The earlies, the mid’s and the late’s. 

Just 6 sleeps now till I reach my last mid 40’s year. If I say it quick enough it doesn’t really register but the simple fact is I will be turning 46. I’ve always been able to deal with new decades filled by the subsequent earlies and mid’s but there’s something about the late’s that I don’t like. I suppose it focusses on the end of something and the fear of the unknown next phase of your life. By that point I will have had 3 years to fret, pre empty and write some convoluted horror story in my head but the reality of the new decade is actuslly accompanied with a sigh of relief and I generally embrace of the new phase. The earlies are just 3 years that feel very much like the decade’s start and the mid’s are just settling into the new maturer me but the late’s well that’s the saying goodbye to years that I’ve lived too fast without stopping to take air and be present. I suppose getting another year older carries the same question that I have with New Year in that do you really begin something new or does your life carry on but with the time labels that are periodically stamped on it? I mean when I reach 46 does that mean that the next 366 days are a chance to make positive change, nurture the things I love or make resolutions? I don’t think so. I think we all fall into the trap of compartmentalising our lives into periods, labelling them and then looking at them with rose tinted nostalgia all too eager to wish we were 19, 25 or 34 again. In doing that we will only find it more difficult to enjoy the here and now.

 When I look at my late teens and 20’s a great deal of it was under the influence of alcohol, cigarettes and cannabis. Yes I had a some great successes in those years but for a large part I was nursing a hangover, borrowing money off my Nana for fags or taking a whitey. This of course will not be unlike most young people of that age group and I had a jolly good time in the process but did I? I was talking about this with some friends recently. When I  look back at my younger self in particular my drinking younger self like many in Scotland, well the UK, there is the expectation that you go out to get drunk, bladdered, wasted. That’s the aim of the game. The following morning retracing your drunken or stoned steps with your pals trying to piece together the hazy and sometimes blank night before. Hysterical laughter, many stories and shared memories for sure however, too often time was lost through memory loss or sickness ensued due to too much drink. I have so many sick stories I could do a standup routine just on the subject. By and into my 30’s I had stopped smoking both weed and cigarettes respectively but still liked a drink. Oh I loved a drink! It just took a different turn. As unhappiness in my marriage crept in like a dementor alcohol helped to numb me in that unhappiness but with two pockets of light shining always in the shape of my children. Thank you universe for them.  In my teens and 20’s it was a social substance. I very rarely drank in the house unless I was going out. When I lived at home with my family the flat ( being so central) was usually a hub of friend activity. My pals were always popping in to visit but unless we were going out we never drank alcohol. We made coffee, tea and cheese on toast. Into my 30’s and 40’s drinking became much more of a home activity as going out was not something I did very much anymore. The social binging of my younger self had become something different. It wasn’t so much socially anymore but more a means to get through difficult emotional times or to give me courage sometimes in the most mundane and unremarkable of activities. I was slowly losing myself. My strength, self assureness, decision making, independence and ability to love was becoming underpinned by alcohol and I felt I needed it more and more to find these things. When you are told you will never manage, that you are a bad person and that you will never be happy just alone and miserable then no matter what defences you try to protect yourself with inside that self made fortress it is a murky emotional swamp and your confidence needs propping up all the time. I hadn’t realised what a set of under arm crutches my drinking had become. 

I can’t remember what was the actual trigger that made me want to stop only that I had enough self awareness and understanding to know that I was using alcohol in a negative way and if I didn’t address it things could and no doubt would escalate into something that would be more of a struggle than what I was facing at that moment. I didn’t physically need alcohol. I didn’t feel any physical difference when I didn’t drink but I thought about it every day. Making conscious decisions on waking that this would be a day that I wouldn’t drink but then as soon as I felt stress or even joy it was complimented with a bottle of wine, vodka or both.

