Sunday, 31 July 2016

Divorce Goddess & Kids on Our Summer Holiday - Travelling

So for the first time we are on holiday on our own, the island of Crete giving us its best - sunshine, a lovely apartment and warm Mediterranean sea with beautiful sunsets and I was prompted to write several overdue blogs on what that means for me and my children.  

So here is the first ... 

I have a beautiful 15 year old girl and a handsome 12 year old son and we are fully embracing all that comes with warmer climes and with it all those slightly different scenarios, all so very different than holidaying with a Partner or Husband or Wife. So we have been on our own for a lot of our time together, whilst I was married and afterward.  Having lived in the Middle East for some of our life we are used to the heat, used to the regular application of sun cream but nothing really that fully supports those differences of not having 'another' there to guide you when things get a little tough.  


Firstly we had the OMG I forgot my UK driving licence at the airport situation which so kindly presented itself to us yesterday... it was forgotten, left tucked away in a drawer in the UK, not added to essential documents much needed when so clearly necessary.  "I am sorry, but there is no way you can rent the pre-booked car, the insurance won't cover it" PAUSE FOR NOT MUCH BREATH...... comedic eyeballs on stalks and a sharp eeeeek as the rock of stress firmly embedded itself into my solar plexus and the potential for the self-flagellation yielding its disaster magma throwing arms at me... it is 36 degrees, we have some BIG heavy bags and a long journey local buses... I rub my tum, trying to practice acceptance, being gentle to myself and the letting go of the impending journey of not one, or two but three bus rides ahead or a hefty taxi fare of 200 euros... the bus rides won!  

The children look forlorn, teenage daughter is cross, quite rightly so - it's so hot, she is in jeans and trainers and we walk across the airport car park to a bus ticket booth with grumpy ticket seller objecting to a 50 euro note hastily removed from the airport cash machine.  No matter, he helps us and we get on the bus and a kindly - I love kindly people - a German lady tells us she is also going to the Heraklion bus station heading westwards and she shows us the way.  

We are offloaded and make our way down side streets to said bus station, it is chaotic, hot and stressful...I am trying not to think of such a large amount of money wasted on the car hire, the return journey we will be facing and what is ahead of us for the next few hours. I breathe deeply into my solar plexus... 

We get on the next bus and journey length ranges from 4 hours to 2 1/2.... my mindfulness kicks in wonderfully and the salve of positive thinking allays my fears and I choose to believe in the shorter time journey. I begin to read a work related book, on mindfulness and I breathe, I meditate for 45 mins - unexpected pleasures of having a long bus journey and not driving, at having mindfulness in my life and understanding that it is with you always. 

We are then blessed with compassionate Greek people - seeing the single mum and her two children and really helping us get to our destination without further angst and we arrive, 5 hours later. The car hire company reimburses me almost all the money after a brief call and we then make our way to the beach, grateful for the warm sea water, the cooling sand and a wonderful sunset after a long day.  

So why the story, well here is the thing, in so many respects this scenario would probably have created an almighty argument on the first day of the holiday with said other, partner, husband or boyfriend, the blame game kicking in and grumpiness for the next 5 hours of buses ... instead the children and I spoke kindly to each other, supporting each other and grateful for our loving supportive company.  

Sometimes being, although difficult and scary, the only adult in charge has huge upsides, if you as the said adult can manage the thoughts and feelings emanating from life's unexpected fast balls. And so as we sat and watched the sun go down, with a cooling drink and local dishes, we chatted to each other about the value of our love for each other, that we cannot always get it right and that sometimes three is better than four...

With love x

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Post Divorce First Date Dilemmas - Clothing

So here we go .... arriving sometimes a little unexpectedly at this place where no longer does the ending of that relationship or divorce feel like the big shadow on your life and you think you can take that scary step out into the long forgotten world of dating... 

A kindly friend has set me up on a date, eeeek in itself.... asking my daughter to babysit comes with the inevitable curiosity of "where are you going tonight", "who are you meeting Mum?" and you find yourself telling that first little white lie... hmmm "just a friend" and for the record I really hate lying especially to my children.... They then ask whether they know this friend? Sensory overload of the uncomfortable mother comes back with "erm a friend of a friend"... "who?"  The questions come thick and fast, whoooah.... I wasn't prepared for this, how can each one of us, so individual and so different in this world know how to be with what is before them except how they are feeling in the present moment?

