Archive | June, 2014

Graduation

29 Jun

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I don’t remember the exact date (which is funny when I think of all the dates and anniversaries that I do obsess over), but it was ten years ago right around this week that I graduated from university. I was 22 years old. I was blonde (with the help of a lot of chemicals). I was fat (with the help of a lot of burgers, beer and biscuits). And I had absolutely no idea what was next.

Some of my friends were going travelling, taking time off to explore Australia and Thailand and other exotic locations. Some of my friends were coming back to university to start post-graduate studies. I had a vague idea that I wanted to work in marketing, a job in an olive oil shop, and a holiday in Spain booked with my friend Francesca.

But I wasn’t worried. Well, not exactly. I do remember about ten months later having a bit of a breakdown on my parents because I wanted someone to plan things with and someone to help me decide what to do with my life. But for the most part, after graduation I concentrated on me. I lost a TONNE of weight. I dyed my hair back to its natural dark, dark brown. I made new friends through my job. I learned how to run an olive oil shop (funny what you can do with a law degree). I moved back home with my parents for a while, and I learned to enjoy my family’s company in a way that you just don’t when you’re a troublesome teenager, full of angst and desperate to leave home.

Gradually, little by little, my life fell into place. I moved to London on my own. I got that job in marketing, and new friends, new adventures and even new boyfriends were waiting.

Right now, I feel like I’m on another one of these life precipices. I have to cross my paws and hope for the best when I say this but: I feel like I’m over my ex. It has definitely been the worst year of my life, but I am finally emerging through the darkness. And – it has to be said – I’ve learned more in the past year than I did in my four-year university degree.

I don’t think it’s just me, either. One of my greatest supports for the past year has been my blog and my blogger community. I’ve followed many of you on your own journeys as we navigate through the heartbreak and find ourselves battered, bruised, but ultimately changed for the better at the other end of the tunnel. Some of us are even friends now. And I’ve noticed the changes in you too as the clouds lift and you refocus and – ultimately – move on. So I feel like our little breakup community is graduating too.

There’s other stuff going on. I graduated my yoga course last week. Official graduation involved doing handstands which is some of the most fun I’ve had in months. I’m also graduating therapy (although I’m pretty sure that’s not the professional term for it). It’s another story for another blog, but it turns out my therapist and I had a big misunderstanding at the session before my last one. She thinks I’m doing great. And she’s a pro – she knows her stuff, right?

So, ten years after that sunny day in Edinburgh when we got our degrees, had lunch with our families (as you can imagine, fat April particularly enjoyed that part of the day) and then went out drinking and dancing all night long, I feel like I’m graduating from the biggest learning experience of my life.

I’m going to channel 22-year-old April and try not to worry. I’m going to have faith that life will fall into place.

Who knows what another ten years will bring, but I’m making a promise to myself: I’m going to enjoy the adventure.

The ledge of recovery

26 Jun

When you go through something that tears you apart, you need other people to help put you back together. When you fall, you need other people to help pick you up. When you’re drowning, you need other people to grab you by the paw and pull you upwards.

I think in the (nearly) eleven long months since the pizza of doom, I have probably driven my friends a little bit crazy at times. I’ve definitely leant on them. I’ve learned who the real ones are, and I appreciate them more than ever.

Of course it feels good when you don’t see the point to anything and you can’t see the goodness in your life or your heart, but someone reassures you that it’s still there. It’s comforting to know that people love you and want you in their lives, even if your ex doesn’t. You need those people to help build your confidence back up.

But once your confidence is built back up, you teeter on the edge of recovery. It’s a ledge. It’s narrow, and feels uneasy and a little bit scary all at once. When you reach that ledge you have to make a decision: you have to decide whether you want to be happy. And, if you do, that means you’ve got to move on. You’ve got to jump.

It’s no longer up to your friends and family to tell you how great you are, you need to feel it for yourself. You need to stand up for yourself and realise that you’re good enough and that – yes – someone treated you badly, but f*** them. F*** everyone who patronises you or tells you what to do – especially those who have never even been in a similar situation. Because your real friends still see you for the person you are deep down inside. They’ll still be there to support. Should you stumble, they’ll help you up. More than anything, they want you to take that leap too.

I’ve had an interesting couple of weeks. I think I’ve spent the past two weeks on that ledge. And, as luck would have it, a few events came into my life that helped me make my decision. Last Friday a friend who was much less sober than I was started to tell me how I should turn my life around. She told me I should quit my job, work less hours, go travelling, rent out my flat. She told me this with force. In front of people. On a drunken Friday night (when I happened to be sober).