I’m lucky I had the strength and courage to say ‘ for me this is enough’. I am not a bad person I am human and may have made some bad choices but this was one choice that was to empower me and liberate me from the shackles of a substance that was controlling a lot of my own self. In choosing to stop drinking I was choosing to find me. Who would that woman be? What would she be like free from control? Where could she go in life? I’m not sure I have the answers yet. Who knows what lies ahead? Whether it be the earlies, the mids or the lates it’s not about the destination; it’s about the getting there. So far the journey has been challenging but it is so full of life, love, compassion, laughter, forgiveness and kindness. 

These are true riches.
  
  
 

Happy Sunday xx 

Ps 675 days 

1,2,3 1,2,3

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Out with the old…

  

So here we arrive at the end of another year. Hogmanay has always been a huge event in Scotland and certainly one in my family. When I was growing up we always had an open door party policy and would still have people in our flat till light was drawing in. I remember one year when I was about 23 a rather cute Aussie guy standing in our kitchen and someone asked him who was it he knew here he replied, ‘ No one. I was at the Tron and someone suggested this address if I wanted to go to a party’. We lived so centrally that it was about a fifteen minute walk from the Tron so a popular place for people to come to. My Mum always did a huge spread of food and there was every alcoholic beverage you could think of. Yes she catered for all tastes and heartily encouraged much drinking. There was music, sometimes romance ( well maybe an inebriated New Years snog with some equally  drunk person), party pieces where I was always encouraged to sing at every opportunity by Nana and my Dad but the one thing I really remember was the sound. It was so noisy with chatter and laughing – so much laughing. It was one of those nights that was well and truly a green light to getting totally shit faced. I lived for Hogmanay. In many ways the excitement for it outshone Christmas for me. It was always going to be the night of nights! 

Truth be known it never was any better than some of the other nights I had out at totally random times of the year. There was always a sense of anti climax after it. A realisation that all the stuff you promise to do once the clock strikes midnight that will change your life forever and make this next year truly fantastic is all wishful thinking.  Life doesn’t really fit into periods of twelve months and we can say well that’s that done now and the next twelve will be totally different. How does a happy New Year fit if a loved one dies at 11pm on December 31st, or your battling illness over months or years crossing over yearly timelines making it different to differentiate one year from the next. We have a tendency to look back at the negatives that happened in a year and maybe by trying to box it into this twelve month period it will somehow be gone on the stroke of midnight ready to start a fresh?

 For me truthfully it never really was. 

If I look at the last year it has been full of ups and downs with some significant downs I have to say. However, most of these were not just confined to 2015 and actually had been carried over from the previous year, years or decades in some cases. In some ways though it was during this twelve month stretch that some of these challenges peaked. There were some unwanted intrusions in my life by certain individuals who need to do a lot of work on themselves but sadly never will.  There was pain, anger, anxiety, worry, dissapointment, self loathing, feelings of failure and underachievement. In Spring someone took their leave from my life who had over the course of 18 months become a constant. That departure only clarified their meaning to me. That meaning will always remain special to me and held with much affection. On the back of that another person took their leave from me but for different reasons. Their proclaimed ‘disappointment’ on reflection only led me to realise that the only thing I would say to them now would be ‘Right back at ya!’ 

Yet without these downs, these lows, these emotional challenges I wouldn’t be where I am now. I wouldn’t be looking inward to myself and learning to accept me and all that entails and by making sense of it in a totally sober world that what I give outwardly will be more honest, accepting, self assured and open. Too often I haven’t listened to how I am feeling  for fear of rejection but if you can’t hear what yourself is saying and respect that and give yourself  kindness then how do you expect to give it to others? Alongside the more challenging aspects there has been much wonderful joy. My constantly surprising relationship with my parents is one that is growing richer by the day. All I will say is thank you ❤️ My children make me feel blessed and full of love like no other way. Being a single parent has its obvious challenges but it also creates a unique bond and trust between us. The love they give is totally unconditional and the bond between us will never be broken. They have shown me how to love and how to love myself. Sometimes I look at them and they take my breath away. My life is immensely rich in true friendships something I cherish greatly. I have learnt so much from my very close friends and their understanding, lack of judgment, love and support is a life force to me. I love you all dearly. 

