Friday, 7 March 2014

Life, later.

It is interesting reading old blogs… like reading old diaries and letters, you see yourself how you were, and sometimes that person is a stranger. Many of the emotions, I felt two and three years ago, I see as so selfish and self indulgent now. I want to shake my slightly younger self and say, "Do you realise how amazing your life could have been, how much time you wasted?" I have read a dozen or so posts this morning and have been sobbing, reliving it all over again… the sadness, the struggle. I have swallowed many of those memories. You never really want to live though the sad stuff again but seeing what I went though and where I am now, I'm proud that I made it ok. I could have sunk deeper but I chose to swim.

I'm not saying the last few years has been easy… I have probably had my heart broken in more ways than in my previous years put together but I think with experience and knowledge you deal with things differently. I have already talked about my Mothers terrible illness and the repercussions that it has had on the family. But other members of my family have been ill and some have died. Death, when it happens more regularly, makes you take a really good look at your own life. Have you lived your life to the full? Are you proud of what you've achieved?

I went through years of panic attacks and endless dark days, struggling to come to terms with being childless. When I finally accepted I wouldn't be able to have children of my own, and there was no sperm donor or IVF treatment in the world that could help me, it finally set me free. That was January 2012. But then, of course, came the philosophical questions. If women are put on this earth to procreate, what is her role if she cannot have children? Why am I even here... what's the point? I began thinking of gloriously dangerous jobs I could volunteer for, because it actually didn't really matter if I died. Ok, sorry, that probably came as a shock to read. What I mean is… I just felt that there was nothing stopping me, I had no one in my life that relied on me for anything, so why not do charity work in a war zone. I thought about this for months and months assuming that now my life was worthless, I could devote myself to helping others instead. I rang up the Red Cross and Médecins Sans Frontières, offering my help. I was rejected again and again. Having a BA in Graphic Design is not really the qualification they are looking for… doctors and nurses, yes, a girl with an eye for a good typeface, no.

I finally rejected all the extreme ideas and focussed on what I could do... be a good friend, a supportive and loving daughter, a wonderful sister. I seemed to be able to make people laugh and cry when I wrote, so why not leave that as my legacy instead? So I started a new, more positive blog called “What I Saw. What I Heard.” I began a creative writing class, writing story after story, until finally one of them won a prize. After years of feeling worthless, that one silly little literature prize made me feel that life wasn't shit and that I could do something worthwhile. I started traveling more, visiting friends and family around the world, really embracing the freedom I had, that not having children had given me. Instead of being made to feel selfish (my own doing), I took my childlessness by the horns and ran with it.

2012 was my year of writing and finding my new independent self but 2013 was my year of love, passion and heartbreak. I had woken up in January, happy and confident, realising that my life was pretty wonderful but that I really wanted to fall in love again. Friends and family can fill your life with love and laughter but being in love, having a partner to hold your hand and grow old with, that can not be replaced with writing and traveling. So, I bit the bullet and joined a dating website. I had 9 disastrous dates and then I met Mr Blue (a pseudonym of course).

Mr Blue was the most romantic, handsome, loving, tender man I have ever met. He was a widower, having his lost his wife to cancer 15 months earlier. He had been married to her for 21 years... they met when he was 18. She was his only love. He was still grieving terribly but felt ready to meet someone and try and love another. In fact, in one of the very first letters he wrote to me (yes, he really was old school romantic), he said, “I just want you to take this big broken heart heart of mine and hold it in the palm of your hands”. His letters were beautifully written and made me weep with the tenderness he expressed. I have never ever experienced anything like the love I felt for him. It came quickly and explosively and I was so unprepared for having this man turn my life upside down, that I really did go through all the ridiculous symptoms... not eating or sleeping, crying all the time. But I realised a lot of my tears were for him and his wife and not for our happiness. The more I heard him talk about his late wife, the more I knew he wasn't ready. His grief was palpable and raw and he cried openly about how much he missed her. Every day I spent with him was emotional... his pain and sorrow transferred from tears to incredible passion in bed. It was the one time we were together that he could forget her and so it became all consuming. He did love me, I don't doubt that for a second, but he also knew he wasn't ready to leave her love behind. He began feeling that he was being unfaithful, that he was betraying her by being with me. I honestly thought we could get through it, that our relationship was strong enough. I offered him time... time to grieve on his own. We talked, we cried, we wrote letters to each other and after a week away with a friend, I came back, thinking things would be ok. We sat on Wimbledon Common and he told me he couldn't do it anymore... that his guilt was eating him up, that he was betraying her and that he would rather hurt me now, than a year from now. That he would rather be alone with the warm comfort of his grief than be with someone he couldn't give himself fully to. I was devastated. I cried for weeks. I wrote him letters saying I would wait, and then didn't send them. I wrote him letters saying how much I missed him and, they too, are still sealed in my kitchen drawer. I stupidly deleted all traces of him from my phone, I threw away the letters, the books he had given me. My heart was in so many pieces that I couldn't risk seeing a glimpse of him.

