Friday, 30 January 2015

When Work is Thrilling

What an awesome day I had yesterday! I spent the morning in a meeting that I had BLED to set up - got some of my Environmental Government clients to sit around the table with Mark, my Fund Manager man who sources huge money for huge projects. I can't obviously talk about the details of the potential deals that could happen, other than to say I'm so excited about what benefits they will bring to my country.

The conversation was clever and strategic - clever people around the table bringing very diverse skills and insights to the table and co creating solutions that none of them would have come up with on their own!  And I was able to test some of my own new models and thinking about how to bring new revenue into the sector that will benefit the sector, but also create work for my company for many years to come.

There is nothing more thrilling for me than being able to be part of these kinds of conversations. I've said it before, and I'm still saying it. It's like every passion of mine rolled into one: all my environmental passion that led me to choose Geography as my teaching subject; strategic thinking; innovating and sniffing out future trends; clever financial models; sales conversations and people activation; finding new opportunities for my company; looking at how to bolster the sustainability of the small business sector; looking at Green Jobs and Green Entrepreneurs. Even picking the right people to put together in that room for that conversation is part of what I'm good at. I am in love with new beginnings. I love building the future in my head. Whenever this happens to me, I know I will sit back in 5 to 10 years time and look back on these early conversations and brainwaves and know they fostered brand new things.  Today over 200 000 people have been trained in Financial Literacy skills by my company, and 70  small business have been created. That's because I started having conversations like these!

And how horrible that I allowed John-the-Narc to close me down from this part of myself for so many years. He dominated my time. Fought with me for hours about ridiculously stupid things like whether I said 'I' or 'We' in a conversation when talking about the work we're doing to clients or staff. Really. We could have a all-fall-down blow up screaming match about just that thing. Where after hours of yelling, one of us would be out the driveway with screaming tyres and a staff just tiptoeing around because 'Mom and Dad are fighting again'. THAT was how he dominated me. Stole my time. Stole my energy. Stole my brain. By creating bullshit drama and chaos and mess that I was having to deal, clean up and manage daily, rather than focusing on the strategic innovation and growth that I'm so capable of doing.

And so being able to step back into my own light is a wonderful experience for me. It's like standing naked under a waterfall after walking through a desert for 5 years. I am slowly but surely finding a way back to myself that is stronger and fresher than I have ever experienced before.

And I feel my power slowly returning to my body. My Mind. My Soul.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Brave Conversations

So Berlin and I went out last night. He humoured me and we met at a place near to his house. He decided to hear me out.

I found it really difficult to have the conversation with him. I felt my courage desert me as we met and I just had thousands of words gushing out of me about everything else but the conversation we had met to have. He finally said - "Ok - so what is this important conversation you wanted to have?". Even then, I panicked. I told him he needed to give me time to settle down and warm up - and that I was building up the courage to talk. He smiled and humoured me some more.

Eventually I just decided to read yesterday's blog out loud to him. The words were there, and the thinking was there, and I guess that felt the most doable. So we searched the article on his phone (because mine was out of battery), and I read it to him.

It's hectic stuff, yesterday's blog. It's at some level a culmination of a whole year's worth of therapy and insights that are not pretty or flattering to me in any way. So it's kind of brutal to just blurt it all out, even if it's true. It's raw and clumsy and hard.

When I finished we were awkward. Neither of us really knew what to say. I decided not to be all 'socially fluid' about it. I let us both feel awkward. I let us just be real. I really did need to see if he could cope with it all. I know he's not a stranger to abuse - he's had a fair dollop of that kind of thing himself in his life. And so he didn't need to do the 'shame poor you' thing - he gets it. I get it. We're both survivors of horrible stuff and we don't need to be all 'sorry' for each other.

He asked me why I'm building a house in that same place where all that hectic childhood stuff happened. He left his horrible stuff way behind him geographically and he can't imagine staying and being regularly confronted with everything. I get his point - I'm more about transforming the place as I transform myself. Like confronting my demons and ghosts seems to be more of the process that's right for me. He copes by walking away. I cope by wrestling this stuff to the ground and not frikken letting it go until I know how it ends.

And then we just settled into a comfortable conversation. No longer awkward. Nice. He drinks more than me (most people do). We found an easy place together.

We're in the 'friend-zone'. I want to say 'for now'. That would irritate him and me. Him because he thinks 'always'. Me because I think 'you never know how shit turns out'. Nothing is forever. People change. Circumstances change.

But Friend Zone is now our current official status.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

The Invisible Child finds a Voice

The photograph I chose for this piece rings deeply true for me. As the eldest daughter of three girls all born within 18 months of each other, to a narcissistic mother, I was very invisible, very quickly. In even a normal home when there are three children under the age of 4, the oldest is expected to grow up fast and take care of herself. But when mom is also a Narcissist, then there is very little left for her. Me. Very early in my life, my needs became invisible. I became the lost little girl craving the love and attention that any child would. But my mom didn’t care. And my dad just escaped the wrath of my mom and the neediness of his little daughters.

That lost and invisible little girl became the impotent and powerless protector of her sisters. And the absorber of her mom’s outrage and vindictive anger. I remember lying in my bed, hearing my younger sister being verbally and physically lambasted for being clumsy, trying to throw a protective shield around her. Trying to hold her inside my heart. Because I was never any match for that wild and fierce woman my mother was. And I would be so relieved to hear her finally slam the doors on my sister and all the other doors through the house. Because now her beating had stopped, and she would be alright. I never feared for my own beatings and emotional abuse. I don’t think I even believed it was unfair or undeserved. But I really  really couldn’t bear it when she did it to my sister. My clumsy, stuttering, weak sister. I couldn’t bear it. I never went to comfort her after those times. I left her sobbing in her bed. Even as little girls we couldn’t be close. But I still thought I was her protector. And I failed her as that almost every day.

But this is about me. I am the daughter of a Narcissistic mother. I lived with abuse like it was normal. My physical neglect and the emotional desert I grew up in made me normalise pathology in my mind. My first husband has Borderline and Narcissistic personality disorders. My lover, John the Narc, another Narcissist. I have surrounded myself with them my whole life because that has felt normal. Dysfunctional, abusive relationships have felt normal to me. And I haven’t just tolerated them – I’ve pursued them! Broken people emit a beam of need to me that I seek out like a heat seeking missile. I want to protect and care and surround and make safe. Because making safe makes me feel in control. And if I’m in control, I’m safe – not impotent. Not unable to do anything. But active and focussed on healing and saving.

In all of this, the little 4 or 5 year old Trudy doesn’t get much kid-time in. She’s busy dodging, reading situations, getting sisters out of the firing line, pandering to mom’s whims. But I was already emotionally starved and lonely. Big boys in the neighbourhood saw my neediness. They exploited it for sexual favours. I felt ashamed. And loved. Important. Wanted. And deep deep shame. I learned to hide all of this from my family very young. Come home in the afternoons of sexual abuse in the bushes on the koppie at our house with a big smile on my face. Not because I was happy, but because I was hiding. I learned to hide my pain and shame in the shadows because in the light, I needed to be the cheerful and diligent daughter. The strong one. The performer. Emotions not allowed. Messiness not allowed. Just show up strong.  And in my later childhood years, when the paedophile headmaster at the primary school I attended also sniffed out my need and began to pursue me, even that I dealt completely alone. I never ever told a soul. Or asked for help or support in any way. He only caught me once. After that I ran from him every day. Every single day.

I found what I now know to be a psychological device to protect myself though those years. I fragmented. I used parts of my psyche to deal different situations. So during the sexual abuse, and mother Narc abuse, I would allow my little child fragment to stay in the moment. But the rest of me would leave. And when it was over, then little broken child would drift into a corner, and the adult parts of me (yes, even at 5 years old) would show up with the poker face. The nurturing woman would be there with compassion for my sisters, and care for my manipulative mother. But that little broken girl would have no airtime. She’d hide in a cupboard sometimes, hoping that people would notice she was missing – but they never did, and I never dared staying in that cupboard once mom was calling the family to come to the supper table. That little broken girl. Me. That part of me. She was invisible to the world. Even to the rest of me. She received no care. She was abandoned and alone.

And now I’m 47 years old. I have been walking through this therapy journey trying to find a way to heal and hold that child. I have dreamed of her often through the years – she appears to me in all types of baby and young child forms. Always in distress. Always needing saving. The child walking off a cliff where I’m too far away to stop her. Or catch her. The twin babies with no skin, just burned flesh that I need to care for. The children lost in crowds where I cannot find them..hundreds of those things where that child screams to me that she needs to be seen. Held. Saved.

Through my abuse with John-the-Narc I began to see flashes of her turning up in me: she was mute. John would verbally lash me until I had no more words. Just tears. I would find those times hard to remember because the broken, mute girl fragment in me is very young. And she has very limited vocabulary. And she prefers to forget horrible things because that’s how she protects me – by forgetting the pain as much as she can. So this vague and dense fog would settle over the abusive times. When I tried to tell the stories to my shrink about what had happened with John, and why...I wouldn’t be able to remember. Pieces would go missing. Words would fail.

But she has changed her voice now. She’s growing and healing. Yesterday she came into my therapy session with me and had a huge and desperate voice. Why won’t Berlin love me? Why can’t Mark lose his wife guilt and sleep with me again? How can I get the Stellenbosch Banker to move faster already? The CEO – when can I see him – he wants me – I know he does. Please please please. Just anybody. I’ll go home with anybody. Just love me. I cannot go another day without love. I cannot tolerate this upwelling of abandonment and rejection I’m feeling with Berlin. Save me someone. Anyone! I felt like an addict craving her next fix. Like I’m locked in a cage with no food and water. It’s so humiliating to feel all these needy love cravings – how can that be me? I’m grown up. Street smart. Evolved. And yet this very real craving in me is so intense I really feel like jumping off a building just to make the pain go away!

My shrink says it’s healing. It’s a very fragile and important time for me. That child, finding a voice, finding a channel for her pain. Being seen, in all her messiness and confusion. She needs holding. But it would be best if she is held and comforted by me. Shrink says that it is actually really lucky that I am surrounded by boys who are keeping their distance right now. If there was a Narc in the bunch he would have dived in by now, soothed the little girl and promised me the world. Creating a sense of safety and calm that was all completely a sinister lie. Weaving his manipulative spell around me.

And even if a man arrived that was my beautiful soul mate – even then the timing isn’t ideal. Because having ‘relief’ from this painful place may mean I’ll never do this hard hard emotional work for myself. Feel these very horrible feelings that I’ve spent a lifetime trying (and succeeding) to escape. I wouldn’t learn the skills I need to move to a more healthy and wholesome emotional space. I would be still be Narc fodder. Still hiding behind the mask of perfection. Still running towards anyone who would show me some attention. Still trying to save anybody who needs saving at huge cost to myself. Still trying to find safety in controlling everything around me.

I haven’t had a real live face to face conversation with a friend for almost an entire month. I have been all in my head. And working. And mothering. And selling my company. Contracts. Sales meetings. WhatsApping conversations with people. Sex with a stranger. All things that need my poker face rather than this messy, stumbling emotionally incompetent and incoherent person I am inside right now. So even now I’m hiding. I’m craving connection. I need to create time with people who care for me so I can just TALK to someone who isn’t a shrink. 

I’ve asked Berlin. It’s not ideal. He’s irritated and confused by my intense and, frankly, batshit crazy behaviour. So even though I know that he’s not arriving with a completely open and holding heart, I will talk to him about this anyway. Because I need to practice just being me. No poker face. No protecting the other person from my pain. Just practice being me. And then I’ll talk to Mark on our business trip in a week’s time. And then I’ll see my two best mates in Cape Town in about two weeks time. But I mustn’t wait to talk. I need time. Now. Now. And I guess Berlin gets to show what he’s made of – is he really going to stand with me in this fire – and become an important connected friend in my world? And forgive me for my weird behaviour that’s actually showing up my intense and brutal pain? And care for me anyway? And not run for the hills? Or will I be back here again, in tatters, in a few days time, because, once again, I will be forced to hold this all myself? Carry this pain alone?

And can I be with Berlin and NOT try to give the baby away?Talk to him? Let him in for a bit. But keep holding this baby and shushing her gently?

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Calm After the Storm

Ugh. Yesterday was so very horrible! Obviously some very sore things raked up in that whole feeling of abandonment and rejection I was feeling. I'll have to work through those in therapy today.

Last night Berlin eventually connected in with me after a telecon he was on. And actually just stood in the fire with me. He saw me through my hurt crossness at feeling so very alone and abandoned last night. And was actually just kind and patient with me. He sat up with me until after 11, just talking and calming me. We left each other in a close and connected place. I sent him this pic about us both being cracked people where the light shines through. I felt safe.

I'm still confused though. Isn't that what lovers do for each other? Why would friends do that? Be angry and lash out like I was doing? And be calm and holding like he was doing? What's in it for friends? Lovers have the benefit of the deep and connected sex that follows time like that. Close and affirming lovemaking that reinforces connected ties. But friends?  Am I missing a beat about all of this? Has my fucked up family of origin  (FOO) stuff made it impossible to understand and decode this type of relationship?

Or is he missing a beat? Maybe his FOO stuff is blinding him to the fact that we are getting closer like that. And that becoming lovers is the inevitable outcome eventually? Or am I once again setting myself up for another round of 'No Trudy: we talked about this. We are not going to be lovers. Ever. I'm just not feeling it'?

I woke up wondering whether I should chat to him about us becoming friends with benefits. I am so craving that sexual intimate touch, and maybe that's what's messing with my head here. I thought we would get together sexually soon. But this seems to have stalled that. Because he's thinking that can only be if the two of us are 'in love'. And he's not feeling those fkn 'butterflies'. But what if we just become cool lover mates. Casual sex that can be suspended at any time if the other one finds another lover we want to be exclusive with for a bit. Would I even be capable of something like that? Or would that just me be settling for anything I can get from him?

I have no idea whether I'm actually in love with him, or just desperate for the affirmation of having him want me. That the fact that he's not desperate to get into my pants makes it some sort of badge of honour that I need to turn him? Flip - I really don't know. It's not like I feel the need to turn every man I know into a salivating sex machine. I'm not pining after Bush Man from last week at all - so it's not like I get like this with every man I meet either. How is it that I'm so unable to really understand and name my own feelings about this. More FOO fuckupness?

And maybe I'm just pushing all of this far too hard. He calls me 'Kopfmensch' which is someone who spends a lot of time in their head. Maybe I am that. And maybe that's OK. But maybe I should learn to let matters take their course. If he's going to want to be with me one day - than great - it will happen. And if I find someone else in the meantime who wants me, and I want him back, well then maybe I'll go there. Maybe if I hold it all more lightly, and try to control it less, it will become what it's supposed to become.

Monday, 26 January 2015

I'm so Fucking Lonely

I don’t really know what triggered it. Obviously all this emotional stuff with Berlin is hurting me. When I suddenly realise that I really feel a lot for him and he really just doesn’t for me – I guess that’s a big rejection and abandonment moment for me. So maybe that’s it. I don’t deal rejection and abandonment well. I had a beautiful dream about me and this boy in my secret heart, and now it’s ruined. And spread all over the pavement like a broken egg. And I’m so fucking sad about that. Because I’ve been alone for too long now. And I thought I had found someone who would love me. But I’m wrong about that. What the fuck is wrong with me?

I just got home to find my teenager didn’t go to school today. Because he was too tired from the survival camp he went on this weekend. And I crapped on him from a dizzy height because I thought he should have gone to school. And he slammed himself into his room. And he’s in such a fragile space right now that I am now miserable I crapped on him.

And then I went to my room and stared at the ceiling for a while. And I could feel myself starting to crumble. So I went into my son’s room and lay with him for a while. I couldn’t stop my own tears from falling and I just cried quietly into his pillow, although he didn’t know I was crying. And I realised that I am so fucking lonely. I need to be held by someone. Now. Today.

