Behind Closed Doors: Being There

At Any Other Woman, you can talk about anything. Anything you want at all. Any subject, any time. We are proud to be able to provide that platform for you, it makes our hearts sing. But we do understand that sometimes there are topics that are too sensitive, too divisive, simply too hard to write about and broadcast without a second thought. No-one wants to hurt their loved ones unnecessarily and yet sometimes a story needs to be told.

This is your place for those subjects. A place for you to tell those tales you’d not considered telling before. No names, no justifications, no apologies.

You can send your BCD submissions to us and we promise that you’ll remain anonymous throughout the entire process.

 

I am reminded daily of my mother; she is hard to avoid.  She pops up whenever motherhood is even briefly in the air, when a colleague talks about their children, when a friend mentions theirs, in advertising, on social media, on television, in  emails telling me I should buy her flowers on the 26th.  She is everywhere and nowhere, all at once.

I sat in the back row at her funeral, my unendingly supportive husband gripping my hand.  It had been just over 13 years since she had left us and we’d met only twice in that time, both on horribly sad family occasions.  I couldn’t bear to look at her, I was so angry still, even after all those years.  Just like I was angry as I tried to push my way through my GCSEs (she left in the middle of them), as I dropped out of my A Levels (I had never failed at anything before then), as I gave up on the career I had always dreamed of and pushed myself up the ladder of one I had never even considered to be for me.  Needs must.

Just like I was angry when I was ill and she had no idea; when my heart was broken and she wasn’t there.  Just like when she missed my wedding day, the day that I had become sure would never happen because what she had done meant I could barely believe someone could really love me as unconditionally as (I now know) my husband does.

Just like I was angry when she took her own life.  When she sentenced me to a lifetime of fear that 16 year old me telling her I didn’t want to see her eventually lead to that.  When she committed the ultimate selfish act.

And I am angry now.  I am angry because for all my outward insistence that I’m not sure I ever want to have my own children I know deep down that actually, I really do.  And I am angry because I am afraid.  I’m so very afraid that I will do what she did.  Afraid that I will resent my children so much that I will be incapable of loving them forever the way a mother is supposed to, the way that she was supposed to love me.

But I am also determined, aways have been, and she couldn’t take that away (not least because I clearly did not get it from her).  That un-planned career is going very well; my husband is utterly amazing and tells me every single day how much he loves me; I have the most grounding, faithful and infinitely patient friends you could ever wish for.

I will never have her again, and I can’t even remember any of the good times I am sure we did have together when I was small, but I will always have the strength she gave me when she walked away.  The strength I have had to build up to keep going and the strength that I am reminded of daily when she comes to mind.

Perhaps one day, not too far away, that strength will be enough for me to be sure that I could bring my own children in to this world and give them strength and determination too, but instead of it being rooted in a need to get by, that strength and determination will be borne out of a daily reminder that I will always be there for them.  No matter what.

Categories: Family, Friends and Relationships, Life Experience
6 interesting thoughts on this

Behind Closed Doors: Radicalised by the Internet

At Any Other Woman, you can talk about anything. Anything you want at all. Any subject, any time. We are proud to be able to provide that platform for you, it makes our hearts sing. But we do understand that sometimes there are topics that are too sensitive, too divisive, simply too hard to write about and broadcast without a second thought. No-one wants to hurt their loved ones unnecessarily and yet sometimes a story needs to be told.

This is your place for those subjects. A place fo07r you to tell those tales you’d not considered telling before. No names, no justifications, no apologies.

You can send your BCD submissions to us and we promise that you’ll remain anonymous throughout the entire process.

Since AOW closed for business I think we’ve all been struggling to find our internet tribes. Some of us have quite happily settled into the mummy blogging/insta routine. Some of us have dangerously dallianced with the dark side and it’s oh-so-pretty interiors. And some of us have floundered around not knowing quite where we fit. Apparently being a thirty something woman with no children who had a total bastard of a time trying to move house automatically precludes you from quite a lot so I mainly fitted into the latter category. Sure I read The Pool and Stylist and Standard Issue from time to time, but they weren’t mine, they weren’t home.