At the time, it knocked a little air out of me. I know this friend cares about me a lot. Goodness, if she thinks my life is rubbish then it must be. But then wait – no. No. No. And no again. My life is not rubbish. I have an amazing job. I’ve worked incredibly hard to get to where I am and I’ve done it at a younger age than most people in my industry. I own my flat (which I love) in one of the greatest cities in the world. I feel so at home in my crazy little neighbourhood of hipsters, Turkish, Caribbean, and proper East End people. I am proud of this silly blog. And I’m out all the time with friends. I have a good life. Yes, I’d like someone to share it with. I think it’s a shame that I don’t get to share it with anyone, but the reason I think that way is because I know that I am one of the most caring, kind cats around. (Not to mention smart and funny with great hair and amazing taste in clothes.) So, no, I have no interest in quitting the job I’ve worked for ten years to get. And I don’t need to turn my life around. I don’t need to run away: I just need to get on with it and hope that someone sees how good my life is and wants to be part of it.

I stood up for myself and my happiness for the first time in a long time. I felt defiant, and I liked that feeling.

Which is when it hit me like a meteor or something equally powerful and beautiful.

I can jump off this ledge. I can grasp for the future. And nobody else can do it for me.

I know there are people who’ve got my back. Some of them even here on WordPress, you lovely blogger cats. Some who’ve known me for years and knew who I was before this all happened. Some who only know me since the pizza of doom, but who are able to see the person I am underneath, which makes me feel worthwhile and valued. You know who you are. You know what it means to me.

I have all the support I need. Which means I can do this. By myself. For myself.

The morning

24 Jun

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Now that the sun comes streaming in my bedroom window at about 4am every day, I’ve been resetting my body clock and getting up super early.

I’m usually up before six. I get dressed and go running just after six. Quick turnaround, wash and dry my hair (which admittedly takes a very long time), and then on to work.

I like the morning. I like early morning. I like feeling like I’m part of some secret club with other morning people when the rest of the world is still tucked away under the covers. Lazy sods. It’s like we’re all in collusion. As if nobody else knows that the buses are so quiet at this time. That my hour-long bus journey takes only ten or fifteen minutes when there’s no traffic on the roads. That the people in my coffee shop are so much friendlier at 7am, and sometimes even let me have a taste of muffins and cakes they’ve been making for the day ahead.

It’s calming and exciting all at once. The day is full of promise, but there’s a serenity to the brightness.

Even better when you know that, despite the stress and the fact you won’t be leaving the office until much, much later that evening, there are nice things waiting, like emails from special people, or songs to listen to. And coffee. Mmmmm. Coffee.

I just wish I could hit pause and make this part of the day last longer. Because, before you know it, other people start arriving in the office, and it gets noisier, and busier, and the stress kicks in, and the phones start ringing, and then it’s 4pm and you haven’t had your lunch yet, or delivered half the projects that you were supposed to. And you find yourself locked in a toilet cubicle trying to catch your breath before a conference call with the client from hell.

If only everything was as lovely as the very start of the day.

Much like the very start of relationships.

Roar

22 Jun

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Roar.

That’s me making an angry noise. Because I’m working at the weekend again. And I’m a tired, tired cat.

But I’m also releasing my inner lion because something has kicked in very recently. I don’t know what to call this thing. It’s a feeling of being back in control. It’s a feeling of being good enough. It’s hard to put my finger on, but – damn – it feels OK.

I went for a run this morning, which I’ve started doing every morning. (Note to all break upees – run, run and run some more. It has done wonders for my mood and my sausage arms.) Anyway, usually in the mornings I just get my ass in gear so I only run a mile or so. This morning I just kept going. Like Forest fricking Gump.

I got back to my flat looking like a tomato, ever so sweaty, and feeling pretty f***ing great.

“What’s changed?” I hear you ask.

Who knows. My mood has been so up and down for the past ten months, that the slightest work stress or hiccup in my social life sent me spiraling into the doom. But right now I’m about as stressed as I can get about work. I’m not sleeping great because of that. I’m working long hours. But I feel OK about it. Yup, definitely OK.

Running has helped. I’ve also got myself a pedometer and make myself take time out every day to get at least 10,000 steps in. Just so you know, yesterday I did over 18,000 – check me out. I’ve been eating right. Using a lot of essential oils and things to try and lift my mood. Buying myself peonies every single week. Making plans for the rest of the year. I’ve made a great new friend who’s like a little injection of sunshine into every day (thank you). And – what’s more – it’s actually sunny.

