While I breathe, I hope
Strength + courage = fearless
While I breathe, I hope
Strength + courage = fearless
When I’ve seen men (and women) fight in the ring after years of dedication and discipline, working and striving to perfect their craft I always look at them when the fight is over and they have won, sometimes, rarely , they are aglow with happiness but mostly they just look relieved.
Relieved they are still standing, relieved that although they are battered they know that they are fundamentally capable of living to fight another day. Relieved they haven’t killed their opponent.
I started this blog as a way of dealing with the emotional trauma of my husband’s midlife crisis. I had thought he had a crush on another woman and an ideal of another life. He wanted some Time to think about things, evaluate, take stock. As it broke my heart I had to let him go. When he came back 2 days later I thought wow that was quick, then I found out that he had been with her for the past two days. Been in a ‘romantic relationship’ which until the lost weekend had been chaste (hmm) one that had started 2 weeks before Christmas. I had discovered texts New Year’s Eve. Which had ramped up the romanticism – star crossed lovers. My biggest fear that he was cheating on me was real. He had been. and even when he first came back he still wasn’t really back.
The hits kept coming. Body blow after body blow. I got punch drunk with the effects of being in a ring with someone who knew things that I had no idea about. Who thought things that weren’t actually true. Who had been manipulated and played by one hell of a manipulative player. ( be under no illusion, the blame in this is his I’m not making excuses for him just painting the picture)
But I fought back. Every trick and move everything I had ever learnt to stop this madness. To wake him up. The man who stood in front of me with the blank expression. The man who was able to inflict such pain to the woman he claimed to love. I was on the ropes as the punches kept coming and then on the floor and someone was starting to count.
I wonder if boxers have the same moment. The moment when you realise you have lost everything. The moment you realise that the fight is over, everything you have worked for, everything you have wanted and tried for is on the countdown to oblivion and you’re about to be the loser. Then the realisation that even when you have lost everything you still have yourself and that is enough. That is everything. So I came out fighting.
I used moves that no one had ever taught me, I was myself. I was fierce and I was strong. I was prouder of myself than I have ever been. If I was going to go down you would have to knock me out. Pull the punch to wipe me out. Or… fall in love with me again. See me. Hear me. Let me tell you all the truths that you wouldn’t hear and let me tell you that the love I have for you can release you if you want it. I can Let me go. Or I can love you forever. We can get past this.
And he’s on the ropes now and the truths keep coming. Body blows, face slaps that wake him up.
And we stand looking at each other as the fog clears. As he sees me. And I watch as the miracle of love happens before my eyes. The man I met 24 and a half years ago: the man I fell in love with when I saw him across a bar. Who made me laugh the first time we spoke. Who proposed 6 weeks later. Who I have born 2 sons to and lived a lifetime loving Came back to me.
I could tell you all sorts of things of how I feel but fundamentally as we stand in the ring with the judge holding both our hands up in the air to indicate a draw. I am just relieved.
It could be said the there are no winners, no losers, no triumph no victory and yet we have both lost and we have both won. We are bloodied and bruised and somehow we are love. We are in love with one another.
He is mine and I am his and no one and nothing can defeat a love like ours.
I’ll hang my gloves up.
That Hell has a basement.
I am a cliche.
Whereas I thought he was the cliche – midlife crisis with peroxide blonde tattooed personal trainer.
I have also now become the joke- I can’t sleep. I can’t eat. I cry without knowing I am. I find myself just staring into space without even knowing I am. I am a fucking mess. I put on a brave face when necessary but the rest of the time…. I just feel dead.
I keep waiting to wake up. When will I wake up and this all be over? Please God let it be soon. The pain is so great. The pure unadulterated anguish. I know people in the world deal with greater things, harder things, but that doesn’t take away that, for me, this is the worse thing that has ever happened to me. And yet my heart still beats and I still breathe even tho I am dead.
Two days later. Only 2 days and I am back to sobbing again.
Too painful. My heart just keeps breaking. It’s over. It can never be anything but over as he thinks he might, just slightly, he’s not sure, but he thinks … he’s in love with her.
