Sorry, editing.

I’m a mess at the moment. Anyone who has seen my Twitter output recently won’t be surprised by this.

I set out each day to start again. To be better. To handle things better.

I may manage a day, sometimes two, but then I start to crumble again.

My confidence and self esteem is built on sand. It’s formed by other’s good opinion of me. It always has been and, despite serious work, seems to still be.

When that good opinion is in doubt, I start to disintegrate.

All my efforts go into restoring the individual’s favourable view of me. I apologise for being the way I am. I try to rectify areas where I may be lacking. I aim to please. I’m an incurable people pleaser.

I talk, at length, about my thoughts and feelings, trying to explain myself, justify myself, remedy failings in my personality and character. I try to make things better.

In reality, all this does is make me look pathetic and needy. But far more damaging is what it does to me. It reinforces my insecurities and feeds my negative inner voice.

I edit myself, despite my wittering, I suppress anger when it arises as I don’t want to be an angry person. If I do voice it in a stream of consciousness, unedited form, full of hurt, emotion, rejection and pain, I inevitably apologise.

I apologise for feeling hurt and rejected I apologise for being unable to switch my emotions off. I apologise for being me.

I hate the way I am at the moment. No, I despise how I am. But I’m having to make a change as I will not sink to the depths of self loathing I had before.

I have every right to be angry, to stand up for myself. I am not lacking in emotional intelligence and I should never apologise for caring, for seeking answers, for wanting to know what the hell happened.

Now I just need to believe it.

Notes about drowning

I don’t know what to do with myself. Every time I think I have a handle on things, something happens which unleashes another tsunami of grief.

I know there is no wrong or right way to grieve the end of a relationship. Much less an illicit one. Still, there has to be a better way than this. I seem to be wholly at the mercy of my emotions and am struggling to hold onto anything concrete.

This evening has been another evening of sobbing. Of pretending I’m about to sneeze when caught with teary eyes.

It feels bigger than me. I want to howl with pain. I fear it’s going to engulf me completely and I’ll lose myself again. if I ever really found myself.

I’m in turns pathetic person pleaser and wildly angry. At him, at everything, but mostly at myself. For hurting so much. For looking for him amongst the notifications on my phone. For wanting rules where there are none. For thinking I could ever handle rejection again.

Stupid woman. You should know better.

All the demons are loose in my head and playing havoc. All the wounds inflicted by my last husband are raw again. I am too much. I want too much. I talk too much.

I have no idea if I should write or publish this. I just know I have to let it out. It’s not pretty or well written. There are no sage conclusions.

I’m just trying to find my way through this. To safer ground.

ETA: in no shape or form is this post published to garner sympathy. I entered this relationship aware of the situation. It is purely a safety valve post

I don’t have the right

He doesn’t want me anymore and I am broken.

But I do not have the right.

I was ‘side show Boo’, so I do not have the right. (if you’re thinking I deserve every thing I’m feeling at the moment, you’re right. Believe me, I’ll have said far worse to myself than you could ever say)

I was the other woman. So I’m getting everything the other woman deserves – nothing but pain. In ordinary circumstances, when a two year relationship ends, you get cut some slack. You get to grieve.

But our relationship did not exist. He did not exist in my everyday life, other than to Twitter and a couple of close friends. I certainly did not exist in his world. So, I don’t have the right. I cannot grieve.

But my heart is broken and I cannot stem the tears. The loss is as real as if we had been in a ‘proper’ relationship. I long to talk to him, to tell him my news, to share.

I miss him.

I’m trying to be dignified. I’m trying to throw it off. After all, I was never supposed to care about him, so it should be easy, right?

Wrong.

He permeated every aspect of my life. He was who I turned to when things got hard. His absence has left the biggest void imaginable.

I have questions that will never be answered. I do not know what I did to cause him to end it. I accept most of the reasons given, but the things relating to me just throw up ‘why?’

I fell hard. But we weathered that. I played the game of keeping my emotions in check.

I don’t know what I did. I just know it hurts. No matter how much I try to hide or surprise it. I don’t want to hurt. I want to carry on as if I’m not bothered. But I can’t.

And anyway, I do not have the right to feel this way.

Until Next year…

Next year, I will be fabulous.

I will be confident. I will shine. I will love myself.

Next year, I will fly.

Until then, I will grieve.

I will mourn the loss of a love I should never have felt. That I always knew was not wanted. That I did my best to deny. But that seeped into my bones regardless.

I will wonder why. I will try to make sense of the abrupt end.

I will go down the route of trying to construct answers to questions that I will never know the answer to. I will draw conclusions based entirely on things I thought I saw: hints, looks, how he made me feel.

Eventually, I’ll concoct something that satisfies my mind and soothes my heart. I will stop despising myself for my stupidity.

In time, the chasm his absence has opened will close. I will find joy in things. I won’t feel the need to hide from everyone. I will find peace. I won’t feel foolish.

Eventually I will be able to reflect on the fire, passion and utter joy he brought into my world. How he lit up my soul and my body.

Until then, I will try to be compassionate to myself. I will allow myself to heal. I will become stronger.

I will refocus. Reassess.

Eventually, I will shine again. I will be unapologetically me.

Then I will fly.

