My Boys. Part I.

My Boys. Part I.

I haven’t spoken much about my babies. So I’m going to tell you about them. Individually.
Beginning with my middle child’s story. Start to now…. in brief of course.

And I don’t want you to get me wrong. All this happened ten years into us. We’d had an amazing, fanciful relationship. Which I’ll talk more about later. But all relationships have one rocky moment. And in twenty years this was our big hurdle.

This boy was conceived when his father and I were in absolute crisis mode.
We had been through so much, and everything was falling apart. I was losing him, and he was losing himself into a world of depression and devastation which (in hindsight) was because of him retiring from competitive sports, and not wanting to admit that Peter Pan was indeed growing up.
We had split up. I had moved out, it had gotten that bad in a very short time.
But there was still a connection, borne of a 10 year adoring love, that even though I was at the limits of what I could cope with at the time, I couldn’t completely let go.
So we would still talk. And I was still trying to get him to see what was going on and how he could keep himself not only alive, but keep his head above water.
But it got hard. So hard.
And I met someone a long way away who made me feel completely free and alive.
So I threw in the towel. As much as I hated to admit it and not only to me but to him, I knew that I had to leave to cut the tie we had.
He took me to the airport. He offered, because I had no ride.
And as much as I was out of ‘our’ relationship, I was still cut so deeply about us being over, that I made the mistake of allowing us one last moment.
I think we both assumed I wouldn’t be back.
This was goodbye.

And for most people that would have been.
Except, as usual with my luck, it wasn’t.
And I’m going to gloss over the whole ‘moving away’ part for now – we will revisit that later of course, because that’s one hell of a story!
But for now, we are going to fast forward to the part where I come home, with my tail between my legs.
Originally, I came back because I had to.
I had a few last loose ends to tidy up, and to sort out my Visa.
I’d bought a return ticket, from there, to home, and back.

And when I got home and found the absolute hot mess I’d left behind, with a trail of destruction and self-abuse he’d undergone, I was shocked as hell.
I was glad at that moment, that I’d a ticket out of there as I couldn’t see at all how me staying to watch him implode would be a good thing.
But there was one small problem.
I was pregnant.
And when I confirmed it here, I went for bloods and a scan, and then I sat alone and worked out the date of conception.
And I cried.
For several days.

You see, in what suddenly felt like another lifetime, I had a beautiful man, who would have given me the world.
And now I was hit with the earth shattering realisation, that I was pregnant. And this baby wasn’t his.
Not. A. Chance.

So I was sitting in a cold waiting room alone, feeling my world implode as I thought about the man this babies father had been. The man he was now. And the mess I was in.
And I wondered whether there was any possibility that this was deliberate.
An act of fate that was telling me that he needed one more chance to wake up and see what he was throwing away.
Against my better judgement, I decided to have a last day out with my bestie. And I told her first. We were supposed to be drinking, and she knew immediately when I didn’t that something was up. She guessed as I started to tell her, and she held me while I cried.
We were at a big outdoor event, and he was there with his friends, I with my girls.
I was (stupid I know) keeping half an eye on him, as a few things he had said to me in the days before had worried me. He was supposed to be working that evening. And I knew he had promised to stop drinking at 12. So he would be sober by 6.
Yet I saw him consume epic amounts of alcohol with no signs of slowing down at all, even when I quietly mentioned was he still working tonight…. I was told off and yelled at.
And he didn’t stop.
In fact, he got so intoxicated, that come closing time he was ditched by his boys as he was too messy. They left him there.
And from a distance I watched as everyone was herded towards the gates. My bestie and I stuck a way back and just made sure he got to the gate. And so I wasn’t far away when he had a full blown drunken panic attack. Somehow he thought the exit gate was an entry and he was convinced he wasn’t going to be allowed through. I remember taking him by the hand and talking him down, calming him. Telling him it was okay, that was the exit and everyone was leaving now, it was home time. That I would help him through the gate and we would get out of there okay. And he let me lead him out.
He was such a mess, he had no idea who I was, or my bestie. And he to this day doesn’t remember the walk to my car. The drive home. Or in fact getting him home and putting him to bed. He also only remembers the mess he made of the bathroom because I left him to clean it up himself……
I sat there while he passed out. Checking on him every hour and watching tv.
His workmate came in because he hadn’t been answering his phone and we sat and talked for a few hours, about the state he was in. How he had been declining and how he was destroying himself and everything around him with his self-deprecation and alcohol abuse.
He was sadly unsurprised that he had to keep working and do his shift that night.
As soon as he was coherent enough to drink water and knew who I was, I left.

The next morning he came to find me.
Sheepish and apologetic. Embarrassed I saw him like that. And mortified when I told him how the day had gone from an outside perspective.
I told him he was going to be a father.
And if he wanted to have anything to do with this baby, or me, ever again. That he needed to take a few days, and he was to decide if he was going to grow up and be the man I knew he could be, or if he wanted to keep playing like an 18 year old drunkard, and never see either of us again. As I wasn’t going to stick around to watch it.
I was out of here. I told him he had a few days, and that he needed to go now.
I didn’t want to look at him today.

He spent a day thinking about what he wanted to do. I have no idea where he went or what he did, but he came back that night and he told me that he wanted to be in both of our lives and that if giving up alcohol was what he had to do to keep us here, then that is what he would do.
I can’t explain how I felt, because I was torn completely in two.
Torn between two lives, and two people. With this tiny human in the mix.
And it took me weeks to even admit to myself what I had to do.
Which was stay.

I sold my business. I cashed in my return ticket.
I made my bed, and now I had to lie in it.

Every week that passed, still hurt. But the pregnancy was easy. I was so fit beforehand that I was strong. I worked until 8 months and then had to stop.
I had a few complications, Polyhydramnios. This baby was a big boy. I was all belly.

I was high risk. Because of risk of loss and the complications of pregnancy and I went into labour on my due date. July 4th. However with my local hospitals policy of intervention only if necessary, I endured three weeks of hell at the end of a smooth and way too easy pregnancy. I’d been active and social and so happy. I went into labour at a party. Because we partied pregnant. We were at a house party as usual for the weekends and I realised that these braxton hicks were oddly rhythmic. Almost synchronised. And I started timing them at 7 minutes. So long and low. Only 20 or so seconds each. But enough for me to give the boy a heads up that this child would be earth side soon. And my daughter was born on her due date so I had no idea this kid would drag things out so. He kept checking on me and we stayed our evening as I kept telling him I’d warn him if things changed but it was slow for now. We went home and I got little sleep as they were annoying enough I couldn’t get comfy.

