They say that we all have a "Guardian Angel".
Someone with our best interests at heart, "watching our back", ready to step in and fight our corner the minute that things start to get tricky.
Except that when I was drinking, I didn't need a Guardian Angel. I needed a full time carer. Preferably one who didn't sleep and who was happy to work 25 hours a day, 8 days a week.
"I'm gonna pick up the pieces, and build a Lego House.....if things go wrong I can knock it down...."
He's a clever guy Ed Sheeran - writes all his own material, sings, plays several musical instruments and has a house made out of Lego.
Funnily enough, so do I.
Because Lego is cool. Lego is the future....and my Lego house rocks....
I didn't have the best of weekends.
I got chatted up, which was nice....
By a homeless, drug dealing alcoholic which wasn't quite so....."nice".
On the plus side, I was stone cold sober. So he didn't manage to get my number....Although it did take me slightly longer than it should have done to see right through him and send him packing.... mainly because I try to see the best in people, which is why I was even talking to him in the first place.
I don't like my head today.
I don't like the way that it feels, I don't like the thoughts that I'm having, and I really don't like the way that it is talking to me right now.
Today my head is telling me that I'm ugly. That I'm fat.....and, horror of horrors, that my depression is coming back....
My depression is coming back....
Birmingham New Street train station main entrance is not the place for a meltdown. This is what I am telling myself as I wave goodbye to the taxi driver and attempt to drag both myself and my bags through the automatic doors towards the turnstile.
I'm tired, wired and just really need to catch my train today. So, tempting as it is to just sit on a step with my head on my knees and make the world around me go away right now, it's not really an option for me at the minute.
My Barbie was a Super-Model. No matter what I dressed her in, what accessories she wore, she always looked amazing. Because I had no doubt at all that she could rock any style / any colour / any combination - I believed in her.
In my eyes, Barbie rocked. I actually wanted to be her. She set the bar and all of the other dolls followed (in dolls world anyway)....
I've travelled 350 miles to see my family.
All two of them.
It's not going great.
I should be sat in my mums house keeping her company but my buttons have been pressed enough for one day and I can't handle that right now. So I'm sat, by myself in Wetherspoons, nursing my pretend beer and killing time until I can't put the rest of the evening off any longer.
I'm attracted to chaos like a moth to a flame.
I always have been. Since I was a child - Subconciously re-creating car crash scenarios.
I know where I am with chaos. I know "what to do". It's all I've been used to. Noise and uncertaintainty and drama. So I've always had a plan B for when plan A goes wrong. Which is most of the time.
Before I became ill and way before I became a writer, I had a completely different life.
I was a fixer. A magician. A person who performed miracles and made magic happen. If people said that it couldn't be done I would prove them wrong by being the person to do it.
He's home alone.
For 5 days. His housemate's away. Do I want to come over?.....
That should have been a stupid question. Normally I'd be there like a shot...But right now I don't know.
I'm mulling it over in my head. Pro's and cons. Fantastic sex on tap versus potential emotional fallout. Because as much as I want this guy, I'm not sure I want to play this game any more.
Six months ago when I met him, this would have been top of my wishlist. He's cool. I love hanging out with him. But a lot can change in six months. And I have changed beyond all recognition.
My inner fox is begging me to do this. In the bedroom we are fluid. We know instinctively what to do to blow each others heads off. The last person to make me come was him. In a hotel room. Booked last minute because we couldn't bear to wait a second longer than we had to before we got naked. Just us....our massive desire for each other, and two novelty toothbrushes that we grabbed from the Co-op along the way....
Check-in took forever.
And then it was just the two of us. In the same room. Unable to keep our eyes or our hands off each other.
We didn't make breakfast....
It was awesome.
A repeat would be incredible. More of the same and God only knows what else. There's only one problem.
I'm not a booty call. His or anyone else's.
I would love to do this. He knows my body better than i know it myself. And vice versa. But after my journey through detox and rehab and looking back at all of the wrong turns and "not quite right" men that have got me to this point, where I am now sat here writing this, I've realised that I don't want it.
