One year ago

One year on.

As much as I try not to, I can’t help but say to myself: ‘one year ago I was…’; ‘one year ago this happened…’; ‘one year ago, it all turned to shit’.

Facebook memories don’t help, but as the time was so significant, I remember most of it anyway. Last week was one year ago that I felt a serious inkling that I was pregnant. Friday was one year ago that my suspicions were confirmed. Saturday was one year ago when Gary turned into an arsehole and didn’t believe me at my most vulnerable. Sunday was one year ago when I kicked him out. Last night was one year ago that I spent the night alone for the first time in a long time: lonely, pregnant and scared as hell.

One year ago was when it all started to go down hill. Things had been rocky, but I do think we could have worked through it, figured out a way. But Gary chose to rid us both of that opportunity and let others’ insecurities and bitterness seep into his mind and poison him to what we had.

I’ve been on many a roller coaster since then and I didn’t know if I’d be able to handle any more emotions. It’s coming up to one year ago that I was told my baby didn’t have a heartbeat, that I’d had a ‘missed miscarriage’ and that my options were to take pills, have an invasive procedure or simply wait it out. I was given three choices I never thought I’d have to choose between.

I had my closest friends and family around me, yet I felt truly alone. I had absolutely committed myself to a life with Gary; I was looking forward to being his wife, sharing life’s adventures and challenges together, living in England for a bit, having a family together. Then a challenge arose and rather than work through it together, we went our separate ways.

We’ve obviously been in touch on and off since, as well as in the recent months and weeks. I know things won’t work out; there isn’t even an option or opportunity for it to happen. Yet I still wake up and think about him, walk around and wonder about him, hope that he’s okay. Then I have to forcibly remind myself of the dick that he was, the horrible things he said and did and the little consideration and care he showed.

I keep breaking my own word, and when he messages me, I respond. Or I’ll initiate my own message, just a quick hi, how are things. I can’t stop myself. It’s been a year and I’ve come so far, yet so much of me is still back there.

Mel and I were chatting once, between the kicking out and the loss of heartbeat, when she mentioned she thought I was doing quite well. I was – because while Gary was not at home, I had that little baby inside me. As well as my secret hope that we’d be able to work things out.

One year on, and there is a part of me that wants that, but the bigger part of me, the sensible part knows it can’t. I am a strong, independent woman. I am travelling parts of the world by myself. I am doing things I’ve never done before and I’m surviving, I’m thriving. I’m learning about the world, about different cultures and more than anything, I’m learning about me. I can do more than I ever thought possible. I can trust in my body, in my mind. I can trust in myself.

I’m coming up for five months away now. I’m slowly making plans to head home. I’ll get to my six months, or as close as possible anyway. I really want to go to Africa, so I need to cut down on my spending and give myself the opportunity to earn a few dollars for a few months before heading off again.

What this equals is a year off. I’ll have taken a year out of my life to live my life. Africa will be up to a couple of months, so normal life will resume in January / February. I figure this is fine – things happen at the pace they want to happen. This year and this me time has been much needed. I can only hope that when normal life resumes I’m ready to take it on and the lessons I’m gaining get put into practise.

Everyday I see babies, children and pregnant bellies and still so desperately want this for me. The urge in me to become a mother has not waned. I mentioned to Fiona in one of our last sessions that after things with Gary, I realised I didn’t want to be a single mum, that I wanted a partner. Well, that’s not true. I can be a single mum and I can be an amazing mum. And I will be.

Normal life will resume, but so will my desire and plans to become a mum. That is a dream I will never let go of. The fact that I will most likely be at least 36 when I have my first baby will not faze me. My baby and I will love and deserve each other.

I will never give up on my dreams and hopes – they may change throughout time and adapt to my world, but at the core, they will always be there and they will be achieved.

One year ago I was extremely happy yet nervous; one year ago I was in immense pain yet filled with hope; one year ago I was a different person. Thinking back on one year ago is hard and painful, yet it also shows me how I’ve grown, how I’ve handled challenges.

Things turned to shit a year ago, but I’ve picked myself up and have dedicated time and patience to myself. There can be nothing shit about that.

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Confessions

I have a confession to make; I need to be really honest.

Against my better judgement and all echelons of common sense I possess, I continued to converse with him. He is still blocked on messenger and I haven’t become friends with him again – although he did send me a request.

We were emailing. Note ‘were’. I have stopped and deleted… at last.

I think the following morning after I blocked him, I woke up and there was a friend request from him. I deleted it and moved on. Then I get an email from him – ‘why did you block me?’