Which is how (somewhat ironically given my aforementioned lack of sprog) I ended up on mumsnet. Specifically the FWR bit of the site. I don’t join in much but I read a lot and it’s led me to some sites and some twitterers I’m really pleased to have found. And they have one thing in common – they’re all ‘radical’ feminists.
Read More »

Categories: Behind Closed Doors, Politics and Feminism
27 interesting thoughts on this

Big girl pants

Oh, readers.  Do we have a belter of a post for you today.  From the one and only Katielase.  You’ll know her as the “cake-baking science nerd triathlete” (as I once described her).  I don’t know many women who won’t feel this post touch the most uncomfortable parts of their insides.  It’s brave, it’s honest, it’s unflinching.  Much respect to you, KL.  It’s not easy, doing what you’re doing.  But it’s so, so necessary.  Here we go:    

This is a story of a journey, a journey so far, not completed but begun, at least.

This year I am not trying to lose weight. I think this is the first time in my adult life that I can honestly say this. And I say it while weighing the most I have ever weighed (apart from that time I had a nearly 9lb baby inside me). That nearly 9lb baby girl though, is the reason I started trying not to try to lose weight.

I’d read so many articles and studies and research showing that girls are developing body image issues at younger and younger ages, and it was clear across the board that one of the best ways to protect them against this as a mother was to deal with your own body image issues. I never wanted my daughter to hate her body, so I started to try and stop hating my own.
It was hard. It really was, and is, hard. I have worked at this for the past few years, since I pushed her out and my body changed irrevocably, but now I can honestly say I can look at myself in the mirror and I don’t hate what I see. I don’t love it yet, it’s not a journey completed as I said, but most of the time I don’t hate it. I don’t wish half of it away. I don’t jump straight to my flaws. I see myself and I feel okay. I try to treat my body with kindness.

This is an empowerment for me. Particularly so because I am a reluctant anarchist, a deeply anxious rule-breaker, it does not come naturally to me not to just do what I am told. I’ve been called a teacher’s pet, a goody-two-shoes, and I will own those things, because it is quite quite true. But this, this is for me. I started for her but it’s for me now. I deserve this. I deserve to look at myself in the mirror and be happy. I am breaking the rules by doing it, because the rules say I should want to lose at least 5 stone, I should want to skim down my hips and tone up my thighs, I should want my cheekbones to stand out and my waist to go in and my bum to perk up but I am refusing to want that, I am resisting. I am breaking the rules and it feels amazing.

Read More »

Categories: Body Image, Health, Life Experience
39 interesting thoughts on this

The unexpected

It’s been a long time, hasn’t it?

I’m sorry we’ve been gone so long.  We fell out of love with blogging, and raising tiny humans was all-encompassing, and and and…

But I don’t think either of us ever fell out of love with writing.  And we know many of you miss the space that this blog creates.  

So the plan is…there is no plan.  No schedule.  Just posts as and when we receive them, and as and when we write them.  So write if you like, send it in, same rules apply as ever.  Let’s see if we can get this place up and running again, eh?  

And to kick off…some drivel.    

 

“Ellie.  We’re going to miss the train.  Get up.  NOW”

Silence.  My two-year-old remained sitting, cross legged, on the floor of the Liverpool Street Station concourse, in evening rush hour.

I was holding her rucksack, her drink, my handbag and a bundle of her paintings that she’d done on A3 like some sort of oil painting prodigy.  I was seven months pregnant.  I had fractured my foot.  The train to get us home was leaving in four minutes.

And Ellie didn’t move.

I had tried asking, negotiating, ordering, in that order.  I was tired, I was in pain, and I couldn’t pick her up.  People were rushing to their trains, stepping over her.  There were tuts.  I tried not to cry, but I did, a bit.

A big, burly man in a hi-vis jacket who often gets our train, who sits nearby and always looked annoyed, crouched down, holding out his fists.  ”Ellie.  Which hand has the coin?”  Curious, she pointed.  ”You want the coin? Come with me onto the train.”

Up she got like a lamb, holding his hand all the way down the platform and into our carriage.  I followed, half bemused, half pathetically grateful.

“Just sit there.  I can look after her.  It’s fine.  Read your book” , he said.

They played games, they made up stories, she didn’t look at me once all journey.  I felt the tension lifting for the first time in weeks.

At our stop, I tried to say thank you.  ”It’s nothing”, he said.  ”Remember, people want to help. Even the ones you don’t expect”.

*****

That’s the thing about writing. If you stop doing it, the words don’t stop coming, but they get buried.  Buried under layers of skin and gristle and bone. They’re in there, deep down, you  know they are. And you sit with a shovel, hald-arsedly making marks in the ground because you can’t face the proper, on-your-knees, exhausting work you know it will be to get those damn words out.  And you don’t want to think about what the words might say, either.

