Lying down in front of the bulldozers

For the long Easter weekend, I basically curled up in a ball with a pile of books, and when I had read until my eyes crossed, I’d cook. Or wash up. Or watch TV. Or go for a walk in the sunshine and fresh air – whenever there was some, in between downpours. Proper April weather for Blighty.

I noticed that if I was feeling ghastly and godawful, lonely, sad, missing H (yes, I miss H horribly when he’s not about. Damn it. DAMN IT), I would usually feel a lot better if I had a shower or went for a walk.

It has been nearly three months – three months oh my hopping cane toads – since I realised my marriage was over. And it’s been bloody stupid pointless limbo all the way, with a side-helping of rage and added extra feelings of helplessness and trappedtrappedtrapped. And yet here I am, perfectly able to perk up a bit and feel better if I use nice shampoo and go watch chestnut trees in blossom and people larking about in the park. I don’t know if this is a sign of my absolute shallowness or amazing resilience. We’ll go with resilience, because my counsellor doesn’t like it when I do myself down.

I don’t know how things are going to pan out at all anymore. I had hoped that my darling mother would have some Financial Assistance handy and right there, because she’d promised us Financial Assistance before, when we were still Us. But her assets are all entangulated and there is this seemingly endless delay and before you ask, no, I’m bloody well not prepared to rent – I actually genuinely will not waste any more of my not-very-much money on RENTING SOLO when I am trying to BUY and never have to be at the twatweasel mercy of a landlord ever again – and I am very not prepared to take a room in someone else’s house oh my God. I’m nearly 40, I’m an introvert, I am private and shy and people piss me off, I abominate loud noise and I have a ridiculous slew of food allergies that makes fridge-sharing fucking annoying, and I have enough books to build a sodding house. No. Not renting, not sharing. H may be my ex, but at least he makes tea properly and can and does cook.

As to why H is in the flat and keeping the flat? Well, because it’s a) rented, not owned, and b) he pays the rent on it. That was our deal. He paid rent, because he earned over twice as much as I did, and I paid bills and put as much as possible into my savings account for IVF and/or mortgages. So, actually, he’s being nice letting me stay.

Where was I? Oh, yes, panning out. Uncertainty of. Bewilderment. Confusion.

I have made a decision. I have decided I don’t care. The whole of 2014 can be a bewildered heap of bollocky-burp if it likes. I am not going to give a fuck. I am going to go to work, and come back from work, and eat dinner, and take showers and get dressed and undressed, and read books and watch TV and listen to the radio. I am going to write poems and bits of my novel. I am going to carry on emailing my mother listings of particularly non-horrible cheap flats. I am going to talk to my bank about mortgages. I am going to admire my favourite trees, and go to the theatre occasionally, and see my friends. And if the housing situation works out quickly, hurrah, and if it doesn’t, oh well, what the hell. None of this will be improved by my fretting myself grey-headed about it (I have a silver streak coming in above my right ear, which I am blaming absolutely on H and his shenanigans). None of this will move faster for stressing. And, and this is important, none of it will move slower just because I relaxed, had a good night’s sleep, and read a book for fun.

See? This is what a walk in the sunshine with clean hair does for a girl. Insouciance leaking in puddles all over the floor.


I read, much of the night, and go south in winter.

APRIL is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.

There have been, eh, delays? Roadblocks? Oafs? in the house-hunting plans. My mother, who is being excellent about the whole thing, is going to share the mortgage with me, but to do so she needs to sort out her financials, which she can’t do because a Third Party is being a dithering twatweasel. We email each other links to listings of possible flats, and she complains about the lack of second bedroom and I complain about the state of the bathroom and that’s about the extent of it.

So H and I are still sharing a flat.

This flat has been my home for 10 years now. Why, yes, Gentle Reader, I feel conflicted. I feel conflicted as hell. Run! Stay! Run! Home! Stay! Run! Run! Run!

I bitterly resent having to leave, having to live on my own, having to do all this by myself without my favourite human at my side. I bitterly resent it. The only thing worse than leaving H and being alone is staying with him, frankly.

