Years ago, I had a couple who were friends of mine. Actually, they’re still friends of mine and married now… But this story is set 20 years ago and they were dating. 

He and I would argue. Two headstrong people refusing to back down. Who knows what we argued about. Anything and everything. Back when we were young and new the black and whiteness of life. 

He would tell my friend she had to choose. Him or me. So she would sneak out, telling him she was out with other friends, and we would only see each other every other day rather than every day. 

And I would be fed up… Sometimes furious… Because as I would tell get over and over, I would never ask her to choose. 

Friendship isn’t based on maybes. It’s not a case of – I’ll love you forever, but only if you do and say what I want… I don’t place criteria on my friendships. Actually, I do… Don’t set out to hurt me or the ones I love. But that’s it. 

We no longer argue, this guy and I. Maturity, world weariness, acceptance of differences… Who knows. He still occasionally irks me and I’m sure I infuriate him… But we let it slide. 

And I find, as the years fly by faster and faster, that I no longer have the energy to fight for people to stay in my life when they don’t want to. I want them here. That is a certainty. But I have learned, my greatest lesson thus far, that you cannot make someone love you the way you want them to, no matter how much you desperately want it… And that even though they don’t love you the way you want them to, it doesn’t mean they don’t love you with everything they have… So I accept their words. I accept their heart. But I don’t have the energy to fight with them to stay if they really want to go. 

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I started to write this to a friend… I speak to him every single day. He’s currently going through a marriage breakup, and I try to be there for him… because I know how it feels to have noone at the end of each and every day… just someone to talk to and rant to and pour those crazy feelings out to…

We’ve known each other for over 20 years now… We met in a club – my friend was picking him up (for me) because she thought he was cute. That’s what we did. We’d go out. She was in a long term relationship and I was single. So she’d find guys and pick them up on my behalf… The best kind of wingman! 🙂

Anyway… he and I talk daily at the moment, and a couple of days ago, I made a flippant remark about having a 17 year old who had to confess she couldn’t drive because she wasn’t sure she had a zero alcohol level after a party the night before, and a 14 year old who at least gets his weed from his friend’s parents, so at least I know it’s not laced with Ice… It was a flippant remark about not taking any parenting advice from me, unless it was to tell him how I’d screwed up…

He was stunned… but he tempered it down to a ‘surprised’… And it struck me… we don’t talk about our kids. Not really… He knows my marriage was very ordinary, and he’s heard moments from it, but he doesn’t know the extent… and I haven’t told him… So he knows it wasn’t great… but he knows nothing about the rest of the dramas in my life… and not many people do… I think it’s actually one of the things I enjoy about our chats though – it’s his dramas and none of mine – just a few odd commiserations and similar stories to divulge…

And then, this evening, my sister messaged me out of the blue… and we texted a few messages back and forth… real messages… We haven’t spoken in over a year. There was a time when we were incredibly close, but the last few years have been strained…. and finally, it just wasn’t pleasant talking any more… So tonight we chatted, and she finished by telling me she loves and misses me… and I couldn’t say it back.. because it would be a lie…

So I’m left wondering… I know I compartmentalise – far too well some days… I can talk about things that have ripped my heart out, as if I have no emotions involved at all. So perhaps that comes across at times… but then I wondered, after talking to my sister, a thought I have had a lot over the last couple of years… Is something inside me simply broken? Am I just so used to being hurt and discarded and betrayed by those I love the most, that I have built so many walls and there’s no longer any windows… Or am I in fact in a better place, where I just don’t have time, energy or inclination for those that drain me… even those I love….

So my message to my friend was about me…. my children… my dramas…

I know I sometimes may seem too flippant, too abrupt, too unfeeling… but in fact, the opposite is true… I feel far too deeply and I care far too much for the people I love. I am that friend that will drop everything and turn up on your doorstep if you need me. I am that friend who will drop everything and appear with food, wine and a night of my undivided attention when life just seems too impossible. I am that friend you can call when you’re broken down at 3am on the side of the road 3 hours from me, and I will get in my car and be there. I am that mother who leaves a dinner to drive my daughter’s friends home from a party, to 6 different addresses taking me over an hour, just to know they are safe. I am that friend who will pack up a new baby as I’m still talking to you on the phone, and have begun the 4 hour trip to your house when you ring and tell me your husband has just walked out the door after 26 years because he’s now in love with someone else. And I am that friend who will leave my phone volume on so you can call or text and wake me at 3am when you’re feeling alone.

