Saturday Night

As usual on this fine saturday night I am at home with my kids.  I had the day off but have spent it doing absolutely nothing after the frantic week I had.  I am sitting looking at the screen of my computer watching for a flicker of hope on facebook.  A glimmer of a conversation that might be had from this virtual world that drags me out of the realms of my living room.  I had a night out two weeks ago and this will have to sustain me for some time because money is running low and it is coming up to school uniform replacement time.  It is my daughters birthday next week too so I really need to budget to buy her a pressie.

The use of social networks is a double edged sword to a single mother.  It can be a lifeline to sanity when the kids are playing up – where I can get some adult conversation and maybe some entertainment but it also seems very lonely on nights like tonight when no-one is around for a chat and a lot of time can be wasted waiting. It is also a link into the world of my two grown up daughters who are my facebook friends.  It allows me to chat to them, see how their lives are going and bridges the distance between where we live.  I can’t see my grandkids everyday but most days there is a new picture of one or both of them for me to see.

I miss my daughters, I miss the laughs and the conversation.  I still have three kids at home but it is a lot quieter without them.  I still need to find something to bridge that gulf – to stop the loneliness I feel without them here.  The constant noise of having all five of my kids at home was a comfort to me.  I knew where they all were and knew that they were safe.  It also however stopped me from thinking about myself. What do I want out of life?  Now I have loads of time on my own, time to think, time to reflect.  I have actually had to relearn who I am and what I want out of my life.

I am still learning that it is okay to want things for myself.  I am still learning how to take my opinion into account instead of putting everyone else first.  I am still learning that I am important.  I am still learning.

So far I have learned:

1. That life without writing is a life half lived.  Everyday I have a story that needs to be told.

2. That life without a little me time – is stressed and leaves me tired and harrasssed.

3. I have learned that I am going to be okay on my own no matter what.

4. I have learned that I am a good person.

5. I have learned that I am interested in everything.

6. I have learned exactly what is precious to me – my kids, family, writing, music and staying true to myself.

7. I have learned that I am an incredibly strong person.

8. I have learned that I have loads of skills and qualities that make me special.

I constantly need to remind myself of these things because it is an alien concept for me to spend time on me.  I forget why I am me sometimes.  The drama that surrounds raising five kids sometimes becomes all consuming and I am the last to get any attention.  For about three years I was sleeping for less than four hours a night because I was stressed and worried.  I have had to retrain myself to get into a routine that allows me enough rest time.

I think I am making good progress even though I need a wee reminder now and again.

W

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Open Season

There used to be a time in the not too distant past when I used to really enjoy working.  Days were varied and fun and every now and again I used to get a challenging customer that kept the old grey matter working.  Now though things have went sour.  I have spent a few years now trying to get somewhere – chasing the elusive dream of a career.  I have worked for some women who at first I thought were really lovely and supportive but then the recession hit and the speed with which these women turned against me was phenomenal.

I took a step on the first rung of the career ladder – I did everything I could to get experience, I volunteered for jobs, I took on roles that were way above my work level just in order to gain some knowledge that would help me get a step up.  I knew that only hard work and determination were going to help me to take that step.  I regularly did jobs that were actually the responsibility of my superiors but because I wanted to progress I relished the challenge.  I live for a challenge and really love to push boundaries of what I expect from myself.

I have spent the last twenty years working, looking after my five kids on my own, studying really hard and generally filling my life with challenges on every level.  When things got too easy I would add another course just to keep up the pressure.  Now that I have spent over ten years chasing this career it has become apparent to me that there is a witchhunt.  I may not have the big high powered job or the flashy wages or the big house but what I do have is five healthy beautiful caring kids, two gorgeous grandchildren who I love, loads of skills and knowledge that will help me turn my hand to anything.  I have integrity and speak my mind especially if I see ordinary working people being lied to and manipulated by bosses.  As a result of my opinions and forthright way of speaking my mind I have got a few backs up. It is clear to me that I am being pushed slowly and surely out of my job.  What they don’t realise is that I will leave on my own terms and when I am ready.

These women who have nothing in their lives feel threatened by me.  My very presence in their opinion reminds them of how one-dimensional they are.  You might not like what I say ladies, you may resent that I am more capable than you, you may just be scared because I have the determination to not just take your word for it.  You may be all these things and more – or less.   Or as in one case you may just have been holding a grudge for the last 16 years (really is that what all this is about?).  I don’t really care anymore what has caused this rift I just want you all to know one thing.

