Practice … makes perfect. ?

Yesterday I was lucky enough to be asked out ‘painting’ by a chap I had met the day before. People are pretty friendly here, and everyone greets and chats with you. On Monday afternoon I had been sitting in a cafe by the beach, and sketching, I had ordered a becks blue and lime, despite having a very strong urge to buy a bottle of wine and drink it in the sun. I was drawing, erasing and cursing under my breath when a lady came over to talk to me. She asked if I was an artist (though it must have been obvious from my poor drawing that I am nothing of the kind!) we chatted for a few minutes and then she went back to her partner. 

Ten minutes later a chap came over to me,  Looked over my shoulder, sucked slightly through his teeth and said something along the lines of “are you having any trouble?” I admitted that I was struggling with the perspective , and he asked for my pencil, sat down with me and redrew my vista with perfect accuracy. Each part sat exactly in the landscape where it belonged, and the composition was pleasing to the eye. We chatted, his wife joined us and we had another drink ( interestingly my desire to drink disappeared as soon as I had company) The gentleman introduced himself as an artist, painting for the island gallery and invited me to go out with him for a painting lesson the following day. Fortunately I had brought my oils and brushes, and I accepted with pleasure.

So yesterday morning we met in the island gardens at a prearranged spot. My tutor arrived with a HUGE canvas for me; a quick lesson on composition and perspective followed and we rigged me up an easel from two boxes found in the garden sheds. I learned a lot in the next few hours. It was the first time I have ever actually sat outside with oil paints and tried to capture what I saw. I learned a lot from that, but probably more from watching my tutor paint a canvas much bigger than mine. In 3 hours or so , a big blank space was transformed into an almost finished painting, drawing in not only what was actually in the vista in front of us, but some added things close by, reframing the existing picture by moving things a little – the use of artistic license..I learned a lot about colour, about the use of light and shade and about the liberties one can take if the basics are correct.

At the end of the session, my painting, far from perfectly executed and annoyingly still imperfect on the perspective from was praised by my tutor and his wife, that praise meant a lot to me because it was honest ” it’s a lot better than yesterday” commented the artist, and his wife added that I had managed to get a great deal done in a short space of time. 

As we parted, my tutor said to me that I must just keep practicing .. that he had been painting for longer that I have been alive, and that painting the subject he had chosen had not been 100% easy for him either. .. 

I’ve been thinking about that. Several days this week, on holiday without another adult, I have been quite tempted to drink – well I have wanted to drink, or wanted to be able to drink, or thought nostalgically about drinking or something… I remember how hard it was in the early days to shake that off. How hard it was to remember the very valid reasons I decided to stop drinking. How I had to really concentrate to ” play the tape to the end” ….it’s much easier now. I don’t have to “argue ” in my head, I automatically fast forward the decision and picture myself at the end of the evening / the next morning … oh yes, practice at this has really really helped  and the last 445 days of not drinking have given me lots of practice … 

So I’m still sober, not smoking (since I got here last Saturday) eating much better, and generally pretty much ok. My perspective still needs some working on… but all I need to do is practice! Right ? 

Oh and when it’s finished, I’m going to buy that painting my teacher did as a keepsake of a wonderful day … and as a reminder to just keep trying 

Unanswered questions

I have many unanswered questions in relation to my Ex Partner. Many. Far too many to write here. Maybe we all have questions about the motivations, behaviour or attitudes of our loved ones. 

The struggle for me to ‘get answers’ to ‘understand’ has been woven through this period of separation. My tendency to intellectualise my own decision making means that I could probably tell you why I have made most of the decisions that I have in my adult life. I might no longer agree with the reasoning, but I can tell you what it was. 

I understand now that I will not GET answers, or not ones that make any sense to me. I will not be able to understand why, because I am not him. No doubt to him his behaviour makes sense – certainly he has normalised things that are very far from normal to most people. But in the end, it’s not acceptable to me. I cannot live with it – so I must move on. That’s it, simple, I must move on. 

