Archive | July, 2014

The doomaversary is looming

13 Jul

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Apologies to all my male readers, but: DEAR GOD MY HORMONES ARE DRIVING ME CRAZY.

I’m totally wiped out. I’m struggling to think of a time I’ve felt this tired. Between work going bananas, trying to keep up with all my classes and hobbies and running, and dealing with hormonal issues, I really need to hibernate for some of the summer. Instead I can’t get through a night’s sleep without being woken in serious amounts of pain. Pain, I can deal with. Pain is pain. What is unexpected is the tears.

I haven’t cried about my ex in weeks. This morning I did.

I know I can blame my hormones and I know that this will pass, but I also think it’s to do with the time of year. My therapist has told me before that grief remembers anniversaries, dates and events. It’s like they become hardwired into our system and we have a physical reaction to them.

One of my friends has mentioned the same phenomenon to me before. After she went through an (entirely different but entirely just as traumatic) experience, she found herself breaking down in uncontrollable tears at some point in the future. When she traced timings back she realised it was a year to the day since her life had turned upside down. Weird things, our minds and bodies.

Anyway, a year ago right now I was all excited to be going out to visit him in New York while he was working there.

Little did I know that I would go to New York, and then the following week he would come home and tell me he had never been in love with me.

The pizza of doomaversary is three weeks away.

I’m determined to make it a positive door-closing, moving-on, life-affirming kind of experience. So I’ve booked an appointment with my psychic for the day before, and I’ve invited friends over on the 3rd of August for – yup, it has to be – pizza.

But I’m holding out my paws and asking for help. I’ve felt so good and so relieved the past few weeks, I really hope that once the 3rd of August is out of the way I will feel better still. So I’m open to suggestions on things to do that will help make this a positive experience. Whether it’s nice things to do for myself, therapeutic things, or even things to buy myself because – hell – I deserve it, I want to hear from you.

The doomaversary is looming.

What can I do to make sure it’s an ending and a new beginning?

The ups and downs of breakup recovery

11 Jul

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I feel a little down today.

Mainly because I am so exhausted. And so hormonal.

And, I’ll admit it, I thought a little about my ex this morning. Probably precisely because I am so exhausted and so hormonal.

But tomorrow is Saturday, which means I know I won’t be down for long.

I guess this is the next stage in this break up saga – mostly feeling fan-fricking-tastic, but occasionally getting caught a little off-guard by some sad thoughts.

I’m OK with that. It’s still a billion times better than being the April of July 2013 – blissfully happy and blissfully ignorant.

Here’s to Fridays, my blogger buddies.

Yesterday was plain awful

10 Jul

Funny crazy looking cat picture

Yesterday was stupid.

I woke up at 4.30am, and couldn’t get back to sleep. So I went for a run just after 5. I had to be in work shortly after that, but stopped to treat myself to a fruit cup and coffee from Pret.

Uh. Oh. This was where I should just have turned around and gone back to bed. The fruit was dried out and sour. The coffee had milk in it. I don’t do milk. I don’t like it. It’s makes me gag. And, on more than one occasion, vomit. What a way to ruin a coffee – and my Wednesday.

Then work began. And did not stop. It went on, and on, and on. Until around 6.30pm when I was thinking I could get ready to pack up and go home, but answered a call from the New York office. One of my team hadn’t sent their work on. The buck stops with me. And when I couldn’t get through to him on the phone, or find the files on the server, I had to redo the work.

(I should also mention that by this point in the day I had consumed at least 7,000 calories. I do not think this would have happened had I enjoyed my fruit cup that morning.)

I left work, and it was raining. I decided I needed to walk a lot to try and calm myself and get some exercise, so walked up to Islington to go to Waitrose and buy some pumpkin ravioli. At the back of my head, I kept thinking I would not have time to digest said ravioli before bed, but I wanted it so much.

Cue a mini meltdown in Waitrose when every single person on the tills decided to just stop and chat to their customers for a good ten minutes rather than actually serve anyone else. Cue customers behind me hassling me to hassle the checkout staff. It was all very stressful.

And then there were no buses.

