You know what? Screw relationships and depression and death and anal sex (gotta slip it in, so to speak. I’m plummeting down the search rankings…). From here on in, I’m mostly going to write about cats. Because you know what the internet really needs? MORE CAT CONTENT. Look! I have a new ‘cat’ category and everything.
OK, perhaps not. I’m not going to be able to turn this ship around into the safe, lolsy waters of cats any time soon. The quite frankly juvenile use of the word ‘pussy’ in the title says it all. I am not, at heart, a pet blogger.
But I *am* going to blog about my pet now, to tell you that the vet saw her yesterday and said she’s now strong enough to go under general anaesthetic to have her teeth sorted, and I passed the RSPCA home check with flying colours tonight. Woo hoo! I can call tomorrow to arrange collection.
I haven’t ‘woo hoo!’ed in a long time. This is good. Though I wouldn’t say I’m feeling woo hooey in the round. Calm. I feel calm. And I certainly haven’t felt *that* for ages.
I have endlessly questioned nearly every decision I’ve made over the last year, exhausting myself by working through the options over and over again.
This is not like me at all. I am decisive. One of my big life mantras is ‘commit’. Make a decision. Making the wrong one is nowhere near as bad as making no decision at all and just letting stuff happen. Commit. This uncharacteristic tentativeness, this lack of direction, has driven me potty.
Like, when my husband first left, I got stuck in an interminable worrying cycle over The Boy’s new winter coat. I must have bought 10 or 12, bringing them home then returning them to the shop the next day because they weren’t warm/lightweight/waterproof/washable/green/blue/brown/soft/tough/fleecy/furry enough.
The Coat consumed my every waking hour. I actually cried on the lady in Mothercare at one point because I’d found the perfect coat and there wasn’t one in my boy’s size anywhere in the whole bastard world. Proper sobs.
My friend had to intervene in the end and come with me to buy Just One Coat. From Marks & Spencer, of course. And of course, The Boy survived the winter, as he would have done in any one of the 11 sodding coats that preceded it.
Yeah. I haven’t been confident in any of my decisions over the last year. Little things, like The Coat. Middling things, like The BoyChild. Fucking disasters, like HWSNBN. (Newbies, I can’t link to him in any specific way. He runs through this whole blog like the words in a stick of rock. Go have a snoop.)
But the cat? I am confident about her. I feel nothing but certainty when I think about her. She’s a good thing. She makes me feel calm.
Was ever such a burden of expectation placed on such slender grey shoulders?
I have adopted a cat. RSPCA homecheck willing, she’ll be with us in a week.
She’s old. About 12. A stray. Her teeth are manky and they’re not sure she’d survive an operation to mend them, she has terribly crackly lungs and her back is matted, scabby and dandruffy. But this is all cosmetic. She is inherently beautiful, an elegant, slender grey creature, full of affection, and she is coming to live with me.
I didn’t go looking for an older cat. She chose me. I went into her pen, and she licked me. A done deal.
I will heal my abandoned, broken, unloved self through this abandoned, broken, unloved cat.
And she will serve as receptacle for that flavour of love in me that can’t resist a lame, broken soul. I will pour all of that patient, gentle, well-meaning kind of love into her, and there won’t be any left over to fall for any lame, broken men.
She’s important, this cat. She marks a turning point.
I have put myself under intense scrutiny over the last 6 months. No-one has been more self-absorbed and self-obsessed than me. And while I mostly see a tangled thorny knot of horrible things, there are bits of good too. The best bit being that I am essentially good.
This doesn’t mean I’m nice. I can be a real bitch. I have a temper. I’m not especially straightforward. But I *am* quite good. I am honest. If someone gives me too much change in a shop, I’ll tell them. I could never make a false claim on my home insurance. I understand why other people can, it doesn’t bother me, I’m not sanctimonious – I am just physically incapable of doing it myself.
I will do anything for anyone. I might instantly regret agreeing to because I have too much on, it might take me a while if I’m busy, but generally I am generous with my time. And I am generous with money, too. I wouldn’t think twice about lending my last £10 to someone else.
