Tearing at the Fabric

Of the space-time continuum


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Time, the great leveller?

Although I didn’t experience trickle truth to the same degree that many other betrayeds did, there is certainly a parallel with how time uncovers or changes perspectives. Roger was very aware that any further lies would mean I would lace up my marching boots and get the fuck outta there. I also think the relief he felt at discovery was palpable. He no longer had to lie and be deceitful. He could once again be who he used to be, and tell me the truth, tell me everything about his world, his day, his feelings.

That said, I didn’t/couldn’t know the whole truth on D-night. There are nuanced things that pop up from time to time, yes, even now! I told him about my recent bout of recurring dreams – I still have them most nights – about the first night he fucked her, and my mind movie of how it panned out. He was horrified, and said, “it wasn’t anything like as sexy, or romantic, or hot, as that. No way, this is what I remember happening, and my memory of it is not great, I thought I had told you this,” as he then described what he could remember of him entering the dangerous and slippery slope to where we are today.

I was very conscious my ignorance of the truth, and that I would never really know it, even as my head swam and I felt the earth shift on its axis on the night I was told of their affair, by the OW. I didn’t have a clue about the length, or the scope of the affair that night, but I did know that it (as I later discovered, 15 months of sexual affair, the period leading into that and the two months since he had ended it) meant I had (over 18 months of) a completely different reality to his. I knew it would take quite some time to align the two to any real degree. How could I know the nuances of their conversations, the looks they exchanged post-coitally, the way his skin reacted as she stroked him, whether she liked it when he revelled in the scent(s) of her body, like he did mine …? And so, over the next few months, he started to tell their story. To me. It began to deconstruct the pretty little picture they had painted for themselves. The rot started to invade their castle.

crumbling-castle

And he knew it. He was helpful, disclosing things as I asked. Uncomfortable, of course, but also told me ‘private’ things about her/them when he recalled them, without prompting. It was an act of goodwill. To try to let me know that he wanted me to stay, that he loved me. That he wanted to try to right his agonising wrongs. That he hated how he had behaved. That he was embarrassed and humiliated. That he was grateful that I even considered staying with such a hurtful scumbag. He hated telling me, but instinctively knew he had to. He even understood that every ‘secret’ he shared with me, handed me more power, and eroded hers. It was – and still can be – utterly and agonisingly beautiful.

I have noted a real shift in the last year or so. Yes, once I decided it needed to end, things changed a little again. Not a large earthquake shift like D-day, more aftershocks, tremors as things settled down to a large degree. Albeit that I would never trust the earth to be still ever again.

We still have a fair bit of contact. And he is still my best friend and greatest advocate. He is softer still. Occasionally, we talk. About IT. But not really about IT. We talk about our feelings, and our journey to here. To today. I note a real recognition of his ‘shit’ – more than ever. And I also note that he is even more open to the reality that this really was one of the most damaging things a person can experience. That I will not ‘just get over it’ eventually with time, love, work and mindfulness. This is a scar he carved in and on me. And himself. He, like me, thought we would do the work, and with the passage of time, we would be completely healed. He admits he thought a year or two would have us sorted – hey, me too! Over seven and a half years later, he sits with the permanence of the wound, and I think he is far more accepting of it, not fighting it, not wishing/hoping/willing that I would just get better. I always felt he thought I was wallowing in it, because it felt good. He denies this, saying, “why would anyone do that? Make themselves sick, sad and tortured? That makes no sense whatsoever. I know you want to get better. I know you want a better life. I know how hard you have worked to overcome this agony I wrought on you.”

We have connected nicely over the last week. Probably catalysed by a visit to ‘our’ lawyer. Who explained how we could conceivably unpack the intricate legal wrapping we had constructed around our joint assets, rendering us unable to split them, as they were no longer under our own ‘control’ which had made me (and him) feel like I would never be able to properly break free. It was liberating, but of course, not an immediate cure.

I like him. I like being his friend. I like listening to him talk. I like sitting quietly in silence with him. I like being near him. I like his calm. I  like the way he smells. Despite what others tell me is ‘healthy’ – we have a real and deep friendship and bond that I doubt will ever be fully severed.

And I am so very thankful for that.


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Recovery 101 … from what again?