Understand that the questions quick fired by those whose sole purpose in this situation is to monitor the emotional radar in my already jumpy tummy and this makes me feel wobblier.   I am now asked ...."Mum so what are going to wear?"  Yes, good question.... its been some time since the dating 'wow' favourites existed my wardrobe and I doubt whether any of them still do, fit or really look like 80s throwback party pieces... I mindlessly open the wardrobe, my brain full of uncomfortable whooshes already with possible judgementals beating their drums at a lively tapas bar.... I feel the contractions of fear literally rolling up their sleeves at the wardrobe dysfunction to follow... my mind goes blank... 

I mindfully breathe a few deep breaths then start to try and look at the situation.  This is the wild woman sisterhood stepping out I am talking about, who am I now is where I am, and unhelpful thoughts of "is what I am wearing going to get me a second date, if of course we are both interested in going any further than the padron peppers and pulpo?...  

I breathe some more, coming into the present moment, my tummy tense, I give it a rub with my hand as I breathe, this helps me relax and then as our minds can be so flighty I then obediently follow my wild mind into the past and what I had worn before.  This is of course no help, a few smart dinner party silk dresses shimmy over my hands, trusty and worn tops that had seen better days and a die hard rock 'n roll T shirt with a sumptuous pair of red lips and a tongue on the front waved at me.... nothing or so I thought to go and have tapas with a stranger.  

I bring my attention back to my rail of clothes, espying a cheeky black see-throughish shirt number that merits a colourful bra strap underneath and then I stop myself... OMG as the full impact of a pink bra strap could veritably give the very wrong impression. I find my 'best bum' looking jeans winking at me, pleading with caution to put them on as a starter
... "Mum so who are you going out with tonight?" comes the sing song voices of my children, their interests picqued at my inability to seem normal in the face of a future night of possible laughter, fun and really some attention - what I could really do with. 

Ummmmm, sticking my head deeper into the hangers "what top should I wear my loves" I ask. "Depends on who you are going out with" the children are grinning, they sense evidence of weakness, "just a nice person".  This answer is clearly worth a bit of constructive advice..."This is lovely and you look really pretty in it, wear this" .... noooo I think 'really pretty' is giving off the 'pick me' energy... I want to be happy, calm and comfortably at peace with my dinner date not sidestepping advances of shared extras.  

Treading carefully and literally as a dear man I heard from told me that on his first date he treated this lovely lady to him wearing a pair of bright red shoes, he said he felt free to finally choose and have a different wardrobe whilst married.  So I have work flats and heels, a pair of guaranteed f**k me shoes and conversely the trainers that my bunion feels oh so comfortable in. I am of the opinion that after a certain age my feet would protest too much at the thought of vertiginous heels and I now feel I am in need not only of a wardobe overhaul but also of some much needed advice from those that know 'what is what' in the land of mid 40s dating singlies... 

I am no longer a welcome guest of a healthy joint account to purchase freely les vetments of sexiness and I realise I need to get clever, believe in myself a little more and realise that in the grand scheme of things that a next life partner is really going to truly find me attractive as I am.  No longer do I read fashion magazines or have them in my house to judge myself by or for my teenage daughter too and thoughts of mindlessly trawling the internet for a sassy top leaves me cold.  I have a couple of hours to go... I begin to look with a more positive eye at the end result that walks through the restaurant door.  

Confidence in myself is the sexiest attire for the evening.  Realising and reminding ourselves how much we have all been through should not be an obstacle when there is an unexpected joy to be had of just 'being out' on a Saturday night, perhaps with someone who is equally delighted to have a date. That element of gratitude comes shining through and I suddenly feel so much better.  

It is a tricky time this, for so many single 40 somethings and as I reach for the cheeky black shirt I realised that a new wardrobe in itself is a journey of self-realisation.  Being happy in your own skin is the true, honest deal, smiling your biggest smile and remembering who you are is what is to be worn... now where did I put that black bra ....

With love Natasha

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