Sunday, 4 January 2009


The ground is frozen solid. The temperature here hasn't been above freezing for about a week; overnight it has regularly been down to -6ºC. Frost is caked onto most surfaces, and the garden birds search singlemindedly for food. The days have mostly been sunny, which has thawed things a little where the sun's rays reach. But in shaded or north-facing areas, the frost and ice is a permanent fixture. Overnight, the cats take it in turns to crawl under the covers with me and warm their paws. Each morning I have been feeding the chickens with a hot mash to warm them up, which they clearly love. The geese, hardy birds, are unphased, even seem to enjoy crashing through the ice on the pond each morning.

Today it is overcast and nothing looks like thawing. It is even snowing a little, tiny specks of snow whirling down out of the silvery sky to powder the grass.

I have a dilemma. I really need to go food shopping. The problem is, I now have my new car (as of yesterday), and I'm feeling anxious about driving an unfamiliar car in such nasty, icy conditions.

This irritates me, because I know I used to be braver. I am realising that one of the side-effects of a long-term relationship is the way you become reliant on a second opinion. If T was here, I'd say, 'I need to go shopping but I'm a bit nervous about driving the new car on icy roads', and he'd either say, 'Oh it'll be fine, it's not that bad and they'll have gritted the main roads', or, 'No, I'd leave it another day or so, we can make do with things from the freezer until the weather improves'. And then my decision would be made for me, one way or the other. I would either feel brave enough to go, because really, it's not that bad, or I'd feel justified in chickening out because it's not very nice out there and there is stuff in the freezer.

Being part of a couple is a hard habit to break. When something happens - good, bad or funny - my first instinct is still to ring T and tell him. He helped me find and choose the new car, and just last night I emailed to get his opinion on buying a new digital camera (the old one has broken
:( ). He is a useful person to consult about such things, being technically minded where I am most certainly not. But I'm becoming aware that I need to stop relying on him in that way. I need to find my own way. As a single person I not only have to make up my own mind (horrors!!), but also take responsibility for my own decisions.

One of the positives of the last couple of months is that I have begun to rediscover myself. T never stopped me from being myself, but part of the dance of a relationship is in the compromises, negotiations and adjustments we make for each other. It's nothing huge or sinister, just a little accumulation of things that happen so gradually that we are not even aware of how we have changed - until, perhaps we find ourselves alone again. Like remembering that actually, I do like bread - just not the unsliced malted stuff we used to buy because that was what T liked and he ate more bread than me. Or realising that I can eat breakfast in bed if I feel like it, because balancing a tray on my lap doesn't bug me like it did him. Or deciding with a jolt of pleasure that I can - if I choose - now spend hours wandering around an art gallery without feeling guilty because I have a bored partner in tow.

I have been remembering things I like to do - and gradually stopping doing things I don't! - and it is a good feeling, like finding a long-forgotten favourite book.

The flipside is this lack of confidence in myself and my decisions, which sometimes leaves me frozen with uncertainty. But I remember a stronger, braver me and I know she's in there somewhere. Each challenge faced will remind me that I am capable, I am brave, I am confident, and I will grow back into the self-assurance of JUST ME.

And now I think I will go and do that shopping!


The Dragon said...

I hope the roads weren't as bad as you feared, and I loved the shot of the frozen leaves!

ambermoggie said...

Good for you, you are strong and things will become much easier. I love the frozen leaves:)

Leanne said...

oh moonroot, this post made me smile, for , being in a similiar situation, but a few months ahead of you, i have had the same feelings, the same self doubt etc. and the same joy at rediscovering parts of me that had become hidden by being a 'couple'

well done on getting the shopping!!
Leanne x

Moonroot said...


I made it into Carmarthen & back in one piece and we now have plenty of food!

The car is great, just slipped a little bit on the way back up the hill to the house, but the snow has now turned to rain and in falling onto frozen ground things are pretty slippy!

Hope you are all keeping warm & dry.

Anonymous said...

