Category: Grief & healing
I haven’t had cause to celebrate Valentine’s Day over the last five years as I have been a single person for all that time; I did have a teeny tiny flingette in January 2008, but that’s it. No bedroom traffic, no naughty texts and definitely no Valentine cards. At the end of last year i put out a request on Facebook asking what people would like to read in my book – a new friend of mine posed the following question:
‘I’d like to know why the hell you’re not dating at all. I find this so baffling. I can’t imagine that it’s due to a lack of opportunity. There must be more to it. If I was a man I certainly would make some lame pass at you.‘
The sad truth is it IS due to lack of opportunity; my lone-wolf-work-at-home situation means I don’t get to meet many eligible men. And by ‘many’ i mean none at all.
I have moments when my (lack of) marital status gets me down, when i miss having a companion to snuggle up on the sofa with and argue about who takes the recycling out, but I’ve been filling my life so enthusiasically with work I have kept most of the maudlin thoughts at bay. For a while there I’ll admit I was avoiding anything that remotely suggested contact with the opposite sex; it has taken me many years to even get to the point where i could countenance such a thing. But here I am, five years into grief and healing, with a renewed sense of self and so much more to share with the world.. and with a partner.
And then February 14th swings around, and I find myself bristling at the onslaught of hearts and flowers and cheesy romantic slogans that i want to pooh-pooh; and yet there’s still a little part of me who’d be thrilled to receive some flowers on Sunday. And yes, this e-card makes me giggle and would be more suited to my sense of humour – and maybe one day i will meet a partner-in-crime who knows that – but… well… I don’t really know what I’m trying to say in this post. Just that – I am ready. And i remain patient, because there is much I must do this year, and, luckily, some of it will help me expand and welcome new opportunities into my life.
So for now I will continue to show myself kindness and love, as I really do believe that that’s the best place to start. Because if i can’t give myself that gentle gift, why would anyone else want to?
For my single sisters out there, and my coupled-up sisters too, here’s a little bit of love* for your computer screen. Let’s make this weekend about love in whatever shape we find it.
Extra wide: 1920×1200
* The images are for your personal use only and I retain the copyright, etc etc :) For more computer love check out Kate’s lovely wallpaper here.
Once in a while it will hit me like a blow to my stomach. Not often; just occasionally, when perhaps i haven't thought about it for a few weeks. I always know how it is i came to be living here, how i came to be teaching what I am, how i found myself taking pictures again. i know how far along the path i've travelled, how healed i am, how much 'better' my life is now. I know all of this, and i am grateful to be here. But once in a while, like this evening, i will remember. I will sit down on my sofa, with all the wind taken out of my sails. i will sit there and find i have no words, as i say over and over to myself: he died. Sometimes i think i get upset simply because i remember the pain that came after; i remember that pain more keenly than i can remember his touch. After nearly five years i can now admit the screw-ups of our relationship, and how we may not have been together today, had he still been here. I can see the failings and flaws, the disappointments and regrets. The rose-tinted specs are off and the reality check is in place. And i know that i have let him go. I know i have. But once in a while i will stop what i'm doing with the enormity of remembering, and i will wish I had said i love you more often than i did.
Oh London, how you tempt me with your beauty and decay, your ancient wiles and modern possibility. I hadn't expected to have such a great weekend. I mean, I knew my days with Sas would be full of laughter and connection, but i didn't expect to fall back in love with the city. And when i say back in love I mean rapturously, madly, insanely back in love with old London town. Maybe it was because Sas and I drove across the city on adventures like Thelma and Louise. Maybe it was the sunshine and high energy around the Notting Hill Carnival preparation. I got to see so many of the places I love – Battersea Power Station, the Natural History Museum, Portobello Road, the Barbican, Greenwich Market. I discovered that Chiswick is a place I can see myself living, with my little car (more on that soon) and my portable business. Doing the work i do I can live anywhere, and this weekend I felt my brain expand as i soaked in all the possibilities, stuff i hadn't considered for a very long time. I'm not saying i'm leaving Bath… but now i know i could, and that realisation is going to make the next 12 months a lot more interesting. You only live once, right?
UPDATE: My mum just emailed me, after reading this post, and shared this: 'Just to let you know that your grandad (my dad) assisted in the construction of one of the chimneys on Battersea Power Station – I know it is not called that now, but just a little snippet from the past.' – how freakin' cool is that?!
Monday is my one-year anniversary of living in Bath; i'll be in London on the actual day but i know i'll be looking forward to getting back to my little flat and cosying in with my metaphorical pipe 'n' slippers. This place really has become my home, both the city with its friendly taxi drivers and extraordinary refuse problem, and this flat with its tired carpet and insect flatmates (seriously – just call me Susannah Doolittle). I feel settled here, i feel held and supported. My dreams are beginning to flourish, and i know that it was my leap last year that has made it all possible. I hoped for more, for a bigger life, but i didn't expect of all this… I truly hope that this is just the beginning. I'm feeling more able to make space in my inner cupboards now, so there's room for a partner-in-crime in my world… i think it could be fun. I'm ready for some fun.