But there is nobody. I asked Berlin if he would see me. He blew me off – too much work. "Trudy Please.."begins his 'I'm too busy for you' message. Mark is buried in a business rescue project he’s busy with – no help there. My best mate in town has just started a new job and just can’t juggle that and single motherhood right now – she just doesn’t have time. And my CEO’s dad is dying, and he needs him much more than I do. And if anything HE needs ME. But he’s not reaching out either. And my Stellenbosch Banker? Well I can’t see myself reaching out to him to say I’m drowning – we don’t know each other well enough yet. And my Cape Town best mates? Both buried in work and not really even up to replying to my messages. And I don’t want WhatsApp conversations right now. I need a REAL PERSON who gives a shit about me to just HOLD me for a bit.

And I’ve suddenly realised that it’s been more than a month since I had a real live conversation with ANYBODY like that. I’ve been all over the world and I’ve been out there doing my thing. And being a businesswoman. And being a mom. And being a fearless traveller. And facilitating workshops. And even shagging a strange boy. But I’ve been all in my head about all of it. Stuck having conversations with myself, and abbreviated WhatsApp relationships with everyone I care about.

I NEED MY FRIENDS. And nobody is out there. And I feel so fucking lonely I could jump off a building right now.

I’m so fucking sad.

And all the stuff that I’ve learned about reaching out to my friends I JUST CAN’T DO RIGHT NOW.
I HATE how this feels inside me. My kids need me and I have NOTHING for them.

I have nothing for me.

Poor Trudy.

Poor sad, lonely Trudy.

OK. Not Completely Goodbye

So Berlin responded to my WhatsApps yesterday. And we had this conversation:

25 Jan 5:18 PM - Berlin: The last thing I want to do is hurt you. Especially after all you've been through. But obviously I'm doing just that. Again. So I'll just shut up now.
25 Jan 6:30 PM - Trudy: I know. I know. I am sore. But it's me. I know that. This isn't your's.  It's mine.
25 Jan 6:33 PM - Trudy: I'm clearly still a lot more fked up than I realise. Humiliating. ๐Ÿ˜ž
26 Jan 5:48 AM - Trudy: But don't stress. I'll take a few weeks out to get myself into a safer place. And I'll be back when I know I can be friends with you without complicating it like this.
26 Jan 5:48 AM - Trudy: Until then. .. I'll see you at meetings etc I guess.
26 Jan 5:49 AM - Trudy: Sorry Berlin.
26 Jan 8:59 AM - Berlin: No Trudy. I'd miss you if you disappear for weeks. You've become a very important and close friend and you know things about me that nobody else knows! And I'd miss those smarty pants comments about poisoning my body a.s.o... I'd love to have a glass of wine with you (although I usually have three when you have one...) But if you have difficulties to just be good friends... Can't you just switch that one feeling off so we can be buddies?
Ugh. I wish it was that simple. Already I'm reading this and thinking - Wine? YES! He'll get tipsy and realize he's actually in love with me and kiss me, and it will all be OK. How fucked up am I really???  Really really? Geez. So I can't say yes under those false pretenses. I need to be truthful. With him. With myself. And the truth is, I don't know if it's possible. I want it to be, so I can see him more. But that doesn't solve anything for my heart. I'll just keep hoping he'll change his mind, won't I?
26 Jan 11:29 AM - Trudy: Honestly?  I have no idea.
26 Jan 11:31 AM - Trudy: I have such a strong sense of you and me being together that when you say that's not happening I feel genuinely confused.
26 Jan 11:33 AM - Trudy: So I don't even know what to switch off about that.
26 Jan 11:35 AM - Trudy: And when you say we'll go out for wine I just get excited that we'll be together and you'll realise what I already know to be true.
26 Jan 11:35 AM - Trudy: And I don't know how to switch that off either
26 Jan 11:39 AM - Trudy: I didn't really buy your butterflies story.  Because I've said to myself that nobody can be sure until they've connected properly whether there is something between them. And you decided before you met me and I was headed into my darkest night ever. So how would you know? You fell in love with a phantom woman who designed every conversation to make that happen worth you. You didn't know for sure
26 Jan 11:39 AM - Trudy: And turn that back on me: I've met you twice in my entire life. So what makes me so fkn sure?
26 Jan 11:40 AM - Trudy: And the answer is: I just don't know.
26 Jan 11:41 AM - Trudy: And all of this is driving me crazy in my head. And my heart is so sore
26 Jan 11:41 AM - Trudy: And I have no idea how much of that is just pure projection and magical thinking on my part.
26 Jan 11:43 AM - Trudy: I need to see my shrink to help me unjumble all of this
26 Jan 11:43 AM - Trudy: Sigh
26 Jan 11:47 AM - Trudy: Sorry this is so intense.  I feel embarrassed about revealing this to you. But I need to be honest at the same time. Aaaggghhhh

I have no idea what happens next. He read some of my response. But hasn't replied for a few hours. He's thinking about it. Or too busy. Or something.

Goodbye Berlin

Ow ow owwww.... VERY sore heart. I completely misread it with Berlin and now we're done. And I'm feeling so sad. And not a little bit humiliated also.

Berlin and I have been talking on WhatsApp. Every day. Keeping in touch with each other. After his whole 'online love scam' story we've gotten pretty close, and have walked next to each other through all our daily events. Just a nice virtual comfortable companionship. Remember that during the whole love scam unraveling, we had a pretty straight talk about what had happened all those months ago and that he wasn't really feeling it with me. And we settled on 'friends'.

So what made me think we could be more than friends? They way I felt, I guess. I thought he'd get past his infatuation with the scam girl, and that he and I would find our happy place together again. And that we would get closer and closer until we got together, like we'd wanted to all those months ago.  And another part of me thought that was probably never going to happen so tried to keep me 'in play' with my other boys - the CEO, the Banker, the Fund manager, and the Bush Man fling from last week.

But the romantic in me won over the cynic about a week ago when Berlin gave me a 'kiss' over WhatsApp:

21 Jan 9:10 PM - Trudy: How's your bath?
21 Jan 9:20 PM - Berlin: Not entered yet... but now now... Eyelids dropping...
21 Jan 9:20 PM - Trudy: Mine too
21 Jan 9:20 PM - Trudy: Meds kicking in
21 Jan 9:20 PM - Berlin:: Can I give you a good night kiss?
21 Jan 9:21 PM - Trudy: That would be just lovely.  Yes
21 Jan 9:22 PM - Berlin: Gentle one with a hug!
21 Jan 9:22 PM - Berlin: ๐Ÿ˜˜(kiss pic)
21 Jan 9:22 PM - Trudy: ๐Ÿ˜˜Nice
21 Jan 9:22 PM - Trudy: Night Berlin
21 Jan 9:23 PM - Berlin: Night Trudy๐Ÿ˜‰
Wow. My  heart just melted. "He's coming back," I thought.

But after this moment, he started pulling away again. Not responding to my messages for hours, if at all. Clearly active on Facebook messenger, but not with me. Who then? I tried not to think about it. And forced myself to stop torturing myself with seeing his phone activity with other people - probably work or something, I told myself.

And we were set to meet up this weekend. It's been a month since we saw each other before I went overseas. And as I got back, so he was away, working and family time things. So this was The Weekend. We were going out for wine together. I have been counting the sleeps. And feeling such a sense of excited anticipation - just knowing at some level that this is the moment that our relationship will move to Another Level. Maybe he'll kiss me in real life. Maybe we'll just talk and touch and connect with each other at a deeper level. But I was just so sure this would be it.

Then Friday he was too busy. And suddenly on Saturday he was attending a braai. And finally, today, I wasn't getting much out of him about committing to a time. My head kept telling me to let it go. To leave it to him to make a time. To not chase him about it. But my heart was so very eager to see him. And, heart wins against head most times. So I messaged him.

25 Jan 12:03 PM - Trudy: {Photo of my online bank error message]
25 Jan 12:03 PM - Trudy: And suddenly my tax work grinds to an unexpected halt due to unforeseen circumstances
25 Jan 12:03 PM - Trudy: When is wine???? 
25 Jan 12:18 PM - Berlin: Ah, so you're also with those gangsters... Right now I'm lying by the pool and feeling veeeery lazy... 
25 Jan 12:19 PM - Trudy: You're not allowed to be too lazy to see me! 
25 Jan 12:41 PM - Berlin: Aaah.... let's see... 
25 Jan 1:15 PM - Berlin: Don't be grumpy with me... Just a lazy bone on a sunny Sunday... Maybe I'll wake up a little later... 

