2. Blue Van Woman

For maybe a year I wept for what I had lost.  I wept for the man I loved.  I wept because if I had only tried harder then we could have stayed together.  Then I cried because I couldn’t forgive him.  Then I cried because he wasn’t sorry.

I didn’t have a moment when I saw the reality – it just gradually dawned on me.  When people who had been strangers started chatting to me. When I found new friends.  When my online work became successful.  It dawned on me when I got the windows and doors fixed and managed my own money.  I found a quiet acceptance at church.  I developed my own routines.  Ones that worked for me.  I went to bed when I wanted to and I wore the clothes that I had chosen.  I could eat my favourite food and knit and watch TV.  I thought about him less.  I cried less often.

I started going in the sea.  The North Sea is pretty cold in the middle of summer and in December its icy.  But I went in.  I learnt how to get in and out of a wet suit without freezing and no one told me I was stupid.  (Some passersby did ask if I was mad though!)  I showed myself how to be brave.

I bought a new car and no one sat impatiently next to me and announced that they were bored and would I hurry up and make my mind up.  Slowly, slowly, I stopped being frightened.  And that left a space for me to see the reality of the way I had been treated.  I could see that he was a narcissist  and that I had survived a relationship based on coercive control.

There was, however, a still small voice in my head.  The voice that told me that once I got to seventy it was pretty much game over.  People who are seventy are sexless and invisible – I thought.  At seventy I need to worry about routines and being sensible.  I began to become the stereotype that I had imagined.  And, quite frankly, I was unhappy and scared and I was lonely.  There were so many things that I thought I couldn’t do because I was old and alone.

I had done a lot of campervanning with a partner once upon a time and I missed the freedom.  But of course I couldn’t do that could I – because I was seventy and alone.  But it began to dawn on me that if I didn’t do something then my life would start to shrink.  Mother would have (at last) been proud.  My kitchen floor was clean and I had a routine for the washing.  The draining board was clear and the ironing was up to date.  I went singing once a week (which is glorious – the choir – not my voice!) and I was a volunteer.  But I was home alone an awful lot.

 I googled campervans, I visited campervan show rooms and work shops.  I did more mental arithmetic than I had done since school.  And I did a lot of thinking – much of it at about three a.m.

I didn’t want a big motorhome as I don’t have off road parking and didn’t want to run that and a car.  So I found out about micro campers.  And got excited at last.

A seventy year old woman – excited – imagine that.


This blog is written by Marion, hosted by Carrie 

Discover more from Know Your Place

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading