[Ad – Gifted Items] A couple of weeks ago I started drafting an Instagram post in the middle of the night, thinking about my upcoming 31st birthday, and what an absolutely shit year turning 30 had been. The caption originally was much longer, not realising I had almost doubled Instagram’s cap on what was possible to be included in a single post as I was word vomiting all over my iPhone notes like my 2004 diaries.
There are things in that post I’m not going to cover again, but you can read it here should you be interested. There was so much more to say in here and I’m almost glad that instagram’s caption length made me have to savagely edit it down.
Turning 30 was spent on a surprise weekend trip that had been planned out for me, on a weekend alone with my husband dotting about different towns and driving through villages on the other side of England, I walked into a pub across the other side of the country and suddenly the majority of my nearest and dearest were there all sat round a table together waiting for me too. There had been a clear giddy excitement from my husband knowing the surprise was clearly looming, I spent the best weekend with a grin permanently painted across my face. I’ve got pictures and selfies of a blissfully happy person. At the end of the trip when we were all saying goodbye, I remember one of my friends saying “he’s a good egg”, and I remember replying – “he’s the best”.
If you’d told me a few years ago as I was excitedly sharing details of my upcoming wedding, how planning was going, what food we had chosen, the diy candles we had crafted – that 3 years after being married my husband was breaking all the years of promises that had proceeded getting married, well I’d have laughed loudly in your face. Not my best friend, not my husband, not my good egg.
As the past few months have rolled on, I’ve realised that my relationship ended before I even knew there was anything wrong. There was a day where a choice, either consciously or unconsciously to stop treating me like a wife and partner, and that moment happened before I knew there was even an issue. There were only weeks between my birthday and finding out something was “wrong”, and I’m still as confused as hell as to how, what, where and why it all went wrong. As is everyone who came on that weekend and saw us together, partook in his secret planning months before and sang with us in a mini bus on the way back from a day trip as it was so late and we were deliriously entertaining the driver turning songs into his name – “Uptown Geoff”. Learning those questions are going to be ignored no matter how many times I’ve asked the has been one of the most painful things because after 15 years of loyalty and devotion – I deserved more.
A few weeks into the breakup I stumbled across a quote – “It’s hard to watch people change right in front of you. It’s even harder remembering who they used to be. And that couldn’t have been more true. Whilst I do think there’s truth in the statement “everyone changes”, I actually think some people change and others evolve – turning into a completely different version of yourself, the way you speak, act, behave, treat people – is not evolution but mutation into something else entirely.
Part of what I went through involved counselling, and I think in this day and age it’s important to speak out on mental health issues. Gaslighting wasn’t a term I was aware of – it wasn’t until a conversation with a friend said (and I scrolled back to May last year check my whatsapp) “mate, you’re being gaslighted”, and that term kept popping up over and over with everyone I spoke to, but now recognise what is it and will “nope” the hell away from it in any situation again. Abuse is a term which is filled with such severity, and of course rightfully so, but recognising different signs of abuse outside of classic physical I hope in some way will help me be able to help others in future.
Blessings in Disguise
I’d describe there were months where everything was imploding and everything felt endlessly cloudy, those clouds became fast-swirling and aggressive tornados, and turned into long-lasting rainstorms, after months, the clouds have become to clear, the rain turned to drizzle which then has fizzled too, the few clouds which are left are edged in silver linings. I don’t want that to sound as if there is any part of me that wanted my marriage to be over – nor that I did everything perfectly as I didn’t – but I fought to show that I was completely and utterly in love every day, and it’s taken some deep soul searching to be able to see where those silver linings are. My friend regularly reminds me on down days, you gave everything you could and I really did.
In a pre-Covid world, my work came last to someone else’s. I’ve spoken about feeling miserably unhappy in an old job and whilst I don’t want to say I wasn’t encouraged to leave it. My opportunities were limited because I had to make sure that the care of the dogs came first, not having too far to commute to, making sure someone was coming home on time – and despite me always having to work much further away due to job opportunities in my sector where we lived being – those “sacrifices” were mine to make, not to jointly work out – and I use the term sacrifices loosely as I’d always pick the dogs and my home life first. During the lockdown, I got my dream job that perfectly matched my skill set, in the industry I wanted to work in, and the pay was pretty good too. Long term it will mean day trips to London to the office, but don’t worry – I’ll support you, was what I was told.
There was nothing quite like the moment of being one whole week into a new job and your partner of 15 years walking out over the weekend and having to zoom call and confess to your new boss in tears something so profoundly personal and being unsure of my own ability to cope with what was around the corner. At that moment I knew I had picked the right place to work because the support I had was great and it ended up giving me the focus and encouragement I needed to stay strong and knuckle down for me and my future. The contentment I get knowing not only I made it through the hardest few months of my life, whilst also juggling two dogs alone, a 4 bedroom house and settling in really well into a new job makes me really proud.
I’m more independent – a fear (not of mine) was that my happiness had been so deeply connected to someone else’s presence, that I’ve learnt how incredibly wrong that was. Enrichment and reliance are different things, and if someone else’s ego is so big to think it’s reliance, then maybe I’m better off without the presence at all. I don’t put up with shit, I’ve never put up with shit – even though bad jobs, I’ve always spoken up for myself – and those few months where I was trying to get the relationship back to where it used to be correcting incorrect assumptions, tolerating having my self-esteem battered, being not even second best but coming behind late nights chasing a promotion, socialising with colleagues, walking the dogs strictly alone I wasn’t allowed to join – I came fourth most weeks if I was lucky – I’ve learnt by the end of it that you can’t help someone who doesn’t want help, someone won’t listen to you if they don’t care or maybe even believe what you’re saying and often if they’re in that mindset they’re unable to help you either. I’m never knowingly entering or staying in that situation again.
There are some things I’ve suppressed that I wanted to do and try because someone else didn’t want to, or wasn’t keen on me doing those things. It feels quite freeing knowing ~post-lockdown~ I can explore those parts of my personality. Right now, I’m living my best* single (*whilst in lockdown) life, having fun, discovering me and YOLOing the hell out of it.
One of the weirdest silver linings to come out of this is weight loss, initially caused by stress and loss of appetite and further carried on by exercise and eating *relatively* well, better than I have in years. This weight loss has caused me to have to buy a whole new wardrobe and underwear, causing me to almost forcibly remove every sentimental piece of clothing memory *that dress I wore to this wedding together or the skirt I bought for his 30th birthday* from my wardrobe and start afresh. I have one rule when buying new clothing – if I don’t 100% love it doesn’t stay, and this dress from getting it out the bag, I could tell was a keeper.
The dress from Dancing Leopard (whom I discovered last year) who have incredible quality colourful fabrics in beautifully tailored cuts, are perfect for the more formal dresser like me who likes to dress up but also feel comfortable. I was also kindly gifted this beautiful plated 18ct gold Goddess pendant from Daisy London and Estee Lalonde collection – arriving the week that the breakup happened, oh the irony (thank you to Daisy for understanding me being so late with this post!), and if you follow me on Instagram you’ll be no stranger to it as I’ve worn it tonnes already. I love the gold simple pendant, and the name and meaning behind it, reminding me that – I AM A GODDESS – and it goes with almost everything that I put on. The chain length is long but adjustable so fits too with many different necklines too. I absolutely adore it.
I expect this may well be the most personal post that I’ve ever written, or will likely write. But I am very open with my mental health, recognising signs of abuse and understanding gaslighting online. Learning to trust someone again is going to be difficult, I don’t even know where to start with it.