The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.Henry David Thoreau
Until last summer I was a grey opaque version of myself. Worn into transparency by years of living with a joyless husband, anxiety, occasional depression and six year’s worth of lie-ins to catch up on. I felt old, tired and brittle, like a yellowing page in a newspaper you find in a loft that’s been wrapping your granny’s crockery for years and crumbles at the merest touch.
I’d just accepted that this was my life until I changed jobs, made some new friends and came blinking into the sunlight and realised that life was for living and I didn’t have to continue simply existing.
I was the original wallflower, wanting to be ignored, not noticed. Bland. Magnolia. Vanilla. Dull. I exuded greyness from every pore. I was sleepwalking through parenthood and my marriage. I did everything on my own after our son was born, from getting up at the crack of dawn with him to putting him to bed at the end of the day. In all but name I was a single parent.
Then I met someone at work, who’d tried to take his own life several times and so perfectly combined that hedonistic sense of not giving a fuck and so being larger than life and oozing freedom as a result. Something inside me, long languishing, was sparked back to life. I grabbed on to this literal life-line and let it pull me out of the gloom and into the brilliant blinding sunshine of a blue-skied summer’s day.
I realised that I was more than just a wife and mother. That somewhere along the way I’d got lost and I needed to find me again as a matter of urgency, before the last bit of myself disappeared into the ether.
What happened next took six months to execute. And the word ‘execute’ makes leaving my husband sound like it was cold, hard and clinical. When the truth is it was messy, tear-stained, heartbreaking and the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make in my life.
Those long, hard months of last year have dimmed now, their edges worn smoother by the fact that I’ve moved on and created a new life. I love my new life, in my new house with my son. I’ve gone from being someone who was living a life of quiet despair to someone who exudes a lust for life out of every pore. I’m the colour in the grey world now because my freedom was so hard won that I wring every last drop out of each day now with no plans to blend into the background again.