What is love ?

Mountain lake by Lady E

Mountain lake by Lady E

Well, apart from the über cheesy 90s cover by someone called Haddaway (naah, I’m not even posting the link – makes my ears shrivel in horror).

So erm yes, ’tis the season for half-term break with my two brats delightful children, days out at the lake or at the beach, and profound questioning.

The thing is that I left Mr Xmas approximately 36 hours ago, in a state of uncertainty about my ability to ever feel passionate about him.

Yet, it is official, I miss him. I miss the comfort of his deep, soothing voice, the way his arms wrap all the way around me, and his face lights up when he smiles.

I am also officially tired of attracting, and falling for broken men : They can be so devastatingly nice, and crave so much the stability and security I am able to offer, that I got blinded. I failed to fully register the danger, the darker side of their personality, lurking underneath the surface of their good looks and sincere attachment.

Take Mr Nice who is torn by a perpetual inner conflict between a need for stability and freedom, between the desire to be like his dad – a selfish, rich, unhappy man, and the desire to not be like him. I watched him wrestle his demons, and for a while, my presence  anchored him into stability, and a more peaceful version of his own life… Before suddenly, it no longer did.

I do not feel as viscerally attracted to Mr Xmas as I did to Mr Nice, or even T, but then again, what good did that do me ? In some ways, Mr Xmas is the anti-Mr Nice : He is not scared by commitment or children, responsibilities do not overwhelm him, and he knows beyond the shadow of a doubt that he loves me.

Will my attachment to him grow into something I can recognise as love ?….

And hey, what on earth is love anyway ?


Overnight, the-30°C-blue-sky weather has turned to rain, mountains all but vanished into the clouds. Exactly the kind of overnight change, which seems to be all the rage in my Summer-Autumn 2014 life collection…

Three months ago, my two children and step-son all feverishly bickered over Panini stickers for their football world cup albums, while Mr Nice mourned France’s demise in the quarter finals (which was obviously solely due to undeserved bad luck – nothing to do with skill). The school year was in its dying days, and everyone looked forward to a fairly predictable Summer of family fun at the beach, catching up with relatives, and general winding down.

But then, the weather refused to acknowledge that Summer had arrived, and remained sullen, cool and wet.

Mr Nice flipped. In the space of weeks, what had once been us, became an empty shell.

Two months ago, on a beautiful sunny day, we called it a day, turning both ours and the children’s lives upside down.

Overnight, Mr Nice became a peculiar stranger. I struggled for breath.

A month ago, as Summer refused to give way to Autumn, a steady pair of arms caught me for what must have been the hundredth time as I fell apart.

And I decided to stay there for a while…

To Mister Xmas

Fauve – Lettre à Zoé

The unexpected conversation

A few weeks ago, a good friend of mine came round one evening, and we ended up talking about organic chemistry (as you do)…

And since it has been a while since I last subjected you to my rather awful sketching :





PS. This post was inspired by xkcd, one of my fave webcomics.

Christine and the Queens – Saint Claude :


I wrote this post exactly two years ago : Mister Nice and I were on a break, but on the verge of giving things another go.

This is when I met a certain Mr Xmas.

September 2012

(Slight nod, raised eyebrows, big sigh: )

Yup, here we go again: Men.

Preamble :

Lady E has succumbed to the latest episode of her very own, personal soap opera, starring Mr Nice, and Mr Xmas, who like the proverbial busses could not come one after the other at the appointed time, because that just would not be fun, would it?

Act one:
Lady E (forlorn and pouting): So here I am, trying to see through a fog of baggage, and fear what may be the reality of two potential relationships (I am spoilt, really).
Enter Mr Nice, my stomach somersaults all the way through my skull, before crashing back into place, leaving me drooling and lobotomised. Sounds attractive, doesn’t it ? Let’s say that it doesn’t quite capture how attracted I feel to Mr Nice…

But – what did you think, of course there is a but – Mr Nice still has commitment issues – now, that’s a f***ing surprise !!

Act two:

Enter, Mr Xmas, who is lovely, has no commitment issues, and whose heart is wide open for me. I haven’t known him for that long, but long enough to know that we get along, and are on the path to becoming great friends. However, for as long as Mr Nice is around, there is no room for more as it were…

Voice of reason: Ok, so easy, then. Mr Nice must go. Give Mr Xmas a chance.

Lady E (bangs head on nearest wall): Ow, it actually hurts. Bastard.

September 2014

Of course, I ignored the voice of reason… And of course you know the end of this particular story…

(Slight nod, raised eyebrows, eye roll)

Tove Lo – Habits (to be blasted really, really loud and danced to, preferably in a kitchen, with a dear friend)

Somebody I used to know

Sunflower by Lady EThis week, I have reduced Mr Nice to tears, and seen T shrivel under my gaze.

