20 Poppy Ackroyd: Pause

2018 #21

Up one place since her last album! If the unbelievably talented Brighton-based pianist/multi-instrumentalist continues on at this rate, and with a similar schedule between albums, then she’s going to place #1 sometime around Necessary Evil 2081! Will we all be dead by then. No. You will, obviously, but I’m never going to die. And neither will my pet Pomsky, Zeus Bertha Pepper, I wuv hm sooo muuuuuuch! But, erm, yes, you’ll all be dead. Zeus Bertha Pepper will have likely killed you, he has quite the bloodlust. Have you read that 2018 review though? Yeah, I loved the album muchly – I even suggest she score the recently released movie Bumblebee, which is of course meant as a compliment, how could it not be? – but I seem like I was in a pretty bad place on that particular day, doesn’t it? Three years on, has my brain’s general countenance improved? Today, absolutely. These past few months, definitely. This past year… weeeeeeeeeeeeell, there was a bit of a struggle that I invited it into.

I’ve touched on how toxic and damaging my 2020/21 marriage was, and how it left my self-belief, my mental comfort and my dang desire for life in the absolute toilet. Well, this post is going to be the final reckoning, the complete and total exorcism, the slicing open of old wounds so that they can bleed completely out and not poison me again. Starting on the 14th December 2020 I started keeping a diary of how much the marriage was hurting me, it ran until abruptly stopping on the 29th January, likely because my illness became too much to leave time for such pathetically solipsistic concerns. There were thirty three entries.. I think this was in response to my wife showing disbelief that I could be feeling that way, or perhaps she had challenged me to name instances in which I was hurt and my decrepit old brain struggled to give precise details when called up on it. Whatever. I started writing them down and put them in a password and fingerprint secured OneNote file. I never showed or even mentioned them to my wife, and before recently I hadn’t looked at them myself in months. It was actually reminding myself what I said about Poppy last time around that convinced me to dig them up. I couldn’t remember the password and had to keep guessing until about three in the morning, but I got in! And here the entries are.

Now, I don’t want to make this feel like I’m piling on my ex-wife – she wasn’t right for me I wasn’t right for her, but she otherwise deserves all the love in the world. I don’t come out of these records looking great either, please just take this all as evidence of how incredibly awful the relationship was. Oh, and I’m sure there’s roughly a dozen trigger warnings I should be offering here, so maybe just don’t read any further if you’re having anything like a decent day that you don’t want ruining, or if dark depictions of mental states or terrible relationships are likely to set in motion grim and traumatic thoughts of your own, then get out now! Seriously, not many jokes on this one…

Yeah, if you’ve not had the correct trigger warning yet, know that it starts pretty much as it means to go on. Considering suicide as a means of simply proving how much I care or how much I was hurting is – ugh – yes, juvenile as fuck coming from a grown ass adult, but I’m sorry, depression is super cringe sometimes!

Yes, ‘humiliating’ is definitely the correct term for a lot of these entries. I would often take the Stanley knife that I always have close for opening Amazon boxes (I know, just when you thought this couldn’t get any more cringe) and just look at it for a while. I really wanted to cut myself, to easily equate the pain I was feeling internally with obvious and clear blood running from my veins. But I also didn’t want my wife to notice, as that was a conversation I really didn’t want to have. Again, I’m in my thirties…

Yeah, I don’t come out great of this one. There’s no ‘good’ party here, just a horrible situation that we each contributed to. It’s, like, Succession, or something, yeah? Definitely HBO.

My wife definitely had a switch. Half the time, she would be the funniest, smartest and best person to speak to I could ever imagine, and would remind me why we had married. The other half… was the other extreme, and her hatred and disdain for anyone around her would simply poison the entire house. Still, there were obviously two good days since my last entry! Well, today makes up for the lost days…

That argument is exactly how it’s written. When my wife’s switch was nestled in the dark place, anything could turn into an argument.

No context here. She could have very possibly have had a point.

Ouch, Alex. Shit, maybe the way you speak is disgusting.

I don’t know. Consciously, it definitely wasn’t – my wife’s unhappiness would make me very unhappy, for various reasons – but who knows what an absolute piece of shit I am, subconsciously? My mind is absolutely poisoned and distorted by depression, and who’s to say that I don’t try and turn that self-hatred outward and poison everyone around me? Do you see why I don’t post as much selfies these days? I find it hard to accept that I’d do anything with completely positive motives.

