I’m painting my nails blue. It’s that nice grey blue hue that I am just so drawn to. I’m sitting in bed, PJ’s on, listening to Perez Hilton’s podcast on the Golden Globes, and I carefully paint each nail in three strokes. One, two, three, next. Do you do that? Do you have a set way of getting the gloss on? If there is a ridge where it is too thick it upsets me and I have to quickly paint over to even it out. Then I feel stressed the balance in my life, in that moment is gone. Corrupted.
I chose blue. I saw it today and just wanted it. I was drawn to it, feeling a desire to be crazy and have blue nails.
I do my own nails now, no point paying for it. I scratch at least two before I leave the salon, and then the stuff they use has trashed my once gorgeous, strong and fabulous nails. I spend my life doing dishes, bathing children, cleaning snot off noses. Now they are weak, they break every day; they are kept so short I can no longer untie knotted shoelaces with ease.
I chose blue. I kind of feel that way at the moment. Blue.
I was thinking about what I could write, something informative, something useful, even funny but then our driver I-Bug resigned.
I-Bug is going to work with his sister. I can’t blame him really but it has made me realise just how dependent on him we are. Dependent on I-Bug making our lives here just that little bit better. I feel a knot in my chest. Fear.
But it isn’t the unfathomable fall
That makes me giddy, makes my stomach lurch,
It’s that the ledge itself invents the leap.
(From Fear of Happiness by Alicia Elsbeth Stallings)
I-Bug put his friend forward for the job, and we met with him and he can have the job. For a while anyway. Just until we find someone suitable if he doesn’t work out. We already know he will not be as awesome as I-Bug. I could easily do more driving, I just don’t want to do SB’s work drop off and pickups, and I don’t want to drive us down to Laguna, along those narrow confusing streets with no street signs. I just don’t like the thought of doing more driving, leaving those hours empty, just space taken up with traffic and my brain hurting even more from the concentration. I don’t like the idea that my new weekly routine, fresh in this New Year is now affected because I can’t trust this new intruder to protect my children and take them to school without me by their side. How long will it take for me to feel ok to release the control again? To get back to the life I had finally started living?
This feels like just another aspect to the expat life that one doesn’t give much credence to. Until it happens. I always thought I was keeping a healthy distance, trying not to form attachments in this temporary situation. Yet when you are frantically kicking your feet under that water to stay afloat, those attachments become like the hand that is there to lift you safely out of the rip. It just happens.
So I thought, it’s okay I will turn to my friends, my new friends for support and I found myself stopping short because last week I experienced another side to how life here could be. Someone who isn’t a ‘friend’, just someone I have needed to interact with for some purpose, has said things about me to other people I know. Neither truthful nor helpful things. These lies are put out there for what? To discredit me? Why? This revelation unsettled me. The foundation that was gradually becoming stronger suddenly has stress fractures and it feels like it may fall.
When I went home at Christmas and saw my friends I felt that my security blanket had been re-wrapped around me again. Nice and tight it gave me the courage to come back here and continue. That blanket is unravelling now.
My mantra for tough times is ‘Everything with Grace’ and that is how I am trying to play it out. I believe in kindness, empathy and friendship. I believe that women in particular should support one another, stop trying to tear each other apart. Let’s build our sisterhood, create amazingness together. Yet…here we are.
So for now, I sit in bed, in my PJ’s, listening to some fluffy entertainment news about dresses that look like bumble bees and I paint my nails. One, two, three. Next. One, two, three…Next…