Tag Archives: relationships

Putting my heart back together

28 Dec

I haven’t blogged in a long time.

My apologies, but I needed a bit of a blogcation. In truth, I’m not sure whether I should continue to write here on Pizza of Doom, or set up some new place to post all my ramblings. Not because I don’t love what I’ve created here – I do. But because my life is finally moving on.

This week it will be 17 months since the man I loved – the man I thought I was going to marry and have beautiful children with – ate half a pizza and told me he had never been in love with me. What followed was nothing short of hell. I didn’t know true heartbreak before this happened. I didn’t understand trauma, or depression, or myself.

I remember when, five years ago, a friend of mine had her engagement called off. Her boyfriend of five years had met someone else. That first week after it happened, I reassured her, and I told her, “I promise it will never feel as bad as it does right now.” I should never have said that, because I realise now that she was still in shock. She was still processing things. Her pain would come to a sharp climax sometime later, and then linger for months that turned to years. I want you to know that this friend got married (to someone else) just before Christmas. She has a baby girl. She’s very happy now.

I think my pain was at its worst for the duration of the first six months following the Pizza of Doom. Oh, you can read that pain right here on my blog. But, what scared me, was when a year later – even over a year later – the pain was still here. I thought it would never go away.

Then, all of a sudden, something shifted. Funny how it happens. One day I thought to myself, “Hmmm, you haven’t cried in like two weeks – weird.”

There’s a passage in The Kite Runner by Khaled Hussein that explains how it works with my eloquence than I ever could:

“I wondered if that was how forgiveness budded; not with the fanfare of epiphany, but with pain gathering its things, packing up, and slipping away unannounced in the middle of the night.”

Now, I’m not sure that I’ve quite reached forgiveness. But I’ve reached contentment.

I refuse to feel sorry for myself that I’m still single at 32. Yes, the world is f***ed up for the fact that nobody celebrates you past graduation unless you’re getting married or having kids. But I don’t need to let that drag me down. I’m lucky. I can travel. I can buy things. I can live and create the life I want. And, if someone comes along, fantastic. But I can’t just sit here waiting.

I’ve started making changes. I’ve booked a trip to Japan. I’ve cut my hair (which I hadn’t had cut in nine years). I’m swimming and doing yoga and making sure that I celebrate things for myself – because nobody else will.

And, here’s something, I’m going to Japan on my own. It makes me slightly anxious, but it doesn’t scare me. Before, it would have. Before him. While we were together. Immediately after. I wouldn’t have had the confidence or the guts to pack up and head to the other side of the world for a month. Now, I do.

You see, this experience has changed me. It has totally changed me. All for the better. I am more sure of myself and comfortable in my skin than I have ever been. I’m resilient. I’m empathetic. I like myself a lot. If I do meet someone, if I do one day get to be a parent, I’ll be all the better at it for this experience. I guess it’s our darkest moments that test what we’re made of. Here are some Ted Talks to illustrate my point.

So I need to make a decision as to what to do with my blog. It will be here forever in cyberspace, hoping to offer comfort and advice and reassurance to poor broken hearts who Google points my way.

But I’ve finally put my own heart back together.

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Baking

25 Oct

Cat-Baking

I’m great at baking. I’m great at cooking too. Another two reasons I am astounded to not be married, and to not even have a boyfriend.

The thing is, after the Pizza of Doom, I kind of gave up on both. I used to bake for my ex a lot. He always referred to the time I first made him red velvet cupcakes as “a significant moment in our relationship”. It was. It was the night we officially became boyfriend and girlfriend. After he asked me. After only four dates. Still bitter? Who me? Anyway, I’m sure there is some deep-rooted psychological reason, but ever since the break up I cannot get red velvet cake to come out the right colour. So I gave up. I have nobody to bake for. There was no pleasure to be had in creating beautiful things in my kitchen. I just stopped doing it. And on the cooking front, well, is there anything sadder than some 32-year-old spinster cooking for herself?

I actually did start cooking again after last winter saw me chalk up around 57 colds and viruses. It was time to reintroduce vegetables. I still eat toast most nights. Or kids’ ready meals. But, sure, I’ll make meals and freeze them in pathetic little single portions for when I get in from work at night.

Baking, though, remained untouched. Somehow it’s a much more emotional thing. It’s a “nice to have” a “nice to do”. It’s love, presented in sugar, eggs and flour. And I’ve been losing weight, so the last thing I need is a batch of brownies and nobody to share them with.

Very recently I began baking again. I made a gingerbread brownie thing for a friend, and then took the remains into work for my colleagues. I gave some to Irish Two. Everyone loved them. And I really enjoyed baking them.

I find Saturdays tough at the moment. I invariably end up in tears at some point. And that pain, that deep deep pain, hits me in the chest towards the end of the day. Yet Saturdays are also my favourite days, because I go swimming and take my favourite yoga class. Today I got a mani pedi and chose bright orange polish that reminds me it’s autumn.

And then I came home and baked. Just for me. To make my flat warm, and let my living room well up with the smell of spices and sweetness, and to have something delicious to eat after my homemade autumn stew.

What’s my point? I’m wondering the same thing as I type this.

I guess it’s that, when life isn’t how you want it to be it’s all to easy to deny yourself niceness. It’s all to easy to ask, “Why bother?”. Why bother dressing up when you have nobody to dress up for? Why bother cooking when it’s just you? Why bother going for a pedicure when only the yoga people at yoga class see your toes? Why bother caring?

Well, buddies, you should bother, for this simple reason: a little bit of sweetness can change any situation. Not a lot. Just a pinch.

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.

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.

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.

 

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.