That’s not to say H is being appalling. He continues being considerate and polite and relatively easy to share a space with. He always was a good room-mate, mind. He’s just being bloody there, and, of course, because I am nothing if not totally irrational, when he goes away I feel unpleasantly lonely.

(He’s away right now, spending the Easter week with his family. Whereas I am spending Passover eating bitterness, salt tears, and chocolate. My People are Giving Me A Look.)

I went to a large family wedding recently, and spent not nearly as long as I feared but rather more than I wished fending off relations who wanted to know where H was and why H wasn’t… But they weren’t as bad as the Pregnant Cousins Regiment and their cooing and twittering parents. Oy vey, the cooing and twittering, and didn’t I want to hear all about [cousin]’s every twinge, burp and sickie? About as much as I want to repeatedly slam my favourite hand in a waffle-iron, thank you, and please excuse me, I have a lavatory door to stare at until I’m sure everyone is talking to someone else.

(Bloody stupid conversation with one relation who was all ‘oh, when were you in hospital? Oh, in the summer? Oh, yes, I did know that! Your mother said… um. You were really ill, weren’t you? And you lost the baby. Oh. Um. Oh. Yes, I did know that. Um.’

Well fucking quite).

And the wedding vows – oh, Gentle Readers, I made wedding vows. H made wedding vows. People are so bravely foolish, so foolishly brave, to stand up in front of everyone they know and say ‘you. You forever. You and only you, above all things and people’. What if only one of them means it? What if neither of them mean it? What if they actually mean ‘you can’t hold me to this if it stops being fun or easy’?

So I cried. I wonder how many people crying at weddings are doing so because their broken heart is aching under the strain.

I am suffering from absolute burn-out. Dear internets, it’s not you, it’s me, but if you and your loved ones are all alive and not in hospital and no one’s spouse is running away with all their money and a random guitarist with hepatitis, I have nothing comforting or kind to say. Not because you don’t deserve every comfort and kindness, you really do. You really do. I’m just utterly out of both and running on petrol fumes of decent behaviour and I will only let you down if you ask me for them. So let’s not put us in that position, eh? And one day I’ll actually have had a week where someone actually puts me and my needs first for longer than it takes a kettle to boil and I’ll’ve basically refuelled. And then I will sympathise with your colicky baby issues. Poor you. Poor baby.


Two minute silence

If things hadn’t taken so many turns for the shittier, 6AA would’ve been born this week.


Not that I’m sure where I’m going with this

Having a counsellor to talk to is fascinating. Having a good counsellor to talk to is, well, everyone should try it. (Everyone! A good one, mind!) One of my counsellor’s particular rules is I am not allowed to blame myself and beat myself up over, well, anything, really, as I have a terrible tendency to sit there staring up at the light-fixtures to stop tears overflowing my lower eye-lids, saying things like ‘If only I’d realised, if only I’d known, if only I’d tried to do X instead of Y…’

‘If only shmonly,’ says my counsellor, ‘You did the best you could with the information you had.’

In the course of this sequence of not-being-allowed-to-diss-myself, we also discussed why I diss myself. (Family dysfunction hununga rutoot nureek squilookle, tedious predictable). And I had an insight. Or a resight. All my life, the people around me, the ones whose opinion was most formative and important, told me that I was not worthy of love. I don’t think they meant to do that, honestly, but the messages were, variously, ‘you talk too much. Stop showing off, it puts men off. No one likes a smartarse woman. You’d be so pretty if you were thinner. It’s a shame you need glasses. You make too many jokes, men prefer it if they’re the funny ones in a relationship. Why do you have to be so opinionated? Have you lost weight? Why aren’t you a doctor/lawyer/professor yet?’

(Eeep, my family are such sexist bastards. Eeep).

I spent years thinking I’d never marry because no one at all would ever want to marry me. Why on earth would they?

And then H loved me, and my Important People were so! Very! Pleased! Because H, H was great. H was talented and good-tempered and thoughtful and did the washing-up and could cook and had a good job and was so patient with May. So patient. Look at H, putting up with May sounding off again! Amazing. Wow, now he’s being proud of her being funny! Look! Isn’t it special? Isn’t she lucky that he appreciates her jokes?

