Do We Ever Really Get Our Shiz Together?

I’ll be the grand old age of thirty two in a few weeks. Thirty two seems absolutely ancient to me, considering I had always assumed I’d be at least married with three kids, multiple generations of golden retrievers and living in a house I could ill-afford but it has a veranda and it’s mine so who gives a crap?! Well…that didn’t happen. My relationship status could be described as more complicated than quantum mechanics explained through hieroglyphics, I have zero golden (or otherwise) retrievers and the only thing I own is a pair of Nikes that I’ve already scuffed because I can’t take care of pretty things (or houseplants, FYI). I don’t save money, I just had a jar of Nutella for my supper and there’s a spider living in my shower that has taken control of my bathroom to the point that I ask his permission before I pee (his name is Sebastian and he appreciates common courtesy). Basically, I’m an overgrown woman-child who probably shouldn’t be allowed to use adult scissors without supervision. In my defense, those mother effers are SHARP.

I always assumed that I would reach a certain age in my early twenties and BAM I’d level up and know how to adult. My day would consist of a seamless routine of healthy eating, classical music, being evangelical about the deliciousness of avocados, drinking half a glass of Malbec, picking up children (presumably, my own) from activities like décolletage and ballet, and cooking a tasty yet nutritious meal (see: avocados) for my appreciative family who would then serenade me with a nighttime song before bed (my hypothetical children are indeed the Von Trapps). Instead, any semblance of routine is nonexistent. I have a job, which I adore and…well, that’s it. There are no Disney children, no spinning classes, no lunchtime tipple with Sandra whom I rotate the school run with. I get up, throw on whatever clothes I’ve decided to wash, lament the rotten avocado in my dustbin, go to work (I do adore my job), come home, work some more and basically collapse. Sometimes I’ll exercise, binge watch Queer Eye and maybe make a sandwich. I’ll WhatsApp audio my friends with the fascinating details of my day ‘my favourite stapler broke…but stand down, I fixed it.’ When it comes to anything approaching adulterific (see: Oxford English Dictionary, probably), like bills or errands, I get it done but in the most chaotic and least seamless way possible. Don’t get me wrong, I have no debt, I have no major stresses or issues when it comes to my personal or financial life, but that’s not to say it isn’t difficult. I have a pile of clothes in the corner of my room that basically looks like some kind of textile Everest. I have a press of expired cans of beans that I assumed I would need in case of some kind of zombie apocalypse. My heating has been broken since Obama was in office. There is zero organization in any part of my home. I realise I’m not alone here, but I also realise there are countless people my own age who are just more…adult. They have savings, they have health insurance, they have orthodontists for crying out loud! Do you ever look at some people your age who just seem so together and think how the hell do they do it?

For me, adulthood is the realisation that you’re entirely responsible for yourself. There’s no one else who’s going to pay those bills, or get that boiler fixed. Sure, you might have a supportive partner or even parents who are always willing to lend a hand, but when push comes to shove, it’s all you boo. And it’s tough. I mean, I know that’s all part of growing up. And it’s exciting in its own frightening way. And I’m far too old now to be complaining about what are really my own responsibilities, and simple enough ones at that. It’s just…I often wonder… will I ever have this adult thing down to a fine art?

The answer is probably NO. I think, like most people, I’ll always struggle a little. When I was a child, I viewed adults as absolutely infallible. They were, in my gullible eyes, were beyond fault. I know now what I didn’t know then: that I make mistakes every day. That I’m still scared, that I’m still foolish (at times 👀) and that I’m still learning and growing. And I think that’s a lifelong thing. There is no moment in life when everything finally comes together and you’re presented with some grand prize for finally having your sh*t together. I’m maturing everyday (though do not point out a Great Tit bird to me without expecting a bashful giggle). Most importantly of all, I’m happy. I’m happier than I’ve ever been and really, isn’t that what matters most of all? Well, that and cats wearing top hats. So maybe I’ll never be a boss at adulting, but doesn’t the world need people like me who can’t figure out what a tracker mortgage is? DOESN’T IT?!

So tell me, can you adult good? And if so, maybe share some tips while I try and stay inside the lines while I colour.

