I declared it to be the week of rest and low-drama, Which is a relief after the craziness of the two weeks prior to this, perhaps the last few months. Thanks everyone who was concerned and asked me about it. Very much appreciated.
Last week I gave myself a week off. A week off from pursuing a better life, a week off from ensuring patterns don’t become ingrained habits, a week off from worrying about work and living conditions, a week off from destructive self-talk and fight/flight reactions, a week off from feeling I had to engage with my flatmate to be polite when actually I needed quiet time. It turned out quite well.
There were three spots of potential drama. Most of which were negotiated quite well with much better outcomes than may have previously occurred. Yay progress!
We established that perhaps I’m feeling alienated from the local social network because Jed has been anxious that I’m going to feel neglected and left out if he doesn’t take care of me and give me his attention when we’re at the pub with his mates. Which in turn makes me feel isolated and a bit like “the needy girlfriend” rather than the confident social mediator and fun conversationalist that is one of my favourite roles. We realised this on Monday. We tested it on Wednesday (a bit) and on Friday (lots) and success, everyone’s happier. Yay happier!
There was an interaction between Jed and his ex that could have blown up into another couple of days of back-and-forth guilt and grumpiness. But didn’t. Jed worked out what he wanted and what the boundary was and clearly communicated it, which kept him balanced and empowered (yes, I like that word, I know it gives some people the heebie jeebies, but compassionate self-assured empowerment is an important quality. It has some correlations with Havi’s concept of Sovereignty) . He also had a moment of not-keeping-the-dashboard-protector, which is an important milestone to reach in reclaiming yourself back from a destructive relationship. Yay self-confidence!
We may have a rough time with L this coming weekend, as she’s going through something that’s perfectly understandable given recent upheavals in her life, but it’s something we’ll deal with as it arises, as is best for her, and for everyone. Yay understanding!
I will admit I’m a bit nervous, given the last time I saw her I wasn’t in the best frame of mind. I’m sure she didn’t really notice and if I just gather up my courage and behave normally and generously and lovingly then it will be fine. Boo insecurities! Yay being aware of them!
I had a lovely supper with the lovely Decline on Tuesday night and then we went photographing around Spitalfields in East London. She’s setting up an art business, at a similar time to one that Jed (and I) are exploring for his art, so there’s lots of ideas and collaborations going on. She recently sold some greeting cards she makes, which is exciting. Yay creative endeavours!
I’m feeling a lot more settled at work, probably as a result of being more secure in life in general. I’ve realised this particular workplace is quite bad at giving over ownership of a project, a thing which I need to enable me to actually take pride in the work. A new woman started here on Monday, to look after an external organisation we’re partnering with, and for the first time I’ve got a kindred spirit here, who just ‘gets it’. I’ve so missed that. We talk about cultural awareness, strategy, organisational culture, and how to fix it all. Someone that has made me decide to get those personal business cards made so I can hand it to here for future contact/advice. Yay ownership and role models!
I’ve also been considering where I want to go professionally and what I might need to get there. The combination of current economic climate with minimal local experience and no local professional qualifications (a Masters is still a Good Thing TM) means that I probably need to revise my opinion of how competitive I am in the job market. I probably also need to re-activate the strategy I put together before I left Australia, in terms of contacts in my old industry. These are all productive thoughts, now to flesh them out a bit. Yay feeling confident to start taking action!
 I have a dear friend, Mat. The second time we hung out I was driving him to Katoomba as I was visiting my parents in the next town up and I always prefer company. It was the start of a fantastic friendship.
At the time I was driving a car I inherited from my grandfather, who was a perfectionist panel-beater-mechanic. My grandfather had put an ill fitting carpeted protector across the dashboard, to protect it from Australia’s harsh sun. But, the glue he’d used had melted in the sun, and the protector kept moving around. My (ex-)fiance had insisted we should keep it on there, so we did. Then we broke up (incidentally Mat was also recovering from a bad divorce, we’d been discussing both situations during the drive).
Mat asked me about the ill-fitting carpet cover, here’s the response:
Me: “I hate it, but F always said it should be on there…”
[significant pause as I realise what I’ve just said]
Mat: “let’s burn it!”
[laughter and release]
I threw it out soon after that, along with the obedience and disempowerment to make my own decisions that had been part of that relationship. (See, use of empower again).
This is the parable of not-keeping-the-dashboard-protector. A reminder that just because your ex had a preference and convinced you it was a good idea (or it was easier not to argue), is no reason why you should blindly follow this dictum after you’ve split up.