Old Wounds

As a person who worries way too much about what other people think of me, I often agree to things I don’t want to do.

Nothing crazy, just meetings that don’t really hold any value for either party involved, that are arranged just to tick a box. An obligation box if you will.

That might sound harsh but surely we all do it? I’m trying so hard to be more honest about these things, to only agree to things I want to do, see people who bring me joy – treat my down time as something special, a currency to be used wisely.

This week an old, old friend of a friend contacted me about meeting up as she’ll be in the country in July. I mean, we’re Facebook friends and everything but the basis of our relationship was always my old best friend, the one I broke up with nearly seven years ago. They were in a relationship and I hung out with them a bit when I lived in Vancouver.

When she contacted me it felt rude to say no even though my first instinct was to ignore her message. She hasn’t done anything wrong. But really all we ever had in common was my OBF and she’s not someone I feel like talking about over a pint any time soon. I’m trying to let go of negativity, not rake it all back up.

But saying no does not come naturally. Anyone else the same? It doesn’t mean I’m selfless or saintly, it’s more that need I have to please everyone. It’s exhausting.

But after a pep talk from my friend Darren, in which he made me see I have the right to leave the past where it is, I told her it wasn’t something that would work for me. I told her I’d moved on and that I had no interest in looking  backwards again. And you know what? The world didn’t implode and she doesn’t hate me. We’re still Facebook friends.

A lesson was learnt in that simple action and I suddenly feel quite strong. I’m learning to let go and give myself what I need. I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to ever again (except go to work). I don’t have to please everybody all the time. There is always a way to be kind but firm about your feelings and it’s a revelation. Aged 40 I’m still learning to be honest.

Now who else can I cancel?! (Kidding).

Ten

What, just chilling over here with my mirr'r
Wha? Just chilling over here with my mirr’r

I didn’t do yesterday’s 101 challenge because I couldn’t find anything that really got me excited. This may have been down to being at work and having time only for a cursory glance over the Community Event Listings.

I am trying to play better, I promise. I’ve found some lovely blogs over the last few weeks. I lieu of the assignment, I am going to study my navel and ponder the fact that my stepson in ten years old today. Ten!

It just doesn’t seem possible that the tiny boy I first met, from whom I so desperately wanted just one sign that he thought I was okay, has grown into a beautiful, fiercely smart and hilarious bigger boy.

He was four when he first came into my life and I will be the first to admit, although I wasn’t against the fact the love of my life had a son, I definitely hadn’t prepared for it. Of course he lives with his mum so it wasn’t as if I’d walked into a scenario where I was expected to be Mum but still. I guess I hasn’t really thought about how I would handle it at all.

My previous relationship had involved two girls from a previous marriage and I cringe when I think how awful I must have been when they came to stay. Not because I was horrible, though I am sure I had my moments, just in that I was so detached for most of my six-year reign that they must have wondered if the lights were even on (They weren’t).

We now all enjoy a good relationship albeit from afar since they are in Derbyshire and I’m here, down South (minus the horrid boyfriend) so something went right in the end, but I think of that time often and would change the way I was then in a heartbeat, if I could.

With B, it was different. He’s a boy for a start, so an alien (or so I thought). His mother is local, so she’s more present in our lives. Which is a good thing for B, of course, to have us all within spitting distance.

You might know this, you might not, but I have never wanted children. All I can say when people ask me why is, “I just don’t”. It’s not a witty retort to the eternally irritating and over personal line of questioning people assume they have the right to use, however, that’s the truth.

But I do love my stepson.

It has taken us both a long time to get to the point we’re at now. It’s taken tears and heartache (mine). Utter bewilderment and slight annoyance (his) but we’re here; both in one piece.

It’s not easy to give your love to a person who is too young to understand it, who only sees things in black and white. Or share your loved one with somebody else, even when you know it’s a completely different kind of love.

I doubt it’s easy to go and see your dad as a child and have to deal with a woman you don’t even know, for that matter.

Now we have a funny kind of dynamic; I play my role of the desperate Step Mom vying for his affection and he gets it, plays along. And when he shows love, or appreciation, or admiration – I die.

Happy birthday B. You’ll likely never read this but this one’s for you, kiddo!

Adult Visions

Prompt via The Daily Post (23rd July 2014)

As a kid, you must have imagined what it was like to be an adult. Now that you’re a grownup (or becoming one), how far off was your idea of adult life?little girl shoes

I always thought that when I finally became an adult, I would feel like one. That hasn’t happened yet.

Perhaps it’s because I don’t own my own house or have a ‘proper’ job. Perhaps it’s because I don’t have children or a car. I don’t know. All I know is that it hasn’t hit me yet.

When I was a kid I don’t know what I expected from life. I was a live in the moment girl (I think). I loved music and dressing up but I didn’t dream of white weddings and horses like many of my peers. I suppose I assumed it would just happen and I would do all the things people were ‘supposed’ to do when the time came.

I have done some of it but most of my decisions in life have not been very sensible. I guess I equate adulthood with being sensible then. Although, I’m casting my mind back and growing up the only adults I really spent time around were my Mum and her cousin, Aunty Sine.

Both these women were my ultimate heroes, even though Mum was terribly uncool at times (guys she’s my Mum, of course she was!). I think I looked to them as such because neither of them needed a man to get through. Their situations were very different but they seemed so Can Do and found strength in each other. I think maybe I found strength in their strength (plus apart from them, I was surrounded by smelly boys and Star Wars toys, so had little choice).

Later on, I did turn to men for the things I thought I needed – but give a girl a break, at least I learnt eventually that’s just a crock of sh*t. Ultimately, the only hero you need to save you, is you. *VOM!*

Despite these two ladies dragging us up by the scruffs of our necks, all by themselves, I wouldn’t describe them as particularly sensible. I remember the bottles of wine once we were in bed, guys… Maybe then, being grown up is about strength; about just getting on and doing life the best way you know how?

I’ve had some cray jobs (dating agency, adult material mail order, turkey plucking), went travelling instead of going to University, fell in love with stupid boys (who hasn’t?). I’ve lived alone (for a bit) in a strange foreign city, accepted a free tattoo from a man who lives in a hut in Thailand; all of these things make up the fabric of my rites of passage and the end result is: I’m still just a kid at heart. Sensible? No, not really, but strong? Better believe it!

The most grown up things about me, to date, are: 1) I always pay my bills on time 2) I’ve committed myself for life to another human being and 3) I’ve filed my own tax returns (in 2010 and 2011).

So, to recap: how far off was my idea of adulthood? Pretty far, I guess.

I though 30 was ancient and I assumed I would have kids because Mum did and so did Sine. I don’t think I actually pictured the man I would end up with (and I like to think that’s because then, I didn’t even want one).

I thought I’d have a better job, maybe something creative like fashion designer or an artist, like Dad (shame I can’t draw for fudge). Beyond that, I don’t think I had the normal expectations. I knew I’d see the world, make friends, be happy.

Guess really, I’m not such a bad non-adult adult after all, huh?

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