Empty

He’s gone

A huge gap in my life.

I can’t sleep. I can’t think. I have no interest in anything.

How can someone who mostly existed in my phone leave such a yawning chasm?

Being on twitter is too painful. I don’t exist anymore. The lack of interaction a knife to my heart.

Rationally, I get it. I understand the reasons I completely empathise. I know it’s for the best.

Rationally.

Emotionally, nothing makes sense. He’s gone.

I’m not eloquent. I’m a mumbling mess of tears, confusion and pain. I want to understand, to question. To make sense of what has happened.

I’m without direction.

I never want to feel like this again.

Unraveling

Things are not good here.

Each day, I feel another bit of me fall off and wither away. Nothing seems to stop the decline.

All my hard won progress of the past five years is disintegrating and I don’t know if I have the strength to go through that fight again.

I’m exhausted, but can’t sleep. I’m lonely, but can’t face people. My word is shrinking to protect me, despite knowing that will harm me further.

The brain demons are out to play and I’m powerless against them.

And that is not ok

Don’t

If in doubt, don’t speak.

Don’t express your feelings.

Don’t try and resolve uncertainty with words.

Don’t pour out your heart, spend hours making sure it’s factual, without too much emotion, without passive aggression,

Don’t be honest and open.

Don’t be you.

Instinct

Never ignore your gut feeling.

I’ve ignored my gut feeling in the past. I suppressed it and believed what another told me, in-spite of my instinct screaming something was wrong.

It very nearly destroyed me. It shattered my sense of self and destroyed my trust in myself. It took years of work to put myself back together, piece by piece.

I was scared of allowing myself to ever be vulnerable again.

But I was brave. I let down the walls a bit. I was so happy. I felt alive.

Still, I promised myself I’d never, ever ignore my instinct again.

It seems I don’t learn.

The desire to feel special to someone, overrode any sense of self preservation.

So here we are again.

Foolish, a bit broken and despairing at my lack of sense. I ignored it. I was stupid. I’ve been burnt again.

Recover, rebuild and relearn

Midnight musings

My mind is not a happy place at present. The past year has played havoc with my mental health, as it has with millions of others across the country. My old companions, depression and anxiety, have made an unwelcome return and seen immune to my efforts to quash them.

The anxiety is, in many ways, understandable: we’re on the brink of the country reopening. Socialising will be possible in a safer way than since 2019. Pubs and bars will be full of life and laughter. And people.

To the socially anxious, this is a double edged sword. There’s a real longing to be with people again – I have, with some degree of surprise, realised I actually like people far more than I thought. Whilst I was not a party animal pre-covid, the nights out I did have, sharing a few drinks with my friends, were a great source of joy. I’ve talked repeatedly over the past year about The Things I’m Going To Do once it is over. Now that time is coming, I cannot quite commit to anything.

A trip to London, to visit museums, abbeys and wander, as well as to meet many lovely Twitter friends, has been high on the list. To that end, I’ve chosen hotels, checked dates, added train tickets to my basket…and then hesitated. I rationalise it’s to give myself time to double check things, but I’ve now gone through this process around five times and I can’t click ‘Book now’. Stymied by the Fear. Again.

The depression, or, more accurately at present, low mood, is not helping matters one bit. Over the past few weeks I’ve been aware I’ve retreated more. Driving places that I was walking to. Communication being more erratic – I tweet great volumes of utter nonsense, or just scroll, wordlessly. Even my constant text companion, my best friend in all the world, has received far fewer texts (five a day, instead of the twenty plus that’s our norm). My sleep pattern has reverted to its depressed norm; staying up until 4am, unable to find the off switch. Exhausted during the day, but bright eyed and bushy tailed come 9pm. Housework is sliding, whilst the sense of being ‘not good enough’ is growing. I’m trying to hold back the feeling of being overwhelmed.

Consequently, the negative self talk has seized its chance. It is back with a vengeance. Whilst I am much better at ignoring it than I previously was, it’s not something I’ve perfected yet. I’m not sure anyone ever does. This really hasn’t been helped by the realisation that the heady surge in self confidence and self worth I experienced in 2019 (discussed here https://emilyboots09.wordpress.com/2020/09/17/musings-on-the-past-year/), seems to have been almost entirely based on another’s opinion of me.

I celebrated this new found sense of confidence with glee. I put it down to the hard work I had done in counselling over the previous three years. I was a woman with a sense of self, a sense of purpose and a swagger.

Lockdown knocked that. Holed up in the house for months didn’t really give the opportunity to cement my new found mindset. Nonetheless, I was confident that I’d be fine once I got back out there.

This year has shattered that illusion. The one who had given me such a monumental boost in confidence has, for a number of reasons, not been around as much. Increasingly, I’ve reverted to the people pleasing behaviour I worked so hard to rid myself of. Trying to second guess their wants and needs. Berating myself for words and deeds. Stupid woman has become a repeated refrain.

Uncertainty is not a great place to be, but it shouldn’t be able to dissolve self esteem.

It’s a humbling experience to realise that your celebrated new sense of self was actually a natural reaction to someone making you feel special. As the doubts around that have grown, the pieces of my new self have begun to fall apart. I’m not entirely sure how to stop the erosion at the moment. But I have to find a way.

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