The loneliness of a single mother 

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I tweeted a while ago that I have been trying to write a blog post about the loneliness that comes from being a single parent. It was rather touching that so many women tweeted back with a ‘me too’. 
This isn’t going to be a social analysis of why single mothers feel so isolated as I don’t have the intellect or the energy so apologises for the lack of facts! This is simply my account of how it feels. 
To cut a long story short, I’m a single parent for the second time. I have three children and in the last 9 years we have moved house 5 times – 4 times were in 4 of those years. This has meant upheaval of all kinds, from the changing of schools to the loss of friendships. When I left my ex husband in 2012, I found that after a few months, a lot of my friends just disappeared off the radar. Since then, I’ve struggled to meet any new people. 
I no longer have to do the school run as all three have a school bus and I now live in an area that is far from the people I mixed with. In short, I feel like a bit lost and rather sorry for myself. People that I thought would stand by me, buggered off when my life took such a different path to theirs. I was no longer a married mother with a mortgage etc like them. Maybe it scared them, maybe they thought I might bring them bad luck or maybe I changed and they no longer liked me. I’m not sure that I need to know why though! 
The impact on my self esteem has been huge. Where is my place in society now? It hurts when people tell me to ‘get a life’ or make stupid comments on Twitter like ‘I bet they have no friends’ as it’s true. I’m a total loser! I feel trapped in a life that I didn’t sign up for and no, I’m not moaning about being a mum. I’m moaning that I’ve lost myself and my life along the path that I have been forced to take. The path has turned into a massive rut that’s pretty impossible to get out of.
My ME/CFS, lack of money, inability to drive a car, shyness and so many other little things prevent me from climbing out of this hole that I’ve found myself in. I’m also terrified that people don’t like me or won’t like me. Maybe the reason why I have hardly any friends is that I’m not very likeable. I know people who really do lighten up a room when they walk in and their energy really is infectious, the same cannot be said for me! My social anxiety and lack of people skills can make me seem cold and negative *sigh* 
The odd thing is, I never thought that my life would be like this. I’ve been delusional enough to believe that I was put on this earth to be so much more than hum drum beige. Yes, being a single mother and looking after three kids is a very valid thing to do – I’m talking about having something in my life that is separate from my identity as a mother. I wasn’t born a mother after all. And yes, I do have a boyfriend but that doesn’t change my social isolation from needing (and I do mean needing) women in my life. 
When I’ve attended support groups, they have this wonderful ability to bring back the spring in your step. Surrounding yourself with like minded or even life minded women is a truly uplifting experience. For whatever reason, I’ve not been able to keep those friendships going once those groups finish. I’m convinced that lack of transport has a huge affect on my ability to socialise – so if you don’t have a driving licence and have the money to get one, get one! I wish I had when I was younger and had the cash to do so. 
As the rain pours down outside, I know I face another week of sitting in the house on my own. I go to my art class once a week but I don’t see it a social time, it’s my art time. There are other groups that I could do to but I can’t afford the bus fare or the risk to my energy levels. 
As a single mother, no one is there to cook, clean, wash and so forth apart from me. I have to balance my limited social life with my limited energy levels. There’s no way I can just not cook dinner or not make sure everyone has clean clothes. I hear women say that they wouldn’t know what to do without their partner, I can tell you what you will do – bloody everything and then have no one to gripe about it to last thing at night! 
I was hoping that writing this all down would help me feel better, I think that I feel worse! I’m so sick of being invisible and worthless to the world. My teenage self was so wrong to think that I was somehow special and destined to do something extraordinary. At the same time, I don’t wish to just roll over and accept my lot in life. I guess I need to patient and let my life evolve a little more. 
Love, tea and crochet

Exxx 

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New Years Resolutions 

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I know, I know New Years resolutions are as uncool as tinsel and the word uncool but l happen to like tinsel and using the 1st of Jan as an excuse to rethink my life. 
1. Rethink my body image. I’m now 9st and I’m still putting on weight. Having been plagued with an eating disorder since I was 9, this is new territory for me and I hate it. Every day I look in the mirror, I don’t recognise my body anymore. I worry that people who know me will see me and think ‘wow, she’s put on weight!’. I do need to rethink my diet but I also need to accept my new body shape. It’s not the end of the world, just the end of my ultra slimness. 

2. Get off my fucking phone. This should be easier than it sounds as my phone is old and the battery dies on me at 30%! I want to concentrate on my crochet and art.

