Wednesday, 4 March 2020

Love bombed by a functioning alcoholic

That moment in your life when you have lost all hope in finding the partner you only fantasize about when suddenly as if out of nowhere they appear. 

He appeared to me as a tall, dark, handsome and charismatic man who seemed to have his shit together. Full of fun and never stopped laughing. The first few dates were amazing and he seemed to be exactly what I had been waiting for my entire life.

You know that feeling when all of a sudden you go from single to a fully fledged relationship. It is like the world stops moving for a second and you are in some sort of dream world.

Within this dream world the first few weeks move super fast, faster than you could ever imagine, the dreams you long for are promised to you whole heartedly whilst the person stares into your eyes and say they would never hurt you and will give you everything you ever want from a relationship. 

The speed of the relationship moves rapidly and things that don't usually happen until further down the line start to be spoken about early on. Your head is on cloud nine and you really believe you've hit the relationship jack pot at last! You justify it by being a little older and that thought "No point in waiting at our age, we both know what we want, let's just go for it" is voiced.

For me the man was suggesting living together and having children and told me he loved me by about date 3-4, I had longed for this for so long that I went with it and wasn't aware at that point of any "red flags"

The weeks turn into months, and you gradually realise that this momentous whirl wind romance wasn't actually all it cracked up to be.  Only to be awoken several months later emotionally bruised and your self esteem at the lowest. Before I even knew such terminology existed I now realise I had been "Love Bombed". 

When we had first started dating he always seemed to have a drink. Dates always involved having an alcoholic drink, whether it be for a meal or a bar, the cinema. It never crossed my mind that the drink might actually be a problem. As many people drink socially especially on dates.

At first he was funny when he had a drink but I started to notice that his behaviour, words and actions all started to change somewhat the further into the relationship I went.

He started to become very erratic after having a drink until one day he broke down into tears and spoke of his past and the trauma of loosing both parents only a couple of years ago. His mother of cancer and his father of a massive stroke.

He soon disclosed that he drank to numb the pain. At one very low point he actually admitted he had an issue with drink, something he rarely admitted. He said that he couldn't handle the grief and the emotions it caused within him. At this point my heart sank for him and I felt the urge to protect this man, who seemed to be so kind and loving to me but driven to drink by grief. Perhaps we could get through this together?

Over the following and very short lived months of this turbulent relationship, I soon began to learn that it was impossible to be in a relationship with a functioning alcoholic. For the only real relationship he wanted was with a pint of lager.

What I mean by functioning alcoholic, is that he drank about 10 cans of lager once he finished work. He might finish work at 3pm and he would sink his first pint in the local pub, usually without any one actually knowing that he was there. He would skip meals and make excuses not to drive so that he could drink. Inevitably being extremely drunk and pass out by 8pm. Weekends I dread to think how much he actually drank. What I am certain of is that he would on average drink 3 pints to every usual man's 1. One saving grace is that he did attempt to only stick to lager as he and I both witnessed on a couple of occasions how mixing lager with wine or spirits turned him into an even worse abusive drunk.

His behaviour altered a lot. If we were out he would cause nothing but drama and react loudly and inappropriately and be centre of attention. It was extremely embarrassing and I frequently had stares of sympathy and "control your man" by public on lookers. If he didn't get his way, he would kick off and make a scene like a child having a tantrum in a shop when told he couldn't have any sweets or the latest toy.

He would frequently throw and slam things about sulking, blowing hot and cold and walking off. 

At one point he decided that he would reduce and stop his intake and I supported him with this, but at that point it was very early days and I don't think at that point I knew how badly not drinking would effect him. His abstinence did not last long. 

I have many examples of nights out that were ruined because of his drunken behaviour. He would verbally abuse me and one of the most common things he would shout on repeat like listening to a broken record player were the words; "F*****g boring you are, you're F*****g boring. I don't love you, you're f*****g boring".

One evening, I had misplaced his bank card, which he had given to me to put in my handbag for safe keeping, as he would loose countless wallets. I was genuinely sorry and desperately trying to look in my handbag to find it but he was shouting abuse at me, making a scene and eventually launched my handbag and contents across the floor in the street and that is the shortened edited version.The next day he couldn't remember a thing and the bank card was in a zipped compartment of my handbag, but he had flustered me so much I obviously didn't see it. I rarely got an apology, it was like I should know and accept his drunken antics. "You know what I'm like when I'm drunk" was his usual mitigating statement.

We went to restaurants but if he had to wait, he would walk out mid way through, he would leave me and get out of a taxi on the way home just to get to another pub. He was vile. Yet once he woke up he could barely remember anything that had occurred.

I celebrated New Years Eve sat alone crying in our room before midnight because he had threatened to knock an old man out following falling over a sofa and knocking glasses everywhere in a lovely country Coltswold pub. He was passed out on top of the bed  sheets horizontal, so I couldn't even get in. We had been asked to leave by the bar tender. That all too familiar look from people giving me sympathy of having to deal with an absolute dickhead.

If I wasn't available to him, like if I was at home doing something and he called and he was drunk he would blow hot and cold. He would demand I go up there, which was a 45 - 50 minute drive from my home) and say that I didn't love him if I didn't go. He would say I was boring and start to cry often. The times when I did go by the time I got up there he was even more drunk and then would pass out. He made me feel like a piece of shit. He would consistently end the relationship by text and then video call or text later on or the next day or 2 saying he loved me etc. 

He never wanted sex with me and blamed it on the booze or just not in the mood. Our relationship was no longer intimate.

I was forever in limbo. Unsure if he was going to love me or not love me that day.

So the million dollar question most people ask is why didn't I leave? Well, when he was sober or had only had a couple of drinks, he was actually a very caring thoughtful kind man. Hard to believe I know, but that is why I stayed. I could see the demon inside him that was the grief he was suffering from loosing his parents. On occasion he would say he needed help and I offered my heart and soul to him. I would listen to the sadness in his voice. I put up with the emotional abuse because I cared.

