Pepin the miracle

it’s been a long time since i have put my thoughts and feelings into words; around a year, which is kind of scary to think of how quickly time can move on without you.  So much has happened this last year, that I have no idea where to begin, but I figured the most prominant part of 2014 was the journey we encountered with Pepin.  There are probably a million back stories that are required for parts of this story but I hope that other posts will help me put all of this together a little more eloquently than this may originally seem.

Since I left my job I have not been able to return to work, as Best Friend 3 has had a greater load of medical issues than any one person should have to deal with in their entire life.  I have become her medical next of kin, based on her father having tried his hardest to control/ruin her life and we are now living together for every available second that her father isn’t descending on her life and even then we are in constant contact with each other.  There have even been times where we have been blowing up the airbed and moving all of the furniture to squeeze it in next to my bed at my dad’s.

We have been in constant contact with each other for a couple of years now (but weren’t living together at this point) so when there had been a full 24 hours that I hadn’t heard from her, it was so out of character that I was genuinely worried and decided that I had no option but to go round to her house just to check that things were ok.  I am very careful with never crossing boundaries and it was against my being to use my key to her house when she wasn’t expecting me but my husband took over and opened the door.  It was lucky that he did because, as I was checking the rooms at the back of the house, he was standing at the kitchen door with the colour drained from his face.  All you could see from the doorway was an inanimate foot of a body lying on the kitchen floor.  Instinct took over and I immediately went to check for signs of life; thankfully her heart was strong and she was breathing but was cold from having obviously been unconscious on the floor for a prolonged period of time.  This is a condition that she has had for a few years now but this was a particularly bad episode and getting her to safety took some time.

As things weren’t really improving, I ended up persuading her to go and get herself properly checked out.  This was the point that I ended up with her nurse having contact with me directly and us working as a team to get on top of the issues without having to subject her to a prolonged time in hospital.  After a few weeks of trying to work out why the spiral wasn’t improving, blood tests started to show up things we weren’t expecting.  The nurse emailed me with the information that Best Friend 3’s HCG levels were showing up levels of between 12 and 15 weeks of pregnancy so an ultrasound was booked for the following day.  Both at home and in the hospital several pregnancy tests had been taken and all had come back negative, so to receive this news was confusing to say the least.  Add to that the fact that several of the drugs that she had been pumped with and tests that she had been subjected to could have been fatal to any likely pregnancy.  I’ll not go into the multitude of positives and negatives of the decision in this post but it wasn’t a straightforward thought process, should it be the case.  We are very open with our bodies and because best friend 2 had recently reached her 5th month of pregnancy then I knew what to feel for in advance.  Right enough, the night before the ultrasound, I felt a perfectly round little lump sitting in exactly the place that I would expect it to be.  We discussed all the possibilities and the possibly implications on the future (especially regarding her health) but didn’t think that, even if there had been a heartbeat, that it would be a viable pregnancy.  There were mental aspects to all of this, which vastly outweighed the physical, and was the reason that we ended up trusting in what will be will be.

I wasn’t able to attend the doctor’s appointment but i was sent a sound clip of a very strong and healthy heartbeat, which shocked us both more than we had anticipated.  From that moment on, we were on the journey of a lifetime, leaving ourselves open to things going wrong at any time.  Historically BF3 had experienced a lot of heartache where carrying children had been concerned, so we were prepared for both the best and the worst possible outcomes.  In the UK, a baby is not deemed viable until the 24th week of gestation and she had previously lost a baby at 23 weeks and 2 days.  There had been others of her babies that never made it to this world, due to several different circumstances, but 23 weeks was the record up to that point.

From all of the contraception (the morning after pill was taken), medications, procedures, collapses, inability to retain food, knocks and the one grief stricken drunken night there was no way that this miracle foetus should have been in existence, never mind have managed to reach 13 weeks healthy and thriving.  It was against medical advice that we decided to take a chance on the pregnancy, even though surgery on a brain aneurysm was imminent and still scheduled to go ahead.  In our minds, there was no way that there would still be a pregnancy after the surgery but at least that would be based on a decision that we didn’t have to make.  There was no father to be concerned with, as he had decided to end his life only a matter of days after conception had occurred, which made my husband, BF3 and I as the parenting team. We were all living together anyway, so planning for a future incorporating an extra heart was second nature to us all.

Against every conceivable chance, the aneurysm surgery came (with having to go through the procedure twice in one day) and went with still a healthy thriving heartbeat.  Although we didn’t know the sex of our little bean, I looked up names that meant determination and Pepin jumped out at me as a name for the time before foetus becomes a baby.  I never like to refer to a foetus as “it” and we didn’t want to find out the sex, so finding a name made the most sense to me.  BF3 was left a small amount of money in Pepin’s Dad’s will and she decided the highest priority was a small holiday for me and her to try and relax away from her medical issues.  Not long after we found out about Pepin’s existence, practice contractions started plaguing her body in a relentless manner and it was up to me to time them, monitor them and to distract her from the instinct to push. During the worst of them it turned into a task of troubleshooting anything I could to try and halt them.  With all of the time I was having to spend with my hand on her tummy, to feel for contractions, I instinctively began talking to Pepin on a regular basis.  Most of the holiday was absolute bliss, with the punctuation of contractions a few times a day.  The flight home was particularly stressful, as i thought we were going to have to stop off at the hospital on the way home!  I had been given a list of instructions and guidelines for contractions from her nurse, to know when enough was enough and to get medical assistance.

Quite soon after we got back from holiday, Pepin started kicking and punching to make himself known.  I was referring to him as male from early on, although I had no idea what he was.  As it turned out, during one of the many medical scares that BF3 had and a scan was taken, one of the ultrasound technicians let it slip that he was a boy.  Neither of us wanted to know what we were having, but it was lovely once we did know because he got more of a personality after it.  The reason he had survived for so long, during the medical and emotional traumas, was his ability to go and hide right at the back.  He could choose whether he wanted to be shown off or whether he wanted to stay away and hide.  This was especially noticeable when BF3’s dad decided to descend upon us.  The stress levels were so high around those times that he just kept well out of it all and made sure that nobody found out about him that didn’t need to know he was there.

