Hello. I thought I'd do a blog. I accidentally called it How To Be Ideal because I made a mistake with the keyboard while I was trying out possible titles and now I can't change it. If anyone knows how to change it, please let me know. To clarify, I definitely don't think I know how to be ideal. It was only one of the possible options. I don't really have any idea how to be ideal at all.
I began this year having been recently utterly and completely shafted by someone I really loved. Not my husband. He’s not that kind of husband. Or the story’s yet to break. In fact his agent called and asked him to clandestinely reveal any ‘Manford-style’ stories he might have stuffed down the back of his Twitter account – ‘just so they could be prepared’. If that’s what we’re all up to, it would also be great if he could tell me. I also like being prepared.
I’ve spent a large part of 2010 (as well as giving birth to and caring for a human, working, and watching Don Draper screwing around) thinking on and off about the particular person who left me so upset, and what happened, and trying to deal with the moral and philosophical repercussions.
Without going into details, one of my colleagues and best friends let me down in quite spectacular style, leaving me massively in the lurch in a very vulnerable situation, when I was quite heavily pregnant.
The particulars of what happened are not really very interesting. I’m more fascinated by the question, to misquote Charles before he really cocked things up, of what love is. Love should, really, be unconditional. Real love that’s actually worth anything. If love is conditional, doesn’t that mean we’re all walking around trying to protect ourselves, get shit for ourselves, and generally are all ready to leave the moment we don’t feel like we’re getting what we want?
Predictably, becoming a mother has been massive shock in the unconditional love department. I thought I was loving. I am definitely loving. I hug people, defend people, and make people birthday cakes. Fine. But the sort of love that is demanded of you by a rage-filled, shit-filled, pained human who can’t focus their own eyes is unlike anything I have ever known.
In case you hadn’t already realised, sometimes it’s absolutely dreadful to be a parent. You are there to be chucked up on, to comfort, to be woken every three hours or more around the clock for months on end while recovering from major surgery. You are busting a gut, 24 hours a day, for someone who really doesn’t understand why or how. It’s a relationship you cannot leave. And regardless of how desperately your body craves sleep, or what you personally feel able to offer emotionally and physically, it is your responsibility and your duty to get out of bed, whip your tits out, and get on with it. And if I’m deeply honest, from the bottom of my soul, I have had private moments, hobbling around with a big surgical scar through my stomach holding a breast pump and a screaming, tragic baby human, where I’ve wondered what on earth I’ve done to myself.
We have been a little bit unlucky (and also of course massively lucky to have such a beautiful, healthy although utterly grumpy sort of person). He’s been ill a couple of times, in hospital for a few nights each time with a pitiful drip in his tiny foot. His illness was initially misdiagnosed, and for several weeks we endured dreadful woes, almost tearing each other up, with no clue as to why the baby was so desperately unhappy. But babies get more ill than ours. People cope with much worse than we did. And there is no point at which you can say, ‘Well. I didn’t expect to be treated like THIS.’
I’m sure many mothers will claim this has no bearing on their personal experience, and I am very, very happy and fairly jealous that your experience of motherhood was so unconditionally blissful. I certainly would never deny how extraordinary and mind-bending and utterly phenomenal my experience has been, and still is. It’s very, very exciting. But that’s not the point.
In the past I have had such a strong sense of right and wrong that I’ve ended up cutting people out of my life when I felt they’d done something ‘wrong’. A few years later, I’ve realised I’ve lost a friend over something that was never so clear cut. Both my and Mark’s families have feuds that look set to last until death, and some which already have. I stopped all contact with the friend who screwed me over so handsomely because I felt the stress of the relationship was affecting my health and also that of my unborn baby. But ironically the unborn baby has gone on to cause me about thirty times as much stress as she ever did, and in the end the love I have for him will be one of the strongest and most intense forms of love I’ll ever experience.
Does that mean it’s worth staying in every relationship we have, regardless of how punishing it might be on us personally, because that’s ultimately what it means to be someone who truly loves? I mean, that sounds awful. And as a cheerful atheist, without a religious framework of eventual reward for that sort of love, I’m not sure I can face it.
For the time being I’ll keep on hoping that Watson doesn’t wank off to any photographs of breasts. That would be ideal. But if he does, would even that relationship, which is really the bedrock of my life as I know it, end? And would that be the right thing to do? Watson. Get off Twitter until I’ve made up my mind.