It has been 6 months. I have only just been able to wake up without thinking about him. When friends ask about him, I still cry. I miss him so much but my recent tears are not only for the breakup but for him, his grief. I am so sad for him... I can see past the relationship and my love for him now and recognise the grief and pain he must have felt. And I want to reach out and comfort him and make it better, but I know he will never reply if I wrote. I know his guilt is too much. He knows he broke my heart and will never ever contact me again. The heart hurts more when there is no tangible reason to break up... no one was unfaithful, no one shouted or screamed, no one moved away. It's sad.

I went to Alaska for a month in September, which helped me think about other things. I then had a stupid fling just before Christmas... the cliché rebound. A Canadian, with so little in common it was quite perfect. And so here we are in 2014. No boyfriend and certainly no internet dating... I may have found the love of my life on there but I just can't go through that again, any time soon. I have a very full social life though, great friends, I try and challenge myself all the time by doing different things, and have booked 4 holidays already. And, of course, I'm still writing...

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Two Years and Three Months.

It has been two years and three months since I last wrote on Single Supplement. I began to find it harder and harder to put things into words, because all my inadequacies were there for everyone to see and I started to feel quite vulnerable. I was also embarrassed at the ridiculous state of my love life, or lack of it, and have been cringing as I re-read some of the posts! With my other blog, I write about the funny things in my life, what I do, who I see, where I've gone. I try to be witty and upbeat and I don't talk about the pain or the suffering I often feel. Maybe I thought that by not writing or thinking about it, it would go away. My parents are like that… stoic, traditional, the 'stiff upper lip' generation that are embarrassed by confessions and emotions. They seem to brush things aside, rise above the shit and get through life with a deep breath and a pat on the back. That was until my mother was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, two years and three months ago. Oh my God. I have, literally, only just realised that's when I stopped writing this blog… how extraordinary. So, unknowingly, I stopped writing about my true feelings the moment my mother got ill. In fact, not only did I stop writing, but I stopped talking. Hmm… what would a therapist think of that?

Well, I can actually answer that question because I saw mine very soon after my mum became ill. I sat in my therapists office, crying, but not uttering a single word. When I managed to eek out a sentence, around the 56th minute of the hour, and explain my wracked sobs, my therapist knew exactly what was going on. Suddenly, I had to think about someone else other than myself. I became meaningless the moment I saw my strong vibrant mother turn into a small frail bird. She physically and mentally disappeared in just under a fortnight - the metamorphosis was staggering. I have gone through illnesses with friends and family over the years but nothing quite so terrifying as this. My Father has survived his cancer for almost 12 years, my sister has had surgery, other relatives and friends have been terribly sick, but their personalities haven't changed. In the depths of my mothers depression, I don't recognise her. I now understand why mental illness scares people so much… because it's totally unpredictable. And you, as the loved ones, know that it can't be cured with a pill or potion, with kind words or a hug, you just have to wait and hope and pray the darkness will fade. My mother does have an incredible team of doctors and therapist and they prescribe and they talk and they suggest… but it really does all come down to time. Just waiting for her to get better.

Each depressive episode seems to last about 3-4 months, and each of those times seems to be triggered by winter. She gets depressed around the beginning of December and starts to get better in Spring… we don't know why. The not knowing is the hardest things to grasp. No one really knows the cause of bipolar disorder, experts included… all they agree on is that it's a chemical change in the brain. Some experts believe that it can be brought on by trauma, or by a latent memory of an unhappy childhood for instance, but this usually happens to people in their 20's, 30's or 40's. My mother was 71 when she was diagnosed, and for all the Doctors I have spoken to in the last two years and three month, that is very very unusual. Why now? Has she really stored up all tough times she's experienced through her life until this moment in time, when she and my father lead a comfortable happy life, living in a lovely Hampshire village, surrounded by friends and family? It doesn't make sense. 

