Upon meeting me for the first time, I probably won’t reveal an awful lot about myself. I imagine I give off the impression I’m confident, talkative and quite strong in mind. After a few meetings or conversations, I may start to tell you the things that have happened over the past few years, the things that essentially have made me into the character you meet today. Even then, I’ll appear to tell you with confidence, you’ll think I’m coping quite well, I’ve even been called brave. Someone once said “inspirational”.
I’m not brave.
I’m not inspirational.
It’s an act I’ve rehearsed, and practised, and honed to perfection in order to get through those conversions without letting out the blubbering wreck that still lives with me, albeit it occasionally, in my busy, over thinking little head. It gets crowded in there. In my little head. So every now and again, I have to let that blubbering wreck out, so the confident, coping version of me can stretch it’s legs and limber up for the hardest season of the year. Winter is shit. Yearly I feel the need to write something like this as, with each year that passes, new people join my life and those people have only ever known the version of me that I now portray on a regular basis. They might never have witnessed my very rare breakdowns, as they only happen in front of people that know me, know why, and I feel safe doing so in front of. However, if you’re still around in my life in November or December, the chances of meeting the wreck is increased, so you kinda need to know the warts and all “me”. Both versions.
The prompt for this particular blog is the fact that on Friday 26th October, I had to kick the emotional wreck out of my head for a short while so that I could process stuff on my own without her snivelling in my inner ear. So, out into the real world she came. Tears and all. Whilst I was at work, on my own. I had to get my Mum to phone the shop to speak to “her” as for that short time, rational me couldn’t get through to “her” , and to be frank, “she” needed to let it all out before I let “her” back into the safety of our shared accommodation in my head.
Now let’s face it, the saying goes “there’s a time and a place for everything”, and that wasn’t the time or the place for that to have happened. I didn’t see it coming and certainly didn’t plan for it to happen right then and there. But it did. And here I find myself explaining why, and also preparing those of you who have only known me this year, that early year me is a very different jigsaw puzzle to the one you’ll have to try and figure out in any given November or December going forward.
So here’s the re-cap. The full stories can be found in previous posts so a little scrolling back is in order.
On December 28th 2013, my older sister passed away suddenly, aged just 39. Having seen her alive and well on Christmas Day, it was the biggest, most shocking event of my life to date. No time to mentally prepare. No chance to say goodbye. On November 6th, a week today, she should be celebrating her 44th birthday. Instead, she’ll be 39 forever, with 5 birthdays celebrated with the stars. It kills me each year that I’m now older than my older sister. It’s not right. It’s not normal. My family no longer has a normal.
On December 11th 2014, my husband of 14 years, partner for 17 years, told me he couldn’t give me a hug as I cried over the approaching one year anniversary of my sister’s passing, because he no longer loved me and apparently hadn’t for two years. As he fell asleep and snored upstairs, I cried downstairs until, at 3am, I decided to kick him out and off he went to his parents.
I do not mourn my marriage ending in December, but I will never forgive the timing, the way it all happened and the way it’s been ever since. Also, nothing could’ve felt worse than losing my sister the previous year. Compared to that, this was nothing. Plus certain actions and behaviours on his part made it very easy to move on from the break up and find myself happier in a relationship than I’ve ever been in my life. But I still resent the lies and deceit behind the whole charade leading up to that event. I am bitter. I won’t forgive or forget because it wasn’t as simple as it was made out to be.
So, perhaps unsurprisingly, the next two months are always hard for me. It is inevitable that the face I present to the outside world will crack occasionally.
Fast forward to Friday 26th October 2018 and a series of unfortunate events that led to the release of my weaker self. Some events directly associated with my own circumstances, others not, but they were certainly a contributing factor.