This Post Doesn’t Even Merit a Title

WELL HELLLOOOOO THERE! I’m shouting because I’m so excited! It’s been so long… actually, it’s been so long I’m sure most of you have forgotten me and need reminding of who I actually am. Here’s a few prompts to get your head muscles tingling:

Cats, tequila, bad dancing, puns…

Remember me now?! No? Okay, that’s fine. Expect your dead squirrel in the mail in five to six working days. Lol, I kid. (It’ll be a live squirrel and he’ll do tricks for you.)

So…I don’t even know where to start. I guess I should start with a logical rundown on my life since I last posted since I know you all care so much. *tumbleweed… wolf howl… cricket*

-I love my job very much and feel very privileged to work in such an amazing school. I’m so happy there.

-I can’t really post about my love life but it’s all good. DM me hun 😘

-One of my dogs sadly passed away. Miss you everyday, Molly.

-I got an SUV and honestly, I’m too small for it but who cares. I feel like Cher in Clueless.

-I have to move house which has made me all kinds of antsy but illbefineomgihopeso

-My friends are amazing. That’s not really news, per se, but I just felt it needed to be said. They’re my big yellow umbrella.

Wow, I actually don’t really know what else to say. I’ve been so consumed with work, there hasn’t been time for much else, except the occasional glass of Malbec and gyration to Queen. Life is funny like that; sometimes you just live it. Months have flown by, I’ve been living alone (to an extent) and it’s been great. Other than a few minor stresses, I’ve been good. Some would say zen (except for when I get stuck behind slow moving traffic and then the sewer mouth is just unstoppable).

So, come say hi to me! I miss you all. I’m officially the world’s worst blogger but at least I’m excelling at mediocrity, right? You’re welcome, mom. 💕

Tell me what’s been going on in your world while I embroider like the lady of a medieval castle twerk to Kendrick Lamar.

The Breakup

The 13th of February this year was a Tuesday. My fiancé and partner of almost fifteen years was at work. We had just that week decided on our wedding venue and had signed a contract with our wedding coordinator to secure the hotel. We were to be married in December.

That evening I went swimming with my mother. My fiancé told me that he was playing football with friends. I knew he was lying but I pretended otherwise.

I came out to the car after my swim and checked my phone. A notification told me that someone I didn’t know was attempting to contact me on Facebook Messenger.

Before I opened the message, I knew. I knew what it was. I knew I was going to be told something that would change my life forever. That five seconds before I opened the message was the longest moment of my life.

For the past year and a half, my relationship with J had been horrific. He treated me so poorly. He barely spoke to me with anything other than contempt and disdain. He didn’t touch me, kiss me, hug me. He showed no interest in me or my friends. He was cold, distant, perpetually distracted. He never looked at me. I would tell him I loved him, and his eyes would stay focused on his shoes while he’d murmur ‘you don’t need to say that to me so much.’

I felt rejected beyond belief. We were engaged, yet I felt I was forcing him into a marriage he clearly didn’t want. I tried to give him space. I tried to talk to him. I cried almost every day. I had nightmares. My friends and family were concerned. I took leave from work and started a course of anti-anxiety medications. I was broken.

And yet, I didn’t leave. I don’t know why. I guess the relationship was all I had ever known. I had never been single, never known myself to exist as an adult outside of the relationship. I was frightened. I figured I’d be alone forever if I didn’t marry him. I thought we had so much in common that I’d never find the same kind of relationship with anyone. I pushed away all the negative thoughts.

I knew he was cheating on me. He alternated between being distant and cold and then guilty and loving. He was insanely possessive over his phone. He ignored me on social media. He hid me from people like he was ashamed of me.

He was a mess. I was a mess.

The human mind is an odd thing. My friends would describe me as strong, as a ‘take no bull-shit from anyone’ kind of girl. But I let this go on. I lay in bed at night beside a man I knew was being unfaithful. I didn’t have the strength to deal with it.

I did confront him. Of course I did. Many, many times. I sent him emails, I wrote him letters, I tried to sit down and talk to him calmly.

I know you’re being unfaithful. I know. Can you please have the decency to tell me yourself and not let me find out in some horrific manner that devastates me?

You’re being paranoid. God, you have so many trust issues. How is this ever going to work if you don’t trust me?!

I only learned the definition of gas-lighting this year. Basically, it refers to someone manipulating you and causing you to completely question your entire reality. Although I knew he was cheating, I still questioned myself.

Am I paranoid?