3. I need to get my teeth into my Women Together project. I don’t think we’ll really feel the full impact of the cuts until the end of 2016 which is a scary thought as things are bad enough already. My goal for the year is to offer more practical help rather than tweets and FB posts. I have a lot of stuff to go on the website – which I’ve yet to find on a Google search! Also, some way of setting up a fund for helping women would be really great. 

4. Buffer zones for abortion clinics – I’ve been working on this for over a year now and I’ve not made a lot of progress. There are now two petitions out there in the ether – check out my blog posts for more info. Hoping that 2016 is a productive and protective year for it. 

5. Seeing my life as worthwhile and meaningful. I need to stop wishing away the days and try to enjoy the year with my children. It’s so easy to get bogged down in it all and to think that life will be better/easier when another milestone is reached. I’m very lucky to have three fab children who may be challenging but certainly not dull! 

6. Get out in the garden more. I moved into this house last spring and I’m looking forward to turning my garden into a little oasis of green for as little money as possible. It’s not a very big garden however, there’s plenty of space for some nice plants. 

7. Find a way to manage my ME/ CFS better hahahahaha!!! I can try. Either that or I need to win the lottery so that I can afford a cleaner and taxis…. Pacing your activity is nigh on impossible when you’re on your own with three kids. My family and boyfriend help when they can but I need to know I can do it all by myself. Perhaps it’s my pride, I just want to feel like I’m making a fair contribution to the life I have and the lives that I created. 

8. And finally …. Not really a resolution….this is the second year anniversary of my suicide attempt – New Year’s Day 2014. It doesn’t feel as poignant as last year, there’s a sense that I’ve moved on a lot since then. I’m glad that I am still here, still alive and experiencing life from the Sun’s heat on my face to the cuddles at bedtime with my children. I could have been two years dead and life would have been so very different for my children, different in a bad and dark way. Whilst I’ll never be the life and soul of the party, I hope with every atom of my body that I will never feel that desperate again. 

So there you have it. That’s my list for 2016, I’m sure I’ll think of more to add. In the general scheme of the relentless march of time, a new year doesn’t really mean a lot but I see it as a chance to try again and put my failures behind me. Maybe give it a go and be uncool too! 
Love and hugs and all the best for 2016. May it be full of tea and crochet if that floats your boat.

Exxx 

PS one more …. Get my poems published in my own book …. 

The Dating Game …. Part 9

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I think it is part 9 anyway……

Followers of my blog will know that I’m not the luckiest person when it comes to matters of the heart. I thought I’d write a few words about where I am right now! Haha.

Basically, I’m single and likely to be single forever. There are lots of reasons why I think this….my children take up pretty much all of my life, I have no social life, I’m not 21 and toned anymore…… *sigh* and also rather exhausted with the whole part process of dating.

You, happy, couples don’t know how lucky you are so piss off!

I’ve tried online dating and it’s full of men with no shirts on who are obsessed with the gym, men who just want you to send naked photos of yourself and men who are so far up their own arse that you will never be cool enough for them. Then there’s the women ….. As I’m bisexual, they tend to view me with suspicion and so I have given up.

In the general scheme of things, it’s really not that important. It’s not life or death…it would just be nice, one day, to meet someone who liked me and I liked them and they didn’t end up being an abusive shite *sigh* again. I really don’t wish to spend the rest of my life without a partner but I can’t see anyway to find a place in my life to fit one in, let alone meet someone.

So……I have to ignore my pangs of loneliness that I get (especially in the evening or when I’m having a bad day and it would be nice to have someone on my side) and just get on with my life. Not all of us can be loved up, not for all of us is there someone special to come home to.

I think that if I can come to terms with singledom then I may actually find the cure to a lot of my mental health issues! It really is that big a deal with me. It is going to be easy to stay single for the reasons outlined above but also for that fact that there isn’t a queue of people knocking on my door and begging for my attention haha.

Deep breaths ….. All is going to be ok. I can cope with living the single life and it isn’t going to be any less worth living just because I face it alone. I’m lucky to have family and friends in my life who love and care for me (and my cat!). I will learn to deal with the absence of hugs, kisses, sex, as well as the late night conversations and arguments over who needs to empty the bin. It’s just going to have to be fine being just me. Give me a bit time and I’ll get back to you and let you know how I’m getting on!!

Love, tea and hugs of the platonic type
Exxx

A Meditation on being dead

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Yeah, I know, I meant to be having a break but just wrote this and am impatient so ….

What I would miss if I were no longer here …. A meditation on not being dead

I was interrupted by a phone call whilst composing this blog in my head. It may not have the impact or convey the message I wanted to make now ….. One of the draw backs of modern living I guess?