My mother has experienced trauma though… her own father suffered from bipolar disorder, although in the 1960's it was called manic depression. My grandfather owned a farm in Lincolnshire. He was a proud man and kept the profound darkness he felt to himself. He had to keep the farm going, struggling every day with his demons but unable to tell a single soul… and when it finally got too much, when he was enveloped by the black cloud, he hung himself. My mother was in her early 20's, newly married and had just had her first baby, my sister. She was suffering from baby blues (the gentle mid century term for post natal depression) and suddenly, as the oldest and most responsible daughter, had to not only take care of her distraught mother, but also her 3 younger siblings. From that day, my mother was always the one who took care of everything. She helped her sister and brother through cruel addictions with drugs and alcohol; she also watched my grandmother's slow decline into alcoholism and dementia; she was helpless to prevent the loss of all the family savings through some unfortunate investments, and therefore have their lives change overnight and forever; she has seen my sister go through a devastating divorce and struggle to get her life back on track; and she has watched me, her younger daughter, go through life threatening surgery, numerous heart wrenching break-ups, and witnessed my constant feelings of inferiority and disappointment of being both unmarried and childless. So yes, my mother has had upset in her life. She has had cause to be depressed but she has never allowed herself to feel it. To push the pain down, to change the subject, to not dwell on upsetting things… this is the way my mother was brought up and how she has always dealt with pain, with disappointment, with anger, with sadness. Until now, it seems.
Currently, my mother is in her third bout of depression, but, on seeing the cherry blossom on the trees and the daffodils springing up from the earth, I'm hoping the longer days and brighter light might signify it is nearly at an end. Her illness has aged my father, yet it has also brought out a tenderness that my sister and I have never seen before. For my sister and I it has meant worry and stress like never before. But I, possibly because I have no husband or child to distract me, have maybe immersed myself a little too much. I read every article and science magazine to try and understand this horrible illness and discover a better treatment. I send dozens of emails to my father, suggesting sleep treatments and light therapy, I phone constantly and visit every few weeks… but the more I have tried to fix my mother, the more I have become ill myself.

I cannot remember the last time I slept well. I am plagued with migraine type headaches and seem to come down with every cold and infection going. I know I'm run down but I can't stop worrying and trying to help. A month ago, I was told by my Doctor and sister, to take a step back, to not get quite so involved because it was consuming me. I was going to bed thinking about my mother, and waking up a few hours later in tears, angry and despairing at this cruel change of fate. Because my mother should not be spending the last few decades of her life with this illness, it's not fair. She has lived her whole life as one of the most energetic, wonderful, generous and slightly eccentric people I have ever known. She is an incredible and inspiring mother, sharing her passions for the arts, literature and her joie de vive with me, and making me the person I am. So why now, is that being taken from her?

Friday, 11 November 2011


Just heard from Mac. He wants to re-schedule our spontaneous night of passion until the end of January when his diary is less hectic. Talk about taking the whimsy and excitement out of things! Thanks but no thanks!

Spontaneity is dead!

So... after the last email from Mac, where he basically suggested a quick shag in the local holiday Inn, he came to his senses, realised what he'd written was pretty insulting and after a couple of days sulking, suggested we meet in a gorgeous luxury hotel in East London. The Hoxton Hotel, chic, cool and a favourite of models and rock stars. That’s better I thought.

Then at the end of last week he wrote that it was really hard to book anywhere because we were meeting on a Friday, close to Christmas and everywhere was full. Rather than email back I looked at The Hoxton and a few other hotel websites for availability on that date, and they all had rooms. Weird. So either he has cold feet again and has made something up so we wouldn't meet OR he's just a lazy bastard and can't be arsed! I don't know.

So I wrote back a very nice email saying that I would book if he wanted, that I'm sure I could find somewhere... calling his bluff, you see. Then nothing! I have not heard a word from him since last Friday and today is this Friday. I really can't be arsed with it all anymore. It was all supposed to be sexy and spontaneous and now it's a pain in the bum and has lost all that was exciting! Might have to try!

Friday, 4 November 2011

Old Flame

Old flames are aptly named because they are the smoke with no fire!