Is it my anxiety?

Am I pushing him away?

And in all of this, we were planning a wedding. It’s not one of my finer moments in life, but at least I’ve gotten out before I committed to what I can only call a pathological liar. He sat with me in the hotel we were to be married in, knowing he’d been betraying me for over a year, and signed a contract holding the venue. He sat among my friends, my family, knowing that he was hurting someone they loved in the most horrible way.

That Tuesday night, I took a deep breath before I opened the message. I knew what the message was. But I wasn’t prepared for how hurtful it would be. The woman described every painful detail of the year long affair she’d been having with my fiancé. The boy I had loved since I was fifteen years old. The only man I’d ever slept with. The person who knew me better than anybody, who saw me at my worst, at my most vulnerable. I thought he was my soulmate. My best friend.

Her message, looking back on it, was the ramblings of a woman who consumed by bitterness and resentment and completely self-centered. There was no apology. There was no acceptance of her part in all of this. She knew he was in a relationship. She blamed him and him alone. It was awful on her, she wrote. She’d been very stressed and upset by it all. There was no acknowledgement of my pain or the betrayal done to me by both of them. It was an entirely selfish message. She was twisting the knife in the cruelest of ways. He had broken it off with her that week and decided that he did, in fact, want to marry me.

Lucky fucking me, right?!

Obviously, I’m glad she told me. I’m glad she provided me with all the painful details of their relationship. It allowed me to see him for the person he really was: a liar. The worst kind of liar. And god, was he manipulative. He made me question my own sanity. I thought that there was a good chance I was actually suffering from paranoid delusions. I lay awake almost every night wondering if I was, in fact, insane.

I had a lot of questions: Where? When?

Why?

I thought we were happy. Only a few months before the affair begun, we were living hundreds of miles apart and he was pledging his undying love for me. I didn’t understand it. Weren’t we best friends? Hadn’t it always been us against the world?

Confronting him didn’t help. He was weirdly calm. He told me that he didn’t love her, never had. She wasn’t even that attractive. He didn’t know what he was thinking. He loved me, of course. He wanted to marry me.

He was deluded. He believed that now that I knew, we could move on together and build a marriage. I sat in disbelief. He seemed to think we would be okay now. That we could move on from this.

To put it into context: I had always been the biggest emotional support in his life. I cheered him on when no one else would. I gave everything of myself to him. I ruthlessly defended him to friends and family who told me he wasn’t good enough. I supported him financially when he had nothing. I was a damn good girlfriend and amazing friend to him.

And he pursued an affair with someone else. Only a few months after my aunt died from cancer. While living in her house, I might add. While having the affair, he sat with me in my doctor’s office while I was diagnosed with a generalized anxiety disorder.

I had many, many questions:

Why didn’t you just leave me?

Did you laugh with her like you did with me? Did ye have private jokes?

Did you love her?

Why did you not just admit it when I gave you so many chances?

Did you ever feel guilty?

When did you actively decide to do this?

And most of all…why?!

I struggled to understand the why. I still do. Without sounding horribly shallow, the woman was not extremely attractive. She was older. A writer would describe her as homely. So maybe they had a deep, emotional connection? Well, no, that didn’t appear to be the case either. I think I would have found it easier to comprehend if it made sense. But it didn’t. I kept trying to rationalize it in a petty, immature way: I’m prettier than her, I’m smarter. I’m more accomplished, more successful. Why wasn’t that enough?

It doesn’t matter. None of that matters. If Beyoncé gets cheated on, anyone can get cheated on.

And that became my mantra:

It is not, and never was, me.

It’s him.

He tried to reassure me that he didn’t love her; that I was the one he wanted. But I was done. The betrayal was too much. I didn’t know who this person was. He was a virtual stranger to me. I remember sitting across from him and thinking ‘who the hell are you? Who is this person I’ve lived with for thirteen years?’

The final nail in the coffin came when the other woman told me that he had taken her out for dinner the previous week. It wasn’t the thoughts of them having sex, or even sitting in our car together, or kissing that killed me. It was the fact that he hadn’t brought me to dinner in years. I imagined them, laughing together, sitting in some intimate restaurant completely unaware of the pain they were inflicting on me. It was a pain like nothing I’ve ever felt.