But you also know that if you don’t do it, you’ll only ever know half of what you could know about yourself.

And you weigh that up, you oscillate. I want to write, but it’s hard work, but I need to write, but I can’t be bothered, I don’t have the time, you have the time to watch four seasons of Orange Is The New Black on the trot but you don’t have time to do the thing you think is most important to you?

Oh. Well. Fuck’s sake.

And so, resentfully, you start the hard work. You dig. The words are stuck under rock. You chip and you chip and you chuck down your shovel in a massive piss and you sheepishly pick it up again. They won’t come. But you keep going. Because you want to say what you’ve got to say, everyone has something in them, words are what’s in you. And slowly, slowly, you pull out one word, a phrase, a sentence, you pin a thought down before it floats away.

And eventually you strike through, you hit a vein, they come tumbling out, and they keep coming, unstoppable, like you never stopped.

Read More »

Categories: Any Other Baby, Becoming a Mother, Family, Friends and Relationships, Life Experience, Written By Anna
45 interesting thoughts on this

Behind Closed Doors: Sex Addiction

At Any Other Woman, you can talk about anything. Anything you want at all. Any subject, any time. We are proud to be able to provide that platform for you, it makes our hearts sing. But we do understand that sometimes there are topics that are too sensitive, too divisive, simply too hard to write about and broadcast without a second thought. No-one wants to hurt their loved ones unnecessarily and yet sometimes a story needs to be told.

This is your place for those subjects. A place for you to tell those tales you’d not considered telling before. No names, no justifications, no apologies.

You can send your BCD submissions to behindcloseddoors@live.co.uk and we promise that you’ll remain anonymous throughout the entire process.

I don’t know where to start.

We are getting married in 12 weeks.

We have a child who is 18 months old.

My husband to be is a sex addict.

I found pictures of him naked last night on his iPad. Then I did a bit more digging and found some pictures of women that he’d forwarded to himself on his email from WhatsApp. I confronted him and he told me that he’d had signed up to a website where you exchange pictures and can chat to women on line. He pays a monthly fee. One of the images was from October. Which was around the time I was diagnosed with Post Natal Depression.

He believes he is a sex addict. He claims he isn’t using that as an excuse. I believe that this may be the case as he has always had a high sex drive and I know he watches porn. I am so mad, confused, angry, upset and I can’t talk to anyone about it. Literally anyone. If he was a gambling addict and he’d spent all our money then people could understand or empathise because their friends cousin once did the same. If he was an alcoholic who always had a few too many then people would feel sorry for us but know that we could get help.

But how can I tell anyone? On the surface we are a happy family, we have a nice life, good friends, I don’t understand it.

He can’t explain to me why he feels the way he does, he sees it as a separate part of him that has nothing to do with our life. He’s keen to have counselling, couple and one to one. I worry that addiction is something that doesn’t go away. That I’ll never be enough. That I’ll always feel on edge and that he will be looking for something that I can’t give him. This is also not the first time we’ve been here. In 2008 I found a video of him in a compromising position with a woman. He promised it would never happen again and he was sorry. I would say it took at least 3 years for me to completely trust him again.

I just don’t know what to do. Will we get married? Will I end up a single mum? Should we postpone the wedding? Who can I tell?

For better or worse and in sickness and in health. I just never believed this would be our sickness.

Anonymous

Categories: Behind Closed Doors
12 interesting thoughts on this

Behind Closed Doors: An Inner Battle

At Any Other Woman, you can talk about anything. Anything you want at all. Any subject, any time. We are proud to be able to provide that platform for you, it makes our hearts sing. But we do understand that sometimes there are topics that are too sensitive, too divisive, simply too hard to write about and broadcast without a second thought. No-one wants to hurt their loved ones unnecessarily and yet sometimes a story needs to be told.

This is your place for those subjects. A place for you to tell those tales you’d not considered telling before. No names, no justifications, no apologies.

You can send your BCD submissions to behindcloseddoors@live.co.uk and we promise that you’ll remain anonymous throughout the entire process.

Where to begin. So many thoughts spiralling around my mind, coursing through my head, tormenting me, teasing me, pulling me relentlessly into the abyss. Silencing my screams, my pleas for help that echo through the empty hallways of my soul until they become instead that mocking voice of doubt, questioning whether anything I feel is really real. Telling me that I don’t matter, that nothing matters anymore.