Because the next person I get naked with is going to want more than just five days. I don't want to be strung along, promised the earth and then be left dangling. It's insulting. And bad for my self esteem. I've been through enough now. I'd rather be by myself.
I've never been able to say that before. But it's true.
He's messaging me as I write this. Small talk. Chit chat. Building up to the main event. Which would involve me and him getting naked and picking up from where we left off...I can't say I'm not tempted....
Except it's not going to happen. He can call all he likes. It doesn't mean that I have to pick up the phone..for the first time ever I'm putting my emotional needs first.
Because if this is a booty call then I've done myself a favour....I don't need the headfuck, and if it isn't, well....he needs to raise his game and show me that it's more.
God, this feels weird. Like I've been swapped. With someone who actually has some self-respect....
Wow. Go me....it's only taken me 30 odd years to find some....
So this is a story about a man.
A funny, intelligent and articulate man who has recently snowballed into my day to day life.
Out of the blue. From Nowhere.
Completely unexpectedly, and completely unannounced. It's kind of a complicated story. Involving an extremely complicated man.
Before I met M I was a fox.
That's not me being big-headed. I just was. I was confident, outgoing and liked to show my seductive side.
I used to have flings. Wear pretty, girly playsuits and dresses with sky-high heels. I Drank Champagne; dabbled in Class A's in swanky hotel rooms. I was careless and fearless. I knew who I was and where I was coming from..
Then I let somebody steal my sparkle.
He was drawn to my face, my figure and my confidence. But then used them as weapons against me.
At first I didn't notice the signs. But then they became unmissable. And inner fox went down the rabbit hole - having found herself surplus to requirements.
My pretty dresses became jeans and leggings. My heels became converse and ballet pumps. My make up went from elegant and girly to muted, then faded....then non existent. My beautiful, crazy cave-womanish hair that always drew compliments was hidden in buns and side ponytails. So that I wouldn't attract attention.
It wasn't enough.
Every man who glanced at me wanted to take me to bed. Most of the women too....according to the way that M's mind worked. In his head I was constantly out shagging the world the minute that his back was turned. I couldn't keep up with his accusations and escalating violence. Because of course I needed to be punished for being so "available" to everyone who crossed my path.....He drained my vitality and left me with ashes.
Anyway, that was a year ago.
I left him. Although not before significant damage had been done to my head and my confidence.
I've been trying to rebuild for a while. And now I'm taking my power back.
Despite his "encouragement" and suggestions that I "donate" my "old" wardrobe back then to the charity shop, I didn't. I kept hold of my pretty dresses and my shoes. Well, the ones that he didn't manage to wreck anyway....
They are here, now, in my wardrobe.....
I unpacked them today...
Because inner fox has been missing for too long, and I want her back. I miss her. She completes me.....
So today I have made what I used to call an "executive decision"....and I am going back down into that rabbit hole. But I'm not staying long. It's just a flying visit. And when I come out I will have both my inner fox and my sparkle back....
And this time I'm keeping hold of them....
Last night I went out for dinner with my friend Nath. We come from the same town although we didn't cross paths there - We met hundreds of miles away in Cornwall about 4 years ago when we were work colleagues and I recognised the accent.
He wanted to tell me about his latest love interest. Bound to be interesting, as Nath is as good at choosing women to date as I am at choosing men. We regularly catch up to swap our dating horror stories. His are pretty good, although to be fair, I usually win.
On the way to the restaurant we narrowly avoided an accident. A car missed us by seconds coming side on as we crossed the roundabout. Luckily, there was no accident but it was an incredibly close call.
I messaged the guy that I am currently sleeping with about half an hour ago to tell him about our near miss. He hasn't replied, despite reading the message.
So that's probably all I need to know really.
A simple....oh my god, hope you are ok would have been great...but nothing??? Wow. That's bad, even by my standards.
So that's that then. Another one about to bite the dust. Because I am all out of making excuses for a guy who can't even tell me that he's happy that I'm still around, but is more than happy to be sharing my bed....
I'm done with pulling the short straw every single time.
So if and when he does actually bother to reply to my message, I'm going to tell him exactly where he'll be sticking his straw from now on.
Right Up his a**e.....