We were lying in bed watching a film, where there was piano music playing in the soundtrack, and he kicked every time the music played.  I decided to test it out and played piano music to her belly to see if he responded the same way; he did.  He moved to piano, violin and cello music at around 18 weeks of gestation.  This was fascinating to me.  For obvious reasons, his stamina was not huge for being able to respond so actively but for bursts of time he was able to enjoy the sounds before drifting off to sleep.  After a couple of days of trying different types of music, when ceilidh music came on and i squished his bottom in time with the music he managed to pick up on the rhythm.  From then on when music was played, if he enjoyed the sounds, he was able to kick and move in time with the rhythm.  The stage after that was using the fact that he could move to the front and back to be able to answer yes or no.  If he liked something then he would push himself out so hard that her belly grew like a balloon and if he was unhappy then he could disappear, as if there was no baby in there.  I have little video clips of him moving in time to music and further ones of him enjoying water being poured on his mummy’s tummy; me asking where he wants the water poured, and him pushing specific parts of his body out to feel it.  He responded to my voice and answered questions that I asked by using his body movements. BF3 was never plagued by cravings, because I could ask him what he wanted to eat and he would choose the option he liked best.  His favourite foods were cheesy scrambled eggs, toast and ice lollies/ice cream; to the point that you couldn’t say the word toast, cake or eggs without him going crazy and wanting some!

As time went on, he became more and more opinionated and learned at an astonishing rate.  Where in the early days he would choose to communicate through contractions if he was displeased with something, this started to become something that wasn’t controlled by him.  We monitored contractions regularly and were expecting an early delivery from the word go.  Not only an early delivery but we never expected him to get to the point of viability.  Once 24 weeks had come and gone with everything still looking normal (something that astounded us constantly) we started allowing ourselves to make potential plans for the future.  the knowledge that none of this could come into frutition was never far from our minds, but it was still good for us to enjoy the planning process as it occurred.  Pepin became a sociable little Lion and had firm opinions of people he didn’t and didn’t like.  If anyone upset his mummy then they would be hated and he would do anything he could to appear invisible.  He would play with the kids at school when they wanted to poke him but if he didn’t want touched then you knew immediately.  He could choose not to talk to you if you annoyed or upset him.  I was put in the dog house for a while when I called him “foetus” as a joke.  He was happy with being called Pepin or by his birth name (he vetted it before we finalised the decision) but would not tolerate being called foetus.

At 32 weeks, he learned a new trick and could wiggle his bum inside the belly.  The whole bump would move from side to side and it made me giggle every single time.  Giggling was something that he loved to hear and so would do it to create happiness all around him.  I explained that he shouldn’t move too hard just in case he hurt mummy or himself but the need to generate laughter was just too great for him.  If I asked him to show me where his bum was he could push it out at will, the same for his arms, legs and head.  This was handy because I could keep track of his position.  The last thing we wanted was a breach baby and could explain to him that if he was lying in the wrong position and Mummy’s body decided it was time for him to come out then I couldn’t be there to catch him.  He didn’t want to be cut out of the belly and wanted me to be there for his grand entrance so could turn himself round to be head down from bottom down.  He hated being bottom down but we compromised and let him lie sideways to sleep because that made him the most comfortable.  I would sleep with either my hand on the belly or the belly in the small of my back for heat and safety.  He knew if there was any danger he could wake me up and I could help before things got out of control.

My outside life fucked everything up.  I ended up with a psychopath stalker who made my friend feel threatened.  This led to sleep being elusive and sleep was the key to all wellness within her.  A family friend was visiting from Australia and her mother had arranged for her to take BF3 to a spa for a weekend for a pre-natal pampering session.  This friend was a midwife so Pepin felt safe enough to be away from me but seemed to know that everything was going to be completely unpredictable from there on in.  It sounds so ridiculous to be able to say for sure that I knew how a foetus felt but he taught me more about pre birth than anything else could have.

On the first night that they had gone away (about 2 hours from home), the worst case scenario happened.  Her medical condition having been so poorly dealth with had caused further complications at the time and at the time would fall unconscious for prolonged periods of time.  On the way to the toilet she had collapsed (as she frequently did with non-epileptic seizures) and remained unconscious for a prolonged period of time.  Midwife friend had woken and noticed the bleeding, so called the ambulance.

What ended up being a placental abruption caused a starvation of oxygen to his brain and organs which he only managed to fight through for an hour.  He was born exactly 2 months early and was perfect in every way.  It tears my soul that I never got to hold him or kiss him but he was well cared for during his short time in the outside world.  Luckily I was able to get an imprint of his hands and feet to see for myself the size that he was.  I have one gorgeous photo of him and these are things that I will be eternally grateful for.

I’m sure that there will never be such an amazing pregnancy story for us to tell again but I am sure that it won’t be our only pregnancy story to tell.  There will never be regret that we emotionally invested in a little person who never managed to be and has only left us with positivity that we can love as much as we can without fear of disaster.  As it turns out, hurt is natural and normal but how you deal with it is entirely in your own hands.  Perspective is the thing that can keep you level and in control of any situation.

For now, we crave the family dynamic that we prepared for when our Pepin was growing and hope to have another chance to make it happen for real again.  We can only see what the future will bring and every door will remain open until we know for sure.  Here’s hoping anyway.


The search for Sperm

I’m asking for a friend.  No really, it is a friend that this whole post is in relation to.  I long since accepted that my dream of babies was never going to happen and I have always been oddly comfortable with that.  It’s strange that even the strongest ambition you can have from the youngest of ages can be unobtainable, but still able to be comfortably accepted.  There are rare occasions that, during conversations, my emotions can be sparked to the point of tears but I am grateful that it’s never a feeling that lingers.  I am comfortable with longing for hopes and dreams and will never fully close a door to anything.  There will always be a chance that the miracle of all miracles could be round the corner, but I’m never going to set my hopes on it; voluntary failure is not something I’m a fan of.

So, this friend (our Panda).  In the past few years my journey has been tumultuous, to say the least.  In most ways it wasn’t really my journey but more the journey of the person that I ended up feeling the desire to merge with mine.  The rollercoaster of medical failures, diagnoses, symptoms, finances and external mind fucks have led us to a place in our lives where the future is something we know we need to work towards for inner happiness.  It has been made abundantly clear to us by the government that we are not one of the ones they deem worthy of financial assistance, regardless of the inability to work due to levels of pain/unpredictability.  I could go into a tirade on the failings of the current government’s disability assistance but I am more than sure that there are millions of those already in existence.  I digress.