Ouch! Ouch ouch! WTF??  I'm in this huge excited anticipation space, and he might think about seeing me if he wakes up later? I suddenly felt so very discarded and disrespected. What happened to our plan? Wasn't he as excited as me to be together? Ugh. "He's just not that into you" suddenly started ringing in my ears. Ugh. No. Really???

I was tempted to just swallow the sore stuff and wait for him to wake up. And ask me out. But I knew that would be a bad move. I had a similar thing early on with John-the-Narc where I just swallowed my pain when he dropped me for a date at the last minute, and look where it got me!

So I decided to go for the brutally honest (albeit humiliating) approach. I told him how I was feeling:

25 Jan 1:32 PM - Trudy: Shew Berlin. I don't like how this makes me feel.  We're obviously in different places. I've really been looking forward to being with you a lot. And I think you're half hearted about it.
 And I'm confused. You 'kissed' me goodnight a few days ago. And then started pulling away from me again ever since.
 And it's ok that you're in a different place to me. I'm not blaming you.  I'm just saying that I don't think I'm capable of being in a yoyo place with you.
 I guess I do want more from this relationship than you do. And if that's the case then I need to take 10 steps back. Because it makes me too vulnerable with you. I keep feeling like we're on the edge of something delicious,  only to feel pushed away again. Ugh. It's like being 16 again. I just can't. It's too sore.

Wow. Hard to brave like this. Much easier to be breezy and pretend it really doesn't matter to me one way or the other. But it does. And if he can't handle that, then I guess it's better that I know about it sooner rather than later.

I got the sooner.

25 Jan 2:09 PM - Berlin: Trudy I'm baffled now... I thought we've been there already and we spoke about everything and cleared things... Now it seems we're back to square one... I'm honestly puzzled! Thought we were friends! Last week you tell me about how you got laid the way good friends that share secrets talk to each other and now this? ๐Ÿ˜ณ All I said was that I'm relaxing a bit by the pool and after a seriously hectic week I don't see anything wrong with that on a Sunday afternoon... I'm sorry if you had any great expectations! Didn't realize what was happening in your mind after we spoke openly about everything quite a few weeks ago. Maybe it's better if I withdraw. It's probably better not to do business with each other under these circumstances too.

OK. That's it then. I was smoking my socks about him.  SO SO SORE! I guess I just have to spend a while getting over that now then. Ouch.

I sent my final response to him:
25 Jan 2:13 PM - Trudy: I'm a confused girl.
25 Jan 2:14 PM - Trudy: And it's not your fault.
25 Jan 2:14 PM - Trudy: I'm really saying it is just too hard for me. I know you were clear with me
25 Jan 2:15 PM - Trudy: I just also felt like i was getting mixed signals from you. But easily misinterpreted by me
25 Jan 2:15 PM - Trudy: Please don't be angry
25 Jan 2:16 PM - Trudy: And no need to withdraw from business space
25 Jan 2:19 PM - Trudy: I'm sore.  And sad.  And lonely. And far too susceptible to anyone who gets too close. I guess you really got under my skin all those months ago and I didn't ever really manage to shake that little hope that we would somehow find a place to be together.
25 Jan 2:19 PM - Trudy: Not your fault
25 Jan 2:19 PM - Trudy: Not your problem
25 Jan 2:19 PM - Trudy: My bad.
25 Jan 2:31 PM - Trudy: And of course there's nothing wrong with needing to collapse in a Sunday afternoon after such a hectic week.

It just made me realise how much we are in different places. I've been counting sleeps until I see you again and I would have moved heaven and earth to make sure that happened this weekend. And you were in much more of a 'ja whatever. .. I'm tired. Maybe we see each other,  maybe we don't'.

It was a shock to me. But made me wake up about the lalaland I'm living in.

So now I'm just nursing my poor heart again. I must be honest with myself - a part of me has loved him since we first found each other all those months ago. And I never lost my hope that we would be together at some stage. Like I was saying the other day - I think I believed I could 'Earn' my way into receiving love from him in return. Even now, in the face of very clear evidence to the contrary, I still think a part of me doesn't want to believe his response. But I must. I really must. I need to work through this very sore place now, and feel it all. And move on, putting my energy into people who do see a chance for me. Who want to be with me. As much as I want to be with them. And to stop chasing after rainbows.

I'm a good person. I deserve to be loved. And wanted. And cared for.

Don't I?

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Coming back from the Edge

I have just come out of my monthly Management Meeting. We were looking at the final recon for our horribly hard 2014 year - the year in which, after 18 years of business, we thought we would be closing down.

In preparing the final graphs for the presentation I suddenly had a real look at the picture that was emerging: when we were at our lowest point we were making a loss of almost 4 million! That felt like an impossible place to return from! John the Narc was telling me that there was absolutely no hope and that closing or selling was my only option. But the company was so worthless, in his opinion, that anybody would be crazy to buy it. And that he was offering to buy it from me only because he loved me so much and this was the way he could 'do the right thing' by me and save me.

Holy crap! I bought so much of that! I felt like such a failure, and I lost all my hope and fighting spirit. And my body just crumbled underneath me and I succumbed. I had nothing left in me to take it forward. I was so grateful when the new international company came in and offered to buy me because it felt like a complete lifeline - and that this was the only way I was going to save myself and my family and the employees and suppliers of my company. Somehow, even in my collapsed and broken state, my survivor voice was screaming at me to NOT sell to John. That I would be condemning myself and my team to endless pain if I did.  Thank heaven I chose the international company.

AND. Thank heavens it's taken them so long to move and actually officially buy my company. Because what happened while I've been waiting for the final transaction to come to be, is that we rescued ourselves! We pulled this crippled and broken company back from the edge just as I was doing the same for my poor heart and body and soul. We have a recovery curve on our profit/loss line that starts at a 4 million loss and ends, in December, at a loss that's less than 1 million! We recovered 3 million in just over 4 months!! And a 1 million loss is a much easier place for us to come back from! So even if, for some reason, the international guys suddenly left the table, we would still be able to survive, and then thrive, on our own.

And so I'm walking into this new international partnership with an intact business. My head held high. And the personal satisfaction of having walked next to this turnaround. I know I can't take full credit for it - I was off for a lot of that part of last year. I know my execs had to step up and deliver while I was recuperating. And even when I finally came back to work - I was more of a figurehead than an engaged and performing party. But I set up this team. I took the very hard decisions about cutting costs, retrenching people, and firing John-the-Narc. The results are playing out for themselves. And just by taking John on, facing him in court, and gearing up for the next round which I'm sure will come soon, I'm warrior woman - fighting to protect myself. My Team. My Family. And my Legacy.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

On Earning Love

The phrase just jumped out at me. I was reading a blog on the website yesterday afternoon and I saw the line and realised it was for me. I totally believe, at some fundamental level, that love is something earned, not something just given. And. Holy fuck. I have just spent 47 years believing this and never actually realised that before. Although I only believe it when it comes to me - I believe that I have to earn love. I give it away freely. But I believe I have to work to earn it. Like I can only receive love in exchange for something.

I guess it's what they call a FOO issue - a Family Of Origin problem. My Narcissistic mother would have taught me somehow that love is handed out under certain conditions and those criteria need meeting before 'love' is given. Or something.

I'm trying to think through how that relates to how hard I seem to be working to win the love of the various boys I'm chatting to. I've thought about that part before - I'm thinking so hard about how they need me to be for them, that I don't often ask myself whether I actually want them to be with me. Whether they are, in fact, making me feel the way I want to feel. I think I may very well be chasing that elusive and conditional love thing and constantly trying to figure out what that might be.

Which is why my Bush Man experience came as such as surprise to me the other day. He just wanted me. I didn't do anything to try to 'reel him in' He was there. And he just really enjoyed me for who I was in that moment. He wasn't gushy and effusive. Or swaggery. I DIDN'T WORK HARD. He came to me. I loved it.

Is that the recipe?

