The Monday Feeling

I have a super power. I’m not sure why but wherever I go, people tell me things. Deep and meaningful snippets of detail from their lives that I don’t ask for. I love it though – it makes me feel good to be trusted and it must mean I have an open face.

I think sometimes if you make eye contact with someone you tend to connect with them whether you like it or not. This can backfire in certain social situations, like on holiday when you want to be left alone or on the bus. On the plane to Copenhagen, which was delayed for 2.5 hours, I got talking to the American guy beside me and by the time I’d landed I knew his fiance’s name, how he proposed, their upcoming wedding date, where he worked in Chicago and his favourite film. Not to mention his political views and where he stood on religion.

For the most part I wouldn’t change a thing – I’d much rather be approachable than not. I’m giggling as I think about the handful of friends I have that would seriously disagree with me.

Anyway, I was going to write about my favourite witch films today but have decided to bump that post in favour of this one because I’m kind of buzzing about a conversation I had with the woman in the Co-op last week, and this morning.

Before I start, I should write a disclaimer to say that the Co-op seems to be the scene of a lot of these scenarios for me. Years ago I befriended a guy behind the counter who used to give me leftover flowers most mornings and then went off to have a tummy tuck. My friend Darren found it hilarious how much information I would be bombarded with while handing over money for my cheese & pickle sandwiches. And all while the queue backed up behind me considerably.

Now it’s a woman in town who’s a little bit younger than me. On Friday she was all over the place so I asked her if she was okay. She revealed that she was in a 17 year relationship that had gone off the boil and was now messaging someone else. While I didn’t ask, she was pretty willing to go in on the fact that her long-term boyfriend was taking her for granted and the new one was exciting and super-attentive (they always are at this stage, babe). I had to tell her I’d been there in the same situation because I have – and that she should seriously try to do what’s right for herself.

Well! This morning she greeted me with the biggest smile and told me she’d ended it over the weekend. Nothing about the new guy because it isn’t even about him. It’s about her. She said she was walking on air and that it went so much better than she’d anticipated. Now she has the rest of her life to look forward to – and won’t be turning 40 in a horrible relationship. And man, I FELT HER. I felt it all.

I have been there and I remember the absolute high of finally being free, the greatest feeling of all time. The fear, the anticipation, the realisation that all future decisions were my own, that I had a choice – and that I could change everything if I wanted to. She’s going to feel up and down for a while but over all, she’s going to feel on top of the goddamn world and it makes me so happy for her. You go for it, girl, enjoy every minute!

So people tell me things and I love it but I particularly love it when it’s a good story and one I can personally cheer for. She’s so nice this lady that I imagine we could be friends in IRL. And as for all the other secrets well they stay here with me, not to be blogged about. Ever.

“That’s why her hair is so big, it’s full of secrets.” ~ Damian, Mean Girls

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Twisted Nerve

Anyone else spend a fair portion of their life worrying that they’re not a good person? I think I question this every day at least once but when drama occurs the feeling hits me tenfold and I go all floppy with inertia. Like, why am I bothering, I’m the worst, I might as well give up, go to the end of the garden and eat worms. I hate this element of myself, the part that immediately concedes that everything is my fault and rightly so I should be punished for it.

I’m really trying to take these moments and hold them at arm’s length. To examine them before I commit to hating myself because of them. Sometimes this is possible and other times, not so much. I’m trying to understand that I’m not a perfect human being and that I will make mistakes and sometimes I will be insensitive and a dick – and as long as I acknowledge these times and try to fix them (and ultimately learn from them), then I can’t be all bad. It’s always a thrilling ride inside this head of mine, thanks anxiety.

Anyway, as it’s slipping nicely into Autumn, I’m in a pensive frame of mind and trying not to beat myself up over every little thing. I’m really not a negative person on the whole and my philosophy is to try to keep things upbeat where I can so anxiety feels like the voice in my head trying to bring that down. I’ve mentioned before that it feels like a constant battle of the wills to be myself and live with these feelings. Generally I’m winning though which is good.

