I don’t take photographs any more …..

I have been looking through photographs of my children, my family, my life. Me.

I love taking photographs – I love having that record of where they were at that moment. How I captured that moment, that split second in time.

I always have a camera with me – I prefer to take photographs on my SLR camera than I do on my phone, but right now I do not take photographs on either.

I think I will remember how things were or how they appeared, but I don’t —or I can’t.  You are so busy worrying about the million other things that are happening, that you forget.  Important stuff.

Those moments you want to hold on to.

When I go through old images I start to smile, or cry, and I just cannot believe that time has passed by in the way it has.

Where has it all gone?  How much have I missed?

I am doing a project now and I am moving through some old photographs on my Facebook history and it has hit me hard in the gut area.

First the memory, that this was my life.  That this. Was my life.  That this is no longer my life.

I am not that person any more.  These people are no longer part of my life.  I feel I am not remembering all the important things that my children are doing.  I think I will — but I can’t.

That person is not who I am.  I am not always sure of exactly who I am. I am struggle a bit to find my own identity.

Often when I look at pictures I have taken, I can remember me on the other side of the lens and how I felt taking that image.  I can recall that exact moment.

Divorce changes so much about you – it changed how I viewed history, how I viewed moments in time, how I viewed me as a person, and how I viewed where you fitted in.

It’s like the trick where you pull the table cloth off a fully set table – with the aim to have all the items remaining in place, because the table cloth was pulled off so quickly.  That’s the trick.

The reality is all the crockery and cutlery op-focked onto the floor and sort of lay there in pieces.

When you go through something that is such a life-shifter, your memories change.  Your way of looking at things changes.

Your life changes in every possible way.  No matter how hard you smile and say “I’m good hey….” … “Yep, yeah, things are great….”

I have slowly but surely stopped taking photographs.  I don’t think the change was gradual, it was rather I just stopped.

I am not sure why.

I am pretty sure I know why.

I am not sure how I can start again.

For many reasons I have stopped living my life.  My life seems to be on hold.  To just be stagnating.

I am stuck and I can’t always explain it well.  I shouldn’t be.  I look around and tell myself I shouldn’t be.

I have so much to be grateful for.  I have so much in my life.

But.

I have not allowed myself to carry on living my life.

This life, what ever this is, just does not feel right or mine.  The only time I feel fully complete is when I am with my children.  Somehow they are the extension of me that is the only true thing in my life,

My north.  My compass.

When I am with them, I can breath.  My chest does not feel so tight.

When the girls are with me they sleep in my bed.

I actually get no sleep as they are like two sweaty octopuses and clearly I need a bigger bed.  I am too petrified to let them go and sleep in their own beds.

That I will be giving up this last semblance of what makes me feel complete.  So I let them sleep in my bed, because I am not ready to give this up yet.

It is actually tremendously sad to tell the truth.  To no longer see your life worthy of taking a photograph of.

Of not having the energy, the power, the will, the want, to take a photograph.  To record your life.

When I look at these photographs I have taken years ago, I laugh, I smile, I cry — they make me really happy and desperately sad at the same time.

I have convinced myself that I am living my life.  I am very good at reassuring everyone else that I am fine, that I am really fine, nothing to see here.

I realise I am watching “me” living my life.

When I interact with people, I hold back so much of myself that I am actually absent from the situation.  It’s now an automatic measure. There are very few conversations and interactions I have where I am truly present.

It allows me the freedom to just walk away from people without having to cry about it.  Yes, I do realise that that is a bit of a disaster, but it is a wonderful coping mechanism.  Right now.

Maybe it is the fear of being hurt again === that I just cannot give 100% of myself.  Maybe it is that I just do not feel whole.  Maybe it is that I actually do not feel connected, really connected, to anyone around me.

I can fake connection like no one’s business.

And here is the trick, people are so busy with their own lives that they are happy with the basics in terms of interactions.  They do not ask for more, they do not realise that you are just not there.

When I smile I do not actually smile, it doesn’t reach further than my mouth.

But holy shitballs when I cry, I am 100% committed.  I really get behind that shit.  I can spend a weekend in various states of tears, and I need very little to set me off.

I do keep my shit under wraps as best as I can.

I do what needs to be done.  I am highly productive.  Smile at who I need to, say the right things, make the right coo’ing sounds necessary when it is a story that needs a “coo” as a retort.

I am sorry I have not blogged more, I really need this space right now.

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Actually Facebook, I do not want to do a photo montage of my great year …..

I was looking at some photographs of myself earlier today — and I realised how tired, exhausted and life weary I look.

I was smiling in some of those — but the smile was not a real smile, it was that strained kind you are forced to do, usually in group photographs and at birthday parties.

I zoomed in closer and really scrutinized the look in my eyes and it is of utter exhaustion.

It looks like someone on the edge of a nervous breakdown — or a Game of Thrones binge.  Or who is about to eat the entire pack of lemon meringue cupcakes from Woolworths.

It is not the kind of weary that can be cured by a good’ish bottle of wine and a 14 hour nap, but the sort of weariness and exhaustion that etches into your very soul.  And then oozes out of your pores.

It’s been a good year in some ways.

It has not been a good year in many others.

It has been a “fuck really ??? really” year in many more more I am afraid.

I have been really good at putting my stuff into little boxes and packing them neatly away.  I have been a high functioning {insert correct word} for much of this year – I am not sure if that was the impression I created with others, but that was definitely the vibe I thought I was creating.

Me. Sorted.  Keeping it together.  Getting shit done.

For much of this year, I have been proud of myself and my ability to just button down and get on with the stuff that needs to be got on with.  I have tried this “normal” thing and I think for the most part I managed to really give the illusion of getting it about right.

