Hello darkness, my old friend 

The only thing more exhausting than being depressed is pretending you’re not’ 


I started the below post twelve months ago. Due to the recent losses in the music world I decided to revisit it. The reason I didn’t post this before is because I was told it could be ‘used against me in the divorce’. Even the fact that I’ve just typed that sentence pisses me off, the fact that I actually accepted that as a given infuriates me. Mental health should not be ‘used against’ anyone unless they are in serious danger of doing harm to themselves or others. It is that above sentence that means we no longer have the talents of Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington.

 

Original post:

Depression and I have a long lasting relationship. A relationship that has lasted longer than my marriage, my size 12 figure and my boobs being in the right place without scaffolding.

Not everyone believes that depression truly exists. Some see it as an excuse to be maudling and some think people just need to ‘get a grip’. I’m going to share what my depression and anxiety is like on a daily basis so that hopefully you can understand why ‘getting a grip’ is not always an option.

1. When I wake up my first thought is how can I get through today so that I can be back here again

You spend so much time wishing the day away so that you can get back in your bed to shut out the world that you miss out on life. You forget to live.

2. The voice in your head is a bully

Mine is anyway. It bullies me daily, suggesting worst case scenarios for most situations, scenarios that are so impossible but the voice convinces me that if I’ve thought about it then they definitely will do that. Being alone with her is not pleasant.

3. Time waits for no one

If I have to be somewhere for a certain time and I have panicked about it for days I HAVE to be at that place by that time or I lose the plot a little and fail to concentrate. The only way to rationalise a situation is to plan it meticulously.

4.You avoid social situations

The very thought of being in a room full of people where you may not know many of them is enough to trigger anxiety. I’ve made so many poor excuses in the past to avoid these situations and if I do go, rest assured I have lost sleep over that decision.

5. You have contemplated not being here more than once

Yep, that thought has been there many times. That voice is very good at making you feel like the world would better without you in it. I’ve planned it. I’ve written the notes. I’m still here, I’m still not convinced my life is adding to the world, but I will not burden my children with the fact their mother could not do it.

6. You assume people will look at you differently

Admitting you suffer from depression or anxiety is huge. You assume people will react like you’ve just pissed on their Christmas tree and often that is enough to stop you truly opening up. Add to that the fact that some people are quick to assume you’re just a miserable arse and roll their eyes at any mention of depression, and your chances of sharing your condition with anyone are pretty small.

7. You convince yourself you don’t need help

I should be able to do this on my own. I should be able to snap out of it. What have I got to be depressed about? I have healthy children, food in my belly, a roof over my head. I’m a lucky cow and I have the audacity to be depressed?!

(here is where the original post ended)

I should have posted this twelve months ago. I should have shoved two fingers up at anyone who would try and use this against me to belittle my character. I suffer from depression, and in spite of that I am a high functioning member of society. I have a degree, thirteen years teaching experience and I keep four children happy and healthy every day. I’ve weathered the storm of a divorce, I’ve stayed alive.

As someone who feels very much in control of her black dog these days I am aware that you can help yourself in many ways.  For those who are not there yet, you can help them everyday by making sure you do not stigmatise mental health issues, you do not belittle someone or use it to feather your nest. You do not assume they are just miserable or a let down. You try to understand. You really listen to what they are saying. Are they asking for help without really asking? Watch for signs, learn their tells, surround them with love.

The world is a darker place without the sound of Cornell’s beautiful voice, Chester’s powerful vocals and Robin’s ability to make film goers smile.

The world will be a darker place without you.

The Samaritans: 116 123


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I miss…….I wish……..I accept

‘Something very important is missing from my life: Consistency’

Natassja Kinski

 

Please do not misunderstand this post.

In August it will be twelve months since my marriage officially ended. In these (almost) twelve months I have striven to prove to the world and anyone who would listen that I am a ‘strong, independent woman’. I’ve been told many times by dates that I have a wall up that is very difficult to crack and I give very little away emotionally. The truth is, I can’t. Vulnerability in my eyes equates to weakness. Weakness means they have won and I never play to lose.

So here’s my wall – removed.