In the past 2 years, the only medical glimmer of light that we had was our little lion.  He came into our lives unexpectedly from an encounter between Panda and her first true love.  They had been apart for around 18 months after a breakdown on his side but had reconnected briefly before he took the decision to end his life.  He never knew that his Little Lion had been created and things were probably easier all round that he never had the chance to know.  We didn’t know for the first 11 weeks either, no matter how many pregnancy tests the medics had insisted she take based on symptoms.  There were medical procedures undertaken that he never should have survived but did.  He was the miracle to end all miracles.  I could talk about him for hours but the long and short of it is that his life was brought to an end by a routine complication that so many pregnancies end in.  There were additional complications based on the misdiagnoses previously received leaving us (and them) with no comprehension of the treatment required.

Now that we understand everything involved with the conditions, and how little bearing it would have on growing/sustaining life, it is abundantly clear how much having a focus to love, care for and nurture would bring to this family.  We are luckier than most to have the level of love that we have in our daily life and it would be wrong not to be able to stretch that to the future generation.

After 5 pregnancies that all ended tragically for a multitude of reasons, the idea of creating life in a relationship environment is far too emotionally torturous for our Panda but creating life is still paramount.  When things had ended in disaster with our Little Lion, the first thing that the nurses said was to not let this stop her trying in the future.  That future is now.  Although we have a man in our midst, attempting to create life with him could be emotionally torturous for all involved.  It would be fundamental proof that I am the issue and not both of us, which could cause inadvertent blame or resentment neither of us would want.  Getting safe sperm is far trickier than it would seem.  We can’t afford private insemination, can’t risk dodgy one night stands with people we don’t know and would like to create the life ourselves.  She and I want to create the life ourselves, just utilising the additional elements that we can’t produce.

You would think for the amount that is cast away on a daily basis that finding some to create the life it is designed for would be easier than it is.  We have looked on the websites that match you with donors and one of them is someone I have spoken to in the past and trust, but how do you start that conversation?  How much history do you go into?  Is it feasable to not want them to have contact?  I would always happily discuss in the future that the seed came from a kind gentleman but we wanted to be a family ourselves.  Are we better to try it while we are abroad therefore cutting down the possibility of the donor wanting to be involved?  Whole areas of complication that people never have to think of on a daily basis but our lives always go in the way of the complicated

For now, the next stage of the journey is looming with no definitive direction to travel.

The great misuse of sexuality and gender

Recently on Big Brother there has been an housemate who labels herself as “Polyamorous”.  I have absolutely no issues with someone labelling themselves as Polyamorous, as long as they fully understand what they are labelling themselves as.  The fact that she refers to it as “polyamorousy” rather than polyamory shows just how ignorant she is on the topic.

There are so many fashionable terms for gender/sexuality/lifestyle that it is now a minefield to actually fit yourself into the correct box.  I, personally, see no need in boxing yourself into any kind of label so why is it so important to individuals these days to make sure that they do?  Society have always felt it necessary to categorise beings as they saw fit, purely as an act of permission in judging everyone around them, but now it has spread to individuals feeling the need to make sure that the box society have deemed appropriate to label them is actually fitting to who they feel they are.

I was always informed that the correct term for my sexuality was bisexual, as I am attracted to both males and females equally.  Recently a more rounded term for my ability to love and feel attraction would class me as pansexual as I am capable of loving or finding attraction in anyone, regardless of gender, orientation or ability to fit into one specific label.  I agree that I have historically found connections with males a lot quicker and easier than females but gender is overall irrelevant to me where love is concerned.  Also historically I have personally struggled with the fact that connections are made far too easily with people that turn to love.  Although this defines me as polyamorous, it makes me very uncomfortable to lable myself as such because of all of the people who use it as a level of acceptability to disrespect their partners for selfish end.  So many people who use the term don’t understand that there is no search for others, no unhappiness with the person you are with, no intent to create romantic connections and that they are just situations that you find yourself unable to stop once they begin.  I absolutely love my husband, I absolutely cherish my husband, the time that I spend with him is the most comfortable I have but with such a level of openness and honesty of my emotions/feelings that I have, it is something that is unfathomable to most how able I am to truly love others with the same level of intensity without it affecting the feelings I have for my husband.

There seems to be a current trend of everyone feeling the need to come out and proclaim themselves to the world as something different from what has been believed or portrayed before.  Why does everything need to be so public?  Why is it anyone’s business?  My father (my only remaining parent) has no idea about my sexuality and, just like he has no need to know about any other private parts of my life, I don’t see any reason why he would have to.  Fair enough if I had found myself with a female life partner who I wanted to marry that it would then be relevant to discuss my sexuality, other than that I don’t actually see it as relevant to anything.  I absolutely agree with gay pride and all that is connected to that, as do I absolutely expect equality for everyone, but have we not progressed to a time where people can just be people without the need to compartmentalise themselves into neat and convenient pigeonholes?

People have a need for acceptance, I understand that, but that in itself is just an extension of narcissism.  I rarely choose to express myself, outside of the safety of this blog, and tend to use social networking for sharing cute or funny things that remind me of the people in my life.  I find it fascinating just how much of a right people feel they have to share their negativity with everyone on their friends list.  It is so rare that you find a positive post that it is hugely indicative of the way society feels in general; that is sad in itself.  From the gossipy neighbour downstairs (who makes it her god given right to know the business of everyone around her, whether that knowledge is accurate or not), through the person who thinks it is there place on earth to “educate” the masses in their (usually bigoted) belief system, to the person who doesn’t realise just how poisonous their opinion is of someone based purely on a single image or video, it makes me sad how entitled all of these people feel they are.

Just because you don’t relate to the gender you have been born in, you don’t feel like you conform to who others expect you to be or feel like fate has dealt you a bum hand, it doesn’t mean that any of that actually matters.  You are you, I am me and they are them; nothing more, nothing less.  I can look at the prettiest dress in the shop and love the look of the dress but because of my fairly masculine frame would never quite look right in it.  There is nothing I can do to make myself look right in it, it’s not due to what society thinks of me or the judgement of anyone else, it’s just the fact that it will never quite be right.  This is not an injustice to my life, I will still express myself fully, I will always just choose to wear things that I think flatter my shape.  Everyone wants to look and feel their best; if you try too hard then that will draw attention to you for all of the wrong reasons.  I feel this is the biggest hindrance that faces all of these people who wish to change society’s image of themselves.  They just try too hard and feel the need to live up to a stereotype, rather than just being who they are.  If you don’t connect with the fashions of your gender and prefer the fashions of another then that is fine, just choose wisely.  Just because you like the look of something, doesn’t mean that thing is going to look the best on you.  If your close friends truly love you then they will always be honest with you, even if it’s likely to sting a little.

