Me and My Monkey

It has been a strange start to the New Year. I’ve spent a couple of uninterrupted days with the most amazing man who I love with all my heart. I’m happier than I have ever been, more than I thought possible. And yet, for reasons known only to my inner chimp, I seem to be intent on throwing the mother of all spanners in the works.

I don’t really know where it came from, I don’t know why I brought it up, but it was obviously something that has been simmering away for a while. The root of the problem is money but it is wrapped up in so many more deeper and more complex issues.

It’s tied up with the fact that for the early part of my adult life I was only worth what someone was willing to pay for me. When I turned away from that world to try and find a more true version of me, it was the final nail in the coffin of my first marriage. Delving deeper, money was the reason my mother stayed in her unhappy and sometimes abusive relationship with my Stepdad. She was willing to trade her happiness for a nice car and exotic holidays. When she died, the money she left to me and my sisters led us to tear our family apart. All through my childhood there were constant court dates and battles over the maintenance that my Dad paid. Money, bills and the constant grind of scrabbling to put food on the table has been the single main stress of my second marriage. Throughout most of my life, all money has seemed to do is tear apart everyone that I have ever cared about. So I made a deliberate choice to pay my way. To be an equal partner who shares the burden of responsibility to provide. And that was all fine whilst I was in a world of earnings that seemed achievable.

But now I am entering a whole new universe. His life seems so stratospherically different to mine that I’m not even sure how to begin bringing my share to the table. I’m scared and a little lost. My fear is telling me to fuck it all up so then I won’t have to risk trying and failing. I’m getting ahead of myself because I want it so much and then getting myself really scared because if it all disappears I’m never going to be able to piece myself back together again.

Every time I am with him it is like entering another dimension, one painted in infinitely brighter and awe-inspiring colours. Just feeling his skin against mine, his heart beating beneath my hand, the gentle caress of his breath. My soul glows in his presence. He fills every inch of me with joy. He awakens me to the possibilities of how happy my life can be.

But inevitably I have to return to my world. And like Persephone returning to Hades, with every step the colour around me fades to grey. My kids are here so I cannot be there. My heart is torn between what I have and what I want and I don’t know how to bring those two things together. The complexity of blending two families together is proving too much for my brain. I want to prove to myself and him that I can be a mother and a provider and a strong independent woman who doesn’t need to rely or depend on anyone.

But the truth is that I can’t. I can’t do it all. And apparently, my solution is to let my inner chimp out and let it wreck complete havoc on all my hopes and dreams because if the chimp fucks it all up then somehow I won’t have failed. I will be able to tell myself I never deserved happiness anyway, that people like me don’t get a happy ending. I can go back to being a mediocre person in a mediocre life who never tries and so therefore never fails.

But having let the chimp do that for the last two days, I’ve realised something really important. I don’t want to be mediocre anymore. I do believe that I deserve this incredible love of this amazing man. I love him with my whole being. Miraculously, even though I have been a complete dick, he appears to still love me. I am no longer an island and my ego and pride need to catch up to that fact. The chimp needs to go back in the box.

I really want for us, together, to navigate our way to a happy ending. Not just for me. Not just for him. For all of us. We all deserve and are absolutely entitled to the lives of our dreams. It might be a difficult path, at times it might seem impossible. But only the impossible is worth the effort.

He is my beginning and my end. He is worth the effort.

Return To Innocence

I have been hurt so much in the past that I realise that I spent a lot of time building a vast labyrinth around my heart. It was full of dead ends and broken dreams, abandoned hopes and trampled beliefs. It was built upon spiteful words and painful memories. Every time someone dropped my heart, I shed a skin, built a new me and buried the past within the walls of my maze. It was designed to keep others out and to keep me safe.

And then I let him in.

Like Daedalus, he solves the puzzles within me. It is as though he can read me like a book. I felt the fear at his approach but his soul reached out for mine and I sense the touch of destiny. Now he has built me wings and together we fly free through limitless skies. We both know the pain of being a pawn in another’s game, we both know how burnt you get chasing the wrong highs. We see each other’s scars and they guide us to a better, more pure place. It is a universe created of love and devotion. We hold the key and within there are infinite adventures waiting to begin.

Sometimes I feel that perhaps I love him more than he loves me; that I want this journey more than he does. I think perhaps it is natural to fear that you are more invested than your lover. But then I think of the times that he has cupped my face in his hands as he leans down to kiss me. The way that he will unconsciously reach for me whenever I am near. The forgiveness when I steal all of the bed and duvet. The spontaneous meetings so we can share a pot of tea and a few hours together. The sliding of fingertips over each other’s wrists to feel the pulsing of love in our veins. The late night texts and phone calls to say ‘I miss you’.

