The past few weeks I have been blocked; not writing very much. I have been listening to Ann, she has been down and I have been listening to her problems. She is lonely and she wants me in Madrid. As an addict and a co-dependent I feel that “pull” the same pull as when I used to drink, that “need”. But this time it is not drink it is a need to leave everything behind and run to help; to be the caretaker.
I resisted the pull this time, I did not jump on a plane and leave my life behind; to go and rescue her. At the same time, I resisted to run away from my life (again) so that nothing is started or achieved, finished or continued.
It was hard, I heard her being depressed and negative and I felt I had to step in and save her. But being someone who recognizes that this is the problem, this to-and-fro’ing between the UK and Spain; is part of the problem of me not sorting my life out. I do not have a home or a job in the UK, as I ran away to Madrid to escape these problems. It was easier to run away to Madrid and hide in a room watching YouTube and ignore the challenges facing me. It was safer to be with Ann, and to hide away in the virtual work of the internet and join her in her addictions (they were not my addictions even, they were hers).
But by staying still, now I have to face reality; and so does she. One of her solutions for our separation was to look for a job in another country, so she chose Finland. But we had never been there before and I did not know what lay before us. So I said “No” to that idea.
Recently she has been asking me what the solution is (as though I had all the answers). I decided that returning to Madrid was not the answer, as we both got sucked into the virtual reality of the internet. So I suggested we go for a holiday to Belgium; a care-free holiday of camping and using public transport; to see where we would end up and to let the days decide what we do. We have our return tickets but other than that we are free to move around, to see people and to experience life.
This was decided and nothing more was said. But because the loneliness did not disappear the question of jobs, living together and future came up again; like it was a new and recent problem (perhaps it is for her?). By not going to Madrid it suddenly dawned on Ann that life was not going to be the same. She could not rely on me to “care-take” any more. I was not going to be there to sacrifice my life; it was going to be a compromise. I will work on myself to get a life in the UK and she will have to start looking for jobs in the UK; and not some country that neither of us had visited before. I wanted a life, I did not want to live her life; I wanted one of my own.
For years Ann had been saying “there are no academic jobs in the UK that suit my field of work”; so she never applied for any. 7 years of not applying for jobs in the UK, or the rest of Europe (anywhere besides Madrid), there was not any to apply for; or she “was not qualified for”; but Ann is a very qualified computer programmer, post-Doc and with lots of experience. So for 7 years I had to go to Spain for us to be together, after all she was the bread-winner, she had a job, I did not.
Now that she realized I was not running to Madrid, she looked for a job. The first was the job in Finland and yesterday there s a job offer in Glasgow! So easy, so quick, as though the jobs just materialized out of nowhere for our benefit.
I feel a bit angry really. I could have saved myself quite a few years of moving backwards and forwards between countries; I could have avoided depressive moments and a few suicide attempts; I could of kept a healthier attitude to life, not suffered anxiety because of flying; I could of perhaps had the mental energy to start my own business in the UK, as was my plan in 2008; and I could of used my research and education to find a job lecturing. I feel a little angry also as she said “I did not mind being a part” that hurt after 7 years of sacrifice.
I gave my job opportunities up to go to a country that did not recognize my topic. Not because of I was asked to do it, but there was “no other option” for us to continue to be together (but there are always other choices aren’t there?). She could not leave her work and there was “no work to get”. So I came to her, because I found sedentary life too difficult after travelling for decades. We fuelled our own addictions, aided and abetted each other’s fears and escapisms; we hid behind each other. Like some addict in a bedsit room with the curtains closed and stale air.
So maybe we will not being going to Belgium after all, as the interview falls on those dates, but maybe…just maybe, we will have a new life to start this year?