This isn’t meant to be a poem or even prose. Any rhyming or rhythm is purely accidental. It’s more a stream of my consciousness whilst lying outside, desperately trying to ward off my anxiety – just been interrupted by another two phone calls …. Ffs

Ok, here goes…phone on silent …..

We all die, what happens after we die is not the question I’m tackling here. It’s more a mental journey of earthy things that are lost forever once we are gone and can no longer experience them.

I will miss:

Watching my children grow and learn and not being able to be there for them when they need me, when life has let them down and only their mummy will do.

My friends and family. Sharing a pot of tea and a cake and a good gossip about everything and nothing. To be a shoulder to cry on and have a shoulder to cry on. The healing nature of a heartfelt hug.

The way nature fills my senses. The feel of a cool breeze on my face, the icy cold of the sea water on my toes. The smell of damp earth that you get on a summer’s day when it’s been dry for ages and suddenly rains, large drops that ricochet off the pavement. A bird flying off a chimney pot or a squirrel running across the grass with it’s tail arched and bristling. Hearing the wind rushing through autumnal leaves or the mew of a kitten to it’s mother.

The taste of food and drink. The bitter, the sweet, the sour and the salty. Sometimes bland and sometimes over overpowering.

Love. The agony and the ecstasy of human relationships. Those intimate moments where it feels like we’re the only two people in existence. To get lost in their eyes and forget your own name. The feel of their skin on your skin, their mouth, their limbs, to be physically one if only for a short time.

To experience culture, soak myself in works of art or walls of sound. To be brought to tears by a book or a film. The laughter I get when a comedian touches on something I perfectly relate to. A well read poem on the radio, a battered postcard of a favourite painting. Not forgetting the creating, to be blessed with hands and feet and eyes so that I can crochet, sketch, paint or play an instrument really badly.

To walk down a street, any street and just live in that moment. See cars passing and builders working. People rushing past and you know nothing of their lives and how their day is going. Look up and watch the airlines flying hundreds of people to another country and wondering what they are talking about, how they are feeling when they step out of the airport and into new air.

The feel of clothes on my body. How sometimes I need soft, comforting clothes to snuggle into and forget the world and other times something more close fitting and daring to make me feel edgy and sexual. But mostly I wear clothes that just get me by in life without feeling like I’ve totally given up on myself.

The warmth of the Sun. Being a redhead I burn in the sun and suffer heat stroke at the slightest rise in temperature BUT …… The Sun makes everything seem better, colours are brighter, people smile more, my house feels more alive, my body feels warmer and more motivated to move and be productive. As beautiful as snow is, and it’s ability to cover up the crap us humans spew everywhere, it’s coldness becomes a chore so much quicker than a hot spell from the Sun. Which makes me think of the seasons and how they will carry on without me. How I long for Spring every year, to see the hawthorn hedges sprinkled with the freshest green on nature’s palate. Knowing that the winter is over – such a feeling for me. A relief.

And that is the thing, the crux of all of this. Life will go on without me. I am not a celebrity of any kind, no one will really note my passing but for a few individuals I shared my time with. Time will keep ticking. On the day that I die, people will go to work like they do, go on holiday, eat, shit and have sex. Cars and vans will be driven, post will land on doormats ….. All those little things that go unnoticed and I will no longer be a part of that cycle. And when I am merely dust, the earth will claim me and I will step onto the conveyer belt that will turn my ashes to rock. I always knew there was a reason why I’m so fascinated by rocks because they are the very essence of life and death all rolled up into something most people wouldn’t think twice about. Maybe being dead’s not so bad after all. I will live, like we all will, through the Earth that we walked on and one day become a part of the Universe that set the stage for my brief existence …..

Love to you all
Exxx IMG_2864.JPG

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Farewell, for now anyway.

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I’m stepping back from social media for a few weeks. This will be quite difficult for me as I have become quite dependent on it. I wouldn’t say it’s an addiction, more an outlet for all the nonsense in my brain.

Hoping this sabbatical will be a positive move. I deactivated my Facebook account last December and never regretted it. It was actually a huge weight off my shoulders.

This will be harder ….. I enjoy interacting with people and having a voice. In real life, I don’t have a voice at all and today that got slightly worse …… I can’t tell you why. I understand the reasons, it’s a just I already feel alone and isolated so perhaps it hurt more than it should have. Anyway, I’ll only be away for a few weeks.