I read SUCH an interesting article via Facebook the other day - the New York Times - To Fall in Love with Anyone Do This. Wow! Read the full article, AND the links to the questions. Simply put, scientists have been able to make people fall in love in a laboratory (some even GOT MARRIED), by simply putting them through a series of 36 questions they ask and answer for each other. The questions are designed to deepen intimacy and reveal vulnerable thoughts and feelings. Then at the end of the questions the couple is to stare deeply into each others' eyes for 4 minutes. That's it. Questions plus staring!

I am a person who wades into those intimate conversations quickly and fearlessly with everyone. I have been very successful in Sales over the years because I quickly build a connected rapport with the people I meet. I know they feel I 'get them' really fast. I think it's my superpower. But now that I come to think of it, a lot of it is about me raising the intimacy bar fast - I ask them similar questions about themselves. I respond with intimate revelations of my own. We soon connect in a way that makes us feel like partners on a journey rather than supplier and client. And many people in my team follow a similar course - we create intimacy with our clients.

So I'm good at that. But it can have a dysfunctional layer too. In 'dating' contexts, I'm out there, sharing myself freely. Opening myself up to whoever I'm with. This makes me Narc fodder. They LOVE being with people like me - who work our asses off for the scraps of love we're handed in return. Very little makes us happy - we have to earn it after all!

Couple that with the fact that I somehow feel the need to 'earn' the love I'm going to hopefully get, and I'm a complete maniacal love giving machine. I guess I could be coming on much too strong for many people's tastes. I've definitely seen Berlin, Mark and Stellenbosch Boy back off when I suddenly get too open - they are unable to naturally respond with reciprocal intimacy. I find that quite hurtful actually... I put myself out there, in a vulnerable way, and experience a pulling away, a rejection, in return. I feel a bit lost after one of those - I try to rationalise that it was me - I was too much. I need to tone myself down a bit. I need to be less of me. But that's crap, isn't it. I mean, really, surely I should be allowed to just be me and loved for that. Those who can't should really move on, or I should move on.


I should move on. But I don't. I'm still hoping one of them will step in and love me, I guess. Which is probably a magical thinking fantasy that isn't going to happen.

So then? Be open to possibilities for now, I guess.

And keep holding myself safe through it all.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Open Marriage and Looming Shadows

Suddenly home felt like a different place last night. Just the two little boys were home with my husband and me, and we settled in the lounge to eat dinner together. There's still no TV as Husband hasn't had the time to reconnect the satellite dish and all, so just chatting to each other over supper is an easy thing to do suddenly.

And the boys took us into deep and thoughtful conversations. They were analyzing how their relationship with their big brother is changing now that he's permanently back from University - how he was the sparkly hero to them, but now they're realising he's actually just human, and not always a nice person either, like anyone. My youngest was thinking through how he might approach my oldest about the way he sometimes laughs at him in a way that makes him feel humiliated, and also how he sometimes guilts him into stuff. Ag, the content of the conversation is less important than the spirit of it, though: my little family, sitting together and connecting in a safe and loving place. Both parents involved and supporting the conversation like a well practiced team, enjoying together watching our kids grow.

It was suddenly the moment where I could see that my hope of this Open Marriage - living together and raising our family as a team - suddenly seemed like it might work. Months of bitterness and anger and pure fucking misery behind us. And suddenly, peace. Co-creation.Collaboration. Kindness. Love.

Then we moved to the diningroom table to cover schoolbooks together. Cutting plastic. Stocking up on sticky tape strips. Chatting and laughing together. More comfortable and happy family space. After the boys left us and headed for bed, Husband and I finished off the last of the schoolbooks alone together. Then we got into a gentle conversation - he was asking me about the boys I'm meeting, whether there's anyone serious on the horizon. I told him not really. Told him about Berlin. My Bush Man fling of last week. A couple of the others I'm chatting to but not really going anywhere with. We talked of the marriages that many of these men of mine are in. Respectful and supportive, like ours, but no longer sexual, like ours. So many of them haven't had intimate sex with their wives for years. But, not like ours, nobody is talking about it. They're living in secrets.

Then hubby mentioned to me he'd seen the specialist he was sent to last year earlier yesterday. The results from his liver function tests are not good. He has more tests today, and a CAT scan on Friday. We both went quiet. His dad died of pancreatic cancer at the early age of 54. Hubby is 48. We've already walked a horrible road of potential terminal illness with him in 2009.

So now we wait. Till Friday. To see if there's another tough chapter looming for us.

Monday, 19 January 2015

Is this PMT or am I not keeping my Shit together again?

As of yesterday I'm no longer in that happy, post-coital bliss space where nobody can touch me. I'm actually feeling a bit lost and lonely again. I'm trying to tell myself to hold on a few days - I'm naturally exhausted after a full month on the road and 3 different countries, new job, and lack of sleep. I should be forgiving myself for not being in the most buoyant of moods. But things are under my skin anyway, and I'm just PISSED OFF!

I've moved back home with my husband and children. I see my motorbike helmet and jacket are nowhere to be found. Which means my husband has left them at girlfriend's house. Without fucking asking me. After I told him before it pisses me off! I have met a lot of men who have bikes. One of them will ask me for a ride soon. Then I'll want my stuff and I'll get it back smelling like HER! And even though I like her, its NOT the POINT. It's MY shit. And I WANT it! It's BAD ENOUGH he comes home reeking of her.

And I think the least my conference shag, Bush Man, could do, is find me on Facebook and send me a thankyou for a delicious couple of days... suddenly the silence is deafening! And even though I don't mind whether I see him again or not, just some sort of little connect would be the gentlemanly thing to do, right?

And then there's Berlin. I'm so fucking conflicted about Berlin I could scream! He's in. He's out. Hot. Cold. I know he told me he feels no 'butterflies' with me. I suppose in his mind we're now mates, and that's it. And somewhere in my mind I'm still nursing that little hope that there is more to us, and that he'll see that soon. So this 'hope' part is completely in my head. I know that. And because of that I expect all sorts of stuff from him that isn't forthcoming. And then I just get pissed at him. I want more from him. He's right. I do. And I can't figure whether that's because I'm lonely, or because I'm sure he's real relationship potential for me. All those feelings just sit in the same spot and I'm not filtering them well. For now, I think, I am just backing off on the text message relationship we have where he sends me one message and I respond with 10! He's busy too. But I don't believe busy is a good enough reason to not connect. Like my little 'he's just not that into you' collection of sayings on Pinterest remind me, if he wanted to be a part of my life, he would work his ass off to make that happen! 

So I'm pissed off. Back at the office for the first time in over a month. Starting the day with a speeding fine that's come in for John-the-Narc off the car that he's driving that is STILL IN MY NAME!

Ugh. I really hope a lot of this is PMT. Because I would hate to have to face the fact that THIS IS MY FUCKING LIFE!

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Victory Lap!

I. Got. Laid.

Really! At Last!

And it was lovely! No strings attached. Warm and affirming. Free and happy. Open and comforting. I actually didn't know I had it in me - to be able to be in that physically intimate space with someone and NOT connect into a deep and complicated space.

I met a clever Environmental Scientist on a conference I was leading this week. We met at breakfast as we were in the same bed and breakfast joint. He offered me a lift to the conference venue and we ended up sitting next to each other during the sessions. At some stage in the afternoon, our arms brushed. And some sort of chemistry started cooking. Another 'innocuous' brush here and there, and that chemistry escalated. Like there was a magnet between us. Then more intentional touching, still, of course, invisible from the rest of the conference delegates.

By dinner he was sitting up close next to me (in a booth where all of us were squashed and up close, granted, but not all of us were surreptitiously touching fingers and thighs under the table). We drank and talked and laughed with our conference colleagues, and played tentative sexy touch games under the table. It was playful and light. Nothing heavy at all.

I suddenly realised I had had far too much wine for my own good, said goodnight to everyone, and headed home with a friend of mine. On the way home I saw lights in the rear view mirror (was a very remote venue, so unlikely to see that at that time), and wondered if it was him. Thought about whether I wanted it to be him. Decided that I was happy if it was him, and would let the evening unfold the way it took itself. By the time I had let myself into my room, there was a knock at the door. I opened the door and he stepped in and kissed me. Then he said "I thought you may need someone to put you to bed". I smiled. And closed the door behind him.

