Every time I feel a little bit stressed, or I’m having one of my many existential crises, I read (or even better, I listen to) Carl Sagan. His way of looking at our world and the universe was wonderful, quite literally. Here are some of my favourite Saganisms:
P.S. I am also now on Instagram because I’m nothing if unoriginal. See you over there perhaps?
I have been in a relationship for thirteen years. At twenty nine years of age, that’s pretty amazing. Before you start sending me congratulatory kitten baskets (which I would totally accept, btw) I must stress that as much as I love my partner, it has not been all sunshine and roses. We met when I was only fifteen years old and began dating when I was sixteen. I was young, naive, careless and I fell in love quickly and completely. He had me at hello, etc.
Throughout our relationship, there have naturally been ups and downs. We have weathered every storm with our hearts full of the knowledge that there is only us for each other, that our bond is too strong to be broken and that we would be incomplete without the other.
And then last month happened. Out of nowhere, we were left completely shaken, questioning how we became virtual strangers in such a short space of time. I can’t really speak for Jack, but I felt completely detached from him; like I was living with an awkward acquaintance. Nothing has ever upset me more. Without coming across as too self-pitying, it hasn’t been the best few years. I’ve had deaths, the destruction of my parents’ marriage, illness, unemployment… And throughout all of that, Jack was my constant. He was the one thing I knew I could cling to, like a rock in the middle of a stormy ocean. I felt I didn’t know how to exist outside of our relationship, so the dawning realisation that we were falling apart was just too much to handle.
While I tried to talk it out, Jack completely shut down. He couldn’t (or wouldn’t) speak to me, and when he did, it wasn’t exactly reassuring. I became more needy, constantly needing his reassurance that the last thirteen years hadn’t been a complete waste. Jack was tired. Tired from his job, his PhD thesis, and from me. I was hurt. I felt alone and unwanted. I felt pathetic. The strong, confident, feisty woman had been reduced to a whining, pitiful mess.
I could blame a number of factors: I was on my summer holidays from work, which are far too long and always leave me unfulfilled and therefore bored. Jack’s job requires him to work long hours. We moved into a house that needed extensive refurbishment and we had workmen in most days till late, as well as our well-meaning friends. I could blame all of those things…but it was us. We were angry with each other. We weren’t laughing anymore. We weren’t even being nice to each other. It felt over. It felt broken.
So did we break up?
I mean sure, I could have bought a Taylor Swift album, a litre of icecream and a dartboard with Jack’s face on it, but actually making an effort seemed like an imminently less destructive idea. The bottom line is, we love each other. We love each other a great deal. We have grown up together and evolved together. We are an intrinsic part of the other and I don’t want to live a life that doesn’t involve Jack.
We’re working on our issues. Yes, it involves actually trying (you know, the part they don’t show you in a Disney movie). I’m trying to be less of a pain in the ass, and he’s trying to be less of a pain in the ass. Richard Curtis-take notes. This is real life love. Relationships are really difficult at times…you know those moments: you’re sitting on the toilet and you realise that they have left a centimetre squared of toilet paper and you imagine your gleeful expression as you pour tobasco into their coffee. Those moments are hard. At other times, being in love makes you feel like the luckiest person in the world. Those moments fill you with a feeling akin to inebriation (which I happen to like). I don’t want to let go of that. Neither does he.
We’re going really well at the moment. That’ll last until I accidentally leave my hot straightening iron on his favourite shirt (again) or until he forgets to pick me up after work (again). And then we’ll argue. But we’ll always come back to the same realisation: we love each other. And that’s enough.
I’m sorry it’s been *looks at watch* FOREVER but…well, I have a bunch of excuses. Does anyone even remember me? If not, I’m the one who likes owls and teaches her cat useful tricks, like card counting and Olympic diving.
So I disappeared again. 2016 has been weird man. I made it my goal to get super fit and healthy and that kinda happened. I have really never felt so energetic *does 100 lunges while balancing monthly budget* Seriously though, I really made an effort this year to improve my standard of living and I just feel so much better, as evidenced in these insanely narcissistic and filtered as f**k selfies. Just look at the big happy head on me there.
Remember my other half, Jack? Yeah, that almost went south but we managed to claw our way back and we’re really trying now. I’ll blog about all of that soon too! I’m just back from a lovely holiday with my best friend where I partied too much and got sunburnt. Standard really.
I’m sure a million other things that are at least mildly interesting have happened to me, but I want to hear about you now. Talk to me. Have some tea. Tell me about your summer.
I don’t even know who I’m talking to right now but this seemed as good a place as any to try and make sense of what I’m feeling.
I was prepared for it. Prepared for it in a very practical sense. Three hours before she died, I washed my dress for her funeral. It was this horribly formal, almost insensitive but necessary chore. I felt myself turning on the washing machine, but I felt nothing else.