I have some very important stuff coming up so I need to protect myself and prepare for the hurricane. Once the storm has passed, maybe I’ll finally be allowed to talk about what happened to me.

I’m scared, I’m scared of so many things but what worries me the most is losing the support of people I care about. I realise my life choices have created this distance….. How I feel right now is alone and vulnerable. I’m beginning to believe that there’s something wrong with me so that’s why my life is how it is right now.

Before I bow out, I want you to know that I’m not perfect, I get things wrong and I screw things up. I need to go off and do what I need to do and maybe then I can move on and start again. It’s the hurdle that has been looming for two years now, I mustn’t let myself down as my life depends on it.

Now go and have tea and cake for me
Love Exxx

Me,myself and I

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Well, it’s been a pretty intense couple of months …… Can’t say I’ve enjoyed them but there has been some positive moments.

Trying to think of the positive moments…… Er ……

I confess to being a failure at life. I can’t keep a relationship going, I have ME PTSD and depression … My children drive me to the point of wanting to cut my own ears off and I don’t have 1000 followers on Twitter …. Oh and I’m rubbish at the things I used to enjoy like art, crochet, poetry … Not to mention my inability to keep a pregnancy going 😦

I’m also pretty vain and can’t cope with the whole ageing thing. My face tells a story of woe and I hate it. Then there’s the jelly belly and stretch marks from three pregnancies. Top that all off with my very small breasts and you get the picture.

So I’m a headcase, I’m a single parent, I have no talent in anything, I’m vain, my face and body is falling apart, I’m
a crap mum, I’m a poor judge of character, I’m paranoid, insecure, I have no money and no prospects, I’m selfish, I’m self centred and my iPhone IS my life – actually I have no life really.

Is there anything good about me???? Ummmmmm ….. I’ll get back to you on that one.

I think, maybe, I have lost myself. I’m not sure who I am meant to be or what my identity is. There’s a real feeling of drifting through life and missing out on it all.

Is it a generational thing? Does everyone in their 30s feel lost and disillusioned?? Take a step outside into the real world and there’s not much to be happy about right now.

This is when I take a few deep breaths and try and focus on something beautiful …. The sunset the other day was amazing, watching my cat negotiate fences without putting a paw wrong, those moments when all three children aren’t screaming at me or each other ….. A nice cup of tea. None of the above is life changing but my head is so stuck in storm clouds that it’s nice to see blue sky now and then.

I’m hoping I won’t feel like this forever, that life improves and I can be a better person.

Love, tea and hugs
Exxx

Suicide isn’t painless

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Yep, I’m jumping on the bandwagon…. But I have to say I think it is important to keep talking about mental health and suicide. I’m afraid this isn’t going to be the most eloquent piece on mental health you will have read… I’m not a highly educated linguist …

As you all know, I tried to kill myself, by overdosing on lorazepam, on New Years Day. This was actually the second attempt I have made on my life. No one really knows about the first time as it was very half hearted and I just slept it off at home.

I cannot begin to tell you how distressed I have felt. It has caused me immense physical pain and also to scream like I’m being hunted down by a murderer. It actually makes you want to tear your skin off or rip out your hair.

I’ve lost a lot of friends over the years because they can’t handle my depression and my dark moods. Certain family members have drifted off. Having said that, I’ve also made new friends, mainly with people who have had similar feelings. There’s a special understanding with such people that you can never have with those who have not experienced depression.

There’s no point trying to rationalise depression, it’s not rational, it’s mental illness. Your body is ill and needs help. Due to the stigma that still surrounds mental illness, we struggle on and don’t seek help. I know I have been quite stubborn about my own mental health; stopping antidepressants because I don’t think I need them, thinking I can get over it on my own, believing myself to be undeserving of help …

Individuals cannot overcome this stigma on their own, the whole of society needs to change it’s attitude towards mental health. It’s not about being ‘mad’ or ‘crazy’ or a ‘nutter’, it’s about an invisible illness that rots you from the inside out. By the time it shows on your outer self, you really are in quite a bit of trouble.

This is a big confession of mine and something I have only ever admitted to The Samaritans….. I strongly believe that I will commit suicide one day. As I said to the woman on the end of the phone, it’s a matter of when – not if. It’s something I carry with me every day. I not saying I’m about to jump off a bridge, it could be 30 years from now ….. I see suicide as a tool in my armour against life, it’s the only real control I have over anything that exists around me.

I’m not trying to glorify or glamourise suicide, just being honest about how I feel. All I do know is that I see the irony in the fact that knowing I can end my life one day, actually keeps me going.

Love and extra hugs
Exxx