Babysteps: Why I started this blog…

I started this blog because my life has ended up very different to how I expected it would a few years ago. I needed a way to try and process that. I couldn’t afford more therapy so I figured a healthy idea would be to write down my feelings to get them out of my system.

Some days I wake up and think maybe it was all just a bad dream. On Christmas Eve 2015,  my husband of only 4 months decided he wasn’t ready for marriage after all. It didn’t seem possible when only the day before that, he’d been telling me he loved me and given me a bracelet engraved with our wedding date and ‘always and forever.’  Now here I was and this was it, after 5 years of investing my love and energy in the belief that my future was with this man that I adored, it all just disappeared before my very eyes.  Everything I had known, believed and hoped for was suddenly no longer true. It completely broke me.

I don’t know who I became but it was not someone I had ever been before. I had too much hurt, anger and shock raging in my veins to even contemplate what to do. I absolutely could have killed him and then something in me just clicked and I realised he wasn’t worth spending my life in prison for. Somehow I’m alive to tell the tale which probably sounds awfully melodramatic if you haven’t been left before, but if you have, you’ll know the feeling of abandonment I’m talking about. A part of me definitely died that day. A part of me that I think I might never get back.

The last 18 months has been some sort of attempt at trying to piece back together and rebuild a life.  There have been countless hurdles but many small victories. Some days are easier than others. I remind myself every day that I am loved by my family and friends and blessed in many ways and this in itself is a long way from the worthless void of a person I became 18 months ago. She did not know her worth. She was broken and empty.  I know I am strong, so much stronger than I thought but every once in a while I get tired of being strong. The weariness escapes through, and that’s okay. I’ve realised that we need to hurt in order to grow, but to make the pain worthwhile we must learn  the lessons life is giving us.

First things first, please don’t think this is an intentional pity party! I think if you’ve never experienced heartbreak you are probably not going to relate to anything I am saying so please just be compassionate as sharing my most painful life experience is scary and raw. I do not intend to play victim and I do not wish to be defined by a heartbreaking experience. I know we all go through shit in some form.  But I think it’s so important to share real experiences and to be open about hard times. I started this blog just as a way to get some of my thoughts out of my head. They were so exhausting.  A counsellor recommended writing down feelings as a great way of healing from traumatic experience.

For some reason, anytime I tried to put pen to paper it was just impossible to know where to start. I don’t think any of it made sense to me and if I tried to make it make sense I would just end up doubting myself and feeling even worse….  I think I was afraid to write it down because it made it more real. Things came to a head and I decided enough was enough. I knew that there was no shortcut to the healing process  but above all else I was entirely fed up of feeling so utterly shit. I was willing to do anything to feel like I was making some sort of progress.  Even if they were babysteps.

So on the first day of 2017, I reflected that I wanted 2017 to be nothing like the year before. I was starting to realise things about my grief , and what I was learning through hurting, was worth writing down. Partly so I can avoid ever going through this again but also so that when I next faced adversity I knew that suffering didn’t mean the end of the world, it just meant a learning curve and a journey to find what needs to be learnt from every experience, good and bad. I’m kind of hoping this may help me in the future, to be proud of the adversity I’ve faced and survived, to remember to always expect the unexpected but more importantly to always be thankful every step of the way.

I started writing this privately but I have since experienced first hand the power in sharing real life experiences openly and think it can be empowering both to the writer and to people reading. If sharing my pain and experiences helps even one single person feel that they are not alone, stops them giving up, or lets someone out there know another human being feels the same as them, then that would make it worthwhile.

Have courage, dear heart.

Lauren x

Null and Void

I don’t really want to write this but I promised myself I would write. Even on the bad days. So much anxiety and loss of self esteem surrounds the demise of my marriage. In my swirling head sometimes I hear people’s minds working…… “What’s the matter?” they ask themselves. “Why is she still sad? Surely she can’t still love him.” So I put on this facade, this simulated smile on my face because I wouldn’t want anyone to think I’m just miserable and ungrateful.

I wish I knew how to make them understand. Make them see that I’m not just being miserable and ungrateful. I’m just not all here. Part of me has been, literally, destroyed.

Some might think I should just be able to move on.  I have frustratedly urged myself to do just that, but it only showed me I was no where near ready to and that if I forced it, I would only self destruct. I wish I could just walk away and not look back but I guess that’s just not me.

It’s not as simple as just saying goodbye. How do you say goodbye to what was the most important thing in your life? To what you loved the most. When you’re all of a sudden told that what once felt like the best thing you ever did is now null and void. It makes ME feel null and void.

