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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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!

Daddy won’t be coming home this week end

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Me: “Evie, daddy is not coming home this week end”.

Evie: “I don’t care.  Err no, it’s not that I don’t care, but it doesn’t matter. Because daddy doesn’t like going out, he doesn’t like walking and I don’t like spending half of my day in the car when it’s easier to travel by train, like today, when we went all the way to London Bridge and then up to the top of the Shard”.

Me: “Evie, next week end nanna is coming. Daddy will not be here next week end either”.

Evie: “That’s ok. Because we can go to Legoland. There is loads to walk in Legoland, daddy can’t drive a Lego car around Legoland. And Nanna can hold baby Mia when you come with Tilly and me on some of the big girls’ rides. Because I am sure Nanna gets dizzy”.

She’s got it all figured out. And it’s so sad it breaks my heart. When she talks like that I have to stop what I am doing and look at her in the face. Because what comes out of her mouth at times sounds so harsh it scares me. And only when I look in her eyes I realise she is still innocent. She is just speaking her mind, based on her view of the world. Unfiltered.