Saturday, November 7, 2015

The Painting

Single parenting is hard and I've been feeling the pressure of weeks without a break. She’s been unwell, and therefore more demanding on my time and attention. More draining. I've been less fun, less buoyant than the mummy she knows.


But tonight Lily has gone to sleep over with her father for the first time in a few weeks and I feel like a the cold wind outside is blowing right through me; like I’m too insubstantial to repel it.

Lily keeps the ghosts away. She’s both sedative and pain relief to my soul.  I’m strong and happy around her, but so often when she’s gone, that all collapses and I’m left feeling things I don’t want to feel. 

Remembering things I don’t want to remember.

Sometimes I feel that way after I drop her at school; I go home and I’m lost in my own house.
Tonight I was tidying up and as I came to the top of the stairs, I looked at that horrible painting and I hated it more than ever.   He bought it while he was manic, he was bidding on another at auction apparently. Who knows, the woman in the gallery (it was a woman) probably caught his eye and he decided to impress.

But this paining is ugly, the colours, the composition everything is off-kilter. Just  like he was when he bought the damned thing.  I hung it, I tried to find a place for it; then he would let himself in and move it; sit it on top of a dresser, and I would hang it again this process would repeat itself over a few times, as if to underscore how much it didn’t belong.

So tonight I stood at the top of the stairs looking at it with my index finger nail in my mouth. Then I grabbed hold of it, pulled it off the wall and took it straight up to the attic.

It tiny left ugly holes in the wall so I went to the laundry and rummaged around until I found some filler and pushed that into the holes and cracks.

Tomorrow I’ll sand those filled holes and paint over them.  Like I do with all the cracks and holes.
Artfully cover them up so as it looks like they were never there.

At least that empty white wall has potential now. Even if there are cracks repaired and hidden under a new coat of paint it will be much better than being covered by something ugly. 


  1. Congrats on taking the initiative to reclaiming this space as yours. The biggest gift you can give yourself, and as you previously said Lilly, is permission to make your life speak for who you are now on every single level.

    In my case it was pretty easy, at that point, as I simply left it all behind only taking the items that in one way or another felt like mine. As someone still living in the same home it must be so much harder deciphering what you are keeping out of habit, habit ain't bad but awareness of it is good, and what you are keeping because it speaks to you now.

    WRT Jack if it feels worth the effort it might be time open a conversation about how his propensity to analyse everything to death is affecting your ability to be open. Yes, as a psychologist it must be hard to separate the work from the personal in that regard but it should also give him good insight into how toxic that habit would be in a friendship.

    Making "cute" little helicopter noises is not being fun.. it's meant to shame you into changing behaviour, and very little positive change comes from a negative space, he has the training to understand that but is making that behaviour choice. With the limited information I have my view is that it's time for him to pull his head in a whole lot.

    Everyone is the best parent they can be in each given moment. From my view you have done an awesome job of keeping the family ship as steady as it can be in very unstable conditions. The fact you are still functioning and moving forward in such positive ways is a testament to your strength and resilience along with your willingness to reach out for help where required.

    Best Wishes

  2. Belinda, fantastic advice as ususal and I'm wondering if your background is psychology or if like me you researched and read like mad to keep yourself from drowning in your doubts. You're wonderful - thank you.. I've been thinking a lot about my attitude to this home and my percieved need to sever his hold on it. Now I think that is in my head and I'm putting myself under a horrendous amount of pressure trying to drive the settlement sooner than I'm able to. All that is doing is creating enough tension in my neck and shoulders that my health benfits have run out and I think I've paid for most of my chiropractor's Porche! And I still wake up each morning with foul headaches. So I'm taking the pressure down. Removing that painting really changed my head space; I feel like I'm there already and he'll catch up with the programme, I found out with my snoping that he always intended us to have the house..
    ah Jack, what to do? if anything.. I have made a list on my phone of safe and interesting topics of discussion that do not involve disecting anyone's parenting emotional or any other performance. I will tell him kindly that I realise his comments are coming from a kind and caring place (Mr Fixit) but it's hard to relax and be my usual high spirited and vivacious self, when someome is taking notes. That aught to do it huh? or maybe when he starts up, i'll pull out my phone and just read him the list of non-judging topics - he's a clever guy, he'll get the idea. :0)

    so thank you lovely Belinda, and I havent forgotten the kids self help book, it just got pushed back in light of the above. I showed an incomplete rough draft to Lily's Psych this morning and she not only gave it the thumbs up she gave homework on it for Lily, using my characters names. So I'm enthusiastically back in the saddle on that horse. :0)

    take care

  3. Yeah, no degree here :-)

    It would make my life a whole lot easier if there was. I was considering it earlier this year but min 6 yrs before you are actually qualified to practice is a pretty high hurdle when you have already entered your 40's.

    You're absolutely right it is a headspace and it sounds like, thankfully, you have found the emotion linked item to allow you to move through the blockage. It's a hard balance pushing yourself enough to feel like things are moving without ending up kicking yourself for things that you ultimately have no control over. Well done on recognising that any benefit that might be garnered by pushing is being well and truly overshadowed by the cost.

    I'm glad you have the security of knowing that the space will be yours for as long as you wish it to be.

    You're also a smart girl. I have no doubt that you can and will work out what you need to do with Jack if you decide it's worth the mental energy ;-) That conflict where many women often want to just verbalise stuff to get it straight in our head or let it go and many men tend to take that as we want them to fix it is very inconvenient.

    Glad to hear the book is moving forward as it really sounds like such a great idea.

    I came across this recently and am seriously considering the purchase for round here.

    Best Wishes

    1. Honestly it really sounds like you have studied psychology, your comments are so like Pollyanna’s! Thank you again. You lavish me with encouragement and support and it really helps bolster my resolve.
      As for Jack, haven’t had time with him since before Halloween. He’s texted asking about babysitters, school band, homework, and a little fun banter, but that’s all. I like him better on SMS!
      When I’ve seen him in passing, he’s been wearing suits; which means he’s been back in court fighting to keep his boy.
      I don’t have the mental energy. A good friend asked last week if I thought his judging and assessing were his way of creating distance? I have no clue. Doesn’t matter much anyway, that’s his stuff, not mine. I have so many professional and personal projects I’m trying to get off the ground I don’t have enough bandwidth for complicated and a little bit ‘prickly’ friendships. Did I mention he’s a dead ringer for an old boyfriend I was on and off with for years? I think that has been the attraction, but with The Great X, being together was as easy as breathing and we were fun together; we laughed constantly. We were one of those couples in restaurants that everyone watched in fascination. Jack isn’t like that and that’s a shame. I’m still fragile enough to be dragged down too easily by other people’s weight, so I have to stick to happy, light people.
      This CD is cute, I had a listen. I think Lily would prefer if Katy Perry was singing it though. :0)
      Watch this space.. :0)
      Take care

  4. Yeah, I'm sure she would prefer that..

    The great X makes the situation a whole lot easier for me to get. I was wondering why you were continuing to persist as it seemed that your two headspaces are not massively compatible atm. Absolutely agree with you that it's not yours why he is using this behaviour. Some people are much more fun with a bit of editing and writing seems to do that with most people.

    Glad to hear you are seeing light at the end of the tunnel. You and Lilly both deserve to walk strong out of this no mans land you've been in for 18 months

    Best Wishes

  5. thanks lovely :0)
    I've just finished the first draft of the kid's self help book: 'I Can Handle It" and printed it for Lily - she loves it so much she's read it several times and even made her father read it to her when he dropped by. < he he >
    I need to get it into InDesign so I can set it up to print correctly, and her child psych has asked to look at it again.
    watch this space.