My life does not begin and end with my work.  I have my priorities in the right order.  I have interests outside work, I have a life filled with people who love me for who I am and don’t sit chatting about me behind my back.  I have huge dreams and plans for the future.  How many of you can say that in your little pigeon holes?  How many of you can say that you have lived your life with conviction and integrity?  It may be open season on me at the moment but just you all watch this space.  You can’t keep the fire inside me down.

W

Bad Day – Big Rage

Day was beautiful – started well with my friends at work.  Woke up feeling positive, had a job interview to go to.  Was feeling really energetic and happy and smiley.

Spent a lot of time with nice folk coming into my work – they are always a pleasure to speak to.  Got a quick visit from my daughter to get me to let the tattoo artist round the corner know that she was in fact an adult and was almost nineteen years of age.  Then off to my job interview with my certificates, my info and my ipod cheerily blaring in my ears to help keep my mood up.  The interview went really well and I thought I was in with a chance.  Trundled back home on the bus still happy and popped into my work for a chat.  I then picked up my happy wee kids from school who came out all brand new and smiley.  On the way home though I got the call to let me know I didn’t get the job because they gave it to the woman who had been there longer than me.

All well and good so far – the woman they gave the job to was and is a good friend to me.  I was happy for her.  The thing that gets on my wick though is the way my boss speaks to me when giving feedback.  Her wee voice gets shakey and she starts giving me this pitiful wee voice in an attempt to make me feel sorry for her and the hard decision she has had to make.  I try to stay calm at the obvious condescension in her voice but it is hard.  After listening to this for a good minute or two my brain just snaps.  I even feel a tear coming to my eye and a lump to my throat with the shock that this woman thinks it is okay to keep talking to me like I am a three year old.  I absolutely hate being spoken down to especially by a woman who goes on about how fair she is in everything she does and says.  Aye as if.

The woman actually makes me feel really bad.  One minute telling me that I did really well in the interview but then turning it all around with this one-woman pity party.  Hey I never got the job but I deserve a little decency don’t I?  I hate people feeling sorry for me with a passion.  I would rather gouge out my own eyeballs with a spoon than listen to folk feeling sorry for me.

I work hard, I regularly help people out – hey I even helped her out by doing loads of extra shifts for her.  I look after my kids, I study for yet another degree and I make it to work every day.  When I am at work I do a bloody good job, I treat the customers very well and I try my hardest to help everyone out when I can.  If I can raise five kids on my own with next to no money whatsoever and work in a job for years trying to get somewhere – to make a career out of it with no support or help from anyone I sure as hell can take some feedback as to why I didn’t get a job.

I have earned the right to be treated as a human being in that situation.  I have earned the right not to be treated with pity for such a trivial thing.  In case you don’t know my life is bigger than my crappy job.  I have huge plans that don’t include bosses with a complex about hurting peoples feelings. So instead of patronising me in an attempt to make yourself feel better just tell me whats what and shut the hell up.

The end result of this is that I tidied up a storm when I got home.  Big rage does wonders for my house.  It does magnificent things for my compulsion to not let this crummy job define who I am.  I may have to work for you at the moment but there is a day coming very soon when I won’t have to listen to you for a second longer and that is what I will cling to.

Thanks for helping me get things in perspective.

W

Monday Blues

The day started off really well.  The sun was shining, I wrote a poem five minutes after waking up and it felt like nothing was going to dampen my day.  The kids were behaving okay and we got to school almost on time.  Work was good and I had a lovely chat with colleagues and saw a few smiley customers.  Lunchtime I wrote three other poems and really thought the day was going to be one of the best for a while.  I went visiting after work – my daughter and my friend.  On the walk home though everything changed.

I could feel the energy drain out of me as I walked.  The kids were playing up a little but thats nothing unusual.  I could feel myself getting tired and I just couldn’t seem to snap out of it.  When I got home the kids were in bed as quick as possible so I could try and sort out my head.  As I don’t have anyone to chat with once my kids are asleep so I write here – sending my pain out into the ether in the hope it doesn’t bother me anymore.  I am trying to fathom why I feel so damned rotten after such a gloriously good, warm, sunny and beautiful day. 

I think the reasons are this:

1.  I feel a little hormonal today. 

2.  I have spent some time with people today and it just reminded me how lonely I am at home when the kids are asleep.

3. I have been worrying a lot lately and keeping everything to myself is painful.

4. I think after being responsible for five other people for years I have forgotten how to relax.  How to let go of my cares and worries is a skill that eludes me.

5. The sun today was so bright and dazzling that once it started to fade my good mood left with it.

6. Maybe it is just my day to feel sad – heart wrenchingly devastatingly sad. 

7. I missed my big walk with the dog today and the fresh air soothes away the worries.  I need my dog walking allowance to keep me sane.

