Reading this letter will leave you inspired and heartbroken all at once.
Dearest Darling Limpetgirl (2011),
I know you are hurting, my Poppet. I can see that right now you are broken, a shell of the woman you once were. I can see that you are exhausted; weary with the burden of sadness you carry, devastated by the way your life has fallen apart. I know you just want help. And here it is.
Thanks to the power of magic fairy dust and sparkly unicorns this missive comes to you from three years in the future. From you! From your future self more than a thousand days later, with everything you need to know to ease your pain and get you through it all.
He broke your heart. I know that. And it happened in a horrid way, he just withdrew his love and disappeared one night. He left you and he left his two children. Your world was shattered. But what you do now is important, the decisions you make now, as a single parent, have consequences. So sit back, my love, make yourself comfortable and focus. Here are the answers you so desperately seek.
1. The quickest way from A to B is to accept A.
You didn’t want your relationship to end, but he did. You can cry about it and talk it over with your friends ad nauseam, but it was going to end. Yes, you could both have handled the ending better for the sake of the children, but you weren’t given a choice. I know if you could go back you might do things differently, but you’d still end up apart, because you weren’t right for each other. He didn’t want to be with you anymore. It was a rejection and rejection sucks, but you, my dear one, are still worth loving and you will, in time, when you are ready, find love again. But the quickest way to achieve that is to accept what has happened.
2. You don’t need to argue anymore.
You’re passionate. It what makes you who you are, but when you mix passion with anger and hurt it means you won’t always be thinking calmly and reasonably. There may be days where you hate this man and what he has done to you and your children. There will be days when you want to scream and shout and tell the world what a fuckwit he is. But what you don’t need to do anymore is argue. His life is his life, what he does with it is not your concern now. The only conversations you need to have are about the children — when he is seeing them and when he’s bringing them home. The rest? Who said what to whom and when? That doesn’t matter now. Those are not your arguments to have.
3. He will always be the father of your children.
Your boys will always love their Daddy because he is their Daddy. They don’t fully understand the enormity of what he has done to them and to you and maybe they won’t really get it until they become fathers themselves. But what they don’t need to hear is you saying bad things about their Dad (or worse, publishing your hate in bitter little Facebook updates). There may be times when you are hurting so badly that you can’t keep it all in, and Petal, there is no such thing as the perfect Mummy, but as much as possible, keep it neutral. It will be better for them that way. They will come to their own conclusions about what he has done, and believe me, they will be grateful for everything you do for them and love you forever. You are a great Mummy. They need you to get your shit together as quickly as possible so that you can take care of them the way they need because the reality is, you have to do the job of two parents now.
4. The pain will ease.
Baby, you won’t always feel this way, but recovery doesn’t happen overnight, and you have to work through your emotions in a healthy way. You can’t bottle this up and you can’t drink (or snort) or smoke (or eat) your way to oblivion. I know right now you want to curl up under the duvet and never come out. I know you just want to stop hurting. You’ve had thoughts about running away, about letting someone else deal with the mountain of crapola, but you know that’s not the way through it. When you are ready, there are some things that will help. Anti-depressants, counseling, good friends, self-development, reflection and understanding will all make a difference. Chocolate will help a little, but only for a few minutes. After that it will just sit on your arse and make aeroplane seatbelts uncomfortably tight.
5. You won’t find another love until you are whole again.
Honey — you won’t have any trouble finding men, but oh my Lordy Lou, you are not going to find the right kind of love for years yet. You are too broken and you’ll look for all the wrong things in all the wrong places. You’ll be needy and emotional and cling on where you shouldn’t. You’ll be a limpet of love. If you want to date and have some special grown up times, then go ahead, be safe, be careful but protect your heart. It’s not ready to handle any further fuckwittery, of which there will surely be plenty. But when you are ready. Love will find you, I promise.
6. You will be happy again.
Right now you are numb inside. Everyday is a painful struggle to look after two small people and to function in a relatively normal way. You don’t feel strong, I know you hate it when people even use that word. So let’s call it something else… let’s call it fortitude. Or resilience. Or durability. You, my girl, have staying power, you have brains in your shoes and feet in your head (or somesuch). You will keep on getting out of bed each day and doing what you have to do to make it through. Do this a thousand times over, and you will be happy again. I promise you. I promise you. You will be happy again.
You thought you had it all, beautiful home, beautiful children, a loving man and an easy-breezy life. But he didn’t love you and you couldn’t make each other happy. Brace yourself. Before it gets better it’s going to get worse. You’ll work your arse off until you cry with fatigue. You’ll be broke, homeless and looking at the shattered dreams beneath your feet. There’ll be damp on the walls and spiders the size of chihuahuas. But it will be ok. You won’t believe me right now, but this is the right path for your life. It’s a long, hard bumpy path littered with dog shite and other assorted piles of crap, but this is your path for now, and you will walk it with dignity and courage. Just watch where you put your feet.
P.S. Don’t buy the brown dress. It made you gook like a plop on legs.
Photo credit: martinak15/flickr