My new man

I fell in love with an alley cat.

His name is Leo and I fell in love the moment I laid eyes on him, exactly a month ago on the 8th April.

I didn’t think I could adopt another cat after Fluffy passed away.

The story goes, Fluffy was an elderly, stray cat who very quickly became my absolute world. I know people always say this about their cats but seriously, she was awesome -the most gentle and affectionate cat I have ever met.

The tragedy about Fluffy was, she was a long-term stray and came with lot of health issues and sensitivities. Towards the end of her life she started having seizures and one day she had a very drawn out episode and didn’t recover. She was completely changed, lifeless, like a different cat. She no longer recognised me, as if her soul was missing.

The whole thing was so traumatic. I miss her so much and I still weep when I think of her.

Anyways, I was in two minds about adopting another cat (mainly because I can’t cope when I lose them) but I started following a few local cat rescue charities on Facebook.

One day, someone posted a picture of Leo describing how they just rescued him from the other side of town.

Leo’s before (right) and after (left) pics.

For some reason I just fell in love with him and knew that I had to adopt him.
Absolutely devastated at the sight of him and the state he was in I contacted the charity immediately.

The story about his past is utterly heart breaking. He was abandoned a number of years ago and was living in an alley. Now and again the residents would feed him but left him homeless – and apparently he was bullied and beaten up by other cats in the neighbourhood. He became so poorly that a concerned resident contacted the charity and he was rescued.

I’ll never forget the first time I met him in person.

His foster mummy opened his cage door, I put my head inside and he stood up and rubbed his face all over my face. I picked him up to hug him and he hugged me back.

His foster mummy broke down in tears. She said that he isn’t normally like this and hisses at people. I gave her a cuddle and cried a bit too.

This was so fated.

I’m looking over at him now as he sleeps beside me on the other end of the couch. He looks so content and cosy right now. I put the heating on so the living room is extra cosy and warm for him.

I’m sending regular pics and videos to his foster mummy as she found it very difficult to let him go.

Again, I know that all cat owners will say this – but this little man is definitely a special cat.

He’s still nervous in his new surroundings but already I would say he is “the boss of me” and after he has settled in, he will have the other housemates running after him too.

So that’s how I fell in love with an alley cat.

(other news: I still haven’t built the IKEA furniture or done the gardening.)

I can’t procrastinate this weekend

Here in the UK it is officially “May-day” bank holiday weekend. I have had to cancel my camping trip so I can deal with everything that I have neglected at home. I haven’t been keeping up with any housework and there is a mountain of odd jobs that I have been putting off since January.

I still haven’t build the Ikea furniture to replace what my ex smashed up over Xmas and New Year.

The biggest motivator for me now is that someone will be visiting my house to make sure I am worthy of adopting a rescue cat (i.e. I am not a complete savage and there are no other pets in the household).

The lady from the cat rescue charity will visit 1pm on Monday and I don’t want her to see my house in this state. I look around and this not who I am but I haven’t had the strength or will to keep on top of things.

So anyways, I am going to do it this weekend and have put together a massive to do list to finish for before she arrives.

Here’s my to do list:

  • Build ikea wardrobe and drawers (to replace what my ex smashed up)
  • Clear the front driveway of weeds and rubbish
  • Clear the back garden of weeds and rubbish
  • Remove mould and mildew from the bathroom ceiling and tiles
  • Deep clean and vacumm the rest of the house
  • Take all waste (including broken furniture) to the recycling center / local skip

Someone has offered to help me with building the Ikea stuff. This is the guy I went on a couple of dates with. I told him why I have cancelled my camping trip this weekend and since then he has become determined to, in his own words, be “alpha male” and just come over and help me.

I’ve turned down his offer. I have been truthful about it and my reasoning is, my ex is the reason why my life has ended up in such a mess and I should really fix it myself.

It doesn’t feel right for me to let another man, a man who I hardly know – swoop-in and clean up the mess left by the shit-head that abused me.

I am so overwhelmed by how much I need to get done this weekend but I need to take my power back.

I need to do this alone.

 

 

Under Pressure

The creepy mug has been retired and I bought a new one.

I was on a date last night. It went well but I am pretty sure I was crap company because of how tired I was. I am under a lot of pressure at work. Aside from the tiredness, I found myself talking shop a few times and I made myself cringe.

For me, this entire month of May will be one of the busiest and most tiring months. But this was by design and I don’t deserve any sympathy.

I did it to myself.

I am heading up a number of high profile technology projects that involve changing the way the company operates. There is a lot at stake.

My last 3 years of employment was spent planning what exactly needs to happen this year. I have been engineering and shaping the environment and getting all of my proverbial “ducks in a row”, before being able to start the work.

The project deadlines are aggressive. I will have to drive the projects, lead the people, steer the meetings, manage expectations and argue the toss with other decision makers, every step of the way. This is also by design.

I have a really intelligent boss who is supportive but my team is incomplete. The projects have started but people have jumped ship, so I am still recruiting and adding new people to the team. I have had to take massive risks to keep things moving.

I need to finish what I started and I can’t fuck it up.

I am now in a state of paranoia and obsessing over ways I could fuck things up. I need to find ways to offload some of the pressure and at the very least, not create new problems for myself.

Not fucking up equals working harder.

