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The 30 posts of truth – Something you hate about yourself

18/01/2011

I’m starting, at long last, my 30 Posts of Truth and I’ll be honest with you, I intended to start a lot earlier only this first step is a very difficult one in as much as who likes to own up about what they hate about themselves? Who wants to let on the worst of themselves when we are all trying so hard to impress people and make new friends, find new readers, be a ‘nice’ person, one whose company it would be nice to share?

I have spent quite some time thinking about what to write for this first post and my first thoughts were to write about how I hate my obsession of money, wanting more all the time, or my childhood dream to become rich and famous? But that’s nonsense really isn’t it? We all have similar desires still locked inside but they don’t harm anyone else other than ourselves and our illusions with the world.

No, I had to dig deeper. And if you ever try this exercise you too will find, if you do it properly, that there are parts of you that are really horrible, you’re embarrassed by them and wonder how could you ever have done that, thought that, been like that. In fact I dug so much that I remembered one incident that I don’t have the courage to share here on such an open channel, I have spoken to the person involved and asked for forgiveness, it was granted but I still can’t forgive myself.

Out of all my sins the one that plagues me over and over and if I could go back maybe I would change is the one I’m about to share. It involves my life in Italy as it came to an end, it was Spring 2004, I had been separated from my ex husband for over 6 months and living with my two children in a house close to where we used to live, close enough for them to reach their schools and stay in contact with their father. I was still working in the village at the local incoming tourist agency, a job I thoroughly enjoyed and was successful at but life out of work was depressing. I would go to the local ‘Gufo’ bar after work and have a couple of glasses of wine with work colleagues or friends, I would arrange to meet them later if it was weekend as I couldn’t bear being indoors on my own. My children were 14, and 16, they had their own busy social lives and sometimes they would stay at their dad’s (our old family home) leaving me with a lot of time to fill in.

I have never felt so lost and at a loose end. For once in my life I knew I was weak, I had been brought down to Earth with such a bump that my breathing was stilted, my drinking had escalated and I didn’t know how to get out of the awful rut I found myself in. On the occasions I did go out, maybe in a different town, I would bump into my ex with his bimbo girlfriend, taking her to the exciting new restaurant that had opened up. The sight was so shocking to me, it ruined my evening and I would spend the rest of the time talking about ‘it’ ie the situation with whomever I was with that night. A complete bore!

Their relationship grew and they became more confident, I’d bump into them more often and that gut sinking feeling never disappeared. I had to get over it but how could I living in this tight-knit community where everyone knew everyone and I would hear of Him out with Her all the time?

Fortunately my work took me abroad in the search of selling our beautiful resort to groups, schools, families, tourist agencies you name it, it was my job to convince them to come and ski in our resort. I went to Poland, to Czechoslovakia, to Northern Ireland and to Birmingham where I bumped into a man from the London Italian Tourist Board. I joked, ‘There aren’t any jobs going at your place I suppose?’ a throw away comment as I knew how notoriously difficult it was that jobs came up in these offices. To my immense astonishment he replied there were vacancies and I should forward my CV to him.

I did without delay, this would get me back to the UK, to the comfort of my family. A fresh new start where I wouldn’t have to be ridiculed by seeing my ex and his dolly bird day in day out. I received an email inviting me over for an interview and I leapt at the chance. Thoughts of my children were placed on the back-burner whilst I tried to sort out at least one area of my life successfully, I would cross that bridge when I came to it.

I got the job and was given one month to close down my life in Italy and start a new one up in England! I was on the move and it felt so right! Of course there were tearful goodbyes with my close friends, the ones who had stuck by me, propping me up on many a drunken night whilst I fought with my poor sorry self. On speaking to the children my son was adamant he would not be coming. He was 16, was studying in a local school, he had his friends and it would have been wrong to move him. My daughter however, was only 14, I didn’t want to release my ‘parental control’ at such a  delicate time in her life. Somehow I managed to convince her to come with me, she would join me after a month, time enough to find a home to live in, find a school that would accept her and start our new lives together.

I did my best, I found a three bedroom home in a decent area, I lied through my back teeth to get her into the local Catholic school saying we were regular church goers and I dedicated time to my new job which I loved. Up came the first half term break and we had agreed to send her back to Italy.

She returned. She said she’d had a marvellous time but shortly after she confided that on sitting down to dinner one evening indoors at her usual place at the table, Dad had asked her to move as that seat was now reserved for Sabrina, his sweetheart. You can imagine my 14-year-old? Devastated. And mum left to patch up the damage once again.

Christmas holidays came and the same procedure took place, Daughter went off to Italy for a fortnight. This time when she came back she cried as dad had asked her opinion. ‘How would you feel if I was to have a child with Sabrina?’ My daughter was feeling evermore pushed out of her dad’s life and this started affecting her on a daily basis. She was no longer settled in class, bunked off lessons and by the time February half term came round, I was quite happy to have a break from her! Famous Last Words.

She never came back!