In recent weeks, I had a person come onto this blog, with the very best of intentions, I feel, but who reiterated to me the discourse of “just get over it.”

big-girl-panties

 

For the first time ever, I deleted comments. I have always approved everything anyone has written here, believing that all views are worthy of sharing, even if you, or I, disagree. My reasons for deleting the conversation in its entirety are to do with my tendency to let things get under my skin, and the obsession that it invites. I got rid of the comments in order not to keep going over and over them. I know the person involved stated that they would not return, and I believe that my replies to them may have been read as negative and unwelcoming. I still feel I would like to say something about this experience to the rest of you. I know I am not really all that well, mentally. I also know that I have experienced an extreme, in my reaction and subsequent life, to Roger’s affair. My difficulties in moving forward in my life, attempting to work on me, to become a better person, and rediscover joy and peace have been incredibly frustrating. It has uncovered something in me that I didn’t fully recognise prior to this life event. I am a deeply flawed person, who is negatively affected by other people’s actions. I hate that this is who I am, and have fought being this person pretty vigorously for the past seven plus years. I like to think I am independent, caring, understanding, and open minded. However, I have not been able to implement lasting change. Despite receiving some very good, and some not so good, counselling, hypnotherapy, etc, and working away at ‘programs’ and the like, I haven’t found a way to make the happy stick, or to cope well with the constant mind movies, grief, and feelings of low self worth.

The person who commented here offered to help me with advice about how she (I am only assuming gender because of the user name and content of our discussion) had healed. I was cautiously optimistic that we could open an interesting dialogue, and that maybe she could offer something that I had missed these past few years. I waited to hear more about a) what it was that she had healed from, and b) what the techniques or methods were, or involved. For two weeks, we danced around the concept. I emailed her, after asking if email would work, and her saying, “yes, could do.” She never replied. Then she came back on after I posted a few days later that I was feeling a bit let down about her timeliness – or lack of. I had an awful experience during my suicidal times in this journey, whereby Roger and I had conveyed to a therapist that I had attempted suicide, and was therefore in crisis, and the therapist DID NOT SHOW UP. For TWO appointments. It was utterly devastating, that someone who I was relying on to help me get through the most difficult period in my life, just didn’t care enough to ensure he had the appointment times right. So, I thought it best to say to this person, “thanks, but no thanks.”

After I did, she came back on and basically tore me a new one. The way that my ‘real life’ friends have. It was another way of saying, ‘you loser, you just let this happen, and you are basking in the pain. Get. The. Fuck. Over. It.’ Like I haven’t thought those same thoughts, and tried like hell to do so??? She told me I wasn’t trying, and that I wasn’t open to change. She told me I had fallen in a pit, and instead of fighting to get out of it, that I had set up camp there. The thing for me is this. I know. I know that parts of what she said have some truth. But to be fair to this little hurting girl, I did fight. I fought like fucking crazy! For more than five years, I was pretty sure I would be okay, that I would fight and fight and fight, and I climbed, I scrambled, I scratched at that earth, and I would progress, but always fell back in the pit. After more than five years of this epic battle, I sat one day and thought. If I have fought this damn hard and have made so little real progress, maybe I am just doing the same thing over and over and over, and learning nothing. Maybe – just maybe? HA! – I need to try something new? Maybe if I instead try to beautify this space, that might work, change the place I am trying to escape from into one that I can live in, and accept as different, maybe a little less beautiful, but still a place I can survive in, hopefully one day to thrive?

So, I know this post sounds defensive, and I accept that maybe it is somewhat. I also accept that I have some deep flaws and nicks in my character that have made this journey a far more difficult one than another person may have found it. I don’t deny that this person had some things ‘right’ about me, I told her that. But, to some degree I am now standing and making a stand. My journey, my way, in the sense that I am not new to this game – and I have tried the traditional forms of therapy, and mind techniques, etc. And, they haven’t worked for me, thus far. So, I have and am trying alternative ways to cope with the thing that has affected me far more deeply than it ‘should have’ really. My point here is that surely it is okay to disagree, or to say so without being told off like you are a very naughty 5 year old? At the end of the day, who even is that stranger to try to apply a one-size-fits-all philosophy, without knowing me, or my journey? She is no doubt a kind and caring person, offering to help someone who is not doing so well, but, for me, in this situation, I always have to remember …

