Sunday 31 December 2023

If I were a plant....

If sadness and misfortune helps you to grow, I feel stunted from growing too fast for far too long.... 

If I was a plant I'd have outgrown my pot and my room. My leaves and stems would be browning, splitting, breaking and snapping from having nowhere to spread. I'd be doubling over. My roots would be squashed unable to breathe, tangled within itself, drowning in stagnant water. Unsteady from every flow of air from the open window. I would no longer grow as I would have no space left to do it. I would be weakening, no longer strong, nothing to hold me up and steady me. I would be longing to burst out of the pot just to survive.

How do plants break free from a tiny pot and continue to thrive?...

It takes perseverance, care, love, commitment and time.

Is it easier and less hassle to allow the messy disheveled plant to stay contained in a room in a pot too small which would lead the plant to eventually die off and shrivel?.. Perhaps. 

For that plant it just wasn't meant to be? 

Nurtured plants with less sadness wouldn't grow so unruly, as they would be pruned and re potted, spoken to gently, watered and fed. Their roots would not be squashed, those plants would be growing only to the size of their pots. Their leaves would shine and be undamaged.

I guess it is obvious that neglected plants are far more unmanageable and out of control whilst nurtured plants grow neat and in proportion, being cared and tendered to by a loving hand. 

All the out of control plant requires is a bit of tender loving care....

I just want to be a regular sized plant in a regular pot

Thursday 13 October 2022

A difficult decision. Losing the boy. (The heartache of fur babies)

One year ago.....

14th October 2021 and I lost my boy forever. 
Animals, especially pets mean the world to me. Perhaps they mean so much more because I've never had children and so fur babies become my life, my baby my reason....? 

My fur baby was just shy of turning 14 years old. I'd nurtured him for all those years, he was my boy.

I don't think I could have written this a year ago as the 14th October 2021 was one of the worst days of my life. 

My boy was gradually getting weaker and sleeping more than ever. He had seemed to loose his drive. Sure, he still wagged his tail and his mind wanted to still play but his body was giving up. I could see that even his wag took him to summon all his strength yet he still did it everyday to greet me. 

His once juicy nose was getting dry, his eyes were loosing their sparkle and his poor legs were struggling to hold up a far slimer, lumpier version of the dog he used to be. 

I will never forget the words of the vet, " it's likely to be a stomach tumour but he is too old to do a biopsy" it was that very moment when my world shrunk and I suddenly felt like I was in a tunnel unable to get out.

My boy was the runt of the litter. He had been a frequent visitor of the vets for probably three quarters of his entire life. He was forever going to have his dumbo ears treated as often fell victim of grass seeds getting stuck. He would get cysts between his toes and sadly got diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of 7 following clusters of grand mal seizures, which were horrific. The anti epilepsy medication involved him having to have regular bloodtests to monitor his liver. 

My boy hated being treated with flea and tick treatment, I think it was the smell. I tried my hardest but he was petrified and so suffered with fear aggression and so I finally I spoke to my vet about it and for his entire life every 6 weeks went to the vets where they treated him. 

My boy loved going to the vets, he would gallop like a donkey across the road just to get in the door. All the vets, nurses and receptionists knew him, after all he was a resident dog going every 6 weeks. My boy no longer associated the vets as somewhere scary he associated it with kind people that provided treats! 

As he got older he had trouble with his teeth, finally having 2 removed.

At the beginning of  2021 he started to decline.  He struggled to get up, he no longer wanted to walk his favourite walks, even a 5 minute walk became too much. So very different to the dog that wanted constant walks and used to spin in circles with excitement around the garden, darting in all directions. 

In the summer of 2021 we had a heatwave which he really struggled with. He collapsed several times where his legs couldn't hold him and had to go to the emergency animal hospital in the middle of the night. To which, the little monkey, once there, walked around casually like all was well. I felt like a fraud for wasting their time! The kind vet said this was a common phenomenon where she often had calls to say animals were so sick and upon arrival seemed fine. She stated it was the adrenaline kicking in, enabling the sick animal to become somewhat normal again. 

On his last visit to the animal hospital in the early hours the vet provided pain killers and told me that we should visit our own vet to discuss further possible treatment.  

Over those next few weeks, he had a scan and several check ups. He no longer wanted to eat, not even his favourite treats, he wouldn't swallow his medication and refused to take it. The sparkle was fading.

He had a vet appointment and the options were more medication and to keep him comfortable due to the suspicion of a stomach tumour.

We had an appointment booked for 14th October 2021 at 10:20. The evening before I was thinking about what the vets might say to me, I was very aware that my boy was suffering now, despite still wagging his tail and being the loving dog he always was. Since refusing to take his meds and not wanting to eat much I knew I had to make a decision. He hadn't got to the point of refusing to eat full stop or drink and was still managing to go to the toilet but knew that this could all change in the coming weeks. 

I arrived at the vets and I was tearful. My boy walked in as usual wagging his tail and pleased to see everyone, albeit with not quite as much enthusiasm and energy.

The vet sat me down and before she could speak the tears started and I sobbed the words " I think it's best we let him go" and questioned my own very sanity for muttering such harsh words. At this point I wasn't sure what would happen, would she say I'm out of order and making a big mistake. Make me go home and think about it? But no, her eyes became shiny with wetness, as I could see she too struggled to keep the tears away, as she had treated my boy for many many years and a bond had developed bewteen all 3 of us. She looked at me and said that he wasn't going to get any better and would decline further so she said she can do it now. We agreed that this was for the best. 