And we made love. Again - not the mind blowing soulful sex that comes from deep connection, but rather 'good enough' sex. We had hardly shared 10 sentences with each other directly  since we'd met - all conversation had happened in group contexts, but we still found a comfort and rhythm with each other that surprised me. It was like all the terms of our engagement had been communicated in touch and nuance, and no words were necessary - no discomfort felt. And it was just so incredibly lovely to touch and be touched after all these months of touch free desert. I just didn't want to stop touching him and kissing him in his neck, and back, and face and running my hands all over his broad hairy chest. Feeling this man under my hands with all his hardness and solidness and masculinity was just like a dream.

We lay together for a few hours in the too-narrow 3/4 bed, and he eventually left me to sleep away the last few hours before morning.

He came to me again the following night. Earlier this time. Less alcohol in both our systems. Both of us almost falling over with tiredness after a full day's work on only a few hours sleep from the previous night. We got into my bed, naked, and just held each other for a while. He played me some Leonard Cohen music that he loved on youtube on my phone, and we talked a bit, just holding each other, until we fell asleep.  And then, once we had rested, we woke up in the early hours and made love again. Slower this time. Better. Warmer. No rush. Just nice.

And then it was time for him to leave my bed as the daylight started creeping in. He kissed me.

We spent the rest of that day working in the conference space, and when the conference ended I had to leave very fast - I had 4 hours of driving to get to the airport through very remote rural country, so couldn't dally about. I collected all my luggage about me, and rushed to say goodbye. He looked at me with his lovely blue eyes and I said "I have to go now. Goodbye" And smiled.

"Goodbye" he said, with a matching smile.

And that was all.

No numbers exchanged. No 'I'll call you'. No 'let's do this again sometime'. Nothing. And that was as it should be. It felt right.

To just walk away with a secret smile.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

The Beginning of a Conversation

I spent half an hour here in Madrid chatting to my new CEO today. He owns the company that has just bought mine, so, in a sense, he now owns me! And he's my new boss.

I like him. He's thoughtful and understated, and not obviously arrogant. He dealt with me respectfully with focus and engagement. I wanted him to get a strong and confident sense of me that reassured him he has made a good decision, and to open a collaborative relationship between us that will work for many years to come. These initial conversations can make or break things long term I think.

We were strong and candid with each other, neither of us pretending we had this all figured out, and agreed to walk cautiously for a year together so we can learn a lot from each other. He is an expert in globalising a business. I am an expert in delivering our services at scale in emerging markets at very low cost. Together we could plant seeds that would make a strong impact on learning across the world. So long as we are not tempted to run fast and do damage to things in the process.

Besides continuing to run my business, I will take on the role of Head of Leadership practice for Africa and Middle East, and be a Senior Director of the organisation. So the expectation for me to learn and lead well are big. And although a lot is new to me in this business, I also feel that there are people who will become my allies over time and will support me to achieve stuff over the years.

Its very creative, considering all the new possibilities that exist because of all the changes that have happened to me over the past few months. And, if I'm honest, a bit intimidating. The possibilities are endless. Am I up to it? Will my body hold out? Is my brain going to run this fast?

Let's see.

But for now...time to try to walk gently with myself - I have about 20 hours of travelling ahead of me now as I head towards home. And I need to sleep and sleep and sleep.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

See that Girl

Oh my goodness! We had such a brilliant dancing time last night at our conference! I'm usually a complete fader when it comes to such things - I know I'm going to pay for last night's dancing in an unhappy body today, but I don't care. It was lovely!

My new company has a tradition of announcing the new Global Partner promotions at this conference. It was inspiring to watch some very clever and high performing people be acknowledged and promoted with such warm and inspiring high praise from their leaders. The people here seem to really love working here, and have a huge amount of fondness and affection for one another. I like it, on first impressions.

And then at about 12.30 am, the band started. The music just begged my body to start moving, as did my feet which had been aching with standing still listening to all the speeches for over an hour. Wow. Brilliant song after brilliant song. Dancing happy people everywhere around me. I danced and danced and danced.

And I chatted and danced with some lovely sexy boys. One from Brazil who was very inspired by my presentation yesterday about the work I'm doing in South Africa, and thinking about how we can help him set up something similar in Brazil!! But besides by getting really excited about being able to export my  work like that, I was also melting at how fkn HOT he is! No, Pink Book, I didn't make any moves on him! He's hot. And Married. And one of my new colleagues, So off limits. But lovely to enjoy the chemistry and connection at the same time!

And my body just so enjoyed the freedom of the dancing. I haven't done that in years. Just out there, dancing. No longer as self conscious as I would have been as a younger woman. Dancing with happy abandon. Feeling the music. Feeling the endorphins cursing through me. Laughing with myself. Laughing with the people I was dancing with. Enjoying watching the youngsters around me dance and play.

It's morning  now. I'm typing in bed with a cup of coffee to slowly emerge and try to give my body some peace. Last night was good for me.

I remember as a child growing up in the 70's, my favourite pop song was the ABBA hit 'Dancing Queen'. I imagined that, when I was 17 like the girl in the song, then I would be out there at clubs, living it up, the dancing queen of the song. All grown up and sophisticated. Instead, at 47, I really did feel like that. Not for anyone else, but for me, just for a while, I was my own dancing queen.

And it rocked!!

Friday, 9 January 2015

Pinch Me

A year ago today I was in Zanzibar. I took my whole team away for the holiday of a lifetime to reward them for an incredible year and create a unified team to tackle 2014 challenges. We thought we had a charmed year ahead of us. Our sales pipeline was full and we were going to produce our best results ever. I was deeply in love with John-the Narc and he was there with me, leading our team and setting us up for success. Once the team conference was over, John and I stayed on a few extra days alone to have some chill time alone together. It was beautiful, sensuous, loving and connected time. We walked and talked on beautiful beaches, made love and slept and read in beautiful island bungalows and connected and loved in that time. I thought I was in heaven. A beautiful start to a beautiful year.

And now, 1 year later, I'm alone in my hotel room in Madrid. I'm at my first conference of the company that has bought my company from me. I'm meeting all my new colleagues and bosses who are going to be part of my new life. John has gone. He lied, stole from, and betrayed me. I fired him and cleared him out of my life. I'm walking an average of 14km a day at the moment, and I'm feeling healthier and stronger than I have in years because I have been SO focused on healing myself and rehabilitating this body of mine. I'm on chemo, and eating a gluten free diet. My company is slowly recovering from the devastating blows that hit it this year, and my soul is slowly but surely moving into a better place.

And in my heart I feel everything. Still the deep sadness for the loss of my love, John, who didn't really exist as I believed him to be, but gone anyway. I'm still lonely. I am surrounded by clever, energetic, sexy men. And I feel even more the pain of living my life with very little touch. I'm feeling the lack of being held, loved. Intimate and beautiful connection. Sex. Any man who shows me the briefest bit of attention becomes, for a moment, a beacon of hope for me. And then I remember that these are my colleagues now, and that makes them off bounds. I'm not going to have another work relationship. Ever.

And even that is a shift in me. I see the feelings start to warm up in me, and I am able to tell myself to 'Step Away From That Colleague'..a level of self management that my poor damaged soul hasn't really been able to achieve in the past.

So here sits Trudy. On the brink of a completely new phase in her life. Still sad. Lonely. Wistful. But also excited. Creative. Blooming with ideation on the possibilities of my new job. Brimming with learning about what it means to be part of a global business. Glowing in the accolades I'm getting from my new colleagues about the work I have achieved in my company. Watching the culture and politics around me warily to see how the game is played in this company to make sure I position myself well.

John is my past. This is my future.

So much in 1 year

I can't really believe it!

Pinch me!

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Barcelona Alone

It sounded like a lovely idea at the time. Before my work conference in Madrid, spend a few days with my mate in Dubai and then off to Barcelona for a few solo days wandering the streets and just enjoying my Shirley Valentine moment. Because traveling alone should be something all self actualized women my age should be able to pull off. No problem.

