Friday, 4 May 2007

The meltdown

I should have started this blog ages ago, when I first hit meltdown. That would have made entertaining reading, but I could barely speak to anyone at the time, let alone share my angst with the blogging public.

So I need to paste in a bit of background here: flashback to almost a year ago - our 15th wedding anniversary. I've been trundling along fairly happily in life. Recently returned from a spell as an expat wife in the Middle East and I've settled in back home fairly well, I think. The kids are doing Ok at school, I've just completed an online journalism course and I'm starting out as a freelance writer. Good, fine. Tra la la.

So, on to the day of the anniversary. For once we're making a bit of a fuss. I've got a nice meal all ready and waiting, the obligatory flowers are on the table and we're sitting down to a glass of wine. My husband tells me he's volunteered to take a trip abroad for a charity he belongs to and BANG! out it comes; a sudden explosion of rage - incandescent, vitriolic, seriously intense. I rant and rant and cry and rant, barely pausing for breath. Years and years of little resentments piled up and buried deep in my subconscious are now pouring out , lava-like, melting my brain. We are both completely blindsided; my husband's face a picture of shock and confusion, my own red, raw, puffed with the intensity of the emotional release.

The day after: with a humdinger of a headache and eyes like dumplings I walk the kids to school, trying to avoid looking at anyone while working out what it's all about. Actually, it's not difficult to understand. 20 years ago I was writing a PhD and applying for jobs in research. Wanting to work together, we both applied to VSO and got a posting in Indonesia - where I did my postgrad work. It was perfect - just what we wanted. We got married, got all the training, left our previous jobs, held a farewell barbie, then 5 days before we were due to leave, the whole thing fell through. I was devastated.

And that was the beginning of the end. A month later, new hubby got a post in the Middle East, I followed and from that moment any possibility of a career for me vanished as we moved about with his work, I had children and became what is gloriously known as a 'trailing spouse'. And there we have it: it wasn't meant to be this way. I once had promise, a future, potential for a fulfilling career - but instead I'm what I never thought I would be in a million years - a bored and frustrated housewife. And I'm really really angry about it. Though it's nobody's fault, I feel like a toddler having a tantrum and I want to shout down the street: 'IT JUST ISN'T FAIR!'.

Well, that was a year ago.

1 comment:

GSB said...

You are not alone!
So many 'trailing spouses' go through the heart ache of wondering what to Do with their lives.

Intelligent women do marry intelligent men, have their babies and then decide to support the family rather than stretching everything to try and 'have it all' (the job, the husband and the well-adjusted kids). Once you are 'on the road', following a spouse around the world it is very difficult to work outside the home. Journalism and teaching english as a foreign language are the easiest options, but not necessarily what we are all cut out to do.
It is something that isn't considered when people are offered postings - at best the company pays a small 'compensation allowance' to the spouse for giving up their life to assist the company...
but money doesn't buy love or happiness.
#1 you've got to know yourself
#2 you've got to love yourself - no regrets.
#3 make the Most of each and every day becuase it is a gift.
Some days we need to rest.
Some days we need to be active.
Every day we need to open our eyes to the wonderful world around us. As we engage with and observe life we are able to be open with ourselves and fulfil our personal destiny.
It may some like psycho babble and it may not be the way you were brought up, but get out there ladies. Even if you write down, model or draw everything you see you hate, you will have contributed to the sum of the world knowledge of itself.
Go easy on yourself.