I look for good in other people. I am more tolerant of abrasive personalities than most people I know, because I ask myself why they are being so abrasive, and it generally comes down to insecurity, and I can relate to that. In my industry, there are a fair few abrasive types. I’m probably one of them. I cut people slack.
I trust people, unless I’m given reason not to. I am loyal, and I believe that people have my best interests at heart until evidence proves me wrong.
And I think all THIS is why I have been so… taken aback by HWSNBN. I spent a long time making excuses for him. He’s depressed, he’s emotionally inarticulate, he’s never been in a proper relationship so this is all new, he’s busy, his Mum died at a formative age, he’s practically bankrupt… And all of these things are true. He has a lot on his plate. He’s complicated.
But… And this is an important ‘but’. A watershed ‘but’: This doesn’t mean he’s a nice person who just happens to be going through a shitty time.
Nasty, manipulative, selfish, rude, cruel people also go through shitty times.
Shit doesn’t discriminate (although it could be argued that bad things happen to bad people purely because they aren’t putting any effort into nurturing genuine reciprocal relationships with the family/friends/customers/suppliers that could get them out of the shit and into the clover…). I digress.
It’s entirely possible that everyone isn’t like me. That everyone doesn’t assume the best of everyone else, and give all they can to them, expecting only… decency in return. Some people’s motives aren’t pure. Some people just aren’t GOOD.
I don’t know why this has come as such a huge surprise. The really stupid thing is, I asked him. On our first date: are you a good man? And he said yes, I don’t believe I’ve ever deliberately hurt anyone.
And I believed him!
Because in my fluffy, decent world, you can take such things at face value. Ask *me* a question and you’ll get an honest answer. Any question. I’ll answer it. Hell, you don’t even have to ask me; I’ll tell you anyway. This blog? You asked for none of this.
I am SUCH a twat.
I went to Center Parcs with my boy the other week. He is a good person too. He waited his turn for the water slide. Waited, and waited, and waited, as bigger boys just barged past him and charged on down. And then turned to me with a look of mute outrage. But still he stood there, until I went up and made sure he got his go. And then later on in the week, he sat in a ball pool while a bigger boy repeatedly threw balls at his head. He’d still be sitting there now if I hadn’t bawled the little ball-throwing shit out.
It worried me. He needs to grow a backbone, stand up for himself, find a way to still be that lovely good boy without letting other people take advantage of him.
It would be good if he had a positive role model, right?
I have nothing to report other than my continued, deepening hatred of myself. Being able to turn your own stomach is impressive.
And I need to write about it. I get self-harming now, I get why people do it. All of the… anger, the hot anger that rolls and twists in your stomach and rises up to form a solid wall of rage from your chest to your throat… It needs to go somewhere. It needs a release.
And so read these words and know that they are silver lines tracking my arms and the tops of my thighs. They are red scratches running down my cheeks and chunks of hair in my sink. I’m not there, but I don’t know what else to do. I don’t know how to stop hating myself. I can’t get away from myself. I’m here, all the time, going round and round in my own head, and I am SO FUCKING ANNOYING.
I tried not writing, using the same logic that not writing about He Who Shall Not Be Written About makes him less tangible. It’s not the same. I haven’t seen HWSNBWA for months and months now. I’m looking back at me from my own mirror every bastard day.
I want to get out of my head. I don’t know how.
And God, life is tedious at the moment. Work is manic, The Boy is beyond exhausting, I don’t get a minute to myself and then I do, when he goes to his Dad’s, and there is nothing in the world for me to do. I don’t have a place, and I have never, ever felt so lost and irrelevant, so alone. Without my boy, I don’t exist. I’m sitting here in tears and there’s not one person I can ring to come and see me and tell me to stop feeling so fucking sorry for myself. Everyone I know has made their life now, made their family, and I’m starting again and I just don’t know how. I haven’t got a clue.
It’s coming up for a year since I met The Pirate. At best, falling for him has got me absolutely nowhere. Truth be told, he has set me back a long way.
This time last year I was relatively confident in my own skin. I went on dates, talked to strangers, bought new clothes.
