Season 1 – Spring – Series 1
Walk Time 35 Mins
End of Series post.
There are a few new normals now, early to bed, early to rise. Rising before the alarm clocks herald the new day. This week especially has been a real mixed week for me – l guess emotionally, perhaps understandable given how the last few weeks have panned out.
When l awoke this morning, the day’s intentions were not that clear to me, and so although up at 6.30am – l had to await to see where the weather was going to go. Although the forecasts yesterday spoke of cloudy blue l tend to take most of that with a pinch of salt now. I showered and watched the day unfold.
Looking out at the Groynes of Kingsdown beach – these are like this all the way through Kingsdown and make for some fascinating photography when the sea’s a little rougher than normal.
Suze says she is suffering from stress and this is also causing her sleep problems … well l can relate to that, been there. Once more l have tried to see if she might like to open a closed blog and treat it like an online journal for her to see if this would help her out? Again she has declined, l can’t help any more than l am trying to – Suze will have to jump this hurdle herself … l have said l am here to support and help with whatever l can.
I determined that the day was going to be overcast blue, dank and damp and grey. We had a lot of rain yesterday and it rained into the night as well. I wasn’t sure where l wanted to go on account of the ground being so wet and many of my usual locations for walking would probably be very muddy and it’s no fun walking around with half the previous field joining you at the same time.
Sitting watching the waves is an immensely satisfying feeling, feeling the breeze, detecting the scents and the tastes of the seas is exhilerating – the sounds of the world receding on the pebbles is a sound that l can hear whether l am sitting by the waters or not – some sounds just stay with you forever … like the sound a sea shell makes.
I decided to take another smaller walk this time going down to sit on the beach by the groynes and just think awhiles and then swing back up the sea stairs and back home that way, making for a nice pleasant walk.
I needed time to think of this last episode not just for the week, but for season 1. Season 2 will start in a couple of weeks time when l can take some slightly longer walks and hopefully the ground will not be as wet.
But sitting and listening to the sea helps you find focus which l am needing.
Suze and l will be celebrating our 7th anniversary next month, 22nd June 2013 was when we we became an official couple. We had been talking as friends and getting to know each other from January the same year. Our first date out as a couple was the 22nd June. We did not start to live together as a couple till March 2015. I at the time was living in Lincolnshire and Suze was living down in Kent and once a month/six weeks she would drive up to see me and that was like that until 2015. On occasion, Scrappy and l would travel down to Kent and spend a week or so at Suze’s house.
In 2015 we took a leap of faith and packed up both our residencies and moved ‘renting wise but with a view to buy’ to the Isle of Wight. I had lost Dora in March 2014 and Scrappy and l both used to look forwards to Suze’s visit. The reason behind not living together straight away was because l had experienced some really negative life and l wanted my next partner to know me inside out before we started to become a cohabitating couple.
I was married for 14 years to a woman who ended up hating me because of my hidden Asperger’s Syndrome … what was refreshing when we first started living together became too much for her when she realised that my nature of oddness wasn’t a dating ploy but really me … she ended up hating me for being me and so l started wearing masks in earnest to hide who l was. The sadness is that l was unawares of my own autism and so didn’t know what l was hiding from … that l was just weird and perhaps not worthy of being loved or in a relationship. I became seriously burned in my 14 years of marriage to a cruel bully and when we divorced the rise of Mr Cynical began.
I could sit and listen to the waves all day … but l have things to do … but even for the few moments l sat here i felt better for it.
The relationship that followed my marriage, l will openly say was a very bad move, l was on rebound … not for love, but for the routine of living with another. This proved to be a seriously damaging relationship and l spiraled out of control here and more so after the whole false pregnancy cruel prank saga which just plunged me into a self loathing cycle. Towards the end of this relationship l was diagnosed with my Asperger’s and this new diagnosis was thrown against me as a weapon. My strange ways and ‘relationship retardation’ were used as attacks against my ability to have a relationship – simply put – in the eyes of another – l would be alone for the rest of my life!
