Learning

I had my first day at university today. I’d been so anxious over the weekend. Moved into my flat, the reality of the situation hitting me and I felt such despair and loneliness. Maybe regrets – had I worked hard enough at the marriage? Would my kids be ok? Was this a mistake? Because my hands were so raw I asked the family to help me with some final moving. 

   
 
The landlady’s farm dog gave me a friendly welcome to.

As it was time for them to go, I felt utter emptiness and despair. But I have to say I was completely thrown and wonderfully surprised when S looked at me with all the understanding in the world and asked if I wanted to go back with them that night. It was such a nice gesture. I immediately became tearful and had images of a tearful reunion and a promise we’d get through this and everything would be ok in the end. But I knew that was probably pushing it from one considerate comment. It was so nice though to feel like I did have a place to go and that I wasn’t disowned completely. Even as he turned to leave, he told me I was always welcome there. It was nice. Sad and nice.

It was a beautiful sunny day, so peaceful. I sat and read for hours.

Unfortunately the night wasn’t kind to me. When I finally fell asleep around 3am, my nightmares were filled with torture and graphic images of assault. Grisly, terrifying and out of my control.

By 5am I knew I couldn’t trust sleep – but I also knew it would ruin my first day of Uni. I hoped the first day would be short.

I ended up getting up at 6, to have breakfast and then leaving at 7. Just as well! The traffic was dire.

The uni was busting at the seams with eager new students. I was surprised and happy to see my friend there that I haven’t seen for a long time and also catch up with the friend I made at orientation.

The lecture itself was pretty boring, pretty much spoon feeding us our first assignment. It’s all things I’ve heard before about referencing and understanding the context required. At break I got my computer login and decided to call it a day. 

At the flat I felt content. Peaceful. Finally doing something positive and productive. I expected to feel drained and exhausted. 

I let S know that I didn’t have Uni for the next couple of days and could take the kids to school. 

I feel tired now this afternoon now I’m back at the house. Another annoying email from the principal (funnily enough sent to S and NOT me!) about Caitlin’s phone – has he got nothing better to do?!!

The kids room had cat poo in it and I was eager to get on with laundry. 

I’m looking forward to seeing the kids and reminding of them again how easily I can flit from one place to another. I guess I’m reassuring myself too!

I’ve decided to see the dr tomorrow for my hands. It’s just so painful. 

I have to say I got great entairtainment from this coffee machine today..,

I prefer my black coffee black!

  
Finally, I’m not quite sure where I fit in this world right now. But I think I’ve finally started a journey to find out who I am, where I’m at and find balance.

I’m not sure why the occurrence of the nightmares – the fear of loss of control? The Unknown? I’d like the nights to be restful. 

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Head, hands, heart

I bought all the things I needed on Friday for the flat and was glad that S helped me when I drove into the city with a trailer attached and he put the bed I’d bought in to it and then did one his of infamous turn arounds on a tiny street. I’ve always been impressed by his ability to park a seemingly larger car into a smaller space with a few quick flicks of the steering wheel and his manouvering around the small streets of Wellington city was something else.

My hands have broken out in the worst, I guess eczema, I’ve ever had. I don’t really suffer with it, a few months ago I got a skin infection in my hand – first time ever. Now they’ve both flared up. They’re cracked and bleeding and painful. I can’t think what I’ve reacted to. But I’ve tried all the usual things, hydrocortisone cream, moisturiser, whatever the chemist has recommended with no relief. The chemist has said there’s nothing left to try and I need to see the dr. Great.

It’s even painful to drive, so I was worried about unpacking at the flat. Fortunately S suggested he’d pick up the kids from school and they’d all head over to help. It was a good opportunity for them to be part of my move and see the place. My landlady was wonderful, showing the kids the farm animals and her pet bird that she recused after it broke its wing. The kids loved it and seemed very content and peaceful there. It was nice to see them running around on the land. S helped unpack and I asked him if he’d want to come over during the week to take me to dinner and catch up. He took offence to that and said he had no desire to ‘date’ me. An argument was brewing so I dropped it. 

