Tag Archives: Family

Not my circus, not my monkey.

NMC

There are quite a few blog posts on this site set to private, I wrote them to appease myself, to vent and to get out everything I needed to say and couldn’t to those that were involved. But the long and short of what’s been going on is this.

A family member is in a relationship with someone who, in my uneducated opinion has at best self esteem issues, at worst a borderline personality disorder.

She projects her insecurities onto those around her, tries to make others responsible for her feelings, and by extension of that, of those of her partner. She is contradictory to others (and herself) and it appears that she thrives on conflict and chaos and for the last year and a half the focus of her attention has been on me, for no other reason than she is insecure.

I have been labelled a bully because during a conversation I said something she disagreed with, She has threatened to cut off the family, she’s completely and seemingly deliberately misconstrued conversation and situations, and completely fabricated others. She has stretched people to breaking point, she pushed my poor husband and her partner to the brink and she has pushed for an confrontation with me that I just I wont give her.

I have struggled with this for over 12 months, I have tried to be conciliatory. I have tried to be reasonable and it has affected my health and my relationships, and it got to point just last year that I decided “No more!” .

And so we get to this week. Today I am apparently “emotionally abusive”.

Why? Because her partner is upset his brother  wasn’t more excited that they were buying a house together and I wont take responsibly for that.

Yup you read that right. Someone didn’t react in a way that someone else didn’t like – and that’s my problem to deal with.  When she tried to force a meeting to “discuss this” I refused and told her to get her OH to speak to the person he was upset with and so apparently;

My actions have hurt the people she loved, I am minimizing their feelings by not being willing to take responsibility for how her other half feels and my personal favourite that I am walking a fine line between being assertive and emotional abusive by not being responsible for their feelings.

So here we are I officially give in.

I have blocked her on her preferred communication platform and I am limiting contact to that which is absolutely necessary for the family because it is not longer my problem. After over a year and a half of trying maintain relationships and build bridges quite frankly I have now decided  “Not my circus, not my monkey.”

 

So much love & wedding bells

Last month I had the privilege of attending one of, if not the most beautiful wedding I have ever been invited to and to top it all I wasn’t just there as a guest,  I was bridesmaid for one of longest standing best friend (and honorary big brother) John and his brilliantly extroverted husband Mike.

I can not even begin to explain the amount of love that we all shared that day.

Every detail was exquisite and every face wore a smile and yesterday I got to relive it all as John & Mike dropped me a line to say their very talented photographer Hannah May (having shot a couple of weddings myself I can tell you now how very jealous I am of her work) – had delivered their photos!

If I can share just one image with you that sums up this entire day for me it would be this, So much happiness and fun in one snapshot – from left to right there’s Leanne, Me, John Mike and Sophie, or the crazy friends, the smiling grooms and the perturbed cousin….

JohnMike-1192resize

 

…I’ll always be grateful I got to share this day with them!

Congratulations again Mr & Mr Burton-Fuller, I love you both very much!

When is a rational argument an irrational thing?

Irrational behaviors of individuals include taking offense or becoming angry about a situation that has not yet occurred, expressing emotions exaggeratedly (such as crying hysterically), maintaining unrealistic expectations, engaging in irresponsible conduct such as problem intoxication, disorganization, or extravagance, and falling victim to confidence tricks,

A rational argument becomes an irrational thing – when you are talking to an irrational person because no matter how many times you attempt to talk something through you’ll just talk your self in circles and you’re wasting your time.

When someone has decided their view of the world is the ONLY view of the world, however bizarre and inaccurate, when they are prepared to make bold brash statements that has huge fall out – and are so unwilling to even attempt to meet you half way then to keep trying is irrational.

 

So – this hurts more than a just a little bit.

My son didn’t have a security blanket when he was younger. No scrap of blanket that we couldn’t wrangle from his grip, or a teddy we had to magic away in the night to wash and dry lest he realise it had disappeared, so I’ve never *really* understood the seeming emotional turmoil these youngsters went through when they favourite blankie was gone…..Until now.

In the last week my world has been turned upside down and my security blanket hasn’t just been taken away for a wash, it’s been stolen. Yanked from my grip with me kicking and screaming and I am completely and utterly devastated. My family – the most important thing in the world to me have been cut in two by just one person via a simple text message and it feels as though things can never be the same again.