I told him to leave the next day. A bizarre clarity came over me. I was rid of him finally. I realised in that moment something that really set me free: I didn’t love him anymore. I had loved someone else entirely. Someone I perceived as honest, dependable, trustworthy. Someone who would never hurt me. Someone who would always love me and realise how lucky he was to have such a loyal and loving girlfriend. He was not that guy. Did I want the master manipulator and liar? Um, no thanks.

Bizarrely, I found the breakup easy. I mean this when I say it: I have never been happier. I know a lot of people might think I’m being conceited. That I’m saying this to exact some kind of petty revenge, like ‘look how great I’m doing, la la la’. But that’s not the case.

My friends and I have become so much closer. My best friend’s relationship ended only two months after mine. I’ve spent so much more time surrounding myself with friends and family. I’ve widened my circle considerably. My house is rarely empty. I’ve reconnected with old friends. I’ve dated. I’ve met amazing men; men who have treated me well and who remain my friends. I’ve even had one or two short term relationships. I’m not ready for anything more just yet because I’m enjoying myself too much. But I’ve met guys who are successful, funny, smart, who quote random TV shows just like me, who make me feel sexy and special all at once. They give me what I never got from him: Time. Attention. Affection.

And I’m getting ready to properly date now. I feel like I might finally be able to commit myself to something more. I guess time will tell.

I’ve become a better person throughout all of this. I lost stones of weight. I went back blond. I got an amazing job. I feel great. I go places I never would have went before. I’m out of a horrible rut that I was stuck in for years.

And despite what he put me through, I hope my ex is happy. I really don’t wish him any ill-will. Even when people around me verbally bash him, I still find myself defending him. Old habits, and all that. He was a silly person in ways, ignorant, selfish, deceitful. But he’s not a bad person. Genuinely. I know, under it all, there was a time when he loved me. A time when we were happy. And we had fun. To this day, I still see things that I know would make him laugh. I see things that remind me of him constantly. I have fond memories of our time together but unfortunately, they’ve been tainted by his betrayal. Honestly though, whatever he does in life, and wherever he goes, I hope he’s happy. And I hope to god he never does this to another person again. Maybe someday we might even be friends.

I acknowledge that we got involved too young. We fell in love quickly and absolutely. But the fire burned out long ago and I guess we just kept hoping it would reignite again some day. We should have parted ways, but we didn’t. That’s why I would advise anyone having sincere doubts about their relationship to really, really consider whether it adds value to your life or makes you happy. Mine didn’t. And if I didn’t receive that message on that random Tuesday night, I’d probably be getting married.

To anyone who has been betrayed, or hurt like me, I’ll say this:

It’s okay. Pain is inevitable in life. But choose to see it as something cleansing, something that indicates the end of something bad. Learn from it. Let it teach you so that you can avoid its cause again. And love yourself; you really should be your own best friend.

If you read this far, thank you! I needed to get all of this out. It’s been hugely therapeutic. Whoever you are, I hope you’re having a wonderful day.

Living

How the hell are we??

My life has been a bit currrrazaaay lately (two syllables just didn’t seem like enough, ya know?)

I mean, I don’t even know where to start. I’m still teaching (I like to imagine myself as a non-magical Dumbledore). I am LOVING living alone because, well, naked cleaning. I am probably partying too much, but hey, it never killed anyone, right? (Okay, it’s killed a lot of people, but I’ve made it to 31 and I once attacked a toaster with a knife so I figure I’m lucky to have gotten this far). I’ve gone even blonder. I got my best friend a cat because I’m sound as hell. I’m getting a new tattoo. My friend had a baby. I’m getting another piercing. My cats have mastered teleportation (probably). I got a financial windfall and I’m planning to travel, maybe. Someone sent me flowers and I have no fucking idea who but my cat ate them. I FINALLY finished Ulysses. I started properly writing again and I love it. My friends are all amazing and I never need anything else as long as I have them, except maybe wine, chocolate and cats. And gifs of people falling over. I’ve been doing things I never would have done a year ago. I’ve opened myself up to new experiences, new people, new places. And it’s pretty great.

So that’s been my life. I’ve never felt happier. Sure, the anxiety kicks in every so often. I doubt myself. I doubt my decisions. But most of the time, I’m smiling. I’m laughing. I’m dancing to Carly Rae Jepsen.

