Tag Archives: marriage

A Year in Review: Revisiting 2013

For those of you who’ve been reading my blog for a while now, you may have noticed my lack of goal-checking and goal-setting post at the start of January. There are good reasons for that. Many of them revolve around not having time to write one.

We shall have to remedy that.

First up, let me say that 2013 was the most intense, heart-shattering, life-changing, wing-growing, exciting, devastating, emotional, challenging, rewarding, and intense (did I already say intense?) year of my life. There were days I was so happy I couldn’t even feel the ground beneath my feet because I was flying too high. There were days when I literally cried non-stop for over 24 hours straight. There were days when I felt a zen-like sense of peace and well-being, and days when I was sure I’d ruined not just my own life, but also the lives of my children (and possibly their children).

It was a big year.

Goalpost

But let me start with my writing goals because, after all, that’s what this blog is supposed to be about. (Except when it’s not.)

How did I go with the writing goals I revised in July?

TNT #1

I was aiming to have revised this novel by October, and be ready to query it. This didn’t happen. Largely because in early September, I realised that the manuscript doesn’t just need a simple revision, it needs a complete break-down and rewrite.

This is a good thing and came about because (a) I finally “found” my true voice, and (b) I realised that I have recurring themes in my work, and discovered that those themes are there in TNT #1, but they’re hidden beneath a veneer of self-consciousness. So once I dig them out and make them shine, the whole story will be better for it.

I didn’t make my goal, but I’m darn happy with the revelations I had along the way.

CST

My goal was to finish the first draft, finish revisions, and start querying. I¬†did finish the first draft on schedule — even though it meant writing my way through pneumonia to do it — and I finished my first-round revisions at 10:30pm on New Year’s Eve.

I’m not ready to start querying. Although I feel like I’m close. The manuscript is with beta readers at the moment, and I’m (eagerly) awaiting their feedback.

And feeling ill every time I think about it too much. But, you know, I’m not as bullet-proof as I like to pretend. ūüôā

Novel C

I didn’t start writing or outlining before the end of the year, but I’ve started it in the first couple of weeks of January. So I’m about a month behind schedule on this. But I¬†have worked out what I’m writing. I’ll give you a little hint to whet your appetite (and encourage you to nudge me if I stop writing!).

The story involves Greek mythology, violins, and a female protagonist with delusions of monsters and an acerbic wit.

Outline TNT #2 and #3

Yeah, whatever. Who wrote these goals???

Short Stories

Bum-bum. No more short stories written.

Reading

I don’t know if I read anything in the last few months of the year. It just wasn’t a priority for me.

Other

I think my favourite writing-related part of 2013 was becoming part of a great group of enthusiastic, supportive writers. No matter what else happens in my life, I always have these writers there, supporting and encouraging and generally being awesome. Thanks to my P&Peeps for everything. *mwah!*

And that brings to the non-writing related part of this post.

In about August 2013, I got pneumonia pretty bad. It took over a month to recover. I didn’t end up in hospital — although, really, I probably should have. But I have two children, and going into hospital just wasn’t an option for me. So I spent weeks feeling miserable, struggling to breathe, and still doing the cooking, cleaning, raising the children, blah blah blah. You know how it is. But that put a few things into perspective for me. Things like: What’s really important? And: What do I really want?

Just prior to that, I’d been pulling my hair out over finances. So much of our money was being spent on rent and electricity that no matter how I sliced and diced, cut and shaved, managed and over-managed our budget, there was never enough left over for anything. And sometimes not even enough for the most basic of “extras”. Renting a movie to watch with the kids meant not being able to afford more breakfast cereal. Getting haircuts for the boys meant eating nothing but pasta and rice for a week.¬†

Between those two things, I came up with a radical and crazy idea.

What if we sold or gave away every single possession we didn’t actually¬†need, jumped out of the “rent this expensive house” game, and lived as simply as we possibly could?

What if we abandoned the life we knew ,and started a new one. A cheaper one. A simpler one. A life more in tune with the world, and with nature, and with the values that are close to my heart?

My husband agreed, and we set about the project.