Now, I hate myself. I avoid mirrors. I do my make-up in semi-darkness. I don’t give a shit about what I’m wearing. When I catch sight of myself in shop windows, I feel physically sick. The words ‘I hate you’ go round and round in my head. I thought I was saying them to The Pirate, but I’m not. I’m saying them to myself.
And I don’t feel like I have anything interesting to say to my friends, let alone strangers. I went for lunch with one of my closest friends today and the best I could manage was listening. The only thing I could think to bring to the table was to ask whether yellow tiles would be wrong in my bathroom. (No, but yes was the conclusion.)
The Pirate makes me feel worthless. When we were seeing each other and I wasn’t worth his undivided attention. When he decided he’d had enough and just disappeared rather than talk to me. When I email him and he doesn’t reply. When I call him and he doesn’t answer. His continued presence – yes, there are still emails, mostly at his instigation, when he wants something webby – makes me feel worthless.
It is not entirely his fault. I project it all back onto myself when I suspect that he’s sitting 35 miles away right now feeling pretty worthless and miserable himself. His withdrawal is as much to do with his own depression as anything to do with me. I don’t imagine for one minute that, had we met at different times in our lives, he’d have been any less of an emotionally retarded commitment-phobe, but I do think he might have been less cruel. He’s not a cruel man, I don’t think. He’d have recognised the place I was in and stopped taking from me a long time before he did, and stopped it decently, in a way that I could have moved on from with a shred of self-respect. I need answers from him that I just won’t get.
But we met when we did, we are where we are and I have to find a way to move on. I have to stop measuring my own worth by the absence of this man. I have to stop hating myself. I can’t keep crying all the time. I can’t keep living this double life, trying to hide my depression so I don’t make other people feel uncomfortable. Maintaining the mask is exhausting.
The Pirate is one of the reasons I hate myself. Can’t do anything about my husband leaving me, can’t do anything about Dad dying, can do something about The Pirate. He has to go.
Writing about him here hasn’t helped. I thought it might. I thought facing up to my feelings for him, accepting them, committing them to paper and moving on, would help. But it isn’t helping. It’s keeping him alive and I need him to be very, very dead.
So it’s time for some good British repression, denial and bottling up. He’s already deleted from my phone. All of his texts have gone – and there were some lovely ones – and all of his emails too. This is the last post that will ever mention his name.
I don’t know how to get him out of my head. Time, I guess. But no more deliberately dwelling. No more contacting him, no more replying to his emails. No more. It’s done.
I took The Boy to a farm park today. We saw pigs, goats, sheep, llama, cows, guinea pigs and one of The Pirate’s glamorous exes.
How did I recognise her? She’s a Z-list celeb. Had a pretty major role in a pretty major kids’ TV drama in the 90s, and has perfectly preserved herself in Botox ever since. The truly terrible perm has gone – can’t knock her for that, we all had one – but the rest is pretty much as was. She must be older than me and looks about 22.
And she has peroxide blonde hair extensions (I’d gloat that she’s a natural ginger – no point in trying to hide it, we all saw you on telly, love – but I’m the mother of a ginger, and so can’t). And false tits. And false eyelashes. And false nails. And false tan. And really heavy-handed Jodie Marsh-esque make-up.
There was probably a woman underneath all of that nylon and polyester and silicone and oil-and-emolient, but she was hiding really, really well.
I’d like to be generous and wonder what happened to make her hate herself so much that she has to wear a mask (I’d lay the blame at The Pirate’s door, yet from his description of her she was like this before they met).
I’d like to point a naggy, sanctimonious finger at the media for perpetuating the myth that this… creature… is what women should look like. I shouldn’t blame her for aspiring to an ideal.
But I’m not generous, and I do blame her.
I hated her on sight.
I’d have disliked her even if I didn’t know that she’d got The Pirate to a place I couldn’t, meeting the parents, practically living together. She is not my kind of woman, stabbing at her phone with her 3″ nails and ignoring her mute, sparkless children as they listlessly drifted around her knees.