Those final moments will scar me forever. My boy happily trotted into the other room to have a canular put into his paw, he trotted back wagging his tail, one of the nurses who also had known him from a puppy came in and put a rug on the floor next to where I sat sobbing. My boy sat next to me, where I gently spoke to him and stroked him, he was so calm and not at all fidgety which he would usually be if made to sit. He faced away from me as I didn't want to see his face as he wasn't likely to close his eyes as he passed. He slowly relaxed into a lying position , I continued to stroke him and tell him how much I loved him as he peacefully fell into eternal sleep. My boy was gone. 

I left the room without looking back and broke my heart.

The tears flowed heavily for the next few days and reduced as the weeks came and went. A massive part of my heart was missing. 

I'd often think I saw him or heard him and every morning when I'd wake up for those 2 mili seconds I'd forget he had gone. 

I collected his ashes 2 weeks later and upon collection took he for his final walk around by the vets near my previous flat which had been his home for many years before finally going home. 

I never scattered his ashes as we moved around quite a lot. So now I keep them in a safe place where he can watch over me and see what I'm doing everyday. I speak to him and isn't a day when I don't miss him. 

The guilt of making that decision still haunts me but logically I know it was the right and humane thing to do. I no longer wanted my baby to suffer.

My boy, with his juicy nose, and backward question mark tail,  is at the rainbow bridge for me spinning in circles waiting for me and all that loved him.

Sleep well my beautiful handsome boy

Wednesday 7 September 2022

Van life!

I've been with the love of my life for over 12 months now, and my god she is a beauty!

I have wanted to travel and own a camper van since the tender age of 14 when I was first introduced to an “alternative” lifestyle. Sadly, I have never been able to follow this alternative dream until last year, then finally I decided to go for it!

I quit my job with the NHS July 2021, after over 25 years devoting my time to them and went fully freelance for a while as a mental health therapist. I then found a mental health company who I love and am now employed as a fully remote worker minus the odd business trip to Cambridge and London and now I can finally live my dream. 

I got rid of my car and bought a van – I got it done up and converted it to become a home on wheels!

For over the last 12 months – I have travelled about the UK in her and I am able to work and play with that perfect balance.

She sees me through all weather, rain or shine – summer or winter. I have met some interesting characters along my way and made some incredible memories. 

My mum’s side of the family live in Wales, somewhere I spent my childhood holidays – so visit them frequently.

I can devote my spare time to my hobbies of hiking, stand up paddle boarding and climbing whilst under the stars in my little home! 

I work many long hours – but somehow it seems worth it being able to have the freedom of going wherever I like, whenever I like.

Transitioning from a car to van was somewhat amusing and it did take a few weeks to master reversing out of tight spaces with limited/restricted view but with perseverance and patience and what can only be described as Austin Power moves, I can successfully navigate out of peculiar places! 

I am a free bird and although having to work – I have very few ties to hold me back from living my dream. An alternative lifestyle whilst still being financially stable is very full filling! It has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. 

Next, I need to be able to feel confident driving on the other side of the road so that I can take my travels whilst working even further!

 I am truly grateful; I finally have the work life balance I could only dream of. I hope to make so many more memories in my beautiful campervan. 

Sunday 8 May 2022

Badly timed dog cam moments...

It was the afternoon of the 1st of January 2020 and I was relaxing in a yurt in the middle of the Forest of Dean. I'd spent an evening meeting new people on my solo new years retreat. I was happy and relaxed, I'd bought the new year in with my special French/Portuguese friend chatting over the phone whilst he was driving through the Spanish mountains from portugal back home to Paris. Life was good. 

It struck me that my new lodger, who'd only been living with me about 4 weeks had been home alone and although he didn't seem the sort to have a wild party whilst I was away I wanted to check my precious home was still standing. 

Luckily, I had a security/pet camera installed in my living room which linked directly to my phone enabling me to see and hear a live feed.

The lodger knew of said camera so was aware I could access it at any time. It sat quite clearly in line with the television so could view the entire living space. The couch was opposite.....

I decided I wanted to double check all was how it should be, after all he had only been living with me for a month and going on my experience of my previous lodger who ran off with my keys thought I'd be a fool not to look. 

The powers that be were not on my side because at that very moment of tuning in, I wished I hadn't. I was blinded by what I saw for the couple of seconds it took me to realise what was actually happening.....

There sat bang in front of the camera, with what I can only describe as the sounds of an adult nature coming from the TV, which sat next to the camera, was my lodger throwing his head back, his d**k in one hand and tissue on the arm of the chair. 

As if at that very moment heaven was on his mind and hell was in mine.

I don't think I've ever put my phone down so quickly. It was disgusting. 

Now I'm all for adults pleasuring themselves and acknowledge it as a healthy behaviour but I'm unsure as to why when he knew the camera was a live feed he would choose to do that sat bang in front of it? 

I am curious as to why he couldn't do it in his own bedroom in private? Doing it in front of a camera knowing it is linked to my phone is somewhat of a risk.

I felt a little violated and it is something that I really wish to this day I could unsee! Not an attractive sight I'm telling you. 

I spoke to my friends about it, some asked if I would question him , some joked and said I could bribe him with video footage! Neither of which I wanted to do. I never said a word. My friends and family thought he must be an odd ball to sit in front of a live camera and do what he did. 

I did struggle to look him in the eye for a while and at times wanted to throw it in his face when he had left his pubic hair and soap scum in the shower tray again. He wasn't the cleanest of boys and rarely even changed his bedsheets but I never mentioned what I'd unfortunately had to witness. In fact I was very dubious about ever checking in on the house for a while.

It was a strange and pretty gross experience and one I hope to god I will never have to encounter again. 

Since then said lodger has moved out but the camera continues to role.....

Footage is footage. The camera NEVER lies, people do! 

Thursday 4 March 2021

Words and Phrases

I absolutely love languages. My mother tongue is English and I attempt to learn French... badly! I love so many words that our vocabulary has to offer. 