morticia


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Endings

This title is perhaps not so PC. Today is my youngest child’s last ever day of school. Nineteen continuous years of primary and secondary schooling have drawn to a close for me, thirteen for her. That rhythm. That routine. And that is okay, I was looking forward to it. But sadly, yesterday a young man, two years her junior, was killed in a freak car accident involving four young men who were working together to raise money for a school rugby trip to Argentina next year. The driver failed to safely take a corner on a no exit, rural road, during the middle of the day. I get to say, “last day of school” for my baby, and that young man’s parents will never get that privilege.

bad-things-good-people

It is always sobering when you contemplate a death. A young person’s one always has you reviewing your own, and holding your own children that little bit closer, at least for a while.

We had another shock death earlier in the week, the mother of one of my son’s childhood friends died 48 hours after being admitted to hospital with end stage breast cancer that she had not told anyone, including her children, (maybe her husband knew, it sounded like that may have been likely in the wording of her obituary) had returned. She can’t have been even 50 years old?  I can’t quite work that out, did she want to spare herself the pity of others? Her children the worry of losing her? Or what else was the motivation to not let her family say goodbye properly? The younger of her two young adult children is my son’s friend. She is not doing well, she has just turned 20 years old, and the closest woman in her short life has disappeared.  I try not to judge other people’s choices, when it comes to their own bodies, etc, but I am a bit sad that this lovely young woman is left wondering what the fuck just happened, and why her mother did not trust her enough. So yeah, I must admit, I don’t agree with her decision here, just quietly. I think it was such a wasted opportunity to impart some final worldly love, compassion and support to those she had to leave here.

So, while I looked forward to celebrating the last day of school, ever, we are all doing so at the school very sombrely. The kids feel there have been too many young losses in the past two years. My son’s small year lost three in twelve months, the last not long before they finished school, also in a car crash. It is not a large community, nor school.

So, what has that got to do with my usual blog material? Nothing. Not really. Except that I so often feel that life has taken a dark turn. I can’t decide whether I just notice more of the darkness, or whether it really has. Loss and grief seem to follow me, and I can’t quite work out how to shake it off. I did laugh, as I had a hair appointment this morning, and my hairdresser shared how her mother, whom she loves very much, can be draining. She has let life’s sadnesses get her down. I have a father who does the same, and have always been so conscious that I have 50% of his DNA, and worked hard to emulate my much sunnier mother’s attitude. She had more to be sad about than many, but rarely let life get her down. I know I naturally tend more to the dark, but felt I had a good balance, was very self aware, and could steer the ship back to calmer waters when required. I managed the shittier parts of life pretty well. Until the bloody affair! And on the surface, by life’s measuring wall, it is in no way the worst thing that has happened to me. Do the setbacks stockpile? Is there really a camel with an aching back, ready to crack? For all of us?

Or is it just me? Did my supply of resilience run short? I need more directions to the store so I can restock today.


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Shit. Just. Got. Real.

So, as you can see from my recent self-absorbed posts, I am starting on my Masters research. Friday was the last date for submission for research applications to my uni’s human research ethics committee. I got there.

Shit. Just. Got. Real.

I really am writing an academic thesis linked closely with this awful journey I have been on the past few years.

And my thesis was again somewhat changed along this journey. My supervisors and myself discussed what we called the “vanilla-isation” of the project (on the surface.) I was concentrating on the effects of infidelity on home spaces, but they gently started to prod me to look at ‘break ups’ and their effect on same. I was happy to take this on board, as it is only a year, and I need to be able to gain enough local participants. But I really wanted to include those who had relationships that ‘survived’ infidelity – as from personal experience, my home spaces have been changed irrecoverably by this, even though we did not break up – for years. So, the new working title, the one I submitted to the committee is this: “‘Home is where the heart is broken?’: examining the impact of intimate relationship challenges on meanings of home.”

