When I was little, I had no clear idea of how life was going to pan out, except for a few ‘hallmark’ achievements and occurrences which were obviously going to happen along the way…
I thought that by this time in life I’d…be a mother*. I thought I’d be happily married, settled in my own little house (of some kind) with at least two gorgeous (subjectively so) children, spending my days wiping boogers off the walls and doing endless piles of laundry. I had such plans.
I was going to take long, beautiful walks in nature (hand in hand with my husband) while I was pregnant, so that I could be struck by beauty, and my unborn child could absorb a sense of peace and appreciation for the gorgeousness of our world. I was going to listen to lovely music and eat wonderful, home-cooked meals full of goodness and the right vitamins. I was going to have whatever birth worked out in the end (I’m at least realistic enough to know that things might have changed, even up to the very last moments). I was going to have cherished sets of hand-me-down clothes, passing on their heritage and the memories of the babies they held before.
Two miscarriages, a diagnosis of infertility (his), a marriage-breaking intervention by the monstrous beast Depression, a now-halfway-there divorce, a deciding that if I’m going to live authentically I need to admit I’m mostly pretty much gay anyway, and a name change later…and guess what? No kids.
Not the plan I had in mind. Not even close.
Gone are the visions of sweet-scented newborn heads. Gone are the memories of the names we thought up (two for boys, two for girls). Gone are the plans for hand–in-hand walks through the world’s beauty. Gone are the boxes in my mum’s attic, which held those cherished, hand-me-down clothes. Gone are the rings and promises of forever.
Enter reality. A new reality bathed in the harsher light of not-fantasy; littered with the detritus of broken dreams and shattered hopes.
When I lost my babies, I thought life was over. I couldn’t see past either loss, at all, and each time, I clung more desperately to the fast-unravelling threads of the dreams Husby and I had woven together in our naivety, without the information about life-altering medical conditions or mental health breakdowns or the both of us admitting hard truths. We should never have married. We both said that, repeatedly, almost as much as we told each other (with steely determination and not-quite-eye-contact) that we loved one another and wanted to make the relationship work. We knew we’d lost.
The cracks were too deep, the foundation too unsteady, and the groundwork which most couples seem to get in before disaster after disaster after disaster strikes, had not been done – there had been no time. So we held up our hands (while we still could) and quit. And both went our separate ways, grieving, but also incredibly, hugely relieved. And alive. Most importantly, alive.
Exby (well I could hardly keep calling him ‘Husby’) and I are even on reasonable terms now, and are planning to hang out together with friends at some point in the not too distant future. He’s doing well, has found gainful employment and seems not to be struggling with his mental health, or the physical, and…I’m happy for him. I’m genuinely pleased and want him to find success and happiness in life.
Because I have.
I’ve got a job I enjoy, which is hopefully going to promote me soon. I have plans to move country to be closer to the people I’ve formed deep, forever-friendships with. I LOVE all the meaning and connection which blogging allows me, and the time and mental space in which to pursue it more vigorously. I’ve moved back in with Mum and WonderAunty, and we’re having the most wonderful time making each other cups of tea and playing Scrabble and just being part of each others’ worlds in a far closer, more connected way. I even get to share a room with Niece and Neff at least two nights a week, and it’s LOVELY**.
So here I am, at 32, living not at ALL the way I thought I would, with so, SO many things left undone.
Enter reality. A new reality bathed in the glow of new hopes and then-unimagined dreams. A reality where I’m closer and more connected with the people I love most in life. A reality where I can look at my world and feel excited about what’s to come, for this year is about Becoming, Adventure, and (already proving myself) Resilience. A reality where I’m no longer prepared for life to happen to me, so I’m happening to it.
There’s a big, wide, horizon out there – an unknown future I never thought in a million years I’d be facing. There are SO many things I’m going to do. THIS is life, in Silver Linings.
And I’m ready for it. I’m going to change my stars.
*I also thought I’d have a degree by now, but there’s still time for that, right? Right.
**Okay, it’s MOSTLY lovely, because, sometimes I don’t like their attitudes but it’s not my place to tell them off unless they ‘tude at ME, and sometimes I get woken up in the middle of the night by Neff snoring very loudly in my ear, and I bolt awake each time either of them stirs in case they wake up and need me, and I’m always anxious about waking them up in the morning when I get ready for work, but mostly it’s really, really lovely.
Thanks as ever, for the thinker and the kick-start to Finish the Sentence Friday. Your hostess with ALL the mostestes, is the magnificent Kristi Campbell, of Finding Ninee – come on over and join in.