The definition of ‘Null’- invalid, associated with the value zero. To cancel out.

The definition of ‘Void’-  ineffectual; useless:completely empty; Free from; lacking.

So now can you see? Regardless of what I tell myself, how I pep myself up. I still come back to that nothingness.  390 days in and the void just seems to get bigger and bigger.

 

With love,

I will never understand how you could say those words. Write those vows. Make those promises. Invest so much of your love in hopes and dreams then rip it all right out of my hands.

There went the rug beneath my feet. There came the walls of my world crashing down. Because I was foolish enough to build my world around you. Well I will never make that mistake again.

So now, strangely I can no longer call you my love, my darling, my husband. I can only call you a traitor. For I have never known betrayal like this. There is no pain like this. You are now only somebody that I used to know, or maybe I never knew you at all.That’s the worst part. Questioning every ounce of who you were. The man I loved.  The man I can’t just stop loving overnight even if I want to. Was he real at all? Or just a creation of my hopeful imagination.

Almost as if from outside my own body, I observe myself deliberating whether to hate you fiercely or love you always. If I let hate win, then it devours all the happiness we had, all the memories and special things between us. Yet if I let love win, then that also destroys me, because here I am , living without you. I don’t know how. One day you’re here, next you’re gone. Everything’s gone. And how do you go about loving a gaping hole left in your life?

So the battle ensues. A love hate relationship with my inner self, with my memories. The emotions battling it out. They think they know what’s best for me. Both equally determined to claim victory. Me not wanting or having ever wanted to be a victim. Wondering what on Earth I could have done to deserve this. Watching all the pieces of my broken self scattered around me and simply not knowing where to start with putting them all back together.

I choose love. But not for you anymore. For myself. For those who love me. They say I cannot stay somewhere I don’t belong and I tried so hard to belong there but it was out of my hands. So when I think of you, I will think of love because that’s all I ever did. Showed you love. I will remember that I did not quit my marriage. I fought with blood, sweat and tears to save my marriage, before eventually deciding to save myself.

 

Hope…

I’m sat here trying to figure out why sometimes, even when I really want to, I can’t bring myself to sit and write about how I’m feeling. Because it is beyond explanation. But I often wonder whether these are the times that I need to write most and whether I should just force myself to get it out into the open. Maybe if I could see it there in words it would be satisfied and go away. Would the act of writing out my thoughts bring to light the answers. What am I even asking? Sometimes it all seems like such a vague mess I think that there’s no point in writing, but maybe I could write it into some sort of sense.

I feel so scarred by the experiences of the last year. Some days I seem to function well, to put on a smile and make it through the day without falling apart at the seems. I wish I knew the formula for it but it just seems to happen.

Other days, well those scars seem to throb, to burn, to drag me down like huge weights on my back and then the hurt just gushes in like water surrounding me and it’s overwhelming,  helplessly watching myself drown in a sea of sadness. I don’t want to be here like this, I don’t want to feel heavy and broken. Dizzily, sinking under into the abyss, I get so lost under those waves it feels as though I might never get out alive.

Somehow though, I do make it out. And this is not the sort of trauma that you visibly see so normal life resumes. No one knows any different. I’m just glad to have survived it.  I wish I knew where I find the strength … wish that it felt like it gets easier to get myself out of it the next time but it isn’t, seems there is no rhyme or reason, just a coming out of the darkness and back into the light. I’m always looking for the light.

Is it God? Is it hope? Is it my mind growing or my broken heart piecing itself back together and fighting back? Maybe it’s all of those things. Maybe it’s none. I’d like to say I know but truth is I have no idea how I’ve survived the last year. Part of me still feels dead and so many parts of me still feel broken.

If I knew a straightforward way to just move forwards with my life, I would surely do it. But the only way out seems to be through. It feels like I’m stuck in limbo. And so I go on swimming through the endless waves of emotions. Sometimes they relent and there is a brief calm. A peace. A sense of surrender. Maybe it’s just because I forget for a few moments the pain and destruction that seems to have lodged firmly inside my heart.

In those few moments of peace and surrender I want to grasp at the happiness and relish the gratitude I feel, the light that surrounds me before the darkness descends again, and I lose the ability to feel thankful, to feel anything. The darkness swallows me up, brings me crashing back down.

It is beyond frustrating. I guess it would be like clambering a mountain only to slip back down each time. And I am so exhausted. This weary journey to an unknown destination that seems to just get further away. I can’t grasp it, something elusive, which I am reaching for. And each time as I watch my self drown and strenuously try to sit with the pain, hope somehow brings me back to the surface.

Is hope is a choice? Well hope is my choice.