On the Wednesday, I’d seen my best friend for the first time, properly, in a long, long time. She’d been dealing with a lot of stuff, illnesses in the family, work, sleep issues, relationship yours ups and downs. Through messenger and WhatsApp, I was getting half a story, and I’d been frantically trying to pin her down for a catch up for weeks because I was worried. I’m a worrier. Always have been, always will be. I had wound myself up in knots about not being there for her when she needed me. She was there for me throughout the two most shocking events of my life and I desperately wanted to return the favour. I know she has other people she can talk to, but I need to be there for me, she means the world to me and I was reduced to tears each time a meet up couldn’t happen. I knew there was more going on in her head than was being revealed by typed messages. So, when we met, I let her talk. By the end of our evening together, we were having a laugh. The magnitude of what she was dealing with and the fact she could still go on to have a laugh made me realise, she’s the brave one. She’s inspirational. Not me. On the Thursday night, the night before my break down, she needed me so I called her and spent the best part of the evening on the phone to her as she poured her heart out and battled with her thoughts. I was pleased I could be her shoulder to cry on. I can’t fix things, but I can fill my role of best friend and listen.
Another good friend of mine was spending her last week off work before working straight through over Christmas and New Year, visiting her Mum, who had taken ill suddenly, in hospital. Again, not being able to physically do anything to ease her pain, it hurt me. I kept in touch, and thought of her daily. No one should go through something like that alone. She returned to work this week, not knowing what was going on and literally having to take each day as it came. That’s brave. That’s inspirational.
I love my friends like family. When they hurt, I hurt.
On my break down day, I’d said goodbye to my son as I left for work and he left for school, knowing that I’d be going home to an empty house and not seeing him again until the Tuesday. Although grateful he still has two parents that love him and want to see him, I still hate it. I have a feeling that his dad thinks I use that time to go out and party, when in fact the opposite is true. More often than not, I’m sat home alone in the evenings. Sure, I’ll see my other half when his shifts allow it to be so, but sods law often has it that when my son is away, my partner works late shifts. I didn’t sign up for sharing my time with my son. I signed up for a family unit. I’m traditional in that respect. I wouldn’t change a thing in the way my life has turned out since the bad stuff. Except that. I’d change something so I never had to say goodbye to my son, only “see you later”. I know that can never happen, as, when he gets even more independent and older still, he’ll eventually be leaving home and going away. I can handle the thought of that though, as it means he’s making his own life. At the moment I feel it’s been taken away from me. On top of this, my ex has already indicated that he wants our son for at least half of Christmas Day this year. Now bear with me as I explain this one before you think I’m being an unreasonable, selfish, bitch. Selfish is one word I would never use to describe myself. When we spilt, as it was already fairly close to Christmas, I made it clear that I would never, ever stop him seeing our son on Christmas Day. The first year was awkward. He came round in the morning and we handed out the gifts I’d bought from “us” . Awkward, but worth it for our son. 2015 I think was pretty much the same deal. The following year, I think he decided to have our son in the week running up to Christmas Day and brought him back on Christmas eve. His choice. Seeing him Christmas Day was not discussed. The option, as has always been was there. He chose not to take it. Last year, the ex and his partner went away to a secluded cottage for Christmas. Again, his choice as to whether he saw our son or not. So imagine my shock when this year he suggests having him for half the day, in a text which, quite frankly, ignored the fact that the last two years he chose not to see him at all. A text which suggested that as I’d had “the boy” every year since we split, it was actually now his turn. I HAVE NEVER EVER RECINDED THE COMPROMISE OF LETTING HIM SEE HIM. ALSO, I WILL NEVER EVER CHOOSE A SCENARIO WHICH MEANS I WOULDN’T SEE HIM. Even as an adult, I have seen my parents every single Christmas Day. My upset comes from the fact that for the first time in my 41 years on this twisted planet, I face waking up on Christmas Day alone. Sure, I’ll see my partner, but not until the evening as the Christmas eve shift usually renders him useless until about mid day. I could go to my parents, but they usually have my nephews round in the morning with us so that they can give their grandchildren their presents together. My sons absence means that if I do that, they won’t get to see him Christmas Day. Why should they miss out? Christmas Day after lunch, my son and I watch TV and eat junk. I don’t drive, so with the current proposed plans, I’m going to have to walk round to my parents in the afternoon instead, which means potentially missing my nephews. It’s screwed up what we have salvaged of Christmas just because this year, it suits HIS plans to see him. Also, he’s always had him New Year since the first year when he thought better of leaving me on my own after being dumped. This year however, he said our son will want to be with his friends this year. Our son is 15. You tell me where he can go at that age on New year’s eve!? Again, I strongly feel this year they have New Year plans that don’t accommodate a teenager, so he dictates I can have him. Knowing also that I’ve spent New years eves with my partner.
