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Posts Tagged ‘Child’

Something I started thinking about at 4pm on a random boring Tuesday. The promises we make ourselves. No. Not promises. More like contracts. Long running scripts, fulfilling expectations.

I promised I’d never be loved, or wanted or sexualised ever again. I was 14.

I pledged I’d never suicide, after seeing it up close, in high definition. The most envious I’ve ever been was when I realised I’d have to live through what he did, and that I couldn’t make the same choice, could never cause a fraction of that pain. And that he wouldn’t know any of it.

When I was 10, I was given a horse. I clung to him. I was focused. I managed his care, his diet, my life revolved around him. He was my safe place and I knew I would always need to have horses. I will forever be grateful for that all encompassing passion and commitment, it saved me through my messy adolescence, but I’m not really there now. Horses don’t serve me the way they used to. Still I hang on. Because that’s what I do. I have horses.

I knew I’d never be ok again, after my ex left, and its dawned on me that I sub consciously hold myself to all these contracts, expectations that I set for myself. It’s hard letting go of all this. If I’m ok, does that mean I didn’t try hard enough? Does it mean I think Bailey not having the ideal is good enough?

Growing up, I assumed that I’d end up being a single mother, living in a unkempt house with a menagerie. It wasn’t what I wanted, it was just what I expected. So here I am. I have been a cyclebreaker in other, arguably more important ways, so it stands to reason I should be able to break this one too, if I so choose.

We really do create our own reality.

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When I crash, it’s like this leaching hole of nothingness, and then frantic manic activity while I try to claw my way out. It’s cigarettes and beer and sedatives and sex. It’s sneaky and insidious and before I know it, I don’t want to get out of bed, the horses’ shoes are falling off and I don’t know what we’re going to have for dinner again. So much of this is internal, and well-hidden, but it’s seeping out, and people are actually noticing. I can’t hide behind ‘treatment’, or ‘just tired’ anymore, and I don’t want to be like this. No-one believes I’m mentally ill, just traumatised, but when does one melt into the other? Where is this blurred line?

Recovery is yoga, vegetarianism and writing. It’s light and warmth, friends and work. Quiet productivity. I just, I can’t keep this cycle going. I can’t get out of it either. It hurts. I got through cancer and separation and abuse and judgement, but this is fucking my life up. It doesn’t feel fair. Like I’ve said before, there’s no balance, there’s no ‘go through hell now and then things will level out’ trade-off.

I know I could do well at life, on my terms, if I could get out of this. When I’m well, I’m dynamic, I get shit done, I’m bright. When I’m not ok, I systematically destroy that, like knocking down sandcastles at the beach. I fought SO HARD for what we have. I took on someone I love when I wanted to just give in, and say ‘you know what? Have the house. Fucking burn it down’. I fought myself and I fought him. I sold things and took out loans and I neglected myself so my son wouldn’t have to see any more pain.

On the surface, it was worth it.

Dig a little deeper, maybe not.

I love this. When I get what I want, I never want it again.

Ash x

ps – if you like me – #cometothepartycourtneylove I have a significant birthday coming up and I can live in hope 😉

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Being single has blown me wide open. A couple of years ago I could never have imagined myself being deliberately, consciously alone, craving that time with myself rather than just as a default, in-between state. My relationships have gotten deeper, including with my son, as we’ve adjusted to life being how it is; feeling full instead of that man shaped space next to me.

It makes me smile when my friends and family crack one liners like ‘someone needs to make an honest woman out of you’, ‘you’re hell on men’, and the ever-popular ‘I can understand you being a commitment-phobe now, after everything’. I’m not alone. I’m not commitment phobic. I’m committed to my friends and my son and my life but mostly I’m committed to myself, and there’s something special about that. It makes me laugh when well-meaning relatives click their tongues and sympathise, ‘the right one will come along when you’re not looking for him’.

Maybe he will, and maybe he won’t. and I’ll be whole either way. I haven’t had an actual date in probably a year and occasionally I’d like to go on one, but then I just do something nice for myself instead. I have a market stall with my best friend now, and I love meeting people and getting to know customers – people reveal so much about themselves when there’s no expectations and no formality. It’s so cool, all these quirky amazing people from all walks of life. I love it.

I’m getting along better with Bailey’s dad, we’re not quite friends, but we’re communicating effectively. I want good things for him. We’re not looking like dragging each other through court now, and I know we could get into a massive argument tomorrow, throw goodwill out the window and try to destroy each other, but I don’t think it will happen. This feels like a genuine shift. I stood up for myself – without shouting, arguing or attacking. And it worked, I think. He can’t walk all over me and he respects me as the parent who sticks by Bailey no matter what, who finds solutions and doesn’t make him into someone he’s not. I respect him as Bailey’s father who loves him, and I leave them to their relationship, even though it’s not my ideal. That letting go is hard, but it has to happen, and I do it again and again.

