[Photo courtesy of EBM Photography: thanks Emma!]
Today’s blog post is about moving forward. About taking action and moving forward. I’ve been stuck in my own head for a couple of years now, with so many thoughts racing around but most of all, there is all this interesting material for my blog to share with others that will hopefully help them based on my experiences. But what has prevented me from typing it all out for you to read is myself. I’m standing in my own way. Because I am scared. Fear of the unknown, of where this will lead once I open up this dam, of the reception I might receive, of who I might become and who I will be at the end. But something inside me deep down is screaming at me to let this out, to start typing frantically away and to just say, fuck it and write. Be honest and don’t be afraid to show the real you. Help others. This is not just about me anymore but about giving guidance and inspiration to those around me. It’s bigger than me so I need to commit, summon the courage and just write.
I’ve spent pretty much my entire life up so far (32 years) trying to understand people. To understand relationships, my own and others’. The first relationship we see and experience is our parents’ and how they interact with each other is a fundamental imprint for how we later view our partners, friends and relationships. And I have spent many, many childhood days through to adulthood observing the dysfunctional and often painful interaction between my parents, observing them as a couple and as individuals. I’ve sat there watching for years and tried to mediate where possible but hell, I was their kid not their therapist. If you’ve seen the TV series Californication; well I’m the daughter Becca just minus the black outfits, guitar talent and I’m about a foot taller.
I observe everything. From the choice of language people use with each other to their body language, to the things they do or do not do and I mentally take notes. All. The. Time. My brain doesn’t switch off. I analyse every single person I meet and spend time with. I think about their motives, their triggers, their feelings, their thought processes, why they do or say things the way they do, what they like, what is their story? I try to work out if they are telling the truth or what role in story telling they are playing. Are they objective, rational, emotional, playing the victim card, are there things they are hiding? I want to figure them out. I don’t believe in right and wrong but in choice and consequence, cause and effect. I think about what influences people to make the decisions they do. I wonder what goes through people’s heads when they talk to me. And if that’s not weird enough, I try to anticipate how they see me, how I look and sound to them. Literally, I try to picture myself from their perspective during the conversation whilst still focusing on their words and having the conversation. I am aware of my own body language and am highly tuned in and mindful of how I hold myself and how I sound. That’s weird right? I can’t seem to switch that off. It’s probably a kind of syndrome or paranoia with some fancy name.
It’s not because I am not confident; I just don’t want to offend someone or come across in the wrong way, partly because I work with many international people from all cultures and backgrounds and ultimately, it is because I try to hide the true me and not give too much personal shit away. I also like to stay objective and to some extent detached. It’s something I have learned to do since being used and manipulated by so called friends in the past playing on my emotions. Plus I’m an Aquarius, we’re cold and distant when it suits us. However, I think it makes me come across as a tad strange; odd perhaps. I’m slightly introvert but I watch. I observe. I question things. I think way too much. I can be both passionately explosive and calm, cool and collected. I never studied psychology but I wish I had. I find people fascinating and people always end up talking to me and offloading personal things, even strangers on a bus. I must have one of those faces. Maybe I was a shrink in a past life?
Over the years, I have realized at least one thing: that relationships are the most complex messed up, interesting and unpredictable things in life and certainly has ‘grey area’ written all over them. When it comes to relationships there is no black and white because relationships are about people and people are fallible, highly emotional and unpredictable. Definitely no black and white when dealing with people. And sometimes on our journey through life we find ourselves in some pretty shitty situations, or with people we never thought we’d be with, or we’d do things we never thought we’d ever do and that throws us off balance big time and we wonder how the hell we ended up there. Sometimes it is easy to lose our way when struggles and hard times come along and sometimes our paths are shunted in different directions unwillingly but every single thing teaches us something about ourselves and gives us what we call life experience.
Forget travelling to exotic places and checking into yoga retreats, a few fucked up relationships and digging yourself out of stupid situations will give you all the life experience you need!
And then if we want to be better more decent human beings we sit down and try to work out what the fuck is going on, what the hell life and love is all about and we start a blog to try to untangle the mess in our heads and get some kind of understanding. To find peace, that inner Buddha.
I’ve thought long and hard about where to start with all the shit going around and around in my head like a washing machine but I don’t think there is a beginning nor an end, it’s just a case of pick a story on my timeline, pick a topic and just start writing. Writing is a cathartic way to unravel, process and digest everything. But as in any kind of therapy session, I guess starting off with the most recent event slash disaster is usually a good starting point.
So, I have a confession.
I messed up.