And I am the mother who will leave my phone on all night and sit up talking to my 14 year old about nonsense, convinced he is doing it simply because he hates the world and knows how exhausted I am… so he wants me to hurt and to suffer too… and I am that mother who needs to believe that a part of him just needs me to prove that I do love him, and that staying awake, somehow for him, proves that… and never quite knowing if this is the night that he NEEDS me to talk to him…

And I am the mother who stays awake until 2 and 3 in the morning to get my child off the bus, the mother who drives my child’s friends home when they all descend from a bus with no parents to collect them…

Ha… I am simply singing my own merits… but I am that person. My skin is not as thick as people think it is. Words shatter my soul. Accusations that I am not the friend that is needed, destroy me… no matter how mild the comment. Yes, this is my issue, not yours…

So, I could not write that to my friend after all… and I tried again…

The last few years have been hard… more than hard… I left the marriage from hell, but I didn’t realise that the aftermath was so much worse… another friend going through a nasty divorce told me the other day, on the eve of his court case, that if he’d known, two years ago when he left, that he would have to endure the last couple of weeks, he wouldn’t have left. His ex has destroyed his life in every way she has known how, and he still would not have left… Yet for me, I could never have undone it. Never, even for a heartbeat, have I regretted leaving. I simply regret not leaving earlier. I regret what I have put my kids through. I regret knowing I can’t undo the damage.

So I have the ex from hell… although, to be fair, most of the time he stays away now. Someone told me it’s because our son now lives with him, so he has to be around all the time and play the doting dad and husband to the new family. Perhaps… But he leaves us alone for the most part. He’s still manipulative and that still infuriates me, but the intimidation and threats have stopped…

My 17 year old is in her last year of school. We have always had a great relationship, but cracks are showing at the moment… I could be completely off base, but I think she resents the horror she’s had to live with, and she blames me for a large part of it… But she won’t talk to anyone, not even her friends have ever been party to what she has been through… Bottling it up… Eventually, the cork will pop though…

My 14 year old has so many issues, I’m not even sure where to start. He’s happier where he is than he has been for a long time… but the last 2 years have been hell. The violence. I can’t explain the violence. How can you? How can you tell people that in November, he grabbed a glass from the kitchen sink. I grabbed his wrist as he tried to smash it. He screamed at me to let him go so he could smash it and cut my throat and watch me bleed to death… and how do I tell people that it took me back to my own mother pointing a knife at me and telling me she just wanted to stab me in the heart and watch me die… How do you tell people that this is the child that lies and steals and hurts… that would walk past his sister and punch her in the face… or destroy everything in her bedroom… that he annihilates everyone with words… and when the words run out, he uses his fists or feet or whatever he can get his hands on… How do you tell people of the nights, so many nights, of sitting awake, terrified that he would decide tonight was the night he would stab everyone in their beds… How do you tell of never, ever being able to leave him with the others because he would look you straight in the eye and say to you – you can leave them, but I can’t guarantee I won’t kill them… How do you say all these things and so many others to anyone…

How do you tell people of the days and nights you have spent hours on the phone talking him down from wherever he is at. From killing himself to killing everyone in his house to killing everyone at school. That when he stood here bleeding on my couch from the fresh slashes on his arms, all I could think to say, in irritation, was – don’t get blood on my couch… Of the tears I finally shed when the blood wouldn’t stop flowing and the look of satisfaction mingled with disgust as he saw… His words – this is because of you… Of the times now when he will Facetime me to show the cuts aren’t too deep… How do you explain how it feels to see your child’s arms and legs from 400km away, on a tiny screen… to not be able to reach out to him, to have absolutely no idea what to say to him, to not b able to stop it or fix it… Or that now – I’m not cutting anymore mum, you’ll be happy…. so what are you doing instead? Oh, I do smileys… A smiley is with the cigarette lighter – you burn yourself… Burns are deeper, they leave scars, they’re easier to get infected… But hey mum, I’ve stopped cutting like you wanted… so you don’t have to worry I’ll cut too deep anymore… Or do I tell of him picking fights with the most frightening of people he can find, wanting one of them to finally snap… or dangling from the roof of a 4 storey building by his hands… or smoking cigarettes and weed and drinking anything they can get their hands on… or… where do I start, and where do I finish…

Or perhaps i try to explain the bit that absolutely no-one understands… of the four kids… THIS is the one I thought would never leave… This is the one who was in counselling from before the marriage ended, trying to help him cope with the destructive relationship he had with his father… This is the child who has always needed that extra bit of love… this is the child who begged me to let him live with me forever, who couldn’t stand sleepovers because he had to sleep in the same house as me, who wanted both our ashes ultimately spread over the ocean so we could travel the world forever, together… and then he left. As simple as that… well, not quite… first, he made our lives hell. He did everything he could to make me hate him… because he doesn’t believe anyone does love him, should love him… At one point, broken, sobbing, I shrieked at him – what have I ever done? What have I ever done that is so bad, you could hate me this much? His reply… You gave birth to me. You’re the reason I’m alive… How do you explain this to yourself? Let alone to someone else…