I miss my life. I miss it with every fibre of my body. When memories pop up of a silly status, a photo or a video I realise I cannot share it with the world because it is not my life anymore. I hate that. I hate not sharing the silly little in jokes, knowing how to wind someone up for a giggle or being able to rely on that fact that someone just knows you. It brings actual fat tears. I miss knowing that touching a vein evokes the most ridiculous gagging noise in disgust, where to tickle so they laugh like a girl or that belly buttons are a big no-no. I miss that B has no one to practice cricket with, or L doesn’t have someone to do ridiculous Mr Bean impressions with Sylvanian Family characters. I miss that no one pretends to play drums whilst holding one of the twins’ arms as drumsticks, or pretending their legs are machine guns. I miss Daddy Dummy Face and the Claw and all the dumb shit we used to come up with to provoke laughter. I miss the family days out, or the family nights in. I miss hints that chocolate is needed and the fact they would go and get it without hesitation. I just miss.

I wish things were different. I wish that I’d come first, that love was enough. I wish that this blog was full of daft anecdotes rather than emotional ramblings of what should have been. I wish rose-tinted glasses didn’t exist to mask the reality of what was. I wish I could hold on to the loneliness I felt in my relationship so that I knew that all the miss wasn’t real life. I wish things were easier, that we had both moved to a place where being civil to each other, smiling and conversing was ok. I wish I’d found someone new, someone who can show me that I can still love and be loved. I wish I had consistency

I accept the things I cannot change begrudgingly. I accept that online dating will not magic up Mr Right, that I can’t hurry love and yes, I’ll just have to wait. I accept that the person I miss does not exist, never truly has, not fully anyway. I accept that this is life. I do not have to like it all the time, but I do need to get a grip of it and make new memories I can happily share with the world. I accept that I have to stop blaming the failure of my marriage for everything otherwise I will never grow.

I accept that I am not over it. I accept that these tears are still mourning tears and that my bravado does not really fool those who truly know me. I accept that sometimes I don’t even know myself. I accept that I am an absolute soft arse and that there’s a part of me who would turn back the clock in a heartbeat just to stop these feelings. I also accept that someone reading this WILL report these words back, I don’t actually care as it serves no purpose – this post is not for them, it’s for me, to face those things I miss and accept that I will probably always miss them and not feel vulnerable for feeling this way.

But I also accept that I do not love anymore. Missing and loving do not equate to the same thing. I accept that one day I may find someone who just knows and even better, never puts me second, but I also accept that if I don’t it’s not the end of the world (well, I almost accept – everyone needs someone to love right?)

Miss. Wish. Accept

Team Awesome 

Let’s raise children that don’t have to recover from their childhoods”

Pam Leo


I never dreamed that I would bring my children up alone. I’ve spent many nights feeling guilty and ashamed that I could not give them the basic fundamental element of a nuclear family. 

To my children. I love you. Despite everything you are taught by the media and education, there is NOTHING wrong with our family. In fact, I think our family is awesome. Yes, we have to work that little bit harder because there’s only one adult in the house (and if we are honest that adult is a little bit nuts) but we make it work. We laugh, we dance around the kitchen like idiots and we have ‘our’ songs. No, we don’t do things as a team that includes your mother and father anymore, instead our team is the five of us – stronger and happier than we have ever been. Team Awesome.

Mummy and Daddy  were not happy in their marriage. However hard that has been to accept, they weren’t.  Now, Mummy smiles more, laughs at stupid things and has time. Mummy doesn’t  watch other’s phones or wonder where people are. She surrounds herself with positive people who love and support you guys as much as she does. 

Sometimes Mummy gets it wrong. Sometimes she gets tired and cranky. Sometimes Mummy shouts and cries. But, in all those times she loves you more than she ever has, and is just sad that she can’t find the inner strength that day. Mummy knows she is strong and enough, that you are loved, fed and growing. She is determined that, regardless of what you see now, you will grow up wanting to find love, wanting to marry and wanting to have children who are as amazing as you all are. 

When the chips are down you always step up. B & L, you are sometimes stronger than Mummy ever thought possible at your ages and for that she will forever be grateful and proud. Mummy will find a boyfriend one day as you keep mentioning, but that man has to pass your scrutiny and realise that this team he is entering into, is a winning team, so if he can’t keep up with that pace he’s gone. 

Don’t ever let anyone pull you down because you live with your Mummy. Just because some have their parents together, does not mean they are more loved or have more time. Your parents are doing what is best for them and, in turn, what is best for you – happiness all round. 

