Saturday, April 27, 2013


The view of Martin, standing on a ladder, balanced on a scaffolding plank that is laid across another ladder and resting on the stairs. SCARY!

This has been the longest stretch of good days I've had all year.

Life has been busy, and wonderful. We've been doing school runs, workouts, therapy sessions, DIY, book club, housework, birthday parties, swimming lessons, the lot!

Therapy was pretty intense this week. My anger issues under control for the time being, we are moving on to my intimacy issues. This week we discussed my religion and the guilt that I still struggle with because of it. I'm going to have a little chat with my bishop soon. Not about any unresolved transgressions or anything sordid like that. I just need to understand church policy on some matters and talk with him about the circumstances in which various disciplinary methods are used. It should be interesting. Martin is freaking out about me seeing him. I think he's worried that I will leave the church over this or something. To be honest, it worries Debbie a little bit, too. She is always very careful not to undermine my religious beliefs. But I feel as though it's something that I really need to do in order to move on. I don't think there's any danger of my leaving the church, though it could make for a rough patch. But I swore to myself that I would do whatever it took to finally be free of my rape and the results of it. I'll take a rough patch, if it means that I will be whole at the end of it.

Killer session aside, it really has been a great week. Thanks in great part to some wonderful ladies. I have been making a real effort to be more social lately, and have potentially increased my small circle of friends by two. You may see their names from time to time, so a brief introduction. Ali is a friend from church. She is single and has no children. She's currently training to be a paramedic. She's hopelessly messed up, just like me, and that makes her a great listener and shoulder to cry on. Plus, she's totally amazing. Helen is a new friend from yoga. She recently moved here from Canada, and she is older than me, but artistic, intelligent, and has a great sense of humor. She also came to book club this week, and I'm hoping she's going to turn out to be a good friend. Fingers crossed.

Book club--yeah, that was when this happy glow started. I was sitting on my living room floor because all the seats were taken. I was surrounded by a group of amazing women. I don't have a great deal in common with some of them, but I genuinely like and respect them all. I know I could turn to them if I ever needed anything. Even though we don't share all our hopes and dreams with each other, I sat there and realized that they were all my friends. A whole room full of people. And I realized how very blessed I am in my life right now.

The kids have been absolutely wonderful, too. They have behaved themselves every time we've gone out in public. They're doing well in school. They have been playing together, and saying the strangest and most interesting things to each other. We've had lots of cuddles and plenty of playing together, plus they've been helping me around the house. Of course, we've also had a few bad days. But they are outnumbered by the good ones. It's been a while since that happened.

Stuff is getting done on the house. Martin has been patching the ceiling plaster in our stair wells, and he is nearly ready to paint. That's the last part of our house that hasn't been "done." Everything else is purely cosmetic after this--just a bit of spit polishing. I know we aren't selling the house right now, and that's frustrating. But every time we complete another project I feel as though we're that much closer to moving back home.

This happiness is freaking me out. I feel almost like I'm high. But in a really good and completely natural way!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Perfect, though somewhat surreal, day...

Took the kids to Pearson's Park in Hull today, while Martin did some work at Larkin's for his boss. We had a great time, Martin took longer than expected, and I was nearly late for my Life Drawing session in Scunthorpe. I was furious, but managed to cool down and apologize for snapping at him. Fifteen minutes or so of anger, but the rest of the day was amazing!

The kids went out with their Nanna, Martin went to work, and I did some serious art practice. Everybody won. Except for Martin. Poor guy!

Christine took the kids to a place called Rushmoor Country Park. They got to feed lambs, hold a three week old rabbit, and see some little chinchillas that were born on Edith's birthday. They also got icecream and Malteasers. I'm not sure who had more fun--Christine or the kids.

Meanwhile, at the 20/21 Gallery, I attended my first ever nude life drawing session. And I discovered something unexpected--I am a little bit of a prude.

The model was an older man, about 65 or so. There were seven of us doing the session, and he was wearing a burgundy colored velour dressing gown until we were all ready to start. Then he shucked off his robe at the side of the room and walked nonchalantly to the center of the room. Naked as the day he was born.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the first time I have seen a naked man other than my husband for over a decade. Let me tell you, it was completely bizarre. Almost as bizarre as how comfortable that man was with his own nudity. I was seriously blown away by how unconcerned he was that his junk was flapping in the breeze in a room full of strangers.

So yeah, nudity is not that casual to me. Nudity is a big deal. Nearly nude, meh. Completely starkers, you had better be my husband or child! I almost felt insulted (on his behalf) that nobody thought his nudity was a big deal.

Of course, then I got over it and spent the next hour and 55 minutes scrutinizing his musculature and bone structure as I sketched him.

An amazing two hours. I was working my tail off, and I am horrifically rusty. But the time flew by all the same, and I left that session with the most amazing buzz. I didn't think that my drawings were any good while I was doing them, but when I got them home and showed them to my mother-in-law, I realized that they are actually quite good. Considering.

Incidentally, when I told the kids that I had been drawing a naked man, they thought it was HILARIOUS!

So then it was dinner, a bike ride (where I found some yarn in a skip and got me a freebie--score!), bath and bed.

It's amazing, how staring intently at a naked old guy for two hours made me so happy. But I'm not going to over-analyze. I'm just going to say that after today I feel more like myself. More fulfilled. Content.

And I haven't even been tempted to dig at my skin tonight!

Friday, April 19, 2013

This feels like the calm before the storm...

I have been strangely content lately. Nothing's really changed. The kids are still the kids, Martin's job is just the same as always, I spend most of my time alone. And yet...

