I'm back online at home as of yesterday after two years of having no home computer or internet access. As a form of self therapy, I'm going to be writing myself through the midlife crisis I'm suffering now in an effort to rip myself fully out of the stupor I've been in for more than two years, two years I've spent ignorantly, mostly blissfully, concentrating on my daughter while only doing minimal things to better my life for myself.
The last two years have been so incredibly and, at times, nearly unendurably lonely. Yes, I have Elliot. Yes, she's completely amazing. But she doesn't - and can't - fill every void in my life - nor would I expect her to. I have a few friends here, but not many. One of them has recently been there for me in ways noone else ever has, and I don't know if I will ever be able to repay her. But, still, I find myself being so incredibly lonely. Missing the "family" I sort-of had with C* and The Boy, however dysfunctional. Just me and Elliot? We don't feel like a "family" to me. I need family. Where do I get family? How? When? Who?
I am a single mother. On top of that, I work 16 hours a week at a minimum-wage job and have lived quite comfortably doing so because the social structure here has provided me with all kinds of monetary benefits that supplement my meagre income being that I'm a lone parent. I could continue living like this until Elliot is grown, but I don't want to. I need better work to bring more meaning into my life. I need something I can feel good about, something that stretches my skills and interests, some way of helping others. Something I can do that makes me feel valued and valuable. I need more.
I just turned 40, and I work part-time at a retail shop. I never thought I'd be writing that. These days, with the job market being what it is, I guess I'm one of the lucky ones? I have a friend who was the executive director of a nonprofit a few years ago. She lost her job and hasn't worked since. I have another friend who had a decent career in journalism and has a string of good degrees, including a law degree, backing him. Two years after earning the law degree, and, still, no job.
Of course most of the other people I either know or know of on Facebook seem to have these great careers and great lives, loving spouses, wonderful children, their own homes, plenty of friends and interests to fill all their waking hours. Reading Facebook is getting me down, making me realize all the things I don't have in my life and making me yearn for things that just aren't in my reach right now.
When I moved here, I was taking a much bigger risk than I ever thought. That's the thing. I really didn't think. All I knew was that I was pregnant and that the father lived in another country. I knew that I really couldn't afford to raise the child on my own with the money I was making and living under the system I was living under. And I was scared, and I wanted family as well. I wanted to give my daughter a cohesive family unit. A mother. A father. A brother. I didn't want to bring my child into the world having only me to look to, all the while working full time and probably more just to make ends meet. Struggling through the childcare system always shuffling her off to this person and that person. I didn't want her raised how I was raised. I wanted to be able to be there for my child and to give her consistency and stability, to raise her myself until she started school. Those were the reasons I moved here, though I maybe didn't fully know them at the time.
In the past two years, I have seen C* grow. has grow. He and Elliot seem to have a very strong bond, and she is just crazy about her daddy. I think part of me was hoping that we had both grown enough to get back together, to create the family I moved here for, the family we all deserve. But he's got a new girlfriend now, a woman who has five kids of her own. It seems there will be a family, all right. It just won't be including me.
C* is pushing for a divorce now, and I've got a lawyer to get that ball rolling. No sense putting off the inevitable any longer. Time to face reality.
So what am I left with?
C* gets his family and his career, and he works Elliot in when he can. Since I have the day-to-day burden of care for Elliot and cannot rely on C* for any set times of having her, my working hours are limited, even after Elliot starts school. Continued part-time work but maybe just something better? Volunteer work? Move out of the area to a real city and try and get some more professional work? I feel so trapped and so limited and so scared about how to proceed that I end up just sitting here and worrying, worrying, worrying.