Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Do my children make me happy?

I had a bit of a moment whilst walking home from work today.  It went like this: I phoned the 12 year old to make sure he'd got home safely from school, and to tell him I was on my way.  We had a normal conversation, but he said something at the end that made me smile.  I can't even tell you what it was; something innocuous, but in his boy's-not-man's voice, with a hint of cheek, and a lot of love.  And for a split second, it made me happy.  Which, after the couple of days I've had, was no mean feat.

But then, as I heaved myself up the hill, I thought: have my children made me happy?  Do any of our children make us happy?  And if not, why are we programmed to have them?

Because the burden of having them both, particularly now I am a single mum, can sometimes weigh heavy.  Sometimes, they argue and fight so much that I feel like taking myself out of the house and walking away.   Very occasionally, they send me over the top so I feel like I've lost control.  In my Granny's day, this is when the stick or the belt would be used; these days, I shout like I'm rabid, then go ominously quiet.  Occasionally I slam doors.

But mostly days pass with the usual rubbing-along-ness that all families have.  Homework nagging. Tea making.  Some jokes.  A little bit of thoughtful conversation.  Moaning.  Arguments.  Music.  Lots and lots of Minecraft.  More nagging.  Occasional dancing.  Laughter.

And all the time, in the background, I worry about them.  I'm anxious on all levels, from the tiny (homework, spots) to the medium (eating healthily, school, friendships) to the humungous (can I afford to feed them?  Are they safe?).

Having children has given me purpose in life.  No doubt about it.  Without children, I would be looking for something else; adventure, charity, business - something to give me direction and clarity.  I would not be without them, I am proud of them, I would die for them.

And my children DO make me happy, sometimes.  But then so does cake.  And sex.  And my birthday.

I'd argue that happiness is not the same thing as fulfilment.  Because although I feel fulfilled, the stress levels I feel at the responsibility I have, can negate some of that happiness.

Having just read this back, I'm shocked at the selfishness of my own post.  Aren't we all supposed to be Earth Mothers, and isn't simply having children supposed to make us beamingly happy?  So happy that we live for our kids?  I wish I was like that.  I really do.

But for me, happiness is a mixture of life's rich tapestry (or some such bollocks) and it doesn't, I'm afraid, rain down out of my kids' arses.

Perhaps my attitude has got skewed?  I'd love to hear your views on this one.

Follow me on Twitter: @secretdivorcee  [two 'e's!]

Friday, 20 September 2013

Out of the ashes...

Phew.  That was a bit like falling into a vortex in The Adventure Game with a sandwich (do you remember that?) and coming out the other side with your hair and knickers all akimbo.  Are you still with me?

Thank you.

I guess I've lost a lot of readers, but part of the fun of blogging is building up your reading base.  I think.  At least, that's what I'm telling myself to make sure I don't become too glum.

Anyhoo, it all started when Hot Examiner asked me to edit a children's story he'd written.  I said yes, of course, because he's hot.  But oh my.  When it came to me, I was stunned by its...shitness.

I am being unfair of course.  It was a not very well written story about a pixie.  Do I need to go on?  And this put me off him slightly.

So I spent quite a long time editing the thing and did 'Send as an email attachment' thang.  Little did I know that the email account I was sending it from was the one from my blog, so when it arrived in his Inbox, it had Ava Piaf all over it.  I realised my mistake immediately, and sent him another email from my usual account asking him to ignore the last one.

He didn't ignore it.  He did what anyone would do - especially me - and googled away.  In twenty seconds he had found my Twitter feed and, most crucially, my blog, which talked all about him, how hot he was, how I felt about sex, how I'd had affairs - bla, bla bla.

I suppose it's enough to put anybody off.

To his credit, a few days later, he told me what he'd done.  In an email.  It simply said, "I have to tell you that I have read your blog."  After I'd read it, everything went a bit swimmy for a while and I felt like I had a small mouse, or possibly a vole, in my throat.  In an instant I felt like I had lost him, and lost my blog.  He and my blog were running off into the sunset together.  Without me.