In 2015 I fell hopelessly in love with a man, my friend, who was not my husband and although we never had sex, we never even kissed, I never even saw him in the flesh and haven’t seen him for 10 years, I fell in love with my American friend. Call it an affair of the heart if you will, a big time infatuation in true teenage-style at 30 fucking years old. *face palm*
And while this unrequited infatuated love lasted a year and came to a brutally and spectacularly painful ending, a harsh wake up call, it was the best reality check that needed to happen. Sadly, it was the worst time for my husband and I will always feel remorseful. But not only did the situation inject renewed passion and inspiration into my life, it motivated me to take hold of my life, to grow up and start taking responsibility and it allowed me to explore my sexuality and discover a whole new me. It challenged me to question everything I know and look at the world, at people and at myself in a whole new way. I felt inwardly like a monumental change was happening, an awakening, a complete lifting of everything that was painful and negative and I was filled with positivity, an abundance of love for everyone and everything and it kicked me into making some pretty mammoth decisions I had been avoiding. It inspired me to start this blog, to create a philosophy (see bottom of website) by which to always adhere to and to follow my heart wholeheartedly in everything I do from here on in.
I had this newfound determination to seize my life back and start living.
At the time I told only four people, including my husband. I wanted things to be honest and open with cards on the table so confessed to my husband in the same week I found myself enjoying the attention and charms of another man. And I needed my friends to hold me accountable for my actions and kick my ass when I needed it. My attraction highlighted huge problems in our marriage and made me question everything I thought I knew about love and relationships. As a Christian I never ever thought I would ever be unfaithful but one of my favourite mantras in life is “never say never” because you just don’t know what is around the corner and one day, despite trying hard to stay on course, you just wake up and think, “how the fuck did I get here?” I couldn’t tell anyone for risk of it hurting friends and family and damaging my reputation at the time. Many of our friends and family are zealously religious and with certain events in my parents’ marriage which I harshly judged them for, it would have made me a hypocrite (correction: makes me a hypocrite) so I held this inside for a long time. Despite this period being the most creative, inspirational and monumental awakening in my life, it was simultaneously the most painful and stressful time of my life far surpassing my father’s death in 2013 on the emotional scale. I lost two dress sizes in 6 months and a lot of my hair fell out yet oddly I was the most energized I’ve ever been surviving on 4 hours sleep a night for over a year. My immune system though crashed soon after and I was constantly sick for half a year.
I hid everything, I omitted truths but never lied, I deceived friends and family buying time in order to work out my feelings. To rationalise my behaviour. To read every psychology article on the internet and trawl through many mind-numbing stupid forums and search magazine gossip for answers and solutions about why women stray and how to leave a marriage. I read self help books and relationship books. I put my husband through hell and made his life miserable with my indecision and after 11 years together, 5 years married we finally made the decision to separate in November 2016 all the while Andriy never telling a soul the real reasons behind it.
He could have slated me, he could have ruined my life and turned everyone against me. He had every right to. But he acknowledged his faults and failings as a husband and carried the guilt with me. We talked probably more in the last 2 years of our marriage than in the 11 years we’ve been together. We also decided we didn’t want to be like the other couples who are bitter, angry, resentful and full of hate. In that respect, he is the best husband and most patient person I know and I am so very grateful for him. Yes, we rowed, we had stupid childish spats and it got pretty nasty at the end but once we separated things were easier. We are friends. He’s always been my best friend and I don’t think that will change too much.
Starting our lives over in our early 30’s is certainly sobering but sometimes you need to fall down in order to face reality and figure out what you really want. When you strip everything away, when you are broken and have nothing left to give emotionally and physically, when you have no money, no possessions and no relationship, it’s then when you can see what you truly have, where you are going and what values and morals you stand for.
The only way to save yourself is by getting up and starting all over and taking everything that happened as lessons and learning curves (or steep friggin’ mountains). It’s about confessing your sins, about accepting you fucked up and about moving forward in life because time doesn’t stand still, it doesn’t wait and everyone deserves to be happy. So as I come to terms with my new relationship status, with adjusting and figuring out where the hell I go from here, I’m writing about all I know, feel and have experienced covering many topics and issues and hope that you will forgive me and not judge me so coldly.
We are all fallible, we’re human and usually there is some reason behind why we do the things we do. I want to find out why. I want to understand. I’m still discovering who I am and it’s both scary and exciting and I guess this is the start of really looking at my journey and getting in touch with the real me.
To my friends and family who may read this I’m sorry I couldn’t trust you with this at the time and I hope you forgive me. It’s not something I could just bring up and even now, I probably won’t. Part of me was scared, part of me knows how you react and judge so it was self-preservation, part of me was trying not to cause panic and until I was certain how I felt and what was going on I couldn’t really find the words to begin to tell you, part of me was ashamed and I couldn’t have handled your disappointment and part of me loved the idea of a secret love and seeing where it would lead. For that I’m sorry.