I was lying in bed the other night and it occurred to me that this is my fifth Christmas as a single woman. I have mixed feelings and thoughts about it, so here I am, virtually sharing my innermost feelings with you, strangers on the internet!
Now I’ve umm’ed and aah’ed about talking about this but it’s important I share my story I think. So, I became single sort of through choice five years ago, insofar as I was in an abusive relationship at the time and I thought that if I asked him to leave, and he finally killed me, it would be better than the darkness I was living in. Dramatic stuff right? It was. I can talk quite candidly about it now, but it’s only something I’ve alluded to here. I never want(ed) to be the person that anyone would feel sorry for, and now, nearly five years on, there really is no need for pity. But back then, I wish I’d had the courage, or energy, to tell someone what was going on, but I was so exhausted, and so alone, I just couldn’t.
And then one day, I had this realisation that there really was nothing else he could do to me that was worse than what he’d already done, so I took the risk and asked him to leave just after Christmas. This 6ft 4” man, who had bullied me for years, given me a black eye and a broken thumb as a Christmas present … well, he cried like a baby. I was sat perched tentatively on a corner of our bed, as far away from him as I possibly could be, and said I’d had enough and I wanted him to leave. He sobbed his heart out, and then quietly left the room. He moved into the spare room that night and although it took another few weeks for him to finally move out, we were finally over. Something had clicked inside me and I managed to somehow find some scrap of strength to end it.
It was the best thing I ever did. I can’t begin to imagine where I’d be if I had stayed, but there’s no point dwelling on it. He’s now paying the price for what he did and I’ve found, and continue to find, a way to move on with my life. Some days are easier than others, but I’d say overall, I’m doing well.
I’m telling you this because it gives massive context to being alone at Christmas for me. Because as much as I get a little lonely sometimes, and I’d love nothing more than to cuddle up on the sofa with the man I love, I don’t live a life walking on eggshells anymore. I don’t drink alcohol to get through the day (rarely touch the stuff now), I don’t hide in my bedroom, or stay out of the house for as long as I can. I have my freedom back, and if that means never being in love again, then so be it.
Christmas is an incredibly emotional time for me for lots of reasons. I’m lonely, but I’m free. I miss Mum, but am spending Christmas day with the rest of my family. It’s my first Christmas without my eldest son being there, but I love that he’s in love and spending the day with his girlfriend’s family. I’m still overweight, but a year ago I was 3½ stones heavier. I never have spare cash, but I can pay my bills and look after my children. So you know, it’s all OK really.
I’ve felt a little blue all week, but that really is just a blip – I’m not worried, it’ll pass. I choose to live a positive life because I’ve wasted way too many years being unhappy. That will never ever happen again. And I guess that’s one of the reasons I’ve not had a boyfriend since. Other than the obvious trust issues I understandably have, how can I risk losing the life I’ve re-built for the boys and I? It would take someone very special to make me give up what I have.
So you see, I’m single at Christmas, but it’s not so bad. I could sleep starfish-shaped on the bed if I wanted, but still keep the slither of bed I was allowed to have. I have complete and absolute control of the TV now – and can watch utter bilge. My TV planner consists of every baking show, every murder documentary, every episode of First Dates … a pretty eclectic mix, granted, but I can watch what I want without judgement. There are no arguments, well, only a few when I tell Dexter to tidy his room for the eleventy billioneth time. And, as cheesy as it is, there is now only love and laughter in my house and that’s how it’s going to stay.
I wish each and every one of you a wonderful Christmas and thank you from the bottom of my heart for being a member of my little community and a reader of my blog. This blog has been a life-saver over the years, literally sometimes. To know I have a space to share my thoughts and dreams is wonderfully liberating and a great form of therapy! I’m sorry if this post has made you sad, I hope it hasn’t, but the next time you see me poncing around on a cruise ship or dicking about in a spin class, remember this post, because my past is a big part of who I am now. This is me, metaphorical warts and all, but I’m grateful and thankful I’m here.
* If you’re in an abusive relationship and need to leave, please please contact REFUGE – they will give you advice and give refuge to you and your children. They will keep you safe. I donate to them every year and would ask, if you can, to please donate if you can.