Turned out I had bought the wrong sheets for the bed, it was late and I still needed to go shopping and drop the trailer back so i decided to head back to our house for the night. I think it was a good reminder for the kids too that I can easily move between the two.

By nightfall I had another terrible migraine. Id been busy all day and forgot to take my lunch time preventative migraine tablet – it certainly caught up with me. I was in agony all night and the following day. It was so frustrating, I had so much to do but was wracked with pain.

By afternoon I headed out to change the sheets and pick up some more bits but I didn’t feel like doing everything else with the migraine lurking. This was a mistake on my part.

I tried to initiate conversation with S about seeing him to catch up. We’re already agreed on the kids. But as we’ve been together so long I guess a part of me held onto us going out for dinner and catching up with our lives. S had already had a bottle of wine – and didn’t feel like talking. He was grumpy and tired.

Drunk men trigger me. He knows this and because we’re so distant his demeanour did intimidate me. Not that he’s ever done anything to make me feel unsafe in the past but now I feel I don’t really know him. He’s angry, bitter, he doesn’t talk, his actions are contradictory. Fuelled with alcohol I didn’t want to be around that. There was some argument but I decided to stay in the room all evening. I wanted to just leave and head over to my flat but I knew the kids would be devastated if I just left without saying anything. And I had planned to calmly pack the rest of my stuff here, not throw it in a bag last minute and head off. I was again reminded that I’m not really ‘home’ here and I feel like the best thing I can do is put some space between S and I.

This morning I feel sad about the way things are, and I wondered if at any point i might regret signing the lease. I felt leading up to it, scared and had second thoughts. But since signing it, certainly no regrets. I suppose that might change over the course of weeks, but I imagine it fleeting. S is not the same person. I may well be to blame, God knows I put him through enough with all my history. Maybe I made him bitter and angry. But I don’t even catch rare glimpses of him anymore. He was my safe person, my best friend and confidedante. Now he’s a stranger. 

Hopefully with me gone he can find some equilibrium. And weekends can be enjoyed for the kids.

I’d love for us to be friends again. At the moment it’s all too raw. 

I start Uni on Monday, I’m very anxious, I’m determined to do well. And I’m looking forward to being more involved with local organisations with my networking. 

Hopefully I can grow into a better, stronger version of myself and be a good example for my children.

And who knows, S might actually find me worth his time again.

Nightmares

  

My nightmares last night were horrific. Graphic, violent and sometimes abstract images of my past. It was an ongoing cycle despite waking. I took diazapam in the night to ward off a panic attack.

I woke this morning exhausted, miserable and grumpy. I hate these awful nights that terrify me and remind me so painfully of things I want to forget. I guess it’s the stress and the anxiety compounded. 

S was out for the evening for a work thing, I assumed it was going to be late one for him. So after sorting the kids I curled up with a glass of wine. I’ve not dared drink wine for a long time for fear of migraines, but really wanted to relax. Perhaps it was the alcohol that triggered this awful night? I have no idea. S returned much earlier than anticipated, the civil conversation lasting no longer than an hour. Then the argument came, as typical about money. I feel I’m doing the right thing and compromising, him feeling that I’m stupid or selfish – I don’t know. But either way, I’m tired of feeling disrespected and completely alone and unregarded.

The nightmares really upset me. I’m feeling vulnerable and emotional today. Totally thrown off of base. 

I want to focus on all the positive things, but the nightmares are like the migraines. Debilitating, engulfing, overwhelming. Physically a horrible weight.

Today is dark and extremely windy. I won’t reach out to anybody, I already feel like a burden. And I don’t know if anyone will really understand.

It’s hard to express the fear that’s resonating from old ghosts.

My lower abdomen hurts so badly. I guess a physiological effect of the nightmares. I saw my body in my dreams, bruised. I felt pain and the intimate force. 

I’m so sad and fearful today. I hope I can move past this quickly. I’m sick of the past having such an unpredictable hold over me.

H, Egg and me! (and friends!)