We bought a dodgy, 30-year-old caravan, and I started renovating it from the inside out. (This is an ongoing project.) We bought a tent for the kitchen, and another one for the chemical toilet. We sold or gave away everything we didn’t need. Everything. It was a much bigger (and more emotional) job than I expected. And then we moved out to the middle of nowhere, and set up in a paddock that belongs to a friend of a friend.

DSCN1565[1]

This is where we live now.

It was a massive adjustment. Suddenly, weather plays a massive part in what we can and can’t do on a daily basis. We have to schedule time to move the cows off the road every time we go somewhere. Snakes are a major threat, as are paralysis ticks and¬†venomous spiders. We can’t race off to the shop on a moment’s notice — it’s at least 20 minutes each way to the closest not-all-that-convenient convenience store. We have to go outside in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. I hand wash the clothes, carry water to the kitchen and shower, and I even planted a vegie garden.

It was a massive adjustment.

And in the middle of this adjustment, on October 31st — our 9th wedding anniversary — my husband and I reached a point where we realised that, no matter how much we wished it was different, and no matter what we tried, our marriage was over.

Amidst tears and feelings of guilt and grief and pride-killing failure, we made the decision to separate.

For the good of our children.

For the good of ourselves.

Suddenly, in a change that felt like it happened overnight, I wasn’t a stay-at-home Mum and writer living in the suburbs with a husband who supported us financially. I was a single mother living in a trailer in the middle of nowhere. With no income, and no easy answers.

It was tough.

It was tough saying the words “single mother”.¬†

It was tough falling asleep at night, listening to the wind buffeting the trees outside, and telling myself that everything would be fine, and I could do this — I could do this on my own. I could face this new challenge, this new life, and I could do it with all the strength in my soul and my arms and my heart.¬†It was tough cuddling my son when he asked when Daddy was coming home.

It’s been almost three months.

And I can do it.

DSCN1566[1]I don’t hate my ex-. Far from it. In fact, we get along better now than we have at any other point during the last six years. ¬†We both love our sons intensely, and want the best for them. And I’ve learned that I¬†can grow vegies. I¬†can make new friends, and be a good parent, and put up a tent, and build furniture, and train a dog, and start a business, and make our money stretch just that little bit further, and I can¬†do it on my own.

With the support of my friends and family.

Now, I stand outside at night, with the stars lighting up the sky, and the damp earth under my feet, and I feel loved and blessed and happy.

I feel like myself. 

I am myself.

And the future’s so bright, I’ve gotta wear shades.

How was your 2013?

 

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Filed under Life With Kids, Opinion, Random Stuff, Writing

You Have to Be Brave to Get Married

Have I mentioned before that 5-year-old Big Brother is a big thinker? He’ll hear something or see something and think on it for days or weeks before talking to us about it. Lately, he’s had¬†questions¬†about piercings, tattoos and growing up.

“Does it hurt to get your ear pierced?” he asked. After a brief explanation of the level of pain involved, he thought for a few minutes and then said, “I don’t think I’ll get my ears pierced. Except maybe when I’m a grown up.”

I’m pretty happy with that.

“Why doesn’t a tattoo wash off?” he asked. So we told him about tattoos and needles, and my husband explained how it felt to get his done. A few days later, Big Brother asked me, “Do you give the doctor a picture of whatever you want?” After a bit of elaborations (Oh! You’re talking about tattoos!), I explained that, even though doctors are the ones who give you vaccinations,¬†you see a tattoo artist for a tattoo. After a bit more conversation on the subject, Big Brother said thoughtfully, “Did you know vampires aren’t real anymore because they died before the dinosaurs came?”

That was my first clue the¬†conversation was over.“When will I know the name of the person I’m going to marry?” he asked the other day.

He sounded¬†serious so I stopped folding the washing and sat down with him. “Well,” I said. “One day when you’re grown up, you’ll meet someone and get to know them.¬†Every time you think about them,¬†you’ll feel a special kind of love in your heart. And that’s how you’ll know they’re the person you want¬†to marry.”

He thought about that. “When¬†will I be a Daddy?” he asked.

“When you have a baby,” I answered. I waited to see if he wanted me to elaborate further, but that answer seemed to satisfy him. (I make it a point not to over-complicate things. It’s very easy to answer the question I think he was asking rather than the question he was actually asking.)

