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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Birthday Applause

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On the morning of my birthday I woke up to this post. And it was the beginning of a great day. The best birthday I’ve had in a long time. As stupid as it may sound I still think birthdays are special, and have always tried to make the people around me feel a little special on “their”day.
There’s been nothing special about most of my birthdays since we moved to London and the last couple were really depressing for a variety of reasons, so this year, after all the grief of what’s been happening, I made sure I filled a whole week up with little things that make “me” happy… with my girls and with my girlfriends/mummy friends. It was all about people I wanted to be with, as opposed to people I “had” to be with. Yes, I did do the “family” restaurant dinner with Tom (who happened to be here for 24 hours in the role of super-dad attending the Parent-Teacher meetings for the first time ever since Evie started nursery 5 years ago!) and it was … uneventful: the place we went to was nice, I loved the food, the girls always like being out “in the dark”, Tom and I didn’t speak much after he filled me in on his work and I was fine with that… I had nothing to say, so said nothing, we all had a peaceful time and for the first time in ages I didn’t want it to be any different. I was ok.

One person in particular I couldn’t celebrate with, as we are in different Countries almost exclusively chat via our iPhones. We will have our birthday drinks at some point, but I felt I couldn’t not let her know that if I was doing ok, compared to even just a year ago, a lot of it had to do with her, and all the time she spent texting me, listening to my rants and giving me a part of her, her experiences, her thoughts, her feelings. Consistently. Her best quality as a friend TO ME? She has one of the quickest minds I have ever come across: she can judge a situation, say what she thinks, and eventually approve a completely different thought/course of action simply because she realises that we are all different and what works for her might not work for me. I don’t know any other woman who can do that. And feel blessed to have her in my life.

Don’t Wanna Be Your Girl No More

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I survived the first month of 2014. Truth to be told it’s been overall a good month. I kind of know how to “fix” me when things are wrong. Little things, which make a huge difference, based on a self imposed change of attitude. I started running. I made sure I got back into the gym (not necessarily for the exercise, more for the sense of belonging, for seeing people I know, for having the girls taken care of in the crèche), Tilly started ballet and Evie started Street Dance (again a double catch, the local dance school waiting room is the place to be for all the local gossip), I said yes to every single coffee invite from all the mums I really like but never make time for because I’d rather make sure Tilly and Mia steam off at the park, I went on a couple of girly nights out. Normal stuff normal people do. Except that I’d put it all off because I was feeling miserable, because I was “holding on to my life”, because I wasn’t up for any of it for a long time.

I have also forced certain thoughts out of my mind. By forced I really mean “forced”. vitto haunts me. There is nothing I can do about it, but I’ve learned how to kick her out of my mind. When I can’t I just let myself be really really angry. And go for a run. Or rant with a friend. But I don’t let her be alone with me in my thoughts. If Tom is around and the conversation leads to her I will happily insult her, and let him know how disappointed I am that he brought her in my life (and that so far he has done nothing to get her out of my life either, which is even worse). But that’s about it. I decided I don’t have time for her. And I made sure I don’t have the energy for her, because by the time the girls are in bed I am exhausted. I still manage to spend a couple of hours reading, browsing, sorting out photos, texting or chatting to friends but I don’t wake up in the middle of the night unable to go back to sleep because of all the horrible thoughts I used to get. I sleep well. Really really well. I wake up in a good mood. I wear a little make up every single day. And people around me have noticed something is different. Which makes me want to keep on doing what I am doing.

Tom was here for two week ends in a row. And as much as I try to be in control and walk the “it’s all fine and I don’t care that you are sending us to the point of no return” talk I do have a hard time knowing that there is no point in initiating any sort of insightful conversation. Interestingly enough his reaction to this is repressed anger, which always lashes out at some point, in a ridiculous sort of way (YOU didn’t teach the girls Italian properly, YOU don’t let them be themselves, YOU wanted the cat, YOU YOU YOU….). All I’ve ever replied to that apart from stating the facts is that his only huge mistake was to withdraw. To make it look like certain things were ok for him and never say they weren’t. You can’t be lazy and speak Italian to your eldest child for 7 years and then decide her Italian is bad and it’s all my fault. And you can’t promise a 5 year old she can have a cat for Xmas and two years later say you didn’t really want such cat (and no, I never pushed for the cat. And yes I did find her, buy her and go pick her up after he made that promise to Evie).

On Monday afternoon I was finally alone for a couple of hours: Evie at school, Tilly at nursery, Mia asleep, Tom still in London visiting his lawyer. I sit at the computer and listen to a song a good friend sent me via Spotify.

I broke down. I just sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. Because that’s exactly it. I don’t want to be in this kind of relationship any more. Even if I still want my marriage to survive. It makes no sense, I know. But that was exactly it. I had a good month on my own. I had a couple of bad week ends with Tom around. And I realised that enough is enough.

I wiped my face, woke baby Mia up with a hug and we headed out in the rain to pick up the other two, looking horrible, feeling worse and knowing that people noticed the mascara. This song in my heart.