I make no excuses for who I am and neither should anyone else.  If you do, however, feel the need to make excuses for yourself then you need to question how positive you really are.

My Sandman

I don’t know why, but I’ve put off writing about this until now.  It’s not something that I am ashamed of in any way, or something that I feel the need to hide, but it’s something that I’ve found particularly difficult to put into words.  The more complex the feelings and emotions that you have for someone, the more complex it is to put into any kind of written word.

Our background is documented in a very detailed manner and all that was written in the past is still entirely accurate.  We have just had the added advantage of being able to spend time together since then.  I think a lot of the reason I struggle to put this into words is the fact that it makes it all look like some kind of elaborate “booty call” for both of us;  The reality couldn’t be further from the truth.

There was a long time that I wondered what it would be like to be in each others company and knew that the second I laid eyes on him then I’d know whether things were still real or not.  The idea of being in his company didn’t scare me at all but actually seeing him for the first time did.  We had been banding the idea of us meeting up around for weeks but had only really seriously contemplated something innocuous like a quick lunch or coffee.  It was only when it came into conversation that we could probably manage to sneak an hour or two together that any other kind of time spending options became a possibility.

The thing about having a history with someone (especially in an intimate and naked capacity!), means that any time you spend together, no matter how long the break of time is, would feel wrong or strained if that freedom was no longer there.  Add to that the fact that conversations had taken place confirming that the feelings and emotions that once were shared, were still very much alive, makes the only option left for spending time together again  one that would have to be in an entirely private environment.  Because of this, I think it became easier for him to leave any kind of venue arrangement down to me, so that he wouldn’t have to carry the burden of guilt any more than he would naturally have been likely to torture himself with.  This is something that I am grateful for as guilt is something that only ever plagues me under specific circumstances.  Oddly I would feel more guilty about him carrying the guilt of deciding on privacy than me going through the logical argument with myself until the only option left is a room where we would be uninterrupted for the short time that we had to spend together.

so, as I’m sure is easily concluded, I found a place to be alone and close to where we were both to be located.  I have no idea what people did before budget hotels existed!  Neither, for that matter, am I entirely sure just how many people do exactly what we did at their establishments!  I’m pretty sure, however, that the number is way higher than anyone would even want to think about.

To avoid the huge level of awkwardness from checking in, I did that alone to wait until I was able to pick him up.  I relaxed as much as possible, got comfortable with the environment and patiently waited for that text to arrive.  Of course, the second it did the adrenaline went mad and my spine went cold.  Not a completely panicked kind of chill or a feeling of foreboding but just the general surge of adrenaline that happens when you know something happening in your life is huge.  I parked up and, although there were a whole bunch of cars and a whole load of people, I still saw him immediately and his face changed instantly when I was sure he saw me.  He got in the car and it immediately felt like he had done that a million times before, even though I had never been the driver in his presence before.  just being in his company almost immediately put me at ease, which surprised me more than anything.

Arriving at the hotel was probably the only slightly awkward part because it was the only real time that we weren’t completely alone.  You don’t fully understand how much a ride in a lift can be a pit of tension until you’re in that mechanical box with someone you just want to grab and kiss But don’t have nearly long enough to do it.  That level of awkwardness remained for maybe the first 2 minutes until we’d got the kiss out of the way!  After that then it was just how things have always been meant to be.  The passion was there, the chemistry was as strong as ever, the physical connection was possibly stronger than I’d even remembered it to be and I just felt an overall feeling of relief and home by just lying fiddling with his chest.  Things that I had done both 4 and 14 years previously just seemed to be subconscious actions that were there after all of that time.

Time was short but worthwhile and dropping him off wasn’t even difficult.  The relief of everything being how my head and heart had told me it would be was enough to make me appreciate every second.  I knew it wasn’t the last time I would see him and it was that which kept the separation all the less difficult.  The funny thing is that, just like had happened 14 years previously, all I wanted to do was talk to him online.  As if talking to him online would help me make sense of what had just happened and to analyse it together just to make sure he felt as good as I did.  I kinda knew that he did but craved seeing the words for myself.  Utterly pathetic and entirely unnecessary but just what I craved at the time.

When we did eventually talk about it, things were the same for both of us.  Neither of us felt bad having to go, neither of us carried any guilt and neither of us would have changed how things had gone.  From then on it became obvious that us spending more time together in the future was both necessary and inevitable.  It’s still kind of weird that we both look older when it doesn’t really feel like that much time has passed but we both obviously look like grown ups now and I think that’ll always be slightly strange.  I do, however, like looking at him and seeing all of the little things that have changed about him over the years.  The only benefit to us having not been together through all of that time is getting the chance to do a comparison.  If we had been together the whole time then things would have just blended and been taken for granted rather than having significant memories to let me compare.  I like older him, I like the fact that I am as attracted (if not more!) to him than I was when we were younger and I like that things have never faded, fizzled or died between us.  If anything, time and our experiences have made things stronger than I’d thought possible.

There has been one other opportunity for us to spend time together since then and was an absolute treat of giving us a few hours together to just be us.  This time there was no awkwardness at all, no nerves, no discomfort, just a very comfortable version of us that had never truly had the chance to exist before.  Things were both entirely the same as they had always been and completely different than they had ever been.  For the first time in my life I found that I had to pull away from kissing him because I couldn’t breathe.  My heart had gone crazy and I just couldn’t take it. So incredibly cheesy sounding, and something I wouldn’t have believed possible if it hadn’t actually happened first hand!

Dropping him off this time was different than the last time because there was a sureness between us that had never truly existed before.  Having an instinct about someone is one thing, but truly knowing for sure just how loved you can be and knowing they can see just how loved they are is a very different feeling.  I know all of this mush is ok in the written form and, although there is an element of this openness in real life, it is good to be able to be as honest as I am here.  I still think, however, that there is a little part of him that would cringe inside if I spoke as openly to his face.  I don’t mind that, in fact, I quite like it like this.  We have honesty, to a degree that most people never really get to experience, but with the added bonus of not having to do it face to face.  A full-time version of us would still, at times, require written communication to keep us healthy.  If we’re annoyed we express it better here, if we’re upset we express it better here, if we’re needing something that’s difficult to bring up then we express it better here and I think it would always be that way.  Maybe that’s what the majority of people lack in their relationships.

