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Posts Tagged ‘woman’

Early morning found me standing alone – again – on the lawn, waiting for the sleepy January sun. It seemed like a meaningful gesture to go out and seek the dawn on New Year’s Day; I was not disappointed. The wind had dropped, the garden had somehow gathered its strength and appeared cool and quietly potent in the chill moonlight, a deep calm spreading with the shadows from the settling beech trees.

I have weathered a storm. Not gracefully, it’s true, but I feel like I have shaken off the old pain with the old year and woken with a bad headache but a remembrance of who I used to be, who I could perhaps be again. Has rejection forced me to turn to what I have left – myself? Or am I just a typically contrary woman, changeable as last night’s gale, spinning the weathervane of emotion till I am dizzy?

Well I’m steady today at least, and I face the new day with the will to make a resolution. There are confident, brave and ambitious souls out there making lists – long lists! – of resolutions, but I don’t have the strength to write a bucket list, let alone walk around with its weight on my shoulders, so just one wish for this princess.

Resolution is such a resonant word; it can be passed as a formal expression of opinion, it means determination, it can be used to mean promise, we can resolve and be resolute. So much in this one word.

So this is my resolution for New Year, my promise to myself; to be resolute, to find resolution, to go where this journey has to take me, to find and to be myself – today, tomorrow, whatever.

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Last night I got very drunk, today I will be so, so sorry; I will probably read this and be very sorry indeed. But we all need a break and it doesn’t look like one is coming my way any time soon so I have taken the easy option for now; a bottle of wine, a lot of crying and a night of self pity and oblivion. Happy New Year.

I have tried so hard. I have been understanding, I have been patient. I have made myself as near what he wants as I can be. I was so pretty and I smelled divine and I kissed him – and he held me a little too firmly by the arms and said no, behave.

No, behave.

The Samaritans, he told me, have a support group for despondent men and my despondent husband is part of that. This dreadful disclosure filled me with guilt and pain for him – until he explained how he has to remain in control to ‘manage the damage’. Then I realised that it is this control which is orbiting our marriage like a cold, ominous Death Star, crushing it with restraint and fear and threat.

I’m alone and desperate and drunk enough to fall down. The Samaritans intervention on one side of this relationship has left me unchampioned and alone, their support system has creating a monster, giving an implacable justification to the distance, the denial, and the cruelty of everything he does; permitting him to step back and abandon me, to save himself rather than our marriage.

From somewhere nearby I can hear Kermit and Miss Piggy singing ‘Love led us here’ … Ha Ha.

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New Year’s Eve is surely the loneliest day of the year. What to do this morning but stand alone on the miserable, windswept plains at Year’s End and look backwards on desolation, or strain tear-stung eyes into the gale to catch a glimpse of an empty, awful future? Behind me, the virgin mistletoe hangs withered and dry, the Christmas cupboards are bare, the Yule fire lies cold ash. The present is bleak and comfortless.

Yes, today I am sad, and more than sad; a night lying awake with my partner’s snoring ringing in my ears and my head ringing from that knock has left me too much time to think. I am overwhelmed with sorrow and regret – the things not done, the things I will never do, the many things I wish undone, all crowd my thoughts until no room for positive thoughts remain.

I know I should raise my head proudly to look into this rising sun and visualise my future, to remind myself that I have within me all I need to achieve my dreams; I am a burgeoning seed waiting for the promising spring, a sleeping flower waiting for the warmth of a helpful sun. But I have woken from the comfort of my dreams into a harsh reality, and as I stand on the porch watching a stern, grey day break over the exhausted, wind-whipped garden, I cry.

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We are discussing the fact that he wants to watch a war film and I would like to flip channel to catch a weather report. A polite, quiet conversation – I see no signs, I miss any warning – yet suddenly he is roaring, the tv remote flies across the room and punches into the wall behind me, some sharp thing rapping his message against my head as it explodes.

Stunned, speechless, reduced to nothing, I stare as he breaks from the room, far from silent now and looking both wild and shocked. I am left alone in the debris, thrown back into my memories; a child standing on a lonely staircase at Christmas, listening to a man’s anger and a woman’s tears. I hug my fear to myself, holding tight to how very much I do not want to be that child again, and how entirely ill-equipped I feel to be this woman.

Ever helpful, Google tells me how new figures today show that one in eight emergency calls made to the police relate to domestic violence. The pressures and privacy of Christmas increase the likelihood of violence in the home for too many of us, with at least one in four women falling victim to abuse. A badly aimed tv remote hardly counts as abuse, but I feel the blow to my confidence as sharply as the knock from the broken remote. And I wonder, if we are failing so obviously to communicate, if we are losing control of this situation, what next?

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Silence; not the deep, reverential hush of a religious moment, not the crisp, sparkling quiet of a midwinter midnight, surely not the snug, safe content of a happy family curled up on a holiday sofa. Only silence; cold, numb, unfathomable.

There are no words to describe this lack of words or the fear it brings as I blunt my dreams against its senseless mass. I want to press my hands into the holly, hold my fingers in the candle flames, just to prove that there is still pain, still life and so perhaps, still hope.

When we are alone together there are so very many things not to talk about that the weight of the unspoken words crowd in on us, the silence presses my face with ugly hands, grimy with guilt and the bitter reek of the past. I want to scream, to fight; do something to tear open this silence which is the exhaust of all the words ever spoken. It chokes my lungs and I suffocate, hour by hour, in a horrible ecstasy of unspoken regret.

Into my heart an air that kills

From yon far country blows:

What are those blue remembered hills,

What spires, what farms are those?

That is the land of lost content,

I see it shining plain,

The happy highways where I went

And cannot come again.

AE Housman

Speakers tend to chant these lines as a comfortable elegy, but for me the words are filled with despair, anger and finality.

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I sent him a text.

‘I’ve just realised that it doesn’t matter. I’m not able to do Christmas, it’s too sad and pointless. I have to go home.’

‘Oh dear’, he replied.

 

He phoned me.

‘Do you realise that I tried to tell you months ago how I felt, but I couldn’t make you listen, that I needed something to change, that it wasn’t working? I have done what I had to, to protect myself, to make a life for myself. You can’t expect me to give that up, to trust you and make myself open to rejection again because you’re lonely at Christmas.

I don’t want to be rejected any more, to have to put up with being hurt any more, to just wait for you like before. I can’t go there again and I don’t know how I feel now; I need some space.

Yes, it feels safer to talk about it like this, by phone, but I’m not able to give you what you’re asking for at the moment.

I have to be in a meeting in ten minutes.’

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It’s nearly Christmas. Somehow I have managed to almost forget, but now the clock is ticking on another challenge to make-it-all-perfect-like-on-the-tv and as I stand in the supermarket I realise that I don’t care, I really don’t care. Not an ‘oh, whatever, anything will do’ sort of lackadaisical carelessness but a frightening deep inability to engage at all with tins of chocolate biscuits, luxury stuffing mix, and bath bubbles for Grandma.

For a few moments I stand in a sort of stunned limbo, a disavowing island in a swirling torrent of trolley-pushing believers. Then I leave, stagger somehow back to the car, and stand purposelessly in the freezing air, frozen more by the enormity of what I have thought.

For my whole life I have believed in the importance, the essentialness, of Christmas, have devoted myself to making Christmas all it should be for the people around me; but this year I don’t care.

I wish I could say that I feel liberated. The truth is that I am unmoored from the things which gave my life shape and meaning, I am adrift and lost and purposeless and loveless.­­

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