Just When You Think You Know Yourself…

•August 25, 2016 • Leave a Comment

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A few weekends ago, I went on a fair ride with my son. I’m talking one of those travelling, pack-up-and-go-from-town-to-town, kinda sketchy, kinda rickety, usually-barfed-on-rides fairs. He was super-duper excited about going on a ride with Mummy, and who was I to deny my child this experience with his mother?

I gently tried to sway him from the spinning, dipping rides as seeing me vomit wasn’t really how I wanted him to have this fair-ride experience. Bless his heart, he agreed the twirly-gig ones didn’t look very fun. But he did settle on a large oval Ferris-wheel type ride that featured hanging two-seater umbrella structures that left your feet dangling with nothing more than a metal bar loosely across your lap for safety.

The ride arched up well above the trees. As I watched it spin round and round my knees felt weak, my mouth went dry and I felt just as queasy as I likely would have had I just opted for the damn twirly ride that blissfully stayed firmly planted on the ground.

I’m petrified of heights. Sweaty-palm, frozen-to-the-spot, instant-tears  fucking petrified of heights. I’ve never liked them. I never will.

In this moment I had a choice: Be who you’ve always thought you were or get on the damn ride with your 4-year-old and possibly discover something new about yourself.

I got on the ride.

Owen loved it. He whooped and pointed things out as we soared above the trees. He kept asking if I was OK. Kept asking why my voice sounded funny when I talked. Kept telling me to open my eyes. And the funny thing is, when he asked me these things, I did them. I can’t say I enjoyed the ride, but I did it. Sure I was shaking like a leaf when we eventually got off, but I did it.

That creaky metal fair ground ride — called UFO Area 51, I believe — taught me I’m a shit load stronger mentally and emotionally than I ever gave myself credit for. And surviving that 1:30 second ride made me abnormally proud.

Discovering who we are as people, and I mean who we really are deep down, is a life-long process. It’s one that takes time, effort, perseverance, and a certain sense of wonder and fear mixed together in equal doses. Self-discovery is as scary as it is exciting, and I’m not even sure a majority of the general population ever truly discovers who they are, fully.

That makes me sad.

And then I think: Shit, Miranda, have you even discovered a portion of who YOU really are?

Then that makes me sad all over again.

But should it?

I’m the first to admit that I’ve learned more about myself as a person (a mother, friend, lover, employee, athlete [ha ha], partner) over the past few years than I have in all my years, so far. The journey of self-discovery has been an interesting one full of fucked up moments and joyous occasions. All the friends and enemies I created, family births and deaths, my marriage, my child, my affair, my freedom; and through it all me discovering bits and pieces of myself I didn’t even know needed discovering.

I spent all of my teenage years and well into my 20s believing I knew who I was. Shy, quiet, reserved, bookworm. The chubby little blonde whose parents were teachers. The good one who did all her homework. The one who followed all the rules.

And yet that wasn’t me at all.

When I was 15 years old, I was given a friend’s older sister’s ID that made me 22 years old, which is fucking hilarious: I think about it now and the bouncers who believed that ID must have just felt sorry for me. I mean, the average age I’m given at the moment is 23-24 and I’m about to turn a decade older than that in a month … so at 15 I can only surmise I looked to be about 8 years old as I sashayed my way into various downtown clubs wearing too-short skirts and too-heavy makeup.

Of course, we all have stories like that from our teenage years. I’m not in any way special for drinking as young as I did, for losing my virginity at the age I did or for attending the house parties I did when my parents thought I was elsewhere studying or just hanging out with girlfriends. No, that was normal.

What wasn’t was how I never wanted to accept that. I never wanted to admit that I liked that, that I wasn’t just this shy reserved little thing that would rather sit at home alone and read instead of hang out with lots of people, listen to loud music, and even throw out a highly uncoordinated dance move once in awhile. I liked the idea of rebelling a little. I liked the idea of doing what I wanted instead of what I was told to do.

And that charade of “goodness” lasted well into my 20s. Into my marriage. Into my work. Into my pregnancy. Into my first few months of motherhood.

Wait, “goodness” is the wrong word. I mean, I wasn’t a good wife most of the time (and clearly not at all near the end…), I often fucked up at work, I definitely drank the occasional coffee and ate sushi while I was pregnant, and I was by NO means a perfect mother those first few months.