The older I get the more I am becoming comfortable with who I am and as the seasons come and go and life’s patchwork quilt grows and takes on an ever changing shape and scale I understand that each portion had its part to play in creating my journey to this point but people and human interaction are vital to that story too.  I cannot change what has been or predict what the future will be but I can be here and present in what is now, not just for 2016, or on the stroke of midnight but at anytime. My little girl said something today after we’d had a falling out. She said ‘Mummy, let’s start a fresh. We can choose to start anytime so let’s start now’. We are only where we are now. 

The previous years, the years to come? 

It’s now that you truly feel the sun. 

So stop and truly listen to yourself,

Inside you’ll find so much wealth.

Time arrives too soon and departs too fast,

Hold on to now before it becomes the past. 

So for the first time on Hogmanay I am sitting alone, writing this, with a cup of tea and you know what? I’m perfectly content. May the rest of your life from this moment on continue to challenge, inspire, cherish and surprise you. 

Nighty night xx

Ps 638 days 

Bah! Humbug! No more! 

The dark nights are well and truly upon us and this year I am going to try something I’ve never really done in my adulthood. I’m going to enjoy Christmas. My usual bah humbug attitude of minimal decorations  up as late as I can manage it and then down early as is humanly possible without scarring the kids for life is going to be different. I have started my new found festive excitement by getting rid of my Christmas tree. Now that might sound counter productive but I have donated it’s fir coned self to the Royal Blind School Christmas show. Now before you think I should be beatified for this I do actually work there so it’s not like I arrived at the door like a modern day Scrooge visiting the Cratchit’s house on Christmas morn laden with good cheer and a big fat goose but it is still going to good use. That tree purchased in 2006 is like the ghost of Christmas past and each one pretty poor. Each year that it was dragged out of the two industrial bin bags my heart would sink. While each colour coded branch slipped into its colour coded partner slot my mood would darkem until “merry” melancholia took root spreading like dutch elm disease and strangling any notion of fun. New neural pathways? This was one yearly event that needed a good forging in a different direction. 

I can remember as a child being so excited when certain decorations made their Yuletide appearance. The warm memories of the angel with the yellow wool hair that rotated to ‘Silent Night’ when you turned the key or the snow globe containing the tiny Victorian street scene ( they’re always Victorian aren’t they?) and the metal candle holder that had to be carefully pieced together and when the candles were lit the heat made the reindeer dance around. Yet in the last 12 years whenever I stuck my hand into the tangled mess of what seemed like a mile long cable of cherry fairy lights woven into tarnished tinsel the pulling out of each decoration was like falling onto a cactus plant with your bare leg; each one stinging more than the last. 
  
It’s funny how negative memories can sometimes have a habit of taking centre stage with me rather than the positives. Is that because I expect the downside so if it is a festive flop I can’t be disappointed? I mean aren’t they all like that?  Stress, stress and more stress. It’s not like I even believe in God so this whole tiresome tinsel fest is wasted on me. Then of course there is the Christmas association with alcohol. Not that I ever needed an excuse but it was a big green light to get shit faced by at least midday and carry on down the gin soaked road until everyone had gone, the kids were shackled in bed and I could be left in peace inwardly delighted to tick another Christmas off the calendar of life but too pissed to actually show anything more than drunken stupor. I was of course not drinking last year but I still had the same figgy pudding frown on and of course the terrible memory tree was there in the room with its tired tinselled branches trying to twinkle. It’s weary baubles each one weighed down with a miserable memory of each Christmas past. It’s just there, in the corner,staring at me. 

This year I have bought myself an early Christmas present of a brand new trowel and I am starting by drawing a line in the grey matter. A light fresh new line but clear enough to see and each day I’m going to work that line with my trowel making it deeper and full of newly made Christmas memories. Im going to buy new decorations that the kids and I can choose together and we will create new memories of this Christmas and for the ones yet to come. I am going to fill our home with the smell of oranges, cloves, nutmeg, pine and cinnamon. We will cuddle up together and watch warm festive films. We shall love and support each other and feel lucky and blessed for having that. 