But today I want to discuss those words, phrases and abbreviations that 100% destroy my soul, grind my gears, scratch my black board, make my wool squeak...yes all of those annoying words and phrases that drive me to insanity! 

Hubby, Lol, Bae, Triggered, Literally, Obviously, I'm not being funny but..., Be true to yourself, It is what it is, At the end of the day, My bad, On point, Fleek, to name but a few.... Are you with me or are you one of those people that uses such exasperating terminology?

I just want to share my thoughts on the word "triggered"....

Having worked in mental health over 20 years, I am more than aware that certain situations, people, sounds, smells etc can be a trigger into causing distress or other forms of emotions, thoughts or behavioural reactions and responses for people.

But of recent years people seem to use the word "triggered" quite frequently and it drives me insane. 

I'd rather hear someone say; 'My triggers are...' ' What triggers me is...' but to say 'I'm triggered' bothers me. 

A popular phrase is "It is what it is" to me, this goes against any kind of true acceptance of emotions or a situation. It seems somewhat more avoidant in accepting something, whether a situation happens that you like and causing comfort or dislike which causes discomfort it is important to embrace all emotions not just dismiss them. 'It is what it is' somehow seems that you are avoiding the discomfort and rolling over and not really acknowledging the emotions or situation. 

'Be true to yourself', don't get me started on this one! I understand the concept but the people who usually are saying it are far from acting in correlation to this moto. Being true to ones self to me, is living by your personal values and beliefs and defusing negative trains of thoughts. From listening to so many youngsters today I am unsure that they really are being true to themselves, true to society, true to social media maybe but not truly themselves, so please don't say it! 

'My bad'...I mean seriously, ok so Shakespeare might have used it in his sonnet 112:

"Your love and pity doth the impression fill,
Which vulgar scandal stamp'd upon my brow,
For what care I who calls me well or ill,
So you o'er-green my bad, my good allow"

But lets face it in Shakespearean times broken words were common and not generally used as a slang word. The term 'My bad' came about in the 1970s roughly used as a slang term for apologising and admitting to making a mistake, but really? Why can people not just say 'I'm sorry, it was my fault'. It is almost like people are too lazy to string full sentences together anymore.

'I'm not being funny but...' Most people who start a sentence with this usually follow it with something derogatory towards someone else or a situation. The word funny, can be used in one of two ways, when describing something humorous or something peculiar/strange. So this generally makes no sense whats so ever in the context that they are using it. But my eyes are usually rolling as I know that I am about to expect to hear negative comments about someone or something which I am really not bothered about hearing.

'At the end of the day' unless it really is the end of the day and you finish the sentence with.....'The sun goes down and I eat my dinner' please don't use it. People use this term to provide their opinion or a fact on something/situation. A phrase that be might better suited could be just owning your thought by saying 'I believe' 'I think' 'The fact is...' 'In my opinion..' 

The terms 'Literally' and 'Obviously' used in the wrong context. These are very popular. So many people say 'Obviously' in a sentence but really we should only be using this term when we expect the person who's listening to know already, I frequently don't know how obvious it is when your boyfriend's sister's friend's uncle broke up with his girlfriend, sorry, but not obvious to me! The word 'Literally' means when something actually occurred but is widely used for emphasis when actually no additional emphasis is required.

'On Point', 'Fleek', Lol', 'Bae', 'Hubby' Yes we all know what these words mean but...... just stop it.....

I certainly feel better for venting my frustrated on this issue!

"So me and my hubby went out the other night and obviously the bouncer let us jump the queue. Probably because my hubby's outfit was on point. It was literally  amazing. Some people moaned but at the end of the day its their problem, I mean, I'm not being funny right but if we look that good why not let us jump the queue? One bloke was shouting at the bouncer stating that him and his bae were next. Hubby and I couldn't help but lol by how triggered the man was. Inside a girl was crying in the toilets, she was gorgeous her brows were on fleek. I asked why she was upset she stated that she'd had a huge row with her bae but I was like, be true to yourself and don't take any crap, she said he had been dancing with another girl, I was like well it is what it is."


Friday 5 February 2021

A Love Unlived - "If you tame me, then we shall need each other"

Have you ever been in a position that you meet someone and the connection is so strong on every level and the feeling is mutual but you have to make a truly sad decision and agree to walk away to enable the other person to mend due to recent grief of loosing a parent?

Well that is me and my situation. I did not want to walk away but I had no choice as I wanted to respect that person's wishes and allow the person the head space to grieve without any feelings of guilt that whilst he is in the dark place cant provide me with what he believes I deserve.

It is a love unlived and it sucks...

The conversation was intense. The tears in both our eyes as we sat touching hands and every now and then a deep hug which I did not want to let go from. His strong arms holding me. I always felt so safe. But now that has gone.

Starring into one another's water logged eyes as we spoke of our feelings, demons and grief was so powerful but the sadness was overwhelming. 

Grieving is complex and effects people in so many different ways. There is no right or wrong and no time scale, in fact does grief ever go? I don't think it does it just gets easier to manage and cope with. 

Right now his priority is taking care of his 2 sisters, sorting out his late mum's affairs whilst working all hours god sends to make ends meet and trying to just about stay afloat mentally. He is doing all he can and I am so proud of him. He has started anti depressants and engaging in therapy. But the only thing he has any remaining space for is himself, which is so important to enable him to heal. This of course I understand but for me, selfish as it might seem, this has left me feeling broken and so very sad. 

They say time is a healer but as I've mentioned in other posts...time might heal but time is in limited supply. Our time on earth is short and some peoples time is sadly shorter than others. He of all people should understand this as his mum was only 59 who died suddenly in her sleep. I cant even comprehend how traumatic this must be for him and his family. It must be heartbreaking returning home every night after work to the home where your mum passed away. He had moved in with his mum and gave up his flat to support her following the separation of his parents after 36 years, another massive recent loss.