No, what I mean is… Just like so many people I see in the world around me, I was giving everyone around me the version of me I thought they wanted to see.

Is it that all these people haven’t yet discovered the real them? Do they not know? Have they not explored enough? Have they not investigated? Perhaps they just don’t care … but I see the shroud, this shield that society puts up.

Break through shield on your own and wow. Do it with another person and my god is it every fucking glorious.

Over the past year I’ve unearthed more about myself than I ever thought possible. In fact, I’ve discovered facets of myself and my personality I never imagined in a million years could or would exist.

It was rough. And it should be.

If it was easy to be your true self, don’t you think more people would be?

I’m still discovering the “real” me to this day. She’s mostly out and about, but not quite. Sometimes I surprise myself with an emotional reaction or thought about a situation. I actually stop and ask myself, “Miranda, really? That’s how we’re gonna handle this?”

And I realize talking to myself in the third person while living alone with a 4-year-old and two cats is never going to end well, but hear me out…

So, I often ask myself, “Miranda, is this really how you feel and how you want to proceed with this?”

And the thing is; it is. That day on the fair ground I asked myself that same question (likely out loud because I was secretly trying not to cry and freak out while in line with Owen), “Miranda, are you really going to do this? Go on that ride that goes ALL THE WAY UP THERE?”

And yes, yes I was. Because inside, I knew I could. Somewhere in me, the real me was screaming how stupid I was being and that of course I had the balls to get on the ride and enjoy it with my super excited son.

Through all of this self-discovery and learning who I am the most important lesson I’ve learned is this: LISTEN TO YOURSELF.

For the most part, this is an excellent piece of advice.

Want a new job? Seek one out and apply yourself. Want to get fit? Believe you can and don’t give up. Want to connect with someone and fall in love? Open up and allow them in, and believe you deserve to be loved because you do. Want to be a good parent? Be there for your child, listen to them, support them, and encourage them. Want more life experience? Get out there and explore. Talk to strangers. Do things you wouldn’t normally do, like get on a sketchy fair ground ride with a 4-year-old.

Tiers of Loneliness

•July 21, 2016 • Leave a Comment

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Being an only child, I kind of got used to being alone. In fact, I reveled in that time by myself. Many adventures were had exploring backyards, and nearby forests; journeying on my bike (which in my childhood mind was a glorious white steed with a flowing mane and thunderous hooves); reading in garden groves or in big comfy armchairs while grownups were elsewhere leaving me to my own devices. Those moments were glorious. It was all me, all alone.

It took me a great deal of time to be as comfortable with my adult self in the same way. Don’t we all wish we could handle things as we did as children when we’re adults? I sure do…

Nearly three years ago when my ex husband and I split, I was thrust into a solitude I wasn’t quite prepared to handle. No, that’s wrong, a solitude I abso-fucking-lutely was not ready to handle, at all.

How I longed to have dealt with those moments like a 6-year-old me would have: grabbing the nearest Goosebumps paperback, heading to a sunny patch with a snack (and hopefully a cat following to cuddle with), to read the afternoon away.

Nothing could have been farther from the lonely truth that it was for me in those first few months.

In truth, I’d been alone in our marriage for years. Alone in my emotions, alone in a depression that lead me down the path it did. Sure, I wasn’t physically alone, but mentally and emotionally I was buoyed in the middle of the god damn Atlantic without a ship or island in sight. I was more alone than I’d ever been in my entire life. And it crushed me. Completely.

And suddenly I was thrust into a loneliness again, but this time it was different. Very different. It wasn’t soul-crushing. I no longer felt trapped in my solitude. Instead I felt a liberation, a freedom to find myself and be me and truly live.

I think in those first liberating moments of loneliness I felt more like the 6-year-old me; ready to explore, to find an adventure. I was full of confidence and fervor. I was ready to get out into the world and content in being with myself and my own thoughts (a downright fucking terrifying thought mere months before).

Being alone was no longer lonely, it was quality time. It was me time. It was full of moments in which I could grow. And grow I did. I learned a helluva lot about myself in that time on my own. Both good and bad. Thankfully, most of it good. And I learned to once again accept myself, fully, in those solo moments. It’s a tough fucking thing to do, trust me. If you’ve never been alone for long periods of time — and I mean really alone — you just don’t know.