I have been reading a very moving , (and scary – for the mother of teenage boys) book by Sue Klebold, the mother of one of the Columbine high school perpetrators. In it she describes vividly and painfully her search for understanding – WHY did her son do this thing. What had she and his father done wrong. A quotation that she was sent and reproduced him her book struck me … 

Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not look now for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day,

i think this is very pertinent. And I find it comforting. In the same way that I have a much greater perspective on aspects of my marriage – including the aspects of my character, actions and behaviour which contributed to its demise, I will perhaps one day have a similarly sanguine and reflective perspective in this last relationship. Now, I ‘cannot’ know the answers – because I am not ready to

In the early days of sobriety we encourage each other to take ‘one day at a time’, knowing that we can’t at that point comprehend a lifetime of sobriety – but also knowing that if a survivor can build one day on another then eventually greater resilience will come.

All that is required of me now is to have no contact; in person, on social media or through the written word. I can do that. And slowly, understanding may come, or it may not. But either way, I will be ok. 

The photos is my view this afternoon as I type this blog. It is one I have tried to paint many times . As I look again at the beautiful colours of the sea, and the formation of the rocks around that I have found so hard to capture on paper, I am reminded that nothing good is easily achieved, and that one day- when I do produce a drawing or painting I am satisfied with, it will be the culmination of , the result of all the other unsuccessful efforts I have made. I think maybe life is a bit like that. One day, when I am truly content,that wil have only come from the learning, difficulties and experiences I have had along the way. 

So for now I will try to ‘love the question’ and live each day as best I can. And try again to capture this view ! 

Away from homeΒ 

It’s half term here in the U.K. and the boys and I have decamped to an island bolthole. The younger two have a friend each with them, someone to hang out with and keep them from squabbling with each other. 

It has the added advantage that it leaves me with time to just “be”. 

This is MY week, to recharge, to sleep, to think, to sketch / paint, to reset. My opportunity to deal with a few creeping cross addictions ( food, cigarettes …. ) my chance to reflect and take some time … when there are few conflicting responsibilities and nothing I HAVE to achieve. 

I’m moving forward in lots of ways, but it is not easy. I feel like I’m swimming through treacle to make any small headway – after the initial euphoria of being dry, the ‘wow, I can do this’ kind of feeling, has come the daily grind of managing every situation / experience stone cold sober. similarly, with the termination of my relationship, the initial relief gave way to the daily grind and practicalities of managing a FT job, three teenage sons, two dogs and a home … I don’t cope that well. 

It’s funny, there is a relief in admitting that I am not my mother who seemed to manage everything going on in her life,with no complaint… she who spent evenings on her knees cleaning the kitchen floor whilst her husband and children watched TV… I am not this paragon of responsibility and selfless sacrifice. I need space to myself, I get thoroughly fed up with trying to make my two eldest kids pull their weight (and I resent them for refusing) I need sleep,  need downtime and I can’t (and don’t want to ) subjugate my entire life and needs to my kids – I am In fact Inherently a LOT more selfish than my mother , my role model (as a child) of how a woman SHOULD be .

And therein , I think, has lain some of the issue. I have constantly felt lacking because I am NOT so self sacrificing. So, at least I part,I have tried to force myself to be … and force it the square peg into the round hole .. it doesn’t work. 

I have realised that I am more selfish that my mother … but I am also less passive aggressive, less controlling and a lot more accepting of the differences between my kids and I …swings and roundabouts …

There is much to think about here …


Dear friends

I’ve been neglecting my blog. I’m sorry. 

“Stuff” has been happening; and I have not been able to process it sufficiently to post coherently.

I think that’s over now. I’m not drinking (and have not drunk) …. I will also not be having further contact of any kind with my ex Partner. That’s over. It needed to be, and I have finally and irrevocably severed the thread that held up somehow together. 

It was hard, is hard. But it needed to be done, and I am relieved to have done it.

A pivotal point came when I was reading an internet post. A woman wrote about her partner “why can’t he see what he’s doing us wrong?” About some truly awful behaviour from her partner. The answer was universal – he CAN see, but he doesn’t CARE. 

And so it was for me … once again I was trying to get my ExP to see that his actions were unreasonable, beTing myself up for not finding the right words to “make him understand” … but if course he understands, but he doesn’t care … that’s the truth, and nothing will change it. 

Time to walk away.

This time it’s complete severance. 100% . No remaining links. Finished. 

And it will stick, because he no longer “looks good to me”. He looks selfish, unkind, and slightly pathetic. An adult man with no insight, no friends, no income and no future. A man who thinks he’s always right, without humility or self reflection. Not attractive any longer.

At last. Thank goodness.