Category Archives: Singlehood

Drunken thoughts after an unexpected email

I still miss him.

I still miss the smell of the skin on his neck,
The way he always laughed because I didn’t realise I was trying to breathe him in.

I still miss waiting for him to come over,
At the window, checking the street for his car.
The sound of the children excitedly calling his name,
jumping up to greet him like puppies.

I still miss our walks in the woods,
our weekends away from the world.
The two of us hiding behind the tent surreptitiously getting stoned,
and the four of us around the camp fire.

I still miss the way he always made me laugh just before I lost my temper.
I miss overhearing my baby telling him that she loved him,
understanding that he didn’t know how to reply,
and for that he needed to hear it all the more.

I still miss the feel of his skin and the sound of his voice.
The way we made love against the kitchen counter while the kettle boiled.

The look in his eyes.
my hands in his hair.
Him tracing patterns on my naked back as we lay exhausted and happy in my bed.

I still miss the assumption of our future,
the undiscussed plans in our minds.

I still miss us,
so in love we’d forgotten what loneliness could be,

I still miss not know that it had to end

I still miss not feeling the terror of losing myself again.

I still miss being able to love him without this aching nostalgia.

I still miss him
as I bleed slowly into this silence,
waiting for these tears to dry up.


Raising Daughters

I’ve been a mother too long; I’m weary with it. Not all the time. It comes in waves. I’m aching to tell you that I love them both desperately and I’d die for them; without this disclaimer every tap of the keyboard is tinged with guilt. But that’s what’s worn me down. The guilt… Constant and gnawing.

At 33 I’ve learned enough from life to know you really just have to answer to only yourself. There’s no inherent justice in the things that happen to us, but you’ll be happy regardless if you know who you are. Our parents were right. Life’s not fair. Growing up means accepting that it doesn’t need to be. That’s missing the point. If you live only by your own standards, you’ll be happy.

The motherhood-guilt comes from being unable to answer only to yourself. The person that I am is raising two new women for the world. I’m forever accountable to them. I have to be a good person because I’m how they see the world.

Making choices is simpler when I ask myself “what would I want my adult daughters to do” Three years ago my answer was ‘yes’. I would want them to leave a relationship that made them numb themselves to the world because they couldn’t bear to see what they were missing. Even if that means their children come from a ‘broken home’. I made that decision selfishly, I wanted to leave, but I would have wanted them to leave too. Now that the painful process is behind us. I see my babies and I did the best we could and it feels like enough. We all came out of a shitty situation in the best way we could.

I settled down young and had children barely out of my teens because I didn’t know of anything different. It’s what my mother did. I didn’t consciously choose it, I just slid into a mould I didn’t see. I hope my children see me and all the wonderful single women around me and think nothing of moving out of my home into a house of their own. Paid for by their efforts and all the better for it.

I know I’m doing the best I can. The guilt comes from knowing now that my parenting is only as good as the person I am. And I often feel like that isn’t good enough. Guilt is an inescapable facet of motherhood. As soon as the pregnancy test confirms what your swollen breasts have already told you, you remember the cigarette you just crushed out and the hangover you had the day before. Seemingly trivial guilt that blossoms, unavoidably, into deeper guilt that you know will be with you forever.

And it wears you down. The guilt is there because you love your children, but its still there and it taints everything. That why grandparents love being grandparents. They can enjoy their grandchildren. I hope my daughters make me wait for the joy of being a grandparent, but I suppose thats only ever going to be their choice to make. So the voice in my head reminds me that they will make better choices only if I’m good enough….


Dating with children – The Beginning

I met someone. Someone with whom I can’t seem to spend enough time without being left unsatisfied and craving more. He comes over most nights; we eat together and talk and laugh and discover an endless list of things we have in common; books we’ve read, albums we loved, films we watched.

The evenings end in my bedroom, the opposite side of my bed filled with his warmth. We talk, our fingers tracing patterns on each other, until our voices are slow and thick with languor. The time comes again and again, a warm comforting sleep seeps into our entangled bodies. He has to leave. Our goodbye is drawn out, sighs and bleary eyed kisses at my front door, our bodies heavy with sleep and contentment. He leaves in the dark, his coat pulled up tight against the damp November night.

I return to bed, the scene of our brief moments of happiness. I sleep with the other side of my bed still warmed from his body, the scent of us still faintly in the air.