Wise words moonroot, and they help me see that over the longer while since my partner left in retro i can appreciate some of what has been the process for me. It can be empowering and strengthening. Pam Evans from Peace Mala says to say thanks for the link on your site - that's how I found out about them and ordered a bracelet. liZZie

Reya Mellicker said...

I often miss that daily check-in with another person, that reality check kind of conversation you describe.

Having been single for a very long time at this point, I've taken to having these conversations with myself. Believe it or not, it works!

Hope you didn't slip or slide too much on your venture out for groceries.

Thinking of you with warmth and love.

This Guy said...

AH! I am back! Its been really cold here too!! I hate the snow and cold weather, its not the cold itsself, its cleaning off my car in the middle of a blizzard! aahaha

I think you should embrace the new car, but trust your womans intuition too, if you pick up the keys and feel like it may not be a good driving day then eat some leftovers and pour yourself a good cup of earl grey. Don't stay at home tho because of fears, you are WAY too strong of a woman for that!! I think you will be just fine. Im glad to hear that you did make it out tho! ;)

I think about you so much, and I am glad to hear that you are rediscovering yourself. Its hard reinventing yourself as a single person after being coupled for so long. It just takes time. I see my dad go through it now that my mom has passed, its quite a journey, one that I have never been through, so I cant even imagine how you do it everyday, but I know you must be very strong, and most certainly very brave!

Anonymous said...

Oh I know that rediscovering yourself thing well, and feeling able to do things that you like, that maybe your partner didn't enjoy or approve of. Glad you got your shopping ok :-)

Livia Indica said...

Hey good for you! Isn't it weird the things you relearn and remember when you don't have to compromise with another?

solsticedreamer said...

i hope you got your shopping and things are warming up
...this post 'broke' my dream about snow flakes!

solsticedreamer said... did make it!

Griffin said...

Hurrah for you! When afraid/nervous remember Old Bill - Shakespeare, not the Police!

"Stiffen up the sinews, summon up the blood, imitate the action of the tiger!"

Having only ever been in one relationship in my life, I have always done as I saw fit. So this seems a little alien to me. You could ask the cats when they come under the duvet with you what to do. I love the thought of small furry cold paws coming under the duvet with your warmth!

Be warm and well, o Selene's child and fear nothing.

aromatic said...

Well done for braving the elements and venturing out for the shopping... such a wonderful sense of achievement...
Sadly I cannot drive (long story) but I can most certainly understand your fears. I am so happy that you are finding yourself again... so many more things to look forward too... Wishing you the most WONDERFUL 2009!!
Love and Blessings, Jane xxxx

cynthia said...

Good on you!
i am about 5 years from the position you are in now. i fear for any man that would want to be in a relationship with me now. i could never go back to the sharing necessary to cultivate a coupling.
Sad really. Except that i am as happy as i have ever been. Don't get me wrong. There are challenges that i wish i had a partner to help me with but mostly i love being in charge of my life.

It has been very cold here too (Oregon). We are not used to it and neither is the local environment. i live in the City of Roses but my treasured rose bush may not make it this winter, my young lilac may thrive with the freeze tho... such is life.

i love your blog, moonroot. This is my first year with three chickens and i am finding myself to be finely tuned into my mother hen, cancerian nature. Who needs a man when i can have chickens?

Please, please tell me about the hot mash. i had an idea like it but did not follow through. Did you use what i call 'oatmeal'?

My girls are showing signs of stress and i bet a hot meal would do them good.


Rachel said...

I learnt a lot about how to try and be a strong person from you over last weekend, especially with T in the house and you telling him off. I've come back and I'm stuck and ready to leave. C won't leave me alone, says he wants me back but isn't ready to be my boyfriend again. I know he's being a bastard and controlling me but I'm not ready to let him go either. Though I have realised that he was bad for me and controlled me in every little way, I know I should tell him to leave but he always makes it more complicated. I'm going to find some help tomorrow and hopefully gain some strength and self-respect to get him to leave.I want to be as strong as you look.