Sure there has been the odd “well that was unfortunate” and “yes, I got a lift home with Bennie the tow-truck driver because I could not find my car” — but hey who does not have those nights weeks every so often, right?

I started to feel the cracks this month — the cracks started to show and then the cracks got bigger and then I started to cry.

It really got going on Christmas Day – like the lurching jerking kind of cry.  For absolutely no reason.

I have cried myself a fucking river at this point.  I am crying now.  My guess is I will cry tomorrow.

I am actually not sure of why I am crying, nor what exactly I am crying about — but it has made reading or keeping a buoyant attitude really trying, and the red eyes are just a permanent fixture at this stage.

Sorry I have not been blogging – I have so much to say, so much in my head, but at the same time nothing.  I am also trying to pick my words wisely, and be aware of what I say or spew.

To those who have been my support this year – and really been there even in the smallest way I thank you — like really big.  Your late night SMS’s and funny images have been appreciated.

It is often not the big gestures that get you through the day, it can sometimes just be someone sniffing you and saying you smell good.

Granted when it is a strange guy at Pick ‘n Pay who does not respect the personal circle of trust, then it gets a bit awkward, but anyway.

I will blog again, don’t give up on me totally.  Watch this space.

 

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How are you doing? {said as someone leans in close with sincerity}

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I am asked several times a day “how are you doing?” — and the person is really wanting to know “how are you coping with this divorce?  how are you getting through your day?  have you cried much today?  how are you doing when everyone is asking you how you are doing?”

Well that is what I hear.

The answer is that I am doing better than I thought I would be.

I am not fine, everything is not great, but I seem to be okay.

I have moved through the various steps of grief with alarming speed.   I realise this may mean I will need return to one of the steps that I have progressed through too quickly at a later stage.  Really “unpack my feelings” or “really be honest with myself” about how I actually feel.  Or what I think, or what ever.

I know that, or I suspect that.  But I can deal with that later.  Then when I need to.

Nothing in this process is great.  Nothing in this process makes me smile or gives me joy.

I find myself running out of steam a bit each day – and feeling an overwhelming urge just to lie down and take a really long sleep. And when I wake up, it will all be over.  Done and dusted.   I will not have to face all the details and stuff of a life being pulled apart one strand at a time.

Most of me does not want to be here.  I just want it to be over, done.  I want to wake up on the other side of this.

Kennith and I are working through a divorce facilitator and  mediator.  Together we sit with them for 2 hour sessions.  In these sessions we finalise our lives together.  And apart. Decide and try to agree on how we will move forward.  Apart.  Separated legally.

We are forever connected, forever joined, forever part, but we are facing this so that we can be a part, no longer together, no longer joined.

It is clean and neat.  There is far less crockery being thrown than I would imagine are associated with most “marriages that end….”

There are a lot of spreadsheets, and lists, and agreeing and giving in when you realise it is not worth the fight, and to try to keep the process amicable.  And moving forward.

I think no matter how mature a couple is, someone is going to end up arguing about the carpet.

It is not about the carpet.  It never is.  It is the carpet that will make you cry, and swear and curse.  If your partner leaves with the carpet even though you have agreed they can have the carpet, then you will feel like you have died —- and you are really just trying to live and survive the day.

I think the one redeeming thing in this process — and to be honest I am finding it hard to notice this as a redeeming factor, so bear with me as I go off on a bit of a tangent  — I am not trapped in the “what if?” in the breakdown of this relationship.

Nothing in me is going “what if we got back together? what if he changes his mind?  what if he realises that this has all been a massive bad decision?  what if he realises that I am what he needs? what if? what if? what if? what the fuck if?”

I know that Kennith is not going to retract what he has said and done.  He is resolute on this path.

It is not easy for him, but he did not go into this lightly.  This is what he wants, and he is not going to appear on my doorstep, hat in hand asking me for forgiveness because he has changed his mind.

There is no “what if” scenario here.

He has made that abundantly clear.  I have asked him to change his mind, to reconsider, to not do this — I did in the first month when I was trying to really understand that THIS, THIS was actually happening.

Nothing I could say or do was going to change the course of this action.  The outcome.

I could choose to fight it — but I realised that fighting it would not change the outcome.

It would just make it harder for everyone, and me and my kids.  I can’t be {more} broken in this process.  I still need to get up every morning, face my day and be the support to my kids that they need because their lives are on their heads – no matter how much of a shocker of a day I have had, I need to give a semblance of sanity and “wearing my big girl panties.”

My “lose my shit” time is after 20h30 — kids are asleep, I am alone and if I want, I can go monkey then.

This way I know that if I need to have a total loss of sanity, I can diarise it for after 20h30.  Inevitably at that point, I am content to sit on the couch, drink my wine, eat some olives and let the feelings wash over me.  Sometimes crash over me.

As painful as it was to grasp that “he is not going to change his mind” is that it have given me certainty to hold on to.

It has given me the insight to not have to dwell on the “what if?” and the fantasy of waking up tomorrow, with my husband back and my family not broken anymore.

Not to set my course of action by a bobbing forever moving, and unrealistic mirage on the ocean.

I have only fixed details to work with.  It has kept the voices in my head free from arguing with me about the “what if” component.

Not being stuck in that repeat cycle of “what if?” has been a real gift.

It is a strange gift – but it is a gift, because all my energy is focused on moving ahead.

Looking up and forward.  Not looking back and hoping, dreaming, pining, fantasizing.

Looking up and forward. Not always with a happy countenance, often with red swollen eyelids, and a rather haggard expression, but I only have to look one way.

Looking up and forward.  I do not need to spend the scarce energy resources I have looking back and wishing, dreaming and wondering “what if” …

Does that sound as insane to you as it does to me?