It has been some considerable time since I posted to this blog. Life has a habit of doing its’ thing and preventing me from just getting on with blogging and such. I have just sat pondering the title of this blog, the name I chose when I started it; Eclectic City Witch, that suited me back then but not now. I guess back then I felt I had to use the label, witch, because it made me feel I was validating myself as such. Now I feel less inclined to need to do this. I have changed so much over recent months, grown in some areas and in others I have left behind what I no longer need. I still feel that the term witch applies, I just don’t feel the need to wave it around all of the time.
Some of the reason why I embraced the whole witchy name was because I was struggling with who I was. That change lasted many years and I felt so unsure of who I actually was, but the witch label was a constant in my life. It gave me something to anchor myself down when everything else was in a constant state of flux. Now I feel a lot more secure in my own skin and less vulnerable to the never ending identity crisis that erupted in my mid 30’s. I think the reason that particular crisis lasted so long was the events and personal problems that all seemed to happen from 2001 until late last year. In 2001 I was 30 and had began to change areas of my life that I was no longer happy with; job, home, friends, ways of thinking. The changes served me well until the first crisis hit – my husband became seriously ill and was given months to live unless he had major heart surgery. Eventually he had the surgery, but the challenges placed before us were immense. I had to stop working to care for him, a role I was not expecting to play until much later in our lives. I was 31 years old when he became ill. The prospect of him dying, me becoming a widow and our three children fatherless was too much to bear some days. But I had to bear that burden alone, mostly. I couldn’t really go anywhere socially as he couldn’t be left alone, so it was certainly tough. Everyone was terrified and I have to admit, that included me, but I had to remain stoic and not show my fear for the sake of our children – who were 11, 9 and 5 at the time – and for my husband, who was 36.
The promise of his heart being repaired – he needed a new aortic valve – meant we would both be able to return to work. He worked full time as a supervisor in a factory and I worked part time. We had a decent income and had been about to buy a house. We had gone from that decent income to whatever the going rate for Incapacity benefit was at the time. Also, because he was receiving some sick pay, we weren’t entitled to much in the way of benefits. Money was extremely tight and I had to shoulder all of that so he didn’t become ill with the stress. And boy was it stressful.
His recovery, however, is still incomplete. Part of his heart got damaged whilst he waited for the surgery to replace the valve and this has left him unable to work. We never did get back to that comfortable income we had back in the late 90’s/early 00’s. In 2005 the aches and pains I had been struggling with for a couple of years manifested themselves in such a way that I was forced to go see the GP – to cut a very long story short, I have arthritis and Fibromyalgia. So instead of me being able to return to work to help support our family I too became disabled. Don’t misunderstand me here, I am eternally grateful that welfare state is our safety net, but let’s face it, it certainly is not anywhere near the amount of money we were earning, even way back when. In real terms now we still would have a bloody good income, instead of having to just manage. Like I said, I am really grateful for the safety net we do have, but it took me a long time to realise my gratitude. I spent a long time being angry with life, fate, call it what you will. My hopes and dreams crushed before my every eyes. Plans we had made never coming to pass. Then another crisis hit; my Aunt died.
After the mourning had stopped I decided to study for a degree with the Open University. Maybe I could salvage something from the ship wreck that my life had become! I passed my first module, feeling really proud of myself. But life, once again, had other ideas. At that time i didn’t know what was wrong with me. Yes I knew about the arthritis, but not the fibro. The consultant at the hospital had not told me about that, although he had put it on my notes. My endless trips to and from the GP always left me clueless as to why I felt so ill. I had to abandon my studies. I eventually found out about the fibro and that answered a few questions at least. But throughout those years there were plenty of personal problems preventing me from following my dreams.
Severe bullying issues for my youngest daughter. Issues with my eldest daughter. Illness for my son, resulting in me home schooling him. Then in December 2010 my 29 year old brother died. Followed four months later by my Dad. Also, an Aunt had died the previous month. Then an Uncle died and my cousin’s wife committed suicide in 2011.
Enough to try anyone.
I had been in the process of sorting my life out. I had defined goals and knew where my life was going. Sure, it was going to take longer than normal, but I knew where I was heading. I was getting back on track after the events that had sidelined me for so long. Then bam, those five deaths in such a short space of time, my brother and dad in particular – four months between them – really knocked me sideways. Insomnia struck. I was terrified to sleep in case someone else died.
I have to admit, I truly felt lost. When my Dad died it was eight days before my 40th birthday. I was already feeling on edge about turning 40, but although we knew he was going to die, we didn’t think it was going to be that soon, and that sent me into a dark place.
Just when I was beginning to get back on my feet my youngest daughter got involved with a very dangerous man. She got pregnant and we had so many months of worry and having to always be at her house because of him, even after the baby was born. She decided last August that enough was enough and she was leaving him.
Finally, late last year, I was able to start processing things in my life. It has taken a while, but I am finally starting to know myself, a lot better anyway. The process has left me feeling so much happier, happier than I have been for a long time. Some days the raw pain that emerged from so many relatives dying in such a short space of time whacks me from behind, but I have learnt to take some time out when this happens and let myself be. I have cut out a lot of dead wood from my life, people, circumstances and ways of thinking. I would like to be able to say that I would have coped a lot better had I done this sooner, but I am not sure I would have arrived at this place had it not been for these experiences. Which brings me to this blog. Throughout the struggles I have been unable, for whatever reason, to blog much. I used to think it was because I no longer had faith in anything, but I have found that to be untrue. I do have faith, not in God, the Christian God, after all I lost that faith when I was 14. But I had believed in something, fate, or something like that.
The reason i was unable to blog, aside from the time constraints, was blindingly obvious, although it took me a while to realise this. My blog’s title is all about being a witch, therefore I felt that this subject should be my main topic of discussion. Only, life kept throwing endless obstacles in my path and not much witchy stuff was getting done, well, nothing that I wanted to blog about anyway. The past few months I have been exploring my own spiritual beliefs and practices and maybe I could have blogged about that, but it all felt far too personal. So I have decided to ditch the witchy title from the blog and follow my own advice, just be yourself.
Of course I will have to change the name of the blog to reflect these changes, as of yet I have no idea what to change it to. This, of course, doesn’t mean my blog posts will be anymore frequent – I do aim to blog on a regular basis, but somehow it never happens like that.
We shall see.