This is not written by me, but could be for me….
You chose to give away your love.
You chose to have a broken heart.
You chose to give up.
You chose to hang on.
You chose to react.
You chose to feel insecure.
You chose to feel anger.
You chose to fight back.
You chose to have hope.
You chose to be naïve.
You chose to ignore your intuition.
You chose to ignore advice.
You chose to look the other way.
You chose to not listen.
You chose to be stuck in the past.
You chose your perspective.
You chose to blame.
You chose to be right.
You chose your pride.
You chose your games.
You chose your ego.
You chose your paranoia.
You chose to compete.
You chose your enemies.
You chose your consequences.
However, you are not alone. Generations of women in your family have chosen. Women around the world have chosen. We all have chosen at one time in our lives. We stand behind you now screaming:
Choose to let go.
Choose to forgive yourself.
Choose to forgive others.
Choose to see your value.
Choose to show the world you’re not a victim.
Choose to make us proud.
I can take a very long time to process what I’m feeling. I usually accept with complete equanimity whatever is thrown at me and then it hits me later.
This morning I’ve woken up feeling the weight of everything and I’m numb, tearful, exhausted and have a sore throat. Tonight I’ve got an awards dinner to go to so need to be on sparkling form.
It’s a combination of so many factors.
The year’s work which culminated in such a triumph feels bitter sweet. I have no idea how we top it and I’m not sure I want to try. The industry feels so tied up with the one I love (d). There’s lots to be done now – to tie up the ends on this one and start creating a new one. Lots of small fires smouldering which will turn incendiary if I don’t deal with then now.
Meanwhile I have become a keeper of secrets, a counsellor to those who so wonderfully counselled me and I feel the weight of their unhappiness too.
My friends, so ignored for the first four months of this year whilst I was anxiously awaiting any time at all I could spend with him (Him) are getting irritable – when, when, when … and I’m in overwhelm.
I’m mad at “him”. He’s chosen a life of repression in order to keep the status quo in place. He’s having to stop himself writing, speaking, using twitter; staying away for the night; having a few drinks; he’s accepting no sex, no laughter…. He could have had it all if only he could have been clear. But I need to be clear he’s chosen. He’s chosen. He’s chosen. I get to chose how to be with that.
But worst of all, I feel on the cusp of something work wise. I don’t know how intuition works so effectively but when I was first separated I likened it to being in a chrysalis and I knew I would emerge bigger and brighter than before, that that period of nothingness was ok. Now my intuition tells me that something is going to shift on the work front again – a bigger game. It’s sad because it’s once more on the work front and not romance. Once more all my competences are aligning with no shift in my incompetences. My coach thinks I’m millimetres away from transformation in that area. I think she’s optimistic.
..show off and a bit of a flirt. I love to be the centre of attention, love my friends and colleagues and enjoy watching them flourish. I’m speedy and whilst I look disorganised I can also stay on top of an awful lot of detail..
It turns out I was born to events management.
The first time I ran that event, 3 years ago, I felt like a fraud. I had no idea what I was doing, did not know any of the exhibitors or how to do “snagging” (industry term ;)) This time I utterly owned it.
I created a party last week. Not a trade show, but a party. There were cupcakes and prosecco; audiences with industry celebs; “the wall” challenge, keynote speakers who are genuine celebrities; heart badges; prizes for performance; a catwalk show, new initiatives for women – all alongside the trade show content and legislative updates. Mostly there were lots and lots of happy people; lots of smiles and hugs. We utterly smashed it.
Not everything went to plan, but nothing that didn’t, mattered.
Oh apart from one tiny thing.
I’m also, it transpires, sadly still a bit in love with that man.
I thought he would have made sure he watched his drink intake and had company. He didn’t. Yes there was a small retrograde step, but it did not take me back to square one. There is nothing in the diary at all in front of us now – and we are unlikely to see each other again.
It may be sad but I love my celebrity status in this industry. I loved being tweeted by exhibitors to ask me to pop by their stand for a photo; being stopped in the aisles for hugs; being texted about meeting for cake. My network exploded even further this week.
I have no idea what the next year holds for me, but it’s something bigger work wise.
Men? I must just scare them off. I must just be too much. I promised my coach I’d “be” love and connection this week. I was. But I was also performer, joker, leader. I don’t know what the answer is. I hope one comes my way soon to love me. I really do.