On-line dating

I have a love-hate relationship with online dating. On the one hand, Its a good way to meet interesting people that otherwise would never come into my life, and I’m grateful for the handful of men I’ve spent time with. On the other hand, its pretty addictive and time consuming, I often spend days chatting to people and get little else done. And some of the sleazy messages and photos depress me and make me wonder whether it really has come to this. I usually spend a few days on it… met someone interesting, delete my profile and then a few weeks later set up a new one. I’ve been stuck in this cycle for the past year and I’m not convinced its healthy for me but I keep doing it anyway, mainly through boredom, loneliness and naive optimism.

This time round I decided to write my profile with a specific, but slightly tongue in cheek, list of what I’m looking for. I was hoping it would cut down the amount if completely unsuitable messages I get. Here’s a portion of my profile:

“I’m a confident, ambitious, enthusiastic, passionate and positive person. I have a happy, busy life; filled with love, laughter, music, poetry, studying, and working in a job I love. I’ve recently got into photography (ok well, instagram – but that counts, right?)

So what am I doing on here? Well initially just looking for someone fun, interesting and intelligent to hang out with, have a laugh and enjoy each others company. If that turns into more, great, if not then it’ll be a blast either way! 🙂

The man I want to spend time with has a degree, a job, a car, a beard, a love of books and an interest in the world. Good witty, intelligent conversations is the main requirement, anything else is a bonus!

If you have a masters, play the guitar, write poetry, grow a decent beard, read books, and can make a decent coffee I may just swoon at your feet like a Victorian heroine but don’t let that put you off 🙂

Interests: Summer days, Winter nights, Strong coffee, Festivals, Radio 4, Staying up all night, Rummaging through charity shops, meeting interesting people”

This morning I awoke to possibly the best on-line introduction I’ve ever received:

“I apologise for sending you the same generic, copy and paste chat up line I send to everyone else but it did seem astonishingly applicable in this case.

So confident and ambitious, with enthusiasm abound
An air filled with laughter, that’s her favourite sound
A face so sweet and innocent, that’s her favourite look
I wish she’d hold me and read me, like her favourite book

Oh, SaucyCleverClogs, please don’t think I’m weird
If I glue hair on my face, for I can’t grow a beard
And I’m not a big reader, though I do play guitar
And I don’t live in [hometown], but I’m not all that far

I may not be the one, who’ll make you Victorian swoon
But you only need ask and I’ll fetch you the moon
Not literally of course, because that can’t be done
But figuratively I’ll get you that, the stars and the sun

I’ll make you a coffee and one for me too
And if you prefer, I’ll make you a brew
I’ll stay up all night, listening to Radio 4
And when I fall asleep, I’ll try not to snore

I’ll accompany you, while you rummage through shops
And if you steal from them, I won’t call the cops
Even though I generally disapprove, of acts of crime and theft
I’d have everything I need, if you were all I had left

Oh SaucyCleverClogs, I assure you I’m not weird
But I’m gluing hair on my face right now, I know you’ll love my beard!”

Unfortunately his profile was pretty uninspiring and I would have just deleted the message had he sent the usual bland, insipid introduction. If nothing else it brightened up a dull Wednesday morning. I suppose he deserves a message back…

So I’ve got this single mother thing wrapped up. I pay my bills on time, I own a car, (and it’s appropriately taxed and insured), I wash school uniforms, cook healthy food, and do the girls homework. Not to mention I’m in the final year of my degree, I spend time with friends, I date, I ring my elderly Aunt every so often to check she’s all right. I’m coping, I’m doing it…like a million other women out there.

But sometimes a good old wallow in self pity at the loneliness of it all does you good. I found this song and downloaded the album. It’s so heartbreakingly beautiful it’ll have to be reserved for the really bad days … Otherwise I’d probably just give it all up, let the kids eat cocopops in front of the TV and stay in bed drinking cheap wine and writing really bad poetry (a forte of mine)

The birth of a new life

On the 14th of December 2011, sitting down at 2pm, I realised I was on my own.

A fact that was mindblowingly exciting, even through the haze of diminishing rage. An hour early I had discovered that my partner of ten years and the father of my two children was, despite his assurances to the contrary, still fucking his 19 year old mistress.

Sitting dry-eyed on our bed, still trembling with adrenaline and amid half empty drawers and wardrobes, I felt a bubbling sense of freedom.

I had a mere £15 in our joint account, a four bedroom house with thousands of pounds in mortgage arrears, a beat up 11 year old Mondeo (on its last legs and registered to him) and two small girls oblivious to the catastrofuck that had now become our lives. But through the hurt, the humiliation and the heartbreaking pain the overriding emotion was excitement.

Excitement that I could be who I wanted to be, excitement that I could steer my life in any direction, excitement that I would no longer have to compromise my existence for the happiness of someone else.

And so the story of my life began… my only regret being that I hadn’t had the sense to do it sooner.