Because I am royally "fucked off".....and as of about 4 hours ago now, so is he.....
Having us compete against each other to see which team could make the best midget gem bridge was the brain child of one of the support workers in detox. It was supposed to keep us out of mischief for an hour while the rest of the staff had a much needed cup of tea.
Unfortunately all it did was create chaos; For two reasons.
One : We were none of us five years old. And told her so. And two : You don't give recovering addicts with an insatiable craving for sugar, sweets. Everyone knows that. It sent us crackers.
Haribo was literally currency in there. Tangfastics were like gold dust by the end of each week. It's all we ever put on our shopping lists. Haribo's, and tobacco if you smoked.
Anyway, three quarters of the midget gems were gone before she'd even got our attention. Which meant that we had uneven numbers of sweets to play with which made it unfair. Which meant that it was a pointless exercise. We ate the rest of the sweets while we relayed this information to her when she came to check on our progress. Which was basically none existent... Much to her dismay.
It was hilarious....
Her day got progressively worse when I refused to take part in the second lesson which involved making a tower out of marshmallows and dried spaghetti. Again, because I am not five years old.
She tried to insist; told me to "let my inner child out to play"....to which I replied that my inner child had already consumed far too many e-numbers for one day thank you very much, and would therefore be much better off if left to read her book quietly on the sofa - in case all of the midget gems she'd consumed in record time earlier made her sick.....Long story short. I didn't have to make the tower. 1-0 to me.
Up until this point I had been completely compliant in treatment. I hadn't dared say no to anything....but now my inner rebel was starting to stir. Which meant that I was getting better. I was finding my voice. It was time to start thinking about getting out of here and onto stage two.
I had been a model patient in detox. They were going to love me in rehab.....
It's Saturday night.
I'm alone in my room watching Netflix and occasionally checking my twitter account.
All of my friends are either working or doing things that tonight don't include me and so I am home alone, just me myself and I. I'm bored and don't really know what to do with myself.
I thought about going out but it's not really the same just sitting on your own. Plus I work here. I try and keep my work and my private life separate. I don't want to be sat propping up the bar on my nights off. It looks a bit desperate.
I'm trying not to look at the bottle that's on my bedside table. The bottle that has a label that reads 0.0 Alcohol Free. Because my mind can't seem to process that. It looks like alcohol. It tastes like alcohol. But it's not. Yet my tastebuds say it must be. And suddenly my head is reverting back to old behaviours. My old buttons are being pressed. Because, despite me having two similar bottles unopened in the fridge, my head is pressing me to go out and get more. To stockpile. Even though it's pissing down outside. Because my head for some unknown reason appears to want to get obliterated again. It's talking to me. Chatter, chatter, chatter. I'm determined to ignore it.
I thought that I was over this. That I've kicked my addiction.
However, this internal conversation that I appear to be having with my "inner addict" right now appears to be telling me otherwise.
I always thought that it was bollocks when they banged on about it in rehab. Apparantly not. My "inner addict" is alive and kicking if this conversation is to be believed. It's just taken a while for it to introduce itself. Almost a year actually. Well ten months and twenty one days. Not that I've been counting. It's just that the admission date of detox is tattooed on my brain.
So this is not what I wanted to find out today. That there's yet another mountain to climb.
I've been super, super careful around anything to do with alcohol since I walked out of rehab. I'm not going down that road again for anyone. But I don't want to live in a coffee shop either. Or go to meetings every night. I'm a social girl. I like bars and restaurants.
But I was so sick to death of drinking squash. It made me feel like a child. And I was sick of the questions. And the automatic jumping to conclusions by people who haven't got a clue about me or my life choices now let alone why I made them.
So going alcohol free opened new doors. I looked like everyone else now. With my beer thats not beer really.
Only it is.
It contains traces. Teeny, tiny bits of the poison that I used to try and drown myself with. My body knows it and my chemical hooks are kicking in.
This is not good. Or maybe it is. Maybe it's my inner voice urging me not to be stupid about this. That it's waving a red flag ( however small) in my direction for a reason.
