Letting go

So I am currently still trying to divorce the Arsehole ex. (He whose name must not be spoken will be referred to as Mr A(rsehole) from here forward.) In between the aftermath of seeing Mr F and trying to understand how and why I put up with sooo much shit from Mr A I discovered that I’m still totally fucked up and still have a lot of healing to do. In order to make it through the messy hell of divorcing a narcissist whilst trying to heal and not implode, somethings had to go. The first was work.
I needed some time out. It was the first time I’d ever admitted defeat and listened to my body. It was screaming at me to STOP. So rather than experience the breakdown that I could feel hurtling towards me with the force of a thousand Lewis Hamiltons, I took a leave of absence that would go on to last five months. 

Second to go was Tinder, Okcupid and the search for sex. I could not be doing with the stress of online dating with all its checking and waiting and swiping and updating and poor results. It seemed as though turning 36 had taken me over the desirability threshold. Notifications dried up; no fish were biting. This was like a death nell to my vagina which was already having a MAJOR self evaluating crisis over the appearance of a few grey hairs. To be honest though I was too busy just trying to make it through each day to do anything about it: there were no ‘come fuck me’ photos to edit or warm smiles to flaunt, no full body shots for me to upload. I didn’t have the energy to come up with any more witty but not too intimidatingly clever one liners. I weaned myself away from daily swiping, deleted the apps and focused on living life offline. There were a few trips back to it all but after a day or two I was always left underwhelmed by what was on offer.  

The last thing to go was my car. My first baby. I bought it in 2003 and sold it for £90 in May 2015. I thought I’d shed a tear but instead I felt liberated. These days I’m in the world not in my car. I’m connected. In the rain. In the warm sunshine. Connected to the pavement as well as the person sitting next to me on the train. 

I’ve let go of all sorts of things. Tossed weight out of my canoe and into the sea. I’m paddling to the left and then to the right, plunging my oar silently into the water. Life feels lighter, as does my boat, as do I. 

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Finding me

Does anyone know how they arrive at a destination that prior to one’s arrival seemed so implausible? Days used to plod along and life was ok and I thought we’d just keep going. Ok so it was a bit awful sometimes but generally things could always have been worse and yeah I thought life was liveable.

Only it wasn’t ok.

I thought I was happily married. No actually I really did believe. I wasn’t pretending to friends and family. I didn’t feel I was living a lie because when big things that were fucking awful happened I told a few people but in a ‘haha can you believe this guy?’ kind of way which in hindsight undermined the severity of the situation. Somethings I just absorbed the misery through my skin and felt it poison then become part of my blood stream. I survived by holding onto tomorrow. And to the memories of a distant past. And that made the today of it all, the constant tension, a little less piercing. But you know the funny thing is that despite seeing myself as ‘happily married’ I sort of suspected that I was not happy. The me in it all had disappeared and didn’t matter because the married part of who I was had consumed my individual sense of self. I battled to make family and marriage and home work even as my husband sought to destroy it all. I gave me away. My happy was irrelevant. My despair and sadness just sat in the pit of me and I forgot I existed. I didn’t know that I mattered and had a right to happiness. It was all about him.

Now I look in the mirror and see myself for the fist time in years and I see lines and 15 years of trauma written across my face. I see ageing and time lost. And I fret and see no hope of love because I’ve lost the commodity of youth. And I fight with myself not to look back or forward but to see ME in the mirror now. Limb by cell by thought I pull myself out of the grave I have been buried alive in. Each day I hope to see a little more daylight. Each day I hope that I will find who I am again. I hope too that it happens before I die a real death so that I’ll at least have known and loved myself a little in this lifetime of mine.

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Maze

Leaves conspire against me and cling to the shadows they cast. The future is impenetrable. Like the fog he conjured up in front of my face. Dusk is moments away. I look up and see half the sky bathed in a tangerine pink haze. The other half is a tragic indigo. It mourns itself. Should the rain fall right now the drops would be tears and the water would wash away the meandering stains on my cheeks. I can not get out. Beyond each corner is a wall of forest green blocking my escape. I was in too deep. I didn’t know how to exhale because he’d had his hands around my throat for such a long time. Eyes bulged and the veins at my temples squirmed like worms under the skin. He let me go. Chose not to murder me. Seemed bored by it all. By the small deaths. I still couldn’t see clearly and walked right into this network of traps and illusions. I look up. I’ve missed it: the sky blinking. Now all of a sudden it is nighttime. And again I can’t see the woods for the trees, the leaves for the maze, the night for the dark. I can’t see the way out. Still, I must forge on.

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Free writing…a little something written in July

Here take my hand child
Don’t be afraid
Don’t gaze up at me suspicious
Don’t you recognise my face?