There’s this sense of freedom and possibility that has come with being single for me, once I got through the (horrific, gut-wrenching, sickness inducing) pain of separation, that is. I’ve been able to get to know myself, be authentic and uncompromising. I think our education system would put my son through pain, so I pulled him out and he stays home. I lived at the beach for a year because I felt like it. I came back because I thought it was our best option. I sell hemp products because I believe that’s important. I didn’t have to debate with anyone about those decisions. I didn’t have to consider anyone’s feelings except mine and my now 7 year old son’s.

I’m not shunning the idea of a relationship, but I’m loving where I’m at, especially after how long it took me to get here. This has been the hardest, most worthwhile work of my life. When I have a bad day, I know it’s just a day, and I don’t need anyone to fix it for me. I had never experienced being able to soothe myself. I’ve always been with someone or pining over someone or had a fall-back person. This whole ‘love yourself and life is not bullshit’ thing actually holds some credibility, who knew?

Sunsets are just as beautiful alone.

Ash xx

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So I’ve been trundling along, pretty well actually, with the odd ‘moment’ either way – deep sadness but then the most beautiful purely happy and content pieces of time too. I’ve been writing something, in little patches, and I generally have no confidence in anything I do, but this is good, I know it is.

I don’t even know who I’m writing to, if anyone reads here anymore. It’s been a long time. I love writing. But I’ve poured out so much pain here that for awhile I couldn’t even think about it, couldn’t come back. I’d try and feel that sucking feeling in my chest, so I just scribbled on bits of paper. A few times I used my finger and pretended to write the squirming feelings out on the wall, couch, car door, where ever I was. And you know what happened? I became present in my life, and proactive instead of reactive, always on the defence. I stopped giving a shit what my neighbours and the shop guy and the people who dropped me when I got sick and freaked out think of me, and I started focusing on what the people who love me think of me. And most of all, what I think of me.

Between homeschooling Bailey and leaving mainstream cancer treatment I copped so much criticism I simply had to stop caring. There was no other way.

The thing is, it worked. Bailey is well and happy – and kind of bratty right now, but so age appropriate and just boring normal that I could almost cry with gratitude after having to ask him for the ten billionth time to pick his crap up, use manners, be careful.

Cancer is complicated. The cynic in me feels like it’s just another industry, another way for people to make money. I baulk when I see pink ribbon products containing chemicals that have been linked to various cancers. It bothers me that ‘natural’ and ‘alternative’ remedies aren’t given the same funding and research as those owned by pharmacuetical companies. It didn’t inspire confidence, the reactions I got when I started asking questions. Questions like, where does the funding come from for this particular drug? When there are a few medications that are roughly as effective as each other, how do you decide which one to try first? Why is everything in your surgery sponsored by a drug company?

Look. I believe that most people are good. I think most Doctors want to help people. Of course they do. But I believe that the patients feelings should matter more. No one paid any attention when I questioned the range of symptoms I was having that weren’t in a any way consistent with my first diagnosis. No one has to take responsibility or be accountable for that. But when *I* actually want to do my own research, and be responsible for myself, it’s continuous phone calls, criticisms, borderline harassment and ‘duty of care’ talks.

My last lot of tests weren’t great. I’m upset. I know there’s going to be this ‘we told you so, the system is the way it is for a reason’ type attitudes. When in actual fact, I had been doing fantastically well, until it came to the point where financially I had to start choosing between my *alternative, hippy type medications and remedies* and you know, being able to eat and pay bills and take my child to his chosen sports classes and keep a roof over our heads. I sold my car, I made sacrifices, but how long can I do that for? Our ‘system’ is supposedly set up to protect people like me, who work hard for what they have and through no fault of their own end up in a rough patch. It’s why I paid fifty thousand dollars in tax in one year when I was just starting out and working hard to try to get ahead, so that if I should fall ill, our government would be able to cover my medical bills and give me enough to barely survive for any time I wouldn’t be able to work. As long as it’s the exact drug program you are prescribed that is. Too bad if it doesn’t actually work, and you want to live longer.

I mean, it’s like being punched in the chest, losing the ground beneath my feet. With every inch of my being I don’t want to end up in the mainstream treatment cycle of secondary infections and bruising and needle marks. Of hair loss and bleeding lips and 16 hour sleeps. Of course, nor do I want to sell the horses, my olllddd beat up but working car, or my house.

I don’t want my son to see me ill, ever again. I don’t want my friends and family to be upset. I don’t want to lose myself, all the pure clear ok-ness I developed coming out of so much pain and fear. I just, I can’t go back there.