My heart aches for him and his pain but also for me and the unlived love. No one knows how things could have panned out but being unable to try and be stunted by growth at the very start feels so unfair especially when the feelings are mutual and so strong on all levels. 

I have only felt this twice as an adult. The French/Portuguese man I speak about in other posts and now this man. 

This sounds so selfish as he is in hell right now grieving for his mum but I feel guilty grieving for him and what could have been for us.

Not being able to contact him and see him, even to ask how he is doing is going to feel impossible. I told him that the only way I can respect his wishes and allow him time to grieve and not contact him is to block him on a messaging service and once I feel less sad I will return. I do this out of fear of not being able to suppress the urge of wanting to contact him. Of course I could still call him but this is something I am less likely to do. 

Contacting someone struggling is something that comes naturally to me. If someone you care about is hurting you are there for them. And this is something he too believes, which is why he cant give me what I deserve right now. He knows that he can always reach out to me, but he is a private, proud man and I know that he won't. He told me that he hasn't even responded to some of his closet friends messages since his mum passed. I guess I should be thankful for the limited time we did have together. 

We met at the beginning of August 2020 but sadly his mum passed away not long after. A massive sadness to happen at the start of any relationship. I felt for him. But as we both knew the connection was strong between us and rare nowadays. I stayed open to him. Since that time we have grown and got to know one another very well in every way possible. Knowing and understanding each others values, beliefs fears and struggles. Its almost like grief and having a strong bond/connection fast forwards emotions about one another.

As he often looked my in the eyes and stroked my hair he frequently told me that he liked me just as I am. Being forever the romantic, I felt like Bridget Jones being told this by Mark Darcy for the first time. He did nothing but praise me and say the nicest things. Things I never really had in my long term relationships.

He knew of my past and all the things I had been through and never once judged me. It was like he had a real true understanding of the pain I had suffered and he too had suffered along the way. I felt at times like he was the male version of myself.

"To you I am nothing more than a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, then we shall need each other, To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world...." (Antoine de Saint-Exupéry) (Alley Cat)

A very special factor for me was that he was very aware of how I felt about children. Having made the decision to come off the contraceptive pill after such a long time. I wasn't sure how this might effect us and our intimacy. We discussed this and he was happy to continue what we had without using any contraception. For me this was massive. To have a man to actually take that risk with me knowing that it could or could not change our lives totally. I have been on the contraceptive pill for 26 years and coming off the pill was indeed a huge thing for me. He was so supportive and seemed to actually understand a woman's cycle far more than I did, he said it was growing up with 2 sisters!

Of course nothing happened, which at this time is probably for the best but I also now have this double sadness of not only having to be apart from the man I care for but grieving from knowing that the potential of maybe even having children with him has just gone. It might not have ever happened and certainly wasn't planning on it but just knowing that there could be a slight chance did give me some hope, something no man has ever wanted to do before.

I know he is breaking from the grief of loosing his mum but I am breaking from loosing any hope that I might have actually had something special.

I am unsure of life right now. I feel like I am grieving for the unlived love for him, the child that I am unlikely never to bare, the loneliness of all of my friends being on different paths with having families of their own and to put the nail in the coffin the fact that I have zero outlet for this as we are in a national lockdown. The gym which is usually my savior and coping strategy has gone and yes being a therapist I know what I can do to help myself but the process of actually doing it feels too tough right now.

This man was so in tune with me on every level and we even spoke of our thought processes and how we can both experience from time to time unhelpful thinking errors; the should and musts, over generalising and catastrophising. Having that emotional intelligence was so very important for us both, we just got each other.

I feel an overwhelming urge to be with him and sail this storm with him, partnerships aren't always smooth sailing and you have to take the great times and difficult times together....but instead I find myself drowning in my own tears. 

Some people might say it wasn't meant to be, some say I am unlucky and others refer to it as bad timing. What ever it is I have a massive sense of injustice. Two people have a connection but grief stops it in its tracks, a love unlived. All the things we spoke about wanting to do together have gone. In my experience when things come to an end it is usually because you and the other person often no longer like each other in that way but that simply isn't the case which somehow makes it just so sad and unfair.

Last night we spoke of how we will miss each other and that we want each other to take care and not engage in unhealthy behaviours. We both wished that each other could see what others see and how wonderful we both are. I dont necessarily think I am wonderful and people often tell me that I dont see what they do, but doesn't everyone feel like that? I certainly know that this man doesnt see the best of himself and definitely cant see what I see. I feel that he sees himself as he was in the past and not the person he is growing into. The grief he is experiencing is exacerbating some of his feelings that rear their head from time to time. We have both suffered with mental health and I guess times of despair, like loosing a loved one can cause mental health difficulties to arise. Anyone that has experienced mental health difficulties will know that there is no time scale on dealing with this. I just wish I could be with him and be of comfort to him.

I hope he misses me as much as I miss him and looks through our pictures, videos and music playlist but is that selfish of me to hope because he already has enough going on without the additional sadness of missing me? Perhaps he wont as he is already at capacity of missing his mum? Perhaps that makes me a bad person, perhaps it makes me human?

Where do I go from here? I simply just have to be me. I will take each day and battle through like I have always done. I have no doubt in my mind that I will recover and so will he. Will our paths ever cross again? I can only hope so, because hope is all I have left and with out hope what has any one got? 

A true love unlived....

"Holding on to hope, my choice, feel no guilt" (Alley Cat)

Monday 1 February 2021

Natural hormones....after 26 years!

I've been on the pill for 26 years without a break! I always used it for contraception in long term relationships and loved how easy it was having a regular light cycle. I'm 42 now and single and no need for consistant contraception, I've not anyone to have children with so I started to question why I was even on it. 

