Thursday, May 10, 2012

Fancy pants and prenups...

I am in love. Unequivocally, head-over-heels, heart thumpingly crazy about another human being. Anyone who has been in my shoes before will know what I am talking about: goofy grinning, glass half full outlook, rose coloured glasses - check, check, check - a renewed lust for life that if harnessed, would generate enough energy to send a space shuttle to the moon and stars (coincidently right up where my heart has been bobbing around). Fortunately the object of my affection  (we'll call him G) has reciprocated my adoration. We have been the couple that make people roll their eyes and feign vomiting when our backs are turned (or our lips are locked and we are oblivious to the world around us). PDAs? You betchya. Pet names?  Where to start? 'Belle Boo', 'Fancy Pants', and of course, good old fashioned 'Baby'. For over a year now I've made my friends and co-workers ill with my perpetual whimsy and verbalised day dreaming. An article I read recently discussing the sections of brain active in those in love drew an eloquent comparison of the scanned image of an in-love brain to that of the brain of someone who has been snorting cocaine. Like all of those under the spell of a big fat dose of dopamine, I haven't been able to control my lust. A year has whizzed by where I've eaten, slept and breathed all things G. I've had barely any time for anyone or anything outside the family circle he and I have created with our collective brood of children.

However, four days ago, the aforementioned gushing intoxication and happy endorphin delivery to my brain came to a screeching halt with the detonation of an atomic bomb delivered by G in the form of a conversation on a prenup.

Now to set something straight, there is no rock. No bling. No diamond (of the blood or slave-labour free type). Not even a piddly cubic zirconia to soften the blow. My beloved has not got down on bended knee and asked me to spend eternity with him. The words 'Marry Me' have not been spelt out in candles on the beach or trailed behind an aeroplane in plump cloud formation for me to view from my picnic blanket in the park. No, this request is of the de facto contract variety. If ever there was an oxymoron that could vacuum extract the happiness out of something as special as marriage, the 'prenup' in a no-marriage prenup takes the cake.

Now in G's defence, both of us have had unhappy endings in marriage before. His had a particularly nasty ending financially, which aside from seeing his wife and mother of his children run off with his best friend, also resulted in the loss of a great deal of money for him. Both of my marriages (yes there have been two) ended in the parting of ways, but not of finances. Does that mean I lost any less than G did? Is his hurt any greater than mine because his bank balance decreased? The end of my marriage to A was the hardest time of my life. It was undignified, humiliating and gut-wrenchingly heartbreaking. I lost more of myself when he walked out on me than I knew it was possible to lose. If I had possessed all the money in the world at the time, I would gladly have handed it over in exchange for not feeling my heart shatter into a million little pieces. If I could have bought my sleep and paid off the sick to my core, debilitating lurching that swam through my body for months I would have. I can't equate dollar value and love. The two just don't marry (pardon the pun) for me, and therein lies the crossroad G and I are facing. The dreamer and the pragmatist.

I see the shock and judgement when people ask if I will marry again and my reply is 'of course'. I can read the incredulation in their gaze,  'She's been married and divorced twice already and wants to do it again?!' They question outright why I'm not just happy with being G's 'partner' and observe that apart from 'that piece of paper', I am for all intents and purposes his wife anyway. I'm not suggesting that after a year I think G should be popping the question, nor am I wanting to stake claim to any of his possessions. The reality is that he is miles ahead of me in the financial security stakes. I don't own property or shares or have anything physical that he could take with him if he left. He does. I do understand his point of view, but I am so deeply insulted by the suggestion that I would take anything from him that we have reached a stale mate on the topic of a financial contract. I'm shocked that at this point in our relationship (i.e. pre-bling) I am being asked to sign on the dotted line. I am a giver. It's my nature, but am I being asked to give without getting anything in return?

I want happily ever after. I want to spend the rest of my life with one person. I want to sit in my rocking chair next to my husband and look back on a life less ordinary. I believe in love. I believe in marriage, and although I've had my heart destroyed, it has healed, and I have faith. I had hoped that my quest for love would shine the way to that happiness, and up until four days ago, I thought I had succeeded. Now I'm questioning whether or not I can make it with someone who can't shelve their past hurt and take a leap of faith with me - bling or no bling...

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Autumn leaves

Time flies when you're having fun. It also seemingly zips past you when things aren't all beer and skittles... The realisation that I could have carried a baby from inception to birth in the time that has elapsed since my last blog entry is testament to the fact that the older we get the faster the years slip through our fingers. As is the usual status quo in my chaotic life, my universe has flipped on it's axis since then and my world barely resembles the one I was existing in last August.

Some things of course only change in slight increments: I've traded the vodka & soda for red wine - the perfect way to spread warmth through my body on cool autumn evenings, and the university study for a new job - no more death by cubicle, but certainly not without it's own unique torture. Other things have metamorphosed on a much larger scale and leave me sometimes searching the eyes that stare back at me in the mirror for a glimmer of recognition of the person I've been for the last 30-something years.