Thank you for being the best four minions any Mummy could wish for. Hopefully, I will always be the best Mummy you could wish for too x 

Dating for Dummies

“You look like a bad decision…….get the f**k over here” 

 

I feel, nine months into this dating malarky, I’ve learnt enough to pass on my wisdom to those of you dipping your toe into the wonderful world of online dating! Although I’m still single so maybe wisdom is a poor choice of words.

When I first found myself single I felt an overwhelming urge to become part of a partnership again. Its all I had ever known and felt that a relationship defined me. To be honest part of it was also the fact that the ex was with someone else and jealousy was playing its part. So I signed up to every dating site I could find. In my naive mind I was convinced all the good looking blokes on the screen in front of me were lonely and looking just like I was.

Ooooooh how wrong was I!

Let me tell you about online dating. It creates the ability for all the crazies, pervs and weirdos to hide behind a screen and harass women. There are many types of men on dating sites:

  1. The Obsessive: this guy falls in love with you within 3 messages. Calls you his ‘baby’ and insists he wants to marry you before you’ve even met! Block him – fast! Do not exchange numbers with this guy. He will harass the hell out of you.
  2. The Perv: Starts off nicely but you will notice little nods towards inappropriate comments. You’ll brush it off but don’t! As soon as he has your number he will be sending a cock pic before you can type Hi! And these types always insist you send a nude back. Block!!!!
  3. Mr Invisible: This guy has no picture. If you read his profile it will say ‘ask me for a picture’ There are one of two reasons for this : He is married OR he wants to get your number to send a cock pic……..Block!
  4. Mr Text Buddy: This guy sends texts every two minutes and never asks to meet you. Chances are this guy is lonely, no interest in a real relationship, because he can be whoever he wants online. Your choice whether to block here – sometimes that connection is comforting when you are first single.
  5. Mr Stalker: The worst! This guy will chat and seem great but suddenly he’s questioning why you were online and NOT talking to him. He will insist you only talk to him and no one else. Block – if he is trying to control you online the chances are this guy is a control freak in person too.
  6. Mr Self Obsessed: This guy only talks about himself. He doesn’t ask questions and refers to himself in third person often. This depends on what you like – maybe its your kind of thing, but definitely not my thing.
  7. Mr Teen: This guy puts that he is 40. When you read his profile he explains he is really 19 but loves older women – for me that is a BLOCK!!!! There is nothing a 19yr old can offer me – sorry but just no!

Do not misunderstand me. There are some nice guys. I’ve made some fantastic friends from online dating (yes I am aware that this is not the point of online DATING but hey, not everyone who gets on online are destined for love – some are destined to be great mates instead) Online dating has allowed me to find my peace in being single. It has shown me what I want and what I definitely do not want in a future partner. I’ve made some mistakes, dated some men that I would never have dreamed of dating in the past and been hurt when feelings weren’t reciprocated. It’s made me tougher, made me pickier and made me look into myself and be happy with my own company.

Online dating also tells you a lot about yourself. You learn that you can be a heartless bitch at times. You ignore so many messages or you block and disappear after chatting to someone then realising they are a little odd. You have the ability to crush someone’s faith in the female species and, like the above men, you do it without a second thought because they aren’t a ‘real person’ if you’ve never met.

If you’re single and reading this thinking that you need to have a man in your life, trust me, learn to love yourself first. How can you know what you deserve if you are negative about yourself? The attention of online dating is flattering, you begin to think that there is light at the end of the tunnel, and trust me there is, but there is no rush to get to the end of that tunnel.

I have friends in relationships (and two of them will read this and know exactly who I’m talking about!!) and I watch from a slight distance – I can see how happy they are but at the same time I can see the additional stress those relationships put on them at times. I’m not ready for that yet. I still have so much to learn and create for my future. Right now I need someone to have a giggle with, take me for a meal and leave me alone when I need it.

Until then I’m off to message my 548 ‘meet me’ people on that there fishing site – wish me luck!

“You protect your being when you love yourself better. That is the secret”

Isabelle Adjani

D Day?

