Posted by: Lady E | 29/09/2014


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)

Posted by: Lady E | 22/09/2014

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

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 do I 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)

Posted by: Lady E | 06/09/2014


Cumulonimbus by Lady E

Where you go I go
What you see I see
I know I’d never be me
Without the security
Of your loving arms
Keeping me from harm
Put your hand in my hand
And we’ll stand. ” (Skyfall – Adele)

Suddenly, words stab,  the air is knocked out of my lungs, my eyes swim. I cannot remember who I am, feel like running, screaming,  dissolving into a sobbing heap. Instead, I sit very still, fingers moving automatically across the frets as my guitar teacher carries on singing.

Heartbreak is a cruel despot, with a knack for making you pay when you dare forget about it -if only for a few minutes.

Today, as I concentrated on getting that tricky Bm7 chord right, it sternly raised an an army of still warm memories of the dozens of other times I played Skyfall, of Mr Nice sprawled on the sofa, singing along or watching the football, smiling crookedly after yet another outburst against the referee.

I go about the days, stiff with fear of heartbreak’s absurd rule, avoiding any thought of the past or future, pretending to ignore that my new present feels miserably tight and scratchy.

Outside, the mountains tremble in a haze of heat, clouds rise and children squeak. Bigger things are happening.

We finish playing Skyfall and I hazard a breath as we move on to Pharrel Williams’ Happy.

Posted by: Lady E | 01/09/2014


Light by Lady E

Light by Lady E

I hang up the phone and close my eyes. When I re-open them, I finally see the trees, volley-ball players, families strolling, and clouds shifting across the late afternoon sky.

I am sitting in a park on a busy Saturday afternoon. Mr Nice and I have just been discussing the fineries of our relationship’s funeral : Next week, we’ll tell the children.  We will let them enjoy the afternoon together, before letting them know of our decision to separate. To soften the blow – in as much this is possible when you are robbing someone of much of the stability and safety in their lives, we also decided to make sure they could still spend time together and count on both of us.

How this will work in practice is anyone’s guess.

For the first time in over a month, I have been talking to the Mr Nice I used to know, rather than some spaced out version of him, and this man is lost, desolate, wondering how a relationship which has been giving him happiness and stability for a couple of years could suddenly become something he does not want.

I feel immensely tired.

I get up and start walking towards the light.

Posted by: Lady E | 18/08/2014


Kite surfers by Lady E

Kite surfers by Lady E

It ended in virtually the same way as two years ago, with Mr Nice soaring into the Summer sky.

I watched helplessly from below, as he briefly tried to wrestle his demons, before surrendering and fleeing.

Only this time, he threw to the wind two years of love, trust and honesty. Three children, who for the youngest cannot remember a time when we were not in each other’s life.

I am left barely standing, bewildered and bereft. Again.

About to take a deep breath and plunge into the terrifying, yet well-worn roller coaster of grief and heartbreak.

But I am not ready just yet. For just a few more moments, I watch the brilliant Summer sun, remember its caress, and let tears fade out the lines.

The Avener – fade out lines (fab French electro for your late Summer grooves)

Posted by: Lady E | 07/08/2014

Summer storm


Summer storm by Lady E

It has been a year and a half since my last post, millions of seconds, grains of sand, skies, smiles, the woolly softness life takes on when things are finally stable.

Mr Nice and I have carried on knitting our little story: A messy tangle, crafted by clumsy hands, pulled by the demands of children, and life, but somehow working together, lovingly. Something surely no-one else would wear. But isn’t that what every relationship is about ? Making up patterns that wouldn’t fit anyone else, experimenting with colours and shapes ?

As a new Summer comes round, imperceptible tensions pull at the thread, neither of us really notice, absorbed in daily contingencies, and holiday plans. Until as relationship crisis always seems to hit, things brutally start unravelling.

Once the bewilderment of the first blow subsides, you look back and see pitfalls in which you landed, old demons at work, how perhaps you stopped giving the relationship a high enough priority. Images of all the happy times flutter through you head, and you hope it’s not too late.

This is where I am now, on holiday in the South of France, with a Mr Nice-shaped absence.

I sit on the sand, watch the storm clouds roll in, and I hope.

Lillywood and the pricks – Prayer

Posted by: Lady E | 24/01/2013

Epilogue : Three Januarys


Fate has a sense of humour: Last year’s Xmas present form my friend Aude…

On the first of January 2011, my partner T left brutally. Thus started the story of this blog, and my journey through gut-wrenching heartbreak.

I have few memories of the early days, when this blog was born out of a the tidal wave of shock. My choked disbelief, permanent nausea, an endless free-fall into darkness…

What followed was a year of war between pain, and courage. Pain so bad it turns you into a terrified infant, pain that makes you hate, regret, and forget how beautiful life is.

Courage as deep and primal as the fear, courage that drags you back ashore kicking when you just want to sink, courage that feeds from your children’s silent plea, and the closed ranks of family and friends behind you.

After an exhausting year, marred in grief and self-doubt came 2012, and timid new beginnings. In early January 2012, I got a belated Xmas present from my friend Aude.

That day, we went through our usual ritual of tea and chatter, over the din of our offspring, joked, ate chocolate, and decided that the new year could only be a good one.

That night, I met Mr Nice…

… This morning as the alarm clock called the start of yet another glacial January morning, his arm snaked around me, and pulled me closer.

And so ends my story, and this blog. Even though I have no idea what the future will bring, the last few months have been the happiest in a long, long, really very long time, and I feel confident. A whole new chapter of my life has started.

Many, many thanks to my readers & faithful commenters for their invaluable support. You were all part of the force that drove me forward to a better place, and for that I am immensely grateful.

If you are just at the beginning of your own journey into heartbreak, know that, as unbelievable as it may sound, you will be happy again. I have been where you are, and I am nothing special. Our ability to heal and rebuild ourselves is something so banal, yet so very extraordinary.

Arthur H – La beauté de l’amour (what else ? )

Girls, here is a sexy voice alert over Arthur H, enjoy !

Posted by: Lady E | 27/10/2012


I am driving back from the airport on a Parisian motorway, the rising sun bouncing off high-rises is blinding me. I feel utterly bewildered, confused and frustrated.

Have you ever known that something was probably a very bad idea, yet been unable to resist it ?

Well, despite the fact that I will be 39 in a month, and should really know better, I have. Well done me.

Luckily, I now have a week off to clear my head, and get back to reality…

Want to feel French and a bit wild ? Listen to this :

M – Le Mojo

Posted by: Lady E | 22/10/2012

I wish for you

Sub-saharan Africa and the arctic circle are currently enjoying a little war, whose front-line is apparently Western Europe. Which means that one morning, I open my shutters, and get shocked-awake by a cool 2°C, and the next morning, having practically donned my ski jacket before risking it, I get hit by a 22°C Summery breeze.

Apart from the interesting scuffle happening overhead, my life has felt singularly dull lately.

Well, not entirely dull, if you account for the fact that I have been juggling workloads, feeling pulled between demands from work, and children, all the while fighting the urge to hide under the duvet, pretending I wasn’t there…

And that I have been going out with three men, which I do realise makes me sort of sound like a harlot, but no, it’s not even that exciting. We have been going out as in going out the door and into cinemas, restaurants, and even a science café as it happens.

And so as this song * came on tonight (note if you are diabetic, that  it is probably unsafe to listen to on account of its ultra-high sugar content), I stopped what I was doing, feeling suddenly deflated, and a little sad. Despite meeting about a dozen gentlemen in the last few months, some of them perfectly nice thank-you-very-much, I guess I am still wishing for you…

* Jasmine Ash – I wished for you

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