Well I can pull it off. I can navigate the metro, catch a bus, read a map, find wifi hotspots and carry my 20kg of luggage up 4 flights of stairs with just a little huffing and puffing. Easy peasy. And the Guide Book my dad bought me for Barcelona is getting me around quite nicely thank you very much. And I'm capable of finding myself gluten free food to eat for every meal. And I just swipe my credit card for every purchase, and wince every time because it is so very expensive to travel abroad as a South African with our exchange rate so very high to the Euro.

But I didn't really get how very lonely I would feel. How all my sadness would keep welling up inside me at unexpected moments. How much in my own head I would be with nobody to talk to. I'm seeing beautiful things. Experiencing new sounds and smells and sights of Barcelona. But when I want to point it out...there's nobody there to share it with.

Once I imagined John and I seeing these far flung places together. He was very well traveled, and kept telling me he wanted to show me so many beautiful places across the world. We talked often about Barcelona - his son was here last year working on a cruise ship, coming ashore often to experience the place. I don't just feel alone here, I feel bereft. Like he should be here next to me, to turn to and point. To help me carry my luggage up those 4 stories. To decide with me what we should see today. To make love with me during siesta time.

So I feel my aloneness more acutely because I feel like I'm missing a piece of me. And as soon as I remember who I'm missing, that old sadness wells up again. And again.

There are a pile of 'Shoulds' sitting on my shoulder. I should remember what a fuckwit he is and eliminate any thoughts of him from my head. I should hook up with some local community people here and immerse myself in people to distract myself. I should just 'be' in the moment and feel whatever comes up and let that be part of my Barcelona experience. I should have invited someone to be here with me. But the Shoulds are not helpful because they actually just give me something to beat myself up about. And I promised myself I would let off the shoulds anyway.

Berlin has been keeping me company online. He knows Barcelona and travels a lot so he has been supportive. Although I do feel a bit of a tension happening between us. He talks to me for a while; I get hooked into that and lean in, getting more intense and a bit needy; he pulls back and creates some distance, afraid, I think , that I'll become too emotionally attached to him. Maybe he's right - that could happen I guess, particularly when I'm feeling sad and wistful like this.

Chatted a bit to my CEO boy too - he's in France and was thinking of joining me for a few days. But somehow I felt like that may rush an intimate relationship between us that I'm not sure I want or am ready for yet, so when he asked for my address in Barcelona so he could come through, I just kind of didn't give it to him. He got the message and reversed a bit, saying he'll catch up with me in Joburg again, and that he'd really really like to see me.

I walked the Gaudi buildings of Barcelona today. It's a holiday and so the streets were pretty empty. I found myself singing to myself most of the day as I walked. Sad songs. Songs of love and loss. That old Carpenters song "Goodbye to Love" keeps playing through my head. (Click here to remind yourself - such a beautiful singer Carol Carpenter was)

"Goodbye To Love"

I'll say goodbye to love
No one ever cared if I should live or die
Time and time again the chance for love
has passed me by
And all I know of love
is how to live without it
I just can't seem to find it.

So I've made my mind up I must live
my life alone
And though it's not the easy way
I guess I've always known
I'd say goodbye to love.

There are no tomorrows for this heart of mine
Surely time will lose these bitter memories

And I'll find that there is someone to believe in
And to live for something I could live for.

All the years of useless search
Have finally reached an end
Loneliness and empty days will be my
only friend
From this day love is forgotten
I'll go on as best I can.

What lies in the future
is a mystery to us all
No one can predict the wheel of fortune
as it falls
There may come a time when I will see that
I've been wrong
But for now this is my song.

And it's goodbye to love

I'll say goodbye to love.

Shew. Good thing I'm going to Madrid tomorrow to be with people again - this is wrist slitting stuff!

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Trudy, did you just try give the Baby Away again?

Ugh. Flip. I'm just feeling so sore right now. Just took a serious sucker punch to the stomach which I really should have seen coming.


I met up with him a couple of days ago between my family holiday and heading up here to Dubai. We had a happy and comfortable afternoon connecting, drinking wine and just enjoying each other's company. I like him. He's clever and interesting and warm. We were at it for 3 hours and reluctantly finished up when the restaurant had cleared away ALL the tables.

Near the end of the conversation I got into a little bit of a sore place when I said something about my ex-narc John. Too much wine and a big cocktail of PMT hormones and suddenly I was fighting back tears. I just felt the John stuff in a sore and vulnerable place and showed that vulnerability to Berlin. He was kind and gentle to me.

When we left we hugged goodbye. Wow. Just being held by him for a few seconds nearly broke the whole dam wall of tears - I can't remember when I was last held like that. Just for a few fleeting seconds I felt home. He's big. And surrounding. And strong. I suddenly felt all my vulnerable energy pouring out of my soul. I caught myself and pulled it back. In time, I thought. I stepped back from him and we were suddenly looking into each other's eyes. He has the most beautiful blue eyes that a girl could get lost in, and maybe I did lose myself for a bit. He said he felt sadness in me. Was there anything I wanted to say to him? There wasn't. I knew my sadness was about John. Not Berlin. I told him we had a long time ahead of us for any conversations that needed having, and that I was not sad about him.

We parted and headed off in different directions. I messaged him a bit later.

30 Dec 2014 9:15 PM - Trudy North: Thanks for that.
30 Dec 2014 9:15 PM - Trudy North: Sorry I got a bit emo on you there. ...
30 Dec 2014 9:16 PM - Trudy North: That was a very cozy safe feeling goodbye hug. Needed that. 
30 Dec 2014 9:26 PM - Berlin: Trudy I don't want to make you sad! 
30 Dec 2014 9:27 PM - Trudy North: You didn't
30 Dec 2014 9:27 PM - Trudy North: Really
30 Dec 2014 9:27 PM - Trudy North: I AM sad
30 Dec 2014 9:28 PM - Trudy North: I'm recovering from a hectic space. ..
30 Dec 2014 9:28 PM - Trudy North: And I sometimes still don't have my shit together.
30 Dec 2014 9:29 PM - Trudy North: Just talking about it and being in a gentle space with you just brought up some of the tough feelings. But not you. Really really not you 
30 Dec 2014 9:46 PM - Berlin: Good. You OK There? Got karate kid around? 
30 Dec 2014 9:51 PM - Trudy North: I'm fine. Mom in law here too 
30 Dec 2014 10:35 PM - Berlin: Good. Can she also do karate? 
30 Dec 2014 10:45 PM - Trudy North: Hahaaaa no. But she's scary with her knitting needles!

I got ready for bed. Still holding that really sad feeling, all connected to PMT, I found the next day, but sad all the same. I was surprised but also pleased at the sadness - I was able, at last to read through some of my earlier blogs and cry quietly to myself in my bed - I haven't been able to do that for a long time. But I was also feeling uncontained and lonely. And somehow, Berlin had struck a chord with me - I had felt held and safe and heard, and I didn't want it to end. Suddenly I needed my friend to stand by me in my sore place. But I think he was still convinced that I was sad because of him. Was I? I don't think so.

30 Dec 2014 11:15 PM - Trudy North: Hey where are you?  Talk to me.....

But he wasn't there. I carried on reading some of my tougher blogs to myself. And I was just getting deeper and deeper into a place where I needed to be heard. Feel seen. I feel like so much of this journey has been inside me, shared only with my shrink, and you, my Pink Book. And suddenly I wanted someone to stand with me in the fire, just for a while, and hold me while I shed my tears. Not a lover. Not an intimate person. Just someone who I could trust with these truths who would hold me and not judge me.

30 Dec 2014 11:27 PM - Trudy North: So I'm trying to find you a couple of my blogs to try explain a bit about where I'm at. Please read the ones I send you. ..It feels important to me that you do.  I'm not really sure why. None of them are about you, so don't worry. ...
30 Dec 2014 11:28 PM - Trudy North: It's like i need you to understand a bit more about where I've come from and that emo stuff i couldn't bottle up today. ..
30 Dec 2014 11:30 PM - Trudy North: I'm coming out of a very emotionally abusive relationship with a very cruel narcissist. I think your dad may have been one too, by the way. .. so see if you recognise anything that may be useful for you. ...
And I sent him 5 blogs. 5 Blogs that I thought would help him understand my sadness now. Give him some idea of the road I've walked. I wanted him to hear me. Empathise with me. Stand with me and maybe contain and hold me a bit.