The chill in the air is really nice though and we’ve had a couple of those perfect cold sunny days. I’m loving wearing jeans and boots – and I love my life very much. Apart from the little wobbles about what I’m doing with my life, I know how lucky I am. I have good friends, a home, I get to live and love a really good guy – and my family are the best. I want for nothing and deep down I know I’m not the failure human being that the voice sometimes makes me believe.

How are you?

Cry for the Bad Man

Ugh. Some days no matter what you do, things just won’t go your way. One thing can throw you off or get under your skin and then suddenly you’re sobbing for every bad thing that ever happened to you.

That was me this morning, Wasting perfectly good make-up on something (and someone) insignificant but also significant enough to (almost) mess up my day. At times like this I feel it’s good to just embrace the misery. Give it time to be what it is: an outlet.

So what if I want to sob uglyly (a word?) until there’s nothing left? So what if it leads me to remember all the heartbreaks I’ve ever suffered, every rejection, every fear? Dead pets too, why not?

Crying can be cathartic and sometimes so is sadness. It reminds us we’re human and that we care about life and people and ourselves. I am still sensitive after all these years and I’m glad because sensitivity helps me connect to others.

I won’t let it drag me down for long (I’ll fight my depression to the bitter end) but I also think it’s okay to feel your feelings. It passes, so far it always has. As soon as a colleague makes a stupid joke or someone puts a heart shaped Post-It on your desk, it’s gone. Until next time.

How are you today?

FOMO Oh No

I’m anti-social. Honestly, if I were left to my own devices I’d be a full-time hermit living on Cloud 9, never going out and having all my meals and necessities delivered to my door.

Unfortunately, I also have severe FOMO and I like my friends so cannot live out my natural anti-social tendencies to their fullest. I go out with people a lot and I do love it. Sometimes I have to bail because there are too many people in one place, take Pride for instance. One of my favourite times to be living in Brighton and yet I can only bring myself to dip a toe into the festivities before it all gets too much.

I’m not boring I promise, just anxious and crowd-phobic. Yet I look at the Instagram stories of my loved ones having fun and I wish I were wild again, I wish I could be in the midst of it. It’s a bit sad for a 40 year old to be thinking this way but I guess that’s the nature of social media and I sometimes worry I’m going to get left behind, one day I’ll be too old to be part of it and that’s bloody stupid, isn’t it?

What if everyone has so much fun without me that they stop asking me out and I’m forced to sit in night after night for the rest of my life watching re-runs of Friends on a loop, lamenting the good times? You can see the damage I do to myself by thinking this way and continually being logged on?

I know my friends love me and not just for being there socially. I bring more to the table than my appearance at every single social event (hopefully). Quality not quantity and all that.

I think I need to step back and appreciate how lucky I am. That true friendship doesn’t just stop because you’re not there for one do. And doesn’t it make the ones you make it to all the more special? Life’s hard when you’re a contradictory little bitch, innit?

Anyone else suffer from a severe case of FOMO?

Dreams Can Come True (But I really hope they don’t)

I’ve always been a dreamer but lately (and for a long while now) I’ve literally been a dreamer – every night I have dreams so vivid I have no fucking clue how to process them. Or even if dreams really do mean half as much as we give them credit for.

I’m thinking of getting a dream journal so I can work through them because some of my night time adventures are so off the chain they have to be something, don’t they? I want to believe they are, anyway. I know it’s really just my brain working through my anxieties and my thoughts from the day but could it be something more?

Last night, I dreamt I was being held hostage by a family of yetis in the woods. I managed to escape because I fortuitously found a yeti mask and was able to convince them I was one of them – and then I escaped. Not after having to grunt convincingly for the ringleaders, because one of them was suspicious.

WHAT THE FUCK?

It doesn’t sound as tense as the actual dream felt, but in the moment it was a life and death situation – and I knew my body language and my verbal nods had to seem legit. And when I was out, I felt that rush of being free, of being safe again – and it was GREAT.

So the yetis were a one off but I often have reoccurring dreams, or I explore similar themes. My horrid ex is always popping up, always angry and every time I’m trying frantically to get away from him – that’s a bad one to experience continually.

I suppose the reason I have that one is pretty straightforward; it’s my worst nightmare to bump into him or to ever have to clap eyes on him again – so duh.