In the end, we had three hospital admissions, scans and internals. Nights where they would give me pethidine so my body could rest from the contractions and I could sleep monitored. So baby was safe. But he still wasn’t coming.

So they eventually gave in and scheduled a c section for exactly 43w. And I was part relieved and part devastated. So for the last few days I mourned the water birth I’d wanted and prepped myself as best as one can. I had also been warned that should my waters break with a gush I needed to immediately drop to the floor and put my head down, keeping my bum up. Because if my waters broke accidentally now, my baby was at risk of a cord prolapse or the cord tangling round his neck as his cord was very long. Which I’ll admit panicked me. But I had only days to go and after all the false starts I figured he wasnt going come alone.

As in the weeks prior I’d had my cousins visit. No baby.

I’d panicked at one point with 5 minutely contractions at a minute long and called my sister to drive 8 hours to be with me for the birth. Oops no baby.

She stayed a week and gave up and said she was going home. And she had gotten only a few hours away when I called her back and said I’d had a show so come back. My cranky father had turned the car around and brought her back. After ten more days she gave up and went boarding…..

And then the unthinkable happened. I woke up about 7am. I needed to pee, as usual. But when I got up I felt a little gush of fluid and I stopped dead still. My tummy was tightening. And then another little gush. And the ‘just in case’ liner I had in was suddenly very very damp. I thought oh no…. my section was the next day. He couldn’t come yet! I went into panic mode. Called the midwife and awoke him as I knew we needed to move fast while I was only leaking. If my waters fully broke I’d need an ambulance and I’d have only minutes to get the baby out safely. So we did the gauntlet through morning traffic. Luckily it’s a 3 minute drive. And I called my sister back from her snow trip. She was four hours away and she made it in three.

It seemed the little monkey had thankfully for me, broken my hind waters. So the hospital were relieved. But nervous. I was able to soak in the spa bath and walk. Bounce on the Swiss ball. Whatever I wanted. As long as I didn’t go to far as I wasn’t really dilating. Which becomes a recurrent theme for me. All day I laboured and at 7pm they decided to do s controlled break as he still hadn’t broken my membranes fully. In fact I’d even stopped leaking…. so they broke them. And it was pretty epic. I couldn’t see but my sister and he could. He was dumbfounded and she was a part horrified and part impressed. I got a blow by blow as for me, it ramped things up in the most horrendous way.

I hit transition with the first gush and while they mopped up as they slowly released the fluid, they filled an entire laundry bag of towels and I was in pain. I had rolling waves of contractions back to back and I could barely breathe. Focusing was difficult and it was incredibly intense. I remember being snappy and struggling to speak… and I asked if I could push because I couldn’t hold it anymore and the midwife said of course. To let my body tell me what to do. She thought I was dilated so I started to let myself push. But nothing was happening and it took a while before they realised how hard I was working and how he wasn’t moving. So she asked if she could do an internal after we had tried a multitude of positions and none helped. Which was when she realised I’d pushed too early. I wasn’t 10cm and I’d pushed his head down and it was stuck on my cervix. She begged me to stop pushing. They all did. But there was no way I could and I remember growling at her because I couldn’t stop!!! I had no idea how to. And at that point I was on my knees, my bed in a chair position. I was holding the back of the bed and kneeling on it with my feet hanging off. They asked me to lay down so they could move my bed to a theatre room….. and I growled again and I remember yelling no at them. I couldn’t move! Next thing we were on the move with me kneeling on the bed hanging on for dear life as we whizzed past all the rooms and I felt so cold and I was in so much pain……

The new room was warm. And it turned out they had an anaesthetist waiting for me and it took nitrous to get me to sit on the bed I was in so much pain. I was nauseous and starving and starting to freak out as it was now nearing midnight. My baby was stuck…. so I used the nos and held onto him for dear life as they put in an epidural. Which they had tried to tell me was to stop my labour. They needed me to stop pushing. It was a tiny bit funny when all of a sudden he let me go and my sister was suddenly holding me…. while the epidural was going in. As I was breathing out so much nos, that he nearly passed out as he is tall and his head was above mine. He was breathing it in as I was breathing it out and luckily the nurse noticed as she had a chair under him and my sister lined up to take his place before he hit the floor!!! I had to giggle when the pain subsided and I was able to suddenly feel lucid again. And not overwhelmed by contractions.

Finally somewhat sane again I was allowed a hot chocolate while they explained they had to do the epi to stop the contractions and stop me pushing as he was too stuck. But hopefully in and hour or so, those intense contractions would work for me and dilate me properly. I got a breather and to rest.

A few hours later I could feel the contractions more and I commented on them. And suddenly it was all on again. A new midwife now was here. Shifts had changed. And she was commanding and tall. Anne. She looked like a farmers wife. German and quite a presence.

I was instructed to push and I was on my back now as I was too numb for anything else. But I pushed. And I thought I was doing great until she commanded me to stop. Then I got a wave of terror when I heard her tell he and my sister they needed to step back right now and I heard her press the emergency button three times.

My soul dropped. I know what that means and I know that means nothing good. An sos for medical professionals. And as expected all hell broke loose at that point as he was ashen faced and pushed aside. My sister with him as the room was inundated. Paediatric Dr’s and nurses. Midwifes. Obstetricians. So many people.

Then without warning there were suddenly so many people around me and none I knew or recognised. My bed was flipped nearly upside down. And I was told to get ready to push like my babies life depended on it on the count of three. She told me he was stuck and we had to get him out now…. and I told her to please don’t hurt my baby… hurt me. I felt the tears come as I pushed on command and stopped when she yelled at me to stop. Then the two men either side of me apologised to me as suddenly I saw a part of my legs I hadn’t seen in a year… while they separated my pelvis and dislocated my hips…. and she yelled push now and do not stop until I tell you to…. and I pushed with all my might and she pulled with all of hers and I felt him move….. I knew she had him but I had no idea if he was ok.