So yeah. That’s where I’m at. If anyone reads this I’d love to know where you’re at too 🙂

Ash xx

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Hey guys, seems time for a life update yeah?

So, you’ll never guess what. I’m still off mainstream treatment, and still holding steady. I have good days (like yesterday) and very flat days (like today). I’ve lost some weight (I needed to, and should keep dropping naturally I hope) and my cycle is slowly becoming regular. My skin is looking better, I haven’t needed a nap in the afternoon in ages, and I’ve slowly started riding again 🙂

My best mate lives with us now, it’s awesome. Saved my ass financially too. And sometimes, she makes my bed ❤

Everything is so up in the air but I’m fighting in the only ways I can to keep our house and lifestyle, and that’s that. Underneath that, I’m stable. I have shitty horrible days but I’m ok. I know myself. I’m single and actually good with that to the point of wanting to stay that way. Bailey is just a livewire, bright and happy. He’s developed a real sense of humour (god knows he’ll need it) and his creativity has been shining through. We’re still ‘homeschooling’ (legally, though truth be told we tend to edge more toward unschooling these days, not that we try to fit into any particular category) and I can’t see us re-entering mainstream education any time soon. It just works for us. I regret putting him into school in the first place, I had that spot in my tummy where you know something’s not right but I just I don’t know? Wanted us to fit in? I guess school is just the thing to do, and there aren’t a lot of options here.

Everything is geared towards people entering the mainstream education system. Doesn’t mean it’s bad, just not for everyone I guess. 

So yeah, that’s us. There’s been a lot of friend drama, house drama, financial drama but I feel removed from it all most of the time. It doesn’t matter. It’s highly likely I’ll end up walking out of this house with nothing to show for it but that’s ok. If I’m here for one year or ten before starting over I’m just going to make the best of it. We like it here. It’s cruisy and I have the best work and friends, but I find gorgeous people anywhere i go and Bailey seems the same. I want to stay here as long as possible, because we’re set but when it’s time to go, I won’t grieve. 

Sunsets and stars. Bonfires. Hugs and true friends and the smell of rain. I can have the important things anywhere we go.

x

 

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Does anyone *really* enjoy going?  Or do most people just pretend like me?

My first mothers group experience was awful.  Bailey was a couple of weeks old and at his check-up with the dragon health nurse, she ‘suggested’ (read – guilt tripped me) that I trundle down to the local ‘Young Mums and Bubs’ group, so I could make friends with girls my age with kids around Bailey’s age.  And so that Bailey could ‘socialise’.

Because 2 week old infants do that.

So we went, and I’ll admit I wasn’t overly enthusiastic.  And I’m not always the most outgoing person, but I’ve never had a problem getting along with people and making friends.

These girls were horrible.

I consider myself one of the least judgemental people around.  But jesus.

After meeting these girls, I could kind of understand why I copped a fair bit of shit for being a young-ish mum.  They openly discussed how much they drank and smoked, and what drugs they did throughout pregnancy.  How much money and perks they were getting from the government.  How their parents could fuck off and mind their own business.

It made me so sad for these innocent bubs.  But also for these mums, who for whatever reasons, were heading down a painful road….

Needless to say I didn’t go back, instead I decided to try the other mum’s group in the area.  It wasn’t too bad.  All the other mums were 30 plus, which I didn’t have an issue with, but I did feel sort of talked down to the first time I went, but all in all it was ok until they deemed me as ‘in the group’ and felt it was ok to confess their pre-judgments on a 21 yr old with a newborn.  Who didn’t breastfeed. The horror.

Hahaha, we were a bit worried, but you obviously care for your child.  I mean, you can’t blame us, younger women do seem to have a tougher time raising kids. Look at what’s around” 

After the first mother’s group experience I didn’t feel like I could really defend young mums, so I just kind of felt defeated and uncomfortable. And as they got into the conversation I began to question myself more and more, even imagining that I was a substandard parent because we hadn’t brought a house before having Bailey, because he was bottle-fed (out of necessity), because I didn’t take him to baby-yoga, because we were ‘accidental parents’, and of course the list goes on.

I can see how silly that was now, of course.  It should have taken me one look at my happy healthy bub to know that wasn’t the case, but instead I continued to let it eat at me for the next couple of years, blaming myself everytime he threw-up or had a temperature or I didn’t know what he wanted.  Everytime he hit his head, or I couldn’t sooth his teething pain, and that one time when he had to be rushed to the hospital, was because I was an inadequate parent.

Luckily I now know that’s not true, but of course I doubt myself a fair bit.  The thing that has changed the most is that I now realise how lucky I was to have him when I did, before my health went downhill.  And even if it hadn’t, I still think the timing was good. For me, anyway.

I don’t know what I’d do without him ❤

x

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