Yeah, this hurt my dumb macho pride. And it was already obvious, forty nine days after our marriage, that any right hunking person would hunk that it was already over.

She was absolutely right. But why was she not just ending it?!

This is difficult. And I’m not even going to argue my case, because I have no fucking idea how I come across. It really doesn’t matter if my intentions were good – if she felt she was being abused, then I was abusing her. I likely did raise my voice in several of our constant arguments, and the idea that you’re a spousal abuser is likely to make most people consider suicide. Remember, I’m no hero here, the whole marriage was an unbelievably noxious.

Hey! I said her name! I’ve actually been impressed with how much I’d avoided that up until this point. That last line is absolutely true, and I actually said this to my wife many times. Seriously, what kind of marriage even was this?

It’s around this time that the suicidal ideations start to drop off a bit, so there’s that bit of good news. I seem to realise that it’s more of an escape that I need, and that suicide might be a bit of an extreme option. At this point, I had decided that when we went to my Mum’s for Christmas, I wouldn’t come back. I could see the finish line. Of course, best laid plans of etc and whatnot.

Ah, bollocks. Well that feeling lasted about eight minutes. Desiring her care and her sympathy is just, ick, as unhealthy as all hell. I an really see it now: nobody should marry me.

Christmas Eve last year. It got worse.

Stupid, stupid, stupid. A lot to unpack there: I still don’t remember what ‘The Hunters’ is, I think it was a TV show or something. Oh, and the IV thing I mentioned? Yeah, we were actually trying for a fucking baby. Can you imagine the lifelong trauma that we were enthusiastically planning to saddle this poor child with? That stain on my trousers was the early stage of the illness that would strike me down for all of 2021. The 28th December is my birthday. Make sure you send presents this year.


OK, things are now just getting borderline psychotic.

Right now. I’m not sure how I managed to cut that off. Hey! I don’t want to kill/hurt myself!

My self-hatred seems to be slowly turning into general hatred of everything by now. I might be slowly coming around to realising that, whatever my many faults are, it might not be too weird to want to escape this relationship. At least I can say that Mary J Blige played a part in the breakdown of my marriage.

I’m reaching breaking point. I soon try and think of another way of leaving her.

It‘s toxic, I’m slipping under.

Fuck me, this relationship is so horrendous. Yeah, my sickness was really taking hold, and I was hoping it was cancer out of, what, spite?? If this whole ordeal brought out the real me, then fuck me, the real me is gross!

OK! Some nice serendipity! I call off my plan to leave her, but she breaks the marriage up anyway! Did it stick?? Did it fuck, and this carousel of horror would still continue.

Soonish, yes. But not this time.

Oh my God, I actually thought that ten day break had solved everything.

Yeah, Alex, you’re a fucking idiot.

Going to Liverpool Women’s Hospital. To arrange for the IV injections to start my wife’s pregnancy. I do really want a child, and in all seriousness my wife was probably my last opportunity. I was willing to overlook mow monstrously traumatic it would be for a kid in this environment. I guess that I just assumed that we’d split up and share custody, and then at least I’d have a child for half the time. Maybe that was why I was writing this diary? As some sort of evidence in the inevitable court battle? Fucking hell, what was going on with my life during this period?

A little caveat: yes, she did crave escalation, but she also pointed out that, as a white man, I can’t sense or understand the racism that she would receive as a black woman. This may well be true, and I don’t want to dispute it.


Ah, this is a relief, more like standard arsehole husband with bruised pride stuff, yeah? The way I point out that I’ve only covered such a small portion of our arguments suggest that I somehow knew that this diary would soon be coming to an end.

And that’s the final entry, with me looking forward to the next argument so I can voice my issues, but too much of an ‘inoffensive little shrew’ to dare to ruin her good mood. It was horrendous, and just imagine placing my soon to drop debilitating illness on top of that.

That’s it. I have nothing more to say, I won’t be bringing this weird and poisonous era of my life up again to any significant degree. I need therapy, yes, but at the moment all I can afford is this blog. Great wounds have been lacerated today and it feels…

Actually, it feels pretty tucking awful. Still, good for one blog entry! Top twenty! On the next entry, I’ll be discussing trans rights, so that’s sure to cheer us all up!


2 thoughts on “20 Poppy Ackroyd: Pause

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