Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Why did Gwyneth and Chris break up?

I've had an odd reaction to to news that Gwyneth, she of perfect body, house, children, career, oscar and life advice, and her rocker Husband of 11 years are to split up.

It makes me feel sad.

I don't know why. I've had both a grudging respect for the Goopster, mixed in with a smidgeon of jealousy and a whole heap of 'you've got to be kidding me?' when she suggests my Spring capsule wardrobe costs $12,000 or that her kids love sprouts - so why wouldn't mine? (No matter how you salt and fry those fuckers NO kid like sprouts woman). But at the end of the day, marriage ending is always sad.  People talk of marriages failing, but they never say how for 11 years it damn well succeeded.

Marriage is tough. Beyond hard. There is you with all your shit and baggage and needs and wants and career and friends and stuff - and then, there is them with all the same. You have to come together, like some similar stuff, share life values, fancy each other, enjoy hanging out, get used to each other, tolerate the differences, buy properties, share money and expenses, household chores and then raise kids together. IT IS A MINEFIELD.

All along the way there are reasons to split - from lack of support, financial stress, illness, differences in opinion, careers pulling you this way and that, and then all the heap of angst and energy one has to expend on their kids. Meanwhile there are new people - fun sexy people dancing before you like sweets in a candy store (granted not regularly - but all it takes is the one) and you have to say 'no!I want the person at home with hooky toenails who hasn't showered all weekend and forgot to bring the bins in.'

I mean, there are potholes galore. There is no one fix solution to a marriage staying together. I have wanted to leave my Husband several times. I have felt lonely and neglected. I have had a crush on someone else. (I told Husband of course). I have wished for the heady days of sex all night and cocktails until dawn. But there is the school run and nit check and food list and all the mundane bollocks that just eats away at any kind of romance.

But Chris and Gwyneth - they had money! Help! Cooks! Cleaners - I mean, if you have all that - so you aint fighting over who pays the school dinner money, and tasty food is on the table and the wine is chilled and you have someone stacking the dishwasher for you and folding the laundry (FOLDING THE LAUNDRY!!!! What more do you need in life??) - then what is there to fight about?? Which deserted caribbean island to holiday in for new year? Which mansion to buy? Whether to go to the Met Gala ball or not, or should we skip the Oscars this year? Invite Madonna for tea or Cameron Diaz??  People! If Chris and Gwynnie can't make it - in their organic stylish lives, replete with pools and private jets - then what hope is there for the rest of us - who get a thrill out of the free coffee at Waitrose???

Maybe, there are just the same problems, but in a different scale. When folk are away with their jobs a lot - that separation takes it's toll. Since my Husband changed his job, I get such a kick out of us all eating dinner together. Something we haven't ever done on weeknights through our entire relationship. The simple pleasures really are the best.

Marriage is a promise we make when we are giddy with love. When we have hope and expectation. It  is a journey that constantly evolves. As Gwyneth said, staying together is a lot about both of you not wanting to split up at the same time. It is about forgiving mistakes. Letting go. Plus - and I am pretty shit at this - not sweating the small stuff.

I've had (to my knowledge) a faithful marriage for 10 years this October. But it is no picnic and every week there are reasons to go - to throw in that towel as we bicker over trivial rubbish. But there are always more reasons to stay. Not because of the kids - well, partly. But because he is home to me. I love him. When he walks through the door, I still get excited. I love nothing more than having dinner with him, or watching a movie together. Some days it is hard to muster the chat, the intimacy. It is easier to sit on line or read the papers. I don't think that what's out there is more exciting. I don't crave another. But I can see how, if people are not tied together financially - that it is perhaps easier to walk. As I type that though, I know it is never easy to walk out of something so sacred to you - that you have invested so many precious years into....

In marriage therapy, I remember so clearly what Wendy our counsellor said to me, back in 2008. She said that we just repeat the same mistakes - to make up for our issues, our childhood baggage - so if I left Husband, I'd just go and find another him. Naturally that isn't the case for some marriages dogged with infidelities or abuse or whatever... (or maybe it is - maybe folk just repeat those mistakes too?). Who knows, I'm no expert. But the point is - look at you, before you look at them... What is your part to play in this fuck up?

But I am married, still. I know how hard it is to stay so at times, but also how hard it is to go.  So as the vultures pick of the carcass of the Paltrow/Martin split and gleefully ravage on the perfect woman being just as fallible as the rest of us - I think let 'em be.

It's hard enough.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Not sure...