Travelling alone (and not for work) opened my eyes to myself in ways I’d not experienced before. While I’d consider myself a seasoned traveller, it was always on another’s schedule, and usually their dime too. When I went solo it was all me. It forced me way outside my comfort zone, way outside what I thought I would ever be able to handle or accomplish. It made me open up to myself and others even more.

If you’ve never gone to a bar by yourself, I highly recommend it. Don’t laugh, and don’t brush it aside. You’ll never feel more humbled, intimidated, confident, uplifted, and crushed all at once than you will while sitting at a bar by yourself.

I remember the day my mother suggested it to me. I was appalled. Absolutely horror-struck. But I did it. That very same night she suggested it actually. I was beyond petrified. I showed up early-ish with the only game-plan I could muster: Sit at the bar because the bartender has to talk to you.

And as I sat there throughout the night I realized I didn’t even want the bartender to talk to me because everyone else was drawn to me, this solo person sitting there sipping her drink. I was asked again and again who I was there with and when I responded, “No one,” I was met with a mix of disbelief and high-fives and it just built on my confidence.

Since then, I’ve done it multiple times. I love it. I’ve met the most amazing people sitting in a bar by myself. Started some amazing friendships, was hired for a writing job, and even met the man my heart currently belongs to… incredible things can happen when you open your solo self up to the world.

Truly, it’s a humbling and uplifting experience. I highly recommend it. You will learn a great deal about yourself sitting in a public place, by yourself, where no one else is alone.

Loneliness has levels. Tiers, if you will.

I’ve learned this over time. I didn’t quite understand it at first, and I think perhaps I haven’t quite grasped the entire concept, but I’m aware that there isn’t just one definition or meaning for “loneliness.”

I’ve voluntarily thrust myself into loneliness as of late. I’ve agreed to feel the ache of absence more than the thrill of being with someone I love, in the same room (shit, in the same country would be good at this point). Since deciding this it what we want to do, I’ve questioned my ability to handle it.

Most days I’m OK. I’m content in my life, in myself, in my routines. I’m OK with being alone most of the time and sleeping alone every night. When I have Owen it’s him and I and our world is amazing and we have the best time. His smile lights up my world and his laugh can cure any bad day instantly. His hugs are the very best, and I melt into his warm little arms and nothing else seems to matter.

Then he goes to dad for a few days and there’s this extra large hole that’s only amplified by a double dose of loneliness.

And I wonder if I’m really cut out to deal with it all.

Can I handle this tier of loneliness? This loneliness that’s not really loneliness at all, simply an absence. A missing physical component. Just because someone isn’t right beside you, within arm’s reach, do they have to feel far away? With today’s technology are we ever really separated?

I’m here to tell you we are. No amount of text messages, selfies, phone calls or FaceTime calls will ever make up for a real, honest-to-goodness hug and kiss. Seeing the words “I love you” typed on a screen mean’s fuck all when you’ve heard them in real life, said out loud. And you desperately long to hear them again, uttered in front of you, to you, for you, about you.

That lack of interaction dips me into a loneliness I’m only just now learning to deal with. This is all new for me, a whole new level. As each day passes and the distance remains — or we move even farther apart as one travels for work or to visit home — I discover new difficulties, new challenges.

Then there are days I’m so overcome with the feeling of being alone that all I can do is sob. And I’m not even sure why I’m crying but my heart aches, aches at the absence, aches at the lack of interaction. I long for a touch, a voice that’s real in my ear, a hand that’s actually brushing hair from my face, a smile that’s right in front of me and eyes that dance with life and realness. And not just any touch, voice, hand, smile or eyes. His.

Those days are the most difficult. Those are the days I feel I can’t at all handle this loneliness. Can’t handle this level. That I’m not cut out for this… not strong enough. Not one bit.

Yet, on some other absurd level, it’s as liberating as those 6-year-old moments. I’ve never been more sure of myself in my life. Sure of me. Sure of who I am, how I feel, where I am in life. Being this alone has taught me how to be alone, properly. Because I’m not actually alone. I have more support and love than I have in years, more understanding, and a commitment that not only shocked me but made me fall harder.