It came to a head following a weekend away when yet again he had drank way too much. What was supposed to be a romantic weekend turned out to be a living nightmare. He had drank too much and we hadn't eaten. I suggested that we get something to eat but wasn't much availability as it was getting late in a little village. We eventually found a bar that sold pizza, yet again another bar. He said I was being moody (I wonder why putting up with his alcoholic antics and comments, which he forgets about) I sat and was eating the pizza I actually didn't really want and he went on to say yet again "You're boring, I don't love you anymore" 

Now don't get me wrong I enjoy a drink from time to time and yes indeed can too get drunk but there is a time and place. I am also not a nasty drunk. This weekend was supposed to be about hiking, climbing mountains and enjoying the sea air". The night before our weekend, instead of getting the early night we had discussed because we wanted an early start, he decided we would go for a meal and a drink. But he could never just have one drink. By the time i had arrived with my weekend luggage he was drunk. Once out he kicked off being drunk and left me alone to walk home without even having a key to the house to get in. 

So that night right or wrongley of me I'd had enough. Following the last nasty comment I decided to go back to the room. He followed me calling me boring and unloveable all the way through the hotel to our room. Once in the room I retaliated and shouted back, I had suppressed this hurt and anger from the first couple of weeks into our relationship. He started to record me on his phone which just fueled my fire. Eventually I could not take any more and I knocked his phone from his hand and slapped him twice. I do not condone any form of physical abuse but I also do not condone any form of verbal and emotional abuse either. I had been subjected to verbal and emotional abuse for long enough and by slapping him it was in fact the only time he shut up. Things got considerably worse that evening and he disappeared for hours eventually coming back to the room in the early hours paralytic, he had ht the spirits as well as the lager, someone had to escort him back to the room. Prior to that he had come up and banged around shouting that yet again I was boring because I wouldn't go back down to the bar for a drink.

From that moment on I was the bad guy. He spoke to me like I had knocked the living daylights out of him every night for years. I slapped him twice. Not exactly my finest moment but I literally couldn't take anymore. It was through pure verbal and emotional abuse that I eventually snapped.

Needless to say that our relationship didn't last too much longer after that. He went on to become even more abusive and mean. He constantly blew hot and cold and made me feel like the devil for slapping him. The words that came out of his mouth were pure hatred and putting me down and destroying my self esteem inch by inch but by some how blaming me for being the unhinged person? He made me feel like I was a bad person and was mean and nasty.

Finally when we broke up after weeks of nasty messages I spoke with both his sisters who  were actually disgusted with what he had put me through. They bought me flowers and chocolates and offered me their shoulder for my tears. In fact the one sister said "I'd have given him more than a bloody slap".  Of course they are his flesh and blood and I sadly cut ties with them both following the split to enable me to move forward.

One sister sat with me for hours telling me of their childhood and how his dad was an alcoholic, (the sisters had different dads) and how badly that he treated their mum. She told me of how the parents had died and the guilt they had all felt and how my ex used to be a spoilt child. 

All of it made sense and listening to the untold story that I had never heard from my ex made me realise why I did stay and put up with his bad behaviour. He was a lost soul and deeply grieving for his parents. He had this demon inside him but the alcohol would always win. What I learnt is that you will always be second fiddle to alcohol and you can not reason with a very drunk alcoholic and I was never going to come first, not unless he sought professional help and made some changes. But I am unsure if he was ready to make those changes. 

What I did realise though was that despite the hurt and trauma he had and was suffering didn't give him the right to treat me badly. I noticed that he would blame everyone for his actions. He would blame me, his sisters, his friends (although he only had 2 friends) he would even blame his deceased parents. One thing I know is that no matter how bad you suffer, it does not give you the right to make someone else suffer too. For example, one of my closest friends mothers had passed away with cancer, but she didn't go around getting pissed and verbally and emotionally abusing me.

Should I have slapped him? Definitely not. Should he have emotionally and verbally abused me? Definitely not. This whirl wind love bomb, promised me the world and more in such a short space of time. I believed him. Did he want it? Perhaps deep inside. Was he able to do it?...Never.

Since we split he moved on to the next girl and from what I hear is now living with the one night stand he had a week after our break up. Perhaps he has now made changes and isn't drinking to excess anymore or perhaps my heart has to go out to his next love bomb victim. Functioning alcoholics don't change over night and I certainly know that he wont. I feel sorry for this new girl, or perhaps they both drink to excess and have a volatile relationship? 

I am glad that it never worked out with me and that I have well and truly moved on. God forbid if I ever find myself being love bombed again.

If a man wants to give me the world in such a short amount of time and deep inside he has issues. I am not the one to try and save him and give him the attention he wants and needs. For he needs to sort out his own loss and demons. He needs to rescue himself before promising me a thing. I am better off with out the heartache.

Can there really be a happily ever after?

For most of us girls we have grown up and made to believe in the fairy tale, and what I mean by that fairy tale is that the Princess gets swept off her feet by Prince Charming, they fall in love, get married and they live happily ever after.

This so called fairy tale is every where. It is the perfect story line in any Disney film and romantic comedy, hell even Julia Roberts in the film Pretty Women, which is actually a story about a prostitute gets the fairy tale ending.

It is drilled into all us little girls from a young age right up until the day we are peeing ourselves from laughing too much. Are we all being brainwashed into thinking that this is what we all have a burning desire to end up with?

Is each relationship we have striving for that happily ever after? Is it not possible to just enjoy the moment of the relationship and go with the flow instead of this obsessed feeling of this is the one I'm meant to be with....forever. Surely that pressure actually subconsciously puts pressure on any relationship?

I recently read a quote/meme saying:

" I may not be your first love, first kiss, first sight or first date but I just want to be your last everything".

At first, my initial thoughts were, 'Oh that is sweet'. But actually having read it several times over and over I actually felt quite freaked out by it. Why would I want one person to be my last of everything? Right there, I feel this sense of pressure. For me I would rather say something like:

"You are my present, my now and let's enjoy what time we have together".

For me, that sounds far healthier, but that's just me. I am beginning to think that perhaps there isn't such a thing as Mr/Mrs Right. Perhaps it is a case of Mr /Mrs Right now.

There are many chapters in our lives but does each chapter have to lead on from the next like a fictional story book that has an actual plot, theme, introduction, middle and a happily ever after ending? Or are each of our "chapters" actually a new book entirely?

