Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Phantom pains

Small world 

I'm standing in the field
My feet lift off the ground
No one here will see me
No one will hurt me now
I'm brushing off the rain
While climbing through the clouds
Nobody can see me
No one can hurt me now
Goodbye, gravity
Goodbye, enemies
I'm going up to a place where the world is small
Where I can fly above it all
If I don't make it, sing my song
From here I'm weightless
No stars are famous
And the world is small.
It's been a while and things are better than ever. Lily's dad is in a very rational place and has been for a while. His psychiatrist is very happy.

Bit of a hiccup when he and his GF split last month, but the pressure of that relationship and her drive and determination to get the things she wanted from it, threatened our equilibrium not to mention Lily's future with her dad.
He made a good decision that was very hard and that speaks volumes about how far he's come down recovery road. He's rebuilding and I'm supporting him in every way I'm capable.

It was a difficult few weeks, a lot of hand holding and daily de-briefs, on the phone, often twice a day.  She was pretty brutal and that made me very angry. You'd think no other couple had gone through the "I thought I could give you what you want but turns out it feels like too much" scenario.

If she had any idea what we've been through with his illness, she might have thought twice about giving him such a thorough kicking, when his anxiety levels were already off the charts. She wouldn't have to deal with the aftermath if Mr Hyde returned.

Lily sometimes talks a little bit about that time when 'daddy was so angry and crazy'.  She's come a long way to trusting he's past that and they're OK now, I dont know if they would ever recover from a return journey to the dark side.

Anyway the other day He sent me this:
just wanted to say I cant thank you enough for your help yesterday and over the past few weeks. You've been extraordinary in empathy, understanding and kindness. You've been there in difficult times in a way that only you could be. I am so lucky to have you in my life, and Lily is too. Thank you for being who you are.

He's sent similar messages in recent months.
But before you go thinking there's a romantically happy ending to all this... No.

The only, but best, happy ending is his return to himself, his ability to make a tough and very painful decision, because it was the right one. And having the courage to leave his awful job and get a better one. All this in one month! Better still, Lily and I are getting the support we need at the pointy end of the year.

But I have baggage. I picked up Lily at his place tonight and we stayed for dinner, he was texting regularly with someone, not like he used to, but it still brought back horrible memories.

His also swings between outrage, at his ex's behaviour, emotional manipulation and character assassinations, then back to empathy and sentiment. That has an odd affect on me and I told him.

I said; rationally, I know it's not your fault, and you weren't in your right mind, but still your attachment to someone like that, you were only with for 18 months, when you trashed us after 14 happy years, and ran away without a backward glance  - well, rational or not, it stings. Still.

My morbid self tells me I should have been a ball-breaker and fought with him more often and harder. 

I guess its phantom pains, like those people feel after an amputation: a limb that's no longer there, but occasionally the brain still registers throbbing.

I mustn't expect too much of him.

He says he needs to be on his own for a while, because he's still a bit of a mess, (his words) and I feel happy at his courage and congratulate him.
He's never been alone, out of a relationship, for longer than three months in his entire dating life!

He's rebuilding he says, he needs to focus on his new job and on Lily... But I need to take that with a grain of salt dont I?
He's not me, he's not strong on his own. He's attracted to women who need rescuing because that ' makes him feel strong' and he looks outward rather than inward.
And even his recognition of that and telling me it has to change, it's like his smoking - its habit he just doesn't have the will power to stop.

And at the end of the day it's really none of my business.

And I have my own habit to break: to learn to support him still, for all our sakes, but less invested.

There are a lot of ANDs

Monday, January 16, 2017


"Sometimes the memories leak out.
And they roll down my cheeks."


How do I look back on some of my early posts and reconcile the Now with Then?

I just don't look, is how.

I'm enjoying my hiatus - determined not to dwell on the past.

I am childless.
Just for a couple of weeks, while Lily is away with her dad, playing in the snow.

She's long overdue a proper holiday and I'm working so...

It was not entirely without trepidation, but oddly at the time of her leaving, I couldn't find her European passport (she, like me, has two). Her father wasn't bothered; "She can travel on either one" he said.

I think he may have thought I pretended I couldn't find it, because he made a point of assuring me, he would definitely bring her back  - in case I might think he wasn't. 
I actually found that other passport the day before their departure, but I left it where  it was and pretended I hadn't.
Better safe than sorry.

But you know I could just tell it was OK for her to go.  If my own instincts failed, I can still tell by how she is with him, how relaxed she's become, how full of joy - that she has her wish: she's got her old Daddy back.

And her old Daddy loves her too much to hurt her by taking her from me.  He sees we're closer than ever before. He knows, to her, there's no place like home with her mother, and he says as much with some regularity. I often see see now, his hurt and the realization of how he's caused the distance between himself and his little girl.

