Breaking up in blog posts

Shock, shock, horror, horror – two posts in one day, but I had to get this one out.

Earlier this week I mentioned in vague terms some recent eventfulness in my life. In hindsight, ‘eventful’ doesn’t quite sum it up. The last week was more than eventful, it was life-changing, intense, gut wrenching heartbreak. I’ve been thinking of how to write this post for almost a week, and I couldn’t decide between the different things I wanted to say, and how I wanted to say them. I did know that I wanted to say them though. I needed to acknowledge this huge shift in my life, and the removal of a person who has always been there in the background of blog posts, and won’t be any more. Carrying on blogging without saying anything has felt strangely empty, like I’m somehow lying to myself and anyone reading.

So, these are the different posts that have been fighting it out in my mind and my dashboard. These are the posts I wanted to write, and instead I wrote a post about those posts. It seemed logical at the time.

The simple approach
The no jokes, no ‘angle’, no photos post. Just the straight forward facts, for those who read this blog regularly to know why I might have been less creative and responsive to their kind comments than usual, and why my life is changing. And so, in brief: Last weekend, I was cheated on and I was heartbroken. After the anger and the tears, I gave him the option of working through it, of trying to rebuild our relationship and my trust in him, but he didn’t want that option, he didn’t want that relationship. And just like that, my life changed.

The dirty laundry
Is it fair to write about this topic online? My blog is not anonymous, I’ve posted about him before, by name and profession and with photos. But I don’t Facebook or tweet my blog posts, and I’ve never even revealed that I blog to any friends – mine or his. This blog was still in its early, online pals only phase. It hadn’t broken free into the real world. I was still a little shy about it. Even so, I won’t be posting any of the nasty details, the who and the where and the when. But it’s a subject that’s worth exploring – what we do and do not post, what content is too personal or uncomfortable. For most, blogs are extremely personal things, and for many it seems they are an outlet to express thoughts and feelings difficult to share elsewhere – they’re a place to vent. Like I mused earlier in the week, I’m not used to blogging about how I feel. Writing down a few of my thoughts has been extremely cathartic, but it may take some practise. It’s still just skimming the surface.

ioanna likes

lots of likes

The impact of strangers
Right after writing and scheduling that post a few days ago hinting to the ‘eventfulness’ as I had called it, my inbox suddenly became a hubbub of activity, and the WordPress app on my phone had a little freak out. It was the result of one person looking back through my archive and liking and commenting on a whole bunch of blog posts. It was Ioanna Aggelidaki, she of the brilliant name, bright, happy avatar and entertaining blog featuring blue fluffy monsters and whatnot. This flurry of new notifications was just coincidentally timed as to give me a pick-me-up right when I needed it. Someone that I loved very much had stripped me of self-confidence, and a total stranger was helping rebuild it.

The symbolism of craft

I’ve been intending to post a picture of these woollen letters for ages – a very simple craft project where I covered standard Hobbycraft cardboard letters with double sided sticky tape and wrapped wool around them until they were completely encased and soft to stroke. Now though, this D & J represent more than a simple craft project. They’ve never been used as bookends and they’ve never been out on display – the ampersand needs a few more loops of white wool up top there. The D and the J are complete, it’s just the ‘and’ that needs some work. See, so symbolic.

woollen letter bookends

What do you do with something so personal? When I look at them now I realise that the J is my favourite – it was easiest to wrap, the wool is softest, the colour most bold. But it’s the reminder I want the least. And the D? Do I really want a lonesome D?

Seriously though, I’m going to have enough trouble squeezing all my stuff into one bedroom again, and that lonesome D is unlikely to make the cut.

Speaking of which: the thing with things
At the beginning of this year I was living in a shared flat with a bunch of men. I had a furnished bedroom into which I’d brought a couple of bits of furniture and a fair amount of stuff. But everything had its own place and it all fit easily. Cut to today, and I have a lot more things. A lot more. My possessions have been allowed to sprawl over a bedroom, a living room, a kitchen, two bathrooms and a spare room, which had been in the process of transforming into a cluttered craft space. Things have multiplied. Things that had been stored at my parents’ house from old university flats and childhood have made the long journey up to Edinburgh. Things have been bought.

These things were lovely when I had a home, and places to put them. When space wasn’t much of an issue, I was settled and intending to stay for a while. In bird terms I was nesting.

Now though, I am flat hunting for a bedroom in a shared flat again. So far, no luck. My things have to be minimised, space is at a premium. There is no spare room. This loss of my home is one of the hardest parts of breaking up. I have to move into a new flat with new people for the new start that I need, but that means losing some of the physical possessions that have made my flat my home. It means giving up the option to rearrange the furniture as it suits you, to paint something large and unwieldy as you watch TV in the living room, to be inconsiderate not do the washing up because you’re having a lazy pyjama day.

The silver lining
Being optimistic can be really hard when everything feels like DOOM in big capital letters. But I am thankful that these problems and characteristics surfaced now and not in five, ten or fifteen years’ time. That we rent a flat and are almost out of our lease period. I am extremely thankful to have such loving parents and sisters, and amazing friends who I know I could call day or night, even if those friends may be far away in other cities or countries. I am so, so thankful for the kind workmate who offered her spare room at the drop of a hat, gave me keys and told me to stay for as long as I need to. And all the others who have made tea, offered hugs and promised their transport and time to help with the most depressing move-out I’ll have done so far.

