PROLOGUE TO AN UNCONVENTIONAL THESIS by a woman from Glasgow

“A journey of a million miles begins with one tiny step…”
you took yours now its my turn…

These were the words I scrawled across the freshly decorated wall in the living room of the marital home I was about to leave & lock the door on, for the last time. It was the spring of 1997, and these words felt like a fitting epitaph to my dead marriage.
The kids were waiting in the car on the drive, half an hour earlier I had waved off the van with all our worldly goods including the kitchen furniture, fittings, fixtures and sink, which a dear friend had helped me dismantle a few days earlier. I had been organising this move secretly for weeks, its true what they say ” hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”.

I had chosen this particular quote because my soon to be ex husband had used it when he had persuaded me to give up my independent, happy life as a single mum to one, indeed, he had led me to believe it was his own!!

I was a different person then, I hadn’t heard of Lao Tzu, though I had heard of Confucius, because as a child my mum began every little quote or words of wisdom she liked to say with the words “Confucius say…”

Of course it matters little which of these wise men said it, only that one of them did, because as I stared at that wall I thought, fuck , that’s a great quote!

I felt rather smug as I surveyed my graffiti work, in bright ruby-red lipstick.

He’d called me a crazy bitch many a time, now he was about to learn the extent of what this particular crazy bitch was capable of, and indeed, so was I.
There was little regret as I walked out the house, got in the car and drove away, telling the kids to wave bye-bye to the house. No fear or trepidation, no voice in my head filling it with doubt. I guess, in the moment I embraced it, I felt strong, stronger than I had for a very long time, and of course there was an element of anger, but it could be argued that there is strength in anger.

The months, in fact, the preceding years hadn’t been easy, there had been much to contend with, many emotions to mask and hide from many people, and not just in respect of my marital relationship.

I think its fair to say I had several stressful & emotional issues to contend with and not just in relation to myself but also relating to family health, and that particular journey began in 1995, when within days of  my dad dying unexpetedly from a heart attack and cremaiting him, I went for an antinatel scan and was told I had to be confined to hospital there and then. I had a grade A placenta previa and would have to spend the next 11 weeks confined to the hospital & bed rest. They agreed to give me a day or two max, to organise the family and I was addmitted for the next 11 weeks.

I was understandable distressed. I had a poorly, disabled, frail mother who was grieving to look after and support, not to mention two other children aged 4 & 12 who had lost their grandpa who needed to be looked after and supported, and I was well aware my husband wasn’t up to takeing care of them all properly, he was too busy working unsocial hours as a DJ, and fucking about with other women under the guise of buying and selling second-hand cars, though to be fair , he did fit a bit of that in too.

Of course I had no option but to go into hospital for the safety of my unborn baby and indeed my own health risk, so I made arrangements for the kids to stay with my mum. Friends, her neighbours and relatives, rallied round to help mum, and I tried to convince myself it helped support her though the moarning period.

Sometime, later when my baby was born, in the early summer I was diagnosed with postnatal depression. I would pinpoint this as my first proper diognosis of depression, although hindsight suggests I had lived with depression for many years before.

It was then I was fortunate to be guided by a very wise woman called Mrs Forbs, who was my health visitor who told me it wasnt surprising that I was suffering depression given I hadn’t even had time to grieve my dad before the pregnancy complications set in, and there was other stuff too, but as I said that was just the beginning of the journey….

In recent weeks I have reflected on The Hethen Project trying to put together an “about” description of where it began and what it is, for the purpose of this website I realised that I’ve been doing something my dad often found me guilty of , “putting the cart before the horse” because The Hethen Project is a path on the journey of a girl from Glasgow, a path still being forged with a horizon beyond, and it is also a seed sown on the path planted by a wise woman known as Mrs Forbs, but that is another chapter, for another day ….

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