broken-home

At first, I was worried that it wasn’t going to be easy to get people to think their relationship ‘challenge’ was ‘enough’ to feel they could be involved. I was worried that cheating was the major way that people got challenged in their feelings about their home spaces, I know because the affair happened in and on my properties, that I have very intense feelings about space(s). My more senior supervisor said to consider that I will still get a lot of respondents who have been challenged by infidelity, but that this casts the net a little wider, and offers a perspective that suggests that infidelity isn’t the only stressor to the construct of home. I agree. I invite all genders, all sexualities, ethnicities, etc, to be involved in this. So, the longer I sat with this idea, the more focused I became about what I am interested in. I want to know what happens to people’s thoughts and feelings about the material and spatial aspects of their ‘homes’ – and what home/homelessness even means/meant to people with regards to fucked up/broken/healing/better/different-to-they-were-before/etc, relationships. There is a bit of literature about love and homes, and home-making, but not a lot on what happens to place when things fall (apart) outside of dominant discourses about monogamous relationships in a Western context. I especially want to explore the fluidity of feelings about home – I know I can love it one minute, and loathe it the next. And this has spilled over into all spaces – I can be very uncomfortable, very quickly (anxiety) in some really weird and totally unrelated spaces (on the surface) to the affair – and that never happened to me prior to my world being torn asunder. My experience with betrayal has made for permanently shifting sands.

So, I now have to wait to hear what the committee says, whether I have covered enough bases (sensitive research is always doubly scrutinised) and I certainly do not expect approval on the first submission – this is quite rare. I submitted three times for my last project, and you really think you have it sorted by the time you have agonised over it for a month or two. In the meantime, I can make some progress by assembling more literature, and organising some themes and possible theoretical frameworks.

Best of all, I am assisting one of my supervisors with her post-doctoral research on a rural group of people, and I am really enjoying it. (Well, the transcription, not so much!) But we had a really good chat about it on Friday, and she noted that we have been very careful with this as it is a sensitive area – animal welfare and human stress are two of the things we are very aware of, especially when conducting on-farm interviews – and she mentioned that when she applied to the ethics committee that no one mentioned anything about any of the things we have both identified (separately) as touchy. We are both rural people, with rural upbringings, and we were quite surprised at the lack of any thoughts about this by an academically trained, normally sharp critical thinking, probably mostly urban, committee. And we talked about how she will address this in her findings. The research is funded to the end of this calendar year, and she has a journal article about to go to print on methodological challenges and workings. I am really enjoying working with her, and she gives me very encouraging feedback. She said the other day that she would have struggled with this with a younger, non-rural grad student as she trusts me to understand the nuances and sensitivity of going on farm walks with our participants – not to mention that I have drummed up about half of the research participants through my rural contacts! She was struggling with support, as people are wary of talking to academics – especially social scientists – about their farming businesses and practices – let alone their FEELINGS! We have found our participants to be mostly a little wary, but once we have gained their trust (we are not on a crusade to bring down farming) they have been warm and shared valuable insights and perspectives.

Add to all of that the fact that one of my dearest friends in the world messaged me from our biggest city yesterday, in an absolute panic because she had just walked into the same shop as Leanne was in! And, I laughed. Yep, I am this far out, I laughed. This friend used to share a house with Leanne thirty years ago. They were once very close. I said to sidle up to her and say, “hey! Long time, no see. Fuck the love of anyone else’s life lately?” She laughed and ran out of the shop without Leanne seeing her. And said that if she had to ever speak to her, that it would NOT be even that ‘friendly! She then said that “I simply can’t abide women who go after other women’s men – period! And ones that do so under their roofs are even more despicable!”  Not gonna lie, I cried. I have not had one ‘friend’ be that loyal to me in this whole mess. Most still speak to Leanne, they play nice. One of my oldest and I thought dearest, friends, sits and drinks wine with her at their ski club lodge. Because not to do so would be rude, right? So, this friend saying these things to me, telling me that her heart was pounding and the blood was boiling as she spied her in the homewares store made me love her even more than ever.

Let the eight hours of interviews transcription, this time around, begin! (SHIT!!!)


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Metamorphmagus

… or something like that.

My thesis topic is melding into something a bit different. I chose the original topic, because I was a little afraid. Afraid of carving too deep, too close to my own bone. I thought if I could keep it about a ‘different’ set of circumstances to my own – albeit that I did experience cheating by a gay dad (now identifying as bi – not quite sure of the reasons for the change in his own labelling system 30 years on, but not my place to police another’s sexuality) on my straight mum – so had a degree of separation. Now the title is this:

‘Home is where the heart is broken’: examining the impact of infidelity-prompted relationship disruption on home and sexual subjectivities.

