I feel like a turmoil of emotions inside this week and I’m struggling to understand where they are all coming from and how to process them. Some are easier to recognise than others. After three weeks of blissful summer holiday fun, my daughter is with her Dad for 9 days. We have literally been inseparable even sharing the same bed on our two holidays so her absence from my life this week has been a gut-wrenching loss. She’s having a wonderful time and she’s been very affectionate on our Face Time calls which is unusual while she is not with me. On previous shorter trips away she would be reluctant to even speak to me. Her Dad told me those calls would make her upset. Now she tells me she is missing me in the same breath as sharing all her exciting news from the day. I am so proud of her. She is getting used to her new life as must I.
I also signed my divorce papers this week. My petition has been accepted by the court and my husband and now we move on to the penultimate stage. In a few months I will be officially single again. I was asked by a friend if I was a) happy or b) sad or c) both. The truth is I am excited to start my new life and anxious to start my new life. Maybe it is just me but everyone this week seems to be interested in my ‘love life’ or lack thereof. I have been separated for three years with only one short-term relationship in that time. When I first separated I didn’t want another man in my life ever again. Now I want someone to share it with. I share myself and he shares himself and we will build a new life together. But right now that seems as possible as riding a unicorn home from this quaint little cafe where I am indulging my desire for sweetness with a wonderful sticky orange pudding.
And my lack of love life brings me further trouble. It seems that things are not vastly different for a single woman over a certain age today than they were for the Brontes in the late 1800s. Society struggles to place me because I have no man to care for me. I am too old to be in my father’s care and my husband has a new family to look after. I can’t even arrange for work to be done on my house without being asked where ‘my fella’ is. How do I answer that question? I don’t have a ‘fella’ sounds like a come-on. It’s none of your damn business sounds like a bitch.
So this week has gone along those lines peppered with work stress, the shock death of a neighbour, and sad news about an old school friend. But I have survived intact. The key I think has been taking care of what I have eaten. I have cooked properly for myself every night despite being alone. I have had a thing about eating alone for as long as I can remember. And ‘a thing’ means I didn’t do it. I hated it. So if I was alone I didn’t eat. Or my meal was crisps and a chocolate bar. Those major food groups of fat and sugar. Not this week though. Monday I made chicken wrapped in Parma harm with spinach and potatoes. Tuesday peri-peri salmon on a bed of rice and quinoa. Wednesday the same with a jacket potato. Thursday lamb. Friday chicken and mushrooms in a supreme sauce. Plenty of protein. Plenty of vegetables. But more than eating good food, the act of cooking was a sign to myself. I am worth caring for. Even when it’s just me.
I drank at least a glass of wine every night too and I have eaten more than my fair share of sugar. Cake mostly! Alcohol, coffee, and sugar are all quick energy boosts I need to limit when I feel low and I have consumed a fair amount more of all three in comparison to normal. But I am not going to berate myself too much. I looked after my main food intake and that is why I can hold my head high today and congratulate myself on not just surviving a difficult week but thriving within it. I had lots of moments of greatness this week. And however sorely tempted I was to stay in it, I got out of bed every day and faced the world. I dealt well with the additional challenges and difficulties it brought me.
So there you have it. The storm inside is subsiding. And I am having my cake and eating it.