I don’t wanna be your girl no more
No more
I just wanna see your face at home
Home

You can’t do me right
So I decide that

I don’t wanna be your girl no more
No more
I just wanna see you up and out
Out of the door

I’m not living right
So I decide that

I don’t wanna be your girl no more
No more

I won’t hide the ways I’ve tried
It’s just not right
It’s killing me tonight

So…

Mixed Up

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I feel calmer. Gone are the non stop shaking and the freezing sensation which never abandoned me for a couple of weeks at least after the bomb dropped, at the end of October.

I have only just realised I haven’t been able to write about what happened in the last four weeks. Only in the last couple of days I have started feeling like I must try to get out of my own head. I am still not able to process the truth for what it is. I am not letting myself think clearly because I am so confused I have no idea what I should even be thinking. I know I am still in shock and I am now grateful for this reaction because I am scared of the pain that will come next. I know it’s there waiting for me to be ready to deal with it. And I am scared of losing myself in it. And making wrong decisions.

Right now I KNOW Tom and I can never be the same together again. If we both wanted it maybe we could climb out of this hole. Maybe. And maybe we would be stronger than ever together. Right now I know I can’t be with him because of what he’s become, because of the way he’s been treating me, because he has shown no remorse, no regret, nothing that shows that he even understands why having a double life for a year was wrong. He does’t see that his behaviour is tearing our family apart. Yes, we had problems we needed to deal with, but nothing as big as this. Nothing that could justify his cheating and lying.

Not that I would advocate staying together for the sake of the girls, but I find it surreal that he doesn’t even take into consideration the fact that we TRYING to see if there is anything we can salvage. We are both hurt. And by being in another relationship he sabotaged any chance we had of even trying to sort “us” out. We both have a lot to lose. That should be enough for us to want to try. And if we don’t get through it as a couple maybe we will have a better ground for being parents to our girls together. But, yet again, it is all wrong: I shouldn’t be pleading the man that cheated on me to give us a chance. He is lucky to even get this chance. And has no clue.

At the same time I want Tom back. I want us back. I want my girls to have a father. I want Tom to want me back. And I also know that, given the circumstances, all want, or think I want is probably very wrong for me. Because the foundations aren’t there any more..

I’ve gone from frustrated, to angry, to the depths of desperation, to sadness, to numbness, to accepting there is nothing I can change or do to change things, only to start with the same cycle over  again. And again. And again.

I’ve had endless talks with a few good friends. I’ve had useless discussions with Tom. I’ve heard so many lies I don’t even know why I feel the need to try and bring us to a level where we can try and communicate.

My mood is still wild and my head can’t stop thinking. I feel like I’ve been hit so hard I have no idea how it even happened.

I am a mixed up lady to say it with Tilly’s words: that’s what she called me after I fed her Mia’s baby food by mistake (I was spoon feeding them both at the same time). She has no idea how close to the truth she is. I am the queen of the mixed up ladies!

Evie 2 Mummy | 22 November 2013

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Evie writes me letters and notes. She started after the summer, normally when I am cleaning up the kitchen after the girls dinner while they play a little before we all head upstairs to brush tiny teeth, read books and go to bed. I’ve been crying a lot since we got back from Sabaudia, and I haven’t always been able to hide it. Evie’s words are her way of cheering me up, letting me know she knows something is not the way it should be.

Tom doesn’t want to say anything to her. He doesn’t want me to say anything to her either. His  view is not to let the girls know that we are breaking up at ll. He wants to keep up the appearances with them, taking advantage of the fact that he only comes home every two weeks or so anyway.  I am not sure how long he wants to keep this act going for, nor do I understand what sense it makes in the long run. He has told shouted at me more than once that I am “ruining” my child, because she should be kept away from our problems. I let him read one of her letters, hoping that maybe he would start to understand why I am still trying to see if there is a way we can work on our marriage, even though I was the one to file for divorce once I found out about his double life and lost it because he kept lying to my face. Another mistake. Now I am to blame for letting my children know that our family is going through a difficult phase.

I agree that she and her sisters need to be shielded. I also refuse to lie to my children. As much as I try I can’t keep it all inside, all the time. I am hardly ever alone, without them. And all that’s been happening has been too overwhelming and full of drama for me to simply hide it all day, every day until Evie, Tilly and Mia are all in bed, fast asleep.

Somehow as the evening approaches I just can’t keep it together. I’ll be cooking dinner adding tears instead of salt to their meals, while they relax watching tv upstairs (I never used to let them sit upstairs alone, I prefer having them in the kitchen with me, so we can chat) and I know Evie notices I am just very very sad.

My heart breaks as I read her words. And the tears keep on flowing.

I am so proud of her trying to “make it all ok”; at the same time I hate knowing that part of her innocence is being stolen way too early.

Dear mummy

LETTER

when can you write me the letter?

XMAS | XMAS | XMAS

If you can do it Now. Please!

I know you tried really hard to have Xmas in London but it’s always nice to try new things. Right? And we are trying to.

DADDY

I know Daddy wants to be the boss of EVERYTHING. But he can’t. You can make him feel upset if you try hard.

Don’t worry about EVERYTHING.

You don’t have to worry. You never have to worry. Everything is going to be ok.

Love from Evie