The thought of coming off the pill scared me to death. Everyone would say your body will go back to how it was before the pill. But I was 16! I'd not long started my periods before starting the pill as I had my first boyfriend. 

All I remember about periods was that I was petrified of leaking in my school uniform and boys laughing and girls thinking " thank god its not me". 

I cant remember any pms, cramps, etc because I was so young and it was so long ago. I remember periods being horrible but was that because I'd just started and of course its horrible because I was 16 or because they actually were?!

So 3 months ago I decided to bite the bullet and come off the pill. So far, I feel I have more energy and more in control. My periods are in a regular 26 day cycle and last a few days, wasn't as bad as I thought!

I think my main concern was not wanting spots or weight gain. I don't remember if this was an issue at 16 as I was just a regular teenager. But so far so good.

I like the fact I'm not pumping artificial hormones into my body. I guess things can change as time goes on especially as I'm hitting middle age and pre menopausal age! But for now being off the pill feels liberating! 

Wish me luck! 

Turning the light off...

Why is it when I need to sleep I must have darkness? In fact I like it that dark, the room I sleep in has blackout curtains and I also wear an eye mask to prevent any unwanted light seeping in through the cracks of the curtain and disturbing my already light sleep that I have each night. 

But the moment I am upset and distressed the very thought of sleeping in a dark room scares the life out of me. When feeling this way the darkness makes me feel vulnerable, alone and abandoned. 

Perhaps it comes from night terrors. I've suffered with night terrors for years. The only relief and comfort I get at those scary times is to be in the light and sleep with the light switch firmly on. 

I have had the same night terror for years and unless you have ever experienced night terrors will not appreciate how scary they are. They make nightmares feel like a Disney film. My night terror is reoccurring and is always the same thing. 

Last night was one of those nights... I was extremely upset.

As I crawled into bed following an extremely sad phone call I had with someone I really care about. This person who has suffered through the years, similar to me, of mental health difficulties and has recently lost his mother where she passed away suddenly in her sleep.

The last 5 months have been extremely difficult for him and his family. We have become extremely close and I consider him to be the most special person I have known for a while. 

Recently we have become attached not only in an emotional way but a physical way too. He became my special someone. 

Other than the French/Portuguese man I had a connection with, he has been the only one I have had a great connection with as an adult.

I know that we both understand one another and have total respect for each other in the most non judgmental way. In fact I really didn't think I would ever find someone who lived in my own country that I might even consider allowing into my heart. But I allowed him in, even though I was petrified of being hurt.

I cant even imagine how difficult his life is right now. He is not only coping with the passing of his mum and everything that goes with the death of a parent but dealing with other demons. 

To be able to engage in a healthy relationship requires the right amount of mental capacity and resilience and with out this it is likely that the relationship might suffer in some way if we allow it to.

For him the timing isn't right and having another person to satisfy the needs of takes time and effort. Something he feels incapable of doing right now. He explained to me that he wished so much that he could and re assured me that he has never met such a wonderful, kind and caring women, but he wants to be able to reciprocate that but hasn't the strength right now and unsure when he will. 

He is doing all he can to try and gain resilience and strength by going to therapy, taking medication but anyone who has suffered with grief and mental illness knows that this transition doesn't happen overnight. This process takes time, no matter how much you might want it.

So as I lie in bed with the light firmly switched on, I feel less lonely as when the light is off. Should I revert back to being a child and maybe have a lullaby? 

"Do you know any lullabies?"

"I know one but I had forgotton the words"

"I'd still like to hear it"

I wonder if he struggles in the darkness? Or anyone else for that matter? Why is it that when the darkness comes and the light is turned off it feels more of a lonely place. 

Perhaps for others the darkness is solace and actually more of a comfort but for me if my light is on at night whilst in bed it usually means that I am suffering.

When will I feel able to turn my light off once more? For that I do not know the answer to, no different to how he might feel in terms of feeling better mentally.

Time is the only thing in life that makes things better but time is the one thing we have limited amounts of. If I turn my light off will I sleep again or should I allow myself this time to sit in the light and not feel scared? I opt for the second option. The light being on wont be forever but for now, it is what I need.

Pans Labyrinth

Saint Valentine

Valentines day....Love it, loathe it or just tolerate it...?
It comes but once a year on February 14th. 

There are many Saint Valentines but the one that we chose to remember and celebrate is St Valentine of Rome he had many spiritual responsibilities, well known for being the patron saint of engaged couples, happy marriages and watching over the lives of our loved ones but surprisingly he was also known for interventions regarding bee keeping, travelling and health conditions like epilepsy, fighting the plague and fainting.

Historically valentines was celebrated by holding a festival named Lupercalia, which is a fertility festival. A goat and a dog would be sacrificed, the goat for fertility and the dog for purification. The blood, would then be  dipped onto strips of goats hide. The strips would gently slap both women and crop fields. Women welcomed the slap as they believed that it would promote fertility. According to legend, later on in the festival the women would all write their names onto pieces of paper and place in an urn. The bachelors would then take it in turn to choose a name and then the pair would match and often marry.

Nowadays it's more of a commercial celebration between loved ones. 
It seems that couples are everywhere and when frequently single I often feel like there are smug couples every where. I sometimes long to be part of that smug couple! The romance, the love, the sex and everything in between. Yes I know I will now take off my rose coloured spectacles as I know that Valentines isn't necessarily all that. It can just feel that way after years of being a singleton.

I have celebrated a good few over my 42 years. Some nice and some pretty know just going through the motions as it's what is "expected" 

I've also had some pretty crap ones....

The most memorable one and if I'm honest by far the very best and most fun was one where I was single! I know sounds strange but I had the best ever valentines day.

