This is ourselves

I try to be honest when I write. But I’m also very conscious of people I write about or reference. Although I can count the people who read this without needing my toes, I’m careful not to make people obviously identifiable; while my “inner circle” might know who they are, the casual reader wouldn’t. I also attempt to be balanced and acknowledge that my feelings and views aren’t the only possible perspective and be sensitive to other peoples’ feelings and situations.

I’ve been particularly aware of that recently as, although I haven’t seen or heard from the boy (or “the fuckwit” as he’s now known to my friends) since our final meet, I know he’s active on Twitter (it was “our space” for a brief period) and still follows me. This blog is linked to my Twitter account so it’s possible he may read it.

He also blogs. Mainly poetry or political prose and I’ve consciously not looked at it since we ended things. However I was tipped off that there was a new post that I might want to read. I wish I hadn’t. It’s a recounting of a night out with a friend. From the headline that’s all good. Time with friends is precious and can be a much needed restorative.

Bearing in mind we parted ways because, although he allegedly cared deeply about me, he felt he needed to give his 25-year relationship one last attempt at resuscitation, even though it had apparently been dead in the water for over a decade. Imagine therefore my joy at reading about his evening of chatting up various barmaids and handing out his contact details. Yep. You got it. He clearly doesn’t have the same ethics or cares about his potential readership as I do. More fool me.

From deluded idealist to complete player in one fell swoop. I definitely got played and I’m an idiot for believing anything he said. And blokes wonder why women have trust issues! There must be one decent single bloke out there, surely. Someone prove me right, please.

It’s my party

So this week has been “interesting” as they say, with some highs and real lows both personally and professionally. However it’s now Saturday and I’ve been looking forward to tonight for weeks. Off to the Woo to spend time celebrating me with some of my closest friends. I can’t wait to be with people who genuinely care about me.

True, lasting friendship is one of life’s real joys. As soon as you work out those who are just around out of habit, only there for their own benefit, or while times are good, you can really start to identify the folk who are always there when you need them; tenacious supporters (& piss-takers at times) who always have your back and are in your corner. Clearly they must do yoga in their spare time to be that limber…

Anyway I’m seeing a lot of them tonight and so, for today at least, all is good. Love you guys.

Moving on

To give the boy his due, we did actually meet up and have a conversation about his “Dear John” text.  His suggestion.  I wasn’t entirely sure how things would go, but we met up in town and had a few drinks.  The conversation wasn’t too awkward, and it turns out it was him and not me.  Ha!  I’ve referred to him as a fuckwit and as going through some kind of midlife crisis and I’m not taking that back, but we left our evening amicably and as friends still, I think.

On the way home I booked tickets for a music festival in Paris as commiseration, and am also in the process of booking two weeks away in the Outer Hebrides, so there is good stuff happening.  Also had a few sneaky doughnuts (oops) but as I’ve just bought the Tom Kerridge healthy eating cookbooks, those are off the menu again now.  I refuse to wallow!

So back being single again.  Oh well.  Onwards and upwards – and I’m looking around all the corners.

Another one bites the dust

Generally if things appear too good to be true it’s because they are. My fledgling relationship didn’t make it out of the nest, sadly.

I thought because we’d known each other so long things would be different, but I was wrong. I received a “Dear John” text. Usual excuse, “it’s not you, it’s me, I need space”. Whatever.

I don’t have a particular issue with that, if I’m honest. Everyone deals with things differently. Has daemons to battle and mountains to climb that others can’t see and don’t know about. If it’s not right, it’s not right.

What stung for me was the method of delivery. A text message. Not a face to face conversation or even a phone call. Just a text message in the early hours when he presumably thought I’d be asleep and not able to respond. I found that really disrespectful and pretty cowardly. Clearly being the first love/muse counts for nothing.

So I’m dusting myself off, trying to undent my pride and restore my dignity and self-esteem to functional levels. One day I shall be that old lady who wears purple, talks to trees and hoards cats. But not today.

2018 is still unfurling itself. I am determined it will be my year. My trust may be low and my cynicism high but hope still abounds; you never know what – or who – is just around the corner.

Reserving judgments and infinite hope

They say you should never meet your heroes.  That should probably also extend to cover dating  your crushes.   I’ve recently had a few dates with someone I first met two decades ago and who has carried a little torch for me ever since.

I am sure that with every interaction the image he’s built up of me over the last twenty years is slowly but surely being eroded, and the pedestal I was unwittingly on is being chipped away.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing; from my perspective anyway.

I’m a fiercely independent, healthily quizzical (some might say cynical…) realist with an established sense of self.  I am also not the same person I was in my late 20s when we originally met and I suspect this may be something of a revelation.  Who could live up to the pressure of an idealised version of themselves though?  Indeed, to quote F Scott Fitzgerald, There must have been moments even that afternoon when Daisy tumbled short of his dreams — not through her own fault, but because of the colossal vitality of his illusion.