Or do I talk about the 9 year old, so hell bent on keeping the peace she will tell anything at all they want to hear, and do anything at all to stop an argument… regardless of the consequences. The child who goes into meltdown if you even look at her too crossly…

Or the 8 year old who has an amazing analytical brain, but still can’t read and write… who refuses to eat anything other than 6 basic foods… whose behaviour is escalating… and we’re about to embark on the merry-go-round of specialists to find out what is going on, and what we need to do about it…

Or do I talk about me… and my exhaustion… Do we talk about the fact that very few people will still love you at your worst, they’ll just complain when you don’t love them at theirs. They won’t hear the words you say or the words you don’t say… they’ll only hear the perceived hurts you’ve inflicted… Do you try to explain this to them? Or do you realise that it just doesn’t matter… Do I tell them that 2 months ago, I walked into a doctor’s surgery for a pap smear, and walked out with a bunch of referrals and suspected problems, where the broken toe was the best of the bunch… That the lump in the breast turned out to be nothing, they think, but we’ll keep an eye on it just in case, because it might be deep seated or too small… or the skin cancer that they THINK they got all of, but lets do regular checks for the rest of your life in case we missed a bit and it spreads…. or the uterus that they can’t actually find any cause for, but isn’t cervical cancer like my best friend died of a year ago (and do I tell that? The endless loss… the phone in my hand to call… or of going back finally to visit recently, and for the first time ever, she wasn’t there…), but they can tell me that the average uterine wall is 3mm at the start of the period, and mine was already 17mm a week afterwards… but they don’t have a reason, just that my body is giving up on me… or the low iron that should rectify when the blood loss is sorted, but that is currently leaving me drained, tired and emotional… or about the high blood pressure and low pulse rate that apparently means my heart is not working effectively… Do I tell them all this… just to have them ‘fix’ it by telling me it can all be fixed with surgery and medication… but none validate how I am feeling. None understand that I don’t have the time or energy to fix my own failings, when it is all needed to hold together my children…

Or do I talk about the fact that I have worked and studied forever… That for years, I have either worked two jobs, or worked and studied simultaneously. All with kids underfoot. All whilst being heavily involved in the life of a country town. Secretary of swim club and soccer, registrar and recorder for little athletics… Involved in every major event in the town and half the smaller ones… traveling constantly for the children – school, sport, family… Until finally, a couple of years ago, I started to stop… I left the country town, I stopped being involved, I stopped travelling, I stopped working two jobs, I stopped studying, and finally, I stopped working at all. I simply… stopped.

Which part of the story do I tell… Because when I start to tell the story… I lose track of the pieces… because there are so many… and when I try to gather them, I realise… I don’t want to tell them my story. I don’t want to share the pieces. I don’t want the judgment. I don’t want the opinions. I don’t want the solutions…

This was the other thing I had tried to explain to this friend… He was saying how lonely he feels… Anyone who has ended a marriage, or anyone who should end their marriage, knows it… that deep seated loneliness… where you just want someone to snuggle with on the couch, no more… someone who wants to know how your day was… someone to make you chicken soup when you are sick… someone who cares that you are being ridiculous… someone who listens to all the boring bits, simply because they are important to you… So we know how that loneliness feels… the knowledge that even though you might be there with the person you have married, they’re not the right person… and you miss the warmth of being with someone you love…

But i am passed that stage… I am okay with my own company… For me, I want someone who makes me a priority. Someone who believes that my happiness matters more than their own, because I will believe theirs matters more than mine. Someone to hear about the boring bits of my day, to hear the stories from my past, to listen to the inane thoughts that traipse through my mind… I want that…

But even more… if I went back in time… the thing I would choose first, for the father of my children, is a man who will love them more than he loves himself. A man who will place their welfare before his own comfort.

Because that is the part that is hardest at the end of some days… Someone who loves them all as I do… someone to occasionally do the hard parts of parenting… to occasionally be the bad cop… to sometimes argue with them to go to bed, to clean their teeth, to eat their damned dinner… Someone to fight with them about whatever drama and meltdown occurs this time… Just someone to occasionally pick up the slack… someone to say to me – hey, you’re doing okay… you’re not the worst mother in the world… and it’s okay… Just that. It’s okay…

Feel like I’ve been dealt a few punches today… Still trying to catch my breath from the last one :/

FB. The dreaded friend/ unfriend thing. 

I’ve been culling. Massively culling. I’ve gone from over 400 at Xmas to 142 at the moment, and more still to go. 

I don’t have 142 friends. I don’t have any interest in the lives of 142 people. 

But I’d forgotten something important…

Other people do have that interest. 