It’s weird how stress effects me physically. Because I shut down my emotions so much, my body needs to find a way to deal with it. Hence the migraines. And last night I felt the familiar symptom of flu, freezing then sweating. I mean my sheets soaked with sweat. It’s when I’m feeling especially stressed, as though my body is trying to detox itself. My son slept peacefully through the night in my bed. I tossed the covers off of me, or wrapped up like a burrito wishing I had an electric blanket. 

This morning Egg’s eye was still sore. I picked her up from school yesterday after someone poked her (by accident) in the eye with a book. It looked sore but I figured there wasn’t much a dr could do about it. This morning she was extremely uncomfortable and H had a slight temp, so I decided to book her into the gp and we’d see my friend as previously planned. It was nice to catch up and as we talked through some of the things I’ve gone through alone, she was amazed that I’d coped. With the court case, international moves, dealing with my past, my marriage, most recently the principal. She asked how I cope with it and still looked after the 4 kids. The answer is simple, I’ve had too.

The kids drew pictures and seemed so content playing on the floor. And then curling up for a movie 

  

 Of course I still got my cuddles! 

Egg’s eye does have bleed but apparently it will heal itself although it’ll be a few days of soreness and weeks of redness. 

I took my little mates to the bakery for a special lunch after.

   

They were so well behaved after a long day.

They’ve just bathed and they’re curled up watching cartoons now. 

I’ve just been trying to find a bed to use at my new flat.

A headache is beginning to threaten behind my eyes. 

I’ve got mixed emotions but I’m happy that my kids were a fantastic distraction and I’m reminded of all the wonderful friends I have in my life.

I need to remember that I’m really not alone.

Lease

Today I signed the new lease on a flat. On a working farm, it’s tiny and with a flat mate. Something I never would have pictured for myself at this stage in my life. I was married, I’ve got my kids, I own and live in this beautiful sprawling house, breathtaking views, but I’m opting for a tiny place, with a farm hand in basically butt fuck nowhere.

I borrowed money from a friend for the deposit. Never in my life have I borrowed money – aside from the mortgage. I have given money. I have in the past given the last money I’ve had to people (but not told the person obviously). But I never want to be ‘that’ friend that would ask for something so private, so fundamentally wrong. The person I wanted to choose had to be financially savvy, that is, not someone on their last dollars, someone that could relate to my position and treat me the same somehow. Not a like failure, or a person to dodge in the future. I do feel like a failure in so many ways. She will get her money back in a few days. I don’t intend to hang onto someone else’s money for any longer than necessary. I also didn’t want the landlady to feel my expression of interest was insincere. I wanted to reassure her that I was interested as she had many other enquiries.

I wanted to back out before the time came. I’ve often when I’ve viewed the place thought of changing my mind. But something deep inside of me feels it’s right. It’s time. Perhaps that’s why I crossed my own boundary to ask for the money.

The kids have taken well to this new adjustment. I’ve been slowly planting seeds about how daddy and I adore them, and we’ll always be good friends, but now we can spend special time with them in special places. They have come to be comfortable in the knowledge that I will aways be around – and look forward to seeing the farm. And really, the arguments were getting worse. It was time for the kids to see us relaxed.

My own parents argued constantly, slept in separate rooms, barely spoke some times, were rude to each other and I asked them why they just didn’t divorce. I knew as I got older, it’s the fear. The loss of familiarity, the lack of trust in yourself, and the need to ‘hang onto’ the good times. I want the real.

When I knew our marriage was flailing, I was happy to dig my head in the sand. I wanted it to pass without tearful, profound discussion, promises of change, renewed hope. Then doing the same thing once that that stopped working. You know when you’re marriage is broken. You can fill the cracks, you can avoid the truth, but in time, everything catches up. All the doubts, the loneliness, the insecurity, the stored arguments, old resentments. It’s insidious. A dying marriage tries to hold on but when you realise there’s nothing left, it’s self destroying. Still I wanted our marriage to be different. Other people had always split us – but not us! We were seen as a stable team. The least likely to break up. We ourselves used to express shock and surprise how divorces and separations occurred around us. But we seemed immune to the virus. I guess the benefit of hindsight is always clearer. 