And I know I’m not feeling the pull of separation alone. Together we suffer in loneliness, despite being an ocean (or continent) apart. Together we’ve embarked on these tiers of loneliness. This gives me comfort in the solitude that will, eventually, end. This I know.

Distance

•June 22, 2016 • Leave a Comment

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I travel a great deal. Once a month, minimum, I’m away from home. Away from my life, my son, my cats, my responsibilities (so to speak). I’m not away for vacation (though some might see it as that). I travel for work. But the point is; I’m away. I put distance between myself and the people and things I love. The catch is, I know I’ll return.

When distance between you and something you love happens without knowing when that gap will be closed (if ever), that’s a whole other story, and one I’ve only just become privy to.

Distance is a funny thing. Perhaps “funny” is the wrong word here. Maybe “odd” is a better choice. Yes, odd. Distance can have a few results, all of which I’ve experienced over the years.

When I go away for a few days at a time each month, it’s a bit of a breather. My time away, my distance from the everyday mundane, the daily routine, the grind that is my life, tends to put everything into perspective. When I’m away, I’m not immune to everything happening at home. In fact, I likely think about it more because I’m removed from it. I’ll often come up with plans for home decoration renos or plan upcoming bill payments/document submission, and then actually DO IT when I get back because I’m motivated and realize the importance of such things when I’m removed from the situation.

The weight of it all isn’t atop me when I’m away. I can breathe. I can think. I see clearly.

I feel like the same can be said for distance in a relationship.

Sometimes emotions and feelings can be stifling. Fuck, they can be downright suffocating to the point of complete oxygen deprivation. But then that’s the beauty of emotions, no? They are all encompassing; they take over. They make us human, even if we don’t want to accept them all or express them fully. They’re there, and they’re heavy. Really heavy.

So, what if you could remove yourself from those heavy, weighed down emotions? Wouldn’t you?

We all know the infamous “we were on a break” scene from Friends with Ross and Rachel, but there’s some profound truth to the very basic nature of their “break.” They created distance between them, a distance that was needed in order to see things more clearly.

We’re often blinded by things that are placed in front of us every day. We don’t see things clearly because they are always there, so why would be really pay that much attention? However, remove that thing and suddenly we are more aware; either of a need to have that thing returned or a realization that we don’t really care and can move on.

Truthfully, I’ve taken a great deal of “space” before I wrote this piece … I wanted to ensure I was seeing things clearly, that I wasn’t blinded by emotion (anger/sadness/love/hate/insecurities). I needed that space from my writing to really get my thoughts in order. Shocking, right?

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all things in life could go that way? Someone yells at you at work and you have a few hours/days to solidify your response instead of replying with a knee-jerk reaction that will likely get you into trouble. Or your child says something or does something you don’t appreciate and in the moment and instead of flying off the handle at them, you take a deep breath and instead address the action a few hours later (obviously not effective, but at least you’ve not said or done something you’ll regret).

 

Distance.

 

Time zones are brutal. For all my travelling, time zones are always the bitch. From 3 hours to 12 hours, I’ve experienced it all. Separation by kilometres is one thing; separation by time is a whole other story. You’re experiencing the day differently, mind focusing on a different portion of life (starting the day vs ending it is a whole different mindset). I never realized how significant time zones were till I was separated in both distance and time zones from someone I cared deeply for …

Does distance really make the heart grow fonder?

I’ve considered this a great deal lately. Truthfully, I don’t think it changes anything at all. It doesn’t make affection grow at all. It very likely makes it diminish, but it doesn’t make it grow. Hear me out here.

There’s no way being away from someone you love can make you love them more. You’re away from them. How could that bond grow? No, being away from someone makes you love them for real. It makes you realize what you’ve lost. The love you already had is made blindingly clear. It’s presented to you, perhaps in a fashion you didn’t quite expect, but it’s no more or less then it was when you were with the person. It’s just made a reality because you’ve now got clarity. You’ve had the chance to step back and assess the situation.

So, no, distance doesn’t make the heart grow fonder. It makes the heart grow real.

There’s no practicality in love

•May 28, 2016 • 1 Comment

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While I’m far from being an expert, I think I’ve had a decent amount of experience in the domain of love at this point in my life … perhaps not even love in the conventional sense. Maybe I’ve not yet experienced “true” love … I’d like to think I have, but fuck knows.