Whatever happens, I know we both want “us” to be.  Getting there is still very much an unknown and shrouded by mystery but we both know it would take something hugely uncomfortable to get there.  Neither of us are brave, we never have been, because if we were then things would have been very different for us and our lives to date.  They say that everything happens for a reason and I like to think that everything in my life has geared me towards feeling grateful for the things I’ve taken the time to want.  My Sandman is the thing that I think I have subconsciously wanted for longer than I truly realised And, if that’s never changed in 14 years, it’s not likely to change in the future.  At the moment, like It has always been, this story is far from over…………….

When is happy, too happy?

I was asked, today, if anything ever makes me sad.  it wasn’t a philosophical question, more a kind of ‘are you always this upbeat?’ question.  Only after it had been asked did I realise just how many people have asked me that same question.  Even my answer seemed kind of twee, in retrospect, because the main thing I focused on that makes me sad is disney films.  I avoid things that make me sad but it’s mostly because I really don’t like feeling that way!  Do people ever actually enjoy feeling sad?

Strangely, I suddenly have the need to discuss where the question came from and why it bothered me as much as it obviously has!  Mr B has sprung back up, out of nowhere, and has been opening up about things that he’s never been near talking about before.  I told him, from the start of him talking to me this time round, that I had no intention of dealing with any kind of game or nonsense with him.  It seems that it has helped him actually be himself again and helped me remember why I was so affected by him last year.

I was originally  going to be going into detail of the interactions that I’ve had with Mr B but that would detract from the point I am trying to make from this entry.  There are a few things that I really need to blog out and they all deserve an entry of their own so I need to make sure I stay to topic.

Why are people always so sceptical when people aren’t filled with doom and gloom?  Why does that make us the weird ones?  Surely it’s less healthy to always live under a perpetual grey cloud.  It’s almost like people are continually looking for the catch or the ulterior motive and I don’t think I find that particularly fair.  Where I may be aware that the majority of people in the world do seem to be fascinated by the negative, why would that then make it automatically deemed healthy?  I expect people to hurt me but will remain open minded until they do.  I can deal with loss, I can deal with hurt and I can deal with negativity because I have the insight to look beyond the poison.  That is possibly seen as conceited and, very probably, narcissistic but if I don’t let in the opportunity for things to hurt me then I also shut out any possibility of the good stuff.

Maybe not having mood swings means that i’m abnormal.  My mood can change if my blood sugar crashes or I’m in severe pain, but other than that, I am pretty much on an even keel.  Who knows, I might just be lucky, or it might just be that I’m more aware of how my moods/actions affect others.  Either way, I’d like to think that it’s the positive people in the world who give sparks of hope to the negative.  According to mr. B my world is little bunny rabbits lolloping over fields, rainbow unicorns, lollipops and candy floss clouds.  Apparently there are moments where he has visions of me having homicidal tendencies but i quickly snap back into sickly sweet before it can take hold!  I’m not entirely sure his impression is accurate but I like that he thinks that my world is a happy place to be.  I just worry in case sickly sweet is tiring.  It just goes to show that hiding the dark parts of my mind has got to the point that they only ever pop out when my guard is down too far And to the point that I don’t even know what they are any more.  I know I have dark times, I know I have sad times and I know I have angry times but the fact that they pass quite quickly is a relief to me.  Almost like waiting for the habit to break and the band aid to be ready to be ripped off.

Either way, I think I’d much rather be seen as annoyingly happy than a martyr or attention seeking drama queen.  If that means that people have a false impression of me then at least the impression makes me look like a good person.

Abusing the abused

It has been a LONG time since I have the time, space and mental energy to be able to write.  It’s the thing that I have to keep myself on a level and the first thing to indicate if my head is not in a very good place.  Once it’s established that one of these options are the reason, it’s then a case of eliminating possibilities until I reach the crux of the situation.  Currently, as it turns out, I am in the situation of having a husband who is showing the signs of my previous abuser, but with added voracity.

I have documented my history with my first husband, quite openly, so that I could get to the bottom of all of my issues and baggage regarding him.  The beauty of being philosophical and self-analytical as a person is that it makes things less likely to bite you in the bum all over again.  When I finally got out of my first marriage, I swore blind that I would never get married again and my current situation just seems to feel like a reminder of why I had come to that conclusion in the first place!  Now, I don’t think it’s a healthy frame of mind to swear blind that you’d never get married again (or married at all for the super cynical out there) but I think it was an easy way of explaining trust to myself.  When you marry someone you expect them to put you first, before anything else, including themselves until children arrive.  It’s the thing I automatically do for the people I love and the only way that I would ever stand a chance of getting any kind of positivity for myself is if someone else felt driven to do that for me.  Given, that may well sound like I have high expectations of my partner but that really couldn’t be further from the truth.  All I need is to be considered.

Not long after we got married, my husband had a little bit of a pseudo-breakdown.  We have had a lot of troubles in our years together (external to us) but he seems to be very emotionally immature.  My pet hate is people who will read that, roll their eyes and think “typical male”.  There is no such thing as a “typical” anything.  There are stereotypical examples, but that is very different from reality.  People are just people and have varying levels of emotional, mental and social intelligence.  My husband just happens to not be very emotionally intelligent, therefore has no ability to look into himself to see that anything is failing or lacking.  During this initial low period it became second nature for me to try and pull out of him what was internally causing all of his anger and clinginess towards me.  He would start arguments over the tiniest thing and swear blind that I was to blame for all of the problems.  If I hadn’t had my friends around to witness the reality, i may well have believed it.  At the time, I found a really fantastically written piece on spotting the signs of an abusive situation.  I chose to have a discussion with him about it before leaving him to read this piece on his own.  He responded amazingly well to it and started to realise all of the things that he was guilty of doing.  Obviously, no one party could ever be completely innocent of blame but not part of mine was anything other than reactionary when I wasn’t guarded.  We worked hard to talk about everything and got to the bottom of as much as we could, before finding logical ways of solving as much of the problem as we could.  As a separate force we were nothing, but joined together covered all of the bases to sort it easily.