As I have said I am not religious but I absolutely respect those who are and whatever belief system they follow or whichever festivals they celebrate but for me I am going to view this Christmas as a time to reflect. Rather than assuming the day will be all for nothing I’m going to make sure that it is most definitely for something. 2015 has been another one of those years which has been so up and down I should have had travel sickness tablets on repeat prescription but I am nearly out the other side and it will end with emotional kindness and experiential  validation for those difficult times. It will be a celebration of the successes of the past year and the unchartered hopes for the future. 

There is so much to be thankful for even in those times when we are sad. Life’s departures need not always be viewed with disappointment, frustration or hurt but in taking the good from them, the happy times, the shared experience we can remember that what we have gained is unique and incomparable to anything else. That in itself (although with some loss) so much has been gained through life’s experience and we are the richer for it although not always obvious until later reflection offers a different world view. That’s what I want – see Christmas with fresh new eyes rather than the tired tear stained ones of the past. To view it not as a tangled fairy light mass of difficult memories and associations but as a future path of enlightened opportunities offering new experiences and enriching life everyday. 

  

So ring them bells…. It’s Chriiiiiiisstmaaassss!! 

Nighty night.

Ps 607 days 

Pps Happy St Andrews Day and 🎉🎂😘

Remembering 

   
 Today is a day of rememberance. To remember those who lost their lives in war. To hope that it ceases to ever happen again. We can but hope. 

Remembering: to retain in the memory, keep in mind, remain aware of. Yesterday I remembered something. I remembered how I used to feel when I was getting ready to go out for an exciting social event. The anticipation, the glamming up, the tingling excitement of what might lie ahead and of course who might be there. The choosing of the outfit, the decision about the hair – up or down? The music to listen to whilst getting ready and of course the alcohol. Then I remembered ‘ I don’t drink alcohol’.  As I remembered this a great wave of melancholy swept over me and all the good work I had done these last near on 20 months seemed to be as if it had never existed. I was right back at the start and it felt awful. I tried to get through my day but with a sense of impending doom and a definite ‘ I’m going to have a shit time tonight’ attitude. After a very up and down day early evening came and the time to start getting ready but first I needed to buy something. As I was attending a special birthday party I wanted to take the host a good bottle of wine as a gift. I left the house and made my way to the wine shop. Approaching  with purpose I placed my hand on the handle, pushed the door and walked in. The shop had spotlighting which seemed to shine on me like I was Virginia McKenna being interrogated in ‘Carve Her Name With Pride’ and the busyness of the shelves stocked floor to ceiling with bottle after bottle after bottle quite frankly overwhelmed me. There I was standing in what now was totally alien territory  feeling rather vulnerable and insecure.  

‘Can I help you?’came the voice from behind me. I swallowed hard and turned round explaining ( in a rather dour style) that I was wanting to purchase a decent bottle of wine as a gift. The shop assistant was very pleasant and asked me what kind of wine did my friend like to drink. 

‘I don’t know’ was all I said. 

He then asked ‘well what do you like to drink?

 I turned my head towards him and in an even flatter tone I replied,

 ‘ I don’t drink’. 

‘Oh’ said the young man. 

‘Oh’. 

Just a tiny word but to me it said so much. It made me feel different from everyone else, apart, unusual, odd even. I agreed on the first bottle he suggested, paid, renaiged on a bag and left clutching the bottle of wine tightly in my grip. When I exited the floodlit shop I was plunged into the now dark night and felt overcome with emotion. I walked back to the house tears rolling down my face. I was remembering a time that I had conditioned myself to recall as being fabulous, the good times, the norm. I was feeling a sense of loss and grief from what had been before knowing that I couldn’t and shouldn’t revisit it again. I was remembering the last time I was in the house where the party was to be held. I had been incredibly drunk on champagne, wine and whisky at one point falling asleep on a sofa in the midst of the party only to levitate into a full dance routine when a favourite song on mine was played. Was I feeling sorrow at the thought of not having the option to relive that again? When I stopped to think about it I couldn’t remember all that much about that evening.  Just glimpses of a few funny events that happened namely due to drunkeness. I had been at that last party probably around 6 hours but all I could recollect from it was some vague foggy memories totalling less than a few minutes. 