When I found out she had passed, I cried. That seems like a very normal response to such an event, except I don’t usually cry when I’m grieving. I usually sit numbly trying to encourage my brain to feel. And then if I do cry, it’s because I’ve made myself cry. This time, though, it just happened. It felt as natural as a child’s giggle. I sobbed for her, for her pain, for her immediate absence in my life, for her family. For my mother; her sister. For the fact that she was not just my aunt, but my guide. She was the relative that I most resemble, in every sense. I felt an affinity with her that I haven’t felt with anyone else in my family.
It’s shit that she’s gone. It’s shit that I can’t even begin to explain what a perfect person she was, even though she had flaws. It’s shit that I didn’t ever get to tell her how much she meant to me. It’s shit that my mother is in hell right now. It’s shit that I have to write about her in the past tense.
I feel a sense of guilt that I just have to keep on living and she’s just not here anymore. It doesn’t seem right. Sometimes I see a total stranger laughing and I just want to shake them and tell them that she died and that no one anywhere should be laughing. Then I remember how ridiculous I’m being and I get envious. I even envy a past version of myself; a version that never knew this feeling.
The worst part is, I left it far too late to get to know her. We didn’t have enough time. Maybe that has protected me somehow. My mother is in the worst pain I have ever seen anyone experience. I didn’t know grief could be so physical.
I have pushed people away because I haven’t felt worthy of pity. I didn’t want it. I felt like I had a bond with her, an affinity that I couldn’t explain, but there should have been more words…we should have exchanged more words. And then there’s her children. I wish I had been closer with them. I feel useless, like I can’t help them. I can’t help them, because I don’t know how to.
Death is a certainty for us all. But it’s easier to accept my own inevitable demise than that of someone I love. And that’s a great thing. That’s a wonderful thing…that we come to love people so much that it’s the most simultaneously beautiful and terrifying thing to experience.
And that’s what I hold on to, in the darkest of times. I hold on to the fact that grief comes from love. It comes from the deepest, most enduring love.
Hello everyone! So I said that I would eventually get around to filling you all in on the craziness that has been my life for the last few months, and as we all know, if there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s fulfilling vague committments to people over the internet….right? RIGHT??
Okay, so I have a tendency to disappear into the mist (both figuratively and literally, damn poor eyesight). Basically, stuff happened. We cool? Okay, thanks, bye.
Oh, you want more detail? Well, first things first: I got a job. Remember way back when I was unemployed and perfecting my impression of a duck using a mixture pringles and low self-esteem? Well, I finally got myself out of that rut.
My reaction was quite bittersweet. Yes, I finally had secured employment after almost six months of what I can only describe as the worst period of my life thus far. I had been filled with self-loathing and despair and I genuinely feared that I would never teach again. To return to a school that I had already taught in (and adored) was the proverbial cherry on top…or, you know, in my case literal, as I celebrated with much cake. Much cake.
The job is only temporary, but it has been really difficult for us both. I try to focus on the positives though; I absolutely love the school I am in and I get to do what I love every single day…(in this instance, I mean teach, although I may also mean robot dancing…)I also get to see much more of my friends and family (the job is back home where I grew up) which is always a bonus.
The last few months have been difficult in many ways, however. My general health hasn’t been great, though I attribute that mainly to stress. I also found out in December that a past pupil of mine, whom I was very fond of, passed away in a tragic car accident. I suppose sometimes, all these challenges and unfortunate incidents come at once and they really are a test of character for us, aren’t they? I have been feeling much better lately though. Teaching really does help me, it’s what I feel I am meant to be doing and that gives me great comfort. My relationship with Jack has also strengthened because of our time apart, because let’s face it, I am a gigantic pain in the ass who enjoys yodelling and eating tuna melts. SOMETIMES AT THE SAME TIME.
Anyway, me me me right?! Bleurgh! Tell me about YOU! How have you been? Where have you been? What have you been up to? Come say hello!
Oh quick p.s. also…can anyone tell me where Rob from the v-Pub went? I’ve noticed his site is gone?? Thanks:)
Where do I even start?! The last few months have been a little crazy. I mean, not Liza Minelli in a tutu eating fried chicken crazy but…pretty crazy. In a nutshell, I had to move away from my beloved fiance (yes, I said beloved) to take a temporary job in a school I actually worked in a few years ago. While I am so happy to be back teaching, it’s been really difficult living away from Jack and my pets. Lots of other little things have prevented me from blogging, but right now….
Until I get a chance to write a much more detailed and cohernet post (hey, it could happen)….
Hello my lovely internet friends! Things have been pretty crazy for me lately so I will definitely fill you all in as soon as I get proper time, or you know, write a post about cat juggling…whatever.
I just wanted to wish you all a very merry Christmas and say thank all of you that have read and commented on my posts throughout the year. I appreciate you more than you know.