It had been a couple of years of splitting with a long term ex and I'd had many many dates up to that point but found myself single on Valentines.
So after sitting alone in my house a couple of nights before the 14th  I thought I'm going to go out and celebrate valentines! .......

So I phoned up my local curry house and booked a table for 1, they did repeat the number 1 with a curious tone in their voice several times before believing I was serious. And so it was booked! Table for one at the local curry house at 7:30pm on valentines! 

I turned up and as expected red balloons and streamers hung from the ceiling. The tables were decorated with red heart sparkles and a single red rose on each table, covers of cheesy love songs playing in the background as the restaurant hadn't a licence to play the real songs and a small romantically lit candle flickering on each tablecloth.

The room at this point was half filled. At first, on lookers didn't seem to stare at me as for all they knew my "significant other" may well have been hanging a coat or parking the car or popped to the toilet. But as I was seated and the waiters took the second place setting away, it was clear I was alone. The looks I received were mixed, ones of surprise, curiosity and sympathy. I looked like I had been stood up. As couples arrived people did appear to be noticing the table for one.

I carried on without a care in the world and munched my way through the special valentines set meal. By the time I had finished my main course, a group of 6 women entered the room. A combination of ages, they sat down, laughing joking and in general good spirits... couples looked in disgust that their romantic meal was now being disturbed by a bunch of tipsy women but they didn't seem to care. 

The women were in direct line of my table and once they had established that I was sat alone beckoned me over. I hesitantly walked over clutching my sparkling pink rosè. They spoke over one another all trying to ask me why I was alone. The majority thought I had been stood up. 

I took a deep breathe and proudly said, I am single and decided I wasn't going to be forced to stay in just because the social norm is for only couples to come out. They cheered and said that was why they were all out too, they were all single and wanted to celebrate that. They had love for one another which was evident and to me that was the loveliest love to see.

The waiters returned and asked if I wished to be seated at the table with them. So as they ate their main courses I sat and drank waiting so we could all enjoy desert together.

We spoke about love, live and the universe. Following on from desert they asked if I wanted to join them to go to my local pub as "the night was still so young" of course without any hesitation I agreed and the night was one of new friends, good friends, laughs and too many drinks!

It certainly was a Valentines to remember.

So can valentines be celebrated singularly as one can love thy self, or with friends and family? Does it really have to be significant others that we celebrate with? Lets change the world and celebrate love with whom ever we love and care for, romantic or otherwise.

As for this year due to the pandemic and being single for yet another valentines. I might bake myself some heart shaped cookies, pour myself a large baileys and stick on a feel good chick flick, that never fails to make me smile and feel warm.

Will I feel sad? Most likely.... As at this moment in time there is only one person other than myself who I'd like to share valentines with. Perhaps I will drop that person a text just to say I am thinking of them.... for I'd lasso the moon for that person and I know if that person could they would for me too...

Tuesday 20 October 2020

Adrenaline junkie.....Providing me with peace

When I finally said goodbye to my long term boyfriend at the beginning of 2017. I decided to make some changes in my life. The relationship had gone sour and I feel I had lost myself for the latter part of the relationship. 

Going through a horrendous split, after realising he was going to pursue the relationship he had cheated on me with I knew I had to make some changes.

I had fallen into a densely depressed trap of boredom in the relationship, well we both had. There was no excitement left and his lies became so difficult to swallow that he made me feel like I was going insane when I questioned him. 

I had always had a zest for life before meeting him and for the early stages of the relationship but somehow being swamped down by a variety of factors I seemed to lose that aspect of me. Perhaps it stems from being born on TV!!!

I have always been a bit of an adrenaline junkie, stemmed from my dad, I think, as we were always the ones to explore and do some crazy things whilst I was growing up, we used to hike for hours, climb mountains, we went in a 4 seater aeroplane, helicopters and snorkeled. My dad was a scuba diver so I guess it all came from his attitude in doing exciting things. 

Prior to meeting my ex boyfriend I had bungee jumped, quad biked, jet skied, and been skiing. Whilst I was with my ex we experienced a microlight and para gliding, we were also offered to learn to paddle board but my ex didn't really like the water and so we never pursued the offer.

Since splitting with him. I have travelled alone, learnt to salsa dance, learnt to snowboard, learnt to indoor and outdoor climb. I have skinny dipped and bathed on nudist beaches. Zip wired. I have sky dived, I have learnt to play the djembe drum. Learning French. I am currently having those paddle board lessons...finally! I have become better at yoga and have my very own aerial yoga swing. I continue to keep fit by attending regular gym classes.

I have done many other things since we split up and I finally feel like I have my spontaneous side back, or as my mum describes ...Impulsive!

So the paddle boarding is going well and I am looking forward to travelling once the pandemic is over to experience it in warmer climates as wet-suits don't quite cut the British autumnal weather!

I have many other things I am going to try. After all life is for living.

Recently I met someone of great kind character who I felt a real instant bond with. Sadly his mother passed away suddenly and unexpectantly, I cant even imagine what he is going through. His loss has put things into perspective for me and I've been reflecting on how the pandemic has effected thousands of lives and families. 

It is ok to be an adrenaline junkie and try new things because life is certainly for seizing the day, we aren't on this earth long and really should embrace every opportunity.

For some, being a spontaneous adrenaline junkie isn't for every one and can be deemed as irresponsible, but for me....why not? I get a sense of fun and generally my sense of feeling lost suddenly disappears and I start to feel found..... 

Being on that paddle board in the middle of a lake looking at the beautiful scenery with no body around, being half way up the climbing wall contemplating my next move, free falling from the sky, feeling on top of the world at the top of a mountain. Exploring countries alone, with no one to turn to and only have your own thoughts and terrible sense of direction to get you back. The warmth of the sunshine and touch of the sea on my naked body. I finally feel peace. 

