Orange Move Three Month Update

Atypically for me, I’m making this blog post a little early. Essentially this is my three month post-move update, but really that should be on the 29th.

Anyways, as for all my posts, it’ll be tl:dr, so a very basic outline of the facts:

  • living with my sister, small nephew and soon-to-be-born other nephew
  • started a Teacher’s Aide course at TAFE and have placement at a lovely local Catholic school. I’ve also very graciously been given some hours of cover at the local Christian school
  • yes, I want to visit Sydney but in terms of “coming back”? All the reasons I came are still true. So, even though I miss Sydney (a LOT on some days – although really the people over the city), I’m looking at Orange as long term.

For those brave enough to continue, here we go!!!

Having your husband walk out on you is pretty damn tough. From shock, to grief, to embarrassment, to panic, to shame, to horror, to desperation, back to sadness… It’s a whirlwind.

If you have a small person (or more) at the time, it’s even more complicated in some ways because the small person doesn’t disappear. And is experiencing trauma of their own.

I’m sure many of you can imagine or empathise your way at least partly into this situation, and some of you of course have experienced it. And I know some of you have been dealing with abuse on top of this.

It’s heartbreaking.

It’s made worse by having to communicate constantly with this other person because you share a child.

I can’t actually describe all of my emotions about this on a public blog post because I don’t want to cause any legal trouble.

But it’s tough.

So, yes, living alongside and in that is difficult. I’ve had a lot of (I believe, righteous and justified) anger, with no ability to speak with the person concerned. This can be compounded with each new message, new action, new lack of action that impacts my life (yes, there’s a strong selfish element to it of course), because I’m now helping to provide for and support his wife and sons. There have been some very difficult days. And a lot of praying. And a lot of running out of any energy to pray and therefore really needing and being encouraged by the prayers of others.

One particularly nourishing moment was my first time praying in person with some new-to-me people out here about how hard it is to be patient and not hurt when my nephew goes through a phases of telling me I’m not allowed to talk and to go away any time I enter a room where he is. I don’t know if that sounds like a small thing to you, and in many ways it is a small thing. I know it’s more to do with him and his emotions than me, I understand that cognitively. But it’s still hard having someone tell you “no! You aren’t allowed to say anything. Go away!” every time you see them! But I was able to share and cry a little and receive the blessing of prayer.

On that note: I miss you all so much.

I miss my friends a lot. Church family, friends who’ve been alongside me for so many years, newer colleagues, older ones.

We moved a lot when we were kids, I went to five schools, I hadn’t experienced friendships that went for longer than a few years, until Sydney. Some, to my amazement, were some highschool relationships that actually continued. But a group of very precious friends from my time at UTS have been the longest continuous friendships I’ve experienced. And we’ve done friendship at a distance before, and I know we’re not going to stop being friends just because I live here etc etc. But I miss them.

How wonderful it is to have people who know you and love you. Who are so easy to spend time with because there’s such deep affection and knowing there. It’s a blessing that stuns and surprises me every time I ponder it. I hope I don’t lose that wonder.

But here’s the crazy thing. One of those friends, a precious friend from first year of uni, LIVES IN ORANGE. With her hubby and kids. Isn’t that wild? The very thing I miss, I also have right here.

It’s so interesting to me that among these sad and difficult things, there are moments of goodness. In many ways, all of life is like that. And I’m trying to embrace the wisdom of Ecclesiastes and psychology in accepting the sad and the good and crying when it’s crying time and laughing when it’s laughing time.

Unsurprisingly, moving after such a long time and in fairly distressing circumstances has prompted plenty of existential angst as it is wont to do. And I think #covidlyf has done that for us all a bit anyway. In the usual throw-the-spaghetti-on-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks method of my subconscious, this has involved mini-crises about: my weight, my marriagability, my future, my economic status, my inability to sing well, my inability to write or say anything useful for anyone else. If I was Bridget Jones, and had Alsatians instead of a cat, I’d’ve spent (and would continue to spend) periods of days or weeks convinced I’ll die alone and then be consumed by them.

Like the other “dramas” I’ve mentioned so far, these all have to be experienced and weathered to a certain extent. Like, if I’m sad about having to make big life decisions with no partner, while I can cognitively recognise the upsides to this situation as well as understand that it doesn’t actually rate my value at all, it’s also something that, for a time, I’m sad about. And that’s reasonable. We’re often so uncomfortable or distressed by the distress of our loved ones we try to hurry them out of it. I know I do. I may not think that’s what I’m doing, I may think I’m trying to be reassuring. But often the impact is actually being dismissive by cognitively debating their emotional experience. It’s something I’m trying to keep in mind with my nephew, but also for myself. It’s ok to be sad sometimes. And I’m probably not gonna be sad about it forever, but if I push it off, like trying to stop a sneeze, it’s still going to come. So, I’ve cried. A lot. And the not-crying moments haven’t even always balanced them out so far in these first three months. But that’s ok too. “There’s a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven.”

In the sad moments I have to remind myself that I’ve made the right decision. I know this is where I need to be. And in my heart I’m trying to remember as well that because God is actually a loving Father, there very much is scope for things to get better. And that in the tough things, He’s still here, leading the way and holding my hand.

Oh, and of course, the most important thing (as far as he’s concerned) is that Alexei is very happy. He’s getting fat (again! Gaah! How does this happen?!) and LOVES having a back and front yard to walk around in. He requests daily walks now and would very much like to introduce himself, at speed and with mouth open, to most of the local wildlife. Unfortunately for him, I still insist on walks only on leash, so he hasn’t caused any environmental degradation yet. He enjoys the free cat TV from his many windows though, and when I’m not giving myself day-mares about his future death, or sometimes even while I’m doing that, he is still lavish with his cuddles and scratches and leapings, and seems quite happy where he is.

Maybe cats need a different version of Ecclesiastes. “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven. A time to dream of chasing birdies and a time to be frustrated in your desire to chase birdies. A time to nap, and another time to nap. A time to sleep, and then a time also to stretch and then resettle to sleep again.”

It’s typical for my generation to talk about the pains and confusions and difficulties of “adulting”. And I am no expert. I also hate returning phone calls and understanding what insurances I need or don’t need and I don’t know how to “carve out a career”. But I also know that many more people of my age than would even realise themselves are more than ready to deal with the real challenges of adulting. And they are real challenges. The challenge to be faithful, loving, patient, kind, gentle, peaceful, self-controlled and to care for those around you. In #covid I haven’t been able to do much for the people not proximate to myself. But I wouldn’t want to stuff that up by not doing my best by those to whom I am morally and physically proximate. I’m not my brother’s keeper, nor am I my sister’s saviour. But I’m glad I can help her, and I’m gonna keep hoping for good things when I walk through the sad and worried and nostalgic and grieving moments.

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