Think, think child. See me.
Don’t you know my name?
I was there when you were born child
You and I are the same

I saw you when you were lonely
Cried when I found you in pain
Got you up in the morning
Made you catch your train

Watched you clean up the mess
Again and again and again
I rubbed your brow when you were sleeping
Felt you going insane.
From listening over and over
To the same tired refrain.

Not to worry I am here now
No child don’t you fret
Your cheeks will dry in time child
Your path is not set

I’ve always been beside you
Even when all seemed lost
Saw you holding an abacus
When you were counting the costs

Come home to me baby
I’ve always been here
It’s time for a new chapter
It’s time to shift up a gear

Let’s face the future together
Let’s go to the moon and back
Let’s compose a new beginning
Lets mix a brand new track

I’ll step up to do the vocals
You can hop onto the decks
It’s time to surrender to the music
And let life take care of the rest.

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Starting over: a post marriage pick me up

What do you do with a life? When corners are filled with wrong turns and regrets and the room of it, for you feel boxed in some days, seems like a badly decorated, tight cacophony of mistakes.

What do you do with a life? When you survey the scene and don’t recognise how you got here with such an assortment of pieces, some broken others aged, worn.

What do you do? When the collection of people and places before you seem alien and you want to exchange a thing or three or refund the whole lot. When you want to take back even the young fragile coffee tables that you didn’t really know what to do with and can’t remember now why you purchased them on a sensible whim in the first place. What. Do. You. Do?

Most things won’t go back. The low coffee tables with their short legs are non-refundable. But they amuse. And come in handy when you just need a place to rest a weary brew.

What will I do with a life, my life? Perhaps first I’ll find the concealed door and let myself out of this one room. I’ll pack the bits and bobs that I have to take with me and head on out. I’ll open up life and be more outdoorsy. I’ll set up camp somewhere where the sky is above and the sea is below and I’ll tread water. I don’t want to keep my feet on the ground I want to keep moving so that walls, ceilings and floors don’t hem me in and lock the light out.

The suffocating migraine of years gone by promises to make my brain implode and seep from my ears. Running like a gazelle into this life is all I can do to stop the hot hot molten aftermath from claiming me.

I’ll take this life and fling it wide open. My life won’t be a box it will be without form. Infinity must have a centre, a starting point so I will be my own beginning and there will be no end. Possibility will stretch in every direction.

I know what to do with a life, my life.
I must live.

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Step on me. I’m like gum stuck to the pavement

Immediately following the split I was in shock. The indignity of being dumped after sticking with Deluded Dick compounded the heartbreak. And boy was I broken. I mean who does that? I had to be scrapped off the floor. With a chisel.

Anyway, there were a few things that kept me breathing during those early months. Some of which I now realise had been keeping me afloat during the marriage and some I now realise had been missing from my life for a long time. Today I’ll tell you about the power of music.

Music has always been a huge part of me. It punctuates key moments in my life. Lots of us have our own soundtrack that we turn to when we want to reconnect with the past. I can recall Madonna’s Holiday, songs from films such as Flash Dance’s I’m a Maniac and Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5. I was a Material Girl running and leaping into the air, dancing in my living room wild with joy even though I knew nothing of working a 9-5 or welding on building sites.
And I can still hear in my head Thomas Mfumo, the Bhundu Boys and Yvonne Chaka Chaka making her African beer. Mvenge Mvenge was Zimbabwean tv’s top music show. It was a kind of love child conceived by Top of the Pops and MTV. Low definition videos were played and everyone watched it at the same time. Thinking about Zimbabwe’s music and tv makes me in turn recall the heady days of post independence. When summer holidays away from East London would stretch long and hazily into the distance. Mountains, heavy and green, and rocks illogically balanced filled a horizon that seemed to surround us no matter how fast my uncle’s white Nissan moved over the tarmac. We would cross from city to city. Perhaps going from Harare to Gweru. Consuming miles with a hunger. As a child distance meant nothing. Even time was pushed aside in favour of day and night: bright light and starry darkness. As long as the supply of cool, sweet bottles of Fanta did not run out those long journeys felt like a marvel. It seems sometimes that my own life has run parallel to the rocky youth and adolescence of that nation. I was always looking back to those easy days. Could transport myself back in an instant even when the reality of the present was far from that nostalgic past. But even in adversity there is always hope and tomorrow and so my soundtrack played and I was alive with memory. Alive enough to face another day, another night, another trauma with Deluded Dick.

What did this girl of the 80s do in the 90s as a teenager? What did she play on Spotify when DD was threatening to evict her and her children from the family home while he fucked off with his fat pay check? I’ll tell you all tomorrow.

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