He was quiet for a couple of minutes, his fingers fiddling with the toy he’d forgotten he was holding while his mind whirred. Eventually he asked,¬†“What if I feel¬†them in my heart but I’m too afraid to get married?”

I smiled. “Well, sometimes that happens. Getting married is a very big deal.”

He sighed and gave me a knowing look. “You have to be brave to get married.”

True that, boyo.

 

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Can’t Help Falling in Love (Again)

Falling in love is beautiful; beautiful¬†and overwhelming and magical. The songs make sense. The sky is bluer, the grass greener, the sun sunnier. The world fades away. Nothing matters but you and your love. You stop spending every waking moment with your friends, and start spending every waking moment thinking about your lover. You meet¬†for lunch, even though it’s a 15 minute drive each way and you only have a 45 minute break, because you can’t bear to go nine whole hours without seeing each other.

You open yourself and are engulfed by emotion. You know the feeling will never end. Your love is perfect and nothing can change that. You watch other couples and giggle to yourselves. We’ll never be like that, you think. We’ll never spend so much time arguing over who ate the most popcorn that we miss the end of the movie. We’ll never have to schedule a “date night”, or find it hard to remember when we last had sex, or argue about who left the dirty cup on the bench instead of stacking on the sink where it belongs.

And then things change. Perhaps you get married, or have children, or start saving for a house, or¬†the pressures of work start to get to you. Or perhaps you just settle into a routine. Perhaps nothing changes at all, but suddenly everything is different. You stop talking about who has the sexiest body and start talking about whose turn it is to take out the trash. You stop laughing at each other’s jokes and start laughing at each other’s families. You stop wanting to spend all your time together and start wishing you had your own space.

You love each other, but it’s not the same. You’re inlove, but not of love. You talk about the future. You¬†argue about how you spend your money. You’re overwhelmed by life and responsibility and work and finances and the need to consult with someone else over every single thing you do. You argue. You make up. You wish things were still magical and beautiful, and wonder what happened to the sweet, sensitive, sexy person you fell in love with. And then you eat another chocolate bar, turn on the TV, and try not to think about it.

You¬†turn into¬†that couple. A dirty sock abandoned on the bedroom floor sparks an argument of epic proportions. You compare incomes and free time and sacrifices and then one of you sleeps in the spare room. You wonder if you’re¬†still in love at all. You feel trapped and lonely and isolated and old: old like the mountains; old like the rain. You look at young couples in love and feel overwhelmed by the weight of reality; the trials of time. You wish you could go back:¬†back to that perfect place. But you’re too tired to try.

And then something happens.

It could be something wonderful or terrible;¬†magical or mundane. Perhaps it’s¬†sudden, or¬†perhaps it¬†creeps up on you like the first breath of spring after a long and freezing winter.

You¬†wake up and find that you¬†recognise the man in your bed. He’s not just the guy who can’t figure out how to put his dirty clothes in the hamper. He’s not the guy who drives you to the point of insanity with his inability to remember simple instructions. He’s not even the father of your children (at least, notonlythat).¬†He’s the man you fell in love with.

He’s the man who can make you laugh more than anyone else in the world. He’s the man who can look into your eyes and see your very soul. He’s the man who knows the difference between when you’re really happy and when you’re pretending to be happy. He’s the man who loves you and thinks you’re beautiful, even when you’re wearing decade-old grey pyjamas and your hair looks like something out of a horror film. He’s the man who wants to hear your opinion on anything and everything.

And as you look into his eyes and remember the reasons you fell in love with him, you see the same startled recognition on his face.

The birds sing. The sun shines. The songs all make sense again.

You want to spend every moment together. You juggle your schedules; your work; your children; your responsibilities. You find time. You resent anything that gets in the way. You wake up early and stay up late, trying to wring as much extra time out of the day as possible. You talk, you dream, you live, you love. Everything is perfect.

But this time, this time, you’re smarter. You know how fleeting these feelings can be. So you cherish the moments. You bask in the glory of a world that doesn’t exist for anyone but you. You make changes. You make sacrifices. You make apologies.

Please accept mine.

I’ll be back either when this overwhelming bonfire fades to warm and cozy embers, or when I find a way to bring balance to the Force (or my life).

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Filed under Opinion, Random Stuff