I saw her ask for him to come and cut the cord. And the room was dead silent and I felt hot tears running down my face. I heard he command him….he needed to take the baby to the paeds right now. And I was panicking. So much that I can’t even remember delivering the placenta. I just remember going into shock…. my whole body was shaking and my tears felt icy. I was so cold and the room was spinning. And then there was a sudden warmth as I was covered with warm blankets and hot towels. He was holding me and trying to warm me and I can still hear him telling me “it’s going to be okay…. you did good bub….” he was kissing my forehead and I didn’t care. I just needed to know if my baby was okay. And I had no words. And no way of asking. I was getting more panicked when I heard the tiniest noise. He looked over and I looked up at him as I could only look up from where I was and I could see relief on his face.

It was then the midwife was suddenly sitting my bed up and telling me I’d done a good job. And she asked me if I wanted to meet my son.

I finally got to hold him then. He was born at 4.45am and it was now 6am. For over an hour I clung desperately to the hope he was alive and now he was finally in my arms. And I felt like I could breathe again. For the first time since he was pulled from me, breathing stopped hurting. And he latched like a champ! Fed his way through a room change and all!

We got back to our room and while I showered, he and my sister dressed the baby. He got to be the first one to put a diaper on. And put clothes on his son. He was so incredibly proud of him he would barely part with him until he finally had to go. He’d been up all night and I wasn’t allowed to leave yet as this baby had a low temp so we needed to be monitored till it came up. So he and I snuggled and did skin to skin in bed and fed on and off. And I sent his Daddy home to sleep and go to work for a couple of hours until we could go home.

They let us go at 6pm and we got to go home. A family.

We stopped off to introduce the baby to his Dad and his partner. Who were every bit the spring grandparents right from day 1. That tiny dot of a boy wrapped them around his little finger at the first cuddle and he was less than 12 hours old!

We loved being home though. Even if I had to fight my sister and him to cuddle the baby. It was so lovely how adored he was. He was so sweet and snuggly. He loved cuddles and boobing. And I couldn’t get enough of watching this giant man, so utterly infatuated with this tiny baby. He was just smitten.

He was a true 50-50 parent.

For someone who never wanted kids, it was incredible how he took to fatherhood. He was the first to offer, or just do a nappy. Dirty or wet. Clothes on and off. Laundry for the baby. Bath time. Nap time. He did it all. And in the early days he was so desperate to help where he could. Even to the point of night feeds….. I will never forget waking one night, boobs hurting. The baby was 4 weeks old so my milk was still out of control. I woke and panicked as I couldn’t hear the baby. I sat bolt upright and turned on the lamp. And the room was empty. So I hurtled our the door thinking something was terribly wrong…. to find that he was in the lounge, cradling his tiny son in his arms and singing to him. While feeding him a bottle of reheated frozen expressed milk.

“Because you were exhausted bub. I thought you needed to sleep. I got this, look he’s almost asleep again”

He had woken when he woke. Changed him. Fed him. And he put him back to sleep.

He did that every second night. And it was the most precious gift to me. Seeing him be the man I saw in him through all the bad stuff. Through all the shitty behaviour. I had somehow given him the thing he needed to get himself into a better place. To man up and find his happy again.

I gave him a family.

And while the event was traumatic for both of us, we talk about it a lot, we both feel so blessed that this precious boy gave us both a new lease on life and a new perspective on ourselves and who we wanted and needed to be. He gave us life. Unconditional love. And he showed us how much we love each other.

Our special little soldier.

Beauty in the little things.

Beauty in the little things.

*cue soppy post*
Happy Anniversary to Mr Longterm and I.
This one was a big numbered one, even though we didn’t celebrate. Not really. I guess you could say that the celebration was lowkey….. Actually it was a day in the office together, because it was ‘office day’ and then me taking on the job of sorting out the things he mucked up. Because this week has been intensely busy. And when you are constantly rushing, things go wrong sometimes.
But that’s just par for the course isn’t it? Really, he’s so lucky he has me…
And I’m so lucky we have work to keep my mind busy.

But seriously.
We live together.
We work together.
We parent together.
And I can’t think of anyone I would rather have by my side, or waiting for me when I come home…
I’m always grateful for the constant support through my crazy schemes…. strange hobbies…. my adventures and wanderings.
In the same way I’ve stood beside him through everything from pro tours to pro disasters.
And when he needs it done, he knows I’ll do it. I might complain a lot, but he can always trust the job will be done right. And that’s cool.

We share so many interests…. Yet we both have our own hobbies we do apart.
We share some of those hobbies though.
It’s a beautiful balance. And I love that we can! We live hard and love hard.
BMX & Skating. Snowboarding. Wakeboarding. Motocross. MTB.
We are both complete adrenalin junkies. And while he might be better on a bike than me, he knows I’ll give anything a go. All challenges accepted.

We have created two amazing little humans along this journey who are the perfect mix of us both. Fascinating seeing them reflect the different facets of us both, intertwined into two very cool little people.
Because of us, I look forward to the future.
When we get to grow old together and watch them become men.
And hopefully we get to help them raise our grandchildren one day and celebrate many more anniversaries.

I love him with all my heart. And I’m grateful to him for every day we share. Even when he pushes every last button I have.
I love that he hates sleeping if he is not touching me.
And I love him even though he hates texting me back.

Only the strong survive. And together, we are strongest.

20 down. At least another 40 to come I’d say….. if not more!

A strange kind of life

A strange kind of life

Things got really settled for me quite quickly.

Even though never in a million years would I think that I would have been standing next to a man like the one that chose me.

He was a hard worker and self motivated. But with a more quiet kind of confidence about him. An amusing, quick wittedness about him and a retort/quip/comeback to everything.

He was a smart man who had his own set of confidence issues which were more to do with his sport and competing instead of toward his daily life. He was a top level competitor. One of the best in his field.

And in his work life he was talented beyond belief. I got to watch him work a lot as more and more I found myself accommodating his work time and our hang out time as being the same thing. Particularly in the evenings when he would have to drop everything for a work call. I would go with him just to squeeze a few more hours out of our together day.

And after a few months I resigned from my job. It wasn’t the job that had been advertised to me. I was supposed to be store manager but the assistant manager who thought he would have been moving up to that role so at the dummy. So to placate him they made us both managers of a tiny store. And life was getting more and more awkward as he hated having to report to someone. Toxic workplaces are always shitty so I got our while the going was good.

