Archive | September, 2014

The ability to believe

30 Sep

Well, buddies, the ‘Sex and the City’ gorging continues.

Tonight I watched an episode where Charlotte and Carrie attend a seminar about finding love. It’s about positive affirmations, and putting yourself out there. Because if you hope for love, you will find it. If you believe that you deserve it, you will find it.

Charlotte asks how long she needs to do this for. She says she’s been doing positive affirmations, and putting herself “out there”. But it’s not working.

She says she did find love. That she had a wonderful wedding. And then everything fell apart. And she is, “afraid that he took away my ability to believe.”

That’s how I feel.

I didn’t have the wedding. But I did find love. I loved my ex so much. Truthfully, a large part of me still does.

Lately I feel that there isn’t anybody for me. I know I’m an amazing girlfriend. I know I would be a wonderful wife, and a wonderful mummy. But I just don’t think it’s going to happen.

How can I believe that love is out there, when the only time I’ve experienced it, it was fake?

How can I believe it when he took it away?

A different take on the same old problem

28 Sep

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Sometimes I feel so lonely I could die.

I’ve had a run of weekends recently when none of my friends were about. This is perhaps the fourth weekend in a row that I’ve spent swimming, going to yoga, and watching TV. This weekend I decided to start watching ‘Sex and the City’ from the beginning. There is no better therapy. So much of it rings so true. And it makes me feel OK to admit certain things to myself. Like the loneliness. The fear of dying alone. The resentment of smug couples and yummy mummies.

It hit me somewhere between Season 1 and Season 2 that – although I want to meet someone – what I’m really missing right now is, well, more friends. I don’t want to paint myself as a total loser. I do have friends. But a combination of factors means most of them don’t live in London. Or, don’t live in London anymore. Work is super sociable. During the week I’m surrounded by colleagues who I genuinely consider to be friends. But the weekends. Ugh. There’s nobody, unless I jump on a train to Scotland (which I’ve been doing more and more of this past year).

So maybe what I want isn’t necessarily a boyfriend.

I watch ‘Sex and the City’ and I’m so envious of that group of women with each other to turn to. That’s another thing – most of my friends in London are men. They’re fun. They’re great company. But it’s not the same as having a group of girlfriends.

So what do I do?

There’s no way I’m ever moving back to Scotland. But maybe I need to hit “Restart” on my social life.

I have tried this past year. I started yoga to try and meet new people. I didn’t meet anyone, but I discovered I love yoga. Maybe language classes would be more sociable? So I started Italian, but three classes in I couldn’t keep up with the homework and had to forget it.

If only there was a Tinder for making new friends. I have no idea how at the age of 32, settled with a flat and a career and ready-made life I go about creating a new social circle. Any ideas?

Because more and more I’m feeling like I need to prioritise. And as much as I want someone to go through life with, and marriage, and kids, and happily ever after, I also want someone to call after I’ve been on dates, and talk to before them, and visit Topshop with, and bitch about work over coffee, and eat pizza and watch DVDs.

I actually have a date this afternoon. I almost forgot.

Sometimes I wonder

26 Sep

Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever feel normal again.

It’s over a year since the Pizza of Doom. I’m a different person now. I actually think I’m more confident, more resilient, more empathetic. I know I’m stronger than I realised. I know I’m wiser now. But I think, deep down, there’s lasting damage. There are depths of sadness which I never thought I’d reach – and which I hope I never fall to again – but that scare me still.

Last night I went on a date.

The guy was really lovely. He has a great job, he lives quite near me and has his own flat, he has lovely manners. But I found myself picking away at him inside my head. Too nice. Too thin. Too boring.

He insisted on paying for dinner. Which, I’ll admit, felt nice. It’s been a long time since a boy bought me dinner. But then when he asked to see me again I felt I had to say yes.

So we’re meeting up on Sunday for a walk and lunch.

Which should feel nice, whether or not I end up fancying him and wanting to see him again. He’s a nice guy. It will be a nice afternoon.

Yet I found myself crying as I walked home from work tonight. Because he’s not my ex. He never will be. And I will never have my ex back.

I don’t think I’ll ever feel the way I felt about him ever again.

Which means I might be destined to be alone. Forever.

A very peculiar Tuesday (and let me remind you again to go for your smear test)

16 Sep

Today was weird. Apologies if a fairly weird post follows.

Today was the follow up from my “abnormal” smear test. I went over to Homerton Hospital for a colposcopy.

The last time I was in Homerton Hospital was just days before the pizza of doom. When I came back from New York, peeing blood with terrible cystitis, and had to haul myself over to ‘accident and emergency’. I remember not feeling that my ex was particularly empathetic. I had no idea he was planning the break up. But that’s another story.

The colposcopy wasn’t nearly as bad as I had worried it would be. Honestly, not even as bad as the smear test itself. Once I was positioned right with my legs up in the air, I relaxed. It felt like a yoga pose. I like yoga. I could do this.

Bonus, I got to watch it all on a big screen and the doctor talked me through what she could see. All was looking fine and dandy ’til she put in the dye. And then my cervix started to resemble my throat when I had tonsillitis. It wasn’t too pretty a sight.

So what does it mean? There are abnormal cells there that could be pre-cancerous. They took a biopsy (which felt quite unpleasant). Those cells will go off to get tested and in four to six weeks I’ll find out what’s going on down there. Then, I might need treatment. Or all might be OK for now.

