Project Awesome

Making my life more awesome

“All of my dreams I dreamed with you, now they will die and never come true”

on January 11, 2013

Recently I’ve been listening to ‘I wish I never saw the sunshine’ by Beth Orton, fairly obsessively.  I’m glad I’m listening to it now rather than a year ago.  Now I think, well Beth, you may be taller but I am definitely more cheerful.  Based on this song anyway.  A year ago I would have thought, well Beth, this song sums up how I feel, everything is dismal and I shall never be happy again.  And then I would have put my head under the duvet and cried for an hour.  Or cleaned poo out of the bath. Again.  Single parents don’t even get to wallow in abject despair properly.  Life is so unfair.

It has made me wonder, though, about my dreams.  I’ve always been a girl with a ten-year-plan.  When I was seven I wanted to go to Oxford and be an academic.  Aged twenty I wanted to do a PhD and write a new economic theory, be ‘like Karl Marx but better’.  I’ve always dreamed of writing a novel, something that people will feel has changed how they see the world.  And then Ex-Husband and I dreamed about moving to ‘somewhere a bit more rural’, about having a house with a garden.

I liked sharing dreams with someone.  I liked finding the overlaps, the tension between what we both wanted shaping our goals.  I’m not sure that Ex-Husband ever realised that we would never find that rural location that actually suited us both, as he essentially wanted a house in a field and I’m not really comfortable with the idea of being more than a short walk from a coffee shop, library and railway station.  Now, apparently, the world is my oyster, but with a whole world to choose from I feel a little bit lacking in focus.

And at the moment, I am too tired to dream.  It’s a bit like when you’re walking, and you’re really tired, and you’re dragging along, too tired to do anything but look at the ground just in front of your feet and hoping you’ll be there soon.  I’m just too tired to lift up my head.  My life is crowded with nappies and sleepless nights and exhaustion and tantrums and washing up and worrying about my children and arguing about access and the divorce and more work to do than time to do it in and having no idea what I’m going to cook for dinner.

I have goals, of course.  Souffles and sewing and climbing.  But dreams?  Just now I want to get through today, and tonight, and tomorrow.  I do not have time, now, to do more than I need to (ahh, I dream of actually having enough time just to do everything I need to).  And so much has changed in the past 18 months, my life has been derailed in such an unimaginable fashion, that I think I can’t trust that I can imagine what the future might be like.  Now I know that I don’t know anything, how can I dream? How can I have hopes for the future when the future absolutely cannot be trusted to do what it is supposed to?

I have recently set up a feminist reading group on facebook.  We are going to read feminist books and then discuss them. I like the idea of living by myself and having a house that is untidy because I am too busy having interesting thoughts to do housework. I’d like to have piles of books and papers.  Eventually I’d like to study again. I occasionally have discussions about things like the rape conviction rate or welfare reform and get satisfyingly (or alarmingly) shouty (depending on whether you’re me or the person whose direction I’m shouting in).  I think about trying some kind of comedy performance again.  And when I think about these things I think perhaps, just maybe, I can believe in a future where I get enough sleep and enough thinking time to have some kind on internal life inside my head again.  I no longer expect to outdo Karl Marx in the world-changing stakes, but I do believe I am going to have amazing dreams and I will make them come true.

And I hope I can work out what I can dream of for my future with my children.  I have no model of a single-parent family to emulate or aspire to. I know people who single-parent very well. But it’s not what I expected and not what I would have chosen. It’s still hard work and painful.  It feels fractured, because there are all those gaps where my children are away, we are not functioning as a family, they are having another life and they are too young to understand it.  We are all tired and struggling.

So I hope to find a way to dream some dreams for my little family, for the three of us, to let go of my old expectations and hopes and make some new ones – to dream with my children of the sunshine we can find together.


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