My immediate reaction was ‘why the hell do you think, dick head?’ Instead, I took time and wrote him an email telling him that I was done. That I couldn’t continue to receive messages from him, that I didn’t deserve any of that and that he was ruining my time away, I would get anxious about seeing a message from him when I got back online. I then attached a pdf of our conversation – which I had titled ‘dick head comments’.

I was brutally honest in there and said I couldn’t keep going on. He needed to move on as he clearly hadn’t and I needed to be free of him. He replied to say that he still loved me, but that there was nothing he could do as I’d made up my mind. I fell for it, and went back to say that if he wants something, he needs to fight for it, not give up on things so easily. If he wanted me, he needed to work hard on it and convince me.

He then sends an email listing what he loved about me and things he didn’t. I responded to each point – being honest all the way. I asked him to elaborate on some points, but he didn’t. He told me about his plans for going to college and other bits and piece and said he liked that I was having a good time. In one email, he asked me if I was sleeping with boys. I deliberately didn’t answer that. If I am sleeping with boys, it has nothing to do with him. As per his dick head comments, he was going out with girls, so why should he care what I’m doing?

I did find that he would come back and talk about non-related items, or tell me more about his circumstances, but he never answered my questions. I asked him if he was actually reading what I’d sent, and if so, why not answering them. Apparently I asked too many questions and it confused him.

He then apologised if any of his comments had upset me. I told him that they had absolutely angered me and I wanted to know where it had all come from. He replied that he was simply in a funny mood. I told him that wasn’t good enough; I needed more. He didn’t answer. I went back again and asked and he then said he’d already elaborated.

Whatever.

That is my last, and final, email to him. I tried to include him in things, provide openings and tell him what my travel plans were and what I’d been up to. Yet he still can’t be honest with me. I am absolutely done.

As much as I feel for him – his dad is having heart surgery and he’s now apparently pursuing the army for hearing loss and PTSD (big jump from not willing to consider an admission of depression) – but I can’t help him. I am no longer required to do so. He alone is responsible for him.

Whatever.

It’s not a word that I like to use, it is too blasé and extremely lacking in respect, but it has to be that way.

I’ll confess that I did keep having wonderings in the back of my head, what if… will he… will I… can we make it work? But I know in my head of heads that we can’t. He needs to be a changed man, and even if he is or does, he won’t be the guy I fell in love with but he will still always be the guy who deserted me, who disrespected me and spoke extremely horribly to me. Why on earth should I hope and wonder about a future with someone like that?

I am trying my best to have an amazing time away and am so far succeeding brilliantly, albeit with the bumps of contact with him. But no more bumps. Not anymore. I don’t wish him or his family any ill will, but I do wish him away from me.

Wow. I think I truly do. He’s not my first love, but he was my first fiancé, my first live in partner and the first to get me pregnant. But he won’t be the last – I deserve better. I will find better. But I’ll only find better once he is away.

I’ll confess something… there’s always going to be a part of me that will want him to suddenly appear out of nowhere and sweep me off my feet.

I’ll confess something else… I’m glad I finally said whatever.

 

 

What am I doing?

I’m currently having a ‘what the hell am I doing here?’ moment. I had an amazing time yesterday, enjoyed the water fight that Thai New Year (Songkran) is known for and even got into it today.

But right now, I’m back at my hostel sitting on my bed and wondering what I’m doing. I booked myself for four nights here in Chiang Mai to ensure I’d be here for all of the New Year festivities (three day experience) and have now booked another four nights at another hostel. I didn’t really know what to expect here, and all I’d really heard about Chiang Mai was to go trekking with the hill tribes.

I’ve since learnt that this is one of the largest cities of Thailand, that Songkran goes especially off here and that there are also lots of elephant sanctuaries, adrenalin activities and cooking classes to do. So, where do I start?

I’ve been pretty good with not getting overwhelmed the past eight weeks and have been taking my time getting to places, finding a vibe I like and sticking with it. I think what happened is that I got too settled in with Tatum. We met in Hanoi, did separate short trips away and then travelled together for a couple of weeks. We’re now heading in different directions and I miss having that company, the familiarity.

Yesterday I caught up with Alex, a guy I used to work with. He’s based in Bangkok but was here for work and extended to be here for New Year. I had so much fun hanging with him, getting into water fights and just chilling. I actually had a couple of surreal moments, where I couldn’t really comprehend that I was in Chiang Mai, Thailand, with Alex whom I used to work with in Melbourne. I was there in the middle of an epic water fight, something that would never happen back home and I was having an amazing time.