Can we be entitled to plural happily ever afters? And no, when I say plural I mean with one person at one time, I am talking monogamy not polygamy! Just several endings at different times not just one?

Instead of a happily ever after ending, where we are supposed to meet the man of our dreams and then stay with them forever or at least until we are old and grey is it just possible to have a zero pressured ending that may or may not end happy?

Are we really supposed to be with one person for the rest of our lives and work towards the ideal of societies happily ever after? Or is it OK to  have many partners over the duration of life, some ending happily or others not so much. There is so much pressure on us all to meet one person who gives us everything and to make it work out forever.

Can we really get everything from one person in a relationship? I don't believe we can. I mean I get different things from different friends and different members of my family and different colleagues so someone please tell me how we are supposed to get everything from one single relationship called marriage which turns into our happily ever after?

That is not me being against marriage. I mean I have always thought it be romantic to pledge your love for one person but does just wanting that commitment lead to a happily ever after?

Many chose to marry for many reasons. Perhaps it is for religion, for romance for commitment, I am not sure maybe people chose to marry for other reasons.

Some weddings are so invested into the happily ever after, they spend a fortune in splashing out on the celebration which they share with friends and family but does this guarantee a happily ever after ending?

For me if I did get married, I would only want a very discreet, small affair, which does not involve me walking down an aisle and being the centre of attention. For me I wouldn't want that to be the start of my happily ever after. I dislike being the centre of attention and in fact would find it a bit of a circus.

This is not meant to be a negative post but perhaps do call me a cynic but maybe there isn't supposed to be one happily after after, perhaps there can be several happily ever afters through out our lives?

I mean people get divorced all the time and I am guessing that when they got married the first time that they thought it would be a happily ever after. But they go on to meet someone else and perhaps even marry again. But what is it they are looking for another happily ever after or something entirely different?

Perhaps relationships are not forever and we are not supposed to stay with one person for the rest of our lives, perhaps we are supposed to move from one relationship to another. It is just we have never been told that this is OK.

All journeys have to come to an end eventually. Time and space is consistently moving so why does it seem that we try are hardest to stay still and stagnant in one relationship? Are we choosing to fight a losing battle as the world we live in and the universe that it sits in are constantly moving. So why don't we move too?

When we suffer heart ache we become stuck into temporarily thinking that we will feel like this forever, but for those who have experienced heart ache we do learn to understand that it is a temporary feeling. So if heartache is temporary. Why cant the feelings of happily ever after be too?

We can experience so many emotions in one single day, in fact every day is a roller coaster of emotions, ranging from happy, angry, anxious, amused, perplexed and sadness and everything in between.

So baring this in mind that our emotions are not stagnant why do we believe that this "happily ever after" will be a constant. I think a happily ever after might be temporary feeling but really can it truly be a feeling that lasts forever in this ever moving and changing world we live?

Our society has evolved from when marriage was the be all and end all and religion was taken more seriously. Nowadays we are provided with not just religion but also spiritual ways now. We are provided with more choice, allowing us to grow and not be in one situation for the rest of our lives. We have more opportunities with more availability and different sets of societal values and norms.

So if those happily ever after values are changing, why are we not moving with the times. Is that why so many happily ever after endings fail now? Because we as a society have outgrown the values that were once deemed as the only way?

I think I might be content with several happily ever afters. It might make life more versatile and interesting perhaps?

Stephen King wrote a series of books one being called "The Dark Tower" It is a fantasy/horror science fiction type novel that looks at a quest to allow the king to survive. Within the story, sacrifice for love, defeating lies and grief come into play. A famous quote within the book is this:

Thursday, 27 February 2020

Time alone or rebound?...The red flag of grief...

Humans are not solitary creatures and we thrive when we have a network or community around us. This network might be made up of family, friends, acquaintances, partners, lovers or colleagues but none the less it is important not to isolate ourselves at all times.

However, I am a firm believer that we should embrace and encourage alone time. After all we are the the only person that really knows our thoughts and feelings. No matter how close you are to someone no one really knows what others are thinking or feeling. 

I guess it is fair to say we can be our own best friend and own worst enemy.

Since leaving home for the very first time at the tender age of 20, I have lived with a variety of different people. I have lived with parents, friends, prisoners, boyfriends, in a house share with dirty boys, who had no idea what a toilet brush was! and more recently I have had lodgers.

Between those times I have lived alone. I can be quite adaptable when I have to be. 

During the times of living alone, which has amounted to probably about 10 years. I can honestly say that it has been good for my soul. Admittedly it is far nicer living alone when you have other external things going on outside of the home so that when you do have time out you appreciate it. 

The times when I have felt the loneliest is when I haven't had many external factors outside of the home life causing me to feel quite isolated.

There has been times in my life when all I wished for was peace and quiet. For example, In my 20's I had a flat that was near the local pubs and I forever had someone knocking at my flat door, so the times I had alone I truly cherished. 

Nowadays, I really appreciate people visiting as due to my current situation I am finding myself quite isolated.

However, I do believe that time alone gives you time to reflect, grow and understand yourself and process life events.

I am alone most of the time. I live alone, I am single, I sit in an office alone at work (most of the time), I am not particularly close to my siblings, my parents are elderly so don't see them as often, my friends are in relationships or have children so they don't have as much spare time. You can read about that in the post "kids are like farts, I just about tolerate my own" So when all is said and done I spend an awful lot of time in my own company. 

I actually quite like it. I make myself laugh, cry and have the best ideas! and yes, I frequently talk to myself, my fish and my dog when I can!

Recently I have had to put some of my hobbies on hold due to physical problems I am having with my knees which has caused some isolated feelings and a low sense of mood, but I do know that this is a temporary feeling.

I am currently single following spending a significant amount of time with someone I truly cared for. Although it has been difficult and painful having to deal with negative emotions, I feel that my alone time has actually given me time to grieve the time I shared with him and process the loss of the relationship I had with him. So all is not lost and is actually a real healthly place to be. I am learning about myself and thinking about new ideas, concepts and doing things just for me! I have have seen a relationship counsellor who has been working in that sector for over 25 years who is extremely experienced in the relationship breakdown process. 