“A divorce is like an amputation. You survive, but there is less of you”

Margaret Atwood

 

Bravado is a dangerous thing. I’ve approached my divorce with so much of it I have spent a lot of the last 8 months lying to myself about how I really feel about the fact that tomorrow, 24th March 2017, I will officially be a divorced mother of four minions at the age of 36. No one gets married assuming at some point they may get divorced, but I often feel that people need guidance on this potential.

So as I sit here, I’ve decided to actually ‘feel’. Many friends have been amazing, telling me to mark the occasion with celebration, but is there really a cause for celebration? Is it the bravado simply masking the reality of the sadness? No, I genuinely do not think that is the case for me. Since being separated I have grown more than I ever thought possible. I no longer feel anything when the ex arrives for the children. I have no animosity towards the man that turned my world completely on its head anymore, no anger, no sadness. The man who collects the four most precious people in my life is very much a stranger to me these days and as long as he does what is agreed, I have no more requirement to draw him into conversation. I have no animosity towards the person who helped create the chaos either. After 8 short months I am at peace with the fact that another woman plays a part in the life of my babies and that’s cool – they are impossible not to love so it was inevitable and that is never a bad thing.

Please do not misunderstand me. I am sad. I am still grieving, but not for a person. I grieve for a life that is no longer. Twelve months ago I lived in a five bed house, two cars, a husband, a career and now I’m sat in a rented house, clapped out car and alone. I am better, but twelve months ago I knew where life was going. As a little girl I dreamed of that exact life I had back then, that was my aim and I had achieved it. There is nothing quite like having the rug pulled from that dream to make sadness strike. Dreams can be re routed. After 8 months I haven’t managed that yet. I’m still very much in limbo and tomorrow’s Decree Absolut does not change that all of a sudden. Instead it does mark a sign of survival. I have survived the minefield that is divorce and come out relatively unscathed. I’ve learnt a lot about myself, but even more about the man I used to love and that has helped the transition. I will be a little less, that is inevitable. My dream life is no more and that will always have an impact on me as a person.

Tomorrow does not mark a new beginning, it marks a time for reflection. It marks a time for re grouping, ensuring the surface of the water gets a little easier to stay at, but most of all it does not mark a failure. The only thing that failed was the strength of the love that created that marriage. We are human, to maintain that strength is not always possible. To make peace with that concept sets you free from guilt and disappointment.

For those of you looking into the chasm of divorce, a few things I have learnt:

  1. Friends WILL get you through this. Being alone and being lonely are not the same thing. You will feel lonely but you will never be alone – seek out those who will hold you as you cry big snotty sobs.
  2. Your ex WILL change. You will be amazed and saddened that this person can change so much, but it is not a reflection on you. Allow them to change, do not get angry or fuel that change as often that is what they want – it is so hard but being the bigger person is the way forward
  3. Seek out the positives, but allow yourself time to wallow. Whenever things overwhelm me, I allow myself to cry, feel sorry for myself and generally be miserable, but it has a time limit. One evening, but then I sleep and when I awake I must find the positive in whatever the situation is and focus on it. Its bloody hard but it works.
  4. Divorce is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign of the limit of human nature’s ability to maintain strength. If the divorce is not your doing remember it is not your lack of strength and refocus that strength into building a new dream.
  5. It WILL get better. I am 8 months down the line. I love spending time at home lounging. I have a better social life than I have ever had. I smile more, laugh and know exactly who has my back when I need it. Don’t get me wrong, I have a lot of things that are still a tangled web, but the fact that my strength is back means that tangled web is achievable.
  6. In your darkest hours remember you are not alone – search for that inner strength that you DO have.

 

Tomorrow I will celebrate finding myself, I will mourn the loss of a part of me that my inner child wanted and I will drink to a future that offers new dreams and doorways.

Tomorrow is always fresh with no mistakes in it’

Down the rabbit hole

It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.
Lewis Carroll – Alice In Wonderland 

I never really understood why Alice In Wonderland was my favourite book but as I sat gazing at 2017 as a single woman and how I had spent my final evening of 2016 I began to really understand my affinity with Alice. 

Alice faced the potential of a life that she could not imagine. She fell down the hole whilst desperately trying to escape that life. Her ‘adventures’ down the rabbit hole showed her that what she was trying to escape was not actually as bad as what it would be like if she continued to exist in Wonderland. For me, Wonderland was a creation of madness, a world where mental health controlled everyone’s movements and words. Where everyone competed to be crazier than the next. There was never an answer, and Alice learnt that by embracing the madness things only got crazier and she never really found the answers she craved. 

