Clutching my box of papers I struggle out of Franklin House and step straight into a puddle.
I’m 6 weeks away from Homelessness.
This isn’t the start of an exciting new novel. Or a dramatic exaggeration of my situation. Or a plea for sympathy.
It’s my reality. The bare balls of my real life. The offline shit storm that is the product of the last few years.
Standing in this puddle I realise that I’m actually in a very good place. Metaphorically speaking of course.
Rock. Fucking. Bottom.
You cannot get much lower than that. It buys you a sort of freedom. The only possible choices? to stay put, where you are (currently getting wet feet) or take what you have learnt on the fall and fly up stronger than before.
I’d be forgiven for slumping in a heap at Arms’ feet and sobbing “WHY? Why has it come to this?” And reminiscing of just two years ago when I was sitting in The Ritz Hotel drinking Bellini’s and entertaining clients. Waltzing down Bond Street in my £500 Louboutins and popping into see my friends at various luxury stores across Mayfair.
I’d be forgiven for blaming. Getting angry at the world for dealing me the most catastrophic cards of shit this last couple of years and saying ‘You did this to me you utter cunt bucket’
Instead. I find myself smiling.
I’ll be ok. The person I was then is still alive. The woman who can turn deals. Make money selling sand to the Egyptians. The creative, talented networker. Nancy. You can strip a human of every material posession they own, but you cannot strip them of their core. It’s always there. It is only something you can defeat yourself. No one can take it from you.
Nancy today is improved. Why? Because the ego has been extinguished. I’ve had to expose every flaw quite publicly and face who I really am. The mistakes I have made. Instead of generating a buzz around the golden bits of my persona.
What have I learnt?
Too much to list. (Actually it is all listed in my new book. Which you better all buy because it’s kind of something I am relying on to put me back on top)
My former husband fucked off when the going got tough. I don’t blame him though. His choices are his own. In fact, quite the opposite.
I thank him.
I thank him for putting me in a position where I had nothing. For making me go back to a job I did when I was 15. For the tears I cried over the humiliation of going back there. For the strength I realised I had at that moment I realised WHY I was working in a pub. For my children. For my family.
I thank him for the day I fell 7ft into the cellar bouncing off a concrete floor (Yes. That happened – pop into The Crown and ask Matt about it) and my first thought was GET up because I needed the £40 I was going to earn to feed my children that night. And for the strength I realised I had in me when I got to the end of that shift. The pride I felt when I put dinner on the table that night.
I thank him for the friends he exposed as true, remarkable, supportive human beings. The bond I now have with people who have rallied around to support me so my children didn’t see me falling apart. The mates that encouraged me to do ‘Jazz Hands’ all day, whom dealt with the wreck of a woman hurting all night. For showing me the true value of female friendships. The allies I never knew I had. The family united not through blood but through love, kindness and patience. My sisters.
I thank him for making me question every single corner of myself. For taking the bits of me I was ashamed of that were pinning me to the floor. For allowing me so much pain and to question so much that I could look at who I really am, eventually finding peace with that. For showing me how strong a Mothers love is, as I buckled on the floor so utterly crucified by pain refusing to give in. And for letting me hear that voice inside me saying “Get up. Get up. Get up” because without that voice I would not have got up.
I thank him for my new found appreciation of a pile of 20 pence pieces and the discovery that you can feed a family of 3 for less than £80 a week.
I thank him for the 4 stone I have lost since March (Arms does too) and the fact that every time I catch myself in the mirror I have to double take at my brilliantly gorgeous new figure. For the self esteem that I had completely lost, but over the last 8 months I have found in a way most people dream of.
I thank him for the strength I’ve built to not be angry, to not be left so scarred and hurt I push away the incredible man who wants to stand by my side now, whilst I’m at my worst. My most humiliated. And for granting me the strength to value to small things, the things that matter. The care and attention and love afforded to me through varying subtleties.
I thank him for the nights my son was crying in my bed because he was afraid of my ex being back in the country. Coming back to our home. And the feeling I got when I put my arm around my baby and knew there was NOTHING that I would ever allow to hurt him. The utter satisfaction of feeling like the main provider and protector. For the first time, that natural parental feeling of being afraid of nothing. Not. One. Thing. I could stop bullets with me eyeballs to stop him being hurt and I would kill kittens with my bare hands if he was afraid of them.
For not feeling sorry for myself.
Mostly, I thank him for today.
For giving me the strength to accept I cannot cope on my own. I need help. My life is a car crash. For giving me the knowledge, after the last 8 months, that this, this moment right here in this puddle, is the start of my family being ok.
We’re no longer just surviving. We have survived.
And I’m going to rip the shit out of the rest of my life. Get back on top.
This time though, i’ll do it with pride, integrity and joy.
And the world better watch out. Because I’m coming back full force and with an army of wonderful idiots behind me.
This time next year kids, this time next year.