We had a great time while the kids were off school. There were a few days that were tough, for sure, but I was actually a little sad to see them back at school. First time ever.

My temper seems to be under control now. I still get angry and frustrated, but I am dealing with the anger when it occurs instead of holding it in until I explode. I'm sure the Prozac is helping quite a bit (mostly because the changes happened when I started taking it in the morning instead of at night), but it might be because I'm learning and changing.

And yet, part of me doesn't trust this new-found calm. I'm afraid that it's only a matter of time until I lose this control and things slip back to the way they were before. I don't want to go back there!

The other night I started feeling a bit snappish with the kids. It was the first time in nearly three weeks. I got through the evening, tucked them into bed, came downstairs and picked the crap out of my skin on my face and arms. Then I downed a pint of Ben and Jerry's and consoled myself with a night on the sofa. So I'm not taking it out on the kids--I'm punishing myself for getting angry and then trying to make myself feel better. Not healthy.

But at least I'm not doing them any harm. I'm already messed up--the damage is done. I'd ten times rather harm myself than harm my children!

Saturday, April 06, 2013

DO instead of BE

I'm reading "How To Be A Woman" by Caitlin Moran at the moment. Most of the people I know don't have a clue who she is (sadly). She is a Times columnist (London, not Nephi) and TV personality, and I totally have a girl crush on her. I just wish her book wasn't QUITE so sweary, or I would recommend it for book club. It is such a great read.

Anyway, she considers herself to be a feminist. Not in the 1960's sense of the word, with all of those negative connotations, but a "modern" feminist. She poses an interesting "test" to see if you are a feminist as well:

Put your hand in your pants.

1) Do you have a vagina?

2) Do you want to be in charge of it?

If you answered yes to both of those questions, congratulations. You are a feminist.

(Sorry for saying "vagina," Dad and Grandma Lofley)

She poses some interesting questions about our perception of woman, now and throughout history. I've been doing some thinking and re-evaluating, and that can only be a good thing. Currently, this is what I've been thinking about the most:

Men go out and "do." Women tend to stay in and "be." Our lives are very much internal, and we define ourselves by who we are, rather than what we do. So we over think everything. We become introspective and slightly neurotic.


So I've decided that for one night only, I will focus on what I do. Not analyze it to death. Not go all introspective about things, and wonder what it says about me as a person that I prefer reading a book to playing at the park with my kids and just focus on the fact that I brought them there to play and I look up when they call for me.

Hmm, it's a bit refreshing already.

Today has been lovely. It was about 10 degrees (celcius) outside, so the kids and I ventured out with warm jackets instead of coats. Bliss! Got some fresh air, fed the ducks at Water's Edge, had lunch at McDonald's, watched a movie together, had drinks at Stables, enjoyed a short book and a cuddle at bed time, finished the book of Jacob in the Book of Mormon, and just generally enjoyed each others' company. And though introspective Jamie would wonder why she still didn't feel like a good mother despite devoting all that time to the kids, action-focused Jamie realizes that we spent the whole day together, didn't argue, didn't go hungry, had a good time, got some educational AND spiritual junk in there, and that the kids went to bed tired, happy, and well-loved. I don't care who you are, that is a successful day!

So yeah, No-tech Tuesday. An idea ripped off from the Mundays, and we've had two successful goes. Basically, it is exactly what it sounds like. Every Tuesday, we do not use any technology for entertainment purposed. The exception to the rule is that we CAN listen to music. No TV, no Kindle, no games on phones, no Wii. And the kids don't even ask us, because they know the answer is no. It is seriously nice to have one day a week without all the noise and distraction of technology. The first week we made Easter eggs together. This week we went up to the Mundays and the kids played a board game while Emma and I had a visit. It just feels so wholesome and good!

Edith will get an entire post dedicated just to her for her birthday, because she is that special. But not on introspection-free night. I'm going to go DO something. Just as long as it doesn't involve leaving the house...

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

The sun came out today...

Literally AND figuratively speaking.

The kids are on Easter holiday from school. Two weeks off seems like a long time when you love your kids but don't often like being a parent.

Wow, that sentence up there makes me seem like SUCH a bad person!

Anyway, I struggle with full on, non-stop motherhood for stretches longer than three days. School holidays aren't something I typically look forward to. But I think this one might be ok.

It's been a cold, snowy spring so far in England. Right now, it looks more like Utah in the spring. Everything is dead from the snow we had, and it's usually green all the time. We've been bundled up to our eyeballs every time we step out of the house, shivering in the mornings, scraping ice off the car windows. Just, blah!

But today it was actually warm. The sun was shining. There was a cold breeze, but if you were out of the wind you didn't need gloves on for the first time this year. It was blissful!

So this morning, before I went to yoga, I decided to hang the washing on the line. It's kind of funny, how doing such a mundane task makes me so happy. Especially if I am wearing a skirt and an apron to do it. But anyway, I was outside humming to myself and pegging washing up to dry, when I had the most brilliant moment of happiness. It was as though I had been working in a dark room, straining to see, and somebody switched on the lights. You know that moment in "The Wizard of Oz" when it switches from black and white to Technicolor? Yeah, it was just like that.

All of a sudden, the world seemed like a brighter and happier place. All because it was warm enough to line dry my clothes. Sad, huh? But such a great moment.

Of course, the feeling didn't last all day. But it did last long enough for me to only snap at the kids a few times before I got them in to bed. And now I get to enjoy some peace and quiet with my own company and a good book.

I'll blog about Edith's birthday, Easter, and our new "no tech Tuesdays" later this week, but right now I need to rinse the chemicals off my hair so it doesn't all fall out. That would probably seriously harsh my spring time buzz!