I know that I would rather have new experiences than to live in the mundane world of never trying anything new or being out of the comfort zone.

I thank my dad for providing me with this gene of wanting to explore the world.

It is a big world out there and so many things to do and see. 

I have felt so lost for so long, I still have a long way to go but being able to explore and be spontaneous or impulsive or whatever it is certainly makes life more exciting and I feel more content. Yes I make crazy decisions and sometimes they aren't the right ones but if I am honest I had hell of a journey making the wrong decision! As someone I know once said about making the wrong decision...""

One life; live it in every best possible way that you can. Whether that be....going to work and providing for your family and seeing their faces light up on the Friday film night or whether it is at the top of a mountain ...enjoy life, enjoy the ride because you never quite know when your time is up. 

All I would say is this....just try that one thing you've always wanted to do, for tomorrow is not guaranteed.

Friday 18 September 2020

Curiosity killed the catfish....who were you Fred?

For approximately 18 months, I was chatting to a man on Instagram. Lets refer to him as "Fred"....

So Fred, requested me as a friend on Instagram, which initially I rejected as I had no idea who he was. He later re requested me and I thought ok, why not, one life and all that and it kind of seems the way of the world now.

He introduced himself as "Fred" and stated that he was trying to get followers as had set up a new interior design business. We got to know each other fairly well and strangely started to consider him as a friend, which in heinsight is pretty crazy as I never once met him in real life, never spoke to him on the phone and in fact I never even had his telephone number as he always made excuses that, at the time, felt reasonable that his phone was broken. 

We messaged each other frequently. there was nothing romantic about it, just someone to chat to. He spoke to me about his business, his sisters, friends and his ex. In return I opened up and told him about certain relationships and my work etc. We both offered a listening ear when life got tough or had times of joy.

On a couple of occasions we were very close to meeting, but with one thing or another it never happened.  

This "friendship" went on for a long time, until one day he disclosed that he had been lying to me about the fact he was still with his ex. I felt quite betrayed and annoyed by this as I had spent endless messages chatting to him about how he had been affected by her and the "toxic" relationship that he had been in.

It was at this point when the penny started to drop and I questioned if he actually was who he said he was. At the time I had a lodger, who was more into technology and social media than myself. We decided to try and find out a little more about Fred.

After my lodger searched the net for his pictures and his company name and me going through Fred's friends/ followers it became apparent that all was not as it seemed. 

My lodger noticed that Fred's business was not a registered company, the logo and some of the interior design work professed to have been done by Fred's company was that of an American company. Fred's followers and friends list was limited but I did notice something quite bizarre. He was following one of my ex boyfriends ex girlfriends who didn't even live in the UK, he was also following some of my friends and even one of my nieces. 

He had a partner for his business, but it appeared to be set up by Fred and neither account had many followers. There were conversations between the two accounts which almost seemed like the same person talking to themselves. Also both accounts were "private" and for me if you are trying to advertise a new business why would your account be private?

I started to think back about conversations that we'd had over the 18 months and he had questioned me about an ex and who the girl he'd had an affair with was. It all became a little too much and I was indeed feeling quite foolish into who the hell I had been talking with for the last 18 months.

Following on from this I messaged him and stated that I didn't believe he was who Fred said he was and questioned in fact if he was an interior designer. I then went on to block him. I felt quite sick and violated that I could have potentially been catfished and wanted to know and find out who the hell the real Fred was.

So with the help of my lodger we set up a fake interior designer account and logo. We knew that this wasn't a job to be rushed as I needed Fred to take the bait so I could find out who he really was.

I started to request/follow people that were on his account so it would look like we had mutual interests. I set myself up as an interior designer. It was hard graft and too be honest one that I couldn't really be bothered with but I felt quite annoyed that I had been lied to for so long and the fact that his account didn't appear authentic also blew my mind and so I persisted. 

It became very boring having to make myself look interested in interior design and at times I would veer off and look at other accounts and other things for nothing more than entertainment as I was so bored. It also fell at a time when I think now I probably had mild covid -19 symptoms so was just sat with nothing else to do than to go on Instagram.

Eventually Fred took the bait and messaged me, I stated that I was a new business and hoped to make connections. I asked him about his business but he was a bit vague just saying starting a new business was difficult.

My plan to ask more about where he actually lived, his name and basic identity was on the way and I would hopefully start to find peace safe in the knowledge of who Fred actually was and who I had invested 18 months of my energy towards.

Whilst this process was very dull I will admit I used to look up people I once knew. If they had open accounts it passed the time being curious into how they lived their lives now. In fact it was like almost watching tv, like some form of reality show/entertainment, but I guess that is what social media is. Some people literally documented their lives it was like reading a story book! It did pass the time whilst biding my time to find out who the hell Fred was.

I am not one for social media and in fact barely understand how it works, I didn't realise that people were notified if you looked at certain parts of their public accounts on Instagram.

Unfortunately due to this fact I received a rather unexpected message from someone who's account I had been looking at in my state of boredom, I felt immediate panic and ended up responding to the message, coming out with some bollocks of actually having similar interests. This of course was complete tripe as my objective of having this account was actually to find out who the hell Fred was and I was just passing the time looking at their and other public accounts.

This stressed me out rather a lot and I decided to deactivate this Instagram account to stop any more crap from escalating, as my objective was not to be a catfish myself but to find out who my catfish was. I would have to swallow the hard pill of never finding out who my catfish Fred was and throw in the towel to finding out his true identity due to unforeseen circumstances of being questioned at looking at certain public profiles. 

The repercussions of looking at public profiles of people I once knew also made me feel pretty shit as my reasons for looking were out of curiosity and boredom whilst actually trying to find out who the hell I had spent 18 months chatting to, nothing more and not what it appeared like to others, despite what they thought.

