Tearing at the Fabric

Of the space-time continuum


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Success

I got the chapter list from the editors today. We are Chapter Eight in this International Handbook of Gender and Feminist Geographies.

It feels weird.

But yeah. I’m proud. I worked really damn hard to achieve during both my undergrad and postgraduate degrees. And this chapter…

All with a completely shattered heart.

And today, a friend who lives overseas asked to see a picture of BG.

I obliged, sending her a photo of him, a winter shot of him on his beach.

Her reply was super cute. A fellow feminist, she made this comment about the youthful, good looking man who has waited for, then pursued me with humour and kindness,

Yeah.

And another friend – who met and liked Rog very much (he’s charming and very likeable, he really is) – reminded me of my journey, and who I am, chuffed for me with the book chapter. Through my intense, agonising pain. That pain comes from having loved very deeply, for a very, very long time.

These two, and several others here as well, have supported, empathised, emoted, stood strong beside me, lifting me up, keeping me from the rope, throughout this long post affair journey. And then shorter period of discard after my healing felt, if not complete (I don’t believe you ever heal completely from your love betraying you in the worst possible ways) definitely very manageable.

I was always sure that if I managed to actually survive the agony, the cancer, the literal broken heart, that once my (tear stained) wings dried out, I HAD TO fly.

Doing some practice flaps right here, right now.

Two years after he told me – showed me – that I wasn’t enough.


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Just another day off

On a scheduled day off. Yay!

Got my heat pump serviced and repaired fully. Tidied. Sorted.

My fire glass was replaced. Fire roaring.

The fibre guys have been here for three hours, to install fibre for better internet.

Inserted a CDIR in my heifer to get her ready to breed.

Bought a cute armchair for my bedroom. Needs zhooshing. Faux fur, remove my Moroccan pouff to somewhere else…etc

…And I just bought an investment property!

All this on the back of a day that started with me seeing a message, that Roger wrote me in a super cute card on the 27th of June 2017. Just 11 days before his first messaging with the woman he left me for. And a month before I submitted my First Class Honours Masters thesis on heartbreak and constructions of home. He told me he was leaving me, the first I knew of her – or his secret online dating – on the 10th of August. A month and two days after he first made contact with her on matchdotcom.

His loving message to me reads,

All the very good in my life, comes from you.

All the bad, I did myself.

I will love you forever, Snooks

Norm xxx

Jesus. Who the fuck did I breed with?


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Failure

So, I have a school reunion coming up. A fortnight after I move. I don’t wanna go. Is a bizarre thing, I am SO not a reunion type. But worse, I feel like a GIGANTIC failure. And am being pressured to by lots of people. Mostly, I wouldn’t listen. But some of the arguments have merit.

One girl said, “fuck that shit, you kick arse. You worked and raised kids pretty much single handedly, and did both a Bachelors degree AND then a Masters degree with a shattered heart. No one is stronger than you!” Another said, ” what? Why is his cheating YOUR failure?” Yet another said, “so, my other friend, whose husband was a P (meth) addict shouldn’t come? Because we have control over that, right? You two failed, huh? Because you believed and trusted, right?”

And then I found out Leanne has registered.

And I felt nothing.

I don’t care that the object of so much pain will be in the same room as me. (If I register.) She was a tool he used to fuck up a good life.

And. His mother died tonight. I am in a world of pain about that. My MIL was a complex, but admirable woman. Strong. Independent. With an incredible sense of humour.

I loved her.

I made it a priority to visit with her every week these past few months. And Saturday’s visit was super special.

I entered their house, dressed for the races. Sequined cocktail dress, gold heels, and funky felt hat. My FIL said she was sleeping. He always said that. Every time I visited. But she was never asleep when I peered into her bedroom. I went in, kissed her cheek and said, “hi, I’m off to the races, but need to say hi before I head in. Wish me luck!” I kneeled down beside her bed. And she grabbed my hands and started stroking my arms, and touching my sequinned dress, telling me I looked beautiful. We talked for an hour. She was non-verbal. But finger spelled and indicated by nodding when we were understanding each other. She told me she couldn’t understand what Roger was doing. Was so sad about it. That I was the best thing that ever happened to him (the tears started then) and that she was really worried for him. I hugged her and said I am also worried, and love him to bits. But couldn’t change a thing. He didn’t love me. No matter how hard I tried. She wept a little. And she praised my kids, saying I made them what they are. I was very, very touched. We hugged for ages. And I told her I loved her. Went to the races in a somber mood.