I had taken the day off work to go to the airport to collect her and whilst drinking my early morning tea and organising my day I received a phone call from a sobbing daughter, crying down the phone how she couldn’t possibly come back ‘there’ as she was so unhappy. Her father sitting next to her did nothing to persuade her otherwise. Was he trying to get back at me? I’ll never know but no words could convince her to change her mind. Have you ever tried convincing a teenager to do something against her will? Don’t bother.

Daughter and I separated our ways and I started flying out to Italy once every six weeks for long weekends to keep up my contact with her and her brother. At least she had her father to look over her I thought to myself to make me feel better.

Then she was 16 and I got a phone call asking if she could come back and live with us again? ‘Of course, but there are rules’. All the rules were deemed reasonable and she came. We managed to get her back into school and with hard work she managed to scrape through some GCSE’s, enough to allow her to start at the local college and study art. She was doing really well and had secured a place on the next course, a higher level opening up her options to go on to so many different opportunites…and then her dad took her on holiday along with a ‘friend’ of his and our son. It was Easter and I was pleased for her, she deserved the break. Little did I know she was to fall in love with Dad’s friend, see him at weekends behind my back, leave college and return to Italy to be with him. Once I toppled the couple, I called her father and asked for his assistance in ending this ridiculous relationship, ‘She’s only 17, your friend is 32!’ I could see where it was going and how it would ruin her life. He didn’t believe me and did nothing.

I hate myself for not sticking out Italy longer to stay with my children and prevent them from the side effects of their idiot father. I understood from daughter herself that in the two years 14 – 16 she had been a nightmare teenager, drugs, sex and rock and roll. If she didn’t come home at night dad never knew, sometimes he would lock the door on her and leave her to sleep on the balcony in the freezing cold. His idea of discipline! I should have been there for her, for my boy and made sure they had someone to guide them in the difficult adolescent years instead of leaving them with their selfish egotistical excuse for a father.

This is what I hate myself for.

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. 18/01/2011 9:10 am

    I could have been faced with a similar situation when my marriage ended – lots of people asked was I ‘going’ home to Wales to my family, but home is now Ireland, especially for my children, and I was afraid my ex would take me to court for abduction if I skipped the country, and in a way I’m glad the choice was taken out of my hands. Your story sounds heart-breaking, but you did everything with the best of intentions – you were trying to sort yourself out, and that was important for you to be a good mother to your children. None of us ever know how our decisions will affect our children. I’d love to know how your children are doing now x

    • 20/01/2011 4:26 pm

      Actually they’re not doing so bad to be honest! My son recently had a masive row with his controlling father which ended in a punch up and the boy being excluded from the family business but he’s picked himself up and got a new job fingers crossed for him as he’d like to go to Australia. As for my daughter, rebel at heart, she fell in love with a man twice her age and had his child in 2009 – my 1st grandchild! They are still together but I often wonder if it will be forever. BUT she’s happy and that is what counts x

  2. 18/01/2011 11:02 am

    I’ve been meaning to start a “30 posts of truth” since the start of the year! Maybe February huh?!

    • 20/01/2011 4:31 pm

      It’s harder than you think and I csn’t possibly do one a day, but I shall complete them hopefully one a week, tht’s more doable for me

  3. 18/01/2011 12:12 pm

    Big hugs Mari, I can imagine this was difficult to write and you are very brave in doing so. Can I just ask something? What would have happened if you had stayed? Would you have continued drinking, maybe gotten v depressed? What kind of an effect would that have had on your teens, dealing not only with their idiot Dad but you in a bit of a state too. Just think about it hun because it seems to be you did everything you could given the situation and that your children made their own choices. You couldn’t have changed your daughters behaviour even if you were in Italy. This isn’t to diminish how you feel at all, not one bit, I was just mulling it over out loud really. Jen

    • 20/01/2011 4:35 pm

      No you’re right. I did have to get out of there to ‘save’ myself from me. I know I can’t go back and I know that was how things were supposed to go but as a mother I just wish it could have worked out differentlyu….if I was God, I’d have made a few changes to his plan 😉 but there again, I’m no,t so – c’est la vie. Fortunately I have an excellent relationship with them both and we have talked about this amongst ourselves many a time. The love is there and the understanding on their part

  4. 19/01/2011 12:14 am

    …and now you must forgive yourself Mari. You did what you felt was best at the time. Your intentions were good, to wish you could change the past is never a useful thing.

    Big hugs for you, Mich x

    • 20/01/2011 4:42 pm

      Thanks Mich. I think at the bottom of my heart I know I did what I did because I had to. As Jen asked earlier, if I had stayed maybe things wouldn’t have been as rosy as I can imagine now at a long distance of time since. I suppose every mother would just like to do her children the best they can. I have spoken with my children and they are fine with it, it’s just me having a go at myself

  5. 19/01/2011 2:41 pm

    gosh, what an honest post. Well done you posting such a painful experience. Such difficult decisions in difficult times, so easy to do the wrong thing with the right intentions.
    thank you for sharing.

  6. 19/01/2011 5:52 pm

    You can’t blame yourself for that! Hindsight is always 20-20. You did what you thought was the right thing at the time; you’re not psychic. I expect you were hoping your children would come with you to England.

    It’s pretty obvious to me where the blame here lies. And it’s not you

    Very honest post.

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