And I got out thinking I’d find another job really quickly. I was highly skilled and motivated as well as attractive and qualified in IT. Networking engineering and solutions. Web design, infrastructure. Even physical machine builds. And I was excellent at customer service. But even then I was struggling for the first time and I was struggling to pay my rent on time. So I debated moving back to Mums and he invited me instead to come and live with him. We had been going out three months. It was as good a time as ever right?

I moved in. Packed everything I had. Sold my bed and some bits and pieces and scaled right back on life as his place. I couldn’t call much more than a shack…. over a garage. With wonky floors and windows. Two rooms. An outdoor shower – in our cold winters I can tell you that was an adventure!!! The kitchen and lounge were one room. Bedroom another. The lounge was also his work office that he shared with his Dad.

Oh boy. I don’t even know how to describe it but it became home for about a decade.

We went through some (more for me really) rough moments there. With a few of the women he has been dangling carrots for and never following through with. Some of these women wouldn’t leave him alone and I put my door down after a few months. No more visits unless these girls were prepared to come to our house and meet me. Which went down like a lead balloon. But I was firm on this one. And I wasn’t going to give in. So most of them slowly drifted away, thankfully. The odd one would call from time to time to catch up and they would vanish again quickly when he would tell them we were still together.

All but one. I shall call her J. An early childhood teacher who was besotted and acted entirely pathetic when it came to D. Or Mr Longterm.

She would bring her car into work to be worked on and I would be asked to find somewhere else to be those days and I would fume. Until one day I said nope. Not happening. This is my house too and if she ever wants to bring her car back then she needs to show me some respect. Or she could go elsewhere. And whoooooooooo boy didn’t that open up a can of worms. Because of course she refused to come up and meet me and swiftly left saying she would come back and pick it up when it was done.

So pickup time rolled around and again I told my partner if he ever wanted to work on her car again he’s best being her up to meet me. Otherwise she was going to have to go elsewhere. And she again left a few minutes later. By which time I was furious. But she drove to the end of the street. Called my partner on the phone and desperately begged him to meet her down there and this man actually walked away from his upset and hurt partner to talk to someone he called ‘just a fuck buddy bub’

I packed my bags that day. And when he came back I wasn’t interested in speaking to him while I collected my things, no matter what he had to say and it was when I went leave he physically stopped me by blocking my exit and begged me not to leave as he had done what I’d suggested and told her she had offended me so much and been trying to be so sneaky that I wasn’t going to have anything to do with her and that if he had any respect for me, or us, then he would cut her loose.
A little mean, but I felt so solidly that if she truly cared for him as a friend (like I do with my male friends) then she wouldn’t have a problem coming to meet me. She wouldn’t have any issue with coming round for coffee. Hanging out with us. Being a part of both our lives.
But this whole, refusing to set foot in the house if I was there? Asking him to only see her when I wasn’t around? Nope.
That’s not how I roll.
It’s either all out in the open, and honest. Or it’s not happening. And I felt that it was his place to decide whether he really wanted her as a friend, and to ask her to be involved in our lives, or he could choose to go and be with her. Either way wasn’t a fun decision for the poor guy, but I don’t like secrets. And I don’t trust people who want couples to keep secrets from each other. It builds distrust, and I already had enough of that going on!
He was adamant he didn’t want me to leave though. So I guess at least that was a priority for him….

She, like the others, disappeared after that. I think once he realised I was serious about his ‘girls’ either accepting me and learning to enjoy both of our company, then they needed to be history.
We had so many friends, as I said to him one night when we were talking about them, that he could pick and choose who he wanted in his life, so he needed to make the hard decisions about which people were important and weren’t. Which he could live without and which he couldn’t. And most importantly, which were going to be the ones he could trust to support his relationship goals, and which were just going to work to tear them down.
I know my preference is for friends who will support you, even through your dumb decisions. Who will help you climb out of your mistakes and learn and grow from them. Not the friends who would drag you deeper into the mire and lose you in the darkness.
And he made a lot of dumb decisions over the years.
So it was easy to see who was really there for him and who stuck it out through all the rubbish and was still there to see all the good.

I know now, looking back, he’s glad he made the choice he did, even if it was a choice he didn’t want to make. Because he didn’t want to hurt any of them.
He has a good heart through it all.
And a cute ass.

A new relationship.

A new relationship.

After my dating period, I changed a lot I think.
Learned a lot about myself, my feelings and who I wanted to be for myself.
And I somewhat accidentally found myself meeting someone.

I’d seen him at the park often, he was a good looking guy. And in conversation with my friend J, we were talking about conquests and having an rather light hearted discussion about the struggle of being a young woman, who didn’t want a serious relationship, but was looking for more of a fling situation…. and J brought up this guy. Pointed him and and said to me, that if I wanted a fling, he’d probably be up for it.
I eyed him up and thought well why not. But courage to approach people sober, wasn’t really a strong area for me. So I didn’t give it too much thought right then.

A few weeks later, I was at the park with my tiny daughter in her buggy. I’d been giving a lady a skating lesson, which I regularly did and I saw him again.
At the end of the lesson, we had been talking about how this woman needed to be more confident within herself. She needed to trust her body and trust the process. She was doing so well, but she was so timid.
As she left, I decided to take my own advice, and knowing my daughter was spending the evening with her grandparents who could only see her after work, I took a deep breath and I went up to him and said ‘hey’
He looked over at me and I remember thinking to myself, now or never just DO it!
I asked him if he had plans tonight… and without letting him answer, I asked if he would like to go to the movies that night.
I quite honestly thought I was going to die as it felt like forever before he said he really wasn’t sure of his plans that night, but could he call me later. And like your average 15 year old, I actually wrote my name and number on his arm. With a ballpoint pen. Because that was all I had on me!!!
So well thought out right???