I remember last year, post pizza of doom, crying on a friend about how sh** my summer had been between the stress of him going away, him acting like a c***, and then him finally ending things right before I started my new job. Yup. Summer 2013 sucked. My friend said, “Just think how great next summer will be.”

Maybe she was right.

Time will tell. But, as you know, every moment in my life needs a song from Nashville to accompany it. So here’s one that simply says ROAR.

Karma

19 Jun

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I believe in Karma.

Which is why Irish Two and I get into arguments when I say, “But it’s not fair! Why am I alone? I’m so nice!” .

And he responds, “Where does this concept of fairness come from? Life isn’t fair.”

Admittedly there are times I feel like calling Karma to let it know that it missed someone.

But this morning it was spot on. Please excuse the fact I am a total meanie in this post.

This whole week I’ve had an on-off migraine. Nice. Real nice. It’s been so bad that it put me off coffee. So in the mornings I’ve been popping into Starbucks for a little chai tea latte to start the day. This morning I got to Starbucks, opened the door to step through and a couple of assholes wandered right in ahead of me. I was mad as hell.

There was a big queue (which I would have been further up had they not pushed past me).

I waited and waited.

Of course their drinks came first. Then they annoyed me by pushing past me to get to the ‘cinnamon/sugar/milk’ preparation area. And then they annoyed me even more when I was ready to dust my drink with vanilla and they were still standing there chatting.

I watched, then, as the female asshole’s bag fell forward, knocking over her coffee, which spilt everywhere.

I confess. I smiled a little.

I stepped over the spilt coffee. Grabbed the pot of vanilla. Sprinkled some on my delicious chai tea latte. Smiled at the assholes. And left.

Thanks, Karma.

Stress

17 Jun

There are days that the stress of my job overwhelms me.

Today is one of those days.

I’ve removed myself from the office to sit on some steps outside for ten minutes and calm down. My head is thumping. My heart is pounding. I feel an intense, itchy need to scream.

I can’t help but feel that if I had gone home to someone last night, or woken up with someone this morning, my stress from yesterday wouldn’t have carried over into today.

As it is, there’s no release.

I’ll be a wreck by Friday.

Adventures on Tinder

16 Jun

Wow. What a sh** day.

Let me cheer everyone up by sharing my most recent Tindering news.

There’s no shortage of hot(ish) men on there. And plenty match with me. Plenty. But, holy smokes, are they all insane?

I’m going to break it down into four categories. As it happens, I don’t seem to attract the type who send lewd messages and penis pictures. No, no. Not the perverts. For me it’s just four categories of plain old crazy.

1. The Borefriends – they are quick to message as soon as we match. Keen to make a good impression and spark conversation they start with provocative statements like, “Hi!”. The more verbose stretch to, “Hi April!”. Or even, “How was your weekend?”. Indulge them in a response and you can be stuck in boring conversation for days which never, ever leads to an invitation for drinks. They seem to want only a chaste pen pal.

2. The Douches – they ask what they need to know up-front. Usually, “Just how small are you?”. Charming. This is followed up with the unfortunate and inevitable news that they live in South West London. Then, rather than ask me out, they say something like, “We really should try and grab a drink sometime.” Hmmm. Must we just try? We could actually do it.

3. The Stalkers – oh man. I thought the dude who sent me prerecorded voice messages was odd. I had no idea. A dude started messaging me on Friday. Pretty hot. Alright chat. By Saturday morning he had recounted every aspect of every relationship he’s ever had. He asked me about mine. Call me stupid, but I actually felt a sense of relief at just being honest about my poor broken heart. And he was super understanding. And kept telling me how pretty I am.

Then the photographs started. Photos of his flat. His kitchen. A room full of pianos. His car. His face. His face. His face. Each time looking less attractive and more like a f***ing serial killer.

Then he asked to hook up on Facebook. I actually responded, “Woah woah woah. We have never even met.”

After that I ignored all his messages last night detailing his trip to the gym.

But, damn me and my loneliness, while going through the worst of days at work today I messaged him and told him how awful I felt. Cue a barrage of messages and photos. And the revelation that he doesn’t actually have a job right now.

I don’t expect much these days. But a job, yes, that you need, potential boyfriends.

4. The Stupid Interrogators – I guess it’s supposed to be a chat up line. But what are you supposed to say to the guys who message, “Why are you still single?”

I find when you respond, “Nobody has ever loved me enough to want to stay with me,” you don’t get much back.

I know. I’m being a meanie. But Tinder is so spectacularly unrewarding past that little PING when you match.

At least if the perverts were interested I could maybe have some sex.