(I’m not sure how I feel about the “unravelling” part these days, tbh)

Image source: my very own camera roll

You see, I would quite like it all, that’s the overriding thing about me — I really would quite like to have it all, as all the ball-busting ceiling-smashing shoulder-padded business women of the 1980s promised me I could; I’d like to trip-trap-trip between glossy offices in my patent heels and pencil skirts, making deals and being very important. But then I’d also like to be a yoga-lean, raw-vegetable-nibbling, patchouli-scented earth mother type, wandering barefoot between my homegrown raspberry canes with my eyes on a higher purpose. I want both of those things. And all the selves in between.

It…


Mainly, I learned never to try to predict my own feelings

Photo by Eric Nopanen on Unsplash

We’d been married for two years and we were away on a mini-break, which was a rare thing in those days because we had very little money. Also, we’d taken our children with us, because they were very small, so it wasn’t exactly a romantic mini-break. But still. We were on holiday. It was a treat.

The deal was this: we would meet some friends for lunch and have a day at the aquarium with the children, and then we would put the children to bed in the hotel and I would stay with them while my husband would go…


There is no way to tell an abusive man from his looks alone

Photo by Jared Brashier on Unsplash

Over the past couple of weeks, it has become fairly clear that the Armie Hammer abuse rumors — which include screenshots of his talk of cannibalism fantasies and details of him carving his initials into a woman’s genitalia with a knife — are going absolutely nowhere. (For more on those, see this fab piece by Carrie Wynn).

Hammer has already been dropped like a stone by both his agent and his publicist, and most of us are cynical enough to understand that when that happens to a previously highly bankable star, it’s usually a hand-washing exercise ahead of confirmed, or…


Can’t think clearly? That’s exactly what they want

Photo by Engin Akyurt from Pexels

When I was living alone for the summer in which I left my husband (after my messy, all-consuming, entirely regrettable affair), I remained in touch — at first — with my extramarital lover.

This is how that went.

On the night that our affair was discovered, he held my hands tightly and he said to me, looking into my eyes, “Listen to me. This is the horrendous bit. This bit is going to be awful. But we have to stay strong. We win, at the end of this. We WIN. We get each other.”

I sat in front of him…


We both know it’s over, but somehow we’re still here

Photo by Obie Fernandez on Unsplash

One weird thing about the pandemic and its year of various tiers of badly-managed lockdowns is that some of the friends who once lurked in the background of Facebook suddenly became very much front-and-center. Did you notice?

One minute they existed only peripherally, burbling on every few days about how badly their babies were sleeping that week or getting excited about the latest flash sale on Body Shop fruit-scented shower gels. You might almost forget they existed until you collided with them at a school bake sale or in the queue at a parents’ evening.

Then all of a sudden…


I didn’t even notice at first

Photo by Janko Ferlic via Unsplash

Life moved fast when I met my husband. We both were very young and I already had a little girl. Within a year of our first date, we had bought a house together. And within another year we agreed that I would stop taking the Pill, and I was pregnant almost instantly.

The passionate, can’t-keep-our-hands-off-each-other stage ended abruptly when the stick turned blue; we didn’t even notice, not at the time.

This – my second pregnancy – was fully planned, but it did not turn out the way I expected. I was almost instantly uncomfortable. I was bloated before I…


Because there’s one very important difference in the law

Britney doesn’t want her dad to be in charge of her finances any more. Image source: Sky News

I am a practitioner, in the UK, of what the Americans call “elder law”. (Well, Saul Goodman in Better Call Saul called it elder law, anyway, so let’s go with that). And what that means is that I am regularly involved in helping people to make applications to the Court of Protection, in order that they can be appointed as “deputies” for their loved ones — thus entitled legally to make decisions for them about their property and financial affairs.

For the longest time, I thought that an American “conservator” was the same as a British “deputy”. I thought the…


If that’s the best that money can buy, I’ll just age gracefully

Image source: Indian Express

There’s a tale I’ve been telling myself for as long as I’ve been conscious of those pesky, papery little crinkles under my eyes (thanks, rearview mirror reflection — you really do give me the gift of brutal face honesty, if nothing else). And that tale I’ve told myself is this: “If I had unlimited funds, I would be aging so much better than I actually am in my real life.”

I mean, I’d have weekly facials, wouldn’t I? And blow-dries. A personal trainer. Chef-cooked meals, delivered on the regular. …


Sometimes, we don’t know where our words might land

Photo by Sammy Williams on Unsplash

My friend Lizzie was in a crisis of a strange sort of loneliness when she met her perfect man. She was married, she had a family, but her marriage was not working and it had not been working for a very long time. And then her children began to leave home. And then her beloved father, for whom she had been caring, died.

That’s when he struck. Yep. That’s when she met her perfect man.

Her “perfect man” secured her — as so many of these men do, as they always have and as they always will — by a…


It’s time to start believing women about this, too

Photo by Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona on Unsplash

Two weeks ago, a good friend of mine popped into her doctor’s surgery during her lunch hour to have an IUD fitted. An IUD — “intrauterine device” — is also called a coil, and it’s a tiny T-shaped piece of metal or plastic that needs to be inserted into the womb through the neck of the cervix and then left there. It prevents pregnancy, and some types of IUDs also release hormones to regulate a woman’s menstrual cycle or to smooth the passage of early menopause.

So far, so good. And my friend has given birth vaginally to children and…

Em Unravelling

Lover of words, books, hiking, nature and big skies. Running is my favourite thing (after the words & the books). As feisty as I need to be. theunravelling.net

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