I am truly terrified of Christmas this year. Christmas for me is family and home. I don’t want to go to the pub. I don’t want to see friends just because I’m on my own. I have a traditional idea in my head of what the festive season is like and I don’t want to accept that this year will be so far removed from that. I don’t want to “have our Christmas Day on Boxing Day”.
So on to potentially the hardest part of my blog..
The day we lost my sister, has been a date I’ve been unable to work since it happened.
However, it is becoming problematic at work.
Last year, for example, Christmas Eve,Christmas day and Boxing day all fell in the same week as the 28th of December.
As a retail worker, I only get two days off a week.
For me it’s been an ongoing problem to try and have either Christmas Eve or Boxing day off along with Christmas day, and I do the same thing for all my staff in order to give us all a fair Christmas. However with me wanting the 28th of December off too, this causes problems. Last year the area manager kindly let me take 3 days off Christmas week, and only have one day off the following week, the week between Christmas and New Year.
Not only did this mean I was incredibly tired the week after Christmas, with the January sales kicking in, it also meant that the week that my son was at home before he went back to school, I only had the one day off with him.
I don’t know how I’m going to be on that day, but I feel I need to try. What are my other options, never work that day ever again in my life?
I do nothing on that day when I take it off, I sit at home I think and basically I waste a day off.
There’s nothing I can do. This will be the 5th year without my sister, and in all honesty I think I need to move on. It will never get any easier, it will never get any better.
It definitely won’t bring my sister back. And all I do is waste a day with my son when I don’t do anything with him. I’m not prepared to do this anymore. I need to be here for the people that are still here, the people that are with me today, and the people that still love me and I love them.
It could be a day when the blubbering wreck is the only person you see. But until I work it, I just don’t know how I’m going to be. But I do know this..
I want to spend more time with my son.
More quality time, where I’ll be free of mind to do whatever I wish with him. When “she” has been locked up again for another 10 months.
I hate being like this. Over thinking and worrying take over my life. I reveal to very few people what I’m like. You meet a confident, happy person who appears in control of what life throws her way. You don’t see the person sat at home, desperately wanting to go out but instead has wound herself up in knots about something she can’t control and the evening just passes her by.
At any given time, I am dealing with a thousand different things in my head. I can’t talk about them. I don’t want anyone to fix me. I will stew them over and over on my own. No-one can do anything to help. All you can do to help is remember that behind the confident facade, I am.struggling. Remember that. If you think I’m being offish, it’s not intentional, it’s because I’m working through something in my head, trying to keep the wreck inside. If you think I’m being anti social , I’m probably sat at home having a battle with “her”.
I will be there for you if you need me. I’ll never let you down. I’ll offer you coffee, companionship, whatever you need.
You’ll rarely see “her” , but she’s always there, often forced to stay behind the divider in my mind so that I can help you instead, because I want to. It gives me a purpose. Left to my own devices, “she” makes more appearances.
All the above has led me to the decision to come off Facebook for the foreseeable future. Facebook is full of irrelevant, silly stuff that we all spend so much time idly scrolling through, not looking up to take stock of what’s going on in the real world. Facebook, and social media in general, also ruins friendships. Blatantly and obviously screaming “look what I’m upto” , knowing no invite to join such shenanigans had been offered your way. Quite frankly, while my already over thinking, paranoid brain struggles even more over the next two months, I don’t want a part of the petty competitions that play out in front of my eyes against the white and blue background of Facebook. I am simply not playing. Real life is not a competition. Even if it was, for two months at least, I don’t have the fight to compete. I’m throwing in the gloves. And the towel. Time out. I lose.
I will be here for anyone that needs me.Always and forever.
But please remember all I’ve said above. I am writing this to inform the new people in my life what I go through internally. I won’t talk about it often. I’ll never use any of it as an excuse, even if it is the reason behind my actions.
Do not take advantage of my good nature. I’m the girl that will always ask how you’re doing. I’m the girl that will always ask if there’s anything I can do. I am the girl who will always listen, even if I can’t fix anything.
Exclude me, and I’ll back away. I’m fighting enough battles as it is.