|A Beginners' Guide To Separation - Part Two|
You know something really weird? I woke up this morning with the strangest expression on my face. It felt so strange that I had to go to the mirror and look at myself. Yes, there it was, exactly what I had suspected a smile! Where on earth had that come from? And what on earth was a smile, of all things, doing there?
The red eyes, the dark shadows under them, the frown lines, the scowl all those I had become well accustomed to in the last month, but a smile? I wasn't at all sure what I should do with it to be honest. Wasn't at all sure where it might have come from.
I mean the snugly little four year old gleefully putting his cold toes on my thighs was nothing unusual of a morning, and a smile for my boys had been the only smile I'd really had since That Day. But this smile was stubborn, it was hanging around. There it was announcing to the world that here was a woman, separated and no longer scared silly of the future. So what has changed?
That's a complex little question. Simple answer. Me.
I'm just not sure what made today any different from yesterday though. I think there was an adrenalin rush that carried me through that first week or so of being suddenly single. It was a mindless trial of survival. I made it there; I had crossed the tumultuous river. Only now I'm cold, wet, and not sure this is the better bank to be standing on, so to speak.
Admittedly there have been a hundred little triumphs for me over the past weeks. Not only have I packed up my children and my life and deserted the man who had once been my best friend. I have managed to rearrange it all back into a semblance of normality. I have tried so hard to cherish the little things, each little battle won taking me one step further towards the place where I'm heading wherever it is that that may be.
I have survived many not so pleasant things in my new life as a non-husbanded personage. I lived through THE INTERVIEW with Social welfare err, Income support err, Work and Income New Zealand (is that what they call it, this week?). It wasn't pretty. My new status was made extremely and humiliatingly clear to me. She was very nice about it, very polite and quite helpful. And just a little bit smug and condescending. Or maybe I was just a tad sensitive.
In fact, after the first you agree to inform us of any change in your circumstances I was probably more than just a tad sensitive. I'd been in contact with Women's Refuge, mainly for advice, and they had offered to have someone come with me to the WINZ interview. But my pride had gulped and swallowed my need to be protected in one bite. I was tough. I was strong. I was woman. I was almost immediately sorry, too.
Take my advice, if you are ever in this position, that is one interview you should not attend alone. Not only are you made aware of your newfound status as one of the less fortunate, you are asked some hard to take questions what is the status of your relationship with your husband now? Is this the first time you have left him? Is this a permanent situation or is it likely to be temporary?
Well. As that would involve thinking of the future, which I have been steadfastly not doing for quite some days now, I had no idea. I had intended that the separation would be permanent. I went to an awful lot of trouble to get this far. I wasn't going back now. No way. Not at all. Never. I think.
Probably best not to look into that one too hard just yet. I really wished it hadn't been brought up at all.
I also survived going back to my house to meet my husband and sort out who was getting what of our possessions. Boy that was one hill I was not at all inclined to climb. If I could have put it off in any way, shape or form, I would have done it. As it was my brother-in-law had to drag me kicking and screaming into the car.
And you know something? It really didn't turn out to be that bad. It was by no means pleasant, we were not feeling the least bit convivial, but the words we used to try to hurt each other with were only baby barbs, not the lances we had used on the night I had left him. So I guess I am proud that I have gotten here in one piece. Really all the worst stuff is over. I still have to learn to live with it all, but somehow I have made it this far. I have no idea how I did it, but I did.
It is the strangest feeling now, to have things all working themselves out. It's like some guardian angel has led me around by the nose, making me do everything in the right order so all the pieces of the puzzle would fall as painlessly as possible into place. Someone up there must REALLY like me! Whoever it is has my undying thanks.
I thank them for my kids, who have come through all this so well, for what pride I have managed to hang on to, and for all the things that could have been so much worse. But most of all, I think I thank them for that smile, I've really missed it.
I've decided to look on this whole experience as character building. The rate I'm going, I should be two storied by the next time you hear from me!
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