All roads lead to here…

We’ve struggled with worries and issues and boys and writing and all sorts of spazzy crap this week. Then suddenly we relaxed. And thought back to what we started doing this for. To share. To help each other. To teach each other about what we’ve been through in the hope that Panda would help Crumpet and Crumpet would help Panda and that maybe if we wrote it on here too then it might help other people too. You have – as ever – our love, but mostly you just have our brains and our words. We’ve been on big journeys this year. This is where we are now. This is how we got here. x

PANDA:

So I’ll start this tale of whateverness back in 2003, I had a friend who owned a recording studio he told me there was a band coming down to record and he thought I’d really like the Bass player. Well i did like him and within a few months he had moved down and was living with me. Remember i spoke about two fucked up halves not making a whole, well that was definitely us. Both young and naive and  bringing into our relationship a ton of issues and other crap. It was as bad as it was good, always highs and lows and i knew from very early on this wasn’t what a relationship should be like but something pushed me on into thinking it would get better. I think pretty much every two months we would break up then make up again. After a year i got pregnant and for a while this excitement seemed to make everything better, but you know its like covering a shark wound with a Mr Men plaster……wasn’t gonna hold for long.

Although it didn’t improve us, it made me want to improve me. Holding young Mr C for the first time, like some Alien creature covered in slime staring up at me with these big blue eyes was a life changing moment. Suddenly actually realising what love was, i was 100% responsible for whether this kid had a good life or a bad life and i wanted him to have the most amazing life i could give him.

So i went about the art of acceptance as i thought that was right, the next genius idea that came up was YEAH LETS GET FACKING MARRIED THAT’LL SOLVE EVERYTHING. And again for a while it did. Between looking after a baby and a husband there was little time to think about whether I was happy or not. When things got really bad thoughts would pop into my head like, well this is your life make the best of it, you’ve made your bed so lay in it. Although that doesn’t really make much sense cos surely you would unmake a bed before sleeping in it but yeah whatever.

So once the cracks began to show again we did what any sensible couple would do, no we didn’t split up we had another bloody baby OBVIOUSLY. All of my happy memories with L are when the kids were about. They were my light in an otherwise gloomy situation, how can you not be smiling when you’re doing Robotics to flight of the concords with a two and five year old.

For me at that time there was no other option, this is what I had chosen, so we plodded along………..Again every couple of months we’d have this talk about how things weren’t working and what could we do to change them. For a bit they would but then yeah yeah back they’d go to how they had always been. Two people just existing out of habit and the classic line ‘For the sake of the kids’.

I had no idea who or what i was at that time, i was a Mum which i loved but the wife bit not so much and always this nagging feeling that well there was more to life than this, and this amazing life I’d promised to the kids i wasn’t really following through on. But these thoughts were fleeting there wasn’t enough time to be thinking about me i had three other people to take care of.

I’m not sure what made me do the counselling course….Maybe some GggHhhoOOooSSssTTtt  came in and planted the thought in my head. But fuck me it was the best thing I’d ever done. For three hours a week i got to think about me, not Mum me or Wife me but just me. It hit me hard that things weren’t right, they’d never really been right but i couldn’t see a way out. I couldn’t cope on my own, L couldn’t cope on his own and what about the kids they didn’t ask for any of this. What a selfish twat I’d be to come in and ruin their lives.

So once again life remained the same, me trying to make things work but with the feeling that i was floggin a dead horse. All my love came from the kids and i ignored the fact that my husband was like a lodger. Afterall I’m sure he loved me deep deep down, just wasn’t any good at showing it, and I’m sure when such and such happens things’ll get better. Sometimes though you need to admit that actually yeah maybe my glass is half empty and waitress can you get me a new facking milkshake pronto ta very much.

Then a few things happened over a few months that really set the ball in motion. Along with the counselling course i had some counselling, more out of interest as in well if I’m gonna be doing this lets see what it’s all about. I had no intention of talking about my failing marriage, but it came out anyway and she observed that i was lost and trying to find me and just be bloody noticed. RAR RAR RAR….So then i began to go out more and i felt like me again, i was happier which in turn made me a better Mum………..Which lead me to think actually staying together for the sake of the kids is fucking rubbish. If i’m happy then they’re happy……..Slowly i stopped being this fucked up half l began to accept myself and even started to like myself. And realised that all these years i had been trying to change L I should have actually been looking at why i was ok with keeping myself in a situation where i wasn’t loved and it wasn’t working.  He didn’t need to change, i didn’t need to change, it had come to a point where it was like. IT JUST DOESN’T WORK! We don’t fit, we never have fitted and that’s ok, because there’s someone out there who would accept you 100% for who you are and me for me.