I've given up smoking. The positives of this require no explanation. The negatives however are usually apparent to me after a day in the new job with said wine in my hand... I can cope though. The decision was one born from vanity - there's a certain acceptability for one to partake in smoking and appear semi-glamorous (excluding French women who are an exception to every rule and can make anything look glamorous) when one's face doesn't require manipulation to it's day state upon rising from the pillow each morn (i.e. the under-30 set). My face almost requires papier-machie re-building upon waking some days so it really was a no brainer.

The biggest difference in my life without question though has been the ending of my marriage to A. Without wanting to make a toxic relationship the focus of my blog, it would be remiss of me not to nod to it in order to lead into the far more pertinent and interesting tale of mad passionate love I am in currently that wants to burst forth through my finger tips. I will keep it brief, and autumn does seem like a perfect time to write about it as the dead leaves have just about finished falling and the barren winter that has crept up on us will soon blossom into the spring I am so excitedly anticipating now.

Although the life I had envisaged - dreams, hopes and plans - was no longer a reality, for the longest time I did my damnedest to ignore it. I clung on to a wish that had long ago run out of breath and clawed an existence into A's life despite his blatant disinterest and attempts to sever our relationship (he moved to another country to get away from me for God's sake!). So blinded by my almost adolescent desire for a picture perfect life, I chased him with an almost psychotic vigour, determined to save our marriage and make him see what I was so sure he had just forgotten - just he much he really loved me.

Now before I paint myself as a total lunatic here, my advances weren't rejected when I made them. Why would they be? I was paying all expenses to travel to my husband's side (not once, but six times in the year) while he lived a life most men only dream of - living in a 5 star luxury resort in an exotic tropical location, his job to manage the golf course - which involved 1. playing a lot of golf, and 2. partaking in a lot of socialising (drinking), a wife who would just swoop in and make him feel like a God once every eight weeks and then scoot away home to raise the family and pay the bills. As our time together was so short on each occasion, our trysts were intense and passionate.

Fortunately (I can say that now in retrospect) A & I had one constant that remained regardless of the Pacific Ocean between us. We were like oil and water. We gave Richard Burton and Liz Taylor a run for their money in the tumultuous, repetitive reunion stakes. Almost from day one of our 4 year relationship we tooed and froed and explosively split up and, more importantly, passionately reunited, so many times that I could not honestly hazard a guess at the number. My friends' eyes would glaze over at the mention of his name, else they would avoid my phone call altogether to dodge another round of bitter, acrimonious diatribe which would only be followed up with gushing, glowing accolades in the next breath. You can only imagine their delight when the final thrashes were played out for good across the ocean and the end was called.

The memories that we created are no longer so painful that my brain goes into melt down trying to shield me from them, and although I can't guarantee I'd throw him a line if I saw him drowning in a sea of urine, I do believe that I inadvertently have him to thank for my current delirious state of bliss. The cliche of one door closing for another to open has never rung so true for me before. It really does seem like my life has come together all at once. After four years of a life built with another person, getting used to things on the single side again has at times been a little like to trying to put together a rubik's cube - colourful, exciting, frustrating and occasionally something you want to give up! For the first time in my life though I took the the time to nourish me. I spent time doing the things that matter to me, filling my own bucket. Yoga and real time spent with friends, real time spent alone, real time spent with my children getting to know them again - these are the things that buoyed me. I studied myself and the person I found staring back at me in the mirror turned out to be someone I really dig.

I'm going to save my love affair tale for another entry. It is deserved of space all of it's own. My heart is singing and the realisation that sometimes you have to let some things totally die in order to make way for other things to grow has been like the beginning of a new season in my life. I never knew just how sweet the renaissance of spring could be.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Melbourne Cup has nothing

So seeing my own words in black and white has given me the kick in the pants that no amount of nagging or cajoling from my nearest and dearest could execute. I'm studying again... Yes, this is a good thing. I will finish that degree, I will be able to (justifiably) tell my children with some authority that university is necessary and that they will have a better quality of life if they just persevere with study for a few years longer, and, I will have a glowing, inside out feeling of self-satisfaction - in the long run. In the short-term I am already (week 3) tearing my hair out wondering what on earth has possessed me to add yet another stone to my already teetering scales!

I have taken today off work to catch up on my readings, which I am already behind in, and have to keep walking away from the fridge and back to the computer reminding myself that this 'day off' is no such thing and that yes, it is waaay too early for a glass of wine... Getting lost in the existentialism of thinking about my view of myself as opposed to the views others have of me (you have to love being a uni student) got me to pondering the different hats I wear in my day-to-day life and just how schizophrenic my personality actually seems on paper...

Firstly, as a mother I have the responsible hat. I guess it can be equated to a full brim school hat, not necessarily something that felt natural (or glamorous) to wear at first, but that now I don't leave the house without. In my role as mother I am the nurturer, the story teller and tuckerinner, the nurse, cook and cleaner and the organiser (not a strong point - my children are constantly reminding me of where we're supposed to be and how we were supposed to be there 20 minutes ago... Darling, it's all about making an entrance!). This hat is, however, my sturdiest. I'm comfortable in it and can switch back to wearing it in the blink of an eye if called upon.