Alone time and rebound has been a topic frequently discussed and it always comes down to the same formulations of giving yourself time and not rushing into something new and to go through the process of loss and grief head on instead of finding the replacement to sooth our egos and self worth.

So although humans aren't solitary creatures and don't thrive for longer periods when alone. I do believe there is a real need to have alone time when dealing with a loss and relationship breakdown.

When we lose a relationship of any kind whether that be a friendship, romantic lover, husband/wife, colleague, parent what ever or who ever it is. I truly believe we need time alone to grieve. The loss might be through breakup, falling out or death but ultimately they are all loses and need to be grieved for.

We all deal with things very differently but having read a lot about loss, relationship breakdown and grief the cycle is still the same. We fluctuate between emotions of denial, anger, guilt, reconstruction, depression, bargaining and acceptance. In no particular order and can flit between these varying emotions periodically through out the days, weeks, months and sometimes even years.

I think the main thing is to have time to yourself to feel and really experience these emotions. Time for everyone is different but I think jumping into situations to make up for or to alleviate the grief initially is never a good idea. 

We all know if we rush into situations and replace the life we had with another so rapidly is not going to be healthy as we need to go through the process of grief to ultimately come to terms with the loss.

Yes, indeed it will be a varying amount of time from one individual to another but too soon is too soon. 

If you suddenly find yourself "replacing" the hurt you are feeling by masking it with trading it in by forming a connection with someone or something that makes you feel better short term it is unlikely that you will have processed the grief sufficiently to move on. 

The problem is with this replacement, it is just masking and not having that alone time will undoubtedly bite you in the ass later down the line as the new situation  or person might not actually be all it cracked up to be when replacing the old one.

A good example of this is rebound relationships!....

Most of us have experienced a rebound relationship, whether we are the person who attempts to move on trying to hide the symptoms of the pain we are experiencing by replacing them with someone new or the other party where we are taken in by someone looking to replace something that caused them pain.

During this time, after a relationship/marriage has ended. Starting a new relationship can feel like suddenly the world is a far better place. The hurt and loss that we have recently been experiencing can somewhat reduce or in fact disappear. We suddenly feel like the new situation is even better than the last. Who wouldn't want to feel this? I mean surely it feels better to be feel happy, content, to feel loved, sexy and appreciated than to feel sad, lonely, upset, anxious and depressed? Right???

For most people in this situation they are just craving the attention, sexual desire, peace and love that they weren't experiencing previously and then out of no where get it from someone or something else. Awesome! It is going to feel so good.

Sure, this is great because it can feel like it helps us in the emotional steps of grief. We have a new outlet to focus our emotions on and everything seems so much easier. 

But are we just putting a temporary fix or band aid on how we really feel? 

Most re-bounders are likely to say No to that question, purely because they are in denial! Because it feels so good, even better than the last. 

Most of the time it is lust disguised as love. It is because we are searching and longing for what was missing in the previous relationship but feel we need the security of a new relationship to replace what we have lost. We feel secure, loved and happy once more. So this way we don't feel alone, insecure, unloved and unwanted. 

But actually experiencing those negative feelings is key into moving on. 

We can fall into love or lust to something new with someone new once we have healed ourselves after a significant amount of alone time. Anything before that is just a quick fix.

People and situations are not replaceable but it seems that rebound relationships give us just that. Are we just sweeping things under the carpet and not actually dealing with those scary emotions?

How can we be with someone else so soon when really it might be more healthy to focus on alone time? 

I am not suggesting that we use this alone time to sit and wallow over the previous relationship, albeit I think this is allowed for a few days/weeks initially, but to focus on yourself. 

Starting new hobbies, making new friends etc. From this we are likely to experience those coping strategies of having to deal with grief but not by putting all of our energy into replacing the situation with someone new. 

This does seem a far healthier and reasonable thing to do. This way we are not isolating ourselves as we potentially are making new friends and starting new hobbies and having community and network based communications. We are growing independently, whilst processing grief positively but not isolating ourselves.

Distraction is great for overcoming certain levels of grief but to what detriment? .... Our own, potentially! For if we never really grab the bull by the horns and indulge in what can seem a scary place of alone time we are likely to suffer longer term.

People are scared of feelings and facing these painful emotions because they can make us feel quite depressed and anxious. 

But life isn't easy and part of life is experiencing the pain for sometime for us to successfully heal and move on to healthy relationships.

If this alone time is utilised well at the beginning of our grief I am sure that we will understand our own needs, thoughts and emotions far better than ignoring the emotion by rushing in to something new, no matter how good that feeling is.

Only by having alone time and experiencing a lot of grief am I able to say that I am able to think and process emotions in this way. Which makes me feel that in an adult relationship I am far more equipped to deal with difficulties if they arise than people who repeat the rebound cycle.

I have had 2 rebound relationships in my entire adult life and I can honestly say that long term they did not help. I liked the idea of that warm cosy feeling that I had lost and the excitement of a new partner but actually once that "honeymoon" phase had ended my emotions that I hadn't dealt with soon came back. 

You cant fix self esteem and confidence by using someone to fill the gap. You can only improve this by being alone and growing to love yourself ...singular.

I have been alone for some time and had many long periods of being alone and I know that I feel ok with myself. Sadly I have been unable to have a partner but I definitely know that jumping from relationship to relationship is a red flag for me and not helpful or healthy in the long run.

Perhaps that is why I am still single because the universe hasn't found anyone for me yet that isn't in rebound status?! 

For those in rebound relationships, well I hope for now it takes the pain away and it is replaced and soothed by those feelings of love and warmth but please be aware that people will struggle to be able to keep this act up for long before their own demons, lack of self esteem and self worth and confidence come creeping back which can cause great destruction in a relationship. 
Be your own anchor in your own storm, Don't rely upon someone else to be that for you. 

Take the time to indulge in self love, self soothing activities, some alone time. Do not rely on someone else to make you happy and to replace something so soon with out grieving for a sufficient amount of time. 

Yes, grief hurts and sucks and I know you want to do anything for the pain to go away and by being with someone else gives you that fix. But breaking that cycle is far more important for your own well being and the other persons well being and it will save it ending in tears further down the line. 