I don’t think I’ve ever left the park that fast. A bit of a laugh now, but I was so convinced that he probably thought I was a complete idiot, that I went home and phoned a friend to go to the movies with me so I didn’t have to go alone.
J was laughing his ass off at me. Somewhat impressed I’d actually spoken to him and hysterical over the arm writing! I was feeling 2 inches tall and so embarrassed.
While we were on the phone, call waiting beeped and I got him to hold on.
I nearly dropped the phone when I realised it was HIM! On the phone! And he was talking to me!
In fact he said, he was pretty free that evening if my offer of a movie still stood.
Shit. J was on the other line. Act casual woman.
So I smiled and told him of course (didn’t want to sound desperate) it was going to be fun. Movies with friends. I gave him my address and the time and told him to pick me up.
Then went back to J and told him what was up. I said a group trip would be less awkward and he rallied the troops.

Date night went well, and we endured the movie and then came back to my place. Where he got to meet the flatmates. And surprisingly got green lighted by the boys.
I was shocked as hell because they hated everyone…. it was the strangest evening.
He kissed me on the cheek goodbye and left… telling me to call him.

I sat on the couch with my flatmates going what just happened? They had less idea than I did….

He phoned me the following day, and we started hanging out. Every day for three weeks I saw him at some point. Usually evenings after work. And the longer we hung out the more confusing things were getting for me.
I was getting attached, but he was aloof…. but he just kept on calling. And coming over.

One night I invited him for dinner when he called me up to see what I was doing. It was my turn to cook, so I offered for him to join us and asked him what he ate.
He only didn’t eat fish, chicken or mushrooms. Seemed easy enough until I realised that my flatmate had gotten out chicken for dinner…. chicken pasta it was. So gourmet right? There wasn’t much I could do really as I didn’t realise C had already tried to help until the meat was defrosted. And we didn’t do food waste so I served it up to him and to his absolute credit he ate a whole plateful. And it wasn’t until the end of the meal and C asked what he thought of it, that he responded quite honestly with that actually he didn’t eat chicken…. cue crickets chirping, my face going beetroot red and my two flatmates promptly falling about laughing. Awkward much?????

So having survived that epic flop – of which I was never able to live down, this man still stuck around.

And I have to admit to you here, that he had been staying the night most nights. But we had yet to have sex. And it wasn’t for lack of trying on my part…. sort of.

I will say that given that he was very hot, very attentive and a load of fun, I wasn’t quite confident enough to go down the completely blunt road of ‘hey I think you’re a bit hot, let’s get jiggy with it’ even though actually that would have been a) effective and b) would have solved a number of issues as I wasn’t sure why I felt so almost…. shy around him.

It wasn’t like he was the first….

But I think the problem was I liked him a little too much. So I was a bit afraid of rejection. He was such a gentleman and he would leave the room when I needed to change or mentioned going to sleep… he would excuse himself to the bathroom conveniently for five minutes. And one night after sneaking out of the room and imploring C to tell me how to get this man to pay me the attention I wanted, he came up with the brilliantly male solution of ‘just get ya tits out’ and he assured me that unless he was gay that would surely work. So I went back into my room and I got brave. I took a deep breath and pulled up my shirt over my head without warning him. And when I looked at him to gauge his response he was looking in the other direction! He was looking away to give me privacy! Aarrghhhh! Could I literally do nothing right?

And yes, my flatmates had an absolute field day with that one!!! They started taking bets on his sexuality…. whether he had a daytime girlfriend too or whether he was just so pretty he was completely stupid.

So around week three, J was starting to get a bit stroppy with me for disappearing on him and not wanting to come hang so I agreed ‘we’ would come along on one of his infamous adventures. And I told him when he turned up that evening as he inevitably did, that we had plans that night.

We went out to the supermarket as J has said pack a picnic. And bought food and drink. And we picked J up and a couple of other friends. He said we were meeting the other ‘up there’ and wouldn’t tell me where we were going but promised it would be fun. Then as we were driving he started chatting away. Inane conversation until he randomly threw in the ‘soooo what’s up with you two. You guys a couple yet?’ To which I wanted to disappear. I looked at him and shut my mouth. Nope not getting into that one here…. he looked at me sideways and I very deliberately looked at the road and not him, and he casually responded with a noncommittal mumbled ‘I dunno’ which shut the conversation down. And we drove about 20 minutes listening to mostly J’s chatter, from town before parking up in a somewhat dark and deserted spot except for a few lonely cars. Which turned out to be our friends. And that became known once we got out and I realised seeing them there waiting for us.

J had torches, and he pointed across to the dark bush and said we were going up there. Such a freaky experience wandering through dense bush, with no idea where you were other than with 10 other friends who clearly seemed to know what the deal was. But this was a new place to me…. we hiked up hills. Climbed a few hundred stairs and then all of a sudden we popped out of the trees and into a huge clearing and a beautiful white stone monument. It was breathtaking. Lit up like Christmas, the whole thing was stone and just glowed with this ethereal light. And looking beyond the monument was a sea of darkness between us and the beautiful twinkling lights of the city beyond us. It was so dark we could see every star in the sky and crystal clear. I was awestruck by this incredible place and J looked at me and told me he knew it was worth the hike wasn’t it? It truly was. And I didn’t even know the significance of the site yet!

So we all sat up there for a few hours. Talking, laughing, eating and drinking. Taking in the sights and the sounds of nature which had replaced the sounds of the city.

But it wasn’t long before J decided to push things again because he had at one point in the evening asked me point blank if we were going out yet or what and I’d told him I had no clue and that he’d stayed for three weeks but we hadn’t even slept together yet. Which he found as hilarious as my flatmates did. It was more than a little irritating that I was such a source of amusement to them all.

So he asked him this time, if we were going out yet? And he grabbed my hand this time and instead of talking to J he looked at me and said ‘I don’t know, are we?’

I felt cornered and I had no idea what he wanted from me, so I went with the non-committal… and I replied with ‘well I don’t know, it’s not like you’ve asked me!’ Thinking that he’d let it go at that if he wasn’t interested.

Instead he looked at me and actually asked me out! I was blindsided. ‘Well, would you like to go out with me?’ Such a simple sentence and one that sent me into a giddy spin…..

I said ‘of course I would!’ (Well duh! I wasn’t going to say no was I?) and that was when he kissed me for the first time.

And while I’d like to say fireworks went off…. I’m not sure J shining a torch at us and whooping like a dementor really qualifies as fireworks. But it made us laugh and wasn’t something I’ll forget, oh, ever!

