Archive | August, 2013

Emotional at Ikea

26 Aug

I am trying to keep busy. Busy, busy, busy. It’s a bank holiday so I got up super early, drank coffee, watched Teen Mom 2, and then took a trip to Ikea. 

I want to tell you something. My ex had never been to Ikea in his life. Fascinating, isn’t it? What kind of person has never been to Ikea? Never tried to decipher the difference between a Borgstad and a Brigit bookcase? Never felt the sickening sense of panic when it becomes apparent there is no logical way to lift boxes from the warehouse into your trolley (or worse you can move them, but then get stuck halfway)? Never spent an entire weekend building, then rebuilding, a Pax wardrobe?

My ex before this one (more about him anther time) had the great pleasure of building my wardrobe with me. Tense times. Every other piece of furniture in my flat I bought and built myself. I am 5ft 1. So I feel pretty good about this. It’s something I often boast about. I like to be independent. It’s good to know I don’t need anybody else. In fact, I think it’s important.

But that isn’t the same as not wanting somebody else. And, specifically, wanting my Ikea-virgin ex.

The last time I went to Ikea was just before Christmas. I had downloaded old pictures of Hackney off a website, printed them on nice stock, and was framing them as his Christmas present. I was so excited.

Today was less fun. Although I purchased some rhubarb cordial. So things are looking up.

The whole ‘no contact with the ex’ thing

25 Aug

So. When the pizza of doom happened three weeks ago, I was in shock. He kept saying, “Is there anything you want to ask me? Are you going to be OK? You can call me anytime.” But I couldn’t get him out of my flat fast enough. He turned around at the door, I guess to hug me or something, and I asked him just to leave. I hate that memory.

Yes, I was in shock. But I think some kind of self-preservation thing kicked in. From the moment he said he had something to talk to me about (and it was clear this was not something fun), I knew that any contact we had was going to hurt me. And I cannot take being hurt any more right now. I immediately unfriended him on Facebook and deleted him from my gmail chat contacts too. I don’t need to torture myself by stalking him.

It was a few days before I realised that every website and self-help book wanted me to do just this and have no contact with him. Yay me.

Of course I’ve also been on the websites that say this is the best way to get him back. Boo me.

I haven’t really found it hard to have no contact, though. I miss him like hell. I think about him all the time. Everything reminds me of him. I cry constantly. But I know that any text or email or phone call is going to make me feel even worse. There is nothing he could say that would make this hurt less.

There’s also the fact that we’re kind of in breakup purgatory. I still have a lot of his things, including his house keys. He has my things. He has my house keys. At some point there is going to need to be contact. And I guess until then I don’t need to face that he is no longer a part of my life. Forever.

You know when you meet up with an ex (usually to exchange things or for some kind of closure) and you know it’s the last time you will ever see the person? I don’t think I can face that. I think I’ll have to tell him he can come and pick up his things when I’m not here. Which means the last time I saw him will forever be that awkward moment when he turned around to hug me.

I’m kind of surprised he hasn’t been in touch at all. I’m surprised he hasn’t checked in to see if I’m ok, or at least wanted his things back. But then I was surprised when he ate half a pizza, stroked me, cuddled me, and then promptly broke up with me. 

He’s back in New York now for two weeks. I guess I won’t be hearing from him til he gets back to London. And so the no contact continues. Well, according to the books, at least I’m doing something right.

A red velvet caketastrophe

24 Aug

My ex loved my red velvet cupcakes. He used to say that the first time I baked them for him was a “significant moment in our relationship”. Who could blame him? I’m a damn fine baker.

But since the break up I am incapable of making red velvet cake. I tried last weekend for my friend’s hen party (which I ended up leaving after 24 hours because I couldn’t stop crying). They came out of the oven a murky brown.

Tonight I gave it another go, trying to make a large red velvet cake to take to a friend’s house tomorrow. It’s eggplant-coloured.

I guess I’ll know I’m finally on the mend when I get that springy, yummy, scarlet sponge right again. Or maybe I need to find a new recipe. One that doesn’t remind me of him.

Why does everything smell of my ex?

24 Aug

It’s been three weeks since the pizza of doom. I’m kind of surprised that I’m still incapable of pulling myself together. This morning I woke up and decided it was time to put his stuff in a bin bag and get it out of sight. It’s no fun seeing his protein bars in the fridge, his jeans hanging in my wardrobe, his aftershave in my bathroom cabinet. I felt positive about this decision. I would get my flat hetoxed. I would put new sheets on my bed. I would deep clean. Everything would feel fresh. And fresh would feel better.