You will become a stronger and happier person.

Then and only then we can can move forward.

Monday, 24 February 2020

My Plan A dream has crumbled...what's my plan B?

I sit and think about my future and when I say my future, I'm not thinking years a ahead I'm thinking more short term like the next 6 months for a start...

I just don't know what to do. I don't know what I want from life. What I truly wanted hasn't and isn't happening for me and I'm having to come to terms with this plan, lets call it plan A, potentially never happening. My plan A dream may never come and it's drifting further away. 

I don't know what other plan there could be? I never made a back up plan or plan B.

I'm so fixated on my play A I never gave a thought that I'd need another option.

Ok, so my plan A was to meet a man, get married and have kids. Sounds simple right. Yes, the conventional world of settling down. But I've not got anyone to do this with. 

So now what??????? 

I have thought about travelling but it wasn't truly my dream. It's just that I feel that's all there is left for me. Not a bad plan but not my first choice.

I mean I'm not sitting alone night after night in Birmingham having a crappy career, hardly any friends, minimal social life and sitting on my own forever. So travelling seems like the only other option. 

But when it's the unconventional and a potential plan B I didn't exactly want how do I get psyched for it? When my heart still longs for my plan A? 

When did being an adult get so difficult? 

I hear girls in their 20s and 30s saying they just want a plan A after experiencing heartache but even that makes me feel shitty because they have time. 

I feel like I have no time. Even if I did find the "one" who wants to grow old with me. If we were lucky enough to have a baby, these things take time. 

By that point all my friends will be living more Independant lives because their children will be growing up whilst I will be at sleepless night and nappy stage. I'd probably find myself not fitting in because most the other new parents would be young. 

I never seem to fit. I'm very adaptable to different environments, I've had to be, but I'd just like to fit in with the "normal" crowd for once.

It's like I literally can't see the wood for the trees. And as I think about this I reflect upon all the men that left and are doing my plan A with someone else, generally younger. 

So what's a girl to do?... How do I successfully let go of my plan A, the dream I've had my entire life and swap it for another plan?

How do I get excited about something new and a plan B? 

Turns out It looks like I'm probably going to have another couple of "Practice Wife" notches on my bed post. What is so wrong with me? Why do none of them want me? Why do they leave for someone younger and prettier? Well that's obvious I suppose, why have an over done, hard crispy egg yolk when you can have a juicy yellow runny one? 

I wish someone would just tell me what to do. 

The last hope I had of maybe my dream happening has well and truly disappeared for he is doing my plan A with someone new. Well in fact they all are. 

Do I continue to grieve for the loss of plan A never happening and hope someone comes up with a plan B for me. Or do I hope plan A still has a chance? 

I can't make such decisions. 

I feel like I'm loosing my mind. How do you make another choice when my hearts not in it? 

I am likely to opt to travel at some point which is exciting but it's just not quite as exciting for me as living with your soul mate, getting potentially married and growing a baby in your womb until you finally get to hold someone so precious. How do I convince myself of that? 

I feel so unbelievably empty and lost. I'm like a washed up broken shell on the beach who's insides have washed away. Hollow and pointless.

Monday, 17 February 2020

The blind man

For the past 5 years I have lived on a regular road in the suburbs of Birmingham. 

This isnt the 1950s where everyone knows their neighbour's and leaves their front door willingly open. Our houses are secure and I rarely see my neighbours let alone know most of their names.  

We live in a society that doesn't observe we just look blankly through glazed tired rat race eyes. Can you even tell me what colour front door of the house opposite has or what curtains they have? Probably not. 

Being on a main road, emergency vehicles race past, allowing the room to glow flashing blue. Boy racers rev their annoying and unnecessary Vauxhall Corsas with ridiculous sized exhausts. Dogs sniff their waydown the path from lamppost to lamppost with their owners in toe. Parents push prams and grab hold of their children tightly so not to fall into the road. The post men scuttle up the road weaving their way in and out of the front gates.

A bus runs every 10 minutes into the city centre and I frequently watch double decker buses from my window pull up and collect and drop off more often than not an aray of cold looking people with ear phones in their ears staring blankly into there phone screens. It's a zombie nation.

Opposite my house on the other side of the road are a row of houses that over the years I've noticed that belong to several older residents. 

An elderly lady who lost her husband lives directly opposite me and I've become accustomed to her daily routine. And what time she opens and closes her curtains. What time she collects her newspaper and how she keeps seasoned flowers blooming in her garden so it constantly looks a bloom of colour. She is always dressed smartly and has her white hair set in her short style. 

Four doors down from her lives an elderly couple. A blind man and his wife. I'm unsure where he has been or where is going but several times a week he gets collected in a taxi and dropped off.

The regular taxi firm helps him get out of the car and I watch him walk back, occasionally stumbling using only his white cane. Dodging the uneven path where roots from trees have burst through the concrete.

His wife awaits at the door and always gives him a kiss before she takes the bag he is carrying from his arms. Before he takes the final step into their home. 

For his blindness prevents him seeing like you or I. Yet I feel he sees so much more. He may not see colour and shapes and be able to indulge in the power of sight but sometimes I think he sees more than me. 

I suffer from blindness yet I have full sight. His vision is probably more intact and unobsecured than mine is and he is blind.

I'm not sure if he has always been blind or whether it came on by an accident, trauma, illness and deterioration. 

As he sways his cane from side to side along the path and through his gate to his front door. I have no doubt in my mind that he knows that path better than the people who wait on it for the bus, who can physically see it. 

They say if you loose one of your senses, that the others over compensate. He can't see, but I bet he knows what flowers are planted in next doors garden, how tall the wall is, how stable the fence is, what music the neighbours play, what perfume the dog walker is wearing. He sees far more than any of us. 

I wouldn't wish actual blindness upon anyone but perhaps we should take a leaf out of his book and be more observant and engage in our senses. Look and see. For sight is beautiful let's not take it for granted. 

I am going to attempt to be more mindful and actually try to be more observant. See the things around me in greater detail. See things for what they really are. I'm hoping that this process will enable me to indulge in the weird and wonderful colourful world I live in. 