I have the capacity to make stupid decisions as my blogs and my life story have shown. But the occasional stupid mistake doesn't mean that I actually am stupid. Because I'm not. Being stupid would be for me to not pay attention to this, think "In for a penny, in for a pound" and get back onto the real stuff pronto.
But that would drag me straight back to hell. And that would be beyond stupid. I learned my lesson the first time.
I get up and pour my pretend beer down the sink. Bollocks. Fruit shoot it is then.
I'm writing in Wetherspoons.
I caught the bus into town. Had the obligatory conversations with the characters and old dears who live in my sleepy little village while I waited at the bus stop outside the post office a.k.a - The hub of our tranquil little corner of the world. Then I buried my head in a book for the duration of the journey until I reached my destination.
After a bit of retail therapy I'll catch the bus back. Walking through these green fields of nothingness until I reach my little van tucked away amongst the trees, out here in nowheresville.
I'll lock myself in. Later I'll cook. Maybe listen to music. Shower, and then write or watch Netflix. I'll either be in bed before Midnight or still awake at 3....
At some point I need to think about socialising.
People are friendly here; There's a generation gap a lot of the time but I quite like it. They probably already know who I am. A quick fling with a work colleague probably hasn't done me any favours thanks to his disgruntled ex girlfriend who, so I've heard on the grapevine, couldn't wait to tell all and sundry what a floozy I am. Maybe she needs to get over it. She definitely needs to stop taking my tips. It's been 18 months since they split. And she's welcome to try and get him back. Although I doubt that he would have her...she's a bit of a cow....(my thoughts, his words). Massive arse....
Anyway - Socialising....It's on my to-do list. It's necessary. But it's a daunting prospect. It's such a tiny place. One wrong move here and you're screwed. And I'm kind of the queen of making wrong moves. Plus I'm scared. I find it hard to trust people. A side effect of living with drop outs and criminals during my brief stint in rehab and supported housing. I didn't really get to mix with normal. Just the broken and flawed.
It's changed me a little bit. Toughened me up. Given me an edge that I'm not sure I like. I'm struggling to get to grips with this new, suspicious me. I give off an aura of a woman not to be messed with. Don't get me wrong, it has its plus points - I no longer get hit on in Wetherspoons for example; I've clearly moved up a few notches since those days.... But it's a bit of a double edged sword when you are new in town and are looking to make new friends.
Everything here is chocolate box territory. There are a lot of tractors and happy, muddy dogs walked by equally happy "dressed for the weather" villagers. All itching to find out more about the new girl.
There are two pubs. Proper cosy village affairs. All draft beers and real ales. I stand out in my sobriety on the rare occasion that I venture out. That, coupled with the fact that I'm new in town makes me stick out here like a sore thumb.
The old me wouldn't bat an eyelid at being sat on her own amongst strangers in a strange town. But I'm not the old me anymore. My confidence took a hiding after the pyschopath boyfriend episode. So I'm much quieter these days. Bordering on shy. Which is making me just want to stay a recluse. It's so much easier than contemplating putting myself out there....
I've lived here for three months and I don't know any streetnames, or cut-throughs or anybody's name apart from those of my work colleagues. That's a bit unsettling. I feel almost agoraphobic which isn't especially helpful to my state of mind after the year I've had already.
So I'm not sure how to handle this right now. It's all a little bit overwhelming. I feel damned if I do and damned if I don't. I'm lonely but I'm scared to socialise. Not exactly a winning combination. Especially if in the future I want to think about dating again....because at this rate unless any future potential Mr Right breaks in to my caravan he's unlikely to find me. And if he was to break in then obviously I would be phoning the police - not contemplating going out with him.....God. Sometimes I wish that our little post office/convienience store sold new heads. They sell just about everything else. That way I could trade this one in and just crack on. Unfortunately, although they do a mean line in novelty keyrings and postcards for those amongst us just passing through, they don't appear to have any heads in stock.
I'm sat in my teeny caravan. It's where Little man and I lived after J left me. It's been 4 years but I'm still overwhelmed whenever I think about it.
Little man is all around me. I'm sat opposite his favourite spot. I can still see the ghost of him....
I can't believe how much emotion is still attached to this place. It symbolises Death to me. The death of my marriage. Little mans death not long after we moved here and ultimately the near death of me and the actual death of everything I thought I knew about myself.