I got in the door to my flat, anxious to get this pumpkin ravioli cooking ASAP. And the phone rang. It was my Dad.

“Dad, I literally just got in the door.”

By this point it is past 9pm.

And he talks, and talks, and talks. Mainly about the weather.

I got kind of snippy. Then made my ravioli, ate it in a rush, and then called him back to apologise for being a grump, at which point my Mum wanted to talk.

I stuffed myself with more chocolate.

DID I MENTION HOW HORMONAL I AM RIGHT NOW?

And went to bed.

It was a stupid day.

But what I really wanted to tell you all is that I did not cry. I got angry with a few people, but I did not end up locked in a cubicle at work trying to calm down. And I didn’t wish that I was coming home to someone to tell about my day and cuddle and love.

I was, in fact, 100% delighted when I put down the phone to my parents, turned on the TV, and had a good hour to myself before falling asleep.

This, my friends, is progress.

Datecation?

9 Jul

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I can’t be bothered with men.

At our company conference on Friday I gave our CFO access to my Tinder account. In fact, I let her play on it for a good thirty minutes or so and hook me up with lots of men. I would like to say “young, hot men” or “eligible bachelors”. But I’d be lying.

It gave me a kick start, though. I’d not been on a dating site in a couple of weeks, and suddenly I had ten guys messaging me. But why does everyone want to talk on the phone, though?

It’s not that I can’t hold a conversation or worry about talking on the phone. I think my voice is nice enough. I can chat away to anyone. But I’m really, really busy right now.

I have no time to spend evenings speaking to men I don’t know. I’m busy learning Italian and going to awards ceremonies and visiting friends and doing yoga and eating olives.

I guess, if I was really interested, I would make time. I do allocate a fairly generous number of hours to my favourite television shows.

So maybe I’m just not ready?

In fact, if I consider what would happen if I actually met someone. Well. Wait. I can’t imagine it. I can’t imagine liking anyone right now. Not in a sad “ohmygodI’llbealoneforever” way. It’s just I’m enjoying getting to know myself again. Because I’ve changed. And I’m so fun to hang out with. It’s nice to rediscover how happy I can be in my own company.

I do want to meet someone one day. Of course I do. But for now I might take a datecation and relieve myself of the boring text chat and ongoing requests to talk on the phone.

Or maybe I’ll just wait for a dude with some decent manners who can muster up the energy to actually ask me out.

The cost of a break up

8 Jul

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I’ve ranted and raved plenty about everything I lost after the pizza of doom. The man I loved. My best friend. The ability to sleep, eat, and dress myself. Reason. Logic. Hope. My sense of humour. All my beautiful plans for the future. My two hypothetical children.

Gone. In the snap of his fingers. Or, more specifically, in a mumbled, confusing speech he managed to blurt out while digesting half a pizza.

A pizza I f***ing paid for.

And that’s what I want to talk about today, buddies. For eleven months I’ve watched my bank balance do some real feats of acrobatics.

Anything to feel better.

I bought every self-help book that Amazon stocks. I went to psychics. Therapy. Reiki. Online dating. Flights. Holidays. Business-class flights (well, the air stewardesses make me feel so special). Train tickets. Yoga classes. Italian classes. My good friends at KobKun Thai Massage might as well have a direct debit from my bank account. Buying myself extravagant bouquets of flowers. And boxes of chocolates. And paintings. New furniture. Rugs. Lamps. More self-help books.

It’s best not to think too much about the cash monies I’ve shelled out in the name of feeling “less awful”.

But I’m usually a careful cat with money, so I can’t help thinking about it. A lot.

Well, guess what, buddies. It actually doesn’t worry me.

I could have pissed away money on alcohol and drugs. Or Louboutins (which are magnificent creations, but my little paws could never walk in them).

I have plenty to show for my power spending. My flat looks awesome. I can speak Italian and do handstands. I’ve visited friends and family, and earned a lot of airmiles. And, honestly, it makes tears swim in my eyes to consider how my therapist helped put me back together.

I didn’t just spend: I made investments. In me.

Investing in me is something I’ve never been great at when in relationships. I have a tendency to put my boyfriend first. And second. And third.