During her time in Wonderland she met many of her own facets. The caterpillar represented her unanswered questions that swirled around her head, getting more cryptic the more she fought to seek her answers. The Mad Hatter is pretty self explanatory- her mania was embodied in that character. He was enticing, he offered intrigue but ultimately sent her in circles. 

Her ultimate fear was the Jabberwocky. This character embodied all her fears, anxieties and concerns about life. However, when she faced the Jabberwacky she realised that the thought of those fears and concerns were more scary than the creature itsself. She battles the creature and succeeds. She fights her way back to the light and escapes Wonderland. Her reality hasn’t changed but she has. 

The transition of the past 7 months has seen me battle similar characters. I’ve faced my Mad Hatter, my caterpillar, and I occasionally cuddle with my Cheshire Cat. I’m under no illusion that my Jabberwacky is yet to be defeated. I know I’m still down that rabbit hole and I know it will be a while until the creature becomes much smaller than the thought of it. 

Until then I shall continue to ponder my Wonderland.

Why is a raven like a writing desk?

Forever is not that long

Maybe our girlfriends are our soulmates and guys are just people to have fun with.
Candace Bushnell

 

I’ve spent a lot of the last few months fighting to maintain control of normality, battling the tide of sorrow over my ‘first Christmas’ and entering a new year in a world that I am still not wholly comfortable with. One thing I have thought a lot about is the concept of a soulmate. I spent 14 years being told by another human being, and telling said human being, that we were soulmates, bound together forever. Hearts that could not exist individually. I’ve read a lot about this concept since forever turned out to not be as long as I thought and I’ve come to many conclusions.

What is a soulmate?

So this question is answered in many different ways. Some believe that a soulmate is your missing part, the yin to your yang, the half that makes you whole. My answer? Why do we assume that we begin life as a ‘half’? That we are missing a part of ourselves that can ONLY be fulfilled by a romantic partner? For me, a soulmate adds to your life. They do not complete it, do not fill a missing ‘half’ and certainly do not allow you to suddenly ascend to an existence that only the ‘lucky ones’ can experience. A soulmate realises that you are the complete package already. The person in front of them is already a strong individual who has their shit together, and they still want to try and fit into that life because they admire the person before them.

How do I know I’ve met my soulmate?

Another question that is often answered in such a way that makes you feel as though you were lesser of a person without them. My opinion? You know you have met your soulmate when you are with a person who allows you to grow. A person who does not dull your sparkle. A person who wants to grow WITH you. Not a person who shows you what you ‘could’ be, or a person who you become so emotionally dependent on they suddenly have some control over your day to day existence. Society encourages us to believe that we are not complete unless somebody wants us. How about we concentrate on wanting ourselves? I am at a point now where IF I ever allow someone in for a new ‘forever’ it will be when I finally want myself, love myself and will not rely on another human being for my emotional happiness.

What if I never meet my soulmate?

So what! If you never meet the romantic soulmate that society holds on a pedestal then look at what you DO have. Your soulmate may exist in your best friend, your children or in the mirror. You can be your soulmate – if a soulmate completes you, shows you what you can be and encourages you to be the best person you can be surely it stands to reason that it can exist within yourself? I genuinely believed that 14 years ago I met my soulmate. I will never take anything away from the relationship that I had, 4 beautiful children show me that fate insisted that it was to happen. However, I realise that if he was my soulmate, it was not in the way convention dictates.

What I have learnt

Soulmates can be positive and negative. My soulmate has forced me to look inside and realise that I had lost sight of myself. I had allowed myself to be completely dependent on another human being for my emotional well being and as soon as that carpet was ripped from under me I was left floundering – and that is NOT what I want from my soulmate. Instead I will, one day, thank him. I will thank him for making me realise my true worth, I will thank him for paving the way for me to love myself, for allowing me to hit rock bottom and start re evaluating what I should be. I will thank him for making me a better mother to my minions because, ultimately, I WILL become the person I was meant to be before I met him.