There’s no practicality in love. None at all.

Love doesn’t give a shit where you are in life. What you want. What you need. What your circumstances are or even what you thought love would be. Nope. It doesn’t care. Zero. Fucks. Given.

It shows up like a juggernaut, despite your best efforts to fight it off. It consumes you. It beats you down and it takes control.

There’s no practicality in love.

Over my many years of existence I’ve been blessed enough to have experienced love. It’s not always been in the same capacity, and perhaps not even immediately evident that it was in fact love.. But it’s been there. It’s been intense. And it’s been incredible. Sometimes short-lived, but always an experience.

And always unexpected.

Such a simple, easy-to-spell word. But what a fucking loaded one. With so much meaning and weight. And for what?

Maybe I’ve become jaded over the years. No, not maybe, I have become jaded. And I’ve become cautious and careful and restricted and closed off (emotionally). Love wasn’t ever anything I wanted to share or indulge in again. It was so empty before. So meaningless. Just a habit. A required word and sentence… “I love you.” I said it because I was supposed to. Because it was the right thing …

Once burned, twice shy, right? Apparently not.

Love’s never easy. Between parent and child, best friends, partners, owner and pet, person and passion; there’s always a struggle. There’s always a back and forth. It has to be worked at. It has to be maintained. It cannot, by its nature, be easy.

Nor should it.

If love is easy, it’s not real. Real love has obstacles. It should have obstacles. Even if they’re small ones, they should be presence. If you’re not fighting for something to work then it’s not worth having. And I don’t mean those in love need to argue every day, I just mean there needs to be work put in. You can’t become complacent. You can’t let things be. You can’t just let things meander along. It doesn’t work like that.

Love doesn’t work like that.

My marriage meandered. I didn’t fight for anything. Neither did my ex. We were non-confrontational. We know now we didn’t care enough, we didn’t love enough to fight for us. To keep us together. To keep the love there.

There’s no practicality in love.

Nor is there practicality in the loss of love. Suddenly realizing my marriage was done, my partner of 13 years gone, was highly impractical on all accounts. But it happened. It was my reality. I had to deal with it. And so I did. Perhaps not well, perhaps not even properly, but I did.

Love.

What the fuck is it, really?

The love I have for my son is pure. Unconditional. I would die for him. I would kill for him. He is my world. He is my being. My heart aches at the thought of not having him near. He is my end all and be all. I sometimes get tears in my eyes simply looking at him and the amazing little human being he’s become.

Tonight at bed time I told him he was a good boy, and his response was (in all its honesty and purity), “You know you’re a really good mummy, too, right?”

Heat = burst.

So much love. Pure, honest, wholehearted love.

Are we supposed to feel that for another human being who didn’t emerge from our own bodies? Can that purity be translated to another? A partner? I still don’t have these answers. Maybe I never will.

There’s no practicality in love.

Apparently it also doesn’t know when to go away, when to stop, when to leave me be.

When all I want is to turn the emotion off, be numb, be uncaring, be free of the hurt and the breakdowns it won’t go away. I don’t understand. I spent so long unfeeling .. and now it won’t stop. I desperately want it to.

And yet I don’t.

This impractical invasion of love in my life has lead me to feel incredible things to experience moments I’d never have had before to be purely me. And it scares the fuck out of me because despite all signs pointing to the fact that I should no longer be feeling the love that I do… it’s still there. Very much there. My practical, rational mind is screaming at me to stop, reminding me I should no longer feel this way. Literally pounding at my irrational, emotional side to smarten the fuck up and get over these feelings…

My rational side needs to grow some bigger muscles…

I have no idea how to handle it. I have no idea how to go about my day-to-day activities on most occasions with this weight in my heart, this weight that’s not at all a negative but pulls me down so completely that often times I’m rendered immobile and all I can do is heave great breaths to steady myself.

There’s no practicality in love. But perhaps that’s the idea. Throw you a curve-ball, put you in a situation you’ve never been in, make you question it all… and have the only answer be:

It’s love. Fucking deal with it.