I am a great believer in breakdown for breakthrough. Most of the time I coast along, the odd little attempt at self improvement… But those blockages you are aware of in the background always come to trip you up until they are tackled. It’s like an onion skin – just when you think you’ve peeled it, there’s another layer underneath…
I have thrown the kitchen sink at this grief of mine. My cousin followed up last weeks EMDR with a bout of hypnotherapy this week and something is working. A combination of her work, getting complete with him – and I am complete there is nothing left to say – excitement over next weeks Big Event … And then there was the wall.
Now I’m not the most physical of people but when I heard one of our exhibitors was bringing a 10m climbing wall to the event I thought, how hard can that be? Aside from photographic evidence of my enormous bottom disappearing up it what great PR for the exhibitor and the show if I, of the high heels announce I’m doing it? My colleagues at work and in the industry seemed to think it was a huge joke, so we set up a charity account and already I’ve raised nearly £600.
The problem is, on my two unsupervised practice attempts, I couldn’t actually do it.
Sickness, panic, lack of strength and crucially, no technique. I began to utterly regret my wild promise. Fear at seeing him (I refuse to give him a capital letter any more!) became mingled with fear of humiliating myself at that wall.
Last night I had a real breakthrough in climbing with ease with a fantastic instructor called Jo. He actually offered to come in on his day off and make sure I was really confident. The same day I got asked to write a book ( on a topic I actually know nothing concrete about so had to sadly decline ) also to introduce Karren Brady at our event. It was such a day full of blessings.
The power I feel at succeeding in climbing that wall made me feel powerful about him too.
At night I dreamt I was at his home downstairs talking to his mother (who of course I never met) and he refused to come out of his bedroom.
I woke up feeling a chapter has closed.
I’ve been sleeping like the dead over the last couple of nights and think I may have come to some form of completion. I’m whispering it rather than shouting though, as I thought I was here before…
I could not face one lovely friends 40th birthday party – too much forced gaiety; I cried off instead in order to be cosseted by another old friend who cooked me a roast. In the evening, I was powerfully describing my plans to him and encouraging him to take on his life (he’s single, handsome, almost 50 with a pathological fear of rejection). In the morning he asked me how it felt to be in love. I was weak and tearful as I got present to the promises that man made me – about how I would never have to sleep with anyone else again , how he would look after me. All the things I yearned to hear.
This self pitying streak continued for most of the day. I had been putting off speaking to my parents for weeks for fear of crying and in the end they chased me down. Tearfully describing the promises he had made me to my mum, I said “I just want someone to look after me!”. Her reply was just so unexpected it brought me up short. “I know, but we don’t always get what we want in life do we?”.
This from a mother who has had a world view her whole life that everything has to be perfect;,that settling down is a good and required thing; that any sadness is a bad thing. Hence my tendencies to pull my metaphorical socks up all the time! She went on to say that marriage and settling down isn’t for everyone.
I don’t know why this was so powerful for me but it had the immediate effect of my being able to put him in the past. I’m having friends ask me about how it will be to see him and what he’s up to with his wife, whether I think they will make it work and I just see it as none of my business any more. My best friend who met him said she found him lovely, but ponderous in comparison to me. She thought his weak and indecisive nature would drive me mad. I now see our differences very sharply. Perhaps in me he saw possibility, exoticism and a big life. But having camped out in my life for a while, he discivered he liked his own more local life after all. One interpretation is that I was used. Another that he just got his wings burnt.
Today was another sad day but I took another step closer to completion. I spoke to “him” again this morning – it started as work related and then we had a bigger conversation than we had the previous day about where he is in his head and with his marriage. It was hurtful but I needed to hear it.
One thing he did say which was incredibly helpful. He told me that he had so much respect for what I had caused. He said I had turned a simple trade show into a celebration of the industry we work in – and that is why visitor registrations are so high this year – more than 50% up in fact.
I suddenly got insight again into who I am and what I can cause. I’ve turned one business around, re-invigorated another – and created some focus and excitement for the whole industry. I’ve got a productive, brilliant, supportive and happy team at work. I’m well known and loved by many people.
All this – he acknowledged was problematic for him as a man. He prefers a woman who is smaller than him. His ego struggled. I was struck by the dissimilarities between the adventurous life I’ve led with it’s peaks and troughs, it’s breadth and excitement and his – where he has stayed all his life in one place and is happy there. It’s a small piece of insight into our probable lack of suitability. It all helps. He feels a long way from me now.
I cried a lot on Tuesday night. The EMDR was curiously calming but it did mean bringing up the grief I feel for all my failed love affairs! I felt lonely, hopeless, humiliated and tired.
I spoke to him today so we could plan how we will be with each other in a couple of weeks. I felt numb afterwards, then more grief. He says he is in a much better place (with the implication – than when he was with me). He’s doing a phased return home. I sensed his determination.
