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Friday with Friends: Crystal

22 Aug

It’s Friday-ay-ay. And a bank holiday here in the UK. Nice. 

Even nicer, today is my first go at Friday with Friends, when I’m handing over my blog to one of my greatest and most gorgeous blogger buddies to guest post. This is my way of saying “Thank you” to my new friends for their support over the past year, and also my way of celebrating the communities and friendships that can be formed right here on WordPress. 

Today’s post is from Crystal at All the Things that I Don’t Wish. Crystal was one of the first people I connected with on here, probably because of a heartbreak timing coincidence (I started my blog on the day her ex told her he was leaving). I feel like we’ve been through war together. And I love her no-nonsense attitude that means she went to bed the other night “mad as hell” that I’d had to pay for my own dinner on my crappy Tuesday night date. 

So I’ll shut up now, and hand over to the lady herself. (No spoilers, but the real kicker is in the final line.):

I don’t know of any little girl that hasn’t, at least once, sat at her bedroom window and gazed out at the world with wistful sighs and musings on what her life will be like in twenty years. What kind of man is going to come whisk her away on his white horse? Surely someone will fall madly in love with her while she’s walking down the street in a rush to her important job. Or maybe she will happen upon a quaint little coffee shop and walk through the door. As the bell jingles to signal her arrival, their eyes will lock – and the rest will be history.

Or maybe she’ll know the boy from childhood and they will grow up to fall in love with one another. Maybe he’ll promise her the world and the stars and the moon, and then take it all away from her in one swoop of his hand. Maybe he’ll say the words “I love you, but not in that way,” and every whimsical romantic notion she ever thought about or dreamt of with him, will fall from her heart and lay broken on the ground at his feet.

I was (un)fortunate enough to dream of the first one and have the latter become my reality. I sit here at my desk reliving the year ago on August 20th that I sent Andy an e-mail telling him that I knew something was wrong. I could feel it. I could sense it. He was so distant. More than once he had left to go somewhere without me, and left me crying on the bed wondering what I had done wrong. He claimed there was nothing wrong and I knew different. Intuition is one hell of a power for a woman to have. I had finally had enough and I sent him an e-mail from work. I knew he wasn’t awake yet, but I knew that he would read it as soon as he got up. The three things he did every morning while drinking his coffee was read the news, check Facebook, and read his e-mails. I hadn’t heard from him by lunch and sent him a text to which he did tell me that my fears weren’t unfounded; he was in fact moving back to Indiana to be with his kids. He didn’t want to marry me or anyone else, he didn’t want a relationship, he didn’t like the intimacy that came with it. He was content getting laid every so often and having the rest of his time to himself. That’s what he wanted. That was completely opposite from everything that we had discussed.
I had bought a honeymoon cruise to the Bahama’s. We were six months away from being married. We were unstoppable. There was no other couple like us. We were the powerhouse and poster-children for a beautiful relationship. We were finished. After sixteen years of friendship and a year of plans being made to be married – we were done. It was over. I was broken. He was cold. All of this seemingly meant nothing anymore. I cried an ocean of tears. I cried alone and in front of him. I begged to continue our relationship even long-distance. I told him that surely something as beautiful as what we had could withstand distance. He had no interest in it. I begged him to continue living with me until he had saved up enough money to leave. He did. I had him for three months after that.

It’s like April said – my loss was a terminal loss. It was like being with someone and investing all of your emotions into someone that you know isn’t going to be there in the end. It was watching something slowly die and grieving the entire time. I bought books on moving through the pain, getting over someone, endings in relationships – everything. I listened to sad, shitty music and went running on a regular basis because I didn’t know what else to do with myself.
The day after Thanksgiving, he was gone. We made love one more time before his departure, the night before, and then the next morning I left the house to allow him to move out of it and my life in peace. And I died a thousand deaths over and over again for months afterward.

I’d like to say that it gets better, but it doesn’t. Not really. You just learn to live with the pain. You go through life seeing their car driving down the road, hearing songs that remind you of them, going to stores alone that you both used to frequent together. It took me three months to go to the mall without crying. Every time I walk by a jewelry store, I remember us shopping for engagement rings. He was so excited, but not as excited as I was. I was going to belong to him. We were going to grow old together. I was going to be a step-mom to his kids. They loved me as much as I loved them. I loved him more than he will ever love me.

