Friday, 27 November 2009

The Photo

Sasha wanted some inspiration for a 70's party that she's going to this weekend so last night, we went through some old photos to see if there was anything there that would provide help.

It was ages since I'd looked at them and we spent a very entertaining hour looking at some of the dreadful things my mother wore in the name of fashion, and some of the horrors she dressed me in. In between the laughter though we were both struck at just what a beautiful woman she was (still is, in fact) and how she managed to exude considerable style and glamour even during that fashion drought of a decade!

As I carried on flipping through the albums, waves of nostalgia washed over me. It was lovely.
There was one particular photo that really struck me. It was taken at my parents' 25th anniversary when they had a huge party to celebrate. I was in my early 20s and going out with Lee, the big love of my life. Sasha was impressed:
"Wow! Who's that? He's sooo fit. And look at you. Oh my god Mum, you look amazing! The two of you look like a proper celebrity couple."

It was true. He was gorgeous and we did look amazing together. When that photo was taken, we had been going out together for about a year and all was good and we were happy. I had a very chic black dress on and looking at it now, I looked stunning but I remember so clearly at the time being quite upset because I thought I looked fat. I was a size 10 !!! God, to be as "fat" at that now.

As I gazed at that photo, I thought about my life now and it was as if I was looking at a different person.

So I started to write her a letter. I don't know why and I might abandon it but if I don't, I just may publish it here.

Oh, there's so much to tell her....

Friday, 20 November 2009

Ewan - Again

I had my second session with the therapist yesterday.

It wasn't as satisfactory as last week. I kind of knew it wouldn't be because he warned me last week that he wanted to focus on Ewan and I was getting myself in a state about it as the appointment got nearer. I told him that before we started and he asked me the inevitable "why" and I didn't have an answer.

Rather than go over the session, I thought I would just be incredibly lazy and re-post what I wrote about my husband when I first started this blog as it sums up much what I said. Reading it through again though I recognise that at the time I wrote this, my attitude towards him was just plain belligerent and that's not how I feel now. I know that he really tries to be a good husband and doesn't intend to provoke me but sometimes, that in itself is an aggravation. I tried to explain that to the therapy man but he was pushing me to try and explain what I meant and then, why I was getting so uncomfortable about trying to make sense of it all.

I had told him a few other things about Ewan as well, things I haven't mentioned on this blog (yet) and he kept going on about them. Almost blaming Ewan and pointing the finger and asking if that wasn't the reason I was down about so many things but strangely, I wouldn't have it.

I have thought about it since and realise that I am very defensive towards my husband. It's OK for me to speak out against him or act badly towards him (and behind his back), but no one else has the right to do that. Not even the children. I won't let them backchat him or moan about him when they feel he's let them down, which is rare, admittedly.

That's weird isn't it? Why am I so protective of him when I try and pretend I don't care enough? Because I do?! Oh who knows. There is so much to go through with this therapy lark and my head is hurting already at the seriously deep thinking I have to do. And this is just one issue....grrr!!

Not such a light feeling on leaving this time but I know I have to work at it and I will.

Meantime, here's that entry .....

Ewan - The Husband
Ours was a bit of a whirlwind romance.

I'd had a few dates since splitting up with Lee but nothing that changed my opinion that all men were just out for themselves. And then, I went to my friend's 25th birthday party and met Ewan, one of her colleagues. I noticed him looking over at me almost as soon as I arrived and he wasn't unattractive - tall and broad.....looked like a rugby player! I tried to ignore him but every time I glanced over, he was looking and smiling. Something drew me to him so after a few drinks I went over and we hit it off straight away.

He had a kind face with lovely brown eyes and a boyish smile and he just seemed different to anyone else I had met. This was no Jack-the-lad but a really warm man who seemed genuinely interested in everything I had to say. He wasn't setting out to impress but I could still tell he liked me.

We arranged to meet the next day and then saw each other all the time over the next week - it was just so easy being with him. By the Friday, he told me he loved me but even though I was having the time of my life and loving all the attention and affection, I stayed cool. I refused to let myself be swept off my feet, even though it would have been the easiest thing in the world but the memory of the way Lee hurt me was still fresh in my mind.

By the following Friday, he asked me to marry him and because I knew I wouldn't find another man like him; no one who would love me so sincerely; no one who wanted to make me happy like he did; no one who kissed me so tenderly but with real passion and desire. Because of all of that, I said yes and it seemed like the most natural thing in the world to do. By then, we were also the best of friends and it didn't matter that I wasn't allowing myself to fall in love with him - I knew I wanted to be his wife and I vowed to be a good one, to never let him regret marrying me even though I couldn't say the words "I love you".