Tonight, I sat here, somehow knowing she had died. Before I was told. The very same feeling I had the day my mother died. Intuition? Another piece of my heart has peeled away. But I am so glad I knew her. And super glad we actually told each other we loved each other.

My heart is broken open yet again. But full of deep love and admiration for my kids’ fantastic grandma ❤❤❤💔


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BOOM!!!

(That was my head exploding.)

Bloody hell. Sorry guys, I got the other marked essay back today.

A+. 100%.

I think I am living in a parallel universe. One where the lecturers are all on some SERIOUS hallucinogens.

Once again, I am oversharing about it here. Because there is no one else.

His comments, “extraordinary. An outstanding piece of work. You have gone way beyond the bounds of this course while remaining true to its core ideas. This is exceptional creative and original scholarship.”

I am beaming like the proverbial cat that got the cream


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FIGJAM

One of the hardest parts about letting go of a relationship with a partner who supported you, believed in you, fed your soul, shared your successes (and commiserated about your failures) is the loneliness. The lack of high fives when you do well.

I got my marked final undergrad year, gender, place and culture geography essay back last week. Worth 33% of the final grade. I knew I had an A+ on it. The lecturer had let us know she would post the grades early in the week, as she couldn’t return the hard copies just yet, with two legitimate late submissions needing out-marking. Of course, I was pleased, you always are with an A+.

I picked up my marked hard copy a few days later. I got 100% on it. I mean, WTF??? I didn’t even know you could get 100% on a humanities essay! Maths, sciences, yes. A definitive answer. Of course. But a subjective viewpoint? WOW.Her final comment was, “very much graduate level, here is your Masters on a plate!”

And, in my isolation from all my previous friends, and now from Roger, I was absolutely fizzing (had a few tears in the carpark as I read her comments!) but had no one to share my thrill with. I got a 97% on an essay on the equivalent second year paper, but had never heard of 100%. I didn’t know what to do with myself. I am also on a diet and exercise plan that I am trying to stick hard to, and am avoiding alcohol, so no bubbles for me.  The best I could do was Snapchat my eldest daughter in the capital. woohoo – when it should have been WOOHOO – LOOK AT ME, CHECK OUT THE BRAIN ON PAULA!

The loss of all of my emotional support systems and especially Rog, who really was a great person to celebrate success with, just tears at me. My daughter let my (former) best friend know. I was very surprised she did that. But J let me know she had heard, and we saw each other at a friend’s ANZAC Day centenary party (we never see each other any more, I have withdrawn from her as she just doesn’t understand) and she gave me a huge hug, and was almost speechless – her words, “I’m not surprised, you have always been WAY more than capable, but heck, I didn’t even know you COULD get a perfect score on a humanities essay.” Me: “I KNOW, WTF?” J: “Can I tell my siblings?” J’s parents are both deceased, but her seven siblings are closer to me than my own are. I answered, “ummmm, yeah, I suppose, I mean, of course, I’m sure they will be super excited to hear that, lol.”

Same day at uni, I was leaving my morning double lecture, the one with the old-school, dry lecturer called my name. I was very surprised, didn’t know he KNEW my name. We had a 35% essay due not long after the GEOG one, and I found it very challenging – the most challenging one I have done thus far. It was 3000 words on a VERY broad topic. I was very worried I hadn’t really answered the question properly – I went a little bit leftfield – even after asking myself if I had answered it a million times prior to submission. As I walked towards the lectern, I had, “OMG, he is going to say, you seem to have missed the point entirely on your essay, Paula.” When I got to him (half the class was right behind me, so no privacy, gulp) he said, “I just wanted to thank you so much for your essay.”

Wait, WTF???

Since when do you get thanked for handing in an essay?

I replied, ” oh, okay, thanks. I was quite worried about it.” He smiled and said, “don’t be,” and I walked away.

How weird is that???

So, I am hoping that is a good sign?

But, once again, I am very alone in all of this. Being alone is normally okay with me these days. I have been comfortable in my own skin most of my life, but this is another level. Most of the time, I am comfortable with my own achievements. I often think of Mum, and how she would have been who I would have shared this with if she was still here.

So, after nearly a week, I am sharing it here. Not to get the “well dones” that my Mum, or Roger would have provided, just to share that this is one of the consequences of being betrayed, and your love being wrenched from you.

So, here I am, yelling to the blogosphere

FIGJAM!


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Failure

The F word. The stupid F word.