Chat soon guys xxx
Why, hello there. Fancy meeting you here. Is that a new shirt? How’s your significant other/family pet? Okay, now that the awkward small talk is out of the way, let’s get cracking!
I recently read the most hilarious thread on Reddit about the silliest arguments couples have had with their other halves. It got me thinking about my lovely other half, and our famously petty arguments. So here, for your viewing (er, reading?) pleasure, are the stupidest arguments that we’ve had (or continually have) throughout our relationship:
DISCLAIMER: 90% of the time, Jack and I are normal people who get on better than 1980’s Oprah and a Twinkie. Sometimes we disagree. And it’s ridiculous. Prepare to judge us.
1.I was once watching a programme about a man with a pet hippopotamus. The man fed the hippo litres of coffee everyday. Jack laughed and said ‘she reminds me of you’. He meant because she’s seriously addicted to coffee but since I had a bigger case of PMS than Bill O’ Reilly on his own show, I freaked out because I basically thought he was calling me a hippo. There was a lot of tearful ‘WHY DON’T I JUST GO LIVE IN THE RIVER’s before I finally calmed down and realised that meh, hippos are awesome anyway.
2.Conversely, I once called him ‘my little badger’ on account of his greying hair, which FYI, I LOVE. Turns out I meant Silver Fox. Fox, badger…what’s the real difference amirite?! *Nervous laugh*
3.I had a dream that he cheated on me with Rita Ora and honestly I couldn’t even look at him the next day. Now when I see her on TV, I actively hiss.
4.I woke him up from a dream where he was chopping wood with Steve Guttenberg and it was ‘the best dream ever’ and I ‘ruined it.’ How do I even apologise for that?!
5.He threw my stuffed owl toy in an old box and he got dirty. Hooty was never quite the same after that. *stares sadly into the distance*
6.I beat him at chess and just before I checkmated his ass, he flipped the board over. He says he “fell” but who karate chops a chess board as they’re falling?!
7.I make him apologise to our pets when he gets snarky with them. The dog knows when he’s being sarcastic.
8.When we play video games and he kills any animals. MONSTER.
9.When I don’t listen. Here’s an example:
Jack: Love, did you hear Leonard Nimoy died?
*2 hours later*
Me: Oh no! Leonard Nimoy died!
Cue much disgruntled tutting and eye rolling.
10. When he throws his clothes on the floor. He has a wardrobe and a laundry basket RIGHT THERE but oh no, the floor seems as good a place as any for his clothes. *Deep breath from inhaler*
11. When he farts and deliberately closes all the windows in the car, or wafts the smell towards my unsuspecting and delicate nose. Animal.
12. When he “honks” my boobs. IT HURTS.
13. His procrastination is so bad that he makes Hamlet look like John McClane. I’ve forgiven him because he has just inspired me to write the greatest screenplay of all time, which may or may not involve a Shakespearean-Die Hard crossover. *Scribbles furiously on notepad*
14. When it’s his turn to cook, I can see him in the kitchen manically over-seasoning everything. I don’t want to sound high maintenance so I tentatively ask ‘um, are you sure the steaks need that much salt and pepper?’ and he’ll tell me he used a ‘pinch’ even though I’ve seen him twist the pepper grinder like a genius kid on TV works a Rubik’s Cube.
15. I have a habit of unintentionally figuring out the endings of mystery/horror films. I say something like ‘I’ve got it now. I know who killed the gardener!’ For about twenty seconds, there’ll be a silence and then an exasperated sigh as he says ‘fiiiine. Who did it?’ I explain that it was clearly the chimney sweep, because he suddenly got that fancy new rake and sweeping brush set. Obvs.
16. I’m almost always on the other line when he’s trying to call me for something important. In my defence, hearing my friend’s dog howl the theme tune to Baywatch is pretty important. Jack can pull himself out of a car wreckage. HE HAS TWO HANDS. Sheesh.
17. Whether cheese is the ambrosia of the gods or a curdled block of unspeakable malevolence.
18. We in Ireland have several words for a hair tie or thin scrunchie. I say ‘bobble’, he says ‘bobbin’. BOBBLE/BOBBIN, LET’S CALL THE WHOLE THING OFF!
19. He wants to put items of clothing on the cat. The cat (and her very over-protective mother) don’t approve.
20. I like to drink pint glasses of milk, which he thinks is weird. He eats his pasta and sauce straight from the saucepan with no plate, but sure, I’m the weird one. At least I’m weird with strong bones. So there.
I wish I could say this is it, but there’s so many more. The important thing is that he is amazing and we love each other and CLOTHES DO NOT BELONG ON THE FLOOR….I mean, you know….true love.
Do you have any petty arguments you’d like to share? Unload in the comments!