These are the blogs I sent:

Emotionally Naive

It's not a normal breakup when there's a Narcissist in the Room

You Underestimate Narcissist pathology, Trudy

Interpreting Dreams

Allowing me to Grieve

30 Dec 2014 11:49 PM - Trudy North: ok. I've bombarded you enough. Sorry if it's too much for you. 
30 Dec 2014 11:51 PM - Berlin: Trudy? 
30 Dec 2014 11:51 PM - Trudy North: Yup 
30 Dec 2014 11:52 PM - Berlin: You're torturing yourself 
30 Dec 2014 11:52 PM - Trudy North: Maybe.
30 Dec 2014 11:52 PM - Trudy North: I'm off all the pills that kept me quite numb for months 
30 Dec 2014 11:53 PM - Berlin: You will never understand these people
30 Dec 2014 11:53 PM - Berlin: I won't either 
30 Dec 2014 11:53 PM - Trudy North: I'm starting to feel again and it hurts like
30 Dec 2014 11:53 PM - Trudy North: Like i don't have a word for 
30 Dec 2014 11:53 PM - Berlin: It's important to know that they are there
30 Dec 2014 11:54 PM - Berlin: And to warn others like you warned me 
30 Dec 2014 11:54 PM - Trudy North: Did you read my bits i sent? 
30 Dec 2014 11:54 PM - Berlin: And saved me from a lot of pain!
30 Dec 2014 11:55 PM - Berlin: But it's also important to accept that it's a vicious world out there
30 Dec 2014 11:55 PM - Berlin: But also a kind world
30 Dec 2014 11:55 PM - Berlin: With kind loving people
30 Dec 2014 11:56 PM - Berlin: You are one of them
30 Dec 2014 11:56 PM - Berlin: That made you a target first 
30 Dec 2014 11:56 PM - Trudy North: :( 
30 Dec 2014 11:56 PM - Berlin: Now you can help others like me and I will too
30 Dec 2014 11:57 PM - Berlin: You're a great person Trudy!!! 
30 Dec 2014 11:57 PM - Trudy North: Tx Berlin 
30 Dec 2014 11:57 PM - Berlin: I consider myself lucky to know you!!! 
30 Dec 2014 11:58 PM - Trudy North: Hahaaaa... Let's see what you're saying in a year's time. .
30 Dec 2014 11:59 PM - Berlin: The same thing. Truth is truth. Might be pissed off with you here or there and vice versa but we're still on the same wavelength
30 Dec 2014 11:59 PM - Berlin: And you saved me
30 Dec 2014 11:59 PM - Berlin: After I hurt you
31 Dec 2014 12:00 AM - Berlin: I won't forget that!!!!! 
31 Dec 2014 12:01 AM - Trudy North: I'm going to breathe and say nothing because i don't have words right now. ... 
And that's the truth - I'm crying. And crying. I don't quite know why but the tears are flowing after months of desert. I can't find words
31 Dec 2014 12:03 AM - Berlin: Breathe... We're not in a slam poetry contest or whatever they call those things... 
31 Dec 2014 12:04 AM - Trudy North: Please read. It's important to me. 
31 Dec 2014 12:06 AM - Berlin: I'll do that Trudy! 
31 Dec 2014 12:07 AM - Trudy North: Thank you Berlin. 
31 Dec 2014 12:10 AM - Berlin: They say all sorts of weird things about Germans but one of those rumors is true. If we do something, we make sure we do it properly! It's in our DNA. Applies to friendships too by the way  
31 Dec 2014 12:11 AM - Trudy North: I'm glad. I could do with some of that. Friendship stuff.  
31 Dec 2014 1:00 AM - Berlin: I know you need more Trudy...
Whaaaaaaat? What does he mean? from him? From anyone? What is he thinking??? Is it true? Do I need more from him? Is that what this is? Me reaching out, asking him to 'read me' because I need him to 'get' me? Maybe to love me?
31 Dec 2014 1:01 AM - Trudy North: Actually I need to be more for me.
31 Dec 2014 1:01 AM - Trudy North: I just haven't completely figured that out yet
And then follows two days of conversation about everything but this. I leave South Africa and head for Dubai. He chats to me and keeps me company on the trip over WhatsApp. He suggests places to see, things to do. I do them and send him pics. But nothing about my blogs. And my period starts and I realise why I felt so very sad and undone for a while. Not that the feelings weren't there, but more that they were spilling out of me so easily during that time.

And for days I'm too afraid to ask what he thought of my blogs. I want him to tell me. Say something that will let me know he gets it. He sees me. But nothing.

So this afternoon, I finally plucked up the courage to ask:

1 Jan 5:28 PM - Trudy North: Hey Berlin. Did you read those blog extracts I sent you?

1 Jan 5:35 PM - Berlin: You sent me so much Trudy and our WhatsApp conversation is endless! Haven't managed to go back far enough to find them yet. Would be easier if you could send me links via email...

1 Jan 5:39 PM - Trudy North: Ok. Will do.

He hadn't read them. He hadn't read them. He was not curious or caring enough to make good on his promise to me that he would. Was I not clear enough about how much I needed him to read me? To see me? I asked and asked. I pushed the point. He didn't want to. Just that. If he did want to, he would have.

And this is where my heart breaks. Fkn again. Because I believed him when he said he would do this for me. I thought he was interested enough in me as a human being to care about this if it was that important to me. But not. He didn't get it. Didn't want to get it. Reading those blogs together would have taken maximum about 20 minutes at most. And I know I would have done that for him if he'd asked me to.

And I just suddenly felt terribly alone again. Alone and abandoned and sad. Again without anybody in the world who would give a fuck about how very sore all of this is for me. Who would just hold me safe and pat my head for a while. So I can feel safer. Better. Calmer. A little more loved.

But I also know I did it again. Like I was saying in my blog "Don't try give the Baby Away". I tried to give the baby away to Berlin to hold. I know I must not do that. I clearly haven't learned how to exist without trying to palm her off on people instead of just holding her myself in her pain. Shushing her gently until she calms down and nods off. Feeling safer because I have done the holding.

So I'll have to get back to that then. Backing off Berlin again for a bit. It's just too close and too sore, and I seem to get into having unrealistic expectations, or rather unmatched expectations of what our friendship would be. 

So I'm sore and I'm reluctantly picking up that baby who has been howling on the pavement for 3 days. She's mine to hold. 

Not Berlin's. Not Berlin's.

Resolutions for 2015

This is a big day for me. It's the very last day that I own my own company - a company that I have built and grown for almost 19 years!

So while everyone else is looking at today being the last day of what has been a tough year for many, I'm looking at the end of an era.

And I'm writing here from the airport lounge waiting to catch a flight that will take me to Dubai to meet up with one of my precious mates for a few days before I head up to Spain and meet all my new bosses at their world conference.

So, on my very last day, I'm alone, embarking on a new journey and into a new life. I'll be celebrating the new year in the air with all my other fellow travelers and flight staff.

So I do think that 2014 is going to go down in the history of Trudy Green as the Watershed Year. I have made such momentous changes for myself and faced down the biggest dragons of my life.

  1. My company went into the biggest freefall in 19 years and looked like it was going to crash. I thought I was going to lose everything I'd worked for and go bankrupt.
  2. I sold my company - the one I grew up in and has been intimately interwoven with the story of my life, and my family's life for almost two decades
  3. My health took the biggest beating ever with my collapse and hospitalisation. I'm finishing this year with two new confirmed chronic autoimmune diseases: Rheumatoid Arthritis and Atypical asthma on top of the Hashimotos I had diagnosed in 2013
  4. I discovered the most cruel deception from my lover, a narcissist, who cheated on me and stole huge amounts of money from me. 
  5. I've been working in therapy for the whole year on healing my soul from the scars of old and new Narcissistic abuse
There are more things that 2014 brought but these were the headlines. The trauma I have lived through this year has felt incredibly severe. And recovery has been slow and is still very much in process. My response is to try for a 2015 that has the following in it:

1. Create a life that works better for me and my Tribe  
2. Write more
3. Laugh more
4. More time with my precious people
5. Be there more. For me.

Be gentle Trudy.