And eventually you move forward. You don’t move on, because how can you? You just keep going. It’s like driving a car away from a memory; if you look forward, you can’t see it. If you look in your rearview mirror, it’s always there. And that’s how it is. I drive forward in my life and when I look in that mirror, I see him standing there with his hand slightly raised, waving goodbye to me and to our life and to our love.

But I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I loved a man so much that I was willing to watch him leave me if it meant making him happy. I love knowing that I have that kind of kindness and compassion in my heart. I love knowing that I can be hurt to the extreme, and manage to come out on top, even if I am wounded.

It’s the stuff that we are made of that shows how much we can go through. We aren’t to be underestimated. We aren’t to be pitied. We are to be celebrated. We are strong albeit a tad bit eccentric. If we can get through the love of our life crushing our dreams, there are few things we can’t make it through.

How do you measure a year?

21 Aug

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I’m a sucker for a musical. Rent is a favourite. I always felt kind of special that there was someone in it called April (albeit the girlfriend who died of AIDS). Anyway, any fellow Rent fans will be only too familiar with the words of ‘Seasons of Love’.

So, how do you measure (pause for breath) measure a year?

It was one year ago today that I started Pizza of Doom.

Sitting in my old office, on a day that was far too hot for the air con to be broken, I started writing and writing and writing. Trying to get all the awful thoughts that had terrorised me for the previous two and a half weeks out of my head, package them up, and send them into cyberspace.

A year later, you know what, I’m getting there. I still feel heartbroken most days, but I know how to deal with it. I still cry every now and then, but I know it will pass. I’m proud of how far I’ve come. And I’m very proud of this blog. Not just because I can look back and actually read how much I’ve changed, but because I know I’ve been able to help other people too.

And other people have helped me.

I’ve made some great buddies through the world of WordPress. Many of whom I now consider friends in the real world. It’s funny that I can walk past a Starbucks sign that autumn coffees are on the way and think of a friend I’ve never met in Maine. It’s strange that I think about friends in Minnesota and North Carolina and wonder how you guys are doing. And I really miss the blog of a friend in Boston who’s turning her talents to other things now.

But isn’t that fabulous?

Although my real-world friends have been magnificent cats for the past year – and have put up with more than their fair share of miserable ramblings from me – my little online breakup community has been a real game changer.

So let me go back to my original question, how do you measure a year?

I think if I could chart my recovery from heartbreak it would be a weird and wonderful graph. Occasional highs, longs periods of lows, unexpected twists and turns and – finally – a gradual uphill climb. I think if I could add to that graph some of the conversations and advice I’ve had from buddies here on WordPress, I would see a direct correlation between the highs and the support that I’ve had.

And so on Pizza of Doom’s first birthday, I want to extend a huge, massive, ginormous “Thank you” to every single person who has taken the time to read my story, to comment, to help, to make me smile when nothing else did, and to give me something to wake up to in the morning.

As a way of saying thank you and having a little bit of a party in honour of my blog’s first birthday and all my lovely blogger buddies, for the next four weeks I’m going to run a little something that I’m calling, “Friday with Friends”.

Every Friday I shall be giving over my blog to one of the people who has been the greatest help to me, and become a true friend through this crazy world of WordPress.

Tomorrow we’re kicking off with Crystal, who I can always rely on to call my ex an ass, and stick up for me from thousands of miles away.

Until then… well.. I have a couple of days off work so I’m drinking coffee and watching Teen Mom 2 before heading into town to do some shopping, meet friends for lunch, and finally go for a massage this afternoon.

Then I might buy myself a cake.

Date night in Covent Garden

19 Aug

I should have trusted my guts. Any man who wants to meet at Covent Garden tube station is not going to be my husband.

I was bored. All night.

The sushi was good.

We split the bill.

Here we go again

19 Aug

I’ve been up since 5am on account of a very, very important prospective client coming in. The very, very important prospective client left at noon, and I’ve been running around the office since trying to sort things out and catch up on everything I haven’t been doing while I was preparing for the very, very important prospective client. 

Now, it’s nearly 5.30pm, and how I wish I was heading home to eat fish fingers and watch Real Housewives. 

But I have a date tonight. And it’s too late to cancel. 

C (we will call him “C”) lives in South London (boo). Works in tech for a bank (hmm). And has quite good chat. 

This is our first date. We met on the eHarmony. 

He has booked a table for sushi at 8.30. 8.30. So late for me on a school night. What am I supposed to do until 8.30?