My soulmates, yes plural, exist in my children and my friends. They encourage me to continue to grow and do not force me to rely on them for anything UNLESS I choose to. They have held the light on my darkest days, only until I could hold the light for myself and they have raised my spirits only until I was able to keep my head above the surface unaided. For that I will be, like my soul, eternally grateful to each and everyone of them. I will be their soulmate if and when they need me to be, never faltering in my support and love.

Souls are eternal. A mate for eternity should enrich and love who you are, not try and mould you into what THEY think you could become.

Post Apocalyptic Fall Out 

“Children ought not to be victims of the choices adults make for them,” 


It’s been quite some time since my last post and there’s been a reason for that. Survival. I’ve spent the past few months surviving the post apocalyptic fall out of a pending divorce. 

The main fall out has been in the shape of my 11 year old. The one thing I dreaded from all of our adult inability to make things work was the effect on our children. Unfortunately, it seems we haven’t protected the children as much as we should have. 

To see your own flesh and blood clearly suffering from his lack of understanding of the choices that his parents have made on his behalf is soul destroying. To be the main outlet of his frustration is even more soul destroying. 

I love my son. My first born, my only boy. In his young life he has gone through so much. Losing his beloved aunt when he was only 2.5 years old and now the separation of his parents. These changes have had a profound effect on his ability to deal. He struggles with change, every new school year became a battle for the first 2 weeks, until he finally accepted the change. 

I’ve seen my sweet, sensitive little boy change into an overweight, sad and angry pre teen since the marriage breakdown. I’ve found myself seeking help for him – both from the GP and his school. As an education professional myself I never thought I would need to enlist help with my own children. 

This has become a learning curve for me. As a single mother to four vulnerable children has meant that I have to use all my power to shield them from the issues that are not their problem. I’ve found myself doing this alone, mainly because those who should help are struggling to accept their role in his behaviour. Professionals are pushing us from pillar to post. 

As his mother I KNOW there is an issue, and I will continue to push until someone gives us some answers, some ideas on how we can re set life enough for him to feel safe and calm enough to return to being my happy little boy again. 

This is so much tougher than going through a divorce. Watching your flesh and blood suffer because of something out of your control is extremely difficult, but I am determined I will mend my broken child. I will not raise him to be a broken man. 

Half A World Away

Happy 6 crazy months, my love’ ~


I’m six months in. Six crazy months of this new ‘normal’. And it is, normal. Life has completely shifted sideways, but it’s slowly finding its centre of gravity again and I’m beginning to realise that I am that centre of gravity. 

That is not me giving myself a sense of grandeur. Far from it. Instead I have slowly come to realise that until I am grounded and happy with me as a person I will never be happy with life in general. For so many years I have looked to see what other people think of me and put my self worth in their hands. Now I realise the value of my self worth is in my hands, and my hands alone. 

I have four minions that look to me to be their grounding force, their centre of gravity. Their lives are changing all around them and they cannot stop it. They look to me to stop it for them, put a guiding arm around them and tell them that it really is going to be ok. 

I’m slowly beginning to enjoy life. I’m learning what I am capable of. I make phone calls, shift heavy items whilst swearing and take a step back so that I can ‘see the bigger picture’. I’ve gone crazy, rebelled a little, but now I’m finding myself and realising I am not a bad person. I’m realising that I am expending far too much energy on negative areas of life, that ultimately I cannot change therefore it is completely wasted energy. 

Everyday I take time to look at what I really have. And I’m grateful. I thank the universe for what I have – a home, a family who loves me, awesome friends and four children who genuinely make me smile every single day. I have food, clothes and I have love, from others and more importantly, from myself. I do not need to be validated by a relationship, unless that relationship is with myself. 

Bring on 2017  – I’ve survived 100% of my worse days……imagine what I can do on my best days!!

Guess who?

We understand how dangerous a mask can be. We all become what we pretend to be. – Patrick Rothfuss

For the first time in this blog I’ve chosen a quote that explains everything I cannot.  I’m 36 years old and I wear more masks than a kid’s Halloween party. The problem I have is I’m too scared to take them all off. Without them I am nothing, I have no coping mechanism, no face, no identity. 

So I thought I’d write a post about who I really am. So many posts come across powerful, strong, doing it, that I fear the reality will be far more disappointing. This won’t be an easy write, nor will it be an easy read. I am good at self pity, at woe is me, to get the sympathy and positive comments – I don’t want this to read that way, but it might so I’ll apologise for that now – as that’s what I always do, apologise. 