Having recently returned from a trip to Morocco, and having witnessed all the loved up couples on my travels, I realised I had been single for 2 years, therefore, I've had no sex for 2 years! It's tragic!

So to resolve this dilemma, quickly and efficiently, I decided to offer my booty to an old flame. The old flame is one I have written about on here before and swore I would never see again. I actually told him I never wanted to see him again because of his constant lying and bullshit about separating from his wife, which is transpired, he hadn't.

The reason I picked him though is that I know where he's been and I know he's discreet, rich and desperate! The last time I saw him he told me that although he hadn't left his wife quite yet, he spent every weekend away with friends, and when he was at home, they slept in separate bedrooms. And, he added, they hadn't had sex in over 8 years. I'm not completely stupid and took it all with a pinch of salt, but judging on his performance, I would say it had been a very very long time since he'd had sex. You can sort of tell these things! So a perfect match for some harmless, one off sex, I thought.

I tested the waters with a short and sweet email. When I got an excited reply about how he thought he would never hear from me again and how he'd missed me and how he'd like to take me out for the day, to the coast or a long lunch, I dropped the bomb. "Actually," I wrote, "I'm going to be very honest with you but as we have never had a normal relationship and our romantic day and weekends away have always been a disaster, I was thinking that maybe we could just meet at a lovely hotel for the night and have some hot, dirty sex?". There it was.

Nanoseconds later he replied, "Oh my god, I wasn't expecting that and I've just fallen off my chair. But yes, oh yes please, I would love to meet and have dirty sex with you." Well, what red blooded man would turn down free uncomplicated sex?

We then agreed on a date and it was all going to plan... UNTIL I suggested a few places in town that are beautiful and quite luxurious for our little tryst. Whenever we have been anywhere in the past, he has chosen lovely, tasteful places so I thought that would still be the case, especially for what we had in mind. He came back with a reply that was a bit... well, yuck!.

He wrote:

“Fuck me, for a girl who doesn't want romance, St. Pancras is described as londons most romantic hotel, plus a fab breakfast, which we won't have, obviously!!! I'm slightly, errr, impecunious at the moment. So let's get down at the nearby Euston Ibis - you book it and check in (and out) and I'll pay you. Drinks on me as well!! I'll come up to the room and meet you there. I'll send you the link for the hotel. I've stayed there a couple of times after dinners and it's very comfortable if functional. I'm getting very excited by this cos I never thought I'd hear from you again.”

Yuck, yuck!! There are so many awful things to pick out in this email, I was gobsmacked.
1. Implying it will be a quick fuck so no need for breakfast.
2. Typing the words "let's get down.." Eughhh!
3. The Euston Ibis the worst kind of salesman's motel. Ten steps down from a Holiday Inn. Characterless, cheap and ugly. Him saying "comfortable and functional" is so clinical. Yuck!
4. "You book, check in and I'll pay you". Um, I think you're confusing me with a prostitute?
5. "Drinks on me as well!!" Oh, how generous! I wouldn't be seen dead in the Ibis bar!
5. "I'll come up to the room and meet you there". Ok, really starting to make me feel like a cheap whore.

In fact, even typing it out has got me sooooo angry again. I know emails can be misread and the tone of voice lost, but really. It's all too sleazy!!

I wrote back a terse paragraph: "I think we have our wires crossed. The Ibis is dreadful and the opposite of what I had in mind Mac. When I suggested a sexy evening with you, I didn't mean it had to be some tarts hotel for a quickie, and then "pay me" afterwards!! If you want that sort of thing, be my guest… go to the Ibis. You will be able to find an amenable girl outside Kings Cross station and be able to pay by the hour!!"

Unsurprisingly, I haven't heard back, so it just might be a little longer until I have sex again!!!

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Lots of friends, no one to talk to

I read an article about Eddie Izzard, the comedian, the other day and he said that he was often incredibly lonely because "he knew lots of people but didn't have any friends". I felt like writing to him and saying "I know what you mean, I feel the same way sometimes."

It didn't always used to be like this. Ten years ago, before all my friends began having children, there would be endless dinner parties, girls nights out, girls nights in. My social life was wonderful. I honestly never thought it would change quite so much. I guess I was lucky growing up because my parent's friends never seemed to change when they had children. Their social lives got busier and the children would be taken everywhere... dinner party, ooh yes please, I'll just shove the baby on the spare bed. BBQ, fantastic, can the kids watch TV?