In order for me to be a good person, the best Mum i can be, a good daughter, sister friend and all that jazz i need to be happy. For me the only way to be happy is to love yourself and accept yourself flaws on and all. But i couldn’t love myself or respect myself when i was staying with someone who didn’t love me just because I was too scared of the alternative.

So i did the bravest thing I’ve ever done and told him that it was over. Obviously i had AMAZING timing what with it being two weeks before Christmas…I’m facking ace like that. Anyway he accepted it, just accepted it, didn’t fight just said ok. Which although in a way was hard it also hit home again that i was making the right choice.

So i sorted out getting loans and credit cards and enough cash together so he’d be ok and in January he moved out. I spent the first few months hauled up, concentrating on college, getting stoned and watching fillums and thinking HOLY FUCK I REALLY AM GONNA END UP ALONE AND EATEN BY THE CAT. But even then, even in moments of catfaceeating terror i still knew i had done the right thing and i still felt happier than i had before.

L moved on quickly as i guess I kind of knew he would, for me although part of me was like oh god i wanna meet someone. Something else told me to go it alone for a bit. To really sort myself out first so the next person i met would be right. Needed to become a fully whole person and actually be happy alone. Although i say alone I’ve got the boys and those moments of peace singing them Golden Slumbers (badly) while they nod off, or racing round the house like fucking spazes all of us off our tits on too many E numbers have been the moments that have confirmed that actually fuck me I’ve got a whole pie here and anyone that does eventually come along will be a bonus to that.

So this last year for me has been by far the best year of my life………..Every single day i have been doing it just me has been like ‘FUCK yeah I’m facking amazing, I’m like bloody Thatcher” The more i done that, the happier i became and the more i liked myself, which in turn like some big ol magnet meant suddenly all these other lovely things began to happen. I’ve met so many lovely people who truly enrich my life every day not only that i met  bloody Crumpet who seriously is like a ray of sunshine, one of the loveliest people i have ever met and I’m so fucking proud to be able to call her my friend. Then in turn we did the blog, which in itself has been an amazing confidence thing and generally just really therapeutic. Then out of the blog I met someone else, someone who I’ve always been waiting to meet. And if all that stuff hadn’t happened, all the good and the bad, then i wouldn’t be here now about to embark on a brand new shiny happy chapter of my life…

CRUMPET:

Panda has finished her post already by the time I’m trying to write mine. Her story is amazing and inspirational and proves just how bladdy incredible she is as a friend, a mum, a humanbean and all round champion of the universe. Heading towards the end of 2010 is like the end of a really big journey for me. A lot happened for me in 2009 and this year looked terrifying and long stretched out in front of me from the moment just after midnight last new years eve where I threw all my Australian legal documents on to the bonfire in the lovely house I live in with my lovely friends… so Panda has given me a good chance to think about the journey… how all the roads have led to here.

I keep touching on various parts of my Australia story but last Monday I felt a really unexpected surge of something – maybe bravery – and deleted all 11 of my facebook albums from my time there. It was cleansing and uneventful and it just felt like the right thing to do and the right time to do it. A week earlier I had spent a night looking at one photo – my old favourite of us – sobbing uncontrollably not at us, or what was lost, but at the realisation that the photo was taken THREE years ago. “HOW CAN THIS BE THREE YEARS AGO” I sat saying OUT LOUD to myself in my bedroom. The ridiculousness of what I was doing and saying made me cry even more and I knew it was time to delete them all. So I did.

What led me here….? I’m in a room full of a lifetime’s worth of clutter. Several houses-worth of ‘stuff’ stacked and collated and piled in to every corner of my own room in a shared house in a corner of North West London I love dearly but had never even visited until early 2009. I sit here knowing I live with some of the nicest people I’ve ever had the privilege to call my dearest friends, knowing that despite the fact I bitch and moan about my job, that I have one – an interesting one I care about – at a time where people my age are struggling to find jobs. I look at my calendar and it’s full until mid December with outings with friends, family dinners, gigs, visits to Panda, treating my gorgeous godson, dates with various boys… life is good. Life is the best it might have ever been. This time last year I was struggling with accepting any of this situation. I was dwelling, regretting, obsessing. I was attending group therapy sessions. I was going on heaps of dates not in a desperate effort to necessarily find a brilliant guy, but to find something to replace the thoughts I was still stuck having about the past few years.

