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Friday with Friends: Liz

5 Sep


Okaaaayyyy. So I’ve not been too fabby at writing this week. Life is still quite hectic and I’ve been on a bit of a downer. 

But I was not missing yet another Friday with Friends slot. So here goes my second day handing my blog over to a blogger buddy to do with it what they will. 

Today my blog belongs to Liz. Liz is 24. Man, I remember being 24. She just started her first proper teaching job (yay, Liz!). And, to cut a long story short, I think we are partly the same person. If she didn’t live so far away in Maine we would be hanging out regularly to drink iced coffees, buy scented candles, and talk about cats and boys. We bonded over our broken hearts back last year. But I don’t worry about this girl. Because I know she has oodles and oodles to show the world, and she’s going to make some dude very happy one day. She’ll probably be married way before I am. You mark my words. 

I found Liz’s post quite painful to read. Because I’m sad that she’s gone through this. And because when she describes the physical side of grieving her relationship, well, it’s identical to my experience. But – ever the maturest 24 year old I’ve come across – she knows how to learn from it all. And how to move on.

So, over to Liz:

Last September my five-year relationship with the guy I adored, the guy I pictured a family with and loved with all my heart, came to an end. We had been fighting a lot, more so than normal, and yet it still knocked the wind out of me when it happened. I remember sitting in the middle of the living room floor holding a pumpkin Frappuccino in my hand, and squeezing it so hard that it started overflowing all over the carpet. “It’s just not working anymore,” he said.

At the time, I remember not having any emotion. I didn’t cry, talk, or try and fight for our relationship. Instead I just let us go. “Why fight for a relationship that he had already thrown away?” I remember saying to people.

It wasn’t until about a month later, the beginning of October, that it hit me. Why wasn’t he coming over on Saturdays anymore? Why wasn’t he calling me to tell me goodnight? Why wasn’t he smiling at me from across the kitchen table, telling me how “Do You Realize” by the Flaming Lips reminds him of me, that after all these years I still give him butterflies? I felt empty, I was losing weight, my clothes didn’t fit me anymore, and I couldn’t eat. I cried for months, couldn’t sleep for months, and had nightmares every single night where I would re-live him leaving me, telling me that he had had enough.

I finally went out one night to go to a mutual friend’s birthday party a couple months after the breakup and that’s when I first saw him. I remember staring right at him, right through him. I remember his blue eyes, and I could see how much he hurt. I went through one, three, six Grateful Dead’s until I was slurring and couldn’t stand on my own. I needed to leave. I left the bar and started walking home, through the city and past my friends who were shouting, “Liz, do you need a ride?” I walked down the sidewalk, and then he was there. His passenger door open and a whispered, “Liz, just get in, I’ll drive you home” was heard.

I didn’t say anything in the car and neither did he, but all I wanted was for him to say that us not being together anymore was wrong, a mistake. He walked me upstairs to my sister, and when I stumbled in I shrunk to the floor and cried so hard my body shook. I knew he heard me, I could hear my sister outside the doorstep asking what he did. Why was I like this? He asked her if breaking up with me was the right decision; she said she didn’t know. I wish to this day that she had told him “no.” I laid on my bed in the fetal position, weekend after weekend while I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed, drunk and heartbroken while my sister rubbed my back, and whispered, “it’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay.”

It’s taken until now, a full year later, to feel at least a little bit like myself again; to think of him without crying, to hear a song on the radio that he loved, or even go to a restaurant that we went to without being too miserable to continue. I remember going in to a grocery store and smelling cigarette smoke, and sprinting to the bathroom to throw up because it smelled like him, it smelled like our past. Sometimes I still feel like this.

I think maybe he thought he didn’t mean anything to me, that our relationship had somehow gone numb. Maybe he thought that my reaction a month later, after I had time to process everything, was just about the chase. It wasn’t. It was about me realizing what I had lost, realizing how much I messed up and not being able to take it back. If I could somehow reach back through the past I would tell him, I would tell him over and over again how much I love him, that he’s my favorite person, that I wish we could make this work. I would believe him this time when he tells me that he thinks I’m beautiful, I would tell him that he still takes my breath away, that he still haunts my dreams. That he means everything to me. But I don’t do that, I just move forward, but it never really goes away.

