OK, so here’s the thing. I’ve reached the crunch point. For many different reasons, everything has aligned and it’s now or never. But I’m faltering. I’m really struck with anxious uncertainty. The stark choice (and it genuinely is a stark choice) is between Rhiannon and my family. I am not allowed to have both.
I have spent the last three months pushing down the Rhiannon route over everything else. This week I had the chance to push the button on cementing her into place. But I flinched. I’d found the perfect new flat to move into – it was actually (quite literally) my dream place. It’s the kind of place that I’d never been allowed to choose for myself because there were other people’s requirements to take into account. I have spent years longing for the features that were in this flat. It was within my budget. All I had to do was make the call and I didn’t. And in not making the call it quickly went to someone else. It was that good.
It was like the scene in the film, Four Weddings and a Funeral where Hugh Grant is in a Landrover with his friends driving away from the woman he wants to ask out. He gets them to stop the car, gets out and they drive off jeering at him. Introspectively, he says, in the British way that only Hugh Grant can, “Odd choice.” That’s how I felt.
So where is this leading to? It’s making me realise that maybe I actually want my family more than Rhiannon. Everything within me is screaming no and that it’s an impossible choice. It’s telling me that the girl within me won’t be put in the corner (to use another hackneyed film cliché). Sorry, I talk in film clichés when I’m nervous. In fact the thought of never dressing again, never seeing my toe nails painted or of tottering around in heels so high that they make me smile makes me feel sick and like I want to cry.
I’m not even sure that it’s actually possible to give up.
But the thought of my wife, that I love with all my heart, being lonely and upset without me and knowing that I’m not able to wake up to my kids capering around me whenever I want is too heartbreaking. And I’ve rehearsed the reverse arguments. She’ll get over it eventually and find someone else and be happy. Kids are resilient, they’ll get used to it and they can always visit you. But the point I keep coming back to, heartbreakingly, is why should they have to? Why should my priority be greater than theirs?
I’m really sorry if that offends the many hundreds of you who have made that and even greater sacrifices to be who you truly are. I don’t mean to belittle you or what you have achieved. But I’m not sure I can actually make that sacrifice.
I am wondering whether, as an experiment, I can live a Rhiannon free six months? And in doing so, whether this aching need to express myself will go away? It’s probably complete nonsense, but when I get to my deathbed (cheerful I know) and I look back, having not tried to save my family situation, will I regret it so much that I’ll die unhappy? Is six months too much to give to find out if I can be the person my family want me to be?
I’m locked on the horns of a very wild dilemma, but now is the crunch point. In the next few days, one way or another, my life changes dramatically.