He came back.
Begged for forgiveness and a second chance. In twenty four and a half years he has never done either. We have never been in this position before, we have always been together even when we have been drifting along I never doubted his love. Until this time. The devastation was complete.
We talked. About her. About him. He was honest. I slapped him so hard around the face his ear rings, my hand hurts and there is a faint bruise on his cheek. I take no pleasure ( it is the first time I have ever hit anyone) and yet I feel justified by the pain he has caused me. He hangs his head in shame.
And then when the anger subsides and I hear his words I know that I will give him a second chance. That I will forgive him. That she is nothing and I am everything.
Spring will always follow Winter.
Strength + courage = fearless
I play hockey. As in field hockey. Once played on grass now played on Astro. Short skirts, shin pads and mouth guards. Hockey sticks hitting hard balls, very hard. Hockey girls are cool. They don’t mind playing in the winter, the days others may not go out we do. I’ve played in gales and snowstorms. As well as the unrelenting British drizzly rain, which soaks to your skin.
It’s been 3 weeks since we separated. Two days since he properly left tho his stuff is still here. Thing is the last few days we were probably more connected than we had been for a long time. I found him really looking at me and seeing me.
I hadn’t told the hockey girls. I had played 3 matches with them and tried to pretend all was fine. Asked about xmas and new year I did the classic eye roll and sigh summing up the general thank fuck it’s all over without having to go into it. But today, tho not playing I felt like I needed some support. I texted my captain (I’m vice captain) and told her that we were taking some time apart and that he had gone off for a while. Half an hour later she was on my doorstep in tears. She asked if there was anyone else and before I could answer said ‘Is it Kate?’ I felt stunned. She added that she’d found it all ‘a bit fucking weird how she keeps posting on his Facebook and out having a drink with him (imagine my captain as a small Jack Russell who hasn’t had a walk in a very long time,she kind of levitates with energy. Bouncing around the place ready to take on anyone who looks at her a bit odd, she’s aggresssive, fierce and loyal. She’s also a total softie. ) she kept hugging me and telling me she didn’t understand. He was a bastard and she wanted to hit him with her hockey stick. ‘Midlife crisis ‘ I said and you’d thought I’d shouted ‘eureka’ as she jumped with excitement and exclaimed
‘Exactly!! Bastards !! We have periods, babies and the menopause and what do they have? Nothing ! Then they get to 50 and decide to fuck off! And that Kate is fucking unstable, I mean nice girl, I actually quite like her ‘ she looks at me guiltily and changes is to ‘liked her’ making sure I know that her loyalty is with me and I get a sting of tears. ‘But you know she actually didn’t live with her kid for a while, makes me always wonder about a woman who doesn’t have her kid…’ (you have to hand it to her she has an odd way of viewing the world my captain. )’But you, I love you , you’re a strong woman, you are being so strong’ she shakes her head in incredulity and I have to stop from telling her about the sobbing, the rocking, the panic attacks and the wild uncontrollable state of despair that I have been in. Only at that moment I am calm. Knowing she is there. On my side. Is exactly what I needed. I am a very lucky woman, I have just the right kind of friends .
Post script ; the photo relates to hockey. After a match me and a mate have a lucozade and a twirl, somehow it stops a migraine from happening… well that’s what we tell ourselves!
‘You really know who your friends are in a time of crisis….’
In a time of crisis when my whole world shifts and is in grave danger of irretrievably falling apart the phone is a lifeline to safety. The safety of your friends, the ones that you have carefully emotionally fed over the years, looked after and had more than a few belly laughs with are imperative.
I kept the circle small.
At first I only told one friend, my voice of reason, my northern light who always kept the path clear for me. I had a lovely chat with a girlfriend before she went back overseas and her love and compassion for me helped no end. Then my oldest friend who was all ready to come over to mine with wine and drugs (forgetting that I don’t partake) but it made me smile, her willingness to drop everything to hold my hand. My mother, gulp, mostly because the boys knew and she takes them out and I didn’t want her to say something unintentionally which would be difficult for them. Luckily my skills as a dog handler (think pit bull that hasn’t eaten for a while ) managed to keep her calm and actually she’s been rather wonderful.