Hmmm. Now, the main reason I was afraid wasn’t really too much about exposure. I have been exposed, and I am over it. There was nowhere to hide when the affair was announced from the town square to all and sundry! I did try to keep my personal situation away from my academic life, but that didn’t work either. So, here I am. Embarking on an academic examination of home, and challenging dominant discourses (yet again) about ‘home’ as a safe, loving, nurturing environment. Nothing is new here. We have known forever that the pretty picture is often a facade, and not something that occurs in reality for a lot of people. Homes are also where abuse happens, where mistrust, anger, hidden sexual desires and sexualities, etc, etc, etc, lurk. Where the very image of home is turned on its head.

home-upside-down

 

When I briefly mentioned that I was a bit concerned at this being “too” personal, my supervisors were quick to reassure me that they want to keep me safe. Both emotionally, and of course, physically. And they have been very sure to keep me focused on the GEOGRAPHIES of this topic. This is a GEOGRAPHY thesis. NOT a psych one. It is my experience that my homes and my whole sense of place – including every part of my environment, indoors and outdoors – has been severely disrupted. Home has fluid and contrasting meanings to me now. Where it was once a place of sanctuary, a bit of pride, and definitely of love, nurturing and warmth, it teeters away from that towards an abject place of loathing, and place that was desecrated, etc, to back again. My sense of all spaces is now exceptionally fluid. I don’t have a love for or loathing of certain places, they all swing wildly about on the scale, and I can never predict what my reaction will be at any given time. I still have (far less, thankfully) moments in the car when I weep, torn by the betrayal, still. This is the same in my holiday home, local town, in our nation’s largest city, at racecourses around the country, on my farm – you starting to get the picture? To explore and give voice to a group who are so often ignored, or are made to feel that their perceptions of space and place are wrong. To get over it and ‘be normal’. Okay?

It helps. Oh lord, does it help!

So, I am still in the ethics phase of this, and doing well, justification, objectives, research methods, potential risk to participants, conflicts of interest, yaddah, yaddah, yaddah, check. Until I got to the design of a semi-structured interview schedule. When I realised I was asking ‘the wrong’ questions, in ‘the wrong’ context and with ‘the wrong’ perspective. NOT PSYCHOLOGY, PAULA!!! I am re-working this, and sweet baby cheeses, it is HARD. Predominantly open questions, with the right focus, and avoiding ridiculous ‘how does it feel’ as a leading and psych kind of leaning. Also, the recruitment of local participants <shiver>! Designing a poster to whip up interest, without pushing any ‘agenda’ aaaaargh.

Along with all of this going on, I am also an assistant to one of my supervisors with her current research. I am really enjoying it. It is an interesting topic, but one we are really struggling to recruit participants for, having spoken to about half the number she originally hoped for. I am at the leading edge of this, as the target group is one I am close to, and feeling a little pressure to produce these people. My supervisor is not putting this pressure on me, it is all myself. Dumbass that I am! Work has also ramped up, with the breeding season upon us. I interviewed seven people yesterday from a shortlist I compiled to share my job – from an inundation of applicants that we did not anticipate – while my boss was overseas last month. The worst part about that was that she came in early in the day, and let me know that a former colleague of hers, a terribly capable person, has let her know that she is interested in the job, that part time works for her. So, the time I spent with these candidates (and there were some great ones) was wasted. My time, and theirs. And I still haven’t got the August accounts out to clients. Luckily, the job applicants do not know this. But, yeah, I hope my boss’s old colleague works out!

Not quite sure why I shared that last paragraph. Maybe I am just doing my usual drainage of the brain. And the tears that still fall at times are related to protecting my heart, letting off that pressure valve. I never used to cry much. I was a tough farm girl. Yeah, I felt stuff, and there were times when the tears fell, but not like this. I think of this blog more and more as that space – the pressure valve. And I know that I have made progress in recent times, because I use it far less than I once did. Or I manage the pain levels far better than I once did. I think it is a little of both.

pressure-valve

 

Whatever the reason, I am glad I made this space, even if it was probably far too late to save what was once a beautiful life, with a beautiful man, that I was beautifully happy with.