I know that days are not always like this but today for some reason it is just a little harder to cope with the emptiness, the loss of someone to hug, the void that exists.  Today I felt that void like an old friend.  It curls itself around my soul and squeezes.  Squeezes just enough to let me know that it is there, waiting till i let my guard slip. 

But tomorrow will be different. Different because:

1. It is not Monday – Mondays are always the worst.

2. No matter what happens I always wake up with a little hope.

3. My kids make me smile, infuriate me, crush me with their warmth, drive me up the wall and fill me with optimism.

4. Writing anything from my blog, a poem, an entry in my journal or a complete story makes me really happy.  It puts breath in my lungs, a beat in my heart and a light in my soul.

5. I am ever hopeful that I will make a connection with someone or something. From meeting my dearest friend to watching the sunlight dance on the river as my kids throw stones into the depths.  A stolen flirty look or a huge hug hello.  

6. Music makes the world go round.  I cant live without music, the songs go round in my head like a whirlwind.  I could not imagine a day of my life where music did not figure into it somewhere.  When I gave birth to my kids I had a different song for each one, when I am down there is a song that picks me up. When I want to cry there is a song that will just help to make that happen.  My blog is sad most of the time but if there was not a cacophony of music in my head all of the time then life would be a terrible, hopeless affair. 

There I feel a little better now.  Writing 1 depression 0.

W

 

 

A love affair with my bed.

I love my bed.  Right now it seems like the best place to be.  Why I am still sitting up typing when I could be relaxing, who knows?  I am now at a crucial stage in my life on the verge of major changes.  I am now in a state of metamorphosis because a career I worked towards is not making sense to me anymore, my kids are all at school now so I have a little spare time that I am still not making the best of and for the first time in my life I have a proper room of my own.

I was brought up sharing a room with my sisters.  I went from sharing with them to sharing with my kids either climbing into bed for a cuddle or taking over the bed completely.  The times when I was in a relationship the bed was never my own.  I spent a good couple of years hardly getting to my bed at all because I kept falling asleep on the couch or worse on the bus.  Sleep was never a joy – it just happened out of necessity or exhaustion.  Now though things have changed.

My bedroom is a work in progress but having a space where I can shut the door and breathe, listen to music, read a book in peace is a life saver.  For years my kids used to follow me everywhere.  If I went to the loo they came too or stood outside the door bombarding me with questions.  Now that my youngest is five I don’t seem to have that problem any more.

I don’t have kids pulling my stuff out of drawers or opening my face creams etc and destroying everything they find.  What I do have is a bed to myself – nothing better than spreading out in whatever direction I want.  I can shut the door and know that they will knock before barging in.  I am just learning to love the space, the peace and the quiet.  I now have a sensory overload when I walk in the door – the mood, the space, two bookcases full of books, some cds, the tv and dvd player where I can watch movies without someone telling me the way it ends.   I have writing pads everywhere – some for notes for stories, a couple of journals, poetry and just for inspiration.  I absolutely love having a space dedicated to me.

I must admit though I still love getting woken up by my baby when he needs a pee in the middle of the night.  I love when my baby girl comes in for a chat or a hug.  I love the odd time we all sit in there and watch a film or chat or listen to music.  I love sitting listening to the morning routine when they all rush about getting ready for school in the morning.  The choking waft of deodorant and after-shave that flows in every morning when my thirteen year old son puts the finishing touches before he runs for his bus.  Occasionally when my older daughters come for a visit they will give me fashion advice (sadly needed but rarely heeded) and do my hair.

These things I will cherish and carry with me forever but for now the new relationship that is forming between me and my bed is new and inspiring.  I never knew that having my own space could be so liberating.  The ideas come quick and easy now, the stress is fading a little – all due to the fact that I have a space that is mine and a little time to enjoy it.

I’m going to bed now for a little recuperation, relaxation and rest.

Night y’all

W

 

 

Big Rage

I am having a bad day.  My kids are playing up, I feel a little down in the dumps and several things are going wrong all at once.  I have some behavioral problems with my kids, an incident at school to deal with and all this on the day that my mood plummeted.  Most days I feel great and I can cope with everything then one day comes along that knocks you off your feet.  Well for me, today is that day. 

I don’t have anyone to discuss all my thoughts and feelings with so my blog is the channel to vent my anger.  As a single parent I don’t really get any time to myself and right now I would really love to be able to run up the nearest hill and scream till my lungs explode.  I don’t want to scare my weans but today is the day that I need to let off steam.  I fear that I will be walking around in an angry bubble for a couple of weeks if I dont get rid of this lot.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

There I feel better now.

W

 

 

 

obsession

I have developed a new obsession.