Today I went to the flat. So peaceful and scenic. Cute and homely. The furniture is tired but the stress feels removed. I feel my own brain absorbing the gentle noises around, the trees, the distant farm machinery. The landlady is amazingly warm and friendly. I feel safe here. My brain feels able to rest. 

When I drove away I knew I’d miss the flat. My house is just a house of bricks. I knew it would feel suffocating. And I knew S and I would talk about whether I wanted to watch television with him. No I don’t. I like to read.

This hasn’t been easy for me. I have wanted him to show some emotion, his faith in us. His raw determination to show me that something so strong exists between us, it not possible for us to live apart. I have tried to initiate that conversation. I have wanted to see the old him come out, love me, save me, do something. But there’s nothing. He may love me in his way, but I know he’ll never embrace me the way he used to, so powerful and tender. We haven’t been intimate for years. He’ll never be aroused by me. He’ll never kiss my lips again. I did try to kiss him on two separate occasions. To see I guess. Both were awkward and he didn’t reciprocate. He doesn’t want me. Where the old him had vanished to me, I guess he sees only a ghost of who I was. I’m assuming, he doesn’t tell me anything. 

Now I’ve signed the lease and made it further official.

I feel grief. I feel my life has changed irreversibly. I feel afraid.

But I don’t feel weak. I have spent days sifting through student loan paperwork, getting the correct Uni paperwork back from them. I’m finding out what my entitlements are. Whereas I’d usually get S to do all this for me. He’s not there for me any longer and I need to accept that.

I can understand why people stay together even though they’re not entirely happy. Financially, emotionally it’s much easier to hope that things return to normal. It’s better to be around someone then alone. It does become detrimental though. My confidence is shaken, the boundaries are blurred; are we friends? Flat mates? Exs living together? How much or little do we share about our days. As before I want to share everything with him, he’s my confidante and best friend. Tough day? Let’s get pizza and open some wine. But it’s not comfortable. I don’t know what he thinks, arguments about finances go beyond flat mate or friend territory, moods are taken out on each other, resentment fizzles below the surface. It’s unhealthy. And how can people think that staying together for the kids is going to work? Atmosphere, stress, moodiness, arguments behind closed doors. They will absorb that and I don’t want them having my childhood. I want them to hear our honesty, our love and commitment unwavering to them and that how we feel for them would never change.

So I have a few days, to sort out financial entitlements, I have an interview, I need to source a bed and I need to spend time reassuring my kids, and then uni starts.

I wish I could have been reassured by my parents. I wish I could be reassured now. But the people that don’t take time to step in and offer reassurance genuinely don’t care.

I think S will see he’s better off without me – if he even notices.

So onto a new chapter. My heart is heavy but when I feel weak I know I have fantastic friends that will keep me on track.

Sadly I do and will always love S. But something in him has changed. Perhaps my ugliness, the bad inside me has rubbed off onto him. Perhaps he just one day stopped loving me.

I hope I’m heading in the right direction. That’s all I can do.

Flat in every context!

It’s been a long week. An emotional one too. I’ve had more highs and lows then a manic depressive on LSD on a roller coaster.

First I had that Appointment. But I think it was a few days late so I had a ‘sort of’ cycle which was very depressing.

Then I got called in the prinicipal’s office. S and I went together. He wanted to express his concern about the ‘welfare’ of the girls. Because I’ve been very vocal about the lack of professionalism of two teachers – one of whom is clearly his die hard favourite, he has never responded very well to me. He’s one of these men that’s let the power of prinicipal go to his head – anything less than admiration and submissiveness (especially from a woman) seems to rile him up into an angry frenzy – suffice to say our communications aren’t always easy!
My youngest daughter had a tummy ache, when he questioned her and suggested they call me, she told him I’d be ‘boxing.’ As it was a training day. Somehow the principal turned it into a ‘does mummy box with you?’ And my youngest in her infinite wisdom said yes. God alone knows why. It was also a day that my middle daughter forgot her lunchbox, as one of them tends to do which annoys the frig out of me, and finally to nail my own lid of bad mother coffin of the century on, we were 5 mins late that morning.