And that pretty inane wisdom folks, is all for now.


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“So, what is your thesis on?”

Well, hmmm.

Yes, this semester has seen me embark on my Masters thesis. I went to a workshop the other day to help prepare for a possible tilt at my uni’s heats of the Masters version of 3MT (3 Minute Thesis – a competition that has traditionally been run for PhD candidates.) I can’t compete, because I am taking D (youngest daughter) and Frenchie (exchange student living with us) to Wellington for a long weekend, and the heats are one of the days I am away. To say I am relieved is a bit of an understatement! I am not good at public speaking, and as you all know, I am also not good at keeping things brief! But, I thought I would go along to learn a bit more about it, and push my boundaries. I will need to hone these skills as I progress through my thesis, and beyond. First question as I sat beside a Masters candidate (in German) was, “so, what faculty and department are you from?” And second question was, “so, what is your thesis topic?” Hmmm. I don’t have a title. And I barely have a long synopsis. So, I stuttered through a brief outline, and the reply, “how is THAT Geography?”

PMSL.

It is a common reaction. I am a human geographer, and even fellow grad students, from the same faculty don’t get it. But I will try to outline it here.

pray the gay

I am interested in what happens when we label people. And people don’t fit in those boxes. Or do for a while, then outgrow them. Or someone tries to “re-pot” them in another box that is uncomfortable, and is a bad fit.

That kind of thing.

So, my original proposal was to do with what happens when plural, or fluid sexualities unfold in a previously imagined “hetero” monogamous long-term relationship? Kind of a bit autobiographical (my parents) as in, a look at betrayal, and hegemonic ideas about what marriage and monogamy look like in Western contexts. I wanted to see what happens when we look further down the line from some of the literature on “falling in love and committing to one person of the opposite sex.” And the spatial and material arrangements of that. As in, does it mean automatic separation, or can the space be (re)configured somehow? What about when there IS separation, and children are perhaps involved, and the experience of both them and either one or the other, or both parents confronting “matter out of place” in a sense – in that maybe some familiar objects are relocated, maybe in mum’s new house, and it feels disconcerting (or whatever?) This seemed like a way of unpacking what society says about romantic relationships, and challenging it in a bounded framework of sexuality. I then thought, geographically, about space and place, and thought, “yay, I can use some of my existing online networks, to drum up interest in participation.”

Go me!

But last Friday, I had a meeting – only my second, I am only in my third week of this – with my senior supervisor (I have two, and love them both!) She has pointed me in a slightly different direction. She now has me reading the literature and unpacking spaces of home, love, intimacy and kinship. And here’s the kicker. She wants me to ground it (as after all, it is a one year project, not a PhD) in a specific geographical context, eg, my local region.

At first, I was a little taken aback. Oh no! How will I recruit participants? This is a little personally exposing, a bit “close to home” – good ol’ geography! But, I am open to it, I get what she is suggesting, and I agree. Start at the beginning. Start at how we conceptualise love. Then watch it implode, lol.

So, in order to try to make sense of how to approach this, I am reading like a madwoman, and I thought a brief post here might help me start to play with the working title, and start to arrange some order of approach. At the moment, it is all swirling around in there in a big tornado of thought, with no sequence. I am not a particularly orderly person, so it’s like herding cats. And I know my working title is nowhere near what I want it to be, and it needs to be far snappier, but I will record it here to put a peg in the ground. A marker of the origins of this thesis. I do it very nervously, as it is so far from what I need it to be yet, and I am struggling with the idea of a “fixed” sexual identity versus a fluid one – and how to incorporate that properly in the title without contradicting myself with, “okay, so one of these people has a static sexual identity, but that is not the case for everyone….”

sigh

Queering long-term ‘heterosexual’ romantic relationships: querying the effects of a romantic partner’s fluid sexualities on constructions of monogamous love in (insert geographical region(s) here.)

Aaaargh, I HATE it!

(Press publish, ewwwwwwwwww)


33 Comments

100 Things I Like …

Hey all.