I think of the way he looks deep into my eyes, into my soul, when he tells me that he loves me.

He is my benediction.

I know that I have nothing to fear. Neither of us do. When we are together, the rest of the world can do its best to rip and tear at us but we are invincible. It doesn’t mean that there won’t be sorrows along this path, but the light that we create cleanses away the pain. We are stronger than superheroes and we are remembering who we were before the villains tried to bend our selves to their will. United, what others have exploited as weaknesses become our strengths. Our tenderness becomes our virtue. Our empathy becomes our armour. He is my mirror and my shield and I am his. We protect each other.

The fairytale was never a myth. The bliss does exist. The magic is real.

In his arms, the scales fall from my eyes and I realise that everything I ever wanted is right there.

With him lies Paradise.

Lift

The quest for happiness is a curious thing. Now I have finally found it, I seem to be intent on trying to push it away. The demons that I have been carrying around for so long are giving one last snarl. Fears are surfacing. Paranoia tries to overcome me once again.

It began yesterday. A subtle shift in mood. A whispering in my head that said he was going to cancel. That he wouldn’t want to see me, that he would have changed his mind about how he felt. I knew that I could have put it to death with a text. I knew that all I had to do was ask for reassurance and he would have given it willingly.

But habits need breaking.

For myself, for him, I cannot continue to carry the baggage of the past around. I want to exorcise the voices that try to keep me small. I want to be a better person. A person who believes I am worthy of his love. Happiness is not something to be scared of. The dream of us is so powerful that it will break through any wall or barrier or test. And when fear grips me in the early hours of the morning and I am consumed by doubts that I am enough for him, he holds me close and dissolves all of my uncertainties.

He is the key that unlocks the shackles with which I have kept myself bound. He is the light which extinguishes the shadows of my past. He is the calm at the centre of my storm. If I offer him more than I want to give, if I try and sell him a false fantasy, he sees straight through it. He takes my hand in his and I feel our souls entwine. He guides me away from the darkness and into the sunlit world of his love. When our eyes meet, I remember that I am his and he is mine.

We are perfect, just the way we are.

Together we are free.

Up & Up

It’s amazing how quickly life can change. It is less than three weeks since we met for that drink and now every second of every day my heart beats with dreams of him. It is a whirlwind but one that has been a year in the making. We already know each other so well, we’ve already read the small print. It’s like our souls had signed the contract months ago and they were just waiting for us to finally take the first step. And now we have, our relationship is travelling at the speed of light. Perhaps it should feel scary, but the reality is it feels like coming home. The rest of the world falls away and there is only us and the force of our love.

I never knew what it felt to be alive until now. Every second with him crackles and burns with the most intense energy. It radiates out from us and infuses our surroundings, other people are drawn to us and it lifts them higher. They might not know what it is and where it has come from, but I can see the ecstasy of our elation reflected in their joy. Their laughter echoes the euphoria emanating from us. It sweeps over them like a temporary insanity, it raises them beyond the limits of normality and reveals just how incredible life can be.

He has given me this life.

His love has blessed the essence of my being. I’m not sure what I have done to be worthy of experiencing this but it feels as though someone, somewhere has listened to all the deepest wishes and desires of my heart and conjured them into existence through him. He is everything I ever wanted and more. When he is by my side it feels as though I could conquer anything the world could throw at me. And over the past three weeks the world has been cruel and unkind to him and he has stood strong as a mountain. He has been brave and tender and incredible when most others would have buckled under the pressure. And when he has needed to, he has come to me and stripped off his armour and bared his scars and sorrows and it has only made me love him more.

The fact that he feels safe enough with me to do that fills my heart to overflowing. I’ve only just started to discover all the facets that make up the brilliant jewel at his core but if the rest of my lifetime is spent exploring that treasure hunt then it will be the most exhilarating adventure. The whole of eternity wouldn’t be enough time to spend with him. The stars could burn out, the universe could fall into darkness and I would still be blinded by his light. Our souls were forged in the same fire. Now they have been reunited and they are burning brighter than a billion suns. My heart is a furnace and he is the fuel. The fire between us has melted all of the pain of the past. Our love is hammering out a new story. This is the world where we both belong.

This is the beginning of forever.

Love Is Bigger Than Anything In Its Way

And then, just when I thought that it was all over, Love Beckons.

I met someone a year ago. It was an average Monday, I had no inkling that it would be the beginning of a new adventure. Our kids were being tutored in the same place and while they were in classes, we made each other coffee and talked. We talked for hours.

The following Monday we did it all again.

And again.

And as the weeks went past I found myself taking time to dress better, to do my makeup. I found myself thinking about him more and more. If I got to the car park and his van wasn’t there, I felt my heart sink. I hadn’t yet begun to believe that it could be something, but the times that we were together were the highlight of my week.

