When love leaves

If anyone who reads this also happens to be my Facebook friend, you would have noticed an exponential increase in the number of sad songs and cat photos I’m posting. This can only mean one of two things: either I’m trapped in my room with only a cat and the internet, or I’m going through a break up.

Actually, both options are clearly the same thing.

cat ferguson

As always, I have struggled to write this one. Why the hell did I call this blog ‘Lady Breaks’, and not ‘Lady Wins’, or ‘Lady Miraculously Prospers’, or even ‘Lady Has Largely Uneventful Life’? I guess at least I always have things to write about this way.

Almost two years ago my world fantastically collided with an exotic backpacker, let’s just call him ‘The Foreigner’. I wandered into a bar, all scared, naïve, and man-hating, and basically floated back out, hopeful, excited and happy for the first time in forever.

Our romance was intense. It was as if because we knew our time was limited, we tried to jam-pack a zillion memories into two working holiday visas. We went on fifteen (!) holidays, we lived together, we bought a cat, we stayed with each other’s families, we held each other ridiculously tight every night.

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The Foreigner picked me up and helped me heal. He helped me see that there can be joy and love and fun after divorce. There can be hope. He taught me that, even though I have been spectacularly rejected, I am worth loving.

However, this break up has been unexpectedly traumatic for me. I was stupidly under the impression that it would be semi-manageable because a.) I always knew we had a predefined, visa-ordained timeframe; b.) We weren’t ending on bad terms at all – in fact we probably were at the height of our relationship when our time ran out; and c.) A two-year romance surely can’t compare with a fourteen-year commitment.

I was wrong.

What I hadn’t taken into account was the fact that The Foreigner had been not only my saving grace, but my Band-Aid. He had covered the gaping hole left from losing my husband, family, friends, house… even my beloved dog. For two years, I didn’t have to confront much of this grief. It’s only now that he’s gone that I can see how empty Christmases, birthdays, Easters, and even just weekends really are.

bandaid cat

I searched Band-Aid and cat and was not disappointed.

In all honesty I doubt I would have been able to cope with these emotions two years ago. The Foreigner really did come into my life at the exact perfect moment, and I have to have faith that he has left at the exact perfect moment too. Eventually I did have to confront these feelings.

So for now, I am learning to be single through copious cat videos, Tinder tutorials, and a diet of Tim Tams and kale. Stay tuned for inevitable awkward first date stories.

Love love love x

On Dating and Stuff

Last week would have been my 9-year wedding anniversary. However, instead of receiving/ giving gifts and dining at the some expensive hipster restaurant, I caught up with some gorgeous girlfriends Sex-in-the-City-style to talk boys, boys, clothes, boys, and boys. *Side Note 1: I have to say that this was a much better experience than my last anniversary, which involved missing a Gold Class movie because we were driving a strumpet around.

Source: http://okmagazine.com/get-scoop/30-most-fabulous-sex-and-city-gifs-see-fun-fashion-love-and-drama-here/

Anyway, because I started seeing Mr-Actually-Does-Break-Ladies at 14, I am in the somewhat unique position of being almost 30 and not knowing how to date. Add to this the fact that I am a generally awkward person, and you have a recipe for more than a few embarrassing encounters with the male kind.

Exhibit A.

After finding out about the rotten affair and trying to recover from the whole blood clot debacle, a good and long-suffering friend took responsibility for teaching me how to interact with the hairier gender. *Side Note 2: I am actually the hairiest girl who has ever lived so this is not an apt description of men.

Anyway, she literally took me to bars and patiently stood by while I was too jittery and awks to even order a drink from male bartenders. She even allowed the mentorship to continue after a guttural growl-like noise escaped my mouth when one of her friends asked my name. Yet, slowly but surely, with her patience and my growing posse of single women friends, I finally began to be able to actually speak human words to men. I occasionally even looked them in the eye without feeling the need to self-combust.

Exhibit B.