I was asked if I would participate in this, and to be honest, I haven’t been having the greatest of times this past month or so, and shied away from it.

The title is supposed to be 100 Things I Love. I first saw Totally Caroline’s post. It was MAGNIFICENT! And not to be a complete downer, but I seriously doubt that I feel love about anything anymore. At best, I get a, “meh, I don’t hate that” – great attitude, Paula, keep that shit up!

With that in mind, I am gonna try to find 100 Things I Like Enough to Write Them Down on a Blog Post to Try to Make Myself and My Friends Here Feel a Bit Happier; or Paula’s Mindfulness List:

  1. Living in a rural space
  2. Going to uni to re-organise my thinking
  3. That I finished my undergrad degree in just over two years
  4. My kids – they’re alright I guess 😉
  5. Wintery-days-in-front-of-the-fire-at-the-lake
  6. Sunny-days-on-the-farm-or-beach-or-lake
  7. Getting out of the sun
  8. Being pasty white and red haired
  9. Pineapple Lumps straight from the fridge (hey, if owlie can like culturally specific things like cwtches – hell, so can I!)
  10. Growing my own organic vegetables
  11. Creating simple meals out of No. 10
  12. Growing my own beef and lamb
  13. Ditto number 11 – about No. 12 …
  14. My stupid, notarealdog
  15. Spending time on the farm with the working dogs
  16. 80’s music
  17. 90’s music
  18. 00’s music
  19. Music
  20. Rare visits off the farm to galleries and the theatre – cultural capital in a totally rurally-starved reinterpretation of the concept!
  21. Me. Despite my severe fuckedupness, I wouldn’t want to be anyone else … see ya, see ya, wouldn’t wanna be ya
  22. Roger. Despite everything, he is a hell of a fun guy, and he is so damn sorry and incredibly pissed off at himself, and mostly very understanding of how I ‘turned out’ (Meh.)
  23. Hogarth’s chocolate. Usually a small square of good quality, white chocolate was my only choc love, I don’t really like chocolate as a flavour, but discovered this little artisan chocolate roaster recently, their Madagascar is divine. Thin blocks of geographically specific beans, roasted and prepared to melt on your tongue…
  24. Fresh linen
  25. Images, still images, beautifully shot. Wish I had the patience. Too much of a point and shoot girl …
  26. The Internet. In that I would be a very lonely girl without it these days. My life changed into such a weird shape after infidelity, and the real life friends have fallen by the wayside. Thankfully I have a couple of lovelies here … And one or two that live overseas and don’t know about my situation, who are delicious!
  27. The incredibly supportive staff at my university department. Especially from my lead supervisor. I feel acceptance and understanding there that I don’t feel in many other spaces anymore
  28. My racehorse, Louis
  29. Sitting at my computer, tapping out ‘stuff’ – very seriously – and notarealdog all of a sudden going off at nothing outside – super guard dog, very scary! (And when a real person arrives, she runs in the opposite direction if she doesn’t know them! Fierce!)
  30. Highlighter powder. My eyes are too hooded to wear winged eyeliner anymore … dammit
  31. Lippy. In bright colours. Reds, fuschias, ORANGE, you get the picture
  32. Fresh hair colour
  33. World (brand.) Both their fashion, and their beauty lines – especially the hard-to-find fragrances they import.
  34. Booze. Champagne. Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Rogue Society Gin, Vodka, Good Rum. Yes, I think I might have a problem … what’s it to ya?
  35. SHOES! (How did shoes only get to be No. 35?)
  36. Potting flowers
  37. SEAFOOD! ALL OF IT. GIMMEE, GIMMEE, GIMMEE!!!
  38. My green eyes
  39. My kids’ gorgeous long, dark, thick, curly eyelashes
  40. My mother. All 16 years dead of her. But mostly the 32 years I had with her
  41. Movies, I like a good story
  42. Autumn colour, wish I lived in Central Otago like my little brother at that time of the year – however, see No. 25
  43. Mindfulness
  44. Great tits – on anyone – big, small, young, old – preferably natural
  45. A sexy arse, and great shoulders and chest
  46. Modesty, but with genuine self-confidence, and not fake, “oh, I’m not really,” modesty
  47. The Coromandel
  48. Clever Internet memes, not your standard stuff
  49. Sleep.  I remember sleep