No, I haven’t done a crash course in karate and beaten both of them to a pulp (yet), but yes, things have been flirting with the surreal.

Mind you, this in itself seems to fast be turning into the new norm, in this period of brutal change and grief.

After a glacial encounter with Mr Nice, which left me feeling at best like some random stranger trying to sell him double-glazing, at worst like I did not exist at all, I started reliving the exact trauma I went through three and a half years ago, when T brutally turned into some sort of terminator, inflicting pain, and systematically erasing any trace of the life we had once shared.

This particular style of violence left me feeling broken, with a sense of acute disorientation, and questions about my own perception of reality.

This time, something in me flicked and searing pain turned into blinding rage : How dare these people, who once loved and respected me turn me into no-one, and get away with it because their own guilt is just too much for their delicate shoulders ?

Outrage simply propelled me onto a mission to spread the joy. First, I called Mr Nice and told him exactly how I felt about his behaviour, and how to make things worse, I could not tolerate to be treated like a stranger. If only for a few minutes, I confronted him with the alternative reality of our separation, and that felt good.

Yet I wasn’t done with my bout of super-hero-puts-world-to rightedness.

I summoned T, sat him down and watched the faint air of worry spread over the handsome features I no longer love. Then, I simply told him about the pain I had felt when he left, about my fear, anger, loss, about what I went through, what the children went through, how to this day, we behave like strangers and it is incredible to think that we once loved each other enough to want a family together, and I’d had enough of that. For three and a half years, these things had been stuck unsaid somewhere in my windpipe, yet for three and a half seconds, I got a flicker of the old T, a glimpse of understanding and misery.

Confronting both men left me empty, but something is emerging from the rubble, a need to speak out and no longer quietly let people hurt or mistreat me.

While it is one thing to leave a relationship you no longer want to be part of, it is another to walk away from the destruction without a look back. No matter how tough the guilt is to bear, no-one should feel dispensed with the responsibility of showing compassion.


Right, I’ll put my cape back onto its hanger and get the dinner on.

Gotye- Somebody I used to know

Abandonment with a side of imperfection and dependence

Pattern painting by Claude Viallat

Pattern painting by Claude Viallat

Ah, the joy of post break-up soul-searching… Wailing why, Why, WHY at your indifferent bedroom walls  wondering what happened, where you went wrong, and what you should to do better next time. Stopping to retch a bit at the mere suggestion that there may be a next time. Vowing to remain celibate for the next 20 years…

In come friends and well-meaning people, flooding you with looks of pity, advice and self-help books. You smile weakly, and wish they’d opted for strong alcohol instead.

One lonely evening, as sleep eludes you once more, you reach out for the nearest book: Reinventing your life by Jeffrey Young and Janet Klosko. The title alone smacks of pure self-helpish bollocks sounds ominous, but after the first few pages, something unusual happens: You are forced to admit that actually, it is quite interesting, and even that you kind of want to know more.

Now, rest assured that my general attitude towards self-help literature remains one of barb-wired caution, but still, I am currently enjoying a little journey through the various patterns -also called schemas- we develop in childhood, and which tend to ruin our lives perpetuate themselves into adulthood.

There is something for everyone on the book’s menu: From exclusion, to distrust and abuse, vulnerability to high expectations. There are 11 to pick from, and if you’re particularly lucky, the battery of little tests will reveal that you are personally plagued by half a dozen of those delightful patterns.

Subsequent chapters guide you towards understanding why patterns form, how they affect your life, and what you can do to free yourself from their destructive side-effects.

Much of what I read about my patterns was new and rang true. I realised why I do find being single so uncomfortable, feel attracted to men who offer a mixture of hope and doubt, but never the certainty of stability. Why I harbour a ridiculous, but firmly-rooted belief that no-one could love me if they truly knew me.

The strength of the book is to acknowledge the patterns’ variety of origins (it is possible to suffer from an abandonment pattern, even if you were brought up by two well-meaning parents who never really abandoned you), and the difficulty of breaking them, but at the same time offering an encouraging, baby-step kind of approach to succeeding.

Its down-side is what I probably unfairly see as being over-simplistic: The examples presented tend to focus on individuals who are only -and quite extremely- affected by one pattern at a time, when in reality most of us drag not just one mammoth-sized piece of luggage, but a variety of assorted carry ons that manifest themselves in specific circumstances.

So mine’s a large Abandonment, with a side of Imperfection and Dependence, what’s yours ?

I’m going through a bit of a Lilly Wood phase at the moment:

Lilly Wood and the Prick – Where I want to be (California)