But perhaps I’m being unfair.  I’m not used to being the object of someone’s affection in this way; never before been someone’s muse and I think this makes me extra sensitive to reactions and responses; not the best combination with my already over-analytical brain.  I know that usually I am a bit of an acquired taste, and am well aware of my own feet of clay, so I struggle with someone just liking me regardless.

Within my friendship group there are some very healthy relationships with couples finding the path to bring out the best in each other – the whole definitely being more than the sum of the parts.  That’s the synergy I hope to find for myself in my next serious relationship.   Perhaps I am also guilty of pedestalling  (I’d hesitate to label it as self-sabotaging) and comparing each of my relationships to an ideal that no-one will be able to match.

I’m not one for making New Year resolutions, but I probably need to be a bit more open minded this year in my romantic escapades to prevent repeating previous mistakes or unfair judgments.  While thinking about this piece I have had the last paragraph of The Great Gatsby buzzing around my head so will finish with that.   With Jay Gatsby’s long-nurtured, obsessive love for Daisy Buchanan being pivotal to the plot, it’s not entirely unrelated. 

Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter – tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms further… And one fine morning —–

And so we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

F Scott Fitzgerald – The Great Gatsby

 

For auld lang syne

So we’re at the first day of the year again already. 2017 was a challenging year, but not without its rewards. I spent far more time in ICU wards than I would have liked and, although one of the OAPs pulled through and is restored to good health, we lost another earlier this month.

Through that turmoil,  some big work changes and the start of a fledgling relationship, I’ve been surprised by the reactions of some. You think when you hit this age that friendships are set but this year proved otherwise. I’ve been humbled by the support and love given by many, and saddened by those who stepped back or away completely for whatever reason. Others have reconnected and new friendships have also been forged. On balance my circle is healthier for it.

All the best for 2018. Grasp it, enjoy it, live it. It’ll be awesome, it’ll hurt, you’ll laugh and you’ll cry. Submerse yourself in it and do the best you can. Life is short; don’t waste it, make it count.

As my favourite group of Swedes would say (and did say, way back in 1979)  Happy New Year.

No more champagne
And the fireworks are through
Here we are, me and you
Feeling lost and feeling blue
It’s the end of the party
And the morning seems so grey
So unlike yesterday
Now’s the time for us to say…
Happy New Year, Happy New Year
May we all have a vision now and then
Of a world where every neighbour is a friend
Happy New Year, Happy New Year
May we all have our hopes, our will to try
If we don’t we might as well lay down and die
You and I

Sometimes I see
How the brave new world arrives
And I see how it thrives
In the ashes of our lives
Oh yes, man is a fool
And he thinks he’ll be okay
Dragging on, feet of clay
Never knowing he’s astray
Keeps on going anyway…

Seems to me now
That the dreams we had before
Are all dead, nothing more
Than confetti on the floor
It’s the end of a decade
In another ten years time
Who can say what we’ll find
What lies waiting down the line
At the end of eighty-nine…

Sad Tidings

It’s been a tricky month, hence my absence on here.  My only aunt, my mum’s elder sister, died on Friday after a short illness.  It’s been particularly hard on my mum watching her only sibling unwell and in pain, especially when she’d been so robust and independent before then.

Although she was 83, she still lived independently and definitely knew her own mind.  She was widowed nearly 30 years ago having never had children so my brother and I were spoiled by her as the only children in the immediate family.  She continues to look after us now she’s gone which I am particularly grateful for.  The last few days have been focused on supporting my parents, informing others, arranging her funeral – selecting music and readings – and ensuring her last wishes are honoured.  It’s all been a bit surreal.

There’s something about this time of year that makes losses or difficult circumstances more poignant and harder to deal with.  I think it’s because everyone is expected to be ruthlessly jolly from Hallowe’en to New Year and the focus is on the family unit, which can be particularly difficult for those who can’t, don’t or won’t fit that mould.

As well this bereavement, a distant cousin is losing her six year battle with cancer, and leaves a 13-month old daughter behind.  An old friend and her husband have made the tough decision to separate.  Another is nursing their partner after a serious car accident.  All feel guilty for not feeling festive or being as invested in the seasonal activities as society tells them they should be.  It’s always hard to have to share sad, bad or tragic news, but at this time of year it always seems worse; as though you are responsible for spoiling the happy times of others.

It can be really difficult to articulate sadness, loss and grief.   Edna St Vincent Millay says this so much more beautifully than I ever could, so I close this post with her words.

Dirge Without Music

I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely.  Crowned
With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.

Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
A formula, a phrase remains,—but the best is lost.

The answers quick and keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love,—
They are gone.  They are gone to feed the roses.  Elegant and curled
Is the blossom.  Fragrant is the blossom.  I know.  But I do not approve.
More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world.

Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know.  But I do not approve.  And I am not resigned.

Edna St Vincent Millay