I'm sat in the spot where I waited to die. It feels surreal and I'm about to cry. The ghost of the old me is in here too. She's hanging out with Little mans.
I can't bear this amount of grief. It's like a body blow every time I come here. It's keeping me trapped. I need her to leave.
It's going to take some doing.
I've been cleaning for hours with every window open to try and get some life back in here. I need this to be a happy place. I can't walk in here and be swamped with sadness everytime I open the door. It's time for a fresh start. This is the last thing that has any hold over me emotionally and I'm going to re-invent it with the same energy that is helping me to re-invent myself.
Only it's not working.
It doesn't matter how hard I scrub, how much incense I burn, how many trinkets I buy to try and make it homely again nothing is working. The energy and the memories just won't shift.
Because she still thinks that she's dead. The old traumatised me. She actually thinks that she died here. I know how much she wanted to. To be with Little man. So that she didn't have to worry about how horribly wrong it was all going. And how she would ever manage on her own without him to cling to.
To her this could never be a home, filled with it's grief and it's loss and its trauma. To her it was a coffin. She was just waiting for the lid to close.
So I'll sell it. Or scrap it.
I can't live in a coffin. Because coffins are for dead people. And despite it being an extremely close call for a while, I'm still here.
I'm not dead.
I wonder how long I can do this for? Actually stay single. Just me, myself and I.
I'm not looking forward to it. Plus I'm not technically single yet. I haven't actually told him the news. I'm working up to it. I will tell him.
And then I'll take this Tiara off.
Hopefully once and for all. I don't want to be queen anymore. I don't even go anywhere nice to wear it. Overnight camping trips in camper vans wearing mud spattered Converse don't count.
I want to be sitting in restaurants. Wearing killer heels. Drinking pretend wine and eating Scallops. That's my idea of fun.
But there's a problem. I don't like dining out by myself. People always assume that I've been stood up. And If I'm going to be single then I really shouldn't go out to dinner with a guy either....Because then that's technically classed as a date. And dates aren't allowed because I'm trying not to be queen anymore.
God this is complicated. I need to think this through.
Ok I'll date then.
I'll date but I won't get involved. That could be a plan. Except that it hasn't worked so far. Ever. Or I could just go out to dinner with friends. Except that my male friends generally want to sleep with me. Or have slept with me. Either way it could end badly. Potentially in a hormonal mess. And a taxi for one in the morning.
Back to the drawing board then while I figure this shit out.
I'm rubbish at drawing. So this may take a while. Bugger. I'd strongly advise not holding your breath....
I need to stop this.
Stop constantly needing approval.
From work, from friends, from men. Definitely and especially men. It's bad for me. I need to stop it. It chips away at my already fragile self esteem whenever I get it wrong. Which is most of the time.
There are too many notches on my bedpost. Mainly from bad decisions made on an equally bad day. Im not proud of that. If I had a magic wand and could unhappen most of those occasions then I would. It would be nice to have a clean slate and not have to do a headcount every time another one bites the dust.
Most of them were idiots. Or bad men. Not bad boys. Bad boys are charmers, players. Bad men. Nasty men. Men you don't forget in a hurry.
A friend once joked about chaining me to a radiator in a locked room for 6 months. Until I stopped making terrible men choices. Maybe she should have done. But in all fairness 6 months is nowhere near long enough for me to start making sensible decisions. I'd definitely need an extension. She's an ex- friend now by the way. Mainly because of bitchy comments like that. No one likes a know it all. And a single know it all at that. Maybe she should try getting laid once in a while...
Anyway. It's on my to-do list.
Along with losing weight, taking responsibility for my life (aka being a grown-up) and generally sorting my shit out. No biggie. I'm sure it will be a piece of piss. I'll either look back on this post when i'm finally happily involved with the actual love of my life ( whoever that is). Or i'll get it spectacularly wrong, meet yet another sadistic twat and be dead, having found myself finally all out of luck with the "bailing my ass out of the shit" fairy who quit. Presumably to go and look after someone less "challenging".
Like Kerry Katona maybe or Katie Price....