Apart from just having the company of a friend, it was nice to have the familiarity of work, him knowing my history there and being able to talk about people without having to explain who was who or the significance. I love spending time with new people, getting to know them and sharing myself, but I’m still quite reserved. With Alex, there was none of that, except for what happened with Gary. He was polite enough to not ask about the engagement break off. When I went back to work last year after getting engaged, he was the first to come and give me a big congratulatory hug.

He did ask why I decided to travel, and I didn’t go into the details, just gave the basic overview: last year was a great year, then a sucky year and then my apartment was put up for sale. I wasn’t hugely engaged with my new job and needed to change things up. Whilst I have told a few people about what happened with Gary, it didn’t seem right to go into that yesterday and I don’t want to dwell on it.

But now, I’m just not quite as happy as I was yesterday. I don’t want to pretend and I don’t really feel up to putting in the effort of being social. This hostel is great and if I were feeling differently I’d absolutely love it. The dorms are awesome, it’s a mini private room within a dorm so I’m getting some privacy and space and the mattress is actually a mattress, rather than a foam pad.

It’s the vibe that I can’t get into. It may be that it’s much more party centric due to Songkran, and I knew that coming in. I tried to engage this morning. I got myself kitted up in my water-gun backpack and joined in the fight with the hostel across the street. I got drenched and succeeded in drenching others. I chatted to a few people, but after a couple of hours, I wasn’t feeling it anymore. Apart from wanting to enjoy myself here, I do want to experience more of the Thai culture and New Year celebrations.

Alex and I spent the afternoon in the main street watching the parade and fighting with the passing tourists and locals, forming alliances and just having a great time. It was so much more interactive. Hostel against hostel and the handful of locals that came through the street just wasn’t right.

So I walked to the main street alone and got shot at, shot at others and enjoyed myself. I was however craving someone to share this with. I always knew that my biggest struggle on this trip was going to be meeting new people and engaging with them. In the end, I didn’t struggle in Vietnam and loved it. I can’t be too hard now; I have only been in Thailand for two nights. But I don’t know. I’m just not feeling it.

I have a lot of buts written through here. I’m good at justifying things, so a but always works well for me. But now, I need to just get out of my head and join in the fun. Get some dinner, come back and start drinking with everyone. Do the tourist-y thing and get hammered in Chiang Mai for Songkran.

What am I doing here? Right now, feeling sorry for myself for not having any friends and not doing anything about it. In the long run, I’m here to have fun and enjoy life and gain any sort of experience that I can. Songkran may be a once in a lifetime experience for me, so I need to get the hell out of my dorm and join the hell in with it.

Stop wondering and just do it. I’m here to travel through it; to work through it. So bloody well do it.

Empowerment

Empowered. That’s me right now. I’m surprised with how clear and empowered I’m currently feeling. I don’t think I’ve actually felt like this before and am wondering why I didn’t do this sooner.

I’ve been feeling at peace since the end of February and having my time on the beach. I still want children and it is taking a lot of self control to not steal every child or baby I see – seriously, the kids here are so freaking cute – but I’m no longer sad or in pain.

Gary has reached out to me a few times and we’ve had some nice enough messages going back and forth, he had said he was sad around 23 February, but I’m not sure if that was genuine or not. I really can’t believe anything he says anymore. I told a few people my ‘sob story’ during my tour. My roomie was the first to find out and she really questioned why I was still in contact with him – she kept asking if I’d unfriended him yet. I was able to finally send her a message this morning and tell her that I’d blocked him and unfriended him. I feel so much better for it.

I’ve been in Hanoi for about two weeks now and have been enjoying some down time, aimlessly wandering and making new friends. Just enjoying the thrill of being away but not being tied down to anything, or being pressured into rushing into something.

Well, a few days ago, Gary once again asked me if I still loved him. I didn’t respond – why should I? Then I went out and had a few drinks, so jokingly sent him the same question. And I’m not sure exactly what happened, but things turned. He was an absolute arsehole. I’m trying to forget everything that he said, but it really came from out of nowhere.

He claimed that he was in pain, and I was insulting him by telling him that he needed to speak with someone about his time in the army and his anxiety. He claimed we was speaking with someone – he was speaking with me. I refuted this, as when I had tried to call him to physically speak, he wouldn’t answer or wouldn’t elaborate and would completely bypass the issue.

