Sorry, there are HEAPS of swearies, by I give no flying foxes.
(I kinda give some flying foxes, hence the disclaimer. I also apologise a LOT.)
Sometimes enough is enough.
When I look back at previous versions of myself, AKA Vintage Lisa, I am sometimes surprised at the things I have done, and how I have treated people, and other times I am appalled.
So, in the effort to be kind to myself, here is an apology to everyone I’ve somehow managed to hurt during my various roads to self discovery. At times I have mean rude, annoying as hell, I make too many assumptions and I can be a real pain when I’m not happy about something. Also, I’m not great at actually explaining what’s bothering me because half the time I don’t even know.
The next thing is that as well as I know Vintage Lisa, who also had many great qualities, I recognise that there are people in my life who are going through their own shit. Or who give no flying foxes. Or want to help, but can’t, or don’t know how.
Maybe they just really like to gossip.
Because Vintage Lisa had been such a PITA previously, it’s usually easy for me to be forgiving when people get lost in their own stuff. But, really, it’s been eight months. That’s an almost ready to be born baby length of time to not be in touch with someone who is having a rough time. I mean, even my grandad has called me, and he hasn’t done that since I was a teenager and he invited me for lunch at his house.
Confession time (one Vintage Lisa being a bitch example): When one of my dear friends was going through his divorce I was really offended whenhe told me that because I wasn’t married, I wouldn’t understand. And I was totally livid and did the ‘blah, blah, I have had all sorts of crap happen to me, I know what it’s like to have your heart broken. I mean, I was almost married! It’s basically the same thing.’
Sorry, my old pal. I WAS FUCKING WRONG.
There’s a big difference between dating and an engagement, and being married (or living in a de facto relationship, as some of my favourite people do, and kudos to them; you people are smart). And, I would also say, there is a difference between all relationships — all marriages are different. I guess part of the problem for me, and my old pal, is that when you are weddinged (an Offbeat Bride term), you essentially spend a shit ton of money on a HUGE party that celebrates your undying love and commit to one another in front of everyone you care about. When you decide to end things, you’re basically saying to everyone you care about, ‘Look, it didn’t work, and there’s nothing I can do about it. Also, I’m not sure if you should keep my wedding photos on your Facebook page, but, your call.’
Apart from the wedding stuff there is the notion of being known as an entity. There is something really nice about saying ‘My husband… blah blah blah,’ or ‘I’m a housewife’ (and you are actually a wife). When you go out in public, you wear rings that say ‘Look, I belong to someone. And, it’s by law. I have two rings!’ You are known my your last names. Everything about the public facing image of being married is tha bomb.
When you end a marriage, you end all of those things. Your collective memories of every fun thing, every meaningful moment, is diminished. Whatever goals, or long term plans, or dreams for the future you had as family are dashed.
So, that brings me to the next part. I would say that there are some people I’m really pissed at, if I’m honest. And it’s not my family, or my in laws, or anyone like that. It’s not my (latest) collection of nearest and dearest friend who were there right back when this all happened, or the ones who found out much later on and have been so kind. It’s not those people.
It’s people who I thought would have my back and haven’t shown up.
I don’t necessarily mean literally shown up. I just mean that they have been there. I’m a low maintenance friend. I don’t need much more than a text or a Facebook message to get the giddies. Just be kind! Sheesh!
People who have been there for me have been friends I’ve known since I was a kid. Or, my good pals from uni. They have been people I have only met in the last few years. They have also been people who have been paid to be there, like the awesome staff at Relationships Australia, who who care enough to only be supportive and encouraging.
I have been the girl who checks in on people when they are feeling down. I’ve been the shoulder to cry on. I’ve sat through rants, I have been seething with rage at the injustices some of my friends have had to endure. While I don’t expect things in return, it makes me wonder what the hell people are thinking. Because, put it this way, if someone I loved said to me that they’ve ended their marriage, I’d be on their doorstep with cookies, or at least sending them some messages to see how they are doing.
When I consider all of the break ups I’ve had, the ones that have mattered most, I have picked up the pieces and moved on to my fun girl persona. I would do a lot. I’d be mad. I would succeed if only to prove someone wrong. I was still a PITA with a bee in my bonnet. What’s different on ending a relationship like that is that you don’t have to co-parent or work out who owns what, or worry about money. You just go back to your separate lives. And, in my case, I would go back to being the fun girl.
Am I the fun girl now?
Nope. I’m sitting here with a messy bun and I’m powering through a thesis edit. I don’t know when I’ll next get to go out and do anything that really just for me. I haven’t been out for a drink (that is something with actual alcohol) in two years. I have a great collection of party dresses sitting in my wardrobe. I probably will apply to do my PhD, and, assuming I’ll get in, I’ll be in student mode for quite a few more years. My live revolves around other people’s schedules and nap times. Half of my conversations are about my children and the other are about reality TV shows. You know what? I don’t care.
(Well, I kind of do.)
I got scared of being basic. (Hello. I am basic. I love leggings, slouch boots and buying Ikea stuff.) I am still scared of going to church (even though I would like to sometime soon, but I don’t know if I can because, babies). I am scared to tell people about the separation. Sometimes I’m even scared to look at my bank balance, but, you know, I have to do that one.
I’m living my life, and I’m scared, but I’m doing it anyway. As Bridget Jones says in (arguably) the worst book in the series, ‘keep buggering on’.
I kind of understand the people who are scared of me because I have the Separation Plague. I thought I understood love. I thought that you could work anything out, even the hard stuff. I thought that people who couldn’t make it work must have had their reasons, but I wouldn’t be one of them. I knew everything, now, I realise, I know nothing.
In a world where you can be anything, be kind.
It’s really that simple.