I’m bereft with no solution in sight and the person who is the ONLY person who can move towards fixing this, is also the person who is is responsible for breaking it in the first place, and they’re so willingly oblivious to not only the pain they’ve caused me but the ramifications of their actions to us all they’re completely unprepared to even try and face what they’ve done.

I’m heartbroken over what all this could mean.

 

 

Heavy hearted

Yesterday we had a death in the family, and I’m not sure how I’m supposed to feel. I shed a few tears last night and again while writing this but I can’t explain why. Was I crying for myself, for his children or for what might have been.

Richard Kelly, was my godfather, my dad’s best friend, ex husband of my cousin and father of 2.

We hadn’t spoken in years.

In 1985 when my Dad died, I didn’t just lose a father I lost an entire family. For reasons known only to them they chose to turn their backs on 2 little girls without a father. In my opinion some were just selfish, some were young with young families of their own and other priorities, others were too young to make the decision for themselves and took their lead from the adults.

I’ve never written about it much before because while of course my history has helped shape who I am today, it does not define me. I hold no bitterness or malice towards my family in fact when I got married last year some of my Dad’s side were there in the evening to celebrate with us, including Richard’s ex wife and daughter, because as an adult I have formed connections with them.

But, while Richard wasn’t there at the wedding or for milestones before, his presence was always a constant in my life. He was always in the background. He knew my entire family on both sides and and has always been a familiar name. Many, particularly the funny stories of my Dad start with his involvement. His children often spoke of him, and photos regularly appeared on facebook. In my early teens when I decided to try and connect with my paternal family, it was Richard I contacted and through him that I met my one aunt and a whole lot of other extended family members, we fell out of touch again, because as a teen I had other priorities and then life got in the way.

As an adult we reconnected briefly and made plans to meet once again but that fell through. Unfortunately it was while I was at a particularly low point myself andI thought that was because he didn’t care and didn’t really want to know. I made a decision to stop trying  but as time went on I always secretly thought that one day we’d meet. But one day never came, and now it never will. I regret not trying now, and I understand us not meeting wasn’t because of him, or me, but because of circumstance, but hindsight is a wonderful thing.

So who I am I crying for? The missed opportunities? Another connection to the Dad I barely knew disappearing? or through empathy for the terrible loss I know his children, family and friends are experiencing. Maybe it’s for all of these things, but through my tears I’ve made the decision to stop “not trying” –  there’s a whole lot of other people out there I need to try harder with and I don’t want there to be another time where the day can never come.

Just call me Mrs Clarke

Steph and James Wedding group shot

So three weeks ago today I got married. To James, of course, my best friend and partner of over 7 years. It was wonderful day, made all the more magical because of the people that shared it with us. We felt happy and loved, and the day was exactly how it should have been, stress free and fun.

So now I am a Clarke – I have to keep writing that down to remind myself, three times since the big day I’ve signed into events/venues with my maiden name and I keep coming across things that I need to add to my “change contact details” list. You don’t get a manual of these things from the church on the day – it’s up to you to remember the HMRC, the DVLA, Passport office, bank, home & car insurance, doctors, dentist, kid’s school, utilities all need your new details.  I’m not even a third of the way through getting them changed – in fact while typing that list I realised that I’d forgotten the water board!!

But I digress, The wedding – The wedding was amazing and below is a taster of our big day from our awesome photography team Mark & Vicky Wood of F8media / Wedding Deja Vous and Sarah of Sarah Giles Photography (yes we had a whole paparazzi following us around on the day).

2661 days ago..

Our Orders of service – hand made by us to continue the them from the hand made luggage tag invitations

The music of love

The amazing Dan Whitehouse  (no seriously he is amazing check him out on Spotify) played for us while we signed the register. He played one of his own songs which we both love, and he then played a cover of Pearl Jam’s Just Breathe – James and I are both PJ fans and Dan went out of his way to learn this in the 3 weeks prior to the wedding, Thank you Dan, it was appreciated!

99, sir?

My unique transport – I arrived at the church with the chimes going, and then after the service dished up ice creams to my husband and some of the guests (yes I know there was no strawberry sauce – I managed to get ice cream all down me do you really think I was going to risk something bright red in a white dress??)

Steph & James

We asked guests to walk with us between the church and the reception venue – it wasn’t far and a jolly group we made with all the balloons laughter and smiles.