That’s the thing about challenges; how you react to them is what defines you. Shit will happen. You can’t always prevent it from happening. But you can choose how you react to it. I’ve chosen to live. To really live. I analyse less and do more. It’s not always smart but it feels good. It feels right, right now at least.

Anyway, I just wanted to check in and say hello. I hope that you are having a peaceful day, whoever you may be and wherever you may be reading this from. Join me in some fancy internet tea and I’ll let you pet my cat which is not a euphemism, you deviant.

Some Short Stories

Hey loves,

I realised I have quite the collection of amazing short stories amassed from my years of moulding young minds (and definitely not playing them early ’90’s hip-hop).

So I thought ‘hey, why not share some of my favourites with you all completely unsolicited because I’m annoying like that’ and ‘I think my cat has telepathic powers’ but mostly the first thing.

A Perfect Day for Bananafish- J.D. Salinger

This is just perfection. It’s dark, it’s bizarre, it’s vintage Salinger and I love it.

Guests of the Nation- Frank O’ Connor

Frank O’ Connor is truly one of the best writers of short fiction. This story may require a little background knowledge on the Irish War of Independence but anyone would enjoy it. If you’re not completely moved by the ending, then you may be a psychopath. Special mention to First Confession also; it’s hilarious.

To Build a Fire- Jack London

Man vs Nature…who will win?

Spoiler: Nature, obvs

The Cask of Amontillado- Edgar Allan Poe

This story is all kinds of f**ked up and I f**king love it. A story so nice, I swore twice. Special mention to The Tell-Tale Heart also.

Genesis and Catastrophe- Roald Dahl

The twist in this is great and really makes you think. Also, Dahl rules.

You guys enjoy reading and I’m going to continue brunching while I still can:

🤟🏻🤟🏻🤟🏻🤟🏻

And I’m Okay

Hi there!

I just wanted to update you all because I’ve gotten a few sweet sympathy emails and I wanted to say a) thank you, you beautiful people and b) I’m not drowning in a sea of merlot and cookie dough ice cream (but what a sea that would be…) But yeah, I’m good.

I’m currently on holidays from work for two, count ’em, TWO weeks…which means that I’m planning to do lots of fun things, like travel around the country in my crap car, while listening to podcasts and taking pictures on my Polaroid. Or visit a dark sky reserve with my darling little telescope. Or I’ll just lie on my sofa staring at my feet and listening to death metal.

Whatever I do, it’ll be fun. And that’s what I need. I could also do with a travel companion who will stop me from accidentally driving off a cliff (again…dammit) so if you know anyone (preferably Tom Hardy but I’m willing to settle) then hit me up.

In other news, I’m looking at traveling for the summer. I have no idea where, but sure isn’t that half the fun? My job means that I have the freedom to do it so why not? My job also means that I have perfected a passive-aggressive look of disdain, but mostly the freedom thing.

If you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them! Let me dream for a little while…

There’s so much more that’s been going on in my life. But that’s for another day. Right now, I’m reading the poetry of Byron from a 105 year old book while simultaneously watching Jeremy Kyle. Because classy. Seriously though, the combination is amazing.

Enough about me. How is all with you? What have you been up to? Did you know that goats are actually just male sheep? Probably?

Kisses and hugs that linger for too long xxx

P.S. I was reminded of this scene from The Simpsons on FB today…how amazing/emotionally traumatising is it?!

Homer’s Mother Leaves

Well, bye.

Ah, Go On.

He writes my experience better than I could

nerd on the bridge

If only
he’d been honest
and told the truth
about his work wife…
everything
would have turned out fine, you
would have understood,
cheered him on, and,
continued full-steam ahead
to the harbour
in Nuptials Bay,
where the priest waited
with me friends and family
to witness the pageantry
of public oaths I came to loathe
sooner rather than later, almost married
to a cheater, who loves
but doesn’t respect me enough
to confess
a year in advance
his romancing and shagging
some saucey little dish
that enhanced his happiness,
and,
from what I know,
didn’t adversely affect how he felt
about me, after all,
I.F.T (I fucked Ted),
as a conversation-starter, and again,
as a warning,
so I assumed even then
it’d sunk into his head
that only men
are cheaters,
unentitled
to sympathy and absolution,
the sole privilege of women.

I’m no fool,
nothing shocks me anymore, but…

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