I don’t know what to do. I am so tired of feeling like this. Of really really just wanting someone to come and give me a hug, to hold onto me whilst I sob into their shoulder, but instead remaining isolated, paralysed. I find myself enveloped by the anguish of never reaching out for help that is so close by. A text that says ‘Do you need support? Let me know if you need to talk, anytime.’  And whilst every fibre of my being is screaming out ‘Yes. Yes I need help. I want support. Please. please,’ I know that I won’t ask. That unless they come and knock on my door when I am falling apart, when the carefully constructed veneer that I am coping has fallen away, I will struggle on. Why? Because I can’t bear to burden anyone with something that is all my fault. I am lazy, I am a fraud. I deserve to be unhappy and anyway I am ok.

Yes, the blanket of terrible fear and despair closes in and suffocates me regularly, and at times I feel like a dark and deadly poison is coursing through my veins tainting every cell in my body, but there are in between times which are not so bad. After all I am still going to work, still smiling, still laughing, sleeping fine. Sometimes things feel okay and the weight upon my chest seems to ease a little. I start to think positively; dare to imagine things I could do to make life better, to become the person I would like to be.

Read More »

Categories: Behind Closed Doors
10 interesting thoughts on this

Behind Closed Doors: Turning Off The Switch

At Any Other Woman, you can talk about anything. Anything you want at all. Any subject, any time. We are proud to be able to provide that platform for you, it makes our hearts sing. But we do understand that sometimes there are topics that are too sensitive, too divisive, simply too hard to write about and broadcast without a second thought. No-one wants to hurt their loved ones unnecessarily and yet sometimes a story needs to be told.

This is your place for those subjects. A place for you to tell those tales you’d not considered telling before. No names, no justifications, no apologies.

You can send your BCD submissions to behindcloseddoors@live.co.uk and we promise that you’ll remain anonymous throughout the entire process.

 

 

This post has been written and re-written over a number of days, yet the words don’t come easy, so bear with me whilst I struggle through. I’ve been scared to say it, as if hiding makes it not true. Thanks to AOW, I’m grateful for somewhere I can even start to manage this. Some of you will know who is writing, but you’ll also understand why this is BCD in an attempt to save face and not tell All The Internet everything right now.

There have been only a few tears; angry, defeated and distraught. There have been no slammed doors, thrown crockery or muttered curses. Most of all there’s been sadness, a feeling of grief and a blackness that only a sense of mourning can bring.

Splitting an almost 8 year old team is difficult, confusing and painful. As any supporter would know, once you’re a fan, you’re always a fan; season ticket, kit and all.

When I said my vows I meant from the depth of my heart – ‘til death do us part, for better or for worse. I could cope with any hurt, with sadness or arguments, because I knew together we’d deal with it. What I can’t handle is coldness, as if a switch has been turned off. I am not a person that gives up easily, I’d rather lose a limb and bleed to death through trying than simply throw my hands up and relent. For me, giving up is the easy way out, I want to try, to battle through and come out the other side.

But he’s walked away, defeated and lacking fight. I loved that fight. That team spirit.

This feeling of failure does not sit well with me, but no amount of pleading or begging is making him change his mind. I have run out of help and words of kindness to give, and am only left with the option to swallow my pride and watch him pack up his things, find a new home and walk out of ours. I want him to try to be happier. It hurts me to let that happen, but I always said I’d support him.

I can’t promise I’m going to wait to see if he changes his mind, because the man I married told me that we ‘are better than divorce, we are a team’ – and I don’t look kindly upon broken promises.

I’m attempting to look forwards rather than back, onwards and then up, but at the moment all I see is the emptiness, failure and the fact that I now have joined the statistics of young divorcées.

Categories: Behind Closed Doors
9 interesting thoughts on this

The Friend That Made Me Me – Tish

We haven’t had a FTMMM for a very long time.  Tish nails this one, with friendship, family, history, love.  

One year ago today, Tish’s best friend Katie lost her mother to cancer.  This, in all its perfection, is Tish’s tribute:  

 

I’ve wanted to write something for AOW for a while, but there’s always a little niggle saying that what I have to say wouldn’t be good enough to be published. So it must be someone pretty special who has made me brave enough to do this. And that person is my wonderful, beautiful, oh so incredibly brave friend Katie.

I can’t ever remember I time when I haven’t known you – our mums were friends when we were in toddler group and we went to each others’ birthday parties as children. Little did we know then how much we’d come to rely on each other later on down the line.