So I gathered my thoughts, glammed myself up, decided for hair down, went to the party taking the bottle of wine in a gift bag, forged a new neural pathway and this morning after waking up clear headed and sans last nights make up I felt better for having done so. It’s fine to remember things we feel sad about because being sad is a valid emotion and it helps us makes sense of what is causing us to feel it. No direction to the new pathway except pushing towards it even if it means touching the negative aspects along the way. 

Sometimes remembering although sad is also very personal and comforting. When a person has touched you in a way that lingers and impacted on you profoundly it is often remembering that keeps you close to them even though you may never see that person again for whatever reason. Sometimes remembering is all there is. I remember. I always will. 
Nighty night xx

Ps 588 days 

Pps. Lady G 😘 Earl G 

  

Fireworks

Today marks not only the near killing of King James VI of Scotland and I England ( let’s get it right) and destruction of parliament some 410 years before but also the two year anniversary of my divorce. Ooh the irony! Might as well go out with a bang although certainly not in the biblical sense. Today has been full of whizzing, crackling, zooming, firing and banging but inside my head. Today I have found even speaking quite a challenge. Well it’s not that I am finding I am unable to speak it’s more that with every word that comes out there is a tension in my throat, neck and shoulders which results in my speaking through clenched teeth with my hands spread out so rigid that the fingers are white like snow. Maybe I’m just tense? Maybe I’m just being glib. Today hasn’t been one of my finest but then in truth it certainly has not been one of my worst. Something I am realising is that even though I have abstained these past 19 months from drinking and I am working constantly on my emotional self that it doesn’t mean that I am not still recovering from the effects of them. That just because certain people or substances are not in my life as they once were does not mean that I am not still coping with the residisual feelings and emotions they left me with. That the psychological and physical renewal of myself is still ongoing and might always will be. That fills me with dread sometimes because I have always been impatient, wanting it to change immediately, to have a quick fix. Someone said to me today, ‘ as you seeked the quick fix of drink to distance yourself from what you were feeling, in turn you are now seeking the quick fix to stop you needing it.’ Patience. I am working on it. 

I used to feel quite sad when I watched fireworks. All that energy, light, beauty, expectation and joy exploding into a dark velvet sky only to burn out as quickly as it had appeared and disperse into the ether as if it had never even existed. The impatience for another to explode and light you up with a sparkling warm glow. Again the dissapointment when it fades to nothing. Another and another and another….. Wanting more, chasing the buzz. I never really took in the beauty of each colourful sparkle because I knew it would end and there would be a void and in that would be me waiting for the next injection of illumination. 

Truth is the void will always be there and the prospect of staring into it with clarity rather than a foggy mind is scary, terrifying even. I am edging closer to it but not in the sense of falling into it only to be engulfed by its cloaking darkness. No. I am getting closer to looking at it and naming it as mine. It’s ok to be sad sometimes. It’s ok to feel angry sometimes. It’s ok to feel you want to be on your own and indulge your negative feelings sometimes. They are real emotions that need to be given time to be explored, listened to and then released. Too often we bottle the negative emotions up because we must always be seen to be positive and happy but if we were smiling and laughing we wouldn’t feel bad about showing that so why be dishonest about the others?

Mindfulness fireworks now there’s a thought. It’s too easy to reprimand yourself for feeling negative. Oh I shouldn’t be feeling like this, I need to snap out of it. Why? Every emotion is valid but before we can get validation from others maybe we need to validate them ourselves. To really stay with the fear of clarity, to allow feelings of needing to weep develop, to punch a pillow or scream when angry, to indulge in crabbit behaviour or to just do bloody nothing. If I don’t allow myself  to remain in the darkness, truly feel it, understand it and accept it then maybe I’ll never be able to really appreciate the light. 

Nighty night and may your rocket burn beautiful and bright. 

PS 584 days 

‘There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in’, Anthem by Leonard Cohen.
  
 

An Extra Hour

The clocks went back last night. Well to be precise at 2am GMT. Just out of interest the Daylight Saving Bill was introduced in 1909, the year my Nana was born although it wasn’t fully put into practise until 21st May 1916 three weeks after Germany had formerly introduced it and by the looks of this photograph it wasn’t always in October. I wonder though with all those years of forwards and backwards what is the actual time had we not been saving? I suppose if it’s just back and forth we’re either here or an hour forward? Argh! The movement of time always bamboozles me. I mean don’t get me started on ‘ Back to the Future’ or ‘Twelve Monkey’s’. 

Yesterday was a day when I wish there had been an extra hour. That hour would have allowed me so much more calm, patience and usefulness. It could have been time well spent. As it stands the extra hour was not afforded me or anyone else for that matter. I mustn’t feel lone persecution in my time lacking anxiety but so often I do. When I feel pressure (usually time related) I change pretty quickly into John Cleese in ‘Clockwise’ striding  through the house in a demented fashion and giving orders out to the kids like a sergeant major. Trouble is the more I bellow like Brian Blessed on acid the more they go into slow mo and give me the ‘ I couldn’t give a figless fuck’ attitude. Yes it can be quite frantic and so predictable in many ways with one striking factor – time. If I had more time we wouldn’t be getting stressed. Sounds plausible doesn’t it but really that extra hour wouldn’t give me much at all because I’d only get up later or find other time wasting activities to fill it resulting in the usual wearisome meltdowns about buses, timetables, school bags, packed lunches, work, homework, appointments, forgotten play pieces, signed forms, money, match attax, loom bands, unofficially borrowed toys to be returned, missing uniform items, football training, football games, brownies, dance classes, play dates, sleep overs or even endless requests for teeth brushing to commence. 

Now that I don’t sit of an evening supping vino collapso and slipping into a numb fuzzy state (where any coherent thought cannot reside because my brain’s addled terrain is not conducive to its existing there) I have much more time to think and reflect on what has passed and it’s quite revealing and sometimes  hard to take. To really look at a given situation and what part you have played in it takes honesty and courage because sometimes you might not like what you see about yourself. When I am panicked, pressured or under acute stress I look to source the blame to make sense of how I’m feeling. It’s because the water wasn’t hot enough, or because you didn’t do as you were asked even after the 8th time or because too much was attempted in too short a time scale. I feel thwarted with a huge sense of injustice. Therein lies the answer to my own dilemma –  I try to do too much giving myself monumental mountains to climb and a self fulfilling prophecy to fail. With that expectation piled upon myself by yours truly I am bound to. I try to keep everyone happy. I try to prevent upset. I try to give the kids as many opportunities as I can because I am their Mum and I want them to participate in stuff that inspires them and makes them happy but in doing that the pressure I put on myself is immense resulting in time wasted by deconstructive means resulting in stress and frustration. I mean they are only with me four days not a whole week. I know I need to let go. I need to give myself a break. I need to be kinder to myself. 

Something I am learning is that it doesn’t make me a bad Mum or a failure if I say no to certain things or prioritise. At the end of the day when the kids have a strop about not getting more football cards or not having their friends over on a particular day are they not just pushing the boundaries and quite frankly being unreasonable at times? At the end of  the day when I have a personality change because ( deep down) I know I’ve not allowed enough time to give the best possible start to the day and I’m cross with myself am I not pushing the boundaries and being unreasonable by taking it out on them?  I know when the domestic storm hits that I am culpable as much as anyone else if not more for at the end of the day I need to show them that I am in control for then they feel safe. It’s hard sometimes when the pressure hits but if I’m not in control neither will they be. They look to me to show  them the way, to guide them, to make them feel safe and loved. I have no doubts that I give them all of those things in abundance and I beautifully and honestly receive them back in full but the kindness, compassion and love I am seeking  in these situations needs to comes from me. It’s not a bad thing to love yourself. It’s not egocentric or selfish, it’s acknowledging when you’re feeling vulnerable, weak or scared and allowing yourself to be honest about those feelings and be kind and generous emotionally to yourself  rather than burying them inside feeling the need to be punished for the stressful situation. None of us are perfect. Each and everyone of us is flawed and full of contradictions and we all need love, kindness and compassion. Let’s try not to forget to give that to ourselves too. 