When there’s no one else to say no

•May 20, 2016 • 1 Comment

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Drawing attention to the fact that most of the time I’m a single parent is not something I like to do. I’m self-sufficient. I pay my bills (mostly) on time. I have a mortgage. I buy healthy (ish) food for both my son and I. I have a career. Yet, I make sure I still have time for me and exercise, and go out, and drink too much wine … but I digress.

I am a single mother.

I have no partner to help me when I’m with my son. When it’s my week/weekend with him, I am alone. Just him and I. Even when I was dating someone, the weekends I had Owen were mostly spent just us two.That time together is very important to me, especially that it’s just us.

Owen’s 4 1/2 now, and he’s an absolute joy. I adore my time with him. I look forward to our weekend adventures and try my best to give him as many experiences as I can. Watching the world through his eyes is absolutely incredible, and it brings a huge smile to my face every time we’re together.

But it can be as taxing as it is rewarding.

When it’s just us two, I play both parental roles. All. The. Time. I don’t get to share tasks or punishments for that matter. There’s no one else to say no. It’s always me. And it wears on me.

A few weeks ago, while visiting a very dear friend and her husband, with Owen in tow, this was pointed out out to me. They were inquiring into my well-being and I was explaining that I was coping with life in general but that I was rather exhausted, despite Owen being an amazing little boy who is really very, very easy to live with.

“Of course you’re tired,” chuckled my dear friend who’s also experience single-motherdom.

“There’s no one else to say no, is there?”

And for a moment I was confused. Then it hit me.

There are days I feel like all I do is chastise Owen. All I do is say no he can’t, and could he stop, and please don’t touch, and sit up, and don’t do that… it’s tiring. And I hate it. I wish I never had to tell him no. I wish I could let him run wild sometimes, but then what kind of adult would he grow up to be?

Owen really is exceptionally well-behaved (and I promise I’m not just being one of those barf-y mums who thinks her kid can do no wrong, ever). I’ve never heard someone tell me the contrary or rather friends/family/strangers are quick to point out how good he actually is. I assume if he was badly behaved nothing would be said at all.

All that to say: I still say no. A lot. And I hate it.

We do everything together: From bank appointments to museum outings to my gym time (there’s a play area for kids and he loves it while mummy gets her sweat on), right down to coming to work with me when he’s sick and I can’t stay home. He’s my sidekick, my main man, my best friend.

But I’m tired.

Being a single parent is exceptionally incredible in so many ways, and horribly daunting in so many others.

Do I wish I had someone to help? Fuck yes.

I’ve never experienced being a parental unit. Ever. Not even when my ex and I were together did we parent “together.” On our own, we were fine. Together? We were never a unit. I don’t know what it feels like to have that support to share that parenting task. And I want to.

To have someone to wake up on Saturday morning with Owen, let me have a lay in, perhaps bring me a tea in bed … those are the types of fantasies I have. Truthfully. Super sexy, right?

I know I am extremely lucky in that despite being a largely single parent, I have a great deal of help from my parents. I visit them often and then the rearing task is shared mostly between my mother and I. But that only happens for 1 maybe 2 nights and a day during a week and only every few weeks, sometimes longer than that.

I also have incredible friends who openly suggest outings with Owen and I (usually activities that are kid-oriented even when they themselves don’t have kids) or ensure restaurants are kid-friendly and don’t mind at all that he comes for dinners or brunches.

Plus, with shared custody I do get a few days every second weekend to myself, sans child. And it’s almost like I lead two different lives at that point. For 6 days it’s #mumslife then suddenly for the next 5 days and nights I’m childless and free to do what I please and go where I want without time restraints or a little person to entertain, feed, scold, and care for.

It’s very, very odd.

My mother raised me on her own till I was about 8-9 years old when my step-father came into the picture. I admire everything she ever did for me, and for us. She made some hard decisions when I was younger. She sacrificed a lot. She gave a lot. And she always, always put me first. And she also said no, and she was the only one who did.

I think I’m a better person, and a better mother because of her.

When there’s no one else to say no, it changes the parent you become I think. And not in a bad way. I feel stronger and better for it. I feel more in charge of myself and my convictions. Do I think I’m the best single mum out there? Far, far from it. But I’m trying, damn it. And if it means I have to keep being the only one who says no to a child who’s so incredibly amazing in order to make him a better human being for society when he becomes an adult. Well, fuck, I guess I’ll just have to keep saying no then won’t I?