He also clearly understands her sensitivity to his moods. before they left, he was tired and he berated her over something. Her reaction was disproportionate, and he swiftly changed tack he even told her: "I'm sorry, I know you get worried and upset when I'm cross".
"I get scared." she said.
"I know and I'm sorry."

Gosh so much just under the surface with all of us.
Often times now, we are giddy with relief, but small things, tiny similarities appear and the darker memories are still there ready to resurface.
I am such a sook, I cry over movies and TV commercials, when others cry. Always tears at the ready- in the starting blocks.
I don't feel sad at all, so it's kind of strange having all that emotion just under the surface, busting to leak out.

So I'm glad for then to have this time together to bond and mend what was broken. I see the effect it has on her and I cannot begrudge it at all; on the contrary it adds to my happiness and contentment, seeing our toppled life right itself in the important ways.

So while they're away, He sets her up on Face Time with me every couple of days, and photos arrive on my phone daily.

December was tough generally; loads of deadlines at work, school and family commitments colliding weekly - sometimes daily - but our new family tumbled through it without too much falling off the cart.

Lily's dad and his GF came over Christmas morning, joining my mother and of course Lily to watch her open her presents.  He told me beforehand that he was feeling weird and uncomfortable about it.
I let him know I understood, but since we're a blended family now, and Christmas is about children, we needed to bite the bullet on this first one.  I assured him the discomfort would be outshone by Lily's excitement and I was right.

So now I'm home alone, enjoying working each day and coming home to just my lovely dog. Tonight I drove to the beach and we played in the water, came home, ate and now its 'me' time.

I'm feeling great on the whole, in a very good place.  I'm pumped full of enthusiasm and positive energy, I'm mostly always smiling and it seems to be having an effect on those around me. I'm generating some looks too, smiles and interest, and sometimes I feel like its close to time I got back on the horse.

But I don't have the interest or the drive I had 15 years ago. Where I used to be labeled a man-eater, (I know!?) there's a timidity, or reserve that's crept in and it stops me from truly putting myself out there.

So I think the best I can do now is this -  to quote one of my favorite actors in one of my favorite movies -  "to stay open";

"be deliriously happy or at least leave yourself open to be...I say, fall head over heels, find someone you can love like crazy and who'll love you the same way back. How do you find him? Well, you forget your head and you listen to your heart....Stay open.
Who knows, lightening could strike." 

I'll stay open and maybe lightening will strike. 
Or not. 
Either way, I'm perfectly happy.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Who Am I?

Who am I: Annie
Staff Christmas parties.
Who'd have thought back in April that by the end of this year I'd be cutting up the dance floor with the big boss?
And hanging with a bunch of male colleagues; for the most part eye-candy, all smart and single. 
Boys on the prowl and several of them asking me 'whats your story?' wondering why I'm 'talent-spotting' for them and not participating.
I have no idea. 
Not really. 
I guess I said it before, life's easier; emotions and life in general, more manageable with it's just me the kid and the dog.
I get all the love and affection I need and if I want something else I guess I can buy something online - and I have plenty of batteries!
I did say to someone, at some point in the festivities, that single parenting with a full time job didn't give a gal a lot of bandwidth for downloading anything else.  
He didn't get it.
Not sure I do entirely. 
But as contentment reigns in my life right now - I don't know; I guess I'm just not in a big hurry to introduce more variables.
The 'don't fix what aint broke', principal? 

One guy seemed a bit unsettled that I was, as he called it; pimping for him. 
I wonder sometimes if he sort of likes me a bit.  But as good as my instincts are, I cant seem to tune that wavelength on my antenna effectively anymore. 
Or maybe it's a case of not wanting to pick up the signals if I'm honest.

There's another guy who's definitely very smart, undeniably eye-candy with his height, build, caramel skin and amber eyes and an adorable gap between his two front teeth. 
I think we even had a bit of a moment, until I pulled away. 
But (she shrugs) as I said after the sudden exit of that whoa-to-go-then-whoa-again Chiropractor; Baby steps...

Speaking of the good Doctor, well I wouldn't know if he was goo would I?  Because despite him feeling up my back and shoulders and saying I had a problem, not ONE flipping adjustment, despite many lewd cheeky comments about it.

It's a bit like that heart surgeon years back. 
So cute, the idea of dating a total hunk who fixes broken hearts for a living, quite literally. 
Cute right up to the point where he breaks yours.

Anyway it's all academic at the moment and clearly I'm deeply embedded in my head at the moment; getting used to the new me, my re-booted life.