Lately I haven't felt like blogging much. Usually I think of loads of stuff I want to rant about but at the moment life is moseying on by, in a slower, infinitely happier place and I just don't feel like I have anything to blog about. Blogging about life being rosy comes across as smug and showing off, so there is less impetus to write, less things to say.

Plus, several folk tripped themselves up - or gave away that they read my blog. (These are not the fab folk who have emailed me to say they discovered it and loved it - but the folk who in conversation with my husband, or me, knew things that I had only mentioned on here). People who I had never wanted to find it, never wanted to know the darkest parts of my mind, my troubles, my worries. I wouldn't share it with them in my life, so why on line? Folk that found it and told me so - they are different - they feel honest: that in acknowledging that they read CMWD and enjoying it, it feels like they are supporting me.

I started CMWD because I wanted to reach out to the unknown, to find like minded folk who related to the loneliness of motherhood, the grind, the loss of self etc. I found those kindred souls - and had a pretty cool small group of folk who read and commented.

I felt in control, oddly, over something which I have no control. I can't dictate who reads this... who finds it. Since I started writing for Babble I am more aware that people can google my name - not CM, but my real name - and it will lead them here. That was never the plan. This was anonymous... CM a pseudonym... So ONLY those I wanted to, would know who really was behind these witterings.

Over time I am guilty of course of mentioning my blog to people, sharing it on Facebook and Twitter - leading folk to it. But I felt that by writing about personal stuff and sharing it - that it kind of (jeez this sounds trite) empowered me. That by saying 'my life aint perfect' meant that I wasn't ashamed of this, my failings, my mistakes. I was owning up to them, mocking myself, being accountable and therefore had nothing to hide. Who cares what XYZ thinks of me - they can gossip all they want, after all, I SHARED IT. So, gossip, smirk, revel in my misfortunes all you want - but it won't harm me, won't affect me, because I chose to let you know this. I chose to share. You are only aware of what I want you to be aware of...

Lately, I haven't felt this way. I'm not so jazzed now on Mums at school and ex-friends or colleagues having the inside track on my life. If I'd wanted these people to be as aware of my life - I'd be calling them and asking them for coffee, or staying at the very least staying in touch. But in this oddly isolating social media world, we can be 'in touch' with 300 people, of whom we actually only SEE in the flesh about 20.

My blog has always been more of a online diary. I write to vent mainly; because something churns in my head until I spill it onto the page... My hardcopy diary I stopped writing (having kept one since 1983 when I was 10 until I was 28) in 2001. My last line admits that I have met someone, I'm off for a date, he seems like a nice guy and 'wish me luck.' I never wrote in it again. Oh, and I married that boy a year later/and 2 years later. That last comment - if you know me, you'll get it.

So do I want to share my stuff now that it is kind of out, to all? Not just the good buddies who call me up to say they loved the last post, or friends at work who like it on Facebook and say it made them cry. Not the CM supporters... but rather the bitter ex-friends (I only have a couple of these mind), the uni mates I don't bother to keep in touch with (a cold bunch but that's another story) or the ex-colleagues of old, the people who are in the peripheries of my life, rather than in the bosom of it?

TBH I never get troll mail, or evil commenters... It's not that big a blog - 5,000 hits a month... So maybe I am over- thinking all this. Me, over thinking? Never!

Anyway, I may take a wee blogging break for a while. Just until I get my mojo back with it. Like everything in life, there are peaks and troughs. It's just this was my little corner of the big vast web, that was just for me. All of a sudden it doesn't feel like a cosy nook, it feels like I fell asleep and woke up the middle of a big empty exposing field.

It's not where I expected to be.

Monday, 17 March 2014

The heart wants...

Sometimes, only a poem will do. Perhaps you know this one. Maybe you don't. Anyway, I love it. My friend Sam read it at my wedding...

It is by Pablo Neruda. Enjoy...

Sonnet XVII (I do not love you...)
I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way

than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Why I am over Facebook.

This is a genuine status that I read in the past week on Facebook, by a man a consider a nice guy:

think my sister finally thinks I'm cool after driving her home with rap music pumping and the roof down in the BMW 6 series convertible !

Asides from the lazy overuse of the word 'think' and the lack of capital letters, it made me want to punch something. Who writes this shit? Answer: many many people.  Facebook has become the most tragic of all places: the bar where the drunks have staggered in and are pontificating on the rights of the world. Where all those freaks who sat in the corner by themselves at school and collected spiders, have been unleashed unto the masses and at last have a VOICE!