So, that was the dynamic, at least in my own head, for a very long time. H was The Great Catch, and I was the lucky, lucky, possibly undeserving inferior being who had caught him. God knows with what. Limed twigs? A large net and a trident?

Yes. Well.

We could flip this, couldn’t we? May is bright, articulate, funny, opinionated-in-a-good-way, has great hair, talented, cooks a fabulous lasagne, and actually quite a few people like (really really like) full-breasted curvy girls with neat ankles and a habit of poking their glasses up their noses and looking fiercely at things. How did H luck out and catch her? Watch May putting sweetly up with his ineptitude in all things literary! Awww, she’s explaining the neurobiology of consciousness to him again. Remember when she patiently showed him how to wash the outside of bowls and saucepans before stacking them in the cupboard? Isn’t he so very lucky he’s found a life-partner that makes him laugh like the proverbial drain on a daily basis? I wish my spouse made me laugh like a drain on a daily basis.

*sigh*

(Yeah, no, it was a resight. I just remembered this poem from June 2011.)


Frolicking in Limbo

Hello, Gentle Readers. Went the week well? Shall I tell you about my week? Of course I shall, it’s why I started the blog – to babble into the void, whether the void liked it or not.

Item – Last weekend I went to stay with Hairy Farmer Lady, who fed me cake in epic quantities, and then ice-cream in epic quantities, and having done that, booze in epic quantities, and then let me rant in epic quantities and took me to the theatre to boot. It was beyond awesome. And I felt, well, I felt wanted. And funny and cute, but above all wanted. Worthwhile. Worth making an effort for. Wanted. Excuse me, I must just attend to a face-leak.

Item – I don’t think H ever consciously meant to make me feel worthless and unwanted. But! People of the World! If your partner continuously complains that Behaviour X makes them feel worthless and unwanted, you have to deal with the motherfucking fact that persisting in Behaviour X sends a very distinct and hard-edged message to your partner that actually, yes, they are not as important to you as Behaviour X. It doesn’t matter if X = having a meths lab in your shed or X = just being obsessed with golf to the point where you are never available to go to Sunday lunches with the In-Laws and run interference. (Caveat, obviously, sometimes, Behaviour X is no big deal and you may feel partner is being a dick about it. Then you have to ask yourself ‘do I want to live with a dick who is less important to me than X?’). But to do something dinosaurish, and to lie to your partner about it, even though your dinosaur is making you behave in a boorish way and your partner is crying about it again, HUGE WARNING WHO’S BEING THE DICK NOW KLAXON.

Item – More limbo, in that my mother is experiencing delays in her finances, which means I am experiencing delays in my mortgage-planning, which means I am still living with H, which is a colossally awkward life experience which no doubt is vastly improving to my character and morals at the expense of my fingernails and sleep-habits.

Item – Living with H does not suck, because we are both being very adult and polite and we are both trying very hard to remember that the situation is fucking awful for both of us. Well, it does suck, but it could suck so very much more. I do remember, I must remember, that H is bearing a burden of his own and it’s galling, chafing and wearying him too.

Item – H does artistic things from time to time. I went to one of these events this week. I had been looking forward to it, you see. H came over to say hello at one point, and when he’d gone back to The Art, the person next to me said ‘oh, is he your husband? You much be so very proud of him!’. ‘Yes,’ I said. Yes. And no. And, oh God, no.

Item – I got into a bit of a panic about moving out, about not being able to move out, about renting instead for a bit, about how I couldn’t really afford to rent unless I shared, about how very much I did not want to share, about money, and was I doing the right thing? Was I? Was I? I went to see my counsellor and flailed at her for a bit. There, there, she said. Baby steps. It’s OK to take baby steps. It’s OK not to know quite what to do. It’s perfectly OK for this all to take ages and ages. If I’m more comfortable sharing living-space with H until I can sort my own place out, even if that takes months, that is OK. As it would be OK if I ran squeaking into the night carrying nothing but my laptop and spare knickers. If stability is very very important to me, that is also OK. If I am phobic about moving house at the best of times, guess what? It’s OK!