We had a huge wedding just six months later - big church, big dress, big cake - the works. It was a great day and his speech was so beautiful and full of love. I couldn't quite believe I was with a man who was so happy to have found me.

At the beginning, he was very attentive and so proud of me. All my friends loved him to bits and thought I was the luckiest woman in the world. And I did my part too. We bought an old run-down house and together we renovated it and brought it back to its former glory. And then we spent all our time entertaining.

After a year, we thought the time was right for children and I got pregnant straight away but at four months I had a miscarriage. I felt such a failure and I guess that's when things changed a bit. He was still attentive but he was keen to get on with the business of starting a family and he couldn't understand why I was scared to get pregnant again, especially as the doctor had reassured us that it wasn't likely to happen again.

The next year was difficult but eventually I caved in and Sasha arrived followed almost immediately by Kyle the following year. Things were different then. We were both completely besotted with our children and everything we did revolved around them. His affection for me diminished noticeably as he lavished it on both of them. I compensated by giving them all my time too. We settled into a comfortable family routine together - what some people may call a rut - and the years went by.

He did well at work getting regular promotions but it meant he stayed at the office longer. And then we hit a really rough patch when he started drinking too much because of the stress. I kind of lost him then, I think, even though we got through it. His love for the children made him realise the error of his ways and he got back on track but I felt responsible for that wobble. Maybe I should have been more supportive, looked after him more. He told me often during that period that he was tired of trying to break down my walls and though I told him not to be stupid, I knew full well what he meant.

We've got by since then. Living together, looking out for each other - to the outside world it looks good and actually, I suppose it is. Can any marriage hope for more after nearly twenty years?The thing is, although we are still together, he is, in a sense, only on the sidelines of my life. We share a bed and eat meals together and talk about stuff but what I've realised recently is that he is excluded from my innermost thoughts. Even so, although I know I probably don't need him in my life, I don't want to be without him. In fact, I can barely remember life without him.

Is that love?

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Happy Birthday, Speedy

Today is Kyle's birthday. I can't believe my baby boy is now sixteen.

He's such a good lad and we are incredibly proud of him. His sister Sasha, has great musical and dramatic talents, but he, is an academic genius. In the summer, he took three GCSEs a year early and got 3 A*s and he's set to get the same with the rest next summer. He'll hopefully also take an AS early too, so he really is doing spectacularly well.

His school only ever has good things to say about him and I marvel at how self-motivated he is, how he just gets on with his work without any nagging from me. I was never like that. He's definitely his father's son and Sasha, bless her, takes after me in the brain stakes!

I should have realised he would be a go-getter from the way he was born. I remember it as if it were yesterday ....

Sasha had taken a good 36 hours to make her entry into the world. I spent the first eight hours or so at home, enduring more and more painful contractions and trying to stay graceful and calm, until I could take it no more and went to hospital only to find that I was only two centimetres dilated. TWO !!!! It took another 24 hours for the child to make an appearance and believe me all grace and calm went out the window.

This time round, just a year later, I was determined to wait as long as possible before going into hospital. So when the contractions started at three in the afternoon, I decided that I would just ignore them as I guessed there would be no baby before the following afternoon at the earliest. I called Ewan to warn him not to take on any new projects but not to rush home. I spent the rest of the day with my gorgeous baby Sasha as I knew it would be the last time she would ever have me all to herself. I was rolling around on the floor with her, and letting her clamber all over me and all the time I tried to take no notice of the worsening pain that was coming at increasingly shorter intervals. I did start to worry at about five-thirty that maybe the baby's arrival was not far off when suddenly, everything just stopped. No contractions, nothing.

I felt extremely smug that I had been clever enough to stay at home and ride out the pain and then got on with giving Sasha her bath and dinner and putting her to bed with an extra special kiss and cuddle. It was as I lowered her into her cot that the pains started again but I wasn't going to be fooled into going to hospital too early and so I settled down to watch "EastEnders" which was a really important and dramatic episode that revealed a storyline that was far too important to be distracted by mere labour pains!

My parents were staying with us at the time and my dad knew instantly I was suffering because he noticed me clenching my toes every time I had a contraction!! He said I needed to get to hospital as he could see they were coming pretty fast but I said I knew better and that they would soon stop again. The poor man started pacing then and I'm sure I didn't do his heart any favours as I then, stubbornly sat and watched the Paul McKenna show! By the end of that though, the pain was pretty intense.