Steph & James

We finished the day dancing into the evening  – we had the reception in a room myself, my bridesmaids and my Mom had decorated that morning with red and white decorations, balloons, fairy lights and paper chains. Our first dance was to Elbow’s “One Day Like This” and despite only really deciding we we going to dance the day before the wedding it was  perfect choice – and the local constabulary, who dropped in to bring us a celebratory card mid dance, thought we’d choreographed it – which isn’t bad for a couple who between them have four left feet!

We kept everything as local as possible for us and the guests and even used local suppliers where we could.

Music was supplied by the amazing Four on the Floor a wedding band from Wednesbuy, I can not highly recommend these boys enough. They hit just the right mix of old party tunes and indie sing-a-longs, keeping everyone happy and the dance floor full most of the night , They even, once they’d heard the speeches and THAT Pearl Jam /Eddie Vedder story, in the break between their sets went outside and learned Pearl Jam’s Alive to play especially for James – you can’t ask for better than that!

Food was a Hog Roast by Hammonds Catering  in Telford and a small buffet supplied by my good friend Sam of the Oasis Community Cafe in Pendeford, Wolverhampton.

The whole day was perfect and the smiles say it all…..

Steph James & Jordan

Hugs
Abbey Road meets Steph & James Wedding Day

Steph & James

Some tracks from the day can been listened to on our play list below.

Brighter Than Sunshine was what I walked down the aisle too. Somebody loves you and Just Breathe are what Dan played while we signed te register. You Are The Best Thing is what we left the church to, and One Day Like This was our first dance. Everything else was either played in the church as our guests were arrived, or covered by Dan while we were having our afternoon tea in the church and garden. We know there are some missing we just cant remember them all…

 

 

Starting the year with a sniff

On my way to work this morning I caught my reflection in a shop window , I looked awful, I’m exhausted, it’s four days into the new year and I’m only on my second day back at work and  I look like I’ve been dragged through an hedge backwards.

I am ill, I have had the beginnings of a cold since some time mid October and finally broke on December 27th leaving me a snotty wretched mess for most of the new year celebrations and is still dragging on.  I had no time to be ill. What with the new job and commute to get used to, the being a Mom and a cook and all round domestic goddess*  and then that Christmas thing right in the middle of it all.

Christmas the time of good will to all men. The time off to relax and just enjoy each others company. Christmas the time my brother chose to declare to the whole family I was a fat slut across the dinner table  (no really), the time my sister ends up with hypochondria an ear infection at the emergency doctors with me in tow , James gets manflu  after playing a  gig, the time for present shopping, food shopping, medicine shopping, gift wrapping, visiting relations, forced merriment and  no time to look after myself so just make myself steadily worse.

I returned to work to hear of glorious tales of Christmas afternoon beach walks, mad uncles playing charades and country get away’s. and all I had to share is a runny nose, annoying cough, slightly depressing tales of a half hearted family get together and a desperate need for more sleep.

I knew it was sleep I craved when I got off the train this morning I looked at the tracks and thought “I could use that pile of gravel as a pillow” while my inner monologue was telling me that the train on the platform 4b is heading straight back to Wolverhampton, so go on, get on it no one will miss you for just one day. But I didn’t I continued on my not so merry way convinced the walk into Digbeth would clear my head and I’d feel better after a hot Lemsip.

It didn’t and all the cup full of liquid paracetamol succeeded in was giving me something to cough into. Thankfully I have a pretty awesome boss and when he arrived this morning to find a sniffling mess choking at the desk  he said I could just go home – just like that – “You don’t need to be here” and I don’t know who was more relieved when he dropped me off at the train station, me as I could, you know, go home, or the him as he didn’t have to listen to my self pitying sighs and hacking cough all day.

So now here I am just before 7pm sitting in the arm chair I haven’t left since getting here shortly before 2, waiting for my dinner, central heating on as I just can’t get warm, tissues on one side, lemsip on the other smelling of Boots own brand vapour rub and feeling sorry for myself. Christmas a distant memory other than the rack full of wine we were too ill to drink, trying not to annoy James too much as he attempts to get some work done at the desk behind me, wanting to sleep but exploding in coughing fits every time I lie down, limping into 2012 in the most lacklustre style!

Happy New Year!

 

*I am only a part time cook and cleaner James does his fair share around the house too but for the purposes of this post and gaining the most amount of sympathy possible I do it all myself