Everything about him amazed me. He was funny and attentive and kind. He had the best tales and his life fascinated me. As the weeks turned into months and we got to know each other better, we opened up about our pasts. He was honest and his story tore at my heart. It was clear that he had been burnt, but the way that he had chosen to walk through the fire and come through the other side inspired me. He had looked hell full in the face and it had only made him stronger.

We had begun talking about meeting for a drink but his life was so busy and full that it seemed as though it would never happen. He was always so unavailable and part of me was relieved. The other part of me, a part that I was refusing to acknowledge, was beginning to dare to dream. I wanted to spend time alone with him. I wanted to be able to talk to him free from eavesdropping ears.

The truth is I wanted him. I just wasn’t ready to admit that to myself yet.

The turning point came when we were forced into new surroundings by the necessity of the kids’ exams. We went and got coffee and although it had been weeks since I’d seen him, we slipped straight back into the easy conversation that had been the hallmark of our friendship so far. It wasn’t until we were back at the college, sitting in his van and waiting for the kids to finish that anything unusual happened. He showed me some racing data on his laptop and as I leant in closer to look at the screen, I felt a surge of energy. It was like being struck by lightning. All those walls that I had spend so many years constructing, he slipped past them like a magician. In those few seconds I could see why spending time with him had meant so much to me. My heart jump started back to life and it scared the hell out of me.

I began babbling. The nerves overtook my brain, words tumbled out of my mouth before I could stop them. Every edifice of normality crumbled into nothingness. I told him I hadn’t had sex in five years and if someone tried to get close to me I’d probably run as fast as I could in the opposite direction. Inside I was cringing at what I was saying but I couldn’t seem to stop myself. He had broken through my defences and I was trying to plug the panic anyway I could. I told him I was done with love.

And then he said something which had a profound effect on me. He said, ‘I think you are looking at it from a glass half empty point-of-view.’

It so many ways it was a completely innocuous thing to say, but I drove home thinking about it. And in the days and weeks to come when the lulls in life allowed me time for reflection, I found myself replaying those words over and over again. They forced me to confront a couple of inescapable truths. First, I had to stop feeling sad over what I thought I’d lost and start waking up to the fact my life wasn’t over. Second, I desperately wanted him to be a part of it. I wasn’t sure how either of those things would be possible. But my heart had started to beat again. It had started to believe again.

Maybe, just maybe, the magic did exist after all.

It took almost six months for the drink to finally happen. Life, Russia and everything got in the way.

When it finally happened, quite frankly I was a little pissed off. By then my life was together, I had a routine. I was occasionally dating complete non-starters. Safe people with whom I knew there was no future but they served to break up the routine of my otherwise mundane life.And then he messaged me.

I knew there was no choice but to accept.

I played it cool in the build-up. I put off having a bath and getting ready until the last moment. I refused to shave my legs (or other parts) because I thought, well dammit he’s waited this long he obviously just wants me as a friend. I hadn’t seen him for weeks. I thought I was over it. And then I saw him at the station and I realised I was oh so wrong. I still wanted him. Now more than ever.

The sight of him was like the first drops of rain in a desert. My soul drank in the feel of him and began to bloom.

By the time we reached the bar, I felt like we had never spent a second apart. He was the harbour in the tempest of my life. Spending time with him was as natural as breathing.

We drank too much, I confessed all that I had to give. And he didn’t flinch. I thought it would be too much. I thought that the beautiful mess of my life would be too much for someone who had already walked the inferno. I thought I would be too complicated, too broken, too fucked up. I threw everything at him. Daring him to run, daring him to back away, daring him to admit I was too much.

He stood immovable as a lighthouse. Guiding me home. Telling me that it was all ok.

All my defenses came tumbling down.

At that point, the fact that we would end up spending the night together was inevitable. I had wanted him for too long. Playing it cool was no longer an option. Playing any kind of game was irrelevant. I gave him my truth and he returned it in kind. I wanted him and to my amazement, he wanted me too. Even now, right now, typing that makes my soul sing.

It was everything I wanted and more. That evening is burned on my skin. His kindness is seared into my heart. It brought me back to life. I thought I had understood what it had meant to feel alive before. I was blind. Waking up with him that morning was like the dawning of a whole new universe. His skin against mine, his hand in mine, his breath caressing me. I have never felt so safe.

To be secure in my own skin is a whole new world. I don’t feel that I need to change to be good enough. He has seen me at my worst and he doesn’t care. And I know that come what may, I will always be there for him. I know now that as much as I had tried to fight it, as much as I didn’t want to be emotionally invested, it is already far too late.

I am his.