If this all sounds a little disjointed and unsure, it’s probably because that’s how I feel. Suddenly, a lot of information comes your way. Terms you’ve never heard of. Things you’ve never considered (can I go swimming after my biopsy?). And I have every reason to believe that everything will be fine. But who knows.

I came out of my appointment today, got on the bus, got off outside my flat, came upstairs, and cried for about an hour.

I emailed my friend, who emailed back with words of absolute sense and reassurance.

I went to a restorative yoga class (which mostly involves lying on the floor, relaxing).

I came home, made pasta, watched the news.

And my ex was front-of-mind the entire time. If we were still together, what would he be telling me? What would he be doing? Would he show the same lack of empathy he did back in July last year, that morning that I found myself at the hospital, in agony?

In so many ways I love living on my own. But I’d really like somebody to talk to tonight. Even a cat.

Like I said, it was a weird day.

Someone to rub

13 Sep

Intimacy is a strange and spectacular thing. Not just knowing each other’s stuff: when her period is, how his movements smell after a curry, all the sex stuff. But touching. Simply touching.

Take that away from people in couples and just see how they do without a hand to hold, a finger to stroke their face, a chest to rest your head on.

I have bad period pains. I was up at 4am with them, I nearly passed out this afternoon and ended up back on my sofa with a hot water bottle.

I’ve given up and I’m in bed at 9 on a Saturday.

What I would give for someone to rub my back.

It’s been a year since I spoke to my ex

8 Sep

On this day last year, my ex and I spoke for the last time. He decided it was appropriate to do this the day before I started my new job. Asshole. 

We talked on the phone for two hours. I cried and told him for me our relationship had been genuine. He cried and told me he had never been in love with me. 

Eventually we said goodbye, hung up, and I went into town to buy shoes for my bridesmaid dress that I would be wearing to my best friend’s wedding a week later. I remember a couple standing beside me in the shoe shop looking at bridal shoes. I remember being vaguely aware that I was crying. 

I don’t remember anything else until I was sitting on the bus on the way to work the next day. Crying. And realised I was going to be 20 minutes late for the first day of my new job. 

A year later I’m really enjoying my job. And I’m going to celebrate that fact tomorrow with a cupcake. And an Aperol Spritz. 

Yay me. 

 

 

 

The good news days

7 Sep

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I’ve moaned a lot recently about how tough it is living alone. How punishing it is to get through a stressful day, get a bunch of bad news, and go home alone to let it all marinade in your own brain with nobody to talk to. 

Well, today I’m mixing it up. Today I’m taking about the other side of things: the good news days. 

I’ve been quite down this weekend despite keeping busy swimming, walking, clearing my flat, and learning how to make origami animals (I’m getting particularly good at penguins). Today I had made my mind up: I was going to step things up a bit and go to a grown-up yoga class.

I’ve been going to the same yoga studio since May now. It’s very chilled out. The teachers are great. But I’ve been sticking with beginners’ classes. And the schedule just doesn’t have that many beginners’ classes that I can go to. For example, there are none at all on Sundays. (I guess they assume those of us less committed to yoga are busy partying and being hungover at weekends. Which is funny. Because I didn’t even speak to anyone yesterday except a man who stopped to help me when my swipe card wouldn’t work at the pool.) So, yes, back to the point in hand. I decided to go to one of the classes that are explicitly “not for beginners”.

Ivengar yoga was at 1, which suited me just fine. I trotted along, feeling weirdly anxious about the whole situation. 

I needn’t have worried. First let me tell you that the people in the grown-up classes are so much friendlier than the beginners. I got talking to a few of them before class – all nice, all normal, and (I absolutely need to tell you) all with killer bodies. 

The teacher was totally understanding of my non-superwoman yoga abilities, offering a few tips and alternatives along the way. But I did the whole class. The whole 75 minutes. And I did everything just the same as everyone else. OK, I’m sure I looked more like a baby elephant than the graceful swans who they appeared to morph into, but I tried. I even finished up with a perfect shoulderstand. 

There is something so empowering and confidence-building about trying new things and learning that you can do them. 

After class the teacher told me I’d done great. Wow. I felt like I was back at school and had just come top in my class.

I left feeling like I was floating on a cloud, stopped for a fro yo, and walked all the way home with a huge Chesire cat smile on my face. 

Now, the thing is, it would be lovely to have someone to come home to. Someone who I could tell all about this achievement. Someone to get crazy excited with me looking at the yoga schedule for the next week and planning every class I want to go to now I’ve broken than glass ceiling into “not for beginner” territory. 

I don’t have that person. 

But, for some reason, it’s easier to deal with keeping good news to yourself than bad. 

And, you know what else? If I was still with my ex, the chances are I would never even have tried yoga. 

I had a similarly intimidating situation at work on Friday last week. I had to run a workshop for a client, had done very little preparation, and had never run one of these workshops before. It turned out great. I think treating them to a spread of cookies and M&Ms helped dramatically, but I managed to put everyone at ease, make them laugh, and get them excited about the creative process. 

Clients. Workshops. Yoga. Going through life alone.  

I guess sometimes the things that scare us the most are the most rewarding. 

Which is good to know. Because I find life pretty scary right now.