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It’s been a long time since you’ve heard from us at #ffs. Life does that to you, doesn’t it? Since I last blogged my life has been turned upside down, or rather moved to a parallel dimension, one where I can see the old one but not quite get back to it. I know exactly what’s going on there, back in my old life, but I can’t touch it, like there’s a veil of thick but transparent toile.

I moved in with my new partner at the end of July. I left the dome of the village I had been in for ten years and came to a big town, busy and grimy, full of history and students, homelessness and opulence. The contrasts of life are much bigger the more people you have crammed into one space.

 It was a big move, not least because I was choosing to leave the bosom of my beautiful friendships but because I was bringing my children into a whole new family. It was all under control though, I had laid plans and could see where I was going. Life doesn’t like plans though, life likes spontaneity, it likes to shake you out of dreams, be they absurd or realistic. So, inevitably, my plans didn’t, well, go to plan, I think a small part of me wasn’t surprised, a large part was disappointed though. I am a big believer that the universe always has your back, it’s just sometimes difficult to see where it’s pointing you.

The plan was, live in partner’s two-up-two-down for the summer holidays and maybe just a bit beyond, buy the house we wanted and move, effortlessly, like swans, when both our houses had sold. Then a buyer pulled out and the house of cards we were so carefully constructing seemed to crumble. It was devastating for a few days, but our house of cards was built on good foundations; optimism, respect, endeavour, sense of humour and desire, all of which has given us the strength to dust off and start again. These are formidable foundations for a new relationship. There is a new buyer, there is hope and we have learned not to try to predict the future too much. We may or may not end up in the house we wanted or we may end up in a different house, one thing I am sure of is that we are going to be happy either way.

I am a natural control freak, I am very aware of this most of the time, so this experience is particularly challenging. I may not be tidy and orderly, certainly not house-proud, I can be downright filthy and lazy at times but as long as I have a say in it that’s fine. My control needs don’t bleed into life too obviously, it’s mostly all in my head. It is actually doing me the world of good to have a big reminder that I don’t really have control.

In this house I don’t have a single space I can call my own, coming directly from a period of my life where I have had the most space to myself I have ever had, that’s hard. I don’t have a spot to sit and write (I’m like Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory with writing spots), I don’t have a space to do yoga (I had several special yoga spots in the old house), I don’t have a spot to sit and paint my toenails (usually the end of the bed, tricky when your bed is up against the wall 90% of the time) and I don’t have a fully-functioning kitchen to drift into cooking world. These things are all big on my self-care list and they are all part of the ‘feeling like I have control’ thing and it’s difficult to hold things together when you’re not looking after your deeper needs and you feel out of control.

I’m alright though, better than alright, I’m happy. Yes I’ve had some tearful, lonely moments, moments of dread at the thought of having to stay in this space that isn’t mine for too much longer but the biggest part of the original plan was to be with my new partner (he’s going to need a new name soon, he can’t be new partner forever, it’s been more than a year, in the spirit of our previous writing I shall call him Mr.C). We go to sleep every night together and we wake up every morning together, that was the dream. No matter where we are, no matter what terrible tantrums or plot twists the day throws at us, no matter if there’s tears or smiles at bedtime, we’re doing this together.

We are hewing a new family from an unspecified rockface, learning the facets as we go, some bits are hard and others softer, easier to sculpt. It is terrifying and exhausting but brilliant fun and rewarding. It is a very difficult thing to take on parenting each other’s children; as if we were all children, we are constantly pushing our boundaries as a family, sometimes with great, quietly satisfying success and other times with utter failure. We are learning, following each other’s leads, listening to the roar and the undercurrent at the same time. Unspecified it maybe now, but I’m pretty confident we’re going to shine this beast into a beautiful diamond.

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