He has booked it at a place in Covent Garden. Hmm. Never had a date anywhere near Covent Garden that went well. Tourists, anyone?

Oh well, here goes nothing. 

Thanks again, Facebook

18 Aug

I woke up at 3 am.

I’ve been sleeping great recently, so this was unexpected. I tossed. I turned. And finally I decided to check my emails. I don’t know what I was expecting. All I got was a bunch of junk from LivingSocial. 

So I checked my Facebook. 

First news story: someone from school had a baby! Second baby, I might add.

Second news story: someone from school got married. 

Third news story: someone from school is on a dream holiday across the US with their gorgeous fiancé. 

F***. Off. 

I want to feel wanted

17 Aug

Irish Two and I went out on Friday night. As friends. Which is what we are these days. It’s actually nearly six months since we decided we were destined to be friends and stopped trying to be anything more. And stopped having sex. Sigh.

I don’t regret that we ended things. There are oh-so-many reasons that Irish Two is not right for me. Not least, he’s a sociopath. But when he started telling me about girls he’s been dating/having sex with, I felt a strange urge to scratch his face. 

Tinder has been good to him, delivering all manner of women who want to send him sexual pictures and meet up for sexual times. No big deal. He’s a dude. I get it. 

But then he told me, “I thought I’d met a nice girl.”

Emmm. Hello. You told me we weren’t compatible because I’m “too nice” and that you “didn’t want someone who’s nice to you.” Now you want a nice girl?

I told him this while knocking back a Negroni and trying to conceal my anger. 

I don’t want to be with Irish Two. But I don’t like feeling rejected. 

At least he had the good sense and sensitivity to say, “Sorry, do you not want to hear about this stuff?” Also, the “nice girl” he thought he had found then sent him a load of naked pictures and told him she’s sleeping with four different guys and doesn’t want a relationship.

I told him I don’t mind hearing tales of his dating mishaps. I guess the more I know about what he’s doing with other people the more it cements our relationship as “just good friends” which is all it can ever be. I need to be with someone who appreciates me for being nice. He is not that guy.

But why is it that when I know every reason we shouldn’t be together, I still want him to want me? Because I think that’s really what it boils down to. I want to feel wanted. I want to feel like someone of the male variety can look at me and think, “Wow, she’s so pretty and smart and funny and lovely. I want to have sex with her and also hold her hand and stroke her face and be with her forever.”

That’s what I thought my ex was thinking the whole time we were together. That’s what he told me he was thinking. But, as it happens, he just said those things. 

I have a date on Tuesday night with a dude from the eHarmony. 

At least I’m trying. 

 

Ramblings of a single thirtysomething

16 Aug

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Apologies in advance that this post is as grumbly as an angry bear. Apologies also that it doesn’t really come to a point. But if you want to read on, I thank you in advance.

I’ve been feeling pretty down this week. I don’t like being a miserable cat, and so I find myself asking, “Why? Why? Why must I be on a downer in this beautiful month of August?”

In fact, there are many reasons:

  • I had a three-day migraine that made me want to rip my own head off. And beat it with a stick. 
  • The run-up to the migraine made me tired and moody.
  • I received surprising smear test results.
  • I had too much work to do, too little time, and lost an entire day to the aforementioned migraine.
  • Oh, and I got my period. Awesome.

My ex has been on my mind too. I don’t know why. Maybe my brain is doing its whole going-back-in-time thing. Last year this weekend was my best friend’s hen party in Scotland. Two weeks after the pizza of doom. I went. I organised, in fact. I dressed up and cooked food and made cocktails and danced and drank. On the second day we went to Go Ape (a massive obstacle course in the trees in a national park). I literally threw myself into it. I remember thinking, “Oh well, no big deal if I die.” And after Go Ape I came over all shaky, left the cabins we were staying at and drove 40 minutes to my parents’ house where they ran me a bath, made me ginger tea, and put on a DVD of Modern Family. No questions asked.

Yes, I’ve come a long way since then. In no small part thanks to the cast of Modern Family. But I find myself a year on wondering what I have to look forward to.

I was out for dinner on Tuesday night with a group of friends who range in age from 24 to 35. Everyone except me in relationships. Two of them married. One planning a wedding. They were all talking about their plans for the immediate future – weddings, babies, holidays. I found myself zoning out. (In part because migraine aura had set in, admittedly. Also I was terribly busy eating olives.)