If there is anything that I have taken away from this, it’s that next time I’m in a relationship, with whoever it is, I need to be more honest. I need to say what I’m thinking, feeling, dreaming – because emotions are difficult for me and I know that, but it’s not an excuse to be ungrateful. It wasn’t an excuse for me to act like my love for him didn’t make me woozy. I need to try not to take any part of such a beautiful relationship for granted. I need to be thankful, because if there was just one thing I could go back and change it would have been to tell him every single day how lucky I felt to be with someone who loved and cared for me as much as he did.

I have a lot of people to thank for pulling me through a horrible time that I thought would never end, but continues to get better every day. My friends who have listened to me over and over when I’m sure I’m obnoxious, my family who have insisted that it will get better. More than anything I need to thank my blogger buddies who have related to me more than a lot of people ever have. April is one of those people.

So, thank you.


Meeting the feeling

1 Sep

I went to bed early tonight after my busy weekend. My head hit the pillow, and I immediately started sobbing.

As I type I can feel the cool tears tickling me as they cling to my cheeks. And, less poetically, a lot of snot streaming from my nose.

The past 13 months have taught me to try and put logic behind the feeling. Identify it. Meet with it. Work through it.

So here it is: all I really want is to meet someone to go through life with. And before you all start telling me to take up hobbies and spend times with friends, yes yes, I have and I do. But it doesn’t change what I want. It can’t. It can put it in a broader, more interesting context. It can keep me busy and distracted. But it cannot change it.

I do deals with myself in my head. That I don’t mind if I don’t get to have kids if I can just meet someone. That I don’t care about a wedding. And he doesn’t have to look like Ryan Gosling if he’s smart and kind and can make me laugh.

I know how lucky I am in so many ways, but I would give it all up to have what I really want.

Cue uncontrollable tears.

That is called “meeting the feeling”.

What we’re all really looking for

31 Aug

Well, buddies, I haven’t posted in days. I even missed my next ‘Friday with Friends’ slot, despite having a great post from my blogger buddy Liz. You’ll have to wait for next Friday for it. Sorry for the delay.

I’ve been busy, you see. Busy at work. Busy in general. And in Scotland all weekend. I came up for a friend’s 30th birthday party and also managed to catch up with a few other friends, and spend some time with my parents. Now, I’m on the train back to London. Somehow I’ve managed to book myself onto the train that stops pretty much at every station on the way down the country. It was supposed to take six hours. We’re running late. Which gives me a lot of time to think. 

This weekend and saw and heard of several people who recently went through bad break ups who have now met new lovely people. I’m happy for them. It makes me feel glad inside. Genuinely. And it gives me hope that karma and fairness and all that other stuff is out there in the world ensuring that people get what they deserve. However, that also makes me question whether karma forgot me. 

It’s been nearly 13 months since the pizza of doom. I haven’t been single for this long since I was 24. And it’s not just that I haven’t met anyone, it’s that I have absolutely no idea how I would ever meet someone, and no faith that my heart is going to kick back into action. Which, in turn, leaves me wondering if there’s something wrong with me. How do I get my heart to move on? Sure there have been flutters over the past 13 months. Irish Two made me flutter a little when we first met. A friend I had connected with through this very blog gave me a few little flutters. But Irish Two has no capacity for emotion. And that friend, well, he pretty much ignores me these days. All of which reinforces my heart feeling more bruised than anything. 

I think I deserve for something nice to happen. 

And I fully appreciate that many of you reading this are probably thinking, “You silly girl, pull yourself together! Move on! You have a good life and great stuff going on!”. 

Sure, I know I do. 

But we all know that lovely feeling of sunshine moving through you when you meet someone new. Waking up feeling joyful. Going to bed feeling loved. 

I love yoga and swimming, but they are no replacement for having someone’s arms around you, and looking forward to adventures together.

If longing for that makes me a bad person or selfish or ungrateful for everything that I have then I think we are all bad people and selfish and ungrateful. Because I’ve seen in people’s faces this weekend how a new relationship can change them and bring them back to themselves.

And I think, deep down, we all want that.  


Going to the movies

25 Aug


I’ve always enjoyed going to the cinema alone. 