We chatted this morning. TOIL mentioned that he struggles with how he feels about me being so cold now. He understands why, but mentioned how much he misses how cuddly I was, and how I always liked the reassurance of being physically close, both before the affair, and in those first years after. For about 23 years, maybe more, we were pretty entwined. He is a very tactile person, I think I have mentioned it before. I couldn’t tell you the last time we kissed. Yes, we still kiss goodbye, or hello, but like a family member, on the cheek, or lightly, briefly on the lips. The last passionate kiss I remember (at least from my perspective) pre-dates the end of our sex life, I was struggling for a long time before we actually stopped, and I couldn’t “feel” anything kissing. It was kinda gross. We were really big on kissing, passionate, dirty, deep, hungry kissing.

I sat for a while collecting my thoughts about how to respond. (Do no harm, Paula, thanks Katie.)

I came up with this. I told him that despite knowing better, I just feel like such a fucking failure. I know not to do that to myself, to us, but I can’t seem to help it. I mean, there’s the silly, but obvious “failing” of “not good enough” (utter crap, I couldn’t have been better, HIS failing, not mine) and the “failure” to see what they were doing all over my life, in my houses, vehicles, on my farm, etc (also not stupid, just normal trusting person.) But my biggest “failing” is that I feel like I have “failed” recovery. I have the most embarrassed, remorseful, newly-educated, understanding and reformed cheater. The kind that all the literature illustrates. He gets it. He is fucked off with himself, he was even before he ended the affair, and months before I found out. He has worked his butt off to do the right things. And I feel like I have failed at “getting better.” He looked at me and just said, “no one is owed forgiveness, or healing, you just hope for it.” Which of course, I know! But I WANT to be better, I WANT to feel safe in the world and happy again. So, I feel I fail at this. There haven’t been too many personal “achievements” in my own individual life. I dropped out of uni – three times! I am not a big shot at anything (and I have never aimed to be, but, you know…..) My “success” was my love. I loved hard and true, and I picked one of the best. We made three cool people together, and together we built a pretty damn great life. I was the back seat driver a lot, but I picked up all the slack, and I pushed hard for that financial success, I wanted us to be reasonably comfortable, not rich, that didn’t interest me, but comfortable, “enough” to educate our kids, have a nice holiday home and to be able to kick back a little and live as we aged, lovingly together. TOIL had more individual plans, I now believe. I don’t think he really considered the kids’ education much, yes, he had the corner of his eye on a comfortable retirement, etc, but he lives in the now a lot. We were a great team, as each of us had the other covered! It worked. He said that this morning, he can’t imagine anyone more compatible than us, than me. But I don’t feel it anymore. I, wrongly, feel like I have “failed” at the only thing I ever put full effort into. I think it explains my success at uni this incarnation – I NEED to do well at this, as this will be my success now. So fucking warped! (But great motivation, I am scared every day at uni, but that fear seems to spur me on, against my baser instincts.)

I explained to him that I look at this through a completely different lens to him. of course there is the obvious, he cheated, I was betrayed, we are looking through different windows, but more the male/female thing, and the fact that he grew up in an intact home, and my parents split as I was leaving mine. Although I am “cool” with their divorce, it was a shock, it was slightly confusing. My Dad was a blokey, conservative dairy farmer, for God’s sake! See, my parents loved each other, TOIL’s are quite fond of each other, but I don’t think they LOVE each other, sort of more rub along as familiar flatmates, hell, they haven’t shared a bed since before TOIL was ten years old! So although the reason for splitting was obvious and it had to be done, my parents were good together (except for the fact, as Mum used to say, “she had the wrong equipment!”) Dad still mourns her loss. He loved her, even divorced, and says she was the only woman he ever loved, and the only romantic partner that ever meant anything real to him really. He was at the hospital when she died, and we went back to his house to plan the funeral, with my stepfather, we all got along bloody well. I posted a brief pic/comment on Facebook yesterday remembering Mum, Dad was one of the first to “like” it – and he doesn’t really even DO Facebook much. I ridiculously kept thinking (a dream-like state) that one day I would wake up and it would all be some kind of ridiculous dream, that he wasn’t gay, that they were still in love and married. Not that I was all fucked up about it, it was just this little unreal niggle in the back of my mind those first years of their split. Probably much like many kids of divorce. I was really cool with it, and not devastated or anything like that, it was just this little fairy cloud above my reality. TOIL doesn’t understand how IMPORTANT it was to me that I had a true love story, one that was successful and worked. One that lasted FOREVER. I know, I know, everyone wants one that lasts FOREVER, but I was/am almost obsessive about it!

Anyway, meandering way of saying that I am unhappy, in case anyone who reads this hasn’t got the message yet, lol. And it is about my inner demons, the crap I fight about with myself every day, not really about TOIL at all. My own (stupid) definition of “success” and “failure.”

Shit!