I need to be prepared to work longer hours and sacrifice my social life. I am asking myself if I should even be dating anyone at the moment. I can only be partially invested in starting a new relationship and don’t know if it is wise to start something that I can’t maintain.

Not fucking up equals staying SAFE, in every sense of the word.

The elephant in the room is my PTSD and whether or not I should even be dating whilst still in recovery from domestic abuse. Can I trust myself to make better decisions and keep myself safe?

Don’t get me wrong – going on dates has been a massive milestone in my recovery journey. I feel much better than I did when I started the blog but I am still a shadow of my former self. I am still scared of men.

These projects have been 3 years in the making but I did not plan to start my projects whilst smack-bang in the middle of the most traumatic phase of my adult life.

Not fucking up equals, being scared but not showing it.

What makes all of this worse is the years of trying to earn credibility at work going down the drain. My boss and many of my colleagues know about the abuse. He made sure of that when he sent an angry email to my colleagues.

They know what he is, that he is known to the police as a danger to women. They also know I was too scared to bring him to justice and I dropped the charges.

Everyone has been supportive but the inevitable consequence of his actions is how they now perceive me.

Knowing what they know, how can they not think that I am damaged and incapable of handling the challenges ahead of us this year.

No wonder my boss has been pissed off with me. I feel like he is concerned and all this is causing him stress. Or was he? Am I just paranoid? I don’t know.

I can’t stop obsessing about this stuff.

I have to be focused. I can’t make mistakes. Everyone is watching me now.

Shit it’s 7pm and I am still at the office.

Yesterday.

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Yesterday I did three really cool things that made me happy. I went surfing, met some new friends and went on a date.

How the date transpired was kind of unexpected but in a good way. It wasn’t through a dating app or website. In a nutshell, he had been following me on social media for some time, we didn’t really talk or anything. Last week he messaged me and asked me out on a date.

He is definitely my type so I said yes. My type is outdoorsy, athletic, English (don’t ask me why my men have mostly been English – I think it’s the accent), intelligent, etc.

So we arranged to meet at Mountain Biking park. My dated wanted to cycle but I already planned to surf that day, so we agreed he would go ahead and cycle and I’ll meet him at the park after my surf session.

I surfed for a bit during the day. It was my first time back in the water since before the sea temperature dropped in November. It was fun.

I then decided to check out the local surf hire cafe. I was introduced to the crew and hung out with them for a while. They are such lovely people, gave me the warmest welcome and a free cappuccino because it was my first visit.

I bought a bar of handmade soap and a Sex Wax car freshener (of course), then hugged my new friends goodbye.

I drove to my date straight from the beach with my board still strapped to the roof. I hadn’t showered, sand everywhere, hair was still wet, no makeup – but it didn’t matter. I felt really good about myself.

I turned up on time-ish and as you would expect things were a bit awkward at first. I suddenly had an uncontrollable urge to pee, but it was late and the park toilets were locked. I had to drive out of the park and find a pub before we could resume our date.

I returned, put my walking shoes on and we headed into the park for a walk. The sun came out and the weather was mild.

Perfect.

After about an hour we headed back to our cars. It was quickly obvious that we wanted to continue the date because he asked me to go for food with him and I said yes.

After finishing our meal we decided to go to the cinema to see the new Avengers movie but it was so late that we missed the last show. We went to another bar for a while and agreed a second date in the week for us to see the movie.

He walked me back to my car and gave me a really nice hug.

In other news, today was day one of my two day course. I was out late last night so I was really tired today but the course is really hands on and interactive so I managed to stay awake.

On the way home, I thought I lost my keys and had a little bit of a melt down.

I am hungry but too tired to cook so I am going to have some toast and then get an early night.

Signing off.

 

Reviewing my friendships

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I previously wrote about how the PTSD from my abusive relationship has made me hyper vigilant and uncomfortable around men. Something else I have discovered is, I am now uncomfortable around a lot of people. Family, colleagues and people I call friends.

Men and women.

Therapy has helped me understand that I struggle to identify unreasonable behaviours and I can’t protect myself from them.

I have poor boundaries.

I am a people pleaser.

I am vulnerable to abuse.

I have learned that due to low self-esteem, I willingly accept and make excuses for unreasonable behaviours. I will work hard to try to appease the other person.

I have realised that some of my friendships are very unhealthy and I am partially to blame. I seem to have a knack for attracting and nurturing friendships with people who aren’t particularly nice to be around.

Although I am aware of it (and massively repulsed by it) I still don’t know how to deal with situations and people who are toxic.

When I say toxic, I mean controlling, full of anger, harsh and judgemental towards others. Some people are aggressive in their ways and some are passive aggressive but in essence, they are made of the same stuff.

I am now navigating life with a different lens.

I am being given all this new information but I don’t know what to do with it.

I have come as far as being able to feel that something is off with the other person and it isn’t me, I have done nothing wrong – BUT I still need time to think about what was done or said.

I am not sure what to do now.

My gut is telling me that I need to get better at identifying the behaviours and challenging them on the spot. This is terrifying. People like this were unreasonable to begin with so the thought of confronting them makes me feel sick to my stomach.

I feel like it would be easier and cleaner just to cut some people off but I know that actually, I need to grow and learn from this.

I need to be brave and to trust that in fighting back, I am doing the right thing.