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.

Always Hate Me

Audio

It breaks my heart to know deep down that this is exactly where we are heading.
Except that I will get to the point of not caring to hate.
It’s like a balancing act: love and hate are just two sides of the same coin; on the other side there is only indifference.
The love is gone, leaving space to mixed feelings which are starting to find a defined place in my heart, in my mind, in my past.
The hate will go too. I can’t hate someone who will most likely never have the courage to look inside himself and realise that – maybe – when his wife clearly said she couldn’t feel a connection any more it was meant to be a step towards redefining the relationship, not a ticket to check out and jump onto the first convenient train that happened to pass by. It was, and is, all about him.

I will always see the love that once was in my three girls. And that is enough for me to keep on smiling inside. Despite the overflowing sadness which is taking over the anger right now.

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…

Jealous of Emotional Connections

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After discovering the first few messages between Tom and vitto I started adding up a few clues here and there and came to the conclusion that this is all it was: an emotional affair. I didn’t have proof. Yet I was 100% sure she was his confidante.

There were unresolved issues between us. And he’d had female co-workers he relied on before. But this was different.

I wasn’t even familiar with the term “emotional affair” …

You’re Having An Affair…..

Obviously I was labelled as “obsessed” and “jealous” of a co-worker, only because I didn’t know her. This was reinforced by putting the blame for not knowing her on me given that I wasn’t overly interested in befriending his work colleagues, and because he was commuting Italy/UK. Again. Another one of “my” decisions. Which he went along with.

I wasn’t obsessed, but I did start observing Tom’s behaviour and weighing most of the stuff that started falling out of his mouth. I have never been the jealous “type”… as long as what I regard as “my territory” is respected.  And yes, given the entire situation, I was jealous, rightfully so:

Jealousy is defined as a protective reaction to a perceived threat to a valued relationship, arising from a situation in which the partner’s involvement with an activity and/or another person is contrary to the jealous person’s definition of their relationship.

 

27 October 2013 | The Texts

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I lost track of time. (only now I realise it was 1.30 am).

I struggle to remember the exact steps that lead me to what follows.

I was in panic mode, barely breathing, on the phone with a friend as the truth unfolded but it took at least 30 minutes for the truth to become reality in my head. By then I had just moved on from the “letters” in the secret GMX email address account to the “texts” on yet another secret instant messaging service, Trillian

What I will never forget is the hailstorm of pain that followed as I obliviously kept on reading. I can learn to ignore it, I can box it up and shove it somewhere with other painful memories but I know myself enough to be able to say that the wound will, eventually heal, but the scar is there to stay.

If I were granted a wish I would ask to be able to simply forget.

[Original Version was in Italian – I tried to respect all childish grammar-less short cuts as much as possible. Unfortunately there is nothing I can do to make the conversation exchange look like it happened between two responsible grownups]

Tom | 6.27 pm

CV. This week I am going to work on it. I am not comfortable with the professional photos I have on it right now. I was 10kg heavier. 

Then I will send you the new one.

Vitto 

All that needs to be done is take a new one one of the next mornings and then we can cut it and add it onto the CV

7.36 pm

Do you like mbun? I do, especially the one behind via Lagrange

Tom | 7.47 pm

Yes let’s do one morning in Milan😄

Yes I also liked Eataly not bad

I miss you image of you embracing me this evening very sweet

Began opening your treasure chest😳😳😳

Are you coming?

Vitto

Yes, need to, coming… But what next?

Image of you in your arms under the blankets warms my heart up and goes brrrr

Tom | 7.57 pm

Can you believe that I am going under the same duvet brrr in a little I am going

Vitto

Beautiful beautiful all of it

IMG_6088

That way your bicycle can’t be seen. But the question is…who took it???😄

So H should be here around 9.30 pm, so I am giving you an advance pre😘gnight😘. Tomorrow I have an early start with an interview so I will be leaving around 6 am. Maybe I can wish you a good morning while you are also in the car around 7.45 am.

8.04 pm

This week end gives me energy for the following two. ❤️Thank you for being here ❤️ Gnight in a while

8.15 pm

You can always tell W that that we had to work together on the case C which involved sharing  many difficult situations, on a personal level too given that we were firing someone we had invested on… Personally I found that hard…

Tom

W has disappeared since this morning maybe we are finally at it ls wait and see

8.25 pm

W has disappeared since this morning maybe we let’s wait and see

W has disappeared since this morning maybe we are finally at it let’s wait and see

8.36

H home?

Vitto

No, he’s about to arrive I think

Tom | 8.55 pm

Going home soon

Going home 

Vitto | 9.09 pm

H at home

Tom | 9.18 pm

At what time train green coffee shop for cappuccino?

Gnight 💬💬💬💬

Vitto | 9.31 pm

Tomorrow car

I leave at 6 am

H super cold almost didn’t say hi and moved away when good night kiss

I think W must have ripped him open about the email

And maybe he thought that I would’ve only asked you about me but not given you the email

Clear and evident totally different attitude compared to last night. Night 😘❤️

I love you

Tom 

W hung up on me for good night. Then she called back and I didn’t pick up. Night

Lov3u

Gnight 😗

Vitto

Night

We will get out of this

Somehow

I am rocking myself in our embrace😘

Three months have gone by and I still haven’t heard one honest word fall out of Tom’s mouth regarding this conversation. What I have heard is undoubtedly “interesting” and always accompanied by rolling eyes (because I am making a big deal out of something which is no big deal at all, out of something that I decided had happened – same attitude as a 5 year old caught doing something wrong and not getting the part where you acknowledge the mistake ):

– Milan? What? I’ve never been to Milan to see her, maybe one day we could but for breakfast…but I never went (we can talk about this in another post)

– I didn’t say I love her. Can’t you even read properly? There is a piece missing. It’s not written properly. I never said I loved her. Look. I put no hearts. And my kiss emoticons don’t have a heart. Hers do.

– I didn’t say I wanted a divorce. Where does it say that I was waiting for you to dump me? That? Repeated three times? No that’s not what I meant. I had to write it three times because it’s wrong. But no I wasn’t waiting for you to call it quits.

All I can add is that that same morning we had a long horrible phone call. Most of what he said to me can be read here. Then there is the bit where he pushed me over the edge by defending Vitto. He accused me of bringing our relationship to the point of no return with my obsessive suspects on a work colleague. Because that’s all she was. Her husband told me that much and I should have never even thought of intruding into someone else’s life. I was the troublemaker. Because his work colleague was having problems in her own marriage because of my obsession.

I almost believed him. Almost.

The emails they are talking about are the ones H and I exchanged…and in hindsight I can’t help smirking at the thought of how stupid and freaked out Tom and Vitto must have felt when it dawned upon them that their secrets were leaking, big time (and that is why Tom was so aggressive that morning, he was panicking and threatening me so that I would give up trying to find out what was really going on). Because you see, H caught them long ago (29 July 2013, the evening of Vitto’s farewell dinner after her last day working for Tom) and admittedly chose to dig his head so deep in the sand he is still looking for it today. He had the decency to partially and temporarily re-emerge when I kindly asked him for help…

Pink Bubble about to burst

Pink Bubble about to burst