Tag Archives: friendship

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.

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Friday with Friends: Liz

5 Sep

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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.

 

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.

Once year since the break up (and happy birthday, Liz)

3 Aug

Today is the doomaversary. It was the night of the 3rd of August last year that everything fell apart.

I’ve been thinking long and hard about what to do to mark today. In truth, I know it’s just another day. It isn’t going to tangibly change things. But, for me, it’s very meaningful. It feels like crossing the finish line. I officially got through the worst year of my life. And I’m coming out smiling. Yay me.

I asked you all a few weeks ago what I should do to mark the occasion. Obviously pizza had to be involved, and tonight some friends are coming over to eat pizza with me. Homemade pizza, because it’s better than the takeaway stuff he was obsessed with anyway. But what else what else?

One of my dearest blogger buddies recommended that I think of today as her birthday rather than the doomaversary. So, happy birthday, Liz. I hope you enjoy the title of this post. You, my friend, are a perfect example of one of the loveliest things to have come out of this whole mess of a year: new friends.

Another terribly clever blogger buddy (who I can always rely on to call my ex the ass that he is), suggested that I write him a letter telling him how far I’ve come, and post it on here.

I straight up loved this idea. But when I sat down to write it, hmmmmm, I found I had nothing to say to him. Nothing at all.

And, you know what? I love that feeling.

So, let’s focus on something and someone more important: let’s focus on me.

I cried a little this morning. Not because I missed him, but because I remembered how horrifically sad I felt last year. I went over the evening of August 3rd 2013 in my head and it made me want to go back in time and give myself a big hug and lots of reassurance. So that’s what I’m going to do.

Instead of a letter to him, this is a letter to the April of August 3rd last year.

 

Dear April on the 3rd of August, 2013, just after 9.30pm

Sit on the floor. Put your head between your legs. Try to stop the room spinning. It will stop eventually, and you will get your breath back. I know it’s scary, but this is your body dealing with trauma in its own way. And you’re supposed to feel this way: the man you thought you were going to marry just broke your heart.

You’ve never felt like this before. You can’t make sense of it. And for the next two days you aren’t going to sleep at all as you go over and over and over and over what’s just happened. You’re going to tell yourself that it will never feel as bad as it does in this moment. Unfortunately, that’s not quite true. Right now you’re in shock. When that wears off, the confusion will kick in, then the sadness. I hate to tell you, but you’re going to feel sad for a very long time. You’re not going to sleep properly for a very long time. Go to the doctor. He can help.

At your worst, you’ll wish not to wake up in the morning. You’ll stand on train platforms wondering what would happen if you just stepped forward. Months from now you’ll come to a plateau where these thoughts stop, but you have no idea why you’re alive, or why you would want to be. Because life has no meaning when you’re alone. And if he didn’t want you, well, doesn’t that mean you’re worthless?

You’re not worthless. You help people. You care for people. You make people smile, and there are people who love you. He says that he never did. But your parents do. And your best friends do. And that doesn’t make you pathetic. Because the people who know you best see the good in you. He was blind. And a c***.

Five weeks from now you’re going to start your new job. Two days before, he’ll call you. Because it would be beyond him to realise what bad timing this is. It’s going to be tough. Prepare to hate this job for the first few months. Your confidence just hit rock bottom. How are you supposed to concentrate? But be kind to yourself. Because a year from now you’ll look back and feel proud of how you stuck this job out. In fact, it’s going to rank right up there with your greatest achievements, just the fact that you got out of bed every day and made it to the office. You’ll have been to Boston, New York and Paris with work. And you’ll be planning a trip to Belgium. You’ll have made new friends. It’s a challenge, but if anyone can deal with that, you can.

Christmas will suck. Just saying.

Do what you know how to do. Find your therapy in your writing. Start a blog. You’ll find friends in the strangest of places. You’ll build your support network. And when it comes to support, the bigger the better. You can try new things too. You don’t know it yet, but you really love yoga.

You’re not going to fall in love again in a hurry. For a long time the very thought of someone else is going to make you feel physically sick. But there will be other guys. To date. To kiss. Someone will come along and have the best sex of your life with you. He’s not boyfriend material, but he’s going to turn out to be a good friend. Trust him. He’s odd, but he means well.

If there’s one thing I want you to know right now, it’s that it will be OK. But not for a long time. So don’t panic if you’re still crying months for now. You were madly in love. Take comfort from the fact that your feelings were real. You know what love is. And you need to grieve to move on.

Next spring the darkness will lift. In the sun of next summer, you’ll plan a new future. You’ll get involved in new activities and realise all the new people who have come into your life.