Since I have been single for so long I have recently become fixated on touch.  I hug my kids all the time and there is nothing in this world better now than getting a hug from my granddaughter or a big smile and a squeeze from my grandson.  What I miss though is the touch of someone, anyone (not one of my children though).  This touch does not have to be in any way sexual but just the warmth of a hand on my arm would do.  I have made a list of the recent events that have stuck in my memory where the touch of someone moved me in some way.

1.  When off my work sick a couple of years ago I popped in to tell my boss something and my co-worker asked me how I was.  Before I had the chance to answer her she had reached over the desk and put her warm hand on my forearm and gave it a litttle squeeze.  This was memorable because of the concern in the touch, the warmth of her hand and the unexpectedness of it.

2.  When I bumped into an ex-boyfriend a few weeks ago he grabbed me and pulled me into a big bear hug when he saw me then when we were talking he put his hand on my cheek.  This stuck with me just because of the manliness of his hug and the intimacy of the hand on my face.  He stepped beyond my imaginary barriers and pulled my senses into the present.  It felt like there was genuine feeling behind the act.  This display of intimacy is very rare in my life.

3.  When getting a lump checked out with a mammogram the woman performing the procedure put her arms round me to make sure I leaned into the machine correctly and the warmth in her hands and the gentleness of her touch was a good distraction from the coldness and the painful squeeze of the machine.

4.  I had surgery three weeks ago and the registrar came to tell me about the procedure, I was very nervous and scared.  The consultant in the corner had just went through a list of everything that could go wrong with the operation, as the registrar was leaving he turned round placed his hand on my bare shoulder, gave it a squeeze and said everything was going to be okay.  This helped me to relax a little and brought a little humanity to a very lonesome experience.  When I came round from the anaesthetic the nurses asked me how I felt.  I said sore and I could feel their hands on my arm administering some pain relief drugs.  All I could think about however was the feeling that I could really have done with a big hug from anyone right at that precise moment in time.

5.  About a year ago I had been a little depressed and was going through some sort of mini life crisis.  My sister was having a few drinks at her house and had invited me to go in an attempt to cheer me up.  I really did not want to go out, I thought I would have brought the mood down because I could not really see anything positive in my life right at that moment.  I was eventually persuaded to go and walked up in the freezing cold to my sister house.  I thought my sister was the only one who knew how I felt.  When I stepped in her front door her fiancé was walking past the hall, dropped what he had in his hand and came up to me and pulled me into a huge hug.  He asked if I was okay and blinking back tears I told him no.  He said I know you’re not and gave me another squeeze.  In that instant I felt better, I felt as if someone actually cared about me and the black mood lifted.

6.  When reunited with an old friend in December 2010 he came to visit me in my house.  He did not look very well when he arrived and after about twenty minutes I realised he was quite ill and should go home.  He was not in any fit state to get home himself so I put my jacket on and walked him home.  He was quite shaky so I held his hand and led him home.  The significant thing about this was the hand holding.  It was good to feel a guys hand in mine even for such an innocent act.

There are also times in my life when the lack of touch was very difficult.

1.  After the birth of each of my children.  The first time I was on my own and had no-one there to hug me.  The second time my sister was there but I really missed having a guy there for the birth of my baby.  The third time my other sister was there but she is not a hugger.  The fourth time my baby’s father was there but he acted like it was an inconvenience to be there and it did not enter his head that I could have done with a hug.  The fifth and last time I had a baby the house was busy with people but there was so much to do that I never got round to getting a hug from anyone.

2.  On graduating from university the first time – my dad had died a couple of years before and he was the hug that was missing that time.

3.  Everytime I hear Luther Vandross sing Dance with my Father.  On the morning of one of my sisters weddings I was inconsolable at the thought that my sister was not going to have that father – daughter dance.

The touch that makes up for not having all of the above:

1.  My kids hands in mine when I walk them to school.

2.  My kids all in my bed for a chat in the morning.

3.  Me and my kids all cuddled up on the couch with blankets and having a movie night.

4.  My dog Zeke sitting on the couch right next to me with his head resting on my knee when all the weans are in bed because he is awesome and cuddly and just a big softie.

5.  A hug from my sisters when we spend time together or see each other for the first time in ages.

6.  A hug from certain people who without fail every time I see them give me a hug.  This makes me look forward to visiting them.

7.  A hug for my kids when they fall down and hurt themselves.

8. A hug from my kids when I am ill.

9. A hug from my son Somhairle because it is the nearest I can get to a hug from my dad.  He is a great hugger and even my sisters come to visit just for a hug.

A hug is always appreciated in my house.

 

W