How well do you see? Are you at full vision or partially sighted? 

Sunday, 16 February 2020

The Justice system, suicide (RIP Caroline Flack)

Hearing the news of a British TV presenter Caroline Flack who took her own life yesterday has stirred a lot of painful emotion for me today.

I don't know Caroline and can only base any form of opinion I might have upon her of what I've seen of her in the media and attempting to read between the lines.

What I do know is that a young beautiful, talented, woman has taken her life. 

I am assuming it felt like the only way out for Caroline. Something I have in the past can relate to. 

She has recently been in the public eye for allegedly assaulting her boyfriend, who has since wanted to drop all charges upon the "attack". 

No one knows, what went on between the couple. Caroline is likely to have lashed out at partner but we do not know or understand the circumstances for this reaction. What I can see is that she must have had a reason. Caroline did not appear to be someone who went around bludgening people. 

I am not condoning any form of physical abuse but I can also see that these events can so easily occadionally occur. She must have a had a reason for lashing out in the moment. She must have had some rage deep inside her at that very moment that she just lost control with. No, im not saying that it's right, but people were quick to judge and base opinions on her without knowing the entire story.

Despite the boyfriend wishing to drop charges. The Crime Prosecution Service (CPS) continued to go ahead with a trial. Now I'm not saying that she shouldn't have been arrested, cautioned or even charged on assault , because yes that is the law but I don't think that a "trial" was necessary. 

Usually a trial goes ahead when you plea not guilty to the charges made against you. 

Having been through dealings first hands with the CPS twice. I feel these are your choices...

Plea guilty to a crime that you don't feel that you are necessarily guilty of. Mitigating circumstances are dismissed and you are forced to say guilty to avoid trial. 


Plea not guilty and face a trial.

Caroline chose to plead not guilty and face trial. 

Having been through the the system twice, on both sides of the law. ( victim and offender) I found the CPS to be completely incompetent and had zero compassion. It felt like they didn't look at mitigating circumstances they just dismissed any grey area and "made an example of me". 

When I was sent to prison the judge used the words "make an example of". I feel that they were doing exactly the same in Caroline Flacks case, albeit for a very different crime. She was famous, she made a mistake it felt like they were saying" let's show the world that even if you're famous you don't get let off". Famous or not, no case should ever be made an example of. I mean make an example to who exactly? 

I was charged with "conspiracy to supply class A drugs coccaine" yet I am no more a drug dealer than anyone who has ever tried an illicit drug before. 

Ok so I turned a blind eye to my boyfriend at the time. But if your other half was dealing recreational drugs to his mates in the pub would you go running to the police? Doubtful. I know so many people that do recreational drugs and I'm sure that they are as popular as alcohol if you collated statistics upon it. 

Ok, so I knew my boyfriend at the time supplied to most of his mates. I know the town I lived in that many pub/ club goers were doing it. I chose to turn a blind eye, for it seemed the norm. Many people did and still do coccaine. 

My boyfriend was the dealer not me! Yet I was convicted. I'd never been in trouble with police before and not since. Yet I was forced to plead guilty to avoid a trial. I did not want to plead guilty as I wasn't guilty of being a "drug dealer" Yes, I was guilty of having turned a blind eye but who wouldn't?  

The stress of going through that, amongst other things, took me to a really dark place and having already experienced mental health problems can feel so much towards how Caroline Flack might have felt. 

I felt like my career was over, I'd lost friends, who in fact when shit hit the fan found out they weren't real friends at all. I drank more and spiralled, I was loosing myself. I was on bail for 6 months which was torture, I was unsure of what my future might hold. 

Police and barristers telling me that I'd get a suspenpended sentance or community service. Never once actually preparing me for the reality of a custodial sentence. 

People were mean, brutally mean at that. I experienced ridicule on social media, made to change my phone number, slagged off by people. If I went out socially I was the topic of conversation. I am an intelligent girl and it doesnt take a genius to know the whispers as I walked into a bar weren't aimed at me. I felt victimised by people's judgemental attitudes and behaviour towards me. Some people were dispicable and huge hypocrites. Dont those people think that I or indeed Caroline were suffering and felt bad enough without their actions and words making us feel worse?

It was mentioned in a tabloid that Caroline felt like her life was out of control and there was no way back and that she felt judged. Well that's exactly how I felt. 

We all make mistakes but how some people treat you when you do make one is enough to send any person let a lone a person who is à vulnerable person with mental health problems over the edge. 

I am not famous like Caroline Flack yet my home town, many people in it and the newspaper reports made me feel horrific. 

My heart goes out to Caroline and her family she leaves behind. 

The people who truly cared for her I can only imagine will have a combination of feelings. 

One of my friends took his life a few tsars ago and working in mental health for many years I know first hand the impact upon the loved ones it leaves behind. 

From my experience the loved ones quite often blame themselves and one of the many emotions can be guilt. These are the people that shouldn't feel guilty. 

The people who should feel guilty are the ones that judged. 

No one will know the reasons for Caroline taking her life and I'm sure there are a lot of contributing factors but what I do know is that those brutally mean people, the tabloids, those that judged her are likely to be one of the many contributing factors and for that they should feel ashamed. 

I've mentioned before that I've attempted to end my life and it's been after things becoming way to much to cope with. Ive been in the dark and could not see a future and felt there was no way out. At those times I couldnt see or think clearly, it seemed like the easiest option for me. In hindsight not for those who loved me. 

Suicide isn't a selfish act. Yes,  it might appear that way to onlookers without any understanding. But at that very moment before trying to end your life, I didnt have and others im sure didnt have the capacity to be selfish. In fact it feels the exact polar opposite because it feels like you no longer want you or your loved ones to suffer for the way you feel or for the things youve done. I for one can say when you are in that dark place you are not thinking clearly and it feels that although you know people love you it would just be easier in the long run if you didnt cause them or yourself any more pain. 

I am a survivor and now know that actually the scars of suicide cause far more pain to loved ones than making constant bad decisions and making mistake after mistake. 

For Caroline, couldn't see this because she was effective in completing taking her life as many others sadly will never realise. 