It’s still the only time a man has ever asked me out. Which you have to admit is a little bit cute…. And he finally admitted in conversations later that night that of course he liked me, he had from the start but he was in fact really shy and because I had so many male friends, he thought he was just one of the boys too so he was too scared to make a move in fear of being rejected. He also admitted that J has given him a bit of a tune up about it that night and told him to man up before I sent him packing which made it my turn to laugh myself silly.

And that was when I realised that we had both been setup in the most epic fashion by one of my best friends….. I don’t know how he knew we would be good together. But I swear the man’s a magician and he somehow knew. And his bait & switch worked. Making me think I was hooking a player. Making him think he was going to get relegated to the loser pile if he didn’t move faster and sending us both in search of each other when neither of us were looking for anything remotely serious.

It’s been almost 20 years since the night he asked me out. We have two children now and while we aren’t the young kids we were, and our journey hasn’t been without it’s struggles and trials, we are here. Still.

The dating period…

The dating period…

I write this with a touch of amusement, a large part trepidation and a whole chunk of what was I thinking?
But really, I wasn’t.

Having recently escaped an abusive relationship, I jumped feet first into the dating game.
I was in a new city, no one knew me. No one knew him. I mean, come on, it’d be rude not to right?

And I do look back on this ‘era’ in a somewhat nostalgic way, even if some of the experiences I had weren’t all good. I learned a lot I think.
I put myself in some situations I probably shouldn’t have, out of naivety. Out of stubbornness. Out of the ‘just because I could’ attitude that took hold of me for a while.

When I came to this city, I had missed out of being a teenager.  At least a REAL teenager.
I never went through the period that most go through where they go out drinking with friends and spend years in clubs and bars.
I had brief interludes sure, but we’re talking a month here, a month there, a few months combined over my entire teenage life.
So I was relatively inexperienced when it came to societal norms and expected behaviours.
From under 16, I had been limited to one person. And even when those rare chances to be ‘single’ came up, I had never really been able to take full advantage of those situations because of fear of my ex, anxiety over people finding out and it getting back to him, and of course, the whole just not really knowing what to do!
And that part hadn’t really changed.

In my early 20’s I got to live my teenage dream really.
There was drug experimentation. Taking up smoking. Drinking… a lot. Going out to clubs alone and going home with random people… or taking them home.
Just as often walking myself home alone, through the city streets at 3 or 4am. And I never ever felt unsafe. Of course, I was usually pretty wasted. But still.
I never felt unsafe.

I had some hilarious interludes…. like the night I met a younger guy who looked JUST like Ralph Fiennes in a bar. I was unbelievably drunk, he was hot. And I decided to take him home after much dance floor grinding and groping.
I was living in my W St flat at that point.
So off we teetered. And when we got back to my place, we arrived in to find my flatmates waiting up for me as they often did. No big deal.. I felt a little queasy so went to the bathroom to skull some water and attempt to make myself presentable.
When I came out, Ralph was gone.
I asked my flatmates where he was… and C told me he’d sent him home. I must have looked shocked… because he launched into a rant at me about how the guy was only 19… and just a baby. He worked in a takeaway store in a tiny town north of our city and his life’s goal was to manage the store.
I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry… and I remember telling C, that i didn’t actually care. I wasn’t gonna keep him. Just use him and send him on his merry way!!
C handed me a joint and told me to set my bar higher next time.
I think back on that now, and how indignant I was at the time and how hilarious it was even just a day later! And I still laugh.
I was so lucky to have amazing flatmates though. So protective of me.
And that story I remember fondly. Because I instigated everything that happened to me.

But not all of my interactions with men were so positive.
I could tell you a hundred stories of nights in clubs where I’d fight off unwanted hands and body parts. Where I would move 20 times in five minutes to get away from creeps who  wouldn’t take no for an answer, or who thought that it was absolutely fine to grab my ass from behind. Or try to grope my breasts as they moved past me deliberately. Or press their groins against me in the hopes that what, I’d decide “hey I love your fabric covered Ken-esque lumps and why don’t we go home and have sex..” Dreamers.
Some nights you shook it off and dealt with it.
Others you got so frustrated you changed bars, and when that didn’t work you just gave up and went home.

The scariest ones for me though were the ones that took you by surprise.
When you weren’t out looking for anything, and something happened. And you didn’t want it to but you weren’t given a choice.
There is a guy, P who I still know to this day. And he’s a “nice” guy to most people. But I know a more sinister side of him and it’s something I’ve never shared to anyone. And sometimes I feel guilty for never speaking up.
He was part of a circle of friends, and I’d spent a fair amount of time with that group. With no issues. So my guard was well down.
They knew I was new to the drug scene as my innocence was a source of much amusement to them all.
So, one of the older guys B, had an absolutely beautiful girlfriend who I got on really well with! So when we had gone out, and everyone was heading back to their place it seemed fine. Nothing strange.
Then the drinks came out, and some of the guys were smoking, and I had a couple of puffs. Which was still okay.
Then B and his girl started doing spots on the stove. And I was fascinated as I’d never seen anything like it – sheltered upbringing right? And they thought that was hilarious. So they encouraged me to have a go. And showed me exactly what to do and how it worked. They explained it as being just like a joint but with a smaller amount giving a bigger high. 1 inhale as opposed to 6. They were really convincing and she showed me and made it look so easy. So with a big of friendly egging on by the boys, I gave in and gave it a go. Now I was an obedient person, so I copied her exactly. And I’m a fast learner. But I was completely unprepared for the burn of the inhale. My eyes watered, and the boys were chanting hold it, hold it. So I held my breath, my chest on fire and my eyes streaming… until I couldn’t hold it any longer and I breathed out. Then promptly erupted into the worst fit of coughing I’d ever had. I coughed until my head hurt, and my burning throat was raw. I tried sips of water and cold beer to try to ease the pain. And then I pretty much sat down in a chair and stayed there for what I think was several hours. Nursing a beer and drifting as everything literally melted away from me.
I have vague snippets of memory from the evening. Laughing…. coughing… no longer caring about the pain…. the feeling of being feather light and nothing mattered….
And I remember someone putting me into a bed.
Because I was in no state to be going anywhere or doing anything.
And I must have slept. Because the next thing I remember, is waking up feeling like I was being suffocated.
I could hear party noise still. But the room was dark, and I wasn’t entirely sure where I was but I couldn’t breathe properly and I knew someone was laying on top of me. So I pushed… as you do.
And then I started to realise what was going on. That P was on top of me, and that he was raping me. And he started to talk to me, telling me that it was okay and shhhh. And he held my hands while I tried to pull away, and he told me he was nearly done.
I remember his hand on my breast. I remember I could barely feel him inside me because he was so small. And his hands were rough and large. He smelled like cigarettes and alcohol and sweat. He tried to kiss me and I just lay there.
I was in shock. And I don’t know why I made no sound, but I lay still. I let him finish. And then he was off me and within seconds he was snoring.
I think I lay there for a while, wondering whether he was really asleep or not, and as soon as I knew he was I bolted.
I dressed myself with shaking hands and I looked out into the lounge, seeing several drunk men sprawled on the couch focussed on the TV. So I took the opportunity and I quietly moved past them, behind the couch and I opened the door, grabbing my bag and skates on the way out.
I ran barefoot from there. From that house. And I didn’t look back.
I went several streets away and I sat down still shaking. It was barely light yet, so I used someones doorstep and I put my skates on. And I headed towards town. I went home and showered. Then slept for a day. And then I pretended like nothing had ever happened.