So indeed curiosity killed the catfish and I have never found out who the hell Fred was.

Morals of he story:

1) If you suspect you are being Catfished, do not try to investigate yourself....ask the professionals (The programme Catfish)

2) If bored don't be curious about other people's public profiles, it is deemed as being obsessed not bored and curious. Although I do question why social media and public accounts do exist if not for looking at?

3) Don't except friend requests from strangers and do not respond to or message people you do not want to engage in conversation with.

But none of this actually matters now, as I have decided that I really don't need to find out who the real Fred is. It was an experience and one that I have learnt from. Fred knew I wrote a blog, so if you are reading this Fred, I wish you well who ever you are!

I always knew social media was dangerous and causes so much trouble, maybe that is why I have never really learnt how to use it correctly. I am no longer on social media, not even to promote my blog anymore because do we really know who the hell is the other side of the screen??? Welcome to the twilight zone of social media ..... 

Who wears the trousers?

I have spent a lot of time reflecting upon what and why it hasn't worked out with the majority of my exes and having spoken to my mum and read god knows how many books and articles on relationships. I finally feel like I know the answer. People have always said it must be a certain type that I go for, which I have always replied "no" as they have all been very different. 

After years of attempting to find the answer and years falling for the same type of men I now feel total comfort knowing I have my answer. 

Now this theory, I would say applies to all exes minus 3. It comes down to the way I have been bought up and view men and what type of role they have in a relationship.

I have grown up with older generation parents, having been the youngest of 5 children and there being quite an age gap between me and the next sibling in age. 

My parents are what I would describe as quite "traditional" to the western family. My dad worked 2 jobs, whilst my mum stayed at home and looked after the children and had a part time job as I got older. My dad took care of the finances whilst my mum cooked and cleaned. It is what I knew to be the norm of how relationships were. This is neither a right or wrong way to live in a relationship but it is what I have been used to. My dad was the dominant male and although my mum wasn't needy, as was quite independent in certain aspects. It seemed to work well. They have been married since 1959, so they have obviously been doing something right. One way of looking at it is that my dad certainly wore the trousers in the relationship. 

They are from a generation that fixed things and didn't have the attitude we consume now of the throw away society. Back then things were made and built to last far longer than things are now. That goes for not only relationships but electrical goods, furniture, clothes amongst other things! 

All but a few relationships I have had the majority of the men I have dated/been in long term relationships with have been bought up in a very different environment to myself. 

Often it appears from the outside, as no one really knows what goes on behind closed doors, it appears that the mothers in the relationship seem to "wear the trousers". It appears that the dads of the family have taken the back seat and it seems that the mothers have ruled the roost. They seem to be the ones who take control of the finances, book the holidays and organise the family and make most of the decisions.

Is this a generational thing? Perhaps. But another contributing factor is that the parents have split up, been single mum's for a while, on their second or even third marriage. So the mother has had no choice to become independent and rule her own roost, so the dads then potentially just let the women get on with it for an easy life? I don't know I am just speculating.

For there is no right or wrong way to be bought up and certainly no rule to who wears the trousers so to speak.

I know now a days that the role of the woman in the family has changed dramatically, is this down to society influence? or personal preference? or both?

For me, I seem to have ended up in relationships with men that have grown up where the mother wears the trousers and is in control I guess. They appear to have learnt that it is easier to take the back seat, albeit not all the time but for the best part of making decisions, organising things etc. 

For me, I am quite happy to organise holidays, days out, nights out, phone restaurants etc but because it almost became expected that I would do it I think deep within me I started to feel resentment as I grew up with a man doing most if these things and when the past relationships didn't do this it caused problems. 

I am not saying that they never organised things, far from it. I have had a few surprises but generally speaking it landed in my lap. For many women this is great and they cant see a problem with this, maybe because they have been bought up by a different generation or their nuclear family has broken down enabling the woman to become the dominant? Like I said there is no right or wrong way but what I do know is that I do not ever want to be a with a man who has been bought up this way as it isn't what I want.

I have a very close male friend and people ask all the time why we aren't together. Despite the fact I see him as a brother, he is certainly a man that enables the women to wear the trousers for an easy life. If we make plans it is usually down to me. He will say things like "You book it and I will give you the money". "You decide". I have spoken to him about this and he thinks i could be on to something. His mother was the dominant as his father sadly ended his life when he was a child. He disclosed that his past relationships were usually driven by the female.  He stated that although he loved them at the time, they were quite bossy (in the nicest way) which might go with the fact that they were more in control and wore the trousers!

I see these differences in relationships all the time, I observe who wears the trousers and see how being bought up a certain way can impact upon future building blocks and "unwritten rules" in relationships. 

In a relationship I require a man to be wearing the trousers most of the time, not for me to do it for them. If it takes someone to be of autocractic character to wear the trousers then that isn't for me.

Obviously there is give and take but I know for a fact that I don't want to wear the trousers, it is not for me. Been there and been forced to take that role and it causes a massive rift. If I had realised this years ago I think it might have saved an awful lot of heartache. 

Some men like to be dominant some men prefer the woman to take control and vise versa for women. There is no right or wrong. 

Can both wear the trousers?...Not really, in most relationships whether friendships or romantic relationships, humans or even animals there is usually one more dominant one of the family/group/partnership.

Establishing which role you are early on in a relationship could certainly make life more relaxed.

After thinking about it long and hard I believe I have experienced 3 relationships where the men wore the trousers and were the dominant in the relationship. I felt zero resentment in these relationships, over organising and decision making and they worked well. The reasons why they didn't work were not down to who wore the trousers that's for sure.

Maybe I am old fashioned like my parents......or .... maybe I am just looking for my very own Mr Grey!