The character she played on TV was spoiled and mean-spirited and snide and bitchy and shallow. It was hard not to overlay these characteristics on her today – not least because her face naturally looks spoiled and mean-spirited and snide and bitchy, and the Botox means she physically can’t move it into a more pleasing arrangement. Everywhere I looked, she was there, peering sourly (and somewhat short-sightedly) at her phone with her piggy little eyes.
(God, it feels good to get all of this out. I’m not naming the TV programme, or her character, or indeed her, as she looked just the WAGgy type to have a Google alert set up for herself. But the programme was set in a youth club in the North East and launched the careers of a double act who have changed the face of Saturday night TV forever with their shitty inane game shows. Her character – whose name rhymes with ‘Bonna Dell’ – had a ginger perm . PLEASE DO NOT SPECULATE IN COMMENTS, British peeps. She is like Voldemort. We will not summon her through search. I already fear for the traffic ‘bestiality’ is going to generate…)
And ever since The Boy has gone to bed, I’ve sat on my sofa and cried, because I’m not a size 6 with false… everything, I can’t be arsed to type it all out again. Because this is what men want. I don’t know whether the lads’ mags are feeding or creating demand, but their pages are full of women who look like The Pirate’s Glamorous Ex. Nothing about her was real. She’s a walking cartoon.
An entirely different species to me. Fucking me really must have been like fucking a pig, if that kind of woman is what The Pirate gets off on… Kind people have tried pointing out that she is an EX, and I came after her, but she made a mark on his life, and I didn’t. I wasn’t worthy of a mark.
And this could well be because I am in fact a neurotic, judgey, snide, bitchy, shallow mess rather than because my boobs and nails and hair are real, but for tonight, I’m hating myself for the way I look, not the way I am. That can have a go tomorrow.
UPDATE It occurred to me a week later to do some proper Google stalking and I found her on Facebook. She is wearing full drag queen make-up in all of her pictures, has shared a wicked photo of herself in which she is blatantly trying to upstage a bride ON HER WEDDING DAY and actually has a very scary face. Predatory. Like she wants to eat you, and not in a good way. So I feel less inferior now. I may be bitchy and snide and shallow and neurotic, but I have a nice smile and all my own eyelashes.
If I say it enough times, it might feel real. Or transport me out of this shitty world and into one where divorcees don’t feel like dirty used goods. One where we are revered; a world where people wear images of us around their necks that they rub in times of need, and clamour to kiss the hems of our slutty divorcee robes.
It’s not like I had any desire at all to stay married to the wanker. Or that I’d ever unwish the time we spent together. We made The Boy. He is amazing and wonderful in ways I can’t even begin to express. (I’ll try. This morning, in the car: “Mummy, if you open your mouth like this and breathe in – you can smell your brain!” Gentle probing revealed he meant that if you breathe out on a cold day, you can see your breath, but that’s not half as interesting.)
So I don’t know why I’m so thoroughly pissed off, really. I’m still angry, I guess. Angry that The Boy doesn’t get the deal he deserves, the traditional nuclear family. Angry that my ex-husband threw it all away for a relationship that, by his own admission, isn’t very good. And angry that, in spite of this, he’s getting what I want. A family, a new baby (due next Monday – yay!). How is that fair?! He doesn’t even seem to want it. WANKER.
It feels like the only progress I’ve made in my own life in the last year is not slipping any further backwards. Which I know is an achievement given all that has happened, but it doesn’t feel like one. I hate standing still and treading water. HATE it. I can’t move house yet for various tedious financial reasons, I can’t move jobs yet, I can’t see myself ever finding someone who’ll put up with my fucking mentalness… I feel trapped and stuck and stagnant. And it really pisses me off.
Yeah. I’m pissed off.
In other news, people are finding my blog through the phrases ‘fuck off’, ‘fuck you’ and ‘fuck off you timewasting bastard’. Which suits the general vibe over here. Fuck fuck fuckity fuck fuck fuck off. FUCK OFF. There. Let all the angry people on the internet find their way to me. Let my profanities be a shining beacon for all of those who are dispirited and in dark places. Suffer little children, come unto me… We can be totally fucking miserable together. Fuck.