For the last few years things have been absolutely fine.  We had our highs and lows, like any other couple, and without him I would have been lost when I was incapacitated.  I also suppose the fact that things have been so good for the last while makes this time’s nosedive all the more severe.  He was always an angry boy inside, and has always had issues expressing himself effectively, but this time the anger has come to the surface in a lot more of a physical way.  He hasn’t actually hit me at the moment but it very much seems to be a realistic possibility, based on his recent actions.  There have been times where he has raised his hand to threaten the hit, he has swiped at me ‘in his sleep’ (i’m not entirely sure how much sleep was actually involved at the time) and has thrown heavy items close enough to me to get his aggression across.   At one point there was even the question “do you know how many things you do that make me want to hit you?”, which is about as obvious a domestic violence alarm bell that could exist!   There is a protocol in place, should he choose to snap and actually lash out at me, and he is aware of what that is in order to make him realise that his actions have direct consequences.

Best friend 3 has been witness to his aggression, on a few occasions, and has seen how quickly he turns and how it can be entirely unprovoked.   Her opinion is that she would be surprised if we lasted the year, and she genuinely does like him.  Things with her are a lot of the reason that things have been brought to the surface with him, as his insecurity is particularly piqued right now.  He expects every second that he is not working that I be with him.  It is also no longer enough to be sharing the same environment but if I am not fully interacting with him at all times then he accuses me of “zoning him out”.  It is incredibly tiring trying to be everything that someone ‘needs’ you to be and it has the effect on me of having to distance myself to regain energy.  There are a few friends that I have been awful with and not made contact with in a while, but that is less than no reflection on them or the way that I feel about them.  My emotional energy is at an all time low and it just makes me need out.

One thing it’s made me wonder though, is how people can survive an abusive relationship, get out of said relationship, fall into another relationship, have that become abusive and not notice that it has happened again.  I can see that there would always be an element of denial involved, but surely you would notice if your head goes back to a place that was dark?  Because of my first husband, I will never stick around to be abused again.  I have worked on the situation, put full effort into trying to mend any cracks and been patient in a manner that has even surprised me!  There has even been a conversation that has taken place asking him if he realises that I have tried to make this work.  According to him he does, but words are cheap.

The most interesting thing is that people at his work have started to have little chats with him, stating that he is not his usual self.  He has started a new job, with a higher level of responsibility, and it has definitely been affecting him but the people there have had to explain to him that if he doesn’t switch off when he leaves then there will be a divorce in his near future.  I don’t know any of these people, have never met them, but even they can see how his general demeanour could be affecting his home life.  I am hugely grateful to them but, in a lot of ways, it kind of feels like the damage has already been done.  Once someone has raised their hand, as if they are going to hit you in anger, you just find yourself waiting for that time where the restraint is no longer there and they knock ten bells out of you.  He would just need to hit me once for him to no longer be my partner.  I never cower, I never look intimidated, I never give him the satisfaction of him feeling like he has scared me in any way.  It’s his choice, his life, his actions.  I don’t need to be in this relationship, I don’t NEED  to be in any relationship, I am only ever with someone through choice.  In the same respect, I would never want someone to be with me for any other reason than choice.

I have helped best friend 3 a lot recently because I’ve had the time and ability but she wants to take me away to say thank you.  She needs a break, I need a break and she needs to feel like she’s done something to “pay back” what I have been fortunate enough to be able to give her.  To me, time is nothing, it’s just that.  I should be able to feel like I can go away with her for a few days and my husband be fine with dealing with himself for a couple of days but he makes that an impossibility.  His level of emotional control has started to concern me.  I feel like I am answerable to him and, where that should be the case to a certain degree of consideration, it just doesn’t feel healthy any more.  Everything I do or say has seemed to hurt him in some way or other, yet he’s not willing for me to be out of his sight.  I just don’t get it!  He is obviously not in a good place but I’m not his psychiatric nurse, I’m his wife.

I am aware that in a lot of ways I can sound uncaring, that I have distanced myself from him (and in a lot of ways I have had to) but getting to this place in my head is daily battle.  I am not willing to be dragged under again, by anybody, and need to think of what I need for my life and my future.  No rash decisions need to be made, nothing needs to happen right now but there may well be a time that comes where those things do need to happen.  In the mean time, I just need to find a way to get more time for me without him feeling like he is nothing to me.

The time has come

Writing, normally is the thing that I use to cleanse my soul but for the last chunk of time I have found it impossible to actually put any of my thoughts into words.  I’m not sure if it was the case that I needed to switch the world off to just keep going, the whole thing was just too upsetting to think about or if I trusted my subconscious to deal with it and didn’t want to mess with the flow by bringing it into my consciousness.  Maybe it was a bit of all of those things, if I’m honest with myself.

I have been guilty of switching the world off during almost every difficult time of my life and this time seems to have been no different.  I knew this was looming and leaving my amazing job has eventually caught up with me.  The thing that has surprised me the most is the fact that I’ve not actually missed being there!  Given, there are people that I have missed from there and the feelings that I got from being able to make a living from being maternal but the job that I loved so much hasn’t actually plagued me to have left.  I hope it’s because I gave myself so much opportunity to grieve during the separation process and that it’s not going to, all of a sudden, catch up with me and I end up with a low spell.

The funny thing I’ve found is that I’ve no idea how I actually used to find time to work at all!  I have so much to do in the house that chipping away at it all has seemed like a full time job.  Add to the fact that I have wonderful friends who have wanted to use the opportunity to spend time with me while they can that there still feels like there’s not enough hours in the day.  The downside to that is having time available, wanting to see people and their lives stop me being able to do that.  I still watch a lot of youtube stuff with people’s florida holiday videos thrown in which seems to be keeping me motivated to get things done.  The more I get finished in the house, the better chance I have of feeling ready to find work and earn money for a holiday of our own.  Thankfully, due to the timing, I have the opportunity to be able to live off only one wage coming in.  It’s hand to mouth, but I’ve lived that way for pretty much my entire adult life anyway.  If this had happened 3 months ago, I would have been absolutely royally screwed but debts have paid off at exactly the right time for the struggle to just feel the same.  The beauty is that, even though things are tight, I don’t need to feel permanently stressed about everything else going on in my life.

Oddly, as the timing usually goes with me, people have been crawling out of the woodwork to say hi but I’m finding it refreshing that my life is pretty much the same without it turning into any kind of pit of turmoil.  I know where I want my life to go and there seems to be nothing that comes along which would be able to change that.