The DP Challenge
This weeks’ WordPress Writing Challenge to use the subjunctive “I wish I were” as the theme for a blog post is just calling for an emotionally charged and totally depressing list. Ordinarily, I would wish I were a superhero or a time traveller. Or some other character in a science fiction novel. I would wish I were more musical, I would wish I were more active, I would wish I were more ambitious. Right now of course I just wish I were happy, I wish I were someone’s other half, I wish I were enough. To say everything I really wish for, the subjunctive won’t suffice. I wish I hadn’t relied on mutual friends so much, and been more independent in forging my own after my closest friends moved away from Edinburgh. I wish I’d gone out that night instead of staying home on the sofa. I wish I had a future to look forward to which included a family and a home instead of flatmates and nights out and potentially one day, dating. I wish all this and much, much more. I still love him so, so much.

See, that blog post would have been totally depressing. So we should all be glad that one never happened. Eeesh.

The reality check

Anyone who has ever been in love or betrayed or hurt will hopefully understand why I’m now wallowing in my own misery and waking up crying, and feeling sad, angry and self-obsessed all the time. Hopefully this is understandable. But I am well aware that my current heartache pales in comparison to so many people out there, with sickness or tragedy or scarcity in their life. Some people are struggling just to survive. This is a First World Problem, even if it’s my own.

TV test

The placeholder
I need to focus on finding a place, and moving house, and forging new friendships. And after all that momentum of blogging each day for Blogtoberfest – seriously, that was such a marathon of a challenge for me that one – it’ll be strange having such an abrupt break. So this was to be a ‘do not adjust your set’ post, or a ‘radio silence’ warning. I’ll return at some point, and I’ll probably have a lot more to say. Stay tuned, dear reader, for as Arnie once so eloquently stated: I’ll be back. And fingers crossed that next time, I’ll be in a sunnier disposition, and my life will feel like it’s all in one piece again.

Debbie x

  1. You’ve earned wallowing in a hole. This is a great challenge set before you. I wish you well and a happy return.

  2. Ugh! So sorry! Take all the time you need, and keep creating. I really do think it helps us heal 🙂 Hope to see you again around the blogosphere happy and healthy soon!

  3. I sincerely love your post. Your story seems to make me feel closer than I really am. Personal stories actually awaken personal feelings.
    Life goes on my dear. People cheat, things change but life goes on. The more you invest in yourself, the more valuable and attractive you become to anyone. Keep on doing your best for yourself and I bet that your wishes would come true. You will find the right one for you or you will find each other, just keep hope alive, live your life the best way you can and wish all you want as well. Lovely post dear!
    I’ve been wishing wishes too!

  4. I’m so sorry to hear this. That is really rough. This is a great post, thank you for sharing it. I also haven’t opened up too much on our blog and I really think you are courageous to do so.


  5. Ok, i don’t know what to comment first!!!!!!!!!!!!
    The first thing i thought was…. “is that my face there????” That’s my name so it must be me… thank you for your nice words my friend!
    I know you are going through a rough time breaking up, and it is even more difficult cause your life actually changes as you need to find another place to live…. BUT that can actually be a good thing! This is a clear, fresh start! You ‘ll find another “home” fill it with new precious things and start over! Look at the bright side! I don’t want to see 😦 just 🙂 !

    And one last thing, your blog is lovely so spread it around the world girl! You will see, having people (you don’t even know) to talk to is amazing! Even if it comes to your problems and feeling, you ‘ll find yourself surrounded by people who have to say a nice word to make you feel better! 🙂

  6. Thanks so much for such lovely comments guys! Bloggers are so very lovely. Many of these words have given me such a lift, I’m really grateful. And life is becoming more ‘normal’ each day – or at least, the new normal. Looking forward to returning to blogging and having time to be creative again – hope to see you all again in the not too distant future.

  7. Firstly, I cannot believe you managed to actually write a post everyday when all this was going on!

    Secondly, OMG! you are incredibly brave to write this post. I read it while I was in work yesterday and I’ve been thinking about it ever since, it’s taken me til now to think of something to say, and I’m still talking rubbish.

    It sounds like your world has been completely turned upside down, take some time to get angry and upset, and maybe a little bit drunk, and once you’ve done all that create your new normal, just how you want it!

    Take care.x

  8. I can feel your pain. There’s a reason why I hide behind the screen name Mrs. Verdant Green! 😦

  9. Kat said:

    Thank you, Debbie, for your bravery in sharing all this. I love it when bloggers reveal what has been happening “beneath the surface”, including their dilemmas in sharing their “real life” on their blogs. It makes such a refreshing change from the superficial “everything’s great and I am so damn in love with life” stuff which just makes my eyes glaze over. You post, by contrast, had me on the edge of my seat. I felt so connected to you, even though I don’t know you, as I could really relate to so much of what you had written. This is one of the best bits of blogging, don’t you think?
    Hey, this might be light years away from anything you’re considering right now but I just wanted to let you know that I’m hosting another (albeit gentler and more introspective) blog challenge over the month of December called #reverb12. It might be a nice way to give 2012 a firm farewell and invite 2013 to be gentler?
    Details here:
    Take care,
    Kat xxx

    • Thank you so much for your comment Kat, I’ve been really touched by how many people who I don’t even know in real life have reached out to comment with such thought. Your comment, and those above, have really meant so much – it was a hard post to write but feeling the blog love was a huge pick-me-up! I totally get why so many blogs are super optimistic and wonderful (and if life is like that then it’s definitely worth celebrating!), but the moments of not so great reality in between are often the most engaging. Everyone has their low points – in my case it definitely helped to share, and it was wonderful to have such a lovely blogging community to share it with.
      I subscribe to your blog so had read up on #reverb12 – it’d be nice to read the prompts even if they don’t all result in blog posts, so have signed up this morning! Thanks for the prompt. I look forward to beginning it… in a couple of days! Time flies! x

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