I think those ones come down to guilt: the guilt of allowing myself to make the choices I did back then. It’s like a PTSD situation which might sound a bit casual to throw into a blog post about dreams but is testament to the damage leftover by an abusive relationship.

I wish those ones would stop because sometimes I act out violently and have a moment on waking where I believe I’m guilty of something I can never take back.

Ditto my old best friend, she makes appearances a lot but in a much less dramatic way. We’re usually friends again (no) and I feel guilty about having to tell my actual real life best friend. It’s a relief to leave those ones behind too.

Life is strange, isn’t it? We do what we have to do and everything we juggle can be overwhelming – and then we have to run away from Big Foot at night. It would be nice to switch off my mind at least half of the week – or maybe dream only on weekends?

What are your thoughts on dreams?

Old Wounds

As a person who worries way too much about what other people think of me, I often agree to things I don’t want to do.

Nothing crazy, just meetings that don’t really hold any value for either party involved, that are arranged just to tick a box. An obligation box if you will.

That might sound harsh but surely we all do it? I’m trying so hard to be more honest about these things, to only agree to things I want to do, see people who bring me joy – treat my down time as something special, a currency to be used wisely.

This week an old, old friend of a friend contacted me about meeting up as she’ll be in the country in July. I mean, we’re Facebook friends and everything but the basis of our relationship was always my old best friend, the one I broke up with nearly seven years ago. They were in a relationship and I hung out with them a bit when I lived in Vancouver.

When she contacted me it felt rude to say no even though my first instinct was to ignore her message. She hasn’t done anything wrong. But really all we ever had in common was my OBF and she’s not someone I feel like talking about over a pint any time soon. I’m trying to let go of negativity, not rake it all back up.

But saying no does not come naturally. Anyone else the same? It doesn’t mean I’m selfless or saintly, it’s more that need I have to please everyone. It’s exhausting.

But after a pep talk from my friend Darren, in which he made me see I have the right to leave the past where it is, I told her it wasn’t something that would work for me. I told her I’d moved on and that I had no interest in looking  backwards again. And you know what? The world didn’t implode and she doesn’t hate me. We’re still Facebook friends.

A lesson was learnt in that simple action and I suddenly feel quite strong. I’m learning to let go and give myself what I need. I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to ever again (except go to work). I don’t have to please everybody all the time. There is always a way to be kind but firm about your feelings and it’s a revelation. Aged 40 I’m still learning to be honest.

Now who else can I cancel?! (Kidding).

Watching Girls Go By

I feel like I spend most of my summer months obsessively people watching. Watching girls to be precise. I can take or leave men in summer or any month of the year – but women in the sunshine are something else.

The best outfits come out in the Spring as we tiptoe cautiously into the warmer months and I start to think about all the sartorial possibilities. Hey, if she can rock a blue and yellow print midi skirt with a plain navy tee, then I can, right? Hot pink? Why not? Stripey shirt that looks like a pajama top and mom jeans? I’m in.

I love it, it feels like hope and happiness to me. While the sun itself is sometimes my arch nemisis (ginger, what can I say?), I do like what it brings out in other people and I love witnessing women feeling themselves. They inspire me.

And it makes me think about age again but in a more positive way. Of how I don’t think I’ll ever be middle-aged in my mindset or attitude, how even when my body is heading south and my bones ache, in my heart I’ll still be as hopeful and dreamy and dorky as I was when I was 12. There’s very little difference between the girl I was and the woman I am. Except I couldn’t have dreamt I’d have Wonder Woman tattooed on my arm.

I think about how I’ll still listen to pop music, probably the same ten songs I’ve listened to since I was a girl as I walk to work. How I’m happy to grow up but not too much – and how certain things make me feel ten feet tall: jumpsuits, red lips, my rainbow umbrella. Less material things too: kisses and inside jokes, post-orgasmic chills.

I’m in a good place here, things are blessed. Sometimes they’re hard and sometimes I’m tired but I’m always open. To new possibilities, to new people. I’m surrounded by love and good companions, new and old. Young and my age and I’m learning for them everyday. Through them and through myself I am working out who I am and how who I am is okay. Honestly, more than okay.

All this introspection comes with the sun and with watching the girls go by and maybe to me that’s the best part of Summer.