Maybe once I get this post out of the way I’ll be able to work through the other stuff in my mind and prattle on about the random nonsense that I normally do.  I flip somewhere between dealing with the present and thinking about the future.  There is more than enough to talk about regarding my future but, for now,  I am just happy that the present seems a lot less complicated than I expected it to be right now.  Taking each day as it comes and appreciating what I have got is the most important thing for me and it’s been a delight to have the chance to do.

Assumptions made by damaged minds

A couple of weeks ago I commented on a blog post from someone that I follow who was discussing the misinterpretation of people’s perceptions of the Robin Thicke track, blurred lines.  My positive comment regarding my agreement with the blogger’s opinion was based on my own perception of the video and song alone, without the need for the in-depth analysis of the lyrics.  I read the body language, I took note of the expressions, I could see beyond the obviously sensationalised film direction to the teasing working both ways but with the women having the ultimate power over the situation.  This was met with a vitriolic reply accusing me of being brainwashed and ignorant by seeing any form of empowerment using your sexuality.  I may be many things in this world but ignorant or brainwashed certainly aren’t things I am afflicted with.  There is the argument that any body language represented is based on the fact that the girls in the video are models/actors so will portray whatever they are paid to but, as the argument is based on the content of both the video and song, even if they are faked expressions then they were what was intended in the first place.  Also, the argument exists that the girls have to be scantily clad while the men remain fully clothed, therefore expressing a position of power.  This, again, is where the subtlety of the girls’ reactions then take effect.

To try and say that thinking you can gain empowerment  by using your sexuality is brainwashing is just ridiculous.  I have experienced vulnerability by the use of sexuality from both sides and with that also the power.  It’s not specific to fetish play, it’s just more obvious when it’s expressed that way, but the subtlety of empowerment is everywhere we look.  Obviously, this is only my personal experience and, from being in a situation where that has been open to abuse, I can see past any kind of baggage connected to the psychology involved.  Some people just don’t seem to have the fortunate experience of being able to see past the thick brick wall of their past.

Where I am aware that every opinion you express is open to criticism or argument, there are ways and means of conveying a difference of opinion without it having to be scathing.  For me, the only thing that left me feeling was pity for the person who has so much poison and negativity in their world that they feel the need to act superior to somebody else.  I have been brought up with parents whose major teaching was to always think for myself.  I automatically shy away from propaganda and have never bowed down to social pressures.  I’m fat and happy (so not bitter about the girls confidence in showing off their bodies), have a solid sense of self worth, don’t smoke, don’t drink, don’t take drugs (unless prescribed for valid reasons), don’t follow any kind of religion (other than my own solid moral code), choose to work for less money than I could to continue learning life lessons, only surround myself with friends who are brutally honest towards me, question my opinions to see things from other perspectives and always try to understand people who live their lives in different ways from me.  Surely that, in itself, shows that I’m not exactly the kind of person who would bow down to peer pressure.

Brainwashing is one of those things that happens everywhere in our society and is, by design, something that nobody notices.  All you can do to try and spot if it has happened is to question any opinions you may have, speak to as many people as possible to see if their view varies from yours and actually put thought into any beliefs you may have.  If there is no logical path or any kind of moral code connected to it then the chances are that decision was influenced externally.  I have found lots of those throughout my life and mostly just turned away from anything that isn’t something i have learned through actual life experience.  The most flexible beliefs that I have are the ones that I haven’t explored consciously for myself.  How I think, or who I am is certainly not one of those so something that I will always disagree fervently with if an assumption is made on me based on someone else’s negative view point.

Swimming against the tide is controversial but is proof, in itself, that you’re not one of society’s sheep.  I am happy for people to disagree with me, I am happy for people to debate with me and I am happy to deal with any justification required to get my point across.  What I am not prepared to deal with is people who will ram their opinion down your throat, see no other argument other than their own and turn to personal insult to try and get theirs heard.  It is not necessary, and something that is designed to cause someone’s day to be a little bit worse than it was before.  There is never a need for that.

An exercise in gratitude

More often than not it is far too easy to become bogged down with the negativity, that sometimes we need to remind ourselves of all of the reasons we have to feel grateful.  The united states have an entire holiday for that purpose (given, that is an overly simplistic meaning of the holiday in itself) but, where one day is better than nothing, is one day a year really enough to take a moment to review the world around you to look for the positives?  Maybe the world would be a slightly brighter place if people performed this act more often.

By far, the most gratitude I have is for the love that I have in my life.  The people who make me smile and make me feel special are the most precious things to me in the world.  I am aware that I am more fortunate than most with the quality of friends that I have, but I’m pretty sure that this is all to do with getting back the quality of friendship that you give.  I try to give everyone 100% of me for the entire time that I’m with them and aim to have as little distraction as possible when spending time with them.  As far as I’m aware, this is the reason that my friends are happy to know that I am there for them entirely whenever they need me (or vice versa) but don’t feel the need to have the constant upkeep normally connected with friendship.  The one exception I have to this is Best Friend 3, as we seem to have a strange need to top up our batteries more frequently than most.  I see her every day at work and we struggle to get through an entire weekend so are slightly concerned how every day life will be once I no longer work here!  The only equivalent I have to the level of time we need to spend together would be the equivalent of a relationship.  Every part of us is similar to a relationship, with the exception of the sexual side.  All of these different friendships create the same level of gratitude in my world and it’s all of them together that create the enrichment that I experience.

My family, although probably dysfunctional by many people’s standards, will always be an area to feel grateful for.  I may not get along with my sister for any amount of time but if the shit hits the fan we’re there for each other.  I try my best to avoid her as much as possible based on the fact that she is a big shell of negativity, which drains me to the very core of my being, but at least I have a sister that I can rely on if a family emergency occurs.   My Dad is someone that I put before myself continually, to the detriment of my sanity on many different levels, but is something I wouldn’t change for the world.  I learned to read subtle signs of love and affection from him, as he has always had problems expressing any kind of emotion, and that’s something that’s become invaluable to me.  I am entirely sure that he loves me, truly loves me, and is proud of who I have grown up to be.  That’s full-on acceptance there and something that should never be taken lightly!

