Friday 13 September 2019. Day 244: So it’s Friday again and I will mostly be spending yet another weekend pretty much on my own. I am beginning to quietly dread these two days, having no fixed routine like I do when I’m working Monday to Friday. A call to my lovely mum where I share my anxiety and dread of the impending new weekend, helps me somewhat in viewing it differently, stating that ‘darling, you’ve been so busy for so long, that maybe you need the weekends to totally switch off and be quiet’.
My mum’s many years of living alone have continually worried me, not only in the respect that she goes to bed each night without someone to make sure the front door is locked and the gas is turned off, but also that it is my fate that I too will live alone for the rest of my days. When I shared this concern many years ago with my then partner, he told me that as long as I had that thought, it would become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Despite my protestations, perhaps he was right; I am once again, alone.
It’s curious that in my youth, I never imagined that I would spend the majority of my adult life being a single mum and spending many an evening curled up alone on the sofa with only the TV, telephone and popcorn as companions. I thought that once my girls had flown the nest, I would be footloose and fancy free to relive my youth and leave the house to go on adventures whenever I wanted without having to book a babysitter and make dinner for the children beforehand. Yes, I can leave the house whenever I want, but the thing is, I don’t seem to have a reason or the inclination to leave the house now other than to go to work each day or make the Saturday trip to the supermarket. In all honesty, it all seems a bit pointless when I don’t have a partner in crime to share the wonders that lie beyond my own front door.
My recent dating exploits didn’t end well as it turned out that my HRT fuelled re-emerging confidence turned me into a bit of a gobby cow and I realised my sassiness was lost on him. Added to the emotional bruises from my ex-partner taking their time to fade, it clearly wasn’t the right time to be dating again.
So in between watching yet another Netflix box set and reading a few more chapters of my book (Reinventing Your Life – oh the irony) I found myself asking the question; why do I feel that to be complete, I must be in a relationship?
From the time my hormones start raging in puberty, I wanted a boyfriend; correction, I wanted someone of the opposite sex to find me attractive. Having grown up thinking I was the ugly duckling of the family, I was desperate to be like the other girls and have pretty blue eyes, blonde hair and a cute button nose, because those girls get all the attention right? They did throughout my school years, and it’s only when I showed my recent dating attempt (the old school friend that I met at the reunion) a photo of me from our school trip to the South of France, he asked ‘why did I not shag you back then?’. Not the most romantic of comments, but the sentiment was, he never ‘saw’ me because I wasn’t the blonde blue-eyed teenage goddess that all the boys fancied. I was attractive, but not in the conventional way.
As a teenager, I ended up doing the little sister of a big brother thing, and started viewing my brother’s friends as potential suitors. One stood out to me and he saw what he liked without me even trying to be seen. He very chivalrously cycled all the way from the other side of town on his little brothers BMX to tell me he thought I was lovely and would I please be his girlfriend. And so my first teenage love story began. It was an intense first love and I was besotted, as was he. He literally swept me off my feet and showered me with constant affection and admiration and always gave me his last Rolo (God that chocolate confectioner did a good marketing job in the 80’s).
Like most first love, teenage romances, it ended once he went off to join the forces and I went to college. He was heart broken; I was finding my feet in a new freer environment and was loving it without really giving him much thought. Was it this relationship however that would predict all my future relationships? Did I learn wrongly that men would fall at my feet and deny me nothing? Did the arrogance of youth have me believe that relationships were easy to form and maintain with minimal effort?
I have loved and I have been loved. I have equally been hurt and I have caused hurt. There is one relationship however in my life where I have never loved and have caused much hurt; the relationship with myself.
The menopause has robbed me of many parts of my personality but the one that has hit hard, is the self-doubt element. I have always been the first to put myself down (much to the annoyance of my close friends and family) and will always take a compliment as a disguised put down. I have continually told myself that I am a failure and that I am not worthy of being truly happy.
My mum is right. I need quiet. I need this time to fall in love with me.
So this weekend my lovelies, I’m going on a date with myself. I’m not entirely sure what this entails, but hey, I’ve got time to work it out.
To be complete, I need to be in a relationship; a relationship with myself.
Until next time lovelies, you are enough and you are fabulous.
50 year old mum and grandma juggling children, grandchildren, love, work, and the menopause!