Well, not always. When I was a teenager I couldn’t think of anything worse. I used to sometimes see people at movies alone and think there was nothing sadder in the world. “Please God,” I remember thinking, “Please God don’t let me end up as one of these losers who goes to the cinema alone.”

When I was living in New York six years ago I got used to taking myself to the movies for something to do when I had no friends to play with. Last year, taking my broken heart to escape in front of the big screen for a couple of hours proved very therapeutic. I guess the experience is so immersive that it actually managed to take me away from my own misery for a little while. Now, it’s concentrated April time. It’s something I do for myself, just because I enjoy it. 

So, yup, I am now regularly one of those losers who goes to the cinema alone. 

Today has been a rainy bank holiday, so I went to see ‘What if?’. Basic plot rundown (without any spoilers): Wallace and Chandry (interesting name choices, I thought that too) meet at a party. She has a boyfriend. He is fairly recently heartbroken. They become best buds. But are secretly in love with each other. 

Well, doesn’t that raise a lot of sh** for me to think about. I have only just today decided to be friends with the dude I went out with on Friday night. Why not? He was good company, although I didn’t fancy him at all. And then there’s Irish Two who I do fancy, but know I can’t be with because he has no emotion. Irish Two and I are going swimming together at 7am tomorrow. He really has become one of my best friends. Do I still want to have sex with him? Hell yes. But we won’t. Because we’re genuinely friends. 

All this was running through my head during the movie. That, and how noisy the person behind me was eating their popcorn. 

Then comes a whole part of the movie where Chandry’s boyfriend is working abroad. She struggles. She hates it. At this point I found myself wiping unexpected tears off my face. 

It took my right back to last summer when my ex first went to work in New York and started treating me like a piece of sh** on his shoe. I remember sitting on my sofa with a friend, trying to act all happy and cool, but my voice cracking as I told her, “I’m finding this really difficult”, and then dissolved into tears. Now, Chandry’s boyfriend in the movie is an OK guy. He doesn’t treat her like poo, but she still struggles. It made me feel so sorry for myself. I found myself apologising to my heart for putting it through all that. Apologising in my head, you understand. I wouldn’t talk during the movie. Especially not to myself. 

So, what’s my point?

My point is that I deserve better. 

And while I still sometimes cry over my ex and what might have been, if I keep reminding myself how he treated me last summer, I can keep reminding myself that he became an asshole. 

I deserve someone who’ll hold my hand through life. Through the challenges. Through the work stuff, the family stuff, the friend stuff, the difficult stuff. Through the happy times. Through the fun. Through the sadness. And through silly, sentimental movies on rainy bank holiday Mondays. 

The lost “I love you”s

24 Aug

I’m tired.

I spent the past week dating like a crazy person. And when I wasn’t dating, I was swimming. Also tiring, although much more satisfying.

So tonight I climbed into bed early. Into freshly washed sheets. In a newly cleaned room. But I cannot sleep.

My mind has been on one of its wanders and has dredged up a memory that feels sweet and acutely painful all at once.

My ex and I struggled to sleep while cuddling. So we’d have a good snuggle up in bed (and sometimes more, although not on school nights since he decided it was too exhausting), then we’d say goodnight and fall asleep with just our feet touching. And as we turned over to our separate sides of the bed, we’d get comfy, then whisper, “I love you” to each other.

Ok, so it turns out he never meant it. But it felt real at the time.

In my opinion, everyone should end every day that they have here on this crazy planet by hearing “I love you” from someone.

Love is why we’re here. And however your day has gone, whatever the next day has in store, hearing “I love you” is the greatest reassurance that you’re meant to be here. It’s a promise. It’s praise. It’s someone feeling that your whole being that lies next to them is worthy and wanted. It’s someone missing you even for the seven or eight hours that you sleep.

Other than from my lovely friend Jennie, I haven’t heard “I love you” in over a year.

And you know what else? I haven’t said it either.

Date night number three

23 Aug

I’m on my way home from my third date this week. Don’t judge. I haven’t dated in ages.

Anyway. I am yet to snog anyone.

Last night and tonight were the same story. Nice date with nice guy who tried to get romantical but I did not want to get romantical with them.

Now is the hard bit. When I leave the date, and my mind starts to wander.

Will I ever find anyone who I like the way I liked my ex?

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.