My biggest problem with moving on from The Australian was my lack of closure. My regrets. My cancelled flight. I was a no-show. I will never ever know what would have happened if I had ignored him telling me to not get on that plane and just gone anyway. Maybe seeing each other face to face would have made us both realise what we had was worth working for. Maybe I would have got the next plane straight back home again. Maybe we’d have given it ago and then realised it was over but at least we would have tried. I had come to accept that I would live with the whatif of this for the rest of my life.

I had been attending some really helpful meetings. A group. A therapy group. I’d been meeting new people, going on dates, socialising, dusting myself off and starting again like I always do but it was so hard because no one else was him. No one was doing enough to make me forget or ignore my whatifs and regrets. One day I had to read something to the rest of my group. Chosen at random. Cards and printouts are handed round… I looked down at what I had been given to read out loud.

I release myself from worry, guilt, and regret about my past and present. I am aware enough not to repeat it

OK.

So here I am. All roads lead to here. There were more stops on this journey of course. There were the dates where I thought I was happy and on to a good thing only to find myself sobbing on the kitchen floor following rejection. There were the times I give in to curiosity and emailed The Australian to see how he’s doing, and we’re civil and ‘catch up’ until something sends me over the edge and had me in bits. There were the boys who wanted to be my boyfriend. The boys I wanted to marry.  There was even a brief incident with a man, a bottle of Rioja, a pub and a smooch that resulted in me grinning at myself in the mirror on my own at 1am saying out loud “I DONT CARE ANY MORE”. A lot has happened in 2010 with a lot of people. A lot has happened in the last MONTH with a lot of people. I’ve met amazing new friends and caught up with long-lost ones. I’ve met my lovely Panda, who inspires me and listens to me and makes me laugh till I spit ideas out of my nose. We have our lovely blog and we have each other and the confidence and happiness that comes from people’s feedback, comments, and from the general release of being able to share things – not necessarily with people reading, but just with each other – is what releases me “from worry, guilt and regret about my past and present”. Of course I’ll never know what would have happened if I’d got on that plane. But I also know all the stuff I’ve done by staying here wouldn’t have happened either and there isn’t a single bit of that I’d change. No regrets. Because those are the roads that have led me here.

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9 Responses to All roads lead to here…

  1. alicepoppyh says:

    **Here comes a really cheesey comment, but fuck it, it’s true**

    I just want to say you two are such an inspiration, not just in your own particular stories and situations but the friendship you’ve found in each other, and the confidence and openness it’s led to. I really love reading your blog, it makes me more accepting of my own mistakes and confident I won’t make them again. Thanks for giving the rest of us this blog! xxx

  2. Helen Power says:

    You lovely girls, your bravery and honesty shine shine shine through.
    Much love. x

  3. pandacrumpet says:

    So so lovely of you. Thank you so much xxxx C

  4. Glynis says:

    I didn’t have kids, but I left a rotten marriage. I know the terror and the joy that happens before and after. Thanks to wonderful friends (Hey TankGyrl!) and supportive family, I thrived. Now I’m with a wonderful man and know that everything that’s happened has made it possible for me to recognize him.

  5. pandacrumpet says:

    wow! Thank you so much for sharing and for those lovely words girls. Really does mean a lot to us. xx P

  6. Heinz, the Lad who Always Comments says:

    You two are absolutely magnificent, and an example of the good that the Internet can do.
    You’ve made me feel happy and sad and part of something all at the same time – there are other people in the world like me! And you have jointly planted the ideaseed of a blog in my mind. I have a shedload of nuggets about relationships, stress, depression, anxiety, recipe ideas, terrible jokes and meat (and combinations thereof), and may one day share them with an indifferent world.
    I feel lucky to be a tertiary adjunct of unimatrix PandaCrumpet (name the geek reference!), and one day dream of meeting you magnificent beings in mestspace.
    ROCK ON PANDAMEISTER AND THE CRUMPSTER!

  7. Heinz, the Lad who Always Comments says:

    Mestspace? Where the hell is that?! I meant meatspace. Aka reality.

  8. Sigh… I love you two. Do you know that?

    I’m STILL dusting myself off after a run of bad luck that lasted what seems like years and getting myself back (or back to being myself as it were) but reading this post particularly after my night last night which was brilliant and new and fun with people who years ago I would have passed off as “not my kind of people” reminded me that finding my way back (or to somewhere new) is half the fun. I can’t wait to see the next chapter of both of your stories – and my own.

    xoxo

  9. pandacrumpet says:

    Thank you, seriously THANK YOU!! All your lovely words, mean so so much to us. xxx

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