Very ambitious. Very naive. Wow. I had no idea it was going to hurt this much. As soon as I opened “his drawer” the tears started. Big, ugly, sobby tears. My neighbour must have heard me howling, I’m quite sure. At one point I thought I was going to vomit from crying so much. 

Anyway. I’ve packed everything away. My flat is so teensy, tiny that I can’t really get “the bag” out of sight. It’s blatantly going to sit in my bedroom like a giant, mean elephant in the room.

I decided to keep going and clean out my entire life so have been through my wardrobes and drawers sorting clothes into ‘keep’, ‘bin’, and ‘charity shop’. Here’s the weird thing: all my stuff smells of him. Even things that I’m sure I never wore when we were together. 

I love his smell. I always did. 

Why is my nose torturing me? Does stuff really smell of him or am I imagining it? Can he smell me at his house? And when the hell is this going to get easier?

The thing is, I guess I don’t want everything to feel fresh. Because fresh means he’s gone.

What if?

23 Aug

What if I had pushed him to tell me what he was thinking?
What if I hadn’t accepted exhaustion and work stress as justifications for ignoring me?
What if I hadn’t put on weight when I was with him?
What if I was thinner?
What if I was prettier?
What if I was more up-to-date on current affairs?
What if I hadn’t confided that I’m so nervous about my new job?
What if I had argued more?
What if I had told him not to break up with me?
What if I had begged and told him all the reasons that we’re so right together? What if I’d been better?
What if I’d been more?
What if I’d said, “I know you’re tired, but we’re still walking over the Brooklyn Bridge”?
What if we could go back to the start?
What if I could be with him now instead of watching The Newsroom, washing my gym clothes, and buying things I don’t need on Topshop online?
What if he still loved me?

God help me. Am I the only one (who’s ever felt this way)?

23 Aug

I’m not ashamed to say it: I’m a big country music fan. Hell, I lived in Austin for a year, how could I not be? But right now more than ever I’m taking solace in the wise words and lyrical ways of the likes of Taylor, Reba, and – of course – the Dixie Chicks.

In fact, I’ve made myself a nice little Spotify playlist charmingly entitled, ‘J**** Ch**** I feel like S***’. I added the *s in case anyone’s easily offended. The original is far more crude.

Well, today (break up day 20 as it goes) I’m listening over and over and over and over to the Dixie Chicks ‘Am I the Only One (Who’s Ever Felt This Way?)’.

Every word rings so fricking true it had me sobbing on the Central Line this morning. I guess the secret’s in the name. Yes, it makes me cry til I’m red and shaky, but it feels good to know that – if the Dixie Chicks are singing about it – I can’t be the only one who’s ever felt this miserable. Misery loves company, right? And if others have lived through this steaming pile of crap then I can too.

I’m smothered by this emptiness. I wish I was made of stone. Like a fool I led my soul to love and it paid me back in change. There is a wound inside me and it’s bleeding like a flood. There’s times when I see a lot ahead, but hope is not enough. Yes, yes, yes. I feel all of these things, Dixie Chicks.

But there is a line with which I take exception. ‘And it wrung me out, and strung me out, and it hung years on my face.’

Dear. God. No.

I think I’m a pretty average-looking girl by all accounts. I’m not one to plaster on makeup or get overly concerned about the state of my hair (which hasn’t been cut in eight years). But, by fortunate accident, I’m blessed with looking about five years younger than I actually am. Ain’t no way I’m letting this break up take what remains of my youth.

Dixie Chicks – Am I The Only One

Missing him

22 Aug

Last night I had fun. Maybe for the first time since the pizza of doom. We had a reunion of buddies and colleagues who hadn’t been in the same place at the same time for years. And everyone’s life is moving on so perfectly. People are getting married, people are buying houses together, people are making new people. Weird thing is, I thought I’d feel bitter and twisted. But I felt genuinely happy for them all.

In the past when I’ve broken up with people I haven’t really missed them. I’ve been overwhelmed with anxiety that I’ll never get married, never have kids, never get the perfect house in the country complete with cats, dogs and – per chance – a pony. (Yes, I’m that traditional.) This time, these things haven’t even crossed my mind. In fact, if my ex was to say he never wanted any of these things – not even a goldfish – I’d still want to be with him. Because it’s him.