So… I apparently hurt someone I was once friends with. I don’t even know her phone number anymore. We haven’t spoken in a couple of years. I have absolutely no real idea what happens in her life… And she has no idea what happens in mine. Other than the superficial FB lives of course… I’ve had her on ‘restricted’ since Xmas and she hadn’t said a word… Until I unfriended her… And she noticed immediately :/

Now, if someone unfriends me, I usually think – fair call… Unless it’s family – and then it’s usually the latest drama… But I have no family on FB anymore – I deleted them in the first cull 😉 

What I definitely don’t do, is contact them and rant about how hurt and devastated I am… How I didn’t think they were that kind of person… How they’re stunned I could think so little of them… Etc etc etc… 

The whole time, my conscience was saying – she was once a good friend, she’s a nice person, she’s one of those fragile types…. But the other 95% of me was thinking – I don’t see the pint of this conversation, I don’t need this negativity, we’re not friends anymore, I’m not here for your who… And… I just don’t care. 

But I listened to my conscience and tried to assuage the damaged ego. Several times. Finally saying – I can’t undo the past, I didn’t mean to hurt you, I’ve sent you a friend request which you’ve refused… What else do you need? 

Okay… The last part may have negated the rest of the conversation… But I truly don’t care. We’re not friends. We no longer have things in common. I’m not interested in being friends. 

But… Maybe I could have timed it better… I’m visiting the small town where she (and so many of these other people I’ve unfriended) lives… :/

  
 Sometimes, I stop and remember what matters most in my life. Exactly 20 years ago, some of these people shared the same moment of clarity with me. They threw me my first ever birthday party. My only one really. I’ve had gatherings, but not an actual party thrown by other people. Some of them were here again last night. Food… Wine… Love and laughter…

And that moment of clarity…. THIS is what matters. This, and only this. 

Hail on a flat tin roof…

and I miss you…

but my brain flits, and now I miss a different you…

and I think of all the yous that have disappeared and I wonder..

Do I really miss you? Or am I missing the memory of who I thought you were? The illusion I created. The person I desperately wanted you to be…

Do you miss me? Or am I too just an illusion I created?

I meet new people, but I am tired of forming new friendships… forging connections… creating illusions…

Thunder and lightening… and I miss you…

50 Things I’ve Learned In The Year Since My Best Friend Died

lolamyers1. People say, “Tomorrow is not guaranteed” for a reason. 2. People will tell you to “be strong.” Being strong doesn’t mean keeping a stiff upper lip. Being strong means finding a reason to keep going. Find your reasons. 3. You have to find the humor in it yourself, nobody can do that for you.…

http://thoughtcatalog.com/jessica-seburn/2015/10/50-things-ive-learned-in-the-year-since-my-best-friend-died/
This says so much of it so well… Those moments… Especially when you least expect it… I still can’t delete her from my media or phone… And there are still days I pick up that phone and start to call… And really, I don’t know that I ever want that day to come when I finally just stop… 

Today has been hard… and perhaps it is simply that I am sick and I am tired so it’s all just getting to me a little more… but right now, this is one of the lowest moments I’ve had in the last two weeks…

And I can’t pinpoint why. I don’t think he’s cut since Saturday. The mental health team finally rang today to confirm meetings for two weeks time. So in theory…

But it’s exhausting. He blocked me on FB. It seems to be the week for it – another friend did the same the other day because apparently I offended him (it was a misunderstanding… but he hasn’t unblocked me yet….). My son has blocked me on purpose. Because he hates me. Because it bothers me. Because he can.

He has spent the evening wired… too much exercise? He mowed the lawn for money – took almost two hours. Went for a walk to the shop to spend it on sugar though… But still, that’s the longest he’s been out of the house since he got here…

Then he came home and started on his siblings. Niggling… then full on abuse… I hate them… they should F*&^ off… I wish they’d die… often just said at them… and still they follow him… because he has always been this angry, and even though they don’t like when he is angry, they still love him and want to spend time with him…

And it wears me out…

So I tell him to stop or I will take the Internet away… his gadgets… and he tells me then he’ll stab me while I sleep… and even though I don’t think he will… there’s that part of me that wonders – is today the day that he does finally snap? Because those gadgets are his outlet and his sanity… but there is nothing else to take away… no other punishment… and there is no reasoning because he hates me so he won’t listen….

and I am sick – although apparently no-one cares and they all just wish I’d hurry up and die so they can all be happy finally…

And yes, I know he is hurting and angry and that he is lashing out wanting to hurt the world as much as he is… but I am hurting too… and some days, quite selfishly, it feel that I am not allowed to do that… that the focus is 100% on this completely messed up teenager… and I do get that… but can’t I just be sad too? Can’t I be over it? Can’t someone just send me that hug and that shoulder to cry on? Because it’s such a long, long journey ahead….

But this is just self pity… because I am blessed to have amazing people in my life who do check in with me every now and then and make sure I’m okay… but still… sometimes that just seems so long ago and so far away…