Then suddenly, he told me that I was effectively too fat, that I didn’t dress well or care about myself enough. That I didn’t have any pride in myself and it was a turn off. He was scared that if we got married I’d gain five stone and therefore be even fatter. He then proceeded to give me ‘advice’ about looking after myself so that I would be desirable to others in the future, that I’d one day look in the mirror and thank him for giving me this advice.

He told me that I needed to be a princess, that I needed to improve my clothes and do my hair and nails and wear more make up. He then proceeded to insult my sister and think that it was all okay – he was doing this to help me. Apparently when I was trying to lose weight last year, I was doing it wrong. I shouldn’t have been listening to my doctor, nutritionist or exercise physiologist, but rather should have been going to the gym four days a week for an hour each session. I should have listened to him – an uneducated male.

I did point out that we did go to the gym a few times and enjoyed it, however we stopped going together and he in fact stopped going himself. I didn’t point out that at the time we were doing this, I was unknowingly pregnant so anything in regards to my weight would have been difficult to control. I also didn’t point out that I then dropped 10 kilos without even trying.

There was a lot more in relation to that, but it turns out it was quite an issue for him as he had to ‘stick his dick inside me’ and our sex life suffered. Curiously, when I had tried to discuss our sex life, not much was said and he certainly never told me that he found me unattractive or didn’t like sticking his dick inside me. Obviously it wasn’t that much of an issue as he did manage to get me pregnant.

What I am surprised further by is that he was quite nasty, but seemed to genuinely think he was doing me a favour. Had this happened a few months ago, I’d likely be a mess. He chose my biggest insecurity and attacked it, truly attacked it unprovoked. It was also early in the morning for him in his time, so I can’t even blame this on him having a few drinks, like when he’s asked me if I loved him. This all came from nowhere.

I was determined not to get upset and I tried so hard not to stoop and bite back and attack him, but when he insulted my sister, I couldn’t hold back. I went back at him and said he wasn’t top shit, not the best looking and his fashion of tracksuit pants was not suitable for everyday wear. He needed to work on his appearance as well. I did hold myself back from commenting on the sex – from our time together, he did only satisfy me about three times. Sex was all about and for him – shame he had to do it with a fat unfashionable non-princess. Anyway, he simply responded that I raised valid points. He didn’t bite.

Eventually he turns it into a joke and brings up getting married – that he thinks we should go to Vegas and get married. Seriously? After insulting me and my family, he thinks I’d marry him? I told him if he wanted a princess, he’d need to treat a girl like one and make her feel as though he’d stop the earth for her. I said he needed to be happy within himself before he could ever consider making someone else happy.

This did ruin my evening, and I spent the night in the hostel moping around a bit and shed a few tears on my bed. But it wasn’t the insults – I know I’m attractive and what I wear suits me and I look good. I’m comfortable in my own skin – it’s taken me time, but I am who I am and look how I look. But the nastiness – the idea that I was actually in love with someone capable of that and had committed myself to spending my life with him – that made me angry, it upset me immensely. I was and still am deeply confused by this. Where the hell did it all come from?

He then took it further by sending me a couple of my past Facebook profile pictures. One was taken in Kuala Lumpur about eight years ago – he told me that he loved that Laura. I told him he’d never met that Laura, and unsurprisingly in eight years I have aged (also curiously, I was incredibly unfashionable at that time, hadn’t done my hair and wasn’t wearing an ounce of make up). Another picture was of me at my cousin’s wedding, so of course dressed up. I told him that no girl was going to dress up for a wedding every day of her life.

He had said that he was over me and had moved on, had dated a couple of girls and puts them on a test. He gets them a few drinks, and if they flirt with other guys, they aren’t for him. I have no idea where he gets all this from – why test a girl on a first date? Why test her at all? How the hell did I get involved with this?

I did tell him that I would look back and thank him. That I would be thankful that I didn’t marry him, didn’t commit to spending the rest of my life with him and am extremely thankful that he won’t be the father of my children. He simply responded that he’d make a good husband and father one day. I asked him to prove it – and he simply said he would to the right girl – clearly forgetting we were engaged last year. I mean come on, what an absolute dick. How did I fall for this guy???

Then yesterday morning I wake up to another message from him: ‘Good Night Laura x’.

What. The Hell.

He then messages later on to say that we need to move on, he can’t go on like this it’s not healthy. I then remind him he told me had moved on and he had also said he found it easy to let go. I said I had moved on and that I was confused by his contradictions and I wished him well.