This is about the point where the pendulum turned. All of a sudden I was capable of interaction with guys, and had made some amazingly wonderful friendships with such creatures, but my awkwardness prevailed. Now that I could finally speak to men, I became the Queen of over-sharing city. For example, at a dear friend’s recent birthday party, I introduced myself to her male friend with my entire life story. I. mean entire. He didn’t even have anywhere to run.

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So, yeah, I’m pretty awkward.

But, seriously, this whole dating world is kinda effed – as in fun and funny and frustrating. I still have absolutely no freaking idea of what I’m doing but it is not nearly as daunting as what I thought it was. As it turns out, amazingly, men are pretty cool. Especially if you can speak human to them.

While I don’t think I will ever lose my awks-ness, I am forever indebted to my lovely crew for pushing me off the dating cliff in the most loving and gentle and patient way possible. Let’s do this then.

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x

Breathe in Now

So it’s been over a month since I last posted. Part of that was wanting to wait until I had something half thought-out to say, and part of that was wanting to keep all the things I’m learning stored away like precious treasure. And part of it is that I’ve been busy breathing and learning and living.

I really don’t know what in my life will resonate with people now, but I know that I friggen love life more than ever. When everything was so shit over the past year I used to have a mantra that I would repeat in my head just to calm down and be able to take another step through hell.

It was simply: “The sun, the breeze, the sky, the trees.”

Just saying that to myself, took the focus away from me and my private hell, and onto the magnificence all around me. No matter how effed up life becomes, these things remain, and they remain beautiful and pure and good and constant (well, at least until the sun explodes and obliterates us all).

Ok, so not technically the sun exploding but still an amazing movie (if you're into metaphors and all that)

Ok, so not technically the sun exploding but still an amazing movie (if you’re into metaphors and all that)

I lost basically everything – all of a sudden I had no husband, no job, no income, poor health, and (very soon) no house. I was suddenly untethered from everything that was stable and true to me. I was floating in loss and despair. But yet, those wonderful things – the sun, the breeze, the sky, the trees – remained. And what’s more, I actually started to notice them.

I have no idea what my future holds now, and for the first time in my life I’m okay with that. Losing everything can be somewhat liberating. It means that there is a new and unimaginable future ahead. It’s excitingly scary.

Yes, Life, I'm talking to you.

Yes, Life, I’m talking to you.

In my darkest moments last year I planned to take my own life, and I got terrifyingly close. Knowing this scares me like nothing else in this world.

It petrifies me that I had no idea of the beauty and peace and joy that was just around the corner for me. It is daunting to think I almost allowed my life to be reduced to someone else’s actions upon it. And it cuts me to the core that there are people out there who never get to realise that they are worth more than their circumstances.

I’m not sharing this for pity or concern, I’m sharing this to remain true to the essence of Lady Breaks. It’s about vulnerability and pain, but also about the strength and beauty that is garnered and discovered when everything is stripped and everything aches.

As far as I can see right now, life is impossibly painful and impossibly beautiful. And it’s worth it.

PS. The heading is indeed a reference to Katie Noonan’s (george) glorious, healing song, Breathe in Now. So powerful.

Lady Love

Yes, I know it’s been a really long time since my last blog post. To be honest, I’ve really wanted to write but I also wanted to wait until a time where words like slut, whore, home-wrecker, harlot, and strumpet didn’t fill up the page… Actually, who am I kidding? I couldn’t wait to use a word like “strumpet”!

1057No, in all seriousness, things are actually really going very well! All things considered I am really loving life and happy to be here – which is something I wouldn’t have been able to say at all for the past year. I’ve had so many beautiful people rally around me and lift me up that I can’t help but be filled with joy and the deepest appreciation.

In fact, my entire perspective on friendships has changed dramatically over this time. When my world imploded, a close and dear friend wrote to me and said that it will be strong women who will heal and buoy me during this season. And, yes, I guess since I write a blog about how strong and resilient women are I should have known this. But the truth is I have always been one of those girls who “finds guys easier to get along with than girls”, so my inner response was kinda more like “Bah, humbug”.