His deductions were, unfed, unloved children that I use as boxing bags. 

Of my course when I asked about them academically, they were great, with peers, great. Any destructive or unusual behaviour? No. Any physical signs of neglect or abuse? No. So it stemmed from a lunchbox left sitting in the kitchen and the fact I box my children. I could see other kids in the playground, some overweight, some messy, some arrived late – so it was my deduction that this was a ‘personal attack’ – S didn’t say a lot besides that they had lunches. I was the one that launched into the tirade. Then he tried to hit me where it hurts by saying TO S, ‘when you’re lovely wife was in Cambodia- your girls were on time, happy, clearly loved girls – now it seems to have changed.’ POW! A low blow and i sure as shit wasn’t going to give him the satisfaction of letting him know he’d gotten to me. I stood up, announced I didn’t have to listen to his crap and stormed out. Slamming the door on the way. Diva much? I can’t deny that the school environment always brings out the worst in me. Add to that, a patronising prinicipal who is gunning for me because I’m so vocal about these teachers – one of which was assigned to one of the girls for the new term – which I’d tried to change but was told by her that she refused to change my daughter. This by the way is the one that used my daughter’s ‘confiscated’ cell phone on a school trip because her phone was dead. You’re fucking welcome. 

Anyway, storming out was admittedly childish and played into his hands, but I didn’t want to endure this emotional boxing, at this time of year in particular and I was really hurt that S didn’t jump to my defense. No matter what happens between us, I still maintain he’s an excellent father and wouldn’t let anyone suggest otherwise. He could have explained how much they missed me when I was away, how much I love and adore those kids, how I look after them when they’re sick, how I tidy their rooms and move their furniture around, how I hug them and soothe nightmares. How I wash their clothes everyday and how they’ve had some of the most amazing international experiences of their lives. I encourage their hobbies, I’d walk through fire for them and God help anyone that upsets them.

But no, I felt like a deadbeat defending my own corner. I drove home in tears. Punched the hell out of my boxing bag (well, the kids weren’t around so that had to suffice!). Then when S called I was just angry that he didn’t come after me, reassure me, listen to me, make a plan with me. Instead he started to lecture me on things I could do better. A few years ago – it all would have been so different. I realised as I stood in the garage with the rain lashing down and my knuckles sore from boxing that I really was alone in this. He wasn’t my ‘saviour’ anymore.  I had a battle to manage alone.

I ended up writing an email to the prinicipal, highlighting his concerns, addressing them and highlighting my own concerns about the school. I also outlined that it was clearly a personally motivated attack. And whilst I would oblige any information pertaining to my daughters, I would seek advice if he continued to make serious unfounded allegations of ‘boxing the children.’ As he needed to understand the ramifications of making such accusations without follow through. The tone was professional, it summarised and closed the issues. I had taken back control and writing makes it noted, official – not hearsay.

After that hideous morning I went to a workshop on youth homelessness. It was absolutely fantastic to be amongst such hard working inspiring people. I learnt a lot. I did make some contributions and afterward I was approached by a host that complimented my comments and said she’d like to catch up soon.  I was honoured but also hit that, wow, someone here is liking my style after being branded a bad mother. It was a confidence boost.

I stopped briefly to see for the second time a little flat I found on a working farm. I’d met the landlady whom was lovely and the flat, although small is beautifully situated, my dog is welcome and I can wander around the many walks in the woods. My children were also welcome at weekends. Although I explained that I’d probably be back at my house most weekends. I just need some space away from the intensity of my separation and his confusing actions (I obviously didn’t verbalise that last bit!). I met the flat mate, a young quiet guy who works all day. I don’t think I’ll have a problem with him and he related that he was happy with me.

So I’m set to move some stuff in next week. I’ll divide my time equally, but it will also be nice to spend time with each child alone and build on our relationship.