I’m sat looking in a mirror. I’ve just woken up so I’ve yet to choose my mask. My hair looks shit, I dyed it myself and however much I convince myself it looks good I hate it. My forehead is full of frown lines and I have panda eyes because I couldn’t be arsed removing my make up properly last night. My boobs are not where they should be and my arms are fat. For some reason my legs are covered in bruises and my thighs are way chunkier than a girl’s should be. I slouch, my shoulders are always dropped and my head bowed. 

It’s very easy to critique the physical. I’m covered in stretch marks from 4 kids and however many times I say they are the stripes I earned, I don’t believe it. I hate the stripes I earned and the saggy mess of a stomach I’ve been left with. I know for a fact that I can lose weight and tone up but that requires a time and effort I convince myself I don’t have. 

So how do I critique the non physical. Ok, I see sat before me a 36 year old who needs constant reassurance like a 4 year old. Constantly looking back to see if someone is watching her, constantly waiting for the next instruction or next round of praise. Yet when I do get praise or compliments I hate it. I yearn to be the centre of someone’s attention but then crumble when I am. I’m a complete paradox. 

Attention for me equals love. If someone takes their time to talk to me or compliment me then I’m winning and I will grasp that person with all my might and smother them. Because I want them to instantly know that I’m such a loving and giving person that they can’t live without me. This very often leads to complete rejection and that is a cross I cannot bear. Rejection has become so normal to me that I assume I’ve done something to deserve it so I look to those who have weathered the storm and ask them what it is I do to deserve the rejection.

No one ever answers. I can only assume it would be like kicking a puppy. The only way a puppy learns is by making its own mistakes and rectifying them. I do know what mistake it is I am making, I just don’t want to admit it because then I admit that I am not who those who have stuck around think I am….and the thought of more rejection is too much to bear. 

I’ve never had a best friend. Or, in my eyes I haven’t. Reality check is I definitely do. I model my ‘friendships’ on what others have, and when I don’t have that I assume it is because I don’t have friends. Instead of not worrying about why they haven’t called for a while, I spend days trying to work out why I’ve put them off. When they do text I try to work out the tone, are they pissed at me? 

I define myself through others wanting to be around me, or thinking of me. I always think of my friends – if I see something I know would make them smile I’ll get it for them. But then I expect everyone to be like me and when they aren’t I ask myself what it is about me that has caused that. Does that make me self centred? I don’t know – maybe it does, assuming it’s something about me rather than just human nature. 

I’ve been let down so often in the past, been replaced so quickly in both friendships and my marriage, that all I can see is a need to be so amazing that people won’t want to replace me. And I can be. I can say and do all the right things but when I think I’ve nailed it I overthink it and become clingy, needy, paranoid that the replacing is going to happen. For example, I met a really nice guy. We got on really well. Helps that he is fit – but neither of us are ready for a relationship. Despite in my heart knowing that, I felt completely rejected and that made me want a relationship with him just to be wanted. My head convinced me I’d been replaced, he was chatting to someone else despite saying he wasn’t interested in meeting anyone. My bravado said so what, his loss, but my 4 year old wanted to know why? Why didn’t he want me? I must have done something wrong. 

Luckily, those feelings passed but I do still question why. I’m still convinced it is something I can change. It seems, however, that I need to get a grip. I need to learn not to care. Not to place my self worth on other’s opinion of me. Not to assume I’ve been rejected, and instead look at it as a learning curve, that those people were not designed to be part of my sphere. It’s going to take a lot of time – I don’t know how to lose the bravado, I’ve had it so long that allowing my vulnerabilities and weaknesses to shine through scares me a lot. I’m not ok, I’m devastated that my marriage fell apart, I’m devastated that I’ve been the one left without the love of a partner despite not being responsible for the marriage ending. I’m devastated that my ‘perfect on the surface’ life is no more. 

So now I have to learn who I am. I’m vulnerable, I hate confrontation, I cry if I think I’ll get into trouble. I’m fiercely loyal but I expect others to want to be fiercely loyal to me too and when they aren’t I look to myself for the reasons why instead of being able to appreciate that not everyone thinks and acts like me. 

What others think of me is none of my business so why does it matter more than it should?