There is one huge difference though. I'm the one without the kids. That's why my social life has gone wrong. I feel sometimes like I'm being punished, not by God .. although he has a lot to answer for, but by my friends for not having children. I'm constantly told "You don't understand, I have no life. I'm exhausted and have no time for myself. EVER! You are so lucky Jules, you can lie in bed and read the papers, you can read a book, you are able to travel and have dinner dates and so on and so on". Some of my friends seem to hate me for it. They have no idea that I still wonder why I should be on this planet if I can't have children. That I am a waste, totally inadequate as a human and as a woman. That no man will ever want me because I am barren. That I feel totally excluded from their lives because I don't have children. It makes me feel unwanted and useless. But then I can't tell them that because then it sounds so selfish.

And, its bollocks about not having a social life. My friends tell me about their BBQ's and their street parties and their childrens parties. It's just I'm not invited. If I had children I'd be invited. Also because I'm single I get left out of couples dinner parties and there never is a spare man is there? So it's not always greener is it?

I have a best friend. Someone I used to tell everything to. She is still my best friend.. if you're reading this. She means the world to me but I never hear from her. I leave it weeks and I still don't hear from her so I ring or text or email. Then I get upset because I think, if I never ever rang her again would she think to ring me? I could be dead in my flat and she wouldn't know for months. This morning, I read about the unhappy time she is having... on her blog. I try and reach out and ask her what's wrong but she puts up her wall and says nothing. I feel I lost her a few years ago and when a particularly traumatic event happened last year, I felt I'd lost her again because she wasn't there. The thing is, I know her so well. I know that when she is lost or miserable the first thing she does is recede into her shell and says nothing. She can't share. She's not like that. Her lovely Mum was very stoic and stiff upper lip and my darling friend is the same. I miss her like mad. I feel a bit of her has disappeared with her sadness and I wish I could make it better. But how do you force someone to talk to you without becoming over dramatic or a pain in the arse??

I started writing another blog a few months ago and she had links to that and this blog on her own page. When I read her blog this morning I noticed the links had gone. I'm not sure what that means. I'm not even sure if she reads either of them. I want some sort of sign if I've done something wrong. I want her to tell me to stop being paranoid. I want to be told to stop worrying and believe her. I want to not have to write a very personal blog in order that it might reach her.

To you, my darling friend... I love you.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

What is... normal?

I haven't written in months which is very naughty, sorry. I actually only have about 5 people that read this so probably could apologise individually.

Anyway, the road to being normal is still in guinea pig mode. When I say normal, I mean relative to me. Other people’s normal is not mine. I am now seeing a rather good specialist who is an HRT and menopause consultant. She has me currently on a recipe for feeling good:

2 squirts of a french oestrogen gel - rub on upper arms every morning

1 pea size squeeze of testosterone gel - rub into inner thigh (this, I was afraid would give me full beard and make me drink Stella but for now it is prescribed by the doctor to regulate my testosterone levels to normal (again, my normal) which will help my energy levels, my libido and might help with my weight loss. The libido thing is a worry... my sex drive is perfectly fine for someone that hasn't has sex in about 2 years. Ha, ha, ok so that's not a great statement. If (and always hopeful) and when I get a boyfriend I will probably not let him out of bed for the first week!

1 progesterone capsule - shoved up my vag every night for days 1-10 of the month. Jesus Christ, this is the one thats killing me. Its horrible and so so unladylike putting something up there and no, its not like a tampon. My doctor did make me laugh though... she said if I was being intimate with a man, then the benefit of having this was that I could still have sex. When I frowned at her she just said I could put it up my arse instead (I hoped she meant the capsule not the penis!) Except she didn't say arse, she just did 2 short whistles and pointed to her bottom. Brilliant, so the choice of 2 places of rest for this butt plug should make me feel better!!! It makes me feel hideous too, imagine 10 days of the worst PMS you have ever had, times 10.

Then I have my period and then, ooh, arent I lucky, the remaining 2 weeks of the month I feel ok. So, a work in progress I am.

What else? Um, soya and flaxseed supplements and of course, I'm still on weight watchers and watching the tedious progress of losing only about half a pound a week. Have been on this particular strict diet for over 10 weeks and have lost about 6lbs. Slow but moving in the right direction.

So I will try and update again sooner. I am about to join an internet dating site called Muddy Matches so wish me luck!!!