By Clara Autumn

Things have never been so good.

Not exactly the start of a confession you expect, right? But it’s honest, two beautiful little boys full of life and cheek running around, a beautiful quirky home, a newly acquired job and finally, the man I feel like I’d been looking for all my adult life. He is a complete enigma to me, pretty much 90% of the time. What made him stop and take notice of this face? How does he know that I’m the best thing on the market right now?

And I guess there you have it. Crippling self doubt. I don’t think I’ve always been this analytical of every interaction. But life happens, the seeds of doubt are sewn. And inevitably those insecurities will grow into the nastiest sharpest weed should you not find an effective pesticide.

But I digress. On the outside I have always tried my hardest to portray a face of a strong minded and equally strongly opinionated woman. But years of a toxic relationship have left me questioning. Will this damage taint everything I want in my future? I had countless nights for 6 years of feeling sick in the pit of my stomach, unable to do anything apart from speculate, build pictures in my mind about the life my husband was living with other women. How drunk was he? Did they feel better under his fingertips than I did? And finally, the big one. Why was I not good enough to want to keep happy and safe? You see, in a way when you are the woman I am you have dug yourself a hole within seconds of first meeting someone. Because that stone faced pantomime outfit makes others think that you are somehow emotionally muted. And the painful reality is, I feel it all. I feel it until my mind is a whirlwind.

At this point I feel it important to say that the soldier that turned up on my doorstep one cold rememberence Sunday is nothing like the man who took my trust in people. But it’s hard to not apply the same principle reactions to someone new when you are conditioned to something so negative. Much like returning from your final tour and adjusting to civey St.

But as time passes it’s hard to hide those insecurities or shitty bits about yourself you know full well exist, after all they’ve been highlighted for many years by your own personal critic. But would someone really lift you off the shelf if they knew it too?

My car crash of a marriage left me feeling like someone hollowed out the bits of me I liked, and replaced them with a poison in my gut that I couldn’t evacuate from my body. In fact, I think I could of dealt with him fucking anything with a basic knowledge of Nirvana’s ground break album as long as I felt like he wanted what he had too. But while my spirit never went away, my confidence ran away from the horror that was at home. I would have too, but that required confidence.

So, here I am. Years on, many a beautiful moment shared with the best man I have met. But still questioning everything like it could have the gravity to end my happiness like a warhead wiping everything into a bright white flash of nothing. Never existed.

Is this how it feels to survive? To be the one that got out, but not quite intact.

I’ve often wondered in recent months if this is what it is really like to love? Not knowing what your doing half the time, reading the other person looking for a neon sign to pop up to give away what they are musing.

Maybe the fact you give enough of a shit to look for those signs says it all.

One day, I will be the person inside that I portray to everyone. Not the stone, but the strength. I’m not doing a bad job now, I think. But I know one thing. I will not let the poison in my stomach that wasn’t administered by my own hand be vomited over something good. And trust will grow further and act as a remedy.

Some things are too monumental to be ruined by a past you can’t help.

Fuck, I’m definitely in love..aren’t I?

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