The trouble with spilt milk…

•May 15, 2016 • Leave a Comment

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Is that sometimes it really is a big deal.

Somewhere along the highway on a long drive home with a rather tired, overwhelmed and overthinking mum at the wheel and an equally tired 4-year-old chattering and fidgeting in the back (from endless play in the countryside and a fabulous weekend of freedom and treats and movies and good laughs) and even after one cup of milk had already been deposited into a flower pot on the seat next to him (seriously, I don’t fucking know, so please don’t ask), cup no.2 of milk made its way onto the backseat of mummy’s luxury-brand media car.

And I lost it.

Truthfully, I don’t often get upset. Ask friends and family; I’m a very calm person (on the outside). I never yell. I don’t get red-in-the-face angry. Honestly, I loathe confrontation and fights. So, yelling at anyone, most of all my own flesh and blood, my son, was something I couldn’t fathom.

But I did.

Not in a raging, vein-sticking-out-of-neck yelling way. I don’t think I even have it in me to do that. But definitely in an angry, uncharacteristic way for mum to speak to son. I’m not proud of it. And I hate that he became the brunt of so much more than spilt milk on a car seat.

It had nothing to do with his accidental spillage, which he truthfully remedied almost immediately, picking up the sealed cup that had only dribbled a minimal amount on the black leather seat. His wide eyes in my rearview mirror revealed just how unreasonable I was really being. And yet I continued.

I wasn’t chastising him so much as the situation.

“I told you to be careful!”

“Didn’t I warn you to watch out and be conscious of the milk and know that it was there?!”

“You saw what happened last time you swung your arms around like that!” (At least that’s how I assume the last cup of milk ended up in the flower pot … )

“Why weren’t you more careful like I asked you to be?!”

And as the asinine questions came pouring out of my already quivering mouth, the tears welled up and I realized it really was about so much more than spilt milk.

For the better part of three weeks now I’ve been dealing with a veritable tsunami of emotions internally. Trying to get through each day without either breaking down into gut-wrenching sobs or conversely punching someone in the throat for being obnoxious or saying something insensitive.

It’s horrible.

I have terrible moments of complete weakness where I find myself curled up in a ball, tears flowing, with absolutely no ability to make it all stop. Because it all comes crashing down on me in those moments and the sheer level of emotions I feel are just too much for me to handle. Thankfully, those moments pass. But they are intense.

Spilled milk is a shock. It’s not supposed to happen. You’re aware it COULD happen, but it’s not supposed to. You don’t want it to.

Life is full of shocks and surprises and uncertainties, and no matter how much we try and prepare ourselves, sometimes it’s just not enough.

That’s when I realized the questions I was blindly shooting back at Owen, who really didn’t deserve it in the least, were directed at me.

“I told you to be careful!”

“Didn’t I warn you to watch out and be careful?!”

“You saw what happened last time… don’t you remember?”

“Why weren’t you more careful like I asked you to be?”

Upon this sudden and abrupt realization, I went silent as I drove the rest of the way home. Tears silently falling down my cheeks. Owen staring forlornly out the window. I think I may have turned the music up ever so slightly to drown out my own thoughts a bit and the sound of me sniffing quietly.

A meaningless cup of spilled milk brought about a wave of emotions I’d been harvesting for too long, clearly. The feeling of being desperately and completely alone, and readjusting to my new solo life and time, as well as accepting what I knew was coming all along. Accepting what I could not change. So “why bewait what is done and cannot be recalled” as the saying goes.

I should have been more careful. I saw what opening up to someone did in the past. Why wasn’t I more careful with my emotions, my heart, like I promised myself I would be in the beginning?

Now that it’s done, now that the change has occurred, there’s also nothing more I can do about it. Metaphorically speaking the liquid has escaped. Nothing I can do, say or feel will put it back. Absolutely nothing.

This arrant liquid on a car seat represented the lack of complete and utter control I had and have over it all, and it crushed me in that moment. As the dairy product dribbled down the seat in whatever direction it wanted, I realized that was a pretty accurate description of my life; dribbling down in whatever direction it pleased no matter how badly I wished and hoped and begged that it would just stop making a mess, please.

