None of that happened.

Oh, and we started dating when we were 17.

So, relationship experience for me? That would be zip. Nada. Rien.

When I thought about being single in my 30s I immediately thought about the ladies from Sex and the City. I mean, come on, who doesn’t think about that when they’re in their 30s and unattached?! OK, maybe it’s just me … regardless, I had ideas of grand romantic gestures, eyes meeting across a crowded room, reading newspapers in bed, surprise pickups at the airport after long tiring business trips.

It turns out, no one really looks at anyone out in the world anymore, we’re all too consumed by our iPhones (scratch eyes across a crowded room), no one reads newspapers anymore (we’re all looking at articles on our phones), if someone were to pick me up at the airport it would be too complicated because that would mean I’d actually have to hug them then walk to my car in the lot… Oh, and romantic gestures have been relegated to dick pics on Tinder and random Snapchats of body parts I’d rather not see.

How does anyone do it? Male or female. WTF is going on here?
For all my age and “wisdom” I feel like I’ve been flung back into my awkward (horribly awkward) high school days. I’m reading into things that are said, looking for reactions, staring at my phone waiting for that message or call. It’s pathetic. I hate it. I’m 31 years old. What. Am. I. Doing?

I also thought that perhaps with my “advanced” age, the seriousness of relationships would be a given. However, it seems the moment a guy learns of my age, then my current situation (mother and recently out of a marriage) they assume casual sex is all I must be in the market for. And while the idea of it is highly alluring (we all have needs) it’s never really what it’s cracked up to be in the end…

And so I feel myself shutting off and shutting down again. I hate that. I’ve grown and changed and opened up so much over the past year. And here I am shutting down again. I am consciously aware of myself doing it. Or of the fact that I’m putting on an act for the guy’s benefit, to make him feel like i care, like I want to be interacting. I don’t. I don’t want to put myself out there. I don’t want to get hurt, expose myself for fear of getting stung. And I know that’s silly. The whole point of dating is to explore new things, get to know new people.

It would also seem that the only men I seem to want to open up to are already attached. Am I doomed to forever be that girl? Please, please tell me it isn’t so. I’m beginning to think I’ve cursed myself. That this is some cruel and horrible punishment for the mistake I made. That I will forever be doomed to only fall for men who are already in relationships — like Atlas rolling the earth up an endless hill, I’ll continue to push against men who are happily connected to someone else.

What. Am. I. Doing?

I obviously don’t know. I’m looking in all the wrong places. Talking to all the wrong men (apparently). The men I’d have liked to explore relationships with relegate me to the “friend zone” almost immediately. I think that’s perhaps a much worse conversation than “it’s not you it’s me.” The “let’s be friends only” ensures a smile will stay plastered on my face but inside everything falls and I feel like something must be terribly wrong with me. First of all, for hitting on someone who’s attached, and secondly because I must have “BE MY FRIEND” written across my face because they started talking to me in the first place.

Then there’s the whole having a child thing. And I say it flippantly, but it’s rather a big deal when it comes to dating, and boy do I ever know it. I’m not going to be THAT mother, the one who has a revolving door as her child watches men come and go. No. It will take a long and serious interaction with someone before they even lay eyes on Owen in real life. He’s at an age now where he remembers and misses and questions when things are no longer around. I’m not about to have him bond with someone then have that person disappear forever because Mummy decided it wasn’t the right thing. No.

And so another layer is added to the stinky onion of dating in my 30s.

So, as I sit here alone in my bed (well, technically the cats are here, but that just makes this whole entry a bit more pathetic to mention it…), I’m at a loss. I’ve been told to “stop looking and it’ll come to you.” But the funny thing is: I’m not looking. And even then I seem to be doing it wrong…

What. Am. I. Doing?

Sleep is for the weak

•April 29, 2015 • Leave a Comment
zzzzzzz

zzzzzzz (oh and that’s totally not my bed — it’s a hotel in Marseille, France)

I’ve noticed over the past few months that sleep is becoming much harder to give in to. It’s not that I’m not tired, quite the opposite actually. In fact, I’m downright exhausted. But I can’t sleep. I can’t just close my eyes and drift.

My brain isn’t overactive. I’m not anxious. I’m not stressed. I’m not even hyper or worked up. I just don’t want to sleep because I know what it’ll mean.

Crawling into an empty bed used to be a luxury. I reveled in the space, the ability to stretch out in any direction I pleased, searching out those glorious cold spots in the sheets that offered moments of relief from the heat. I could toss and turn, bunch up the pillows, sleep perpendicular if I wanted. It was glorious, absolutely liberating.

Now it’s stifling.

I stick to my side of the bed like a wall has been erected midway through my queen mattress. The right side of my bed remains untouched. Only the cats sleep on those pillows now, and they’re obviously not upset about it. I wake up more often then not with one arm outstretched across that side of the bed, as it would be if it were stretched across a chest. I’m quick to bring it back into my space, away from the emptiness.

When I do eventually fall asleep, and lately it’s with the help of a random old movie on NetFlix murmuring from the TV in the corner of my room to squish the absolute silence, I’m happy. I have vivid memories of dreams in which I am content and sharing a bed with someone, having them participate in my life, letting them into my space willingly, sharing, conversing, being together.

Then I wake up, and I regret ever having gone to sleep.

Sometimes, falling asleep on the couch helps. A couch is hard to share, anyways, so the stark contrast of slept-on-side vs empty side is less evident, less glaring.

I know it’s all in my head. I know I’m supposed to be embracing this whole “me time” stuff, and I do. I truly do. I love my independence. I love me, and my time. But I also know I have certain needs for human interaction, to share and connect in some way, and I admit I’m starting to feel more than a little lonely.

For some reason, sleep brings about all that loneliness in a way no other daytime activity does.

I used to love going to bed. Curling up next to a strong shoulder, listening to a solid heartbeat, fingers in hair, body heat resonating. I miss it, but not to the point where I’m going to fill the void with anything that comes my way and fits the bill for that night. I have a bit more self-respect than that.

Sleep is a natural occurrence. it’s a necessity for life. We need to sleep. I need to sleep. I see the bags under my eyes getting ever larger, ever darker. But I can’t stop it. In fact, I should be asleep right now, but I don’t want to. Falling asleep means I have to wake up tomorrow and face the same demons, deal with the same insecurities all over again.

On the other hand, there is one incredible up side to falling asleep: Owen.

Every morning he pads in, sets his chin on the edge of my bed centimeters from my face

and whispers: “Mummy? Mummy, is it time to cuddle?” And of course I tell him it is, and that’s how we start ever day.

In those moments, my bed and self are so full of love and connection I feel like I might burst. It’s a different sort of connection of course, but one I am so very grateful for. On the days when Owen stays with his father, I feel the absolute most lonely because on those mornings I don’t get those moments of reprieve from the emptiness.

I hope one day Owen will be able to understand what he did for me every morning when he asked to cuddle, snuggled in close, stroked my hair, and whispered (every morning), “I love you Mummy.”

It’s human nature to want to be loved. It’s natural to want to share our lives with someone else. As I sit here in my half-empty bed, I know I’m beyond tired … but I think I might go to the living room and curl up there.

 
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