I then get a further message saying that he can only get married in Vegas. I chose not to bite and am proud of myself for not. Instead, 24 hours later I decide that my time is better spent than trying to help or understand him. He is not worthy of any more of my time and has already taken up far too much of it. So at breakfast this morning, I blocked him on messenger and unfriended him on Facebook. I feel so much better. No longer will I wait or get anxious about a message coming through from him. I am clear of him. He cannot contact me.

I was chatting to a new friend the other day, after the insulting messages and I said I didn’t know why I was still in contact with him, why I felt that need. What troubled me was that he could turn so nasty. It simply comes down to guys wanting to play games to make themselves feel better. I truly believe that for Gary. He is a lost soul and can only make himself better by blaming his bad choices and circumstances on someone else. He refuses to accept or take any responsibility for what he does to himself and others. And I no longer need to deal with that.

A while ago Fiona mentioned to me that it was an ego thing, me wanting to stay in touch. I didn’t think much about it, but now, yes I see it. It felt nice to think that I was needed and he was reaching out to me. It was nice to know that he hadn’t moved on and was watching my moves. But remove the ego, and I have no responsibility for him. I have no obligation to help him. He needs to help himself. I do not. I have to help myself and only myself. He can go get fucked for all I care now. If he is happy and proud of his actions, then good for him. That is purely a reflection on him and nothing on me. I am better than that and I have so many better things to be doing with my time and much more worthy people to spend my time on and with.

I am travelling at the moment and I am looking after myself. I am making new friends and seeing and experiencing so much more than I could have hoped for. I am a good person and dicks that won’t help themselves will no longer hold me back.

I am an empowered woman and I am strong. I am woman, hear me roar.

Sunrise Welcome

My timing may have been a little off, but I did make it to sunrise this morning. I was so keen to press snooze on the alarm – it was the best sleep I’d had in a week. But this was too important; I couldn’t miss it. I pushed myself through and made the short walk alone to the beach.

It was really quite peaceful. The locals were slowly opening their shops and restaurants ready for the day’s trade, tuk tuk drivers were having a quiet break and workers were collecting rubbish. Early morning really is a different time in the city, country – anywhere really.

I walked along the beach for a bit and found a somewhat secluded spot to sit – with beach side bars and restaurants, there isn’t really a lot of seclusion. I settled myself down, removed my thongs and placed my tissues within easy reach. This wasn’t going to be an easy time.

I got out my phone and found my words; I’m glad I’d written them earlier, otherwise it may have been much harder and certainly less coherent. I read each word out loud and thought of the baby. I allowed the love to flow through me and the peacefulness of the water splashing on the shore to take me away. I didn’t notice the workers behind me or the fisherman getting their boats prepared. I let the colours and clouds in the sky wash over me and allow me to read what I so needed to read.

I captured an image of some clouds facing the sun. The sun rise wasn’t remarkable, it was slightly off to the side and behind me, but these clouds spoke to me. I like to think of this image as the sun welcoming my baby in; shining a bright light on the way, holding them in love and light. The baby is being released by my open hands, both of us embracing the love and light and moving on to the next chapter.

I waited for the clouds to fully dissipate, however a young local girl came and approached me. I was a little nervous, unsure if she wanted to chat, to pick-pocket or just to sit. I also wanted this time for me and me alone. She pointed to my tissues and asked for one. I pulled one out and she pulled the layers apart, counting. One, two, three, four. She then bunched them all back up, wiped her nose and threw it away.

She pointed at my phone a couple of times, but I held fast, again not sure. Two other boys came over, one older and younger. The older asked for money, and I said I didn’t have any. They soon left, leaving the girl and I. I asked her name, and she replied ‘Hoy’. She again pointed to my phone and pressed the lock button, revealing the camera shortcut. She wanted a picture. So I took a couple of selfies, pulling silly faces. It was quite sweet, until she then asked ‘miss, one dollar?’ I said I had no money, and she moved on.

I looked back at the sky and the clouds had gone – the representation I’d made and had hoped to see further develop had disappeared. But I felt at peace. Hoy had come along and pulled me back into the real world. While her world is very different to mine, she helped me. I remained grounded and thankful for what I have. She proved to be the perfect distraction.

As I glanced further around I found the sun. It had risen as an amazing orange orb, appearing between the trees to brighten and day and paths ahead. I went through one tissue today and that was used by a young Cambodian girl. I didn’t fill my own with tears again –  I have worked through this. I was filled with reflection and limited sadness today, but I was giving myself permission to move on.

I can now look at the sun and the clouds and know that my baby is up there and looking down on me. As time passes, the physical distance grows, yet there will always be small fluffs of cloud and love to see us never full parted.My path ahead is bright and filled with light.