A weird set of emails followed back and forth; he quoted Hamlet and some old folk singer, intimating that I was living a lie.  I was apologetic at first, then got really cross and told him to stop quoting literature because I DIDN'T KNOW WHAT THE FUCK HE WAS ON ABOUT.

I got a very formal response after that.  In a nutshell: have a nice life.

So.  The good things to come of this incident of the blog in the night time are...

1. I've realised that I really do love the boyf.  Lots of men do not have a sense of humour.  Boyf does.  This is worth a barrel of gold.
2. Although the old blog is dead, which I am sad about, I made a shedload of mistakes in it.  Here is a chance to start afresh!
3. I think that's it.

Welcome back, everybody!

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Open for business!

New name, new template, new me!

Welcome back - and thanks so much for sticking with me.  You have been utterly brilliant.  And I promise to be more technically savvy this time to try to keep the blog in the same hidey hole.  I feel a bit like Matt Damon in the Bourne films where he gets a snifter of someone tracking him down, gathers up his multiple passports and a rucksack (full of Kendal Mint Cake, no doubt, to keep him going in tricky situations), and legs it.

This particular passport is for The Secret Divorcee.  What do you think?  I quite like it, although couldn't work out how to do the whole acute accent thing on this keyboard.  I hope it works out ok.

Will finish widgeting and fannying about and then post again soon.  And thanks again, so much, for staying with me.


Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Time to close down the blog

Well.  I am officially shit at this.  It has taken just five months of anonymous blogging for me to be outed, and it's my own stupid fault.

I did a bit of editing for someone as a favour, and sent his copy back using my blog's email address.  Realised my mistake, told him to ignore it.  Of course, he didn't.  Instead, he Googled 'Ava Piaf' and found this blog and my Twitter account.

And I had talked about him on this blog in glowing terms.  And now I feel sad and embarrassed and cross at him and myself.

So, after five months of indelicate blogging, it's time to say so long, and thanks for all the fish.  But most importantly - I will start a blog up elsewhere and I'd really love you to come along with me.  Will you?

Don't make me beg.

If you'd like to accompany me on my new venture, please mail me at sparklyfuture@gmail.com, or tweet @avapiaf1 (or send me a pm, dm, or whatever it's called).  And let's keep in touch.

Ava xxx

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Photography as Therapy

About a year ago, I bought a DSLR.  I had seen some photos that the boyf had taken and thought 'I want to learn how to do that'.

I was a bit shit at first.  I would take photos of anything and anyone, pretending that they were interesting (when really they were just in focus.  And some not even that).  But gradually, gradually, I'm learning.  Not only about what makes a good picture, but ISO levels and aperture and what that wheely thing does.

Photography is a great therapy.  If you have a few hours, you can take your camera and yourself away somewhere - anywhere, but preferably somewhere interesting, or where the light is good - and you have a purpose.  To take some bloody good, creative photos.  You can get lost in it.  I have stood in the centre of my home city and observed and listened to and watched and sometimes spoken to a huge number of people, or situations, of cameos.  Here's one:

What do you think is going on?

I've been lucky enough to go to the seaside quite a lot this summer - to Wales and to Devon.  I have never noticed how the sea changes depending on the weather and the time of day.  Here's an example:

This was taken in North Devon on a sunny day.  The sea is BROWN, sandy coloured.  Thing is, it wasn't actually brown, but it just looked it because of how the sun was reflecting off it.  Magic, eh?  It looks like a painting.  But now look at this one:

Argh!  The sea has turned GREEN!  And the sky is sort of...whitey grey!

I could bore you silly with sea photos (I won't), but it's - um - exhilarating to be on a beach when the light is so good that the scene before you looks unreal, almost computer generated.  Awe inspiring.

And talking of awe inspiring... I happened to be on the beach when a landslip came down on the beach next door.  Gulp.

So get yourselves out there, snap away, get lost in people, in places, in light.  Sounds pretentious, and it is.  But it is wonderfully so.