During my college studies, I was part of a small class of close-knit friends. Every Tuesday, the girls in my group would go for tea and gossip about the boys in our class. Pretty standard. During one of our many bitching sessions (hey, ten points to me for honesty), we were talking about a guy in our class that was really irritating the majority of the girls. He didn’t really bother me as much, but I listened as the girls discussed why they found him so annoying. ‘His hair’, ‘his face’, ‘his shirts’, ‘his habit of giggling like a schoolgirl at something that isn’t remotely funny’ seemed to be his worst offences until one of the girls piped up with:
‘Oh, and he has a blog.’
There was a collective groan. All the girls were shaking their heads as if it had just been revealed that he enjoys kicking orphaned puppies in his spare time. I sat there silently, waiting for someone to explain why this was such a cardinal sin. I didn’t have a blog at the time, but I had frequently considered setting one up. I didn’t understand what the problem was. After a seemingly interminable silence, I asked ‘erm, what’s wrong with that?’
You know when you say something in a group that virtually no one agrees with and literally everyone of them starts talking at the same time, with the express intent of letting you know how dumb your opinion is? Yeah, that was one of those moments. This is basically a quick run-through of their opinions on blogging:
‘It’s so narcissistic. I mean, no one cares what you think.’
‘Someone who blogs clearly has too much time on their hands.’
‘What does someone actually expect to get out of it?’
‘It’s like something an angst-ridden teenager does.’
I hope you guys aren’t getting too mad, but don’t fret, because I’m about to drop some TRUTH.
I sat and I listened as each girl basically explained why bloggers are the scourge of the planet, and must be destroyed, one post about cats at a time. Of course, I didn’t agree with them and yes, I defended blogging, even before I was set up a blog myself so you guys should basically see my like this now:
Now that I have my own blog, I’ve been able to form more considered opinions about the whole situation. Yes, you could argue that, as a “blogger”, I’m completely biased. Of course I am. I love everything about the blogosphere, especially the free wine (which I will now drink as a show of solidarity… you’re welcome). I don’t think that any of us have to defend our choice to blog, but I have often found myself explaining why I chose to start a blog. The girl from college has not been the only person that I have met to refer to blogging, and bloggers by extension, as narcissistic.
So it blogging narcissistic?
Maybe a little.
I understand that ‘narcissism’ is a very strong word. I also think that society is becoming increasingly self-interested. The population of the world is growing all the time, and I think many people feel that they must compete to get ahead and get noticed. If we all were 100% honest with ourselves, and each other, we would admit that as bloggers, it’s nice to be noticed. It feels good when a post that we have worked on gains attention. So maybe that does make us a little selfish at times, but isn’t everyone a little selfish?
Anyway, if having a blog is even a small bit narcissistic, then what about having a Facebook account, or a Twitter account, or an Instagram account, or a Snapchat account or a Bitch, I’m Totally Amazing, Look at Me account?
So I totally made one of those up….guess which one?
I think that any form of social media is inherently a little narcissistic.
We all like to show off a little, let’s be honest. We all like a little bit of attention. Everyone like some praise from time to time. We choose to share aspects of our lives for a multitude of reasons. If there is something we’re good at, we like to feel validated. A writer will share their fiction, a poet will share their poetry, a photographer will share their best shots, and a joker might share a post about farting. Ahem.
I told my friends that day that I understood why this particular guy would have a blog. He was intelligent, opinionated and very knowledgeable on current affairs. A blog seemed like the perfect outlet for his thoughts. To the girls, however, it was incredibly narcissistic of him to acknowledge as much. How dare someone have confidence in their own abilities!
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being confident in your own abilities or wanting to share aspects of your life, even if some people out there don’t necessarily agree with your choice to do it. What’s wrong with being good at something, and wanting to share that with others? I follow many bloggers who are excellent writers, poets, photographers, artists, teachers, and musicians. I honestly love and appreciate getting a peek into the lives of so many people around the world. I am often awed when scrolling through my reader, because I am reminded of the huge variety of talented people that blog. I also find that bloggers tend to be very welcoming and friendy; this certainly applies to the ones I have connected with. My life is truly enriched by them (you).
As for my own blog? Well, girl from college, in the unlikely event you’re reading this: I like my blog. It is a hot mess, there’s errors, I have no niche, but it’s mine. ME ME ME ME ME ME ME…sorry…
I make no apologies for blogging, and neither should anyone. So the next time someone asks you why you blog, you tell them the truth: because you’re amazing and the world deserves to know that. Too much? How about: because you’re good at something and you don’t mind other people knowing that. Yes, you are good. Great, even. Believe that and believe that it’s okay to believe that. Yes, I know what I said. Even if you feel like you’re not the best writer, the best photographer, the best anything, you’re expressing yourself, and that’s always a good thing. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
What are your experiences with people whom you have shared your blog with? Do you agree with me or want to punch my face? Sound off in the comments!