Remove the expectation

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I haven’t written anything since my birthday, at the end of March. I couldn’t and I am still struggling. It’s not lack of ideas or stories. It’s simply that I am incapable of sitting still with my thoughts, and putting them down makes them somehow more real. I am not scared of real, but right now I can almost feel myself changing from week to week, from day to day, sometimes from the morning to the afternoon and it is all real but it’s ever-changing. This is probably what people describe as an emotional journey. I wouldn’t know because even though I have gone through change before I don’t remember being aware of me changing with the external situation.

I don’t run away or hide from my thoughts, on the contrary, I think all the time but find it easier to keep some sort of perspective by being on the move, therefore I am always doing something (not that I lack of stuff to do between the girls, the house, the activities, the school run and all the other errands). And I am always listening to music, teenager style: I fall in and out of love with songs on a daily basis and am capable of putting the same song(s) on repeat for a number of hours without realising how many times it plays. It’s a coping mechanism, not a permanent state: I crave immobility and silence but don’t know how to deal with them right now.

I am not the same person I was in March, when I wrote my last post and I am not the same person I was at the beginning of the year, last October, last August or a year ago. I will also add I wouldn’t go back to any of those versions of me. Ever.

A year ago I was drowning and I didn’t even realise it. In August-September I figured out I was deep down underwater. In October I managed to surface for air. Gasped until the end of the year and in January I was just above the water level. It was horrible but it was better than a whole year before and that’s what made my self preservation kick in: I was determined to survive and I knew I was a strong enough swimmer to be able to, I just had no idea how to.

I still have no idea on what comes next but in the last 4 or 5 months I’ve learned that a lot of what we think matters to be able to move forwards doesn’t. Not really. They are excuses we make for ourselves.

I thought I needed an explanation from Tom. I thought I needed an apology, from him and (possibly) from vitto. I thought vitto’s husband should’ve done something, anything to solve things at his end. I thought Tom and I needed to keep on talking things through. I thought the world needed to know how I felt, why I filed for divorce and at the same time tried to find a different way forwards. I wanted people to understand, I wanted Tom to understand his actions and the consequences. I talked to him a lot. I wrote endless texts, messages, letters. And guess what? NOTHING of what I thought I needed came back.

What I did get was more shit:

  • I got a list of the type of men I should be with and that would be able to satisfy my unreasonable need for a connection with the partner I chose to be with
  • being married I didn’t have a right to be my own persona unless this could fit in 100% with my husband’s needs (I did not have the right to chose where to live or the kind of job that suited me, I should have a “normal” job that allows his company to relocate me as and when needed)
  • I didn’t have the right to want a third child
  • I don’t have the right to have dreams because I come across as someone who always sees the glass half empty
  • I am unfit for today’s world because deep down I crave stability for my daughters and for me
  • I am to blame for tearing apart our family, for destroying him financially, for not teaching the girls Italian properly AND for his betrayal.
  • I am a horrible person because I contacted a stranger to dig up dirt on him (the stranger being his mistress’ husband), because I spoke to my friends about what was really going on, because I was ruining his reputation and image, because I decided to take out my anger on vitto when the blame is mine and mine alone.

Around mid March my heart froze all of a sudden. I remember the exact moment this happened: it was a Saturday afternoon and I was driving to the pet hospital with Evie to pick up our cat GinGin who had been very ill for the past 10 days and was well enough to come home. The other two were at home with Tom. We were chatting, stuck in traffic because of the Arsenal fans heading home after the match when I received an iMessage from my friend asking me how things were going and if I was still willing to have Tom back. My friend asked me this question at regular intervals and I always had a reason to say “yes”, “maybe”, “if” … That time I simply said “no”. I couldn’t find a single reason to say “yes”. Even the girls had become a lame excuse because I realised I would not be able to give them what children need within a “normal family”: happiness and security. I wouldn’t even be able to fake it until “one day when…”.

One single text and my whole emotional world changed. Completely and all of a sudden. I removed every single expectation on how things should be according to me and what I believed what was right.

We picked up GinGin and went home. On the drive back I set myself two goals:

  • stop asking Tom for answers, which meant stop all discussions, conversations, fights, provocations and reactions to provocations
  • make him accept his responsibilities as a dad, because the girls need one even if he doesn’t happen to be with their mother as a couple

And I acted on both:

  • almost two months later and we haven’t had a single fight: I limit conversations to what requires an answer from him (regarding the girls, the house or other logistic matters), and we are now at the point where he has tried various times to initiate some sort of discussion on our diverging points of view and I have stonewalled him by replying that I am not in the mood for it because it’s too soon.
  • whenever I can I just leave him to it with the girls: it’s still not enough and he is still a long way away from me trusting him blindly with the girls, mainly because he doesn’t understand that us going separate ways also means that when he is with them HE is the one responsible for all of their needs: it’s too convenient to rely on me just because I am around.

As a consequence I have had some time off (not a lot), I have started doing little things I used to love, and most importantly I have started to rediscover myself, what I like, what I need, what I am like when I am just being “me”.

The mistake I take responsibility for is putting myself in a corner and letting everyone else’s needs come first. I hid behind the girls. I hid behind the reality of the continuous moves demanded by Tom’s job. I hid from myself and from everything I didn’t want to see. I hid because it was easier than admitting that a lot of things were wrong. And I struggle big time to acknowledge that it is not my fault. We were together for a very long time. We were a match once. Then we grew up. And we started seeing life differently. I tried to want what Tom wanted. It wasn’t me but I thought it would be ok, until I got to the point when I couldn’t feel guilty for wanting to be me any more, just like I finally realised it wasn’t fair for him to be someone he is not. I tried to have a conversation about it. He chose to look for instant gratification elsewhere. At the beginning of our relationship he made me promise that the day things weren’t working any more we would sort it out decently. My thought at the time? Yeah, right …

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