I can’t tell you if this will ever stop hurting. I can’t tell you what’s going to happen to you. I can tell you that opportunities will come your way. And that maybe not knowing what the future holds is more exciting than a future with a man who never loved you, anyway. I can tell you that you’re too good for that.

And, I promise, you will eat pizza again.

Lots of love,

April on the 3rd of August 2014, just after 3.30pm

 

 

Some day my prince will come

1 Aug

So, here it is. This weekend is totes offish the one-year pizza-of-doom-aversary.

But let us not dwell on that, buddies. Let us instead enjoy reading one of my earliest copywriting jobs.

The below story featured in my school magazine when I was six-years-old. My friend found it while staying at her parents’ house, and forwarded the masterpiece.

Clearly I was always destined to be a writer. With romantic issues.

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You never know what’s coming

27 Jul

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Well, a year ago tonight was my last “date” with him.

We were in New York. We went to an incredible little Mexican place in the East Village and ate tacos, drank cocktails, and talked. He was talking about, “if we had a daughter”. Little did I know he was weighing up his options there and then. I remember walking home, and him telling me I looked cute as a button. I didn’t know he was saying goodbye. And when I got on a flight the next day to head home, I didn’t know that just a week later I would be on a last-minute flight to my parents’ house in Scotland, numbed with vodka. And that when I got there I’d lie in bed and cry. For four days.

Because he was never in love with me.

Today I met up with my old flatmate. We moved into a flatshare together seven years ago, and lived there for three years. A lot of sh** went down in that flat. I was the dumper and the dumpee repeatedly, while she was in a long-term relationship, then an engagement.

That engagement ended when the guy she was engaged to, well, ended it.

She’s a mum now. And – I am delighted to report – not an annoying mum in the least. In fact, probably the most chilled out mum I’ve come across. Her career is still hugely important to her. She works five days a week. She can hold a conversation without stopping mid-sentence to dramatically stage an intervention as her baby eats a leaf. I know the pain that she went through four years ago. And I think it has helped make her into the woman she is today.

She thought she had her happy ending.

I thought I had mine.

You never know what’s waiting, just a week away.

Thanks to the supporting cast

22 Jul

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Summer is racing on by. Life is busy, busy, busy, busy. A little busier than I generally enjoy it to me, if honest. But – without time to even think – low and behold I am on the very verge of the doomaversary. Less than two weeks to go til I can proudly declare that it’s a full year since the man I thought I was going to marry ate half a pizza and then told me he had never been in love with me. Phew.

I have found that my brain has been doing some very odd things recently. Specifically, it has been showing me a very visual emotional slideshow of my relationship with my ex. Constantly. Kind of like being forced to watch a horror movie. Kind of sickening. Very upsetting. I guess it is the brain’s revenge for the trauma it has been through for the past fifty weeks.

But one thing I have learned from living this horrific movie is that supporting characters appear at the strangest moments – and usually when I need them most.

Like the weirdo who flirted with me in Pret last December.

The total stranger who was nice to me on eHarmony.

B.

Irish Two.

They’ve all punctuated this journey and, in their own ways, helped to move it forward.

Well, just in time for the one-year mark, there’s a new character being introduced.

My friend Francesca has been trying to set me up with a friend of hers for a very long time. As in, pretty much straight after the break up she was all ready to instigate some text message introductions. Obviously I was in no fit state. And then when she suggested it again, I was seeing Irish Two.

But last weekend in Scotland she suggested it again. And I thought, “Why not?”. He doesn’t live in London, but near enough in Kent. He seems nice. He has a job and his own teeth. Yes, why the hell not?

And I’ll tell you something else – the very fact that Francesca is so keen to make this happen makes me happy. Not all my friends have been so keen to introduce me to anyone or even see me as a normal (albeit single – shock horror) person. Honestly, being single at 32 feels like having leprosy a lot of the time.

I digress.

So it turns out this chap (we’ll call him The Set Up) is crazy busy at work for the next two weeks. As am I. So he’s going to contact me once this project he’s working on is out of the way.

In the meantime, Francesca has informed me that he’s taken a good look around my Facebook and thinks I am fit (nice to know), funny (nice to know), and have a great figure (not sure where this came from, I’m not one to post bikini pictures and – frankly – it’s simply not true).

I am fully aware that there is an extremely narrow chance of us both liking each other. Let along The Set Up turning out to be the love of my life. I’m starting to wonder if such a person even exists. But it has certainly taken my mind off the looming doomaversary.

And what girl does’t like being told she’s fit AND funny?

I needed a little confidence boost, and along it came.

Another character thrown into the mix.

And so the story moves on.