Not to forget my re-booted friendship with Lily's dad. 
He comes to the house every morning, to take her to school so that I can leave for work earlier than school drop off times will allow. 
With her upcoming birthday party, Christmas and her big dance show case last week, we're on the phone or messaging  almost as much as when we were married.

Last week after Lily's performance, I even did some bonding with his partner and it seems we have a lot in common, aside from Him. 
I invited to her to come along with him on Christmas morning for coffee and croissants and watching Lily open her presents.  
I'd asked him a couple of weeks ago and he thought she'd feel too uncomfortable - an outsider to a 14 year tradition, especially with my mom there.
But she said she'd love to, so maybe he's projecting his own discomfort.
I'll plan on giving him some heavily laced eggnog to settle his nerves; he'll be fine.

As I said to his GF, we're a blended family now, and there'll likely be some weirdness here and there, but it's great for Lily that we all model that as a good thing.
And it is isn't it?  
So much better than the alternative path we were heading down.

Mission Impossible?

I have a job! In an office, with actual colleagues and meetings and bosses and an IT department...

After months upon months of pitching editors, sending out my manuscript, applying for every freelance (or permanent) job going, I'd about given up on achieving financial independence.

The one job I was offered was as an office assistant getting coffees and answering phones and emails @ $15.80 an hour just 20 hours a week. I was sorely tempted - wouldn't have come close to paying the mortgage let alone bills and groceries, but I had nothing else.

Except determination and faith that things were going to get better.

My fall-back plan was to settle our assets, sell the house and down-size with hopefully have enough left over to to buy us few more years of trying. You know, until I won the lottery and/or signed a multi book deal with TV solid mini-series prospects.

Then a friend, told me her employer was looking for a copy writer and could I do that?
Within hours of my blithely saying 'sure I could', her boss had emailed and days later I was sitting in an interview offered a six-month contract, possibly ongoing, and discussing when I could start.

It was unnerving being in an office again, overwhelming and scary, until I realized this project I had been contracted for was kind of overwhelming for the whole team, most of whom where also newbies. Everyone had to hit the ground running and most of us with little in the way of a clear brief.

In the beginning it was hard.  Determined as I was not to lower the bar at home with Lily or the dog, let alone my O.C.B as far as house and yard work, clean pets, clean school uniforms and freshly polished school shoes on my daughter's feet.

But the boss apparently meant it when she said it was a flexible work place. What time do I start? Well some get in at nine, some cant make it before 9:30 and others are still getting there at ten.
There are no morning meetings before 9:45am and none called later than 4pm.
I worked home my first day with Lily off school sick - I actually managed to put in more work hours with the elimination of school run preparation and the 7.7miles (12.5km) peak-hour  commute.

Eight weeks in, after getting into some sort of rhythm, feeling some measure of competency, December struck with all its School event/ birthday &Christmas party chaos.

And the Christmas traffic.

Strictly speaking google maps says it should take 19 minutes but my commute for the first month was around 30-35 minutes. Then as we nudged up against December, it became 45, then 50 then 80- even 90 minutes on one occasion.

Never thought I would say this after the last few years, but thank God for Lily's father. 
With all the military precision of my planning there are many days I phone him from the car to rescue our daughter from a late After School Care pickup because I'm stuck in traffic. One day it took 90 minutes; my average speed was 2.5mph (4kph)!

But you cant fight it - the festive season is upon us and Lily and I have a beautiful tree decorated. My only compromise so far has been not decorating the house exterior and the tree in front. 

The Jury's still out on whether we'll get Christmas cards sent out this year, but I must say we only had a couple ourselves last year and they were mostly from Real Estate agents. 

I've realized now  - the bar must be lowered - something's gotta give.

And I've got a feeling everyone is in the same boat.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Baby Steps

It's easy to have it together when you're on your own. 
No relationship. 
When there's no one in your life you care deeply about. Except of course friends. Friends hold you up unconditionally and you know from the history you share that they'll always be there. Always be on your side. They won't ask too much of you or give too little. Either way that expectation isn't there at all, there aren't expectations at all there is just being.

Then for me there is Lily and that is love and deep caring on a whole other level. 

But I did meet someone. 
Notice I used past tense there.
That's a spoiler, sorry. 
And this post would have read a lot differently if I'd been writing here during the romance instead of instant messaging back and forth with him all evening. 

But he came at me like a bull at a gate, all 'wow's and 'I cant believe my luck' s. 
We had everything in common; he had a wonderful little girl a month older than Lily and they got on like a house on fire.

He was crazy about me: 'floating on air' was another effusive comment. Moving a lot faster than I was entirely comfortable with. 

But who was I to argue, it felt nice, we had so much in common shared so many of the same values and passions it was getting ridiculous; so it made us laugh every time we discovered something else we shared.
It was as if I'd ordered him, custom made, from a catalogue.