So next time (and there will be a next time) I’ll need to find someone who treats me as nicely as I’ve learned to treat myself. I know this now.

However my next relationship begins, and ends, he’ll pay for the f***ing pizza.

So what’s the financial cost of this break up?

I don’t even care. It’s money well spent.

I’m a guest blogger today, buddies

7 Jul

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So, what’s going on?

Oh, you know, I’m just guest blogging over at Lessons from the End of a Marriage.

I am totally honoured to be featured today on the blog of Lisa Arends, who has been such an inspiration to me since the pizza of doom. If you’ve never checked her out before, now would seem like the perfect time to make yourself a coffee, find a comfy chair, and read everything she has to say. Plus my guest post, of course.

Does true love even exist?

6 Jul

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I watched a particularly intense episode of 90210 this morning. Spoiler alert – it was episode 23 from back in season four. If you don’t watch the show, don’t worry. I can explain what was going down fairly succinctly: Naomi fell head-over-Louboutin-heels for a rich dude going by the name of PJ. In the space of three or four days, they got engaged. Then she discovered he was only in a rush to get married because otherwise he would lose his trust fund (that bastard). Props to Naomi, she walked away. But it hit her hard. At one point she throws her perfectly manicured hands up in the air and declares that love doesn’t exist. It isn’t real. It’s all fake.

I know how she felt in that moment. The same thought has dominated my head and my heart for most of the past year.

Yet, though I felt blindsided and Catfished and a number of other horrible things by my ex, I could see what looked like love all around me. In my friends’ relationships. In my parents’ relationship. In my sister’s. In the guys I work with shopping painstakingly for the perfect birthday gifts for their wives and girlfriends. Not to mention all those little gems of love that we all witness every day – couples holding each other close as they walk home, or kissing each other goodbye at the bus stop in the morning.

For a long time I believed that all those relationships were fake too.

I felt quite smug about it. I knew better than these stupid, happy morons. Love is, after all, just a big fat pack of lies fed to us by that damn double H of manipulation (Hollywood and Hallmark).

Now that the mist of sadness is finally clearing, and my hope for the future is starting to kick in, I can see things differently.

Yes, what I had was fake. That’s a tough pill to swallow, but I have accepted it even if it still feels like it’s stuck in my throat and possibly going to choke me to death. If what he told me in the end is true, then everything that my ex told me up to that point was bullsh**. Like lines he had memorised. The things you are supposed to say when you’re in love. It boils down to this: every time that he told me he loved me, he didn’t. Thump. That’s a punch to the stomach of disappointment wrapped in humiliation.

But, yes, I’m no longer ashamed to say it. What I had was fake.

That doesn’t, however, mean that all relationships are.

In fact, I’m starting to think it’s much like shopping for a designer handbag. If you know what you’re looking for, you can spot the difference between a Mulberry and a fake. Sometimes it might be glaringly obvious. But sometimes it might look, feel and even smell like a Mulberry. However, the trained eye will know to look for that particular stitch on the lining, or the letter that can be found under the ‘Made in’ label on the inside. The trained eye knows a fake, and knows when it has found the real thing. Because the trained eye has seen the good, the bad, and the heinously ugly before. It’s a question of experience.

Experience is something I now have.

I’ve learned from the pizza of doom. I’ve learned to recognise the warning signs. I’ve learned that if something feels too good to be true, then it probably is. And while it had the potential to turn me into a cynical old hag who shies away from others and festers away eating meals for one and bitching about the price of them, it didn’t. Because I’m using what I’ve learned to train my heart. Which means it was a worthwhile experience, if only because it was an education.

I’m not looking for something that doesn’t exist. In fact, I’ve developed the skills to find it.

Who are we all, anyway?

5 Jul

Alaska, two gray wolves at the forests edge.

Yesterday was our company conference.

This means that my day started super early at a hotel in central London, making small talk and eating stupidly small croissants. We then had a whole day of “exploratory” exercises that were meant to help us decipher who we are as individuals, and as a business. The day was run by an external company. I (and most other people) took an instant dislike to the man running it. Ugh. He made my skin crawl. He was a fat man on a massive ego trip, and also a man incapable of referencing any success story (business or otherwise) that featured a woman. He also misquoted Steve Jobs. Repeatedly.