I asked Ewan to run me a bath and I calculated that if I had a leisurely soak in warm water, it would help ease the pain and give me a few more hours at home. However, just as I went to step into the tub, my waters broke and from that point on there were no more contractions just continuous, excruciating pain. I told Ewan to call an ambulance as I needed gas and air but they just laughed and told him it was as easy to take me to hospital himself.

We got in the car and had only reached the end of our road when suddenly I could feel the baby's head. I told Ewan and he had the cheek to say he didn't think I could, so I grabbed his hand off the steering wheel and put it up my skirt so he could feel for himself. I have never seen the colour drain out of someone so fast! He became like a man possessed, driving on pavements, jumping lights, swearing at pedestrians who dared use the zebra crossing. This was Ewan - my mild-mannered, even-tempered husband who was, by the way, shouting at me to shut up everytime I screamed with pain, asking how I could have been so stupid to have left it for so long. He was a different man!

He screeched to a halt outside the maternity unit where a few midwives were clearly waiting to be collected now that their shifts were over and he jumped out of the car and shouted the immortal line "MY WIFE IS HAVING A BABY" !! One of them pointed to the entrance but he screamed "NO SHE'S HAVING IT NOW!"

She sauntered over to the car, took one look at me and then threw her bag on the floor. After a quick feel she shouted, even louder than Ewan, "I NEED SUPPORT HERE .... NOWWWWW !!"

And all I remember, is that three minutes later, still in the car, Kyle was in my arms and Ewan was next to me, in shock. It took him a good couple of weeks to recover from that and even now he doesn't laugh when I tell the story. He adores his boy though.

So do I.

Happy Birthday my darling Kyle! I love you, so much.

Friday, 13 November 2009

In Therapy

First session yesterday.

I was kind of looking forward to it all day, in a nervous way. When I got there though, I almost ran off. I’ve fought against doing this for so long that I suddenly felt I couldn’t go through with it.

But, I climbed the steps up to the front of the enormous house, rang the bell and half-expected the door to be opened by a maid with a frilly cap and a feather duster. It was a dusty-looking man who answered though.

"Hello” I said with my practiced smile “I’m here to see Bob.”

“I know you are, Selina. I’m Bob and it’s lovely to meet you” and he shook my hand warmly and invited me to follow him into his huge maze of a house, through the hall, round a corner, down some steps and finally into a cosy room full of books on shelf-lined walls and some mismatched armchairs.

“Take a seat” he said

“Oh” I said, with a ridiculous little giggle, “is this where you judge my personality type by the chair I choose.”

he said, simply.
(I’m so stupid! First thing learned – don’t try and be funny all the time)

Anyway, I sank into a big, squashy leather armchair and he took the seat opposite me. He spent the first few minutes going through various rules: how it was all confidential, that I must give notice if I wanted to cancel a session, that he had the right to finish the treatment if I missed more than three sessions without prior warning, that I had to enter into it seriously, that it wouldn’t necessarily be easy…..He continued for a while but to be honest, I wasn’t really listening because I just wanted to get on. I signed something to the effect of what he had laid out and then he sat back, looked at me with his head to one side and said with his lovely warm Radio 4 voice, “So. How are you?”

And as I went to answer, I suddenly burst into tears! I didn’t expect them at all but they came from somewhere deep within me. So deep, that I couldn’t stop. I don’t know if it was because I suddenly felt safe, or because I was scared of what was going to happen, or because I was angry with myself for needing to be here or just desperate to get all of this stuff inside of me out but I must have sobbed for about three or four long minutes. And he did nothing. Apart from placing a box of tissues on the little table in front of me.

When I eventually stopped, I said sorry and he asked me why I was crying and I said I didn’t know. He just smiled and said it was OK, that I was there to find that out.

I remember then saying something about being there because life was running ahead of me and I needed some techniques to get it back in hand again. And he suggested that actually what I probably needed more was to find out why I felt out of control.

The next three-quarters of an hour seemed to fly by as I just told him about myself – family situation, career, friends…..affairs (which made me cry again). He didn’t write anything down – he just watched me babbling on. It felt like I talked forever and then suddenly he was saying that he was afraid our time was over but that next week, he’d like to concentrate on my relationship with my husband.

And that was it.

I did walk away from there feeling lighter. But I’m already slightly apprehensive about talking about Ewan.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

To Anon et al

Thank you all for the comments to my last post. They have made me think… a lot and, helped me to what could be a life changing decision!

