Sunday, 16 January 2011

Peace and contentment are now!

I've not led a conventional life for most of my life. It started very normally, a wanted little girl, who had a happy if somewhat isolated childhood with my little sister. We didn't have friends locally to play with, other than a girl much younger than both of us.
So I was very good at making up games,they usually involved playing house in some sort of den or another with my teddies and sister.
I got moved schools at completely the wrong time, in that I was happy and had lots of friends there. But the headteacher told my parents I wouldn't get into the grammar school, so the moved me the term I should have started practising for the 11plus exam that would have got me in (or not)
I was sent to an all girls school in another town, one where I was very isolated and bullied. So starting the journey of learning to be okay alone.
My early teenage years weren't good. I used sex as a way to try and get love. It didn't of course work!
When I was 17 I had the most conventional relationship of my life. It went on for five lovely years. But at the end I'd left home and gone to live in Cambridge and David wanted to get married like our friends had done, but I wanted to see more of the world, so I ended it.
I went back to not liking myself with very low self esteem and went back to using sex as a way to feel loved.... it still didn't work!
Eventually the nagging by my loved ones and my opening my mind to possibilities got me out of a particular poisonous relationship with a married man.
I finally started to think well of myself and met my first husband. He was not leading a normal life, he was a sailor in the merchant navy. So I embarked on 13 years of partings and homecomings.
When he was at home I would let him be responsible for the home things the family man should do, and then when he went back to sea I'd sort out the mess he'd left behind, clear up the debts, cutting up yet another of his credit cards and get on with running the home.
Five years into our marriage we made the decision with my sister and her husband to buy a derelict property together and do it up. My family would live in the barn and my sister's would live in the farmhouse, but because it was in the Peak Park we had to have it as one house so we shared a kitchen.
This for the first few years was fine. My husband would come back from sea and get stuck into helping by BiL build, and my sis and I shared care of the children.
But my husband met someone else and left. Leaving the three of us adults completely in a mess that took two years to get out of by selling up.
I immediately went back to hating myself and started going out with nasty men who would validate my low self esteem.
Fortunately this phase didn't last long and I came to me senses after only three months!
I then joined a dating agency (this was pre internet dating)Met this okay-ish bloke and went out with him for a couple of years before the relationship had run it's course.
Then it was another married man for far too long. And the dating agency guy got in touch with me,he was off to work in the States, would I email him?... sure no problem.
One year down the line he came back to the UK for a month, at the end of which he asked me to marry him.
I knew I didn't love him in the way I should. But I was so lonely for that relationship with someone, You know the sort when you come home after a long day and your partner makes you a cup of tea cause he cares. Boy did I want that, so I married him.
That isn't what I got,and after a total of five weeks actually living together in a six month period of being married, he'd gone back to Seattle to tie up his job before coming back here. I realised this was a colossal mistake and said I wanted a divorce.The fact that I had to get drunk to have sex should have told me something!
Then a total of five more relationships lasting in length from two years to six months, a couple of them concurrently! A married man in the middle, the man forever known as Mr Butterfly Kisses!
And now getting on for three years on my own.
And it has been these last three years that have taught me true self respect. I will never have a relationship that starts with sex, I'd rather not bother. Sex is lovely, don't get me wrong, and I don't like to think I'll never have it again. But more I don't have to use it as a way to feel loved.
I am loved by myself in a way that all those years between the relationships when I truly loved and was loved (so that's three)I didn't and therefore gave myself no respect and used sex as a tool to try and get that love.
I do not need to do that ever again.
So although as earlier this week I envied my friends what they are embarking on. I do not need to go there right now.
I am content and at peace, and can make my own cup of tea when I get in, I can also sit slumped in a chair for the rest of the evening without having to drag myself into the kitchen and cook for anyone else. And that is worth a lot to me!
So this week has been a poignant bit of the journey, but ultimately a good one as it's helped me identify that actually living MY life the way I do is fine. And there will always be moments when it doesn't feel right but isn't that true of all of us in whatever type of life we lead. As someone said the grass is always greener!
I am open to life's opportunities, I do not have a closed mind. But what makes it work is; right now, right here,and that is fine. And what's round the corner can wait till I get there. So I shan't be spending my time yearning for the unknown when it's so good today.


Mel said...

..what makes it work is; right now, right here..... And what's round the corner can wait till I get there. I shan't be spending my time yearning for the unknown when it's so good today.

I had similar 'lessons'..and some unsimilar ones (I made up that word!). But the awakening has been the same-- RIGHT now. RIGHT here. What's next can wait til I get there!

I'm likin' the 'living' that frees me up to do.
I hope you're liking it too!

(((((((( the byrdie ))))))))

Jennifer said...

I won't go into the " let me tell you MY stories" because we all have them. What I will say is that I see you're seeing what I'm seeing, feeling at peace about it, taking your time and it is very natural, healthy and needed. I don't talk about it all that much on my posts but I also have this deep feeling of wanting to help others...right now my inner voice says " you escaped 9/'re not there yet - but you will be and I smile". With Love, Jennifer

Merry ME said...

Mandy, I wish your story could be requirement for every teenaged girl. Not that hey'd take heed any more than you would have back then. Still, they should know some of the hard facts of life before they start to live it.
Forewarned is forearmed? Perhaps not in matters of the heart.

Paula said...

Mandy mine, I am so glad that it is so good today. From a different angle I see the same. The unknown becomes known and feel good too. Never thought that would be possible. Thanks for being my friend and thanks for being who you are.

miss*R said...

well done! xoxo

i loved reading this Pix xo

Lyn said...

Msndy, some of life's lessons take us years to learn and only after many experiences... you must be proud that you have emerged from these epic romances and relationships having learned to love yourself, and be enough for yourself. I truly believe that you are now only ready for the love of your life ... Fantastic post my friend across the sea.

Pam said...

"...what's around the corner can wait till I get there". I loved that bit. Actually I loved all of it. Hindsight through experience is a wonderful thing, but don't we wish we could take aside those earlier selves, put our arm around the women we were, and warmly reassure and embrace the "I that was" with love and most important,understanding (and recognition for dealing with some very challenging issues bravely, even as the tears fell).
Giving our past selves the thumbs up.
You are giving that recognition. Good move. The 'you today' is awesome.xx

Marilyn said...

So many of us have lived our own versions of your life story, similar scenarios and reasons but in a different setting and place - it is when we start loving and respecting ourselves that things come right. Nobody else can do this for us.

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Anonymous said...

knowing the warm and radiant person you are, Knowing the hurt that you have been thru, makes you all that more wonderful. Your wisdom is a life learned thing. Full of the heartache and truth that comes from living it, fully. I often wonder if we could undo our yesterdays, would it also unravel who we have become?
As always your brash honesty touches me to the core.
Love you Byrd! big time!

karen said...

Hi Mandy, just been catching up on your last 3 posts. What a lot of honesty and some good advice & life experiences you are sharing.. thinking of you, and great to hear the positivity, as ever!

LindyLouMac said...

I admire you for being able to share your life experiences here with us Mandy.

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

What a life you have led, but I am so glad you are at peace with yourself now. You know of course that there is a wonderful and beautiful world out there. You show us that on a daily basis.
Take care. Diane

Exmoorjane said...

Ah, now that's a true and heartfelt post... just wanted to check in on you, honey...hugs,Janexxx