It has to be said – the feedback from most people was that the highlight of the day was a five-minute presentation I gave in the afternoon which compared our important marketing work to the work of Dr Cristina Yang in Grey’s Anatomy, and then went on to assign “animal spirits” that illustrate our company culture. In case you’re wondering, we are penguins, wolves and cats.

I’m just showing off, but the point is, the rest of the day felt simulated, manipulated and very, very inauthentic.

What was authentic, was sitting in a pub sixteen hours later, drinking wine and talking about life and love and – essentially – who we are with two of my colleagues. One, a man, married, in his early 50s, once divorced already. The other a girl, around my age, very recently married. And then me. Single as a hungry mole.

We were discussing our own love lives. I was telling them more about the pizza of doom. The guy was discussing his first marriage. The girl was talking about how different she and her husband are, and how that helps them to fit. It was deep, dude. And we were all agreeing that life and love take all kinds of different shapes, but none is less relevant than the rest. Nobody is less important because of their circumstances. What is important is that you’re happy.

In the past few weeks, I feel happy again. My heart feels glad. I’m sure you’ve noticed a change in my posts. I’ve certainly noticed a change in my ability to keep mascara on my face.

Now, this brings me back to the wolf animal spirit. You might be wondering what that was all about. Perhaps it sounds ferocious or brave. But, no, the wolves are a symbol of support. We have a fiercely supportive culture in my company. Just like a pack of wolves, in which everyone has a role. In a pack of wolves, there are hunters, protectors, there are even wolves who play the clown to keep everyone’s spirits up. They all do their thing well, and I’ll bet that their wolfy self-esteem is all hooked up in that. They don’t need to aspire to be anyone else because the other wolves value them for being exactly who they are. And that’s got to feel good. Everyone wants to be loved for being themselves, right?

Likewise, in my company we all have our own roles to play. Our niches. Whether we’re creative, or best at strategy, or building client relationships, or project management, we find what we’re good at and we do that. To the very best of our abilities.

Which is kind of how it is in life, right? Clearly, I have missed the boat on being one of those girls with the perfect love story. But that doesn’t mean I’m not perfect (imperfections and all) just the way I am.

The home straight

3 Jul

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Today, dear buddies, marks 11 months since the pizza of doom.

One more to go ’til the doomaversary.

I don’t know why the timings feel so significant to me. They have since the start of this painful adventure.

I’ve counted days. It was 55 days until the first day that I didn’t cry. It was 100 days until I went on holiday and cried every day.

I’ve counted weeks. It was five until I started my new job. It was six until I went to my friend’s wedding and cried because he wasn’t there. It was ten until I realised he wasn’t going to change his mind.

And I’ve counted months. Ticking them off, feeling strangely gleeful as they stacked up and put more and more distance between me and him.

What I haven’t yet had the chance to count is the years. But soon – yes, very soon – I can add that to the list.

That makes me feel like I’m on the home straight, racing towards putting this year behind me. And not looking back.

 

Relationship reset

2 Jul

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Oh. Wow. I’m tired.

We’re launching a new website at work tomorrow. I haven’t stopped in days. And when we get to this stage and stakeholders get involved for sign off, every meeting means unpicking work already done. Going back. Rewriting. Redesigning. Recoding.

It’s frustrating because you invest hours and even days in work that goes nowhere. But for all the reworking, you do end up with a better product.

Sound familiar?

Excuse the stretched out metaphor, but it’s easy to feel like you’ve wasted time and energy, love and hope on relationships that don’t work out. You think you’ve met “the one”, everything is great, and then – boom – you’re back to the start. Picking up the pieces. Trying to date again. Building new connections. That’s really tough. And quite the head f***.

I know since the pizza of doom I’ve felt like I wasted a huge life investment.

But if I can keep the faith that this website is going to be worth the insane amounts of effort, I can keep the faith that my life will be worth all the relationship resets.

And I’ve never been afraid of a little hard work.