I also attended the orientation at my uni. I got along naturally with most of the students – the ones I met, I’m glad they’re mostly mature students. I’m looking forward to getting stuck in. Which is another reason my little flat will be ideal to study in.

Things are finally changing. I’m looking forward to the new challenges and hopefully shedding this dreadful negativity.

I have to wait until i get money next week to be able to put the bond down and buy a bed etc. if it wasn’t for that I’d have secured it already. S made plans for 2 of the kids to have play mates over, so 6 kids in the house today. I didn’t want the hassle or disturbance after a fretful week and tomorrow my friend is throwing a ‘make up party’ admittedly not my idea of fun as I barely wear the stuff. But I’m going to support her.

Next week I have my first lecture and another interview I picked up along the way. I really hope I can secure a part time job soon.

The prinicipal really got under my skin. Perhaps I have been letting my kids down. I’ve been doing my best despite the two week migraine and time of year and the separation but if they’re giving out a vibe of feeling unloved – than I can only be to blame. I need to work on myself and stop with the drifting and expectations that are always snuffed out.

I need to spend time with each alone as with 4 it’s hard to give each kid individual acknowledgment. It’s also hard when I’m trying to physically avoid being around S for too long because of the arguments, and sense of loneliness and loss of my closest friend.

I’ve felt that 2016 is going to be my year and I still strongly believe that. 

Sometimes the right thing to do is the most painful and hardest thing to do.

   
   

Trapped

The weekend was really good. We took the kids to watch some car racing which is considered a very ‘bogan’ interest here, but we all enjoyed it nonetheless!

   
 
Then on Sunday we went to watch the celebrations of the Chinese New Year in the city. And feast on some delicious Asian food! The weather was spectacular- and again it was nice to be out doing something different 

  
 
We were tired but all glad for an interesting and varied weekend. 

Sunday night a conversation started between S and I, there seemed to be an understanding. A closeness? I needed that. This week being the anniversary has been especially hard and the constant debilitating pain of migraines has made me feel isolated and lonely. I hoped that for once we might reach some sort of plateau – could there be hope? Could some compassion and understanding be reached?

My hope was short lived. It’s amazing how despite knowing it’s over, a vulnerable part of me wanted to be wanted, wanted to be listened to and supported in a way only my longest confidante can provide.

But again I was left with no doubt in my mind that the love is gone. Words are meaningless. 

This morning I had my appointment at the clinic for the depo. The drive there my head started to throb again. I parked and entered the building feel numb. Posters advertising safe sex and the importance of consent. All of these clinics look the same. I stared blankly – not wanting to read anything or see any images that might trigger me. But my 14 year old self felt very present. I felt vulnerable, anxious, lonely and afraid. But my need to stop my menstrual cycle is strong enough to endure this hardship. The nurse called my name a couple of times apparently. I was so spaced I didn’t hear or see her. As I followed her into the room with its swabs and test kits – I wondered how I presented when I was 14. My friend spoke for me, but indeed I was even more spaced, overwhelmed, confused. I wondered how I managed to go through the process of emergency contraception when I was still very much a child. I wonder if a nurse took in my unruly state and 1000 yard stare. Or if she just saw me as another person on a conveyer belt of people taking risks? 

I remember returning to the clinic years later for my smear tests and blood tests. The tears, the support of the nurses. The rustling paper of bed linen, the sterile smell, the sympathetic smiles, the invasion of my body with objects. Again, aside from the people in that room, no one knew what I was experiencing. I remember crying on the bus home.

So today the nurse tried to initiate light conversation but I was hardly able to hear her. I must have seemed rude and/or arrogant. But I couldn’t stop my mind slipping into a protective stance, as questions floated in my mind – trying to remember images from my past.

Well, eventually I received the shot. My new migraine medication and blood pressure warranted some checks.

By the time I left my head was becoming a migraine again and I wanted to cry. But I needed S to meet me to fill up my car. So I stayed detached. The tears come and go. But my head is taking over. Back to the painkillers.

  
I suppose I can never truly be free. But at least I can manage through this alone. 

One day I won’t need someone to tell me it’s going to be ok – I’ll believe it myself.