So then I told a couple of other friends, one that I would class as a best friend who had been downgraded to a good mate after she left her husband and moved in with a bald headed carpenter and morphed into another creature. How can people change so much?! And another mate who had been thru a separation and reconciliation. These were my ‘get you back out there’ gals. My ‘put your red lipstick on we’re heading out’ pals.
Think there’s something wrong with my phone. Only they haven’t texted back.
Bollocks lost my husband, lost my mates.
When you know your marriage is over and realistically, logically and for the sake of your health ( mental and physical ) you can no longer be in a relationship with someone (Obviously we are ignoring the fact that they no longer want to be in a relationship with you) when do you actually tell people?
Be under no illusion the boys know. One thing that beats having your heart smashed to pieces is watching your beautiful adult sons become snot and tear soaked messes. Their hearts breaking and asking ‘why?’ with you rooting around in your mind for some kind of answer which will make sense. Like wandering the catacombs in the dark I have no answers. Me, the one who has an answer for everything. The problem solver extraordinaire is flummoxed.
‘How could you do this to Mum?’ one asks his father who shrugs and says ‘I have to go and find myself, see who I really am..’ his voice trailing off pathetically. I can hear ‘selfish prick’ muttered under my son’s breath, yup that’s my boy and I have an absurd rush of pride.
We live in a small place. If I say people know the colour of your pants when you leave the house that’s not all they know about you. They know everything and if they don’t , they will feel free to make it up as they see fit. They also have memories. Someone could have snogged someone at a party 10 years ago but it will never be forgotten and they will always be know as ‘Harry, you know who snogged his wife’s sister at the Hunters Christmas Party’. So the end of a marriage, especially one so long that has produced children who went to the nursery, junior, middle and secondary school from around here is going to send shock waves.
Or maybe it won’t.
Which is worse: people being saddened or people saying that they could never understand how I’d put up with him for so long.
Crap. I just don’t want to do this. He’s off having a jolly and I’m here. Maybe I should just put a banner up outside the house.
‘WE ARE STILL FRIENDS BUT HE’S HAVING A MIDLIFE CRISIS AND FUCKED OFF TO FIND HIMSELF.’
Reckon that’d work a treat.
strength + courage = fearless
Today is the first day as a single woman after twenty four and a half years of being together. Four days before my forty sixth birthday.
The sun is shinning and i’d like to say that the excitement that usually runs through my veins at the thought of another birthday ( not ashamed to admit i love birthdays) but instead after the past few months, specifically since Christmas Eve I am numb to anything. We broke up New Years Day. My decision after spending a sleepless night having caught him texting another woman. A woman i had asked, begged, argued for him to keep away from. Well honey he is all yours now.
So since New Years Day not one day has gone by without us trying to get to the bottom of the reason we have got here. It doesn’t matter how you look at it, what you say, scream, try not to plead, when someone doesn’t want to be with you anymore you have to let them go.
All the while we talked we held hands and consoled each other as we took turns falling apart. He loves me. But he’s been unhappy. If you add it all up all the elements:
He got a new nose, ( he’d always hated it, honestly i’d never noticed) A failed career. Children leaving home. A new obsession with surfing. A new obsession with reinventing himself. New clothes. A new interest in social media (yawn) A predatory peroxide blonde and ladies and gentlemen we have a catastrophic MIDLIFE CRISIS… So…He’s gone to find himself.
We have parted as friends. Single friends with each others blessings to do what and with whom we like. We have left the door open to reconciliation further along the path. His idea (guessing if he finds the grass isn’t greener and tarty mctarty is actually is a tart – quelle horror!) and to be honest if it gets him gone well, yeah, whatever.
Thing is, I already know who I am. I like who I am. I have just spent such a long time thinking of him, worrying about him that the fact that I can just be myself and not the wife of a selfish prick is actually rather wonderful.
Will today really be the day that I go the whole day without crying….?