The employee head wear is far less comfortable and really something I only put on out of necessity rather than desire. Kind of like football head gear - sweaty, hard to take on and off quickly and not something I would want to be seen dead in in public. There's no room for movement in it, and the guy who's arse I have my head in has total control of the direction I am heading. Say no more really.

The girlfriend adornment. This is the hat that I can wear in good times and bad - to a party or for 8 hours of shopping. One I can wear with heels and drink shots off the bar in, or wear to a cafe for a 3 hour coffee (sometimes with tissues in tow). This is a hat I can be myself in and never be judged when I wear. I love this hat. When I'm wearing this hat I can (allegedly) carry a doner kebab in one hand and my shoes in the other while I hail a cab with my leg and wait for my girlfriend to extricate herself from the guy she's told she's a lawyer who owns a condo on the river and push her into the taxi before me. This hat has seen a lot and will never tell. Ever.

Remiss so far I guess is the wife hat. It's really a combination of all of the above: mother, paid help and friend. It also must be able to withstand hurricanes, earthquakes (whether the earth shattering is good or bad) and mother-in-laws (see hurricanes). It has to stay on during great sex, drunk sex, angry sex and just plain tedious sex and remain put when juggling any number of balls. It has to look presentable at family gatherings and seem intelligent, but not too smart at husbands' work functions. The amazing abilities of the Cat in the Hat - same same. Yes, this hat does exist. Surely you've seen a rabbit pulled out of one before?

There are too many more to be discussed here: daughter, neighbour, patient, customer, passenger... The list is endless and each one requires some different part of me to stand at the front and be seen. Now, if I can just figure out which hat I need to put on to study... I suspect it might be the one with a wide enough brim to keep my head out of the fridge...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Sinatra was onto something...

'I did it my way' would be engraved on my headstone if I were not choosing to be cremated at the end of this ride. I'll take an educated guess that towing the line is not something I am likely to be remembered for. At 30-something I feel like I've packed quite a bit into this life so far: enough children that I often ask them how old they are and what grade they are in at school; too many jobs to count, onto my second 'career' and first grown-up job (one which holds me in enough self-imagined esteem that I tolerate a high-level of boredom); two husbands and too many lovers to count (yes, I'm serious); and some friendships that have come full circle and others that have run their course. For a girl from 'the wrong side of the tracks' I guess you'd say I've made good. I've apparently still got my looks, have seen a respectable amount of the world and have received enough praise from University lecturers that I have justified not finishing a degree yet (follow through is a recurring new years resolution). My children are well-adjusted as far as children of divorce go and don't want for much. We have a nice, albeit small, house and they go to private schools, play private school sports and are invited to birthday parties and sleep overs. My ex-husband and I play nicely and share parenting duties fairly well for the most part (there is a reason we are exes). His new partner, I guess she's the step-mother of my children, is nicer than I could ever have hoped for, and someone I hope stays in the picture permanently.

Although no Sylvia Plath, I have had my fair share of 'daddy' issues, which although now resolved, have, in retrospect, led me into the arms of most of the innumerable lovers mentioned above. There is certainly more than a healthy dollop of hero worship which still occurs here, but what little girl doesn't love her daddy? My mother, bless her hippy heart, unknowingly bears the brunt of my resentment for mistakes made along the way - a current self-development in progress... My girlfriends are my saviours. The countless bottles of wine, the endless boxes of tissues, the gritty, gut-wrenchingly honest assessments of men and work and children and family that hurt and feel good and heal and expand me. Without these conversations I would not be here now, I would still be on the kitchen or bedroom floor unable to move due to a broken heart.

As a teenager I religiously kept a diary - it was pink and smelt like bubble gum, too great a contradiction to the content staining it's pages to articulate here - and when the guilt of my adolescent 'sins' became too much to bear, I burnt it in an attempt to remove myself from them. As I sit here now typing my first ever blog, that time really is a distant memory. My babies are sleeping soundly in the surrounding rooms and the love-heart shaped ice cubes have melted in my second vodka soda (I'm normally a wine drinker but have just come home from an overseas holiday to an empty cellar). My current husband sits in a golf course restaurant on the other side of the ocean hosting a trivia night for a group of 50-somethings. The fact that he's in a foreign country and I am in Australia is a blog entry all of it's own and will be explained at a later date no doubt... The cigarettes I don't smoke - I know darling I can smell it too, Joe from next door was talking to me over the fence and had a smelly cigarette in his hand - are serenading me with their vodka soaked dulcet tones, so I am going to retire to the moonlight of my back garden and inhale one final time before I put the uniforms in the dryer for tomorrow's school run. My words so far are an attempt at an introduction to my life and I'm excited about delving into the dust covered story book and putting my tale into cyber space. I hope any narcissistic self indulgence (which I will try in earnest to avoid) will be forgiven and my tales of past and present will provide a smile and a few raised eyebrows for some, while for me, become a record I can't burn. Thanks to my girls (you know who you are) for encouraging me to do this. x