So, when I started to tell them about my most recent trip to the psychic and they had the audacity to suggest she might not be right(!), I lost my sh**. I’m not an idiot. I know the psychic might not be right. But I don’t have a wedding or a baby or even some mediocre sex in my immediate future. I need someone to tell me that stuff is going to happen. Maybe it will. Maybe it won’t. But I need someone to let me look forward to it.

I definitely feel like I have things together. I even spent today fixing my own shower (how’s that for a powerful, independent woman?). And of course there are things to look forward to. I’m going to Florida in 12 weeks. I’m going up to Edinburgh in October. I have some fun things on at work. I have five days off work starting this coming Thursday.

I guess I just thought things would be, well, different by now. That I wouldn’t be spending Saturday night watching Modern Family and drinking Diet Coke.

And that I wouldn’t think about him. Or, at least, wouldn’t care.

All adventurous women do

14 Aug

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Anyone who watches Girls will know exactly what this post is about.

I’ve ummed and ummed some more over whether to post about this at all. Does it cross a line into the too-much-information zone? But it’s certainly been on my mind for the last 24 hours. And frankly the more people who know about this stuff the better. Also, I think I might have jumped over that too-much-information line some time ago.

So. Yesterday I was off work with a migraine. Sick. Sore. Dosed up on painkillers. The whole works.

I went downstairs to get some fresh air and checked my mail. And there were the results of my smear test. I started opening them there and then, fully expecting them to say that everything was normal.

In fact, they were “abnormal”.

That’s quite a scary moment.

When I finally sat down and read everything in full I was less scared, but still worried. Here’s the deal: my results are borderline abnormal, so they tested for HPV and it came back as positive for high-risk HPV. I didn’t know what this meant and was too migrainey to Google anything so I read all the pamphlets the good old NHS had sent through.

For anyone who doesn’t know, HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection around. 75% of us will get it at some point in our lives. There’s no test for it in men, and no symptoms. With women, certain strains will show up in a smear test. While the HPV itself is not cancer, it is linked to nearly all cervical cancers. Here’s the kicker: condoms cannot fully protect against it. You can read more here.

So what happens now? I wait eight weeks for another letter, which will give me an appointment to go for a colposcopy. Then they’ll decide if I need treatment.

No big deal, really. And great that it’s all been identified and there’s a course of action to sort things out. But – yes – unknown and a bit of a worry.

Also, it’s not a great feeling lying on your sofa in so much pain that you are struggling not to be sick, wondering what on earth HPV is and why you have it (and – let’s face it – whether my ex gave it to me), and having nobody there to tell you it’s going to be OK or to give you a cuddle.

But all adventurous women do.

Dating stalemate

11 Aug

I have a few dates lined up. With a few different dudes. Don’t judge. It’s 2014. It’s London. And I’m 32. Options must be kept wiiiiiide open.

Problem is, I don’t seem capable of mustering up the energy to go on these dates.

I just want to skip to being with a nice guy at the comfy, cosy stage where you can lie on them on the sofa, or stick your feet in their lap, or fall asleep on them. I want conversation and sex and everything too, not just a glorified mattress, but you get the idea. Comfort is key.

I look ahead to Christmas. To next year. To turning 33. And I think, “Dear God let me have met someone.”

But I cannot face putting on makeup and getting my hopes up only to face two hours of inane chat over drinks.

I’m trying to convince myself that dating can be fun. But, really, can dating be anything other than awkward over the age of 30?

Let’s hope so.

Renovations

10 Aug

It’s all been happening here at April Towers.

Everyone tells you to redecorate after a break up. I wanted to. Oh, I really wanted to last August. But since I was incapable of standing for longer than twenty minutes or so, it made DIY a little tricky. Where do you find the wherewithall to pick wallpaper when you erupt into tears while trying to choose a shampoo?

A year later, I can do it. Top of my list is replacing my carpet. For regular readers – yes – the same carpet that he trod paint into.

But it struck me that Pizza of Doom itself also needs a little spruce up. After all, times have changed. I’m a year on. And while I’ll admit that I cried a lot this afternoon, I’m changed for the better and stronger than I’ve ever been.

So I’ve rewritten my ‘About’ section to keep up-to-date. Like Grey’s Anatomy, I hope that Season One was just the foundations for what is going to be an increasingly exciting, heart-warming and fascinating tale. Minus the bombs and planecrashes and all.

I think I had to change on the inside before I could change on the outside. Today I even considered a new haircut. But, let’s not get crazy. My hair is already fabulous.