Plus my Mum has joined it. Gawd bless her. If there was ever a sign that the cool factor has gone out the window - that indeed is the one.

At the beginning I loved Facebook - hooking up with old mates, seeing photos of peoples' lives, joining stupid groups like 'I like the cold side of the pillow at night.' Then, well then I got more 'friends' - then I axed a 100 (my threshold: do I care if I ever see this person again? Sweet as that runner was on a show I worked on in back in 2004, I haven't seen nor spoken to him since, therefore are we really 'mates'?) then another 100. Then, it got a bit awkward - folk you politically HAVE to accept as mates - because they are distant relatives or know someone who you know well... People you feel obliged to accept.

We all remember my Facebook rant of last year - where I kind of boiled over with all the nauseating humble brags that Facebook sports so frequently. The 'How can I be losing weight when I eat dairy milk every day?!' type.

People, I don't care about your dinner. Or that you feel tired today (who doesn't?). I do love a good holiday snap, to see friends' kids growing up or to hear that someone got a promotion, or to see some viral video of strangers kissing.

But it just has lost it's appeal of those early years - that even a 'your Facebook video' can't quite re-create. Like some last ditched attempt to save the relationship. One colleague declared to me that he loathed most peoples' status updates - he actually ranted for a good few minutes about the inane vacuousness that people spouted - yet, like I guess we all do - he is still friends with the very people he was slagging off.

So why be mates? Why sign up at all? Do we think if we don't pop on there we are missing out? Aren't the same old 20 people liking your photo - and the last one you put up - and the one before? How many of them do you meet for coffee? Send an Xmas card to? Meet for a beer? A third - if even - I'm guessing. And by gathering 'likes' does it make us feel better, more popular, more accepted?

But we put ourselves through all this shenanigans at school, at Uni - so why bother with it all again? We are doing ok - we don't need the validation surely? What did we do before Facebook existed? we picked up phones, sent emails, wrote a paragraph on Friends Reunited, actually contacted folk. For the record, I'm now more into Twitter - with all the great articles I can read and the updates from all kinds of interesting - yes interesting! - sources.

Facebook has it's place, I'm just not sure where that is anymore, or how much I want to be involved. Naturally I have some friends on there - some from days of old, that I don't see but I do care about - and some I genuinely love - and acquaintances and old colleagues etc - that I do like to hear about... But then they post the above and I wonder why I ever thought they had any humanity at all....

The irony of this here blog post is that I will obviously, link it to Facebook. And count the likes. So I guess I'm just as tragic as the BMW twat at the top....

Monday, 10 March 2014

Off and running

So I'm dragging my lard arse off the sofa again and running. Well mildly jogging, or walking very fast. Whatever. I am actually getting out there again. Why? Because spring has sprung and before you know it - it will be time to bare your legs and peel off the cosy layers that have hidden insulated your body all winter. I have a whole bunch of clothes that looked waaaay better before I sat on my arse in a job for almost 2 years... I've no excuses: I've got that arm strap thing that you shove your i pod into, a little running programme that will take me from the being a potato shape to a supermodel or from the couch to the towpath at least. I've got running shoes. It aint cold any more. I have the time... Therefore, IT IS TIME TO FACE THE MUSIC.

It makes me feel better. Having done it once - today, whoop! - I am feeling better. I don't know why I get myself all excited when I re-discover for like the millionth time, that exercise actually makes me feel great. The more I sweat, the better I feel. Fact. I know the pain threshold is coming and I know that no matter how long you run for, the first fifteen minutes are never fun until you kind of get in your groove and then it is almost relaxing... I swear to god this is true - and I am someone who used to have an asthma attack and keel over if I ran the length of myself. Natural born runner I am not. But I want to get back to the place where I could run 10K and actually enjoy it. Where my lungs feel all open and the blood rushes around and I verge on feeling high. I want to feel fitter. I've no money to joint the gym or I'd be back with my lovely trainer making me lift all kinds of things and balance on those weird balls to do squats and all the things that make your thighs ache.

So tomorrow I'll be back out there,** dodging the geese by the canal, inhaling house boats' woody smoke fumes and humming along to OPP/Lady Gaga/something with a massive beat that makes me move. No matter what, my trainers are on, my hair is scraped back, my asthma inhaler is shoved into my bra. Off I'll set listening to that nice calm lady on the app telling me I am half way through my run... only 10 seconds more.... I can't wait. Honestly, I can't.

(**Unless it rains, in which case I'll make tea and eat some cake).