I never have major revelations in good locations. I’d like to realise the really significant things while wandering dreamily through a forest, and happening upon the natural beauty of dew on a spider web, and suddenly something becomes crystal clear and I gasp (prettily, without inhaling a mouthful of mosquitos) in the wonder of self-discovery.
I blame a society that has you find out whether or not you’re about to create a whole other human by pissing on a stick. It’s impossible to have a lot of high emotional meaning attached to splashing wee on your hand and then sitting hunched on a bathroom floor, watching beadily for a blurry pink line to appear.
Naturally enough then, I was hit with my latest life-changing realisation while scrubbing dog crap off the floor. Of course. There’s nothing quite as grounding, as REAL, as dog crap, especially in the Sydney summer heat. And it was a big enough realisation that I forgot to only breathe through my mouth for a moment.
The thing is, a couple of years ago, I started this cute little blog called, ‘Not a Fairytale’. I had been separated for a couple of years, been though some truly awful stuff, been through some amazingly great stuff, and had collected a whole bunch of really funny dating stories. Might as well use them to make people laugh.
I got the title from the first man who dumped me, which he did on the basis that my life was… well, not a fairy tale. At the time I was delighted with my own cleverness. I mean, Disney wouldn’t touch my current story with a barge-pole. But deep inside my brain, hidden behind the snarky, who-cares-about-men-anyway
Inside the box was the belief that at some point the fairy tale was going to kick back in.
I mean, truly awful men kept offering to marry me. The law of averages suggested that surely a nice one would, at some stage. Then I could put down that unrelenting burden of having to carry everything by myself. I could have family dinners and download to my partner about my day. I could bicker about the washing up and whose turn it was to make Sunday morning pancakes.
In the last couple of years, I thought for a while that I had found that. It was great, it really was… until it wasn’t.
So I’m sitting on the other side of it, four years out of my marriage, scrubbing dog crap, and this is what I’ve realised.
No one is coming to save me.
There’s no knight in shining armour galloping in, a karmic reward for being strong and brave and all the other things I’ve had to be since my marriage fell apart.
I haven’t earned enough brownie points for fate to present me with a whole functional human who’s going to soothingly tell me to put down that nasty adulting, they’ll carry it instead.
I have to take care of myself, and my family of three, and it’s permanent.
Well. That sucks.
Except… somewhere along the line, I’ve learned to save myself. While I’ve been waiting for the knight to arrive I’ve learned to saddle my own horse, polish my own armour, rent my own damn castle. The things that have terrified me about being alone have sneakily, surreptitiously, become manageable and ordinary.
I still have moments where, in the evening, I’d love to rest my head on someone’s shoulder and talk about my day. Maybe I’ll have that, sometime in the future.
But not with someone who wants to rescue me. That waiting is over.
I’m going to have to write my own happy ending.