I don’t think I cried. I felt strangely numb. Even now typing this, this was something that makes me wonder why there are no tears for it?
Was it the drugs in my system? The almost out of body experience that it was making it feel almost like it didn’t happen to me?
Another time in my life, where I overanalysed every single word and action leading up to that moment where was there something I did? Something I said? Some kind of target painted on my forehead that only men could see?
What the hell was wrong with me? This wasn’t the first time, so why me?

It did make me warier though of the people I was hanging out with. You see, I was really close to some of the guys and I have never told them of that night.
I was much more careful after that though. I have never touched oil again. And my drinking reduced hugely. One beer, maybe two, No more.
I never wanted to be in a position where I was put to bed again. Where I wasn’t capable of getting myself out of somewhere I didn’t want to be. I didn’t trust falling asleep places.
If we went to parties, I went with a plan of how I was getting home, or I didn’t go. Even if it was that I knew I would be able to walk to a bus from there.
And I never went back to that house again.
Whenever someone suggested drinks there, I would always be busy.
I still feel nauseous when we drive past it, even though it’s inhabitants are long gone and aren’t even in this city anymore. The house still holds a sense of dread, and guilt, and makes me want to run.

After that I went on proper dates.
Trying to change the game plan that most men seemed to have. I grew warier and more jaded. So dates happened at restaurants. And I chose whether I left with them, or I left alone. I know I pissed a lot of people off.
But I was looking for something a bit more specific now…. someone strong enough to handle me, truly.
Someone who wanted to, who wasn’t just in it for a quickie or a booty call.

I wasn’t an angel though…. There were still the occasional men who I chose to sleep with.
And they were somewhat cathartic.
One I met in a bar. He looked kind of like a short Vin Diesel. No hair, body builder type. A very good looking guy. And I’d seen him around before as I often used to frequent the same bars. We’d flirted a few times and I’d always left it there. But one night he bought me a drink after convincing me to hang with him a while instead of running off so fast. So I did. We danced and things were going well, so I decided to go back to his place. And it was fun. He was respectful surprisingly…. he let me take the lead but when I fumbled and felt stupid he immediately let me know how cute my mistakes were and he encouraged me to not only step out of my comfort zone, but to own those steps. It was a cathartic experience. And not something I forgot even though I never saw him again and I don’t even know his name…..

Another very healing experience was one that started at work.
And is another story that makes me smile when I remember it.
As I was minding my own business at work when we had a few customers come through. Charming and friendly foreigners who needed some help to get what they needed. But who would have been forgotten in five minutes had one not returned a few minutes after leaving with tickets to a show. Turned out he was the manager and the group were touring the country with a show. And he asked if I would please come and see the show that night, and if I could come for a drink with the lead act afterwards. I was so surprised and must have looked it as the other manager working took the tickets and laughed as he said “she’d love to mate”. I nodded, as I was kinda shocked and really wasn’t entirely sure how to react. My workmate poked me in the side and whispered SMILE WOMAN. So I smiled. And then laughed at the absurdity of the situation as the gentleman left.
He had ended up giving me 4 tickets, so I took my workmate and his wife and a friend along. And that was the beginning of a wild ride.
The show was on a Wednesday night. And I’d enjoyed the night out. We had a few laughs and a few drinks. I was still somewhat confused, and I admit carefully watching to see if the lead act even knew I was there. And he gave zero cues. So I figured it was just maybe them being polite since I was helpful in the store and after it was all done, I waited a little, finishing my drink. My friends had left and I figured since no one had spoken to me I would go to. But as I went to walk out, the manager came up to me and asked if I was leaving. I said I had to work in the morning, so I was heading off and he asked me to stay just a little. He offered to buy me a drink and explained that the acts hadn’t finished up their debrief yet but that M would like to meet me and if I could hang around a little longer…. So I agreed, because free drinks and of course curiousity – that killed the cat incidentally ya know. So I sat, and played with my straw, and generally felt the nerves in my stomach twisting me up inside because I didn’t quite know what on earth I was even doing there. Why was I feeling so obliged to wait for someone who couldn’t even invite me himself? This was the most unusual situation I think I’d ever been in!
And then he came up and sat down next to me, and what a charmer. I have to say. It’s no wonder he doesn’t talk to women himself because I’m pretty sure normal humans vs those baby blues. Not. A. Hope. In. Hell. of escaping them.
He apologised profusely, and right off the bat, he had an easy manner. A way of talking to you like the world revolved around you. And he was so grateful that I’d waited because he was so amazed I had even come along. And he asked my opinion on the show and was so genuinely interested, that it was easy to talk to him. And we talked and drank for a few hours, and he asked me to come back to the house they were staying at just up the road, because the venue were closing, but he didn’t want me to leave yet. But not in a creepy way… he made it seem endearing, and sweet.
He was like honey and cigarettes all at once. Rough and raspy, but sweet as syrup.
I ended up not leaving that house all week.
He kept asking me to stay. Fed me. Made sure I had everything I could possibly need. He even sent someone to get clothes and toiletries from my house. He asked me to be near him for the entire duration of his stay in the city. And to be honest, the I didn’t mind.
I was treated like a princess. As if everything I needed or wanted was in reach and the sexual energy was absolutely electric. Like nothing I’d ever felt before. He taught me a million things and taught me how to demand what I needed and wanted. How to get what I wanted instead of just giving.
And I’m not a clingy, or needy person when it comes to sex. At that point of my life, I wasn’t attached to him at all, but it was somewhat addicting the way he fair worshipped every step I took. He sung to me at night. And we spoke all night about the world, life, our goals and dreams and where we would be in ten years time.
I always knew it was a temporary thing too.
There were little things, like while we would have sex a hundred times a day,  he would never sleep in the bed with me. He would sit in the chair and watch me sleep. Because he was an insomniac and sleep wasn’t something he did well.
He was so intense. But funny. And we spoke of relationships, and life.
He knew I wasn’t looking for anything serious or long term. He could see my pain and aversion and he made comment on it a few times. He knew I held a lot back, but he never pushed me to talk about anything I didn’t want to.
And he never made me feel like I had to stay.
In fact it was almost the opposite. I felt drawn to stay because I felt like this was a tiny bubble we were in and I wasn’t yet ready to leave it. But much like a bubble, it felt like once we reached that moment where it would pop…. that would be it. It would be gone and never return.
It was an intense, fiery affair. And I still remember the day I left him there.
I knew they were flying out that day. And with hours to go, I didn’t want a busy farewell. He had, in a rare moment, fallen asleep in the chair. A smile dancing across his face as he dreamed of who know what. But I’ll never forget that smile and the way he smelled or felt. I ruffled his hair gently and I kissed him goodbye and walked out the door.
I heard from him when he was back home, he sent me a grateful email. He didn’t want a fuss either and he would never forget me. We had fun.
We emailed for a while, catch up every 5-10 years…. and even recently I caught up with him to see how he was doing. He’s finally somewhat settled down. Not with a person – but he has a child now and a failed marriage. It took him years to admit to himself that he wasn’t the relationship type. Which made me laugh. I could have told him that 20 years ago…..
But I have so many memories of that week. And every single one is precious and helped to really shape me into the person I wanted to be. But needed a helping hand to realise that I had more potential that I gave myself credit for. Those memories heal me. They are things I try to remember when things aren’t going well.
They, like he, serve a purpose in my life.