I do understand now having been there several times. Yes, I still occasionally have thoughts of thinking it would be easier but I've learnt that my true loved ones will still be here for me no matter how shit my life is or what mistakes I make. 

I know my parents would rather see me in prison again, crying, and feeling temporaily depressed than in a coffin. For there is no escape from a coffin there is always escape from tears, pain and depression. 

My heart sincerely goes out to Caroline and Carolines loved ones and to anyone else who has or is going through similar. I genuinely understand. 

I only wish society didn't judge. I will at some point write a post on the effects of social media and reality TV and the impact it has on mental wellbeing. 

But for now sleep well Caroline 

Friday, 14 February 2020

Can we define love? (JJ & HFR)

I've been asking my self what love is right from the age of 14 years old, when I had my very first flutter in my heart whilst sitting playing Super Mario Bros on the Nintendo (SNES) in my friends bedroom.

As I stared at his petrol blue Kensington Freak jeans and Nike Air Max trainers I started to feel something that I had never felt before. I am unsure if it was a mental or a physical feeling, or a combination of the two.

I suppose at 14 hormones are kicking in and you are developing from a child into a teenager, in some cultures, this is even seen as adulthood, albeit I was still very much a child.

The sensations I felt were warm and fuzzy. For this boy was wonderful, although quite moody at times! He was 12 and a half, and yes sounds quite obscure talking about a boy of that age and attaching those sorts of emotions in that way but at the time it felt more than right. 

He was adorable. Big eyes, long eye lashes, he played the guitar, loved dogs, he was funny and kind and very romantic. He respected me. I fancied the pants off him for the way he looked, smelt and behaved.

He wrote me letters, which is a beautiful thing as children today wont ever experience that as it is all text messages and emojis. We used to write to each other and post through the letter box of our family home.

We were at different schools and I used to run on my lunch break to his school to have a kiss over the fence, for I was in the first year of high school and could leave the premises at lunch time, where as he was still in middle school and stuck behind the school fence. After running there, which was a distance, probably the reason I have buggered knees now, we probably only had 10 - 15 minutes together but it was worth it.

This wasn't a sexual relationship by any stretch of the imagination, for back then sexual intimacy wasn't exactly on mind. 

This was different and oh so innocent. We made dens, played on our bikes, danced to MTV music videos, back when MTV actually played music videos instead of all this reality TV crap they show nowadays.

We had a love of the same music, back then we were both very much into Guns and Roses and Red Hot Chilli Peppers, which I do still like to listen to now. This boy was mad on Axl Rose and I drew him a picture of him, as I was an alright artist and wanted to do something nice for him. He displayed it proudly in his bedroom.

The connection we had was pretty epic, even though we were both so young and wondering what the hell the opposite sex is all about, not dissimilar to how I feel now if the truth be told.

We had our special songs and he gave me some fashionable dog tags engraved with our names on. For Christmas he bought me a friendship ring which I proudly wore.

In my school tie, I used to etch out the material and doodle our names on it next to hearts. 

I don't think we ever ushered the words " I love you" to each other but it didn't need to be said. There was no requirement for it. We both just knew how we felt and enjoyed the time we had. It was something deep and exciting, even at such a young age.

Unfortunately at that age there are so many other things going on and if I am honest playground bullshit. We started to get a bit older, he went to high school and not the one I was at, we met knew people and that sense of flirting came in. He became more moody and I started to get interest else where. Sadly it came to quite an ending resulting in him standing in front of me and ripping my carefully drawn Axl Rose picture in half whilst I then threw his precious Nike Air Max Trainer into some stinging nettles. Ode to be young!

It was unfortunate to say that what ever we had once was now indeed very much over. 

It wasn't until my mid twenties that we saw each other again, although I always kind of knew what he was up to and I think this was mutual. 

We had both moved on but somehow there was always this huge amount of respect for one another. I had never really had that from dipping in and out of any the relationships I'd had up to that point.

At that stage we would talk and laugh and reminisce about that period in our lives. We were never once mean or horrible to each other, despite the fact we had gone our separate ways.

I went through quite a bad patch what with failed relationships in my 20s but he always came through for me. 

He made me mixed CD's of songs that he knew would cheer me up and wrote a wooden sign on the side of the road which he knew I would see on my journey to work saying "you got this" with the  initial of my name" followed by "I care".

We started hanging around in a local pub together,  a large group of us who used sit in the pub and more often than not pile back to my flat or someone else's near by and drink, smoke, listen to music and play guitar.

He at this point had a girlfriend, who made it quite clear of her hatred for me because I was friends with him. I would never have jeopardised their relationship and respected he was with someone. He was someone from my childhood who I had and still had utmost respect for and vice versa, but none the less she made my life hell, even when I explained to her, she despised me. 

We gradually drifted apart over the years, but if I ever see him I know that that respect has never changed. There  will always be a place in my life for him, whether it be actively talking or not. 

Can you call that love? I don't know.

The Oxford English dictionary defines love as:

"An intense feeling of romantic attachment based on an attraction felt by one person for another; intense liking and concern for another person, typically combined with sexual passion"

If I correlate that definition to the feelings and even physical (I suppose sexual) sensations I felt back then to how I felt about this boy well when all is said and done I suppose it was love according to the Oxford English dictionary.

However, I don't wholeheartedly believe that definition. In principle it all sounds very nice and has the wow factor, who wouldn't want to feel that? But I think there is far more to it.

To me saying those 3 little words "I love you" and I am talking in a romantic sense of the word here, because lets face it you can love your family, friends, pet, the flowers in the garden or the smell of a bakery. I am talking about the other person, your significant other what ever and who ever that is.

To me it is more about actions than those words. I know with that boy, back then, and even now that the reason I had such great respect for him was because although neither of us said those words we proved it in our actions. The respect was constant and never waived, even now, I am sure if we saw each other that it would still be there.

I have had so many failed relationships since that time and the words, I love you have always been mentioned by both parties but actually their actions were far from showing that. Which makes me think, was it in fact love? It fits with the Oxford English definition at certain points of those relationships, but was never a constant within the relationship, in fact far from it at times.

Recently I have spent 5 months with someone who upon reflection felt not too dissimilar to the time I had with the boy when I was 14. The only difference being that this also included sexual intimacy.