Exiting the highway and coming to a set of lights, I reached one hand back towards Owen. Immediately his little hand was in mine, gripping tightly. We stayed like that for as long as I could safely drive and hold that position.

“I love you, bud.”

“I love you too, mummy.”

The trouble with spilt milk is that sometimes it is so much more; however, we have to remember that once it’s done it’s done and cannot be returned to the cup, and it can always be wiped up and cleaned, no matter how far down the dribbles and drops travel.

To the girl who wasn’t as prepared as she said she was

•April 4, 2016 • 5 Comments

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I see you crying. I see you crying a lot. I can almost physically see your pain, see the discomfort radiating from your now seemingly frail and weak body that shakes with sobs sporadically. I hear you take deep, shuddering breaths trying to steady yourself, trying to regain your composure; trying to be strong. I see your internal struggle. I think I can hear you arguing with yourself, fighting your inner demons as best you can.

You thought you were prepared for this. You said you were. You assured yourself you were. You reassured those around you that you were. You joked about it, made mock of it, threw in the odd self-deprecating silly story.

You were asked almost on a daily basis for months what you were going to do when this moment came. Asked how you planned on handling it, what you were going to do. And you simply shrugged, said it would all be OK; that you’d deal with it all when the time came.

You idiot. You weren’t at all prepared for the inevitable for the end you knew was coming regardless, and especially not for what you did.

Did you do it on purpose? Did you make it worse to make it all easier in the end? Did you fuck it up because you were told not to? Why don’t you have these answers?

Why are you crying so much?

You’re an adult(ish) who was supposed to be making adult decisions and being a better human being. Looks like you missed a turn somewhere on the road to a better you and future. But why?

You knew what you were getting into from the beginning. You knew it was never going to last. You knew you’d be alone not because of a failure in relationship, but because of a living situation. You accepted that. You said it was OK. You said you were OK with it.

Because you knew it would inevitably end, was that the reason you went into it?

Stop crying.

You’d been counting down the months/weeks/days till that fateful day. Is that why you chose to fuck things up early? Piss him off enough to push him away so you could deal with the pain of losing him before he actually left? That was a pretty stupid idea. Perhaps one of the least intelligent “ideas” you’ve had as of late.

What the fuck were you thinking?

After everything you’ve experienced, learned, felt, and realized over the months, you’ve regressed again. You did it on purpose; please tell me you did it on purpose. You can’t go back to that place, you can’t let yourself sink back down to that. You’re bigger than that, better than that, you’re worth more than that.

He did that for you: he made you feel worth it. He built you up. He showed you everything you could be and more. He made you feel like a real person, he made you feel happy, like a human being worth being around; someone with a heart and intelligence and a stupid sense of humour that could actually be appreciated. He showed you how great you were, through his actions and his look.

Stop crying, and don’t throw all that away.

Don’t go back to that place you were before. I see you trying to sink back, to step into the same shadows you emerged from months ago. Fuck that. Don’t be a complete idiot. Take from this and grow more.

You thought you were prepared for all of this, and maybe you were. But you weren’t prepared for yourself, and that was the worst part. You should have prepared for that. You should have known what you were capable of, what you were able to do without even meaning to. Have you learned nothing over the years? Maybe you really are destined to forever be that girl and you’ve just got to fucking accept it. Ever think that?

Maybe I’m being too harsh, but tough love might be exactly what you need right now. Tough love to toughen you up and stop you from making these mistakes in the future. Stop throwing away good things.

And stop crying. Please, please stop crying.

You gave everything, and every part of you. You held nothing back; not emotions, nor words, nor physical gestures. You presented it all fully. It was all accepted. You also presented a side of you that was less than desirable, and entirely not acceptable in his eyes. You need to live with that. You need to embrace that and accept that’s now a part of you, as well.

All these puzzle pieces, however awkwardly shaped and sharp-edged come together to make you who you are. You might not like the shapes they make, the colours they produce or the images they portray, but they’re you.

Fucking deal with it.

To the girl who wasn’t as prepared as she thought she was: Prepare yourself to heal, because you will. Eventually. As painful as it all is right now, you will pull through. You always do.

Sincerely,

The girl who wasn’t as prepared as she thought she was

xx