So I’m not panicking about never meeting someone else because I don’t think I’ll ever be attracted to anyone else. The thought of kissing someone else makes me feel physically sick, let alone marrying someone else.

I miss him.

I miss him so much that it wakes me up at night. It blindsides me when I’m walking around the supermarket trying to take an interest in food. It sneaks up on me when I’m busy, well, trying to keep busy. And sometimes it reduces me to the nervous wreck I was sitting in City Airport twitching and crying the day after it happened.

It’s hard. But the good news is I can feel genuinely happy for my friends. This is particularly helpful as I have two weddings coming up in the next three weeks.

Also, when your friends are awesome enough to send you beautiful flowers that make you feel loved on a miserable day, you can’t really help but be happy for all the nice things that happen to those friends in life, can you? Thank you, Jennie. X

P.S. My ex never bought me flowers. Just saying.

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The story so far (and why pizza is painful right now)

21 Aug

In October last year I started emailing a guy on a well-known dating site. Actually, let’s be clear, he started emailing me. (These details really matter to me right now.) We felt a connection straight away. As fate would have it, we couldn’t meet up for a month, but we stayed in touch and really got to know each other over email. So, by the time we finally met, we both already had pretty strong feelings. Five dates later he invited himself over to my flat since it’s in the catchment area for what is probably the best pizza takeaway in London. We ate pizza, we watched DVDs, we snogged like teenagers, and he asked me to be his girlfriend.

We were disgustingly happy. And I never even questioned that we were going to end up together. After all, a couple of months in he was the one talking about marriage and babies and moving in together. He told me he loved me. He pushed for us to meet each other’s families. He told me how much happier he was when he was with me. Now, you don’t know me yet, but trust me, I am not the kind of girl who starts planning her wedding after her first date. I’m too old and wise for that. 31 to be precise. But, for him, I let my guard down.

The months went on and we got into a lovely routine. We met the parents. We planned to take a month off next year to travel around Japan. And the whole time he warned me about how stressful his summer was going to be due to his job. But after the summer we would move in together. In fact, we did live together for a month. He moved into my flat while his house was being renovated. And we got on great.

I couldn’t believe my luck. But in a way I felt like I deserved this. I mean, I’ve had more than my fair share of disastrous relationships and humiliating dates. When I was 23 I went on a date with an investment banker who left me after one drink because he had, “a piece of chicken in the fridge that needs used tonight.” Harsh, right? So – thank goodness – everything was finally working out for me.

He went on holiday for two weeks. He was in touch every day. He told me he loved me even more when he was away.

Then his crazy summer of work kicked off. And he went to New York.

He was to be there for two weeks, then back in London for a week, then back in New York for six weeks. Did I think that this sucked? Of course I did. Did I complain? No. I was the supportive, cheerful girlfriend who he needed during this stressful time.

He came home after the first two weeks and something wasn’t right. I told him I felt insecure. I told him things felt odd. He said I was paranoid and had bad PMS.

When he went back to New York I felt awful. I was anxious, I was insecure, but he kept telling me he was just stressed with work. And I kept telling myself it was only six weeks. In fact, we saw each other at a wedding in Ireland two weeks later and everything seemed fine. Then I went out to visit in New York for a week and I thought everything seemed pretty much back to normal.

I should have trusted my guts.

The day he got back from New York I was super excited. I cleaned my flat, I got in booze to make his favourite cocktails, I texted him and said I would order “our pizza” for dinner.

He came over, hugged me, spent a good hour and a half on my sofa stroking me and cuddling me and eating pizza. Then he said he felt sick because he had, “something to tell me.” Turns out it was a little more than “something”. He had spent the past two months thinking about whether he wanted to be with me and had decided that he did not. He acknowledged that he had always been the one to talk about moving in together, but said he had actually never felt that way about me. He told me he was so much happier when he was with me, but “something’s missing”.

Honestly, I was in shock. There’s so many things I wish I had asked or thought to say. I ended up just asking him to leave so that I could call my friend. And before I even really knew what had happened he was gone, I was on my own again, and that f***ing pizza of doom was sat on my kitchen table – mocking me for my stupidity.

I’ve spent the past two and a half weeks going between my parents’ home in Scotland and my flat in London. I’ve spent a fortune on flights, massages and vodka. I’ve never felt like this in my life. And I thank god every day for my lovely friends who are on-hand to offer advice, encouragement, alcohol, halloumi, and powerful words of wisdom like these, “You will eat pizza again, Apes.”