In 2009, l was more than broken, l was suicidally dangerous – it was only my two dogs that kept me alive, my love for them and their friendship back. Vulnerable doesn’t even come close to who l was … but in addition to that, l had just stepped from the frying pan into the fire on so many levels.
I took up residency in the only location that would let me keep my two best friends with me … a caravan on the fens in Lincolnshire and if l thought l knew hell before that … l was wrong! 2009 – 2012 were some of the worst years of my entire life to that point and l had quite a few of those already before them! I was subjected to both cruelty and mental abuse almost daily from my landlords and when l finally escaped in October 2012 l was a very different man to the man who had said Yes to taking the caravan on board in May 2009.
Red Campions thrives abundantly on the coastline here in Kent, so much so the birds gather the seeds and drop them into the gardens during nest building time. We have it growing here.
It takes all sorts to live a life, our lives are filled with thousands of emotions, observations, let downs, experiences, loves, laughs, tears and struggles …. as they say fall seven times, get up eight and l have lived my life like that.
By 2013 l was a different man, l had performed much soul searching with my new diagnosis of 2008 … l was worn out and tired, and convinced that l would spend the rest of my years living by myself – that l would become a hermit or a recluse just living with dogs. I never saw myself living with a woman ever again and not even too sure if l actually wanted to!
So it was a surprise when l met Suze, when we started talking, when l started to realise that not all women were bad. But l had learned a lot more about relationships and whilst my two main exes were terrible, l wasn’t fully aware who l was, so sad as this will read … sometimes autism brings out the very worst in people [known about or not] it’s not a defence of their actions – nothing can ever defend their actions, but it is an acceptance of the fact that there was more present than any of us knew about.
However with Suze, l really didn’t want to make the same mistakes again which is why l suggested that we just get to know each other more first. She had to understand that l was on the spectrum and was not maybe a good candidate for a new relationship – let’s just be friends.
The last of the Bluebells … these are a lighter variety than the normal deep mauves.
But Suze had similar experiences to me with regards relationships ……………we clicked and we started to begin our life together.
One thing l have always tried to do irrespective of everything else is to help people become more, become more of who they were supposed to be … l was a motivational trainer when younger, long before l knew l was on the spectrum … l loved nothing more than helping people realise their potential – to be able to empower someone to be more for themselves is a truly wonderful feeling.
For much of my early professional life l had inspired, motivated, challenged and enthused people to do more and become more … to many people l have been a stepping stone. It is at times way easier to help others than to help yourself.
I remember saying this very thing in 2014 – that if we stayed together – great, but if at some point we went different ways then l would hope that Suze would leave me as a stronger person, more confident – l would open her eyes to much – l would empower her to believe in herself more and l would become a stepping stone to her. In all our years together she would be the first person to say that l have done that for her. She is a very different person to the woman l met in 2013 – menopause aside – l helped her discover her inner core.
Suze was upset at the ‘Stepping Stones’ comment six years ago … because l don’t think she truly understood what l meant. I tried to reassure her that if we thought like that – then we needn’t be hostile to each other in departure that we could leave as two friends rather than as two enemies! It was a healthier more positive approach to relationships that end … when people maybe need to go seperate ways because they have progressed or developed away from the relationship.
The return leg of my walk took me through some lovely trees and refreshing green foliage.
Last Monday l reminded her of it … that in a sad way if we are to split up in the next 12 months or so it would be the way of the world and everything ends eventually, but if we did … l would support her as best as l could as her friend, or whatever capacity she wanted from me … l would do my best. But as achingly upsetting as all of this is … maybe this was the way it is supposed to be?
The lockdown serves us both … in different ways and perhaps we both needed to address who we were as a couple – were we better suited as just friends? Had we reached the end of our journey as two people? Maybe if anything, we are stepping stones to each other.
“Nana korobi, ya oki”
Thanks for reading.
See you in series 2 later this month.