10 year anniversary 

It’s been 10 years since he left. 

10 years since he left me. 

10 years since he left his 5 year old son and unborn child.

10 years since he fell in love with someone else. 

10 years since he has been with the same person he left me for, surpassing the longevity of our marriage. 

For 10 years I have been a victim. To pity, to judge, to scorn. Not by anyone but by myself. Flagellating myself for not being enough for him. 

10 years I’ve held onto this pain, metamorphosing it into various strategies to process it. All this had led up to now. 
Our anniversary. 

On this anniversary I burned the last documents that detailed the events leading up to and the event itself. A document I hoped to show my children once they were old enough to comprehend the pain he left me with, the pain I endured and the pain I held onto for 10 years. 

I read it too. 10 years after writing it. Avoiding it yet quietly acknowledging its presence tucked away. I understand now how this applies to my pain. 

I read it and it made no sense to keep it. So it’s gone. 

On my 10 year anniversary I celebrated with a burning fire of memories. Released its hold on me. Allowing its spirit to be set free. 

As am I. 

A letter to my explosive child. 

I love you. I’m here for you.

A lot of things bother you. I hope one day you can process them in a safe way but you just can’t at the moment.

I love you. I’m here for you. 

You can be intimidating and explosive with your words and actions when you’re frustrated. I know your emotions overwhelm you. 

I love you. I’m here for you.

School is a anxiety overload for you with various demands amid expectations. Tests, reading, writing, comparisons to your peers boils your being. 

I love you. I’m here for you.

You want so much to be accepted and liked. The world confuses you. You’re like a cat stuck up a tree that desperately wants to come down but you lash out at anyone who tries to help you. It’s frightening up there. 

I love you. I’m here for you.

You sabotage all your relationships with friends and family because you think you’re not worthy of love. You constantly challenge their devotion. That must be so exhausting so you so you provoke them to fulfil your prophecy of giving up and leaving.  I hope one day you realise you’re cherished and loved for who you are and not for who you think they want you to be. 

Some days you’re quite unlikeable. But I always love you and I’m here for you. I hope one day you’ll love you too. 

Early morning rumination. 

Hello offspring
I’m writing this at 5.21am. I woke up early but instead of sleeping, I’m working. Working hard to restore and regain some peace inside my turbulent head. Someone once said to me, the greatest distance was between the head and the heart. Things that in theory should come easy, don’t. Parenting is one of those things. Forgiving yourself is another. 
So I sit here, in the undisturbed twilight. I can hear birds singing. In all the hustle bustle you all bring me daily, it drowns out the quiet noises. One day, these quiet noises will drown out my thirst for the pandemonium that once ruled my life.
As I sit here, I ruminate. I plan. I hope. My days are filled with tumultuous love for you all. Getting up early sets my brain to cope with the trials of parenthood. I lick battle wounds of previous days and ponder on scars of years before. I am a human being not just a parent, although that’s all you will see me as for at least a few more decades.
I try to do the very best for you all. My parents did the best job they could with the tools they had as did their parents and theirs before. We are all a product of love through the ages, however that love may be construed. They were human beings too, living their lives in the best way they could. Making sacrifices and tough decisions. Yes, they didn’t always get it right. Neither do I. I really hope you’ll understand someday. I hope I do too. 
So with each sip of coffee, I mentally dress for battle. Battle of the breakfasts, the school runs, the housework, the school meetings, the judgey parents in the playground, the running around fitting everything in before the end of the day, the trials you all put me through. One day you’ll understand. One day I will too.


Feelings are sticky and cruel. They are uncomfortable and mortifying. 
Now I realise why I don’t feel things. Damnit. To experience joy and happiness, I have to allow the shitty feelings to wash off. I can’t experience happiness if I’ve disconnected the uncomfortable pain. They are the same damn switch. 

This revelation tremors my core. I’ve spent years perfecting my mask. Dare I lower it? Do I want people to see what’s underneath? Do I want to see what’s underneath? What if its hideous? What if the pain and sadness have distorted it beyond all recognition? What if people recoil from the horror? I’m more likely to do this last bit. This last thought is frightening. What if I reject my true self? What if my mask represents my distorted reflection and I stare into the horrors of each painful experience? 

What if I actually see little doodles of happiness, like a childish scrawl made on a wall and wallpapered over only to discover it by chance decades later when redecorating? What if I’m redecorating and remodelling? People do that all the time. They outgrow their fashions and tastes. They outgrow their surroundings. Interesting. A positive thought. I digress. 

What if I take off the mask and it’s the little girl who has been playing with makeup. She’s got so many layers that it takes days, weeks, months, years to expose each layer. How consuming and self absorbing to allow each layer to be lifted. To find out what products tease every colour off. How laborious. 

What if there is nothing under the mask. Just a vacuous hole that serves no purpose. A void that allows traffic to flow through each way but never to stop. 

I remember a childhood friend telling me this story once we enter adulthood. She was talking to her dad one day about me. We were quite young, 10 maybe. She was saying how funny and jovial I was. 

“Sometimes the happiest of people wear a mask.”

Could he SEE? Maybe he caught a glimpse. Maybe he was referring to his own depression. He is a lovely man, always wears a happy mask. I have a lot of time for this man. He KNOWS. 

I’ll enter this phase of my life kicking and screaming. It won’t come off gladly. I won’t sit bathed in the glow of the sun with the wind caressing my hair. It’ll be painful and ugly and uncomfortable.  The thought of removing the mask terrifies me but the alternative to this is dying slowly each moment instead of living. When it comes down to it, I really do want to live. 