It’s a beautiful day today and I felt sick all day then there was a drink with colleagues in the bright sunshine and I suddenly realised I didn’t feel so bad any more.
I finally faced reading an email from my critical friend who likes to provide metaphorical slaps and he said Basta – enough is enough. It’s your choice to stay stuck.
So I am questioning this. Every day I see aphorisms about it being my choice to be happy. And yet for all my avoiding strategies – running around doing things I love – I could not stop the grief seeping out by itself in clenched jaws and involuntary tears and nightmares. I wonder sometimes if there isn’t a process to go through and that you can’t tell someone just to pull their socks up.
From all I’ve read too much emotion spills over from a chemical reaction in the amygdala and by working on other parts of the brain you can start to control that. Rightly or wrongly, I don’t just want to push this experience under the carpet, but want to use it to ensure that I put myself in a position to attract the right kind of man and to have a truly fulfilling partnership next time around. That means I need to process it properly. Or does it. Who knows?
However I have to say that his little quote at the end did give me reason to smile, inspired me and I will plaster it everywhere
‘Basta, I’m not doing this anymore! This is not who I am.’ and move on….
Where my dear friend is right of course is that whilst there is a process, it truly is not the best idea to wallow .
However I have to say I am starting to bore myself – and that has to be a good sign;)
Yesterday evening, on the sofa, I had a proper big wailing type of crying session. I realised yesterday that I am dealing with this in a similar way to the way I dealt with my marriage breakup. I felt in both cases that I had suffered enough during it and that now it was over I didn’t want to suffer any more.
In the case of my marriage that resulted in a kind of numb stupor which I finally gave way to after six months of no tears and still acted like everything was fine. This lack of acknowledgement of what was really going on, which when I think of it, is a thread through my life, ultimately resulted in a year of throat infections wherein i regularly lost my voice.
This time I have dived into busyness. Tried new things, worked some stuff out about myself, started campaigning, done all the things which make me happy. And the results have been on several occasions I’ve thought I was almost over it and on several occasions I’ve been inspired and happy.
But 6 weeks in, my teeth and jaws are so clenched that I am developing migraines. Every time I think of how it will be to see him I have to fight back tears no matter who I’m with.
Yesterday I looked up stress related bruxism (teeth grinding). It’s no surprise to see that it is symptomatic of “avoidance” methods of dealing with stress and anxiety. Hence the decision last night to let some of it out.
Tonight I’m driving with my poor daughter down to my cousin with her new EMDR specialism to see if I can start getting clear. If I feel no better on Wednesday I am calling him to see if we can meet before hand.
How many times have I sensed something has shifted, only to be back at square one or two?
I spent the weekend with my life-enhancing new french friend and it was a true mix of happiness and sadness.
I was back in the town where my marriage started – I have not been back for 8 years – and was overwhelmed with a sense of nostalgia for dreams of a forever life together. I realise I struggle between my nomadic and settling tendencies. My life has had so many beginnings with implied adventure and excitement, but also endings which are usually sad.
Usually I can just be grateful and excited for the opportunities life has afforded me. I’ve lived in many different places, traveled widely, experienced many things – some of which made me cry with gratitude and joy. But a key part of my relationship with him – and his life is not at all like that – was the vision of settling down, of finally resting somewhere for good and building together. It would have been a much quieter life, but I wanted that. I wonder which is the chicken and which the egg? Has not finding that person to share my life with turned me into a nomad or am I just not someone who will ever really settle?
During the weekend I was struck with flashbacks to the good parts of our relationship. Walks in the country, overnights in a B&B, the time he called me a lady and I told him I didn’t like that and the whole pub laughed. I wondered and wondered – how far can he put all that away entirely? Does he put it down to a period of madness? Does he blame me for what happened? My french friend says I need answers from him. I don’t know; I know well enough now that what he feels today is not necessarily how he feels tomorrow. That what he says is not necessarily what he does. That reading the runes in terms of a hat he is and isn’t capable of, or will ultimately do, is not something I have in my power. Nor I suspect does he.
I’m afraid of meeting him at my very important big event and crying. My emotions are so close to the surface it is a real risk.
My cousin through my ex husband practices something called EMDR. It’s recommended by NICE for post traumatic stress disorder. She’s just had a further training session and says it is brilliant for clearing ordinary issues too. She has convinced me that in a couple of sessions she can get me to a place where the emotions around him are gone. I’m going to try this and if that doesn’t work I will have to ask him if we can meet before hand . I don’t want to have to ask. Partly because I’m ashamed of the feelings I still have, also because he will have promised his wife not to and I don’t want to put him in that position.