This man came out of nowhere and if the truth be told I wasn't exactly looking for a relationship at that time for feeling quite lost and unsure of where my life was heading and carrying a lot of pain and hurt from previous relationships. I think the feelings that grew between us hit us both in the face like a steam roller. I don't think either of us were expecting to feel what we did.

It wasn't a conventional relationship, in fact from external observations, others wouldn't even classify it to be deemed as a relationship. But for us it was our relationship. Whatever that was. It was our "Bubble".

We spoke about everything. The intensity that we both experienced and shared in both an emotional and sexual way was something I know neither of us had experienced before. He was a real gentleman, he proved chiverly wasn't dead. He opened doors for me, hung my coat up, got my chair. Attentive didn't come close.

We didn't go out and have external distractions from the world we had each other and strangely that was enough. I think we knew if we faced the world it would be amazing but actually it seemed so much safer and easier to stay in our bubble.

He had the most amazing smile and snorted when he really laughed. His sense of humour was hilarious and we bounced off one another in fits of giggles. I was so attracted to him both physically and mentally.

Our confidence grew with one another and it was a crazy mixed bag of feelings. We were so open with one another and if an issue arose we spoke about it. We communicated amazingly. He was able to articulate his feelings so well and although at times I struggled to say what I felt, he tried his hardest to extract it from me instead of shutting me down and dismissing my difficulty.

We sat for hours talking, in such a small amount of time I felt like he knew me, like really saw me for the girl I was. He knew me better than any long term relationship boyfriend I'd had. I was vulnerable but so was he, he knew that, yet was so respectful he never once took advantage of that fact. Which he so easily could have.

I learnt so much about life and he taught me to grow as a person. I had never realised that men could be like this. 

In reflection, he is the most similar man to that of the 12 and a half year old boy I cared so much for. In fact in many ways looking back both are very similar characters. 

They are both, handsome, intelligent, emotionally articulate men. Most men I have met fall into these categories:

1: Not very intelligent but really fun who are emotionally stunted.
2: Very intelligent and no fun who are emotionally stunted

These two guys were both academically intelligent but also were street level intelligent, great fun and not afraid to show emotion, very rare. They are the only 2 men that have cried with me. 

Within our bubble he made me laugh, smile and we used to talk about the world in ways I had never seen before. The sex was unbelievably connected and both agreed that it was something to hang in the hall of fame! We connected on so many levels. It was escapism for us both from the lives that we found our selves so lost in.

He gave me nothing but respect and I provided the same. It was a constant.

He is probably the most honest man I have ever met, even said things I didn't want to hear, but that was why it worked so well. I never doubted him and trusted him implicitly. I know this was a two way feeling.

We both were at a point of vagueness and at cross roads in our lives. We never foresaw this happening yet we both knew deep down that it would be quite impossible for it to ever go anywhere. 

We lived in different countries and had grown up in different cultures and although that shouldn't matter, life is tough and not always practical and goes the way you would like.

When we both decided that what we had would have to come to an end it was probably the most precious experience I have had. I'm not sure if it was a break up as such as we were never actually together to be deemed in a traditional relationship.

It was difficult for us both as whatever we had I know that we both felt it.

For me conventional break ups have usually involved lack of communication, hatred, anger fuelled by bitterness and pain followed by harsh words or total silence.

This was far from that. Yes indeed there was pain, for both parties as something was coming to an end that had been something so significant in both our lives.

We sat and cried and hugged one another, you could feel the heartache in the room as we said our goodbyes.

He reiterated how much he valued, respected and cared for me and he knew I felt the same. For the entire time together the words "I love you" were never said. People say those words too readily nowadays, but along with those words do the actions come?

Our actions spoke volumes.

If I use that definition of the Oxford English dictionary I probably did love him. But there was so much more than that. The words he spoke to me were always backed up by his actions. The respect we have for one another and the experience that we shared is irreplaceable.

Some people never ever feel what I have felt when I was 14 and more recently with this man, which is sad because to me that is the definition of connection. It is a rare phenomenon.  

I know that I will always be able to pick up the phone and he will respond, I know that he too will carry this special arrangement we had in his heart forever. We will be able to be friends.

He will move on and so will I. Our paths are going in different directions but ultimately I know he too like the 12 and a half year old boy he will always be a happy memory. Never clouded with disappointment and destruction like the others.
Is he on his forever path? only he knows that, for it is not my journey to say or analyse.  Am I on my forever path? I think not.

Since our departure, I have asked him a few questions regarding the situation we found ourselves in and to prove that he values me, he would call immediately and talk this through with me. Someone without respect and someone who doesn't value me would not do that. I know he would not want to contribute to any more scars I have and has been nothing but honest and respectful.

This wasn't our time. But the time we had was intense and amazing and no one can ever take that away from either of us.

So is love definable?

Love is powerful and means different things to different people. I don't think you can define it yet we can all can feel it.

The men that have said "I love you" have never shown it by treating me with respect and valuing me. Yes, I have been attracted to them and liked parts of their personalities but actually there was a massive void. Their lack of communication skills proved to be challenging and in no doubt contributed to the animosity that grew inside us.

Yet the two men that have never said "I love you", gave me more respect and value than I could ever imagine possible.

Sadly in the numerous relationships I have had, I have only experienced this twice.

Will I ever experience it again? Who knows. The bar is set pretty high now and actually I am unsure if a deep and meaningful relationship is possible with the men I generally date.

I wish I could have been this insightful when I was 14! Hindsight is a beautiful thing!

I am truly grateful for having the experience with these two men as I am sure others might not have ever felt it.

I mean I was 14 years old when I first experienced it and I have only just experienced it again and I am 41 now. I didn't actually realise that I could feel this way or indeed have someone else feel this way and treat me with the respect I deserve until now. 

I thank both of these two men for allowing me to experience this and they will always be imprinted into my soul.

Can I define love? Maybe I can now, maybe I cant. But I certainly understand the actions that should follow the words "I love you" These two men have enabled me to do this. Are words that important anyway?

As the age old saying goes "Actions speak louder than words ever will"... I concur

Dedicated to JJ & HFR