  50. People who get off their arses and make a difference (note to self …)
  51. The smell of horse. Bury your face in that neck and just breathe in
  52. Speed, the kind where the wind blows through your hair, and just everywhere – not the kind where the world just flashes by, like in a closed vehicle – a (helmetless – shhh, don’t tell OSH) farm bike, a galloping horse …
  53. Glowworms
  54. Someone who does vintage or kitsch really, really well
  55. Swearing. Fuck yeah
  56. Passionfruit curd
  57. Goat curd
  58. Lemon curd
  59. Curd (WTF? I didn’t know this until now …)
  60. Taika Waititi
  61. Flight of the Conchords
  62. Faux animal heads – what’s up with that???
  63. Bruises. The colours, the beautiful colours
  64. Comedy. Just comedy, in most forms, ‘cept when it is at the expense of anyone who is oppressed. But then, that’s not comedy, just cruelty and more oppression.’Cos everyone needs to larf – and some of us need more prompting these days, so yeah, comedy is good
  65. My home work space – the view is of green, rolling hills and trees, year ’round
  66. My bright orange kitchen splashback – pressed tin, fake subway tile
  67. Live music with my kids
  68. Peeling off layers of clothing when you’ve been working on the farm all day in winter
  69. Today. The shortest day of the year
  70. The longest day
  71. BBQs. Just everything about the idea
  72. Baby animals. All of them. Gorgeousness
  73. The relief of submitting an assignment. Just one to go before my thesis
  74. Heterogeneity. The world is full of all kinds of people, places, things …
  75. NZ native bush. So cool, so lush, so green
  76. How a house is warmed in winter by the scent of a slow cooked meal
  77. Honesty. And that my kids have survived all my honesty! 🙂
  78. People who hug. I am not one. But I get it. I think I should have been. But life got in the way. I have a love-hate thing with huggers
  79. Awareness of privilege, all kinds of privilege, and tolerance (at the very least) for those who do not have any
  80. The Coen brothers (and Frances McDormand)
  81. How Fargo was so successfully made into a TV series – I was a doubter
  82. Bling. Silver bling, stars, glitter, you name it
  83. Junk jewellery, not the expensive stuff, the glittery, cheap stuff
  84. A really good cup of tea
  85. Organic milk (see No. 84)
  86. Cream, oh how I love thee!
  87. Cheese. Basically I should have just written, dairy, “I like it a lot” (said in a Jim Carrey/Lloyd Christmas voice)
  88. Stormy weather, thunder and lightning make me feel alive!
  89. Salted caramel
  90. Chipotle – scratch that – smoky flavours. Any smoky flavours
  91. Empaths. As long as they are not just wet saps!
  92. Getting absolutely drenched through in a rainstorm – as long as I can get warm and dry on the same day!
  93. Scented flowers, but also tulips. I like tulips
  94. Cows. A much maligned species!
  95. That we still have a largely unarmed police force in Aotearoa New Zealand
  96. Living in the South Pacific
  97. Warm toes
  98. That notarealdog continues to try to befriend thecatisabitch. Even though thecatisabitch has made her feelings on the matter crystal clear. Notarealdog is a chump?
  99. The smell of raw wool. The lanolin-rich, greasy, animalness of it
  100. That this was so damn hard! I know, do I like/love that? Probably not, but I knew it would be hard for me to produce a 100 Things I Love list these days, with so many of my “loves” gone from my life. Hot, sweaty sexathons, knowing I was truly loved, that “in love” feeling I had for a good couple of decades, that feeling you had for the first part of the relationship that I still felt with a sharpness often. Loving my curvy and baby-scarred body, real life friends, laugh-until-your-guts-ache belly laughs, etc. And when I read CrazyKat’s  gorgeous, flowing, easy, post on this, I realised that my No. 21 might not be so great after all. But I have known that for a long time. I am not one of those who has bounced back. And I am sad about that, but I also own it. This is who I am now. I have been changed by the betrayal in ways I really never fully predicted. It has been a surprise in many ways. But I accept it, nevertheless. And the most important part of all of it is to ensure you stay mindful, and that there are still many things in life that work xxx.

On that note, Namaste bitches!