All of my experiences shaped me in some way. Some bad, some good. But they all prepared me for my life.
Because we all know things like life, they never go to plan do they?

The escape

The escape

I was free.
And while I was homeless, and couch surfing. I felt so free and it was incredible. So liberating… and I had so much joy.

I was meeting new people every day through my work. My workmates were wonderful and this new city had me so anonymous and empowered.
I found I could go anywhere and do anything and no one was going to say a single word!
Going to work wasn’t a chore, it was a goal. And I do believe that I was happy. Albeit a little lonely at times.

Every night, I tried to call my daughter.
Every night I failed. Either no one would answer (thanks caller ID) or I would be hung up on. But I didn’t stop calling. I would call a dozen times over the evening.
I was missing my daughter so much. I ached inside and my arms ached without her. So I had to keep my mind and body busy so I could function.

It took me less than a week to find the local skatepark and I started going their regularly after work. I would finish at 4 after not taking a lunch break and I’d hit the waterfront.
It took a few weeks of pottering around before I started getting waves and hello’s when I turned up. And eventually i got brave enough to start a conversation with some of the skaters.
One, who worked at the park was really friendly and we got chatting a lot. I’d often bring J an energy drink in the evenings and he introduced me properly to a bunch of the locals which was awesome.
I made friends. And I started getting invited places, and to the indoor park, on street missions…. And J would often come along when he could.
There were a couple of separate groups. The skateboarders and M. And the inliners and P. And J kind of floated between the groups. But it was cool seeing both sides, and meeting so many people who were so far out of my normal world, and my work world that it felt like a whole new lifestyle.

I would crash at J’s apartment in town frequently after late night mish’s where I’d missed the train to the family members where I was staying, and was stuck in town. And his flatmates were all really chill. No one minded an extra, and I’d buy dinner sometimes or shout the movies in return.
And I was still couch surfing to a degree, until I decided maybe it was time to find a proper space to stay. An actual bed of my own.

So J helped me find a place. He knew someone who knew someone (he seriously knew the entire city I swear) and so I went and looked at a house, with a psych professor and a programmer. The most random guys I’ve ever met and both fascinating and hilarious.
So I took the room!
They introduced my sheltered self to a whole other world too. As they were big drug users.  Many an evening was spent getting completely blazed, and discussing the big issues surrounding society and human beings. Incredibly smart men. Very strange but comfortable lifestyle.
My Dad brought a truck down with my furniture. And I was moved in properly a few weeks later. It was in walking distance to work which was awesome and right in the inner city.
We had a heap of fun in that flat, even though I spent a lot of time out socialising.
I will never forget how they would traumatise Amway sellers and door knockers in general.
Or how they would smoke weed like it was cigarettes.

C lived in a wardrobe which was a little bit hilarious too. It took me weeks of trying to figure out the flat, when I finally got up the courage to ask where the heck Craig slept!
Because our other flatmate had the front room. Next to mine.
I knew where the lounge, kitchen and bathroom were. Lounge in the centre and kitchen by the door. Then bathroom behind the kitchen.
But the 3rd room was puzzling me, as I thought there was a wall behind the kitchen and bathroom. I couldn’t see where a third door was.
Well, the boys thought this was hilarious, so Craig (after about dying laughing) showed me his room.
What I had thought was just a wardrobe, was actually a doorway!
It looked like one of those big old Narnia style freestanding wardrobes, but instead of containing clothes, it contained the biggest room of the house! With a large room, ensuite and a conservatory!
I ended up spending a lot of time there, jamming on the guitar with C while he drummed or played keyboard. And hanging out. He gave awesome back massages and I would often trade dinner cooking duty for a backrub! It was bliss.

The only flaw in my new life so far, was the missing chunk of my heart that was my baby.

I would often think about what I’d escaped. Why I’d run so far, and how I could have changed my current outcome.
It’s not that I wanted to, because I knew I couldn’t go back to that toxic relationship that had consumed me entirely. But I wished I could get my daughter back. I would have done almost anything – except sacrifice myself for her.
I focused a lot on my escape. And my happiness.