Item – Also I am strong and intelligent. It’s a thing people keep saying to me, but when my counsellor says it she means just that, rather than ‘so stop crying because you’re making me uncomfortable’ Thank you, beloved NHS, for this woman and her well-trained kindness and the fact she laughs at my jokes.

Item – I went out again this weekend (see? Frolicking!) with more people who laugh at my jokes and make me feel wanted. So there’s that. Which is good. Which is very good. There is life at the end of the tussle.

Item – And now for a quick bitching – I am baffled by the small, (very small, not you) quantity of people who have attempted to ‘comfort’ me or ‘cheer me up’ by telling me anecdotes about their own lovely children/spouses/four-bedroom houses with gardens. It’s one thing to tell me about children and spouses and houses in a spirit of ‘well, this is what is going on in my life’, because I do actually give a damn or indeed several about my friends and their offspring and belongings. But to offer up a ‘look at my adorable child! My splendid spouse gave me a present! I have walk-in closets!’ anecdote to cheer me up, when I am childless, getting divorced, and soon to be homeless does not strike me as classy.

Item – Oh, yes, Cerazette! Some kind souls have asked about Cerazette and Shark Week (or, Shark Festival Fortnight, as it insisted on becoming). I am still on said pill, I plan to stay on it until I am very elderly and menopausal. I do have a slight ‘issue’ (ho ho ho. Hee hee hee) with spotting, as it comes and goes unpredictably and hangs about for weeks, but it’s light and unobtrusive, by and large. And no periods. No burning pains in the uterus and bladder and cramps in the bowel that go on for most of the month. I’ll take the spotting, ta.


Crickets

Tomorrow is our wedding anniversary.

Yeah, I’m not really looking forward to it either.


A sad

I had grand plans to spend the evening cooking and doing laundry. Instead, I spent it eating cheese on toast and watching TV in a weepy heap.

I miss H. It’s horrible. I loved him so much.

I loved him enough to bundle away my writery ambitions and get a proper job, so he didn’t have to feel conflicted about supporting me, and so we could save money – he always wanted a house of his own (neither of us were to know the housing market would go batshit insane. Heigh ho). I didn’t care so much about property, but I couldn’t in all conscience base my plans for lentil-eating garret-dwelling poeting on his earning power. I had to contribute. I got a proper job. (Thank fuck I did [Irony Claxon]).

And then we tried for babies. I swear, I would never have kept on trying so long so hard if H hadn’t been adamant that he also wanted children. Yes, I wanted children very much, I really did, or I wouldn’t’ve gone along with it all. But I wanted my child to have what I never had – a father. A real one, who stayed, and who would do nappies and 3am sheet-changes and colic and maths homework and who would love them and love me and put us first. Unlike my own father. Unlike my step-father.

I thought H was doing what I was doing. Putting us first. Putting our future child, should we finally have one, first. Putting me, if not first, then at least up there with ‘important’ and ‘beloved’.

And he didn’t. Maybe he couldn’t. But then he should’ve told me he couldn’t love me like that before agreeing to marry me. He should’ve told me when he first found he was carrying Velociraptor eggs home in his pocket. He should’ve trusted me. Instead, he took advantage of the fact I trusted him.

I am being unbelievably fucking petty at the moment, because H is slowly getting round to telling his family and close friends about Divorce Because Velociraptors, and they are being supportive of him. Of course they should be, he’s family, and he is clearly very depressed and fucked-up and needs all the support he can get. But – I told you this was petty – my family are all about the ‘you’ll be fine, May! You’re brave and strong and resilient and this will be the making of you!’. While worrying that H will be having a ghastly time.

What about my ghastly time, you bastards? H asked to have a ghastly time, literally asked, taking foolish risks as he did. I did not ask. I felt I’d already had a ghastly time, thank you, quite sufficient for the time being. My baby died. For the tenth time in a row. I nearly died. That was ghastly. Being caught arsing about with Velociraptors is not actually in the same league. And yet I am ‘resilient and fine and fine and this is the best thing ever for me’ and poor H is having a ‘ghastly time’ and needs people to stand by him. The innocent and righteously indignant victim is never as knee-jerk attractive and sympathetic as the repentant sad-eyed kicked-puppy bad boy.

At least no one has said I ought to stand by him. Because fuck that noise.


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