Steve, as ever, so full of wisdom, made me seriously consider getting a counsellor. It’s something I have thought a lot about in the past, but as Maternal Tales made me realise, I have always rejected the idea because I thought of it as a sign of defeat. And now, suddenly, I realise that it’s not. I am depressed. There’s no point denying it, or trying to pretend that I’m not. I am. And so I need to take some positive action.

And yesterday, I did just that. I was speaking to one of the senior partners at work and we started talking about the whole counselling thing and he told me that he had a therapist which completely surprised me as he seems one of the most together people I know. Anyway, he gave me the number and rather than hide it away or put it off, I rang the guy straight away. I’m quite proud of myself about that! He sounds very nice and…… I am going to see him on Thursday! And stupidly, I feel better already.

So that, I think, is a result. But it was really Anonymous’ comment that prompted me to write today. It really got to me. I don’t know whether s/he is a follower that I know and maybe also follow, or someone brand new to me, who has decided to say what s/he really thinks. But do you know, I really appreciate it. Although it doesn’t make easy reading, a lot of it is actually very accurate. I do crave attention and the cheating thing is, of course, about self-gratification. As I’ve said before, I’m constantly amazed that readers never judge me or call me names that I think I deserve.

I am surprised though that Anonymous says I like myself too much. I always thought half my problem was that I don’t like myself enough so I really need to give that some thought and maybe work through it with the counsellor. Also, it may be true that I’m not in love with my husband but that doesn’t mean I don’t love him. I do. Come to think of it, I love my mother too, for all her difficult ways. I may not like her much at times but I do love her. It doesn’t matter though - I’m touched and impressed that Anonymous has bothered to read the entire blog and taken the time to comment.

I guess devoting a whole post on my reaction to Anon’s comments means I am a bit too keen to justify myself, though that wasn’t really the point. In fact, I was actually thinking it might be a fitting way to finish this blog. To say thank you and goodbye, especially as I’ve now made the decision to be therapised !!! It seemed a fitting end.

However, reading again the lovely comments from all, including the wonderful Wife of Bold, the fabulous and funny Sagittarian, gorgeous George (all of whom I love reading and thus respect) and whatsmore advice from a new reader – Love Writing Again - I realise, I don’t want to stop! As Maternal and Love Writing say, my blog is my space to do what I want with and it doesn’t really matter if people don’t like it. I need it to be able to record my life the way it is and use it to see the patterns that emerge and also to learn from any feedback (positive and negative) that my followers kindly give me.

So, I’m not going anywhere!

Steve says I shouldn’t apologise for what I write and so I won’t. My attitude should be take it or leave it, and I think I’m slowly getting there.

.......…Mind you, there’s still a bit of me saying “Oh go on, please like me a little bit!”

Friday, 6 November 2009

Blogging Break

It’s not that I haven’t wanted to write.

I can always think of something to say or an event to relate. It’s just that on looking back at recent posts, my general tone seems to be miserable, whiney and moaney. And that is so not me.

At least not on the outside. Not the Selina that people beyond the blogosphere know. She’s so entertaining. Very funny, known for her warm and ready smile and loved for her infectious, if raucous, laugh. That Selina is a joy to be with.

This one is the real one and because she writes with honesty, about how she really feels and about what she’s up to in her secret life, her blogging pals don’t see that side of her. They don’t know that actually, she’s rather lovely and not a discontented, cheating whore.

The thing is I’m getting rather tired of Selina Kingston. She bores me and if I’m bored, then I’m worried that the people who read me must be fed up too. She needs to be given a slap and told not to be so bloody self-indulgent.

The trouble is I’m also tired of playing the real Selina. It’s getting harder each day to play that lovely, friendly woman. Sometimes, even when I’m laughing loudly in a group, I almost have an urge to just descend into crazy manic laughter followed by crying and then hysterical screaming ….to fall to the floor and roll up into a ball and rock away all that pain inside me which I don’t even understand why I should have, until someone comes to take me away and put me in a quiet room where I can stay forever, or at least until I have emptied my head of this buzzing confusion and think normally again.

But of course I can’t do that.

I’m depressed, I know that much. I just don’t know how seriously. I’m a wife, a mother, a daughter and a professional women. There are a lot of people who need me to hold it together so that I can help them when they fall apart.

And so, after a momentary lapse, I’m back. I’ll carry on as I have been and I apologise in advance for being such a baby about everything. I’ll address all these issues one day. But not now.

It’s not my time yet.