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When I promise cat gifs, I deliver cat gifs.

Over the years, I had let many of my female friendships wither, always choosing to spend time with the husband instead. So I guess I never had the opportunity to experience the true power of lady friends. Until now.

Despite me being a contender for the World’s Slackiest Friend, woman after woman after woman started coming out of the woodwork to heal me. Some cooked, some cleaned, some wrote lovely cards, some took sooky calls at 4am, some weathered my (misdirected) storms, some took me out, some kept me in, but all – I actually mean all – shared their own stories of pain and loss and suffering with me. And it’s been powerful. It’s inspiring to be able to hear and witness story after story of how women have overcome, how women have thrived, and how women have risen up despite.

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So, without minimizing the beautiful and touching efforts of all my lovely guy friends, I want to say thank you to the ladies – you have made my world colourful and abundant once more.

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x

For the Ladies

So you know those things you often hear about and ignore? Like mobile phones give you cancer, or tampons give you toxic shock syndrome, or using comic sans means you’re emotionally unstable… or the Pill gives you blood clots? Well, it turns out the Pill does in fact give you blood clots. And by “you”, I mean “me”. And don’t even get me started on Comic Sans.

comic-sans-is-never-an-acceptable-font

I can already hear some people asking why the hell I was on the Pill anyway, perhaps solving our “infertility” mystery. The reason is actually quite boring and maybe a little TMI: After years of failing to conceive, I went on the Pill to manage Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. I have only been on it for the past 1 – 2 years.

Anyway, I’m trying to go into a bit of detail so that other ladies can be a little more clued up than I was/ am. Of course I had heard some rumblings about the risk of blood clots and the Pill lately (for example here and here) but I naturally didn’t think it would happen to me, and I wasn’t even on Diane or Yasmin (I was taking Estelle <– such a strange sentence to write). But as far as I can tell – and I’m certainly no expert – your risk of blood clots is three times higher on any oral-contraceptive Pill.

I’m really not trying to scare anyone, but the statistics are pre-tty frightening. I guess I was lucky in that I had recently taken a plane trip to Bali, so Deep Vein Thrombosis did come to my mind after my leg had been cramping for a few days. But it is only a five-hour flight, so I felt kind of ridiculous turning up at Emergency in the middle of the night. Anyway, thank God I did. After blood tests and ultrasounds the clots in my leg were discovered.

After that news sunk in, I remembered how I had felt short of breath and lethargic over the past few weeks, which I had just put down to stress. I requested a lung scan, which, after some persistent pleading, the Doctors finally agreed to do.

My Walter White moment

My Walter White moment

The scan showed that I have clots in both my lungs. After staying hospital for a few days, I am now enjoying house arrest ‘Hospital in the Home’. This means that a nurse visits me twice a day to give me blood tests and injections, and I take a hella lot of Warfarin. Unfortunately I only have one “good-arm-that’s-not-so-good” so I look a lot like a heroin addict these days.

Anyway – if I can just bitch and moan for one second – it’s the timing of this that has really gotten to me. You see, I had this great surprise for everyone: Mr. Lady Breaks and I were asked to be part of a discussion on local adoption on SBS’s Insight program. The filming was today. It’s just so frustrating, but I am glad that the discussion is finally being had in a public forum. Also, while I’m whining, this means I can never take the Pill again… which is fine apart from the fact it will make it rather impossible to do IVF again. So there you go.

Ok, pity party over. I’m not advocating for women to burn their monthly blister packs, but just please make sure you’re informed about the Pill you’re taking, and, if you’re worried, go and get your INR level tested by your Doctor. In the meantime I’ll get back to thinning my blood and watching Girls for ten hours each day.

Stay safe xoxo

Eww, I know, but I couldn't help myself!

Eww, I know, but I couldn’t help myself! (Source: http://giphy.com/gifs/rZ3mpHV9qLaxi)