The time I have had in a job that I have loved with every part of me.  Even at a time where the ties are severed and I’m just going through the motions until I am finally out of there, I am still able to look back and realise all of the good that it has brought me.  It has given me some invaluable life experience about how children should be treated and raised, sent some phenomenal people my way, shown me that work can feel like family and to earn money in a place that makes you sparkle is something that most people never have the gift of experiencing.  I may never find anything even slightly like it again but I will always be grateful for the time that I had everything anyone should have in a fulfilling job.

Discovering my happy place will always be something that I will be grateful for.  Florida, for me, is the epitome of my perfect world.  There are always things to do, can wear shorts all of the time, magnificent thunderstorms, a place where I can walk around and not feel even slightly odd, an environment of complete anonymity while still having friendly faces all around you.  Really, there are a million and one things that I would be able to list about my love attached to the place but that would just become dull reading!  The main thing that I adore is that it’s the only place you can go, scream for hours, days, weeks, and nobody thinks you’re insane!  Florida has given me a dream, one that I shall strive to achieve and something that would truly make me feel like I have accomplished something for my life.

The person I have grown up to be is actually something that I would feel a reason to be grateful for.  So many people of my generation are materialistic, bitter, negative and selfish.  Thankfully, for some unknown reason, I have managed to avoid most of those character traits.  I only ever surround myself with people who express positivity and avoid conflict if at all possible.  People that I can ask if I’m being an idiot and would give me an honest reply.  They are the people who have helped me become the person that I am today.  Giving myself the time and reflection to truly question who i am is merely a bi-product of their awesomeness.

Having had a Mother who adored me from the second I was born, is something that I was gifted.  For a multitude of reasons people can grow up with rejection but thankfully it was something that I never had to experience at home.  I was given the freedom to be me, with very little pressure put on who i was to grow up to become.  I was never going to be an academic, I was never going to be the greatest money earner but she knew from the start that I was going to be there for the people who would need me to be and that is who I have grown up to be.  My mother is the person who knew that from the start and cherished who I was without question.  I miss her, but it is someone I will be eternally grateful to have had as my own.

I am grateful that I stumbled upon the ability to express my feelings using the written word.  Before I had this outlet, the thoughts and feelings that I had built up within me had no way of being let out which only ever led to frustration and an inability to understand why.  I don’t write to entertain, I think that’s pretty obvious, but it’s always nice when people connect to the things that I say and like to read my ramblings.  So, for people who read my brain dumps, I am grateful to you.

Most of all, I am grateful that I can appreciate the little things.  I am always aware of the things I wish I was able to have or experience but will always be able to take a step back and realise all of the good things I have in my world.  If you have people who truly love you for who you are or people whose lives you have made an obvious difference to by being in it, then you will always have reasons to be grateful.  You may have nothing to show for your life materialistically, but at least you will always have people who could say nice things if they were ever asked to speak for you.

Treading water

Life, at the moment, is just a gigantor pool of water that threatens to create a wave which could drown me in one swift motion.  I have proven to be a strong swimmer, have a decent level of patience, have enough stamina to just keep going and enough sense to keep my head up.  This is all very delicate and any one of those things could be destroyed in a second.  There have been a multitude of ripples and motion in that water (without any of it being in the fun way!), but all it would take is a wave strong enough to drag me down completely.  I am not in any kind of delusion that my worries are any greater than the multitude of people out there dealing with their own trials and tribulations, but in my world it’s enough to make me question just how much more I can cope with.  Annoyingly, money would solve pretty much all of my stresses but coming into a chunk of that is just something that’s almost never going to occur.

People can be cruel and heartless beings and almost always target the ones who only wish to emit positivity or have a sound  moral base.  Being an empath can be horrifically draining and leaves you in a situation where you will always put yourself last, just in case someone else deserves what you can give them before you.  It often makes me wonder whether poisonous people actually realise just how negative they are?  I try my hardest not to negatively impact on anyone’s life and purely ask for respect where it’s deserved.  I never expect respect to come from nowhere, or to expect it to be given when there is none sent in the first place, but to openly try to degrade someone’s life is just an alien idea to me.  The idea, in itself, is prevalent in society and nobody bats an eyelid.  When did everyone become so selfish?

My hope is that, by the end of the year, my life will have settled into a slightly more predictable place and the chance to plan will be reinstated.  For someone who desperately needs stability, the inability to plan is the greatest torture imaginable.  Fight or flight is purely instinctive and for logic to eternally remain prevalent in my mind creates an internal battle like no other.    I know there is no fight left in me, and remaining the bigger person is at risk by continuing to fight back from constant attack which only leaves flight.  The idea of dropping everything and running away to my happy place is exactly what I need right now but the ability to do that just isn’t there.

One thing I’ve come to realise is that the strength to just carry on comes from somewhere unknown.  Motivation can be non existent, the knowledge that you would be happier giving into your instincts will always be there, people will always continue to kick you when you’re down and yet something subconscious will always spring into action to help you to just get on with it.  I am grateful for this subconscious little gem because life would be unmanageable without it.

I am hoping that the next 8 weeks go quickly because I am ready to move on from this place.  Realistically I have been ready to move on from this place for the last few months, but it’s now at the stage where just being here is torture in itself.  If I had the money, I would jack it all in tomorrow and stuff the contractual nonsense but that just doesn’t seem possible for me right now.

Where this all may seem completely negative, it’s just a tool for me to explore where my mind is sitting at the moment.  I am sure there isn’t as much negativity in my conscious everyday life compared to the subconscious one but the only way I seem to be able to tap into my subconscious life is to just start writing and see where it takes me.

There is a major positive in my world at the moment and he reminds me often how much I have to be grateful for.  The fact that we have not been in each other’s lives, in the full capacity that we probably should have been, doesn’t even seem to impact on my gratitude for me having been led to him in the past.  Even with all of that there is an element of treading water for both of us connected to it.  We know that the future will be very different from the lives that we lead at the moment but neither of us have the slightest clue how we are going to get there.  It’s a goal and something to look forward to, but could only exist when all of the correct alignments fall into place.  It will always be frustrating but a true comfort to know that the future is out there.  Until that point, I’ll enjoy the butterflies, enjoy the snatched time when it happens, the flirting, the frustration and the warm feelings.

I’m very lucky that I can always find things to be grateful for and have never once taken for granted the people who enrich my life; I seem to be surrounded by them.  I just wish that focusing on the good things was so much easier than the ease that seems to be connected to the negative things that plague you.  At least if i’m treading water then I’ve not drowned yet.