He felt the same and told me everyday. 
He was crazy about me right up until the point he wasn't. 

When he started cancelling things last minute, I asked him if he was backing off and his response seemed shocked and hurt. Then he canceled again.
He missed a phone call then sent a text instead that said his daughter couldn't wait to see my daughter again.
Not, sorry I didn't call when I said I would and I cant wait to see you..  What he didn't say, in light of  his previous enthusiasm, spoke volumes.

So I told him, with my recent history (of which he knew not all but enough to be more considerate) I really wasn't in a place to deal with someone running 'hot and cold'.

I told him I felt the tone of his messages had clearly changed and that it would have been nice to actually speak, but in the absence of actual conversation, I wanted to take time out to re balance.  
I was thinking maybe a weekend apart.  But He jumped on this as his exit.

We'd hit fast forward, skipped the whole relationship part and went straight to the breakup.

Pollyanna suggested I reach out to him in case, given my history I had overreacted, but he wasn't having it. 

Pollyanna thought it would be nice to know why and to get some closure at least. But in my experience, closure in ended relationships can be very elusive and chasing it can often be as damaging as the breakup. 

Another thing I have leaned is that a lot of people out there have unresolved issues of their own and maybe it's a little egotistic to think that 'its all about me'.

So I was very sad for a few days. But it was so brief, I guess wasn't over invested. And the scary thing was, in that month of a blossoming new relationship, it was so easy for me to lose my equilibrium. 
So easy for me to want something/ someone, I didn't really need, enough to get the wobbles when it started to go off course.

Fortunately the girls didn't have a chance to become addicted to each others company either, although Lily said she though his daughter was her long lost twin. 

She had asked me two weeks in, having seen them twice if He was going to be a special friend. I told her 'lets just see.. its too early to tell.'

But Lily hasn't asked about them since. I think she understands without asking - wise little thing.

We are both in a different calmer place since she got her "Old Daddy" back. This Hiatus from dealing with Mr Hyde, has us both emotionally cruising and gaining more resilience.

But I remain unconvinced that there is a special friend out there for me and that's OK. 
More than ever, I feel its not something I need anymore. 

Raising and enjoying my little girl and rebooting my career takes up a lot of energy and head space. I'm not sure I have enough bandwidth to download anything else.

Unless of course I happen to meet a forty something cross between Chris Hemsworth and ..... 

OK Liam Hemsworth if you really want to know. <she grins>  

And even in that unlikely event, I wont be rushed again.

Baby Steps.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Smoke and Mirrors

I'm still trying to process the mediation session with Him.

Sessions like that really throw me.

It felt like once again he just dragged me there to try and have me admit all I've said about his manic behaviour isn't true and I've only said I was afraid for Lily and myself as a means to an end and to get back at him. 

That wont happen because its just not true. 

It's one thing for him to be incapable and unwilling to take ownership of his recent aggressive and over-the-top behaviour, and for me to cease expecting him to. But it's entirely another, to try to coerce or confuse me into rescinding all the anguish and fear Lily and I have been feeling.

He's so clever at spinning everything that happened and having someone else there being all impartial, I felt a bit like it is all in my head, as he says. When on deeper level I know it's not.

He tells Pollyanna and I, both that his friends have spoken to his psychiatrist to tell the Doctor that he's fine. And that his doctor agrees and has always agreed. He says I'm the only one who thought he wasn't. So many people who saw him in recent times asked me if he was OK because he so didn't seem fine. Lily certainly has had a very strong reaction against the return of familiar scary behaviour.

But lets just unpack that comment about the psychiatrist and friends a bit. Why, did his psychiatrist need validation from friends if he was confident that Claude was fine?  And though Claude denies it now, why was I forbidden any communication or validation from his psychiatrist if he was fine?

But he's a clever one, he he's become incredibly good at talking his way out of anything.
It's a very scary talent this one and he's practiced it to absolute perfection.

And I can never EVER forget he-is-a-liar. Especially when it comes to what he does and has done.

I was so buoyant and productive recently and now I'm despondent and exhausted again.

This whole saga continues to be so damaging, my own mood swings are giving me whiplash.

But he is finally willing to let me see his psychiatrist with him present. 

After today when I was defending my decision to allow Lily to choose not to stay with him: 'she could have just not felt like it and been playing up, you know. 

I almost pulled out the heart-wrenching recorded message she left for her therapist, sobbing and hiccuping hysterically trying to describe how Daddy scared her, "like he turned into a werewolf," right up to her face and squeezing her arm.  It's taken her so long to get over that and it will all come back if he does it again.

I think he needs to hear that and maybe his psychiatrist does too.

Let him try to make that truth evaporate with his smoke and mirrors.