Nighty night x 

P.S. 573 Days 
  

A Lot Can Happen. 

The 1st of October marked two significant events for me. I had now reached 18 months of complete sobriety and three years of total independent living. When I look at the woman I was then when I left the family home on that sunny Monday morning in 2012 with all my life packed in one van and the two loves of my life standing on the pavement waving me goodbye I felt the hugest sense of relief. However, that relief went hand in hand with total fear for this was the first time truly in my life I was totally responsible for me and not only for me but two other people. I won’t go into the detail of why I left but safe to say it was the right and truthfully only option open at that time. I remember arriving at my new flat and being met by the letting agent who was waiting for me with the keys. Various friends arriving throughout the day to help move bits and pieces into the flat, the building of the bunk beds, the taking out of the window to get a chair inside and the excitement of opening boxes and putting things where I wanted them. The creation of my safe place, my private space, my world. Getting it ready, cosy, homely for when the kids came to stay on the Wednesday for this was their world too… Well half of it. 

After all the hustle and bustle of the day the time came for me to say goodbye to my last visitor, close the door and just be with me. Now I’ve lived with me all my life but now I truly felt like I was living with me. As I sat there in my flat that I was solely responsible for I remember feeling a huge wave of emotion. The cage door had been left open and I had stepped outside. There was absolutely no going back only forwards. Of course back in 2012 the life event was of course marked with opening and consumption of a bottle of Rioja and why not. Why the hell not. The following day I had a huge list of things to do. Council Tax registration, Virgin Media man coming for TiVo box installation, Scottish Power, TV licence, change my address on this, that and everything, contents insurance, do inventory for letting agent and email by midday, go to IKEA with friend to buy curtains, rugs and household things, etc. Oh it went on. Then Wednesday came and suddenly the excitement faded and a sick heavy feeling ached in my gut. I knew what it was. It was one thing finally being a single independent woman but quite another being a single mother. The way marriage had gone for me at that point in my life I had very little confidence that I could manage on my own with the children. Although I masked it well I was incredibly insecure in my own motherhood. I felt inadequate, incapable, fearful of getting it wrong. I knew this was a massive change for them no matter how resilient people tell you children are they are still two little beings whose world has been turned upside down with no control from them. They are at the beckon call of adults decision making for good and bad. What if the decisions I made as a parent were wrong? What if they didn’t like living here? What if they were really unhappy? What if I didn’t like it? What if, what if, what if? That first time I walked round to school to pick them up and bring them to their new home I was both excited and concerned for all those things but they embraced it openly and with great affection and I truly feel they do love living here and that it is their home. 

Now three years on a lot has happened both good and bad but when I look at it all I see how much I’ve grown as a person. On the 1st October 2012 I just needed to step out from the cage but I didn’t realise how far away from myself I had travelled. How lost I had become and how much further I still had to go. The letting go of something you thought would be forever is never easy but sometimes it is the right thing. What I had also done was let go of me. The road back to me has been hard but worth it and I can honestly say I see myself now. I am accepting of myself now. I have found confidence in myself now. There’s still further to go but I’m on the right path at last with two shining  lights to guide me. There is so much to be thankful for and each day is a blessing. So I try to stop often and think about where I am now in comparison as to where I was before  the cage door opened. I try to be mindful of my liberation. To feel it in me, to embrace it and let its power give me strength. I want that for my children. I want them always  to feel liberated and hold on to how important that is as human beings. To always know their worth and have self belief in themselves but to equally honour that in others. To know that sometimes we can get lost but the only way out of that  is through it. Most importantly I want them to always know that they are loved. 

I was where I should have been three years ago. I am where I should be right now but how exciting to wonder where I might be going.
Nighty night X

Ps 549 days