I remember one day at high school, I fainted in a science lesson and was laying on the bed in the nurse’s room when you came in, having passed out at watching a birth video. It was just before your sister in law had Beth so I think you’d gone a bit wobbly, but we sat laughing in that room and looking after each other, making the time fly (which it always does when we get together). I love that we managed to find the exact same time to be ill enough to leave class on the same day, not that we were skiving ;)

Read More »

Categories: Friend That Made Me Me
7 interesting thoughts on this

Behind Closed Doors: Across Your Hallway

At Any Other Woman, you can talk about anything. Anything you want at all. Any subject, any time. We are proud to be able to provide that platform for you, it makes our hearts sing. But we do understand that sometimes there are topics that are too sensitive, too divisive, simply too hard to write about and broadcast without a second thought. No-one wants to hurt their loved ones unnecessarily and yet sometimes a story needs to be told.

This is your place for those subjects. A place for you to tell those tales you’d not considered telling before. No names, no justifications, no apologies.

You can send your BCD submissions to behindcloseddoors@live.co.uk and we promise that you’ll remain anonymous throughout the entire process.

So there we were in the hallway of your flat, me leaning on the door frame to your living room and you leaning on the door frame to the bedroom.  You say to me that sometimes you think I say things that imply I want to cheat on my husband and that you don’t think I want to imply that.

 

I take a deep breath and say that sometimes I *do* want to imply that but I don’t really want to do it.  It would destroy my life and all I hold dear. We then both agree that my husband is great because he is.

 

You try to give me tips on how to flirt with you less.  I say I think it is a lost cause as I just am that way with everyone and that you are not really an exception.  This is a lie.  I flirt more with you because you flirt with me.  I don’t let anyone other than my husband guide me across the road with one hand on my lower back. Or at least I did not until I met you.

  Read More »

Categories: Behind Closed Doors
15 interesting thoughts on this

These Last Days

Happy Wednesday, all.

I read this post and I am transported back to June and that sick feeling about swapping my maternity leave for work, when my baby was so small she couldn’t even sit up, and my guilt at abandoning her at nursery.    I don’t think it’s a decision that any mother makes lightly.  Katy tackles that feeling head on:

I feel I should mark them, these last days. I feel I should be doing everything, seeing everyone we’ve met over the last almost-ten months, fitting in as much as possible. But we already have a busy week of nursery settling in, work settling in, last-minute baby classes. I think if I don’t leave ourselves some slack, we’ll do too much and be too tired for the big week when I start back at work properly and she starts nursery. Counting down. 10 days now.

 

I have loved this time far more than I expected. After 11 years of non-stop work (many of those years with 12 hour days as standard), I worried that I might need to do more with my time, that I might get bored with my time off. I haven’t. The quiet rhythms of our days together, marked by naps (far less fraught now than in the early days), feeds, meals, the huge grins when Daddy gets home, have sustained me. Boredom has been of the comfortable, reassuring kind. I have slowed down to her pace, calmed down since the early days of feeling like I needed to have an activity planned for every day and volunteering to help with baby groups to show I had done something ‘challenging’ (as if keeping a tiny human alive, warm, fed, happy wasn’t challenging. I am ridiculous).

 

My maternity leave coincided with being made redundant and so a lot of time has been spent preparing job applications and going to interviews. The juxtaposition of going from messy puree lunchtimes straight to putting my suit and grown up shoes on is an odd one, and one I will no doubt have to contend with a lot in the future. I worry that I have spent too much of this precious time with her worrying too much about work and finding a job. Life might have been simpler with a job to go back to. But I would have probably found something else to worry about.

 

I have spent so many hours looking at my phone this year. I blame too much twitter and whatsapp during marathon feeding sessions. Those endless hours in the middle of the night in the first few weeks and months, catching up on the whole archives of all of my favourite blogs and some new ones. Buying things from Amazon at 3am. Only rediscovering the kindle app on my phone when she was 6 months.

 

I spend a lot of time at the moment talking to people about my return to work (well, new job).  I have been in one day a week for the last few weeks so I have an idea of what to expect, and it’s meant I’ve been away from her for whole days as practice. But I have a big lump in my throat as I write this at the thought of her being at nursery all day, learning how to do new things without me. Eating food I haven’t chosen. I know it will all be fine, as everyone who has gone before me has found, but I will miss this time, just me and her. It’s been ace.

Categories: Becoming a Mother, Money and Career
9 interesting thoughts on this

About

Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

More here.

image by Lucy Stendall Photography

Find me a random post

Find:

Follow: