Head up Young Person

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So I am writing this from a beautiful veranda in Italy. I decided three days ago that I was fed up with sitting around vegetating. With no work commitments this week, why not just pack a bag and go explore somewhere. Go and get lost in another country, culture and cuisine!

I have spoken about my parents and their influence on me many times. This trip is a prime example of those who have had a less than positive impact on me. I have over the years acquired too many people who drag me down and keep me down or simple do not instill any confidence in me to help me push myself. However, as an only child I have always been somewhat in charge of my own happiness and sadly my own misery. I have become a class a student at self managing and despite the lack of encouragement from those around me, their attitudes- at least from my parents- have an interesting effect. Admittedly the healthy approach is to encourage your kids and make them feel they can conquer the world and if they try and fail you will be there to pick them up and help them back on track. I did not have this- but in the absence of it- I did have rebellion as a motivator. I look at my parents – well my mother- and see everything I never want to be. I want to be non-judgemental, kind, supportive, a listener, a learner, someone who puts others first, and someone who isn’t afraid of adventure or to fail, who wants to step away from the norm someone who embraces the little things, the emotional things that ultimately matter. Someone who doesn’t settle, who tries to always see the best in people and understand them not condemn them based on my own beliefs. So I suppose, in an odd way. Their faults have become my strengths ( and as my therapist will contest also my weaknesses) but I am what I am and so- in the face of mockery and disbelief – I booked a flight to Tuscany and here I am.

Its been three days of adventure. Not crazy, swim with sharks, hike up mountains, sleep in flea ridden hostels adventures.. calculated rick is my thing after all. No its been simplicity- the warmth of a family run B&B the slight fear of not knowing the native language but travelling to a country where they speak yours and of course finding a place safe enough t get completely lost in your own world. To wander the streets with my camera and capture the smallest of details that passers by often miss- this is my favourite thing to do.

I never really enjoy shopping- browsing can be fun at markets etc but for me, going down the back alleys, searching for shots, looking for spots where the sun it hitting that fountain, flower or tree just right to illuminate it and make it sublime. That to me is where I can let go and immerse myself in enjoyment and the mirco world that most people walk straight past without appreciating. The exchanges between people, the incredible street art that most dub ‘vandalism’ or the tiniest of creatures that others tread on to get where they are going.

I must admit after three days of not really speaking much due to the language barrier- last night our wonderful B&B hosts created a cookery lesson for myself and an American family staying here. It was wonderful to learn a new skill, enjoy the company of new people and have a conversation! A lovely send off to this little trip and a reminder that above all else. I do love to learn new skills.

Now , with a slightly heavy heart, I must return back to normality.

I have learnt a few things about myself out here. Namely one quote I read before I came- keep your head up and your heart open. I think that is one I must remember on a daily basis. For I have recently encountered too many people who allow pain and hurt from the past to close them down. I understand entirely why. As a child learns that fire is hot and not to stick their hand in a flame a second time around! So when your heart breaks or your dreams are shattered, you learn not to risk that loss or pain again.

In some ways I wish I had this ability. I seem incapable of protecting myself or my heart. I always put everything on the line, give my entire heart away and then look on as it is crushed, torn or simply handed back by another. How simply wonderful it must be to not feel the need or inclination to do this. To hold on to your heart and never let anyone near it- then no one can break it.

However, as I thought upon this today a memory came to me of my dear friends funeral last year. Carys was taken too young and too soon and as the packed out church filled with distressed and sobbing mourners. The Humanist preacher asked us all a question. ‘ would we swap the pain we feel now for the joy and love we experienced by knowing Carys’. By this she meant that if we had never known nor loved her, we would not feel so sad to let her go- but would never knowing her be preferable to the pain we now feel after losing her? Clearly all of us agreed that the memories and the love made the pain that day more than justified.

 An extreme example but I do think that this is worth bearing in mind with any love. It is always a risk, if it didn’t feel so good, we wouldn’t feel so bad when its gone. However, I would rather live a life where I have opened up my heart to those experiences, to look back and know that I gave myself every opportunity to love and to be loved and to feel that joy- even if it didn’t always end well. This is better than to build a wall around myself so I can never feel the pain of a broken heart. As those walls also mean I may never be able to experience the happiness that loving and being loved can bring.

 So with that in mind. I leave Italy a with my chin up and my heart open and I hope that by continuing the way I always have, that when I eventually depart this world and join Carys wherever she is- that I end that journey with a slightly battered heart. As the scars will be signs of a life well lived and a heart well used as its not like its returnable at the end of the day! So I think we should all learn to wear it out .

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Brave new world or De Ja Vu?

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So, the latest update in the saga of my world. I drove into the sunset away from Mr X. He made it clear he wanted no more to do with me as it was all too much and not what he wanted. I strongly suspected a lot of what he said was BS and just a front as the reality is he didn’t want to get hurt again after the last break up. But then I also wondered if he even knew that himself, even if it were true.

One thing that did irritate me is the endless way men end thing under the false pretence that they are doing you a favour! ‘You can do better’, ‘you’re better off without me’, ‘I will only hurt you’ blah blah. I just want to shake them and tell then to grow a pair and grow up! Either admit you actually don’t want to be in that relationship due to your own shit, or man up and do something about it, treat me differently, try talking about it- but for the love of god don’t break my heart and then tell me its all for my own good! If I want to love you, stay in a dysfunctional relationship, put myself out there to get hurt- thats my choice- don’t take it away from me.

Anyway, the weekend was a washout. I was depressed, teary, pretty much the most anti social I have been in a while. Long blue days followed by endless sleepless nights..I was a misery.

Then monday morning I wake up to a missed call- from Mr X. I text and he apologises for calling and says he had a ‘weak’ moment and he knows he told me to stay away, I then discover he has equally had a terrible weekend as his ex- yes the dreaded ex, is now moving in with her new mr ex replacement.

So instantly my hope that he had been miserable without me went out the window- nope he was just still winding himself up about her and I wasn’t there to be a sounding board, so he snapped and called.

Now I would like to say that I of course immediately told him I didn’t need his emotional fuckwittage anymore and I had been messed around one time too many. However, of course, I did not. Two hours later I hung up from a lovely chat which had once again instilled hope in my heart!

So then normal practise continued- texts, calls etc until I got the ‘come over’ invite. I debated staying away but we have already established I have about as much willpower as a 2 year old in a sweet shop – so I went over, and I am glad I did.

We had a fairly standard night. Lovely time chatting and cuddling. But he told me he was finally coming around to the idea that us being apart doesn’t work and he is questioning why he is fighting it and running away. He asked me to stay (which I refused until he talked me round) and in the morning, he was unusually attentive and even kissed me goodbye when I dropped him off at work. but was it a final kiss goodbye like last time?

 

Trying not to drown or frown

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So I spent a week learning to swim. Yes I made it to 32 without being able to. So I enrolled on a residential course and decided to face my fear. Oddly I discovered my fear of failing was worse than my fear of water. I tried my best and survived being endlessly touched up by my instructor, being pushed to face my fear of being under water head on and came away feeling high off a challenge met and conquered. I am no Tom Daley but I certainly made more progress than every before- I just need to keep it up. This is actually the hardest part. I am good at trying things, doing them, ticking the box- I am not good at carrying them on. I move on too quickly without getting really good at anything.

Meanwhile, in love life news.Following The declaration from x man – I set off to my swimming week and the moment was not discussed. However, was incredibly supportive. He called me everyday, texted me supportive messages every morning to pep me up. His conversations included telling me how he felt we have more chemistry than him and his ex and a what are we going to do ?’ – which frankly I slightly bulked at. I mean seriously? What did he want me to say? He chased me, I fell in love, he backed off and ever since I have made it perfectly clear what I want and he has been less than clear. So asking ‘me’ what we are going to do is a lot like asking me what I am going to do to save the dolphins- I mean I know what I’d like to do- I love dolphins- but realistically I can’t single handedly save a species and I can’t single handedly make this relationship work. Its a two way street and currently he has right of way.

So I return and I have hope- the most destructive of all emotions- that we may be headed in the right direction. Then, you guessed it, he turns up at my door drunk…and declares he ‘is’ in love with me. I woudl have been flattered was it not immediately followed by the words’ urgh I’m gonna be sick’.

Needless to say I didn’t believe nor trust this statement and so put him to bed and waited to see what he had to say for himself in the morning. Well come morning he did say he remembered what he said and meant it but also started to pull away.

And so it began- the distance, the freaking out as he’d gone too far this time. After several happy days together the nuclear bombshell was dropped- he told me he was scared to hurt me as its what he does. That he wasn’t committed to me, if a hot chick walked in- well he would go there. He told me he didn’t want to be my boyfriend, didn’t want to feel he was in a relationship that required commitment and so it went on.

Now if that was ‘all’ he said, well it woudl have been easy. But in-between by head was spinning as he said ‘oh no why am I doing this?’ and ‘ Part of me just wants to run away together’ and ‘ it would be so much easier if I just went out with you’.

Soo.. I drove him to work, we kissed and I drove away very confused

The highest highs and the lowest lows

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Ok so the non-job turned out pretty well. No one got offered the job. So in the grand scheme of not wanting be offered it- that was the best possible outcome. In addition I received an email from my interviewer saying that I gave a great interview and that there may be a more exciting opportunity in the pipeline, but most importantly- he told me a line I will always remember- Stick to your guns and don’t let anyone tell you that you need to live in a bedsit in Croydon to be a success. I love that and as someone who has always struggled with people telling me I need to be in London to make it- it was a great comfort.

 

The week after the interview was pretty painful- following the stellar performance from mr x I ignored him all week until finally I cracked at the weekend and realised that he had in fact called me several times and messaged me to ask how the interview went. I was too angry to respond but then pushed it too far and pushed him away completely. Possibly a valid response bearing in mid the brutality of his message. But I couldn’t shift the feeling he didn’t man it.

So after days of listening ot my friends telling me to walk away, be strong, forget him. In my own typical fashion I decided to fight mean with nice- and bake cupcakes. Yes, that’s right- in the face of certain rejection I figured the best plan was to offer a ‘peace’ of cake offering. So I created to pretty awesome looking cakes (even if I do say so myself) and devised a plan.

The plan was to take the cakes over, tell him I wanted to talk – not right now- and was around the next day so if I didn’t hear from him then fine and if I did then to call me. However, just as I was about to jump in the car- I got a message- he wanted to go for a walk and talk! Spooky.

So off we went for a stroll around the local park. It was lovely. He apologized, we caught up- I told him my news about the job and told him I was off to learn to swim the following week and we walked, talked and laughed. He offered for me to come back and have a bottle of wine with him- I didn’t want the good time to end so agreed and then came the bombshell. After opening a ‘special’ bottle of wine he had been saving as he was so proud of me for the swimming idea- he told me that the reason he pushed me away was because he was terrified of falling in love with me.

News to me! And not really news that I knew what to do with- I mean after months of telling me how easily he falls in love and how many others girls he is/has been in love with- I wasn’t sure how to take the comment. So I went with the trusted ‘sweeping laugh’ the ha ha yea right, lets move on..sooo more wine?