Where are the tears?

The silly thing with tears is they never seem to come out when you expect them. 

You fall over as a kid and you can either sob or brush yourself off and get going again. Someone takes your toy and you wail until you are consoled. It’s a learned pattern. If your crying gets your needs met then crying helps.

What if your needs are not met? If you cry as a kid and are told to be quiet. Stop making a fuss. Shh. People are looking. Are you crying again? What did you do this time? BE QUIET AND STOP CRYING. 

Kids grow up into adults. The blueprints acquired throughout childhood are still being used and this can be a problem.   

You’re a grownup and it’s life that shoves you hard in the back so you’re flat on your face in the grit and mud. Another grownup has taken your toy. The shock of the unexpected. The tears may not fall straight away. You may feel totally alone in the bewildering situation you’ve found yourself in. You get up, brush yourself down to find another shove floors you. Someone asks you if you’re ok. Your inner voice says BE QUIET. You tell them you’re ok. The tears do not come. 

Instead, they might unexpectedly  come when you’re on the phone to someone arranging appointments. They may begin to sting in front of the kind post office worker. They may silently fall walking in the rain or shower, diluting the pain leaking from your face. 

If you’ve ever done first aid training, they teach you to assess the accident scene and attend to the quietest first. The one who is wailing may be in tremendous pain and will get their needs met but the quiet one is the one who needs the urgent attention. Their life source may be ebbing away and time is of the essence. 

But it appears to be survival of the fittest in life. The ones who shout the loudest get their needs met first. The hungriest chick gets fed. It grows stronger day by day and uses the nourishment meant for its siblings to retain its thirst for consumption. The people who succeed are not the ones who don’t have life’s failures. They just don’t give a shit about it. Or you. It’s water off a ducks back. They’ll walk on by without even glancing back for a second. Their total self absorbed personalities consume any available resource to get fitter and faster. The weak already weakened lose more strength. 

Tears can show emotion. Happiness, joy, elation. Sadness, frustration and pain. Showing emotion can be difficult for many reasons. I’m still trying to process what my reasons are for the numbness. Until then, I get up and brush myself down. Again and again and again. 

I can rest when the tears fall. 

Slowly, slowly. 

It’s a brand new day. I slept alright and I woke up ok. 

I watched a video. I cried. It was the release I needed after months of robotic actions. Just surviving. Just. 
Today is a brand new day. The sun is at last shining. I hope this continues. There is only one way now and I’m determined that it’s up. This life is for living. 
I wanted to post an uplifting message for myself to remind me that the sun does eventually shine. This storm will pass. I will survive and I will live. Living is not just existing. Living is embracing whatever comes my way. 

Excuse me?

“I saved your kid from walking in front of a slide.”

“Oh gosh thanks ever so much! I thought she was going for the entrance. She is faster than I thought!”

This should have been the conversation between myself and a fairground worker. Both having read and interpreted the situation with understanding and empathy. 
This is what actually happened:

“Can you look after your kid properly, she just walked in front of the slide.”

“Excuse me?”

“You’re over there not watching your kid and I just pulled her out of the way of that kid sliding down. You need to pay more attention.”

“I WAS watching my kid, I thought she was going for the entrance but swapped over at the last minute. Hang on, that’s unacceptable you are speaking to me in this way.”

“Well, you should be looking after your kid properly”

Excuse me?

She was rude and intentionally rude. She spoke to me with venom and utter distaste. I was ‘another’ shitty parent who didn’t give a shit about her kid and I needed a good telling off. 

The parent of the sliding kid also reiterated the claim, if not slightly more elegantly. 

“She did come out of nowhere and my kid nearly went into her.”

Hang on. I’m not one of those parents who sit and blame others in this blameless culture. Kids walk in front of swings. They walk into doorframes. They walk I front of kids sliding down a helter skelter.  IT HAPPENS. No harm done, crisis averted, fairground worker saves the day probably for the 100th time just that day. 

“I wasn’t expecting her to walk in front of the slide but I won’t have you speak to me in this way in front of my children. We WERE going to go on this slide but we won’t be at all now!”

As it was, it was the first time I stood up for myself in that situation. I could have apologised profusely for my careless parenting. I could have scolded my child for being careless. That woman could have felt triumphant at reprimanding another crap parent. 
Both kids were crying. I was shaking. 

Something inside of me burned. I spoke to my daughter and told her of my plan. Any other time I would have walked away, my face burning and my heart crushed. 

Not today. 

I went back to the fairground worker. 
“Excuse me. I wanted to have the opportunity for my children to see that even though sometimes adults speak to each other in a rude way, it is not ok. When you spoke to me rudely, I answered back rudely and that wasn’t ok.  I understand this is your job and you need to keep all children safe but to acuse me of poor parenting is not ok. We won’t be using your slide. But i wanted to show my kids it’s much better to speak to another adult with respect.”

“Thank you for coming back to talk to me.”

“Thank you for listening.”

And off we went. I was shaking and almost in tears. Why this provoked such a strong emotion I don’t know.  

We later went on to another ride where my toddler changed her mind twice mid-ride. This fairground worker was so understanding and lovely about it. I thanked her warmly but really my thanks went deeper than just allowing my kid off the ride twice. My thanks extended to her as a person who treated me like a person. 

“It’s ok, it happens a lot. Kids change their minds. It’s ok.”

I thank both of these fairground workers. 
The first made me stand up for my self even when it made me shake. 

The second restored my faith in humanity.