The Go to Girl

I’m not saying this to boast, or to sound like I know everything, I know very little about anything and things I do know i’m limited on. Like everyone I speak from experience and musing only, that is all we have to go on, things we know, and what we think we think about the things we don’t. Apparently, I’m ok at it. I’m everyone’s go to girl,

Now when I say everyone, I do mean, everyone. Family, friends, Uni friends, best friends, family members friends, people I don’t really know that well at all – acquaintances we’ll call them. I don’t know what it is but apparently I seem to be able to hit the nail on the head. What that means is I guess up to the person who’s asking for the advice, but alot of the time it comes down to, getting how they feel and what they want.

Well, everyone can give advice lets me fair, but everyone can also give bad advice, or off the cuff advice – ill thought out or barely thought about at all. My advice is simple, and it comes from reading people. I spend a lot of time observing human behaviour. That sound odd, i’m not David attenborough for mankind but I do people watch – incessantly. With a coffee, out for a walk, in lectures… Its amazing what you pick up on. I think this helps to relate to people, we all have the same problems, the same insecurities, and if they seem different, underneath everything it’ll be something we’ve felt ourselves.

Advice isn;t about mere reassurance, it’s about practical home truths, not being harsh for harshness sake but being truthful and fair. Example, if a friend is fretting about losing her partner and she can’t see what she’s done, let her talk ask some questions and low and behold she probably did do something. So don’t say, you idiot, but say, do you think maybe he was feeling… yada yada yada. In hearing something that they maybe don’t want to admit to themselves, they’ll have a moment of realisation. Its not to go grovelling back, but its about accepting whats happened, finding whats upsetting you and moving on from it.

Most strife, worry and angst, comes because people don’t know what they are feeling or what the root cause of the issue is, when they find it, suddenly everything falls into place, and that’s usually my bit. The second important bit. Share. I always talk about my own life, I put it into context. As I’ve said before my life has had far too much drama for its age, I’ve had a lifetimes worth of angst in a short twenty something years, even my counsellors concur, so its important to make the person feel you understand. if its relationships, share a similar situation, friends, talk about that friendship  that broke down and still causes you hurt, but. Do not make it about you.

You are there for the person not to run off into your own woes and thoughts. It’s easily done, its my mums advice, she’ll say this is like, and half an hour later we’re still talking about my mum and her problems and I’m consoling her. Keep sharing relevant and make sure you relate it back to them with a helpful tip, how you got over it, how you came to realise, what you did, what you didn’t do, what. ever.

I enjoy being the go to girl. A lot of my friends i’m the sole person they can or will talk to about difficult things, and that makes you realise you really are treasured. It shows you taht your not just a fair weather friend and that your mates value your opinions and advice. I’m nicknamed wise owl in my group. I don’t think i’m wise at all, older than my years possibly, and to someone who’s young for their age, maybe we’re poles apart, but. I’m understanding, I listen, I observe and I care. Thats the clincher. If you care, you listen, if you listen you learn, you understand, you can relate better, you can advise better. You keeping making mistakes, you hear about other peoples, you learn from both and grow in emotional maturity.

People have rung me from South Africa when something’s gone wrong to talk to me, people have text me from Australia, Tokyo, Sweden… I get calls at 2 am, 4 am, at work and when I’m on the phone consoling someone else, and every time I’m there. Because that’s what being a friend is, putting the other person first when they need it, being their regardless, selflessly, because you genuinely care.

I’m told daily I should be an agony aunt, a counsellor, a sex therapist, a carer. Well, I think if I’m honest, I’m playing all of them already.

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Explaining how you feel…

How do you explain depression to someone who doesn’t understand? How do you make someone see, understand what it is, what its like, how it feels? Its something to be honest, I’ve never tried to do. My parents saw the best and worst of me and therefore they got it first hand, for all its peculiarities and oddness.

Its described as that black dog that follows you around, a metaphor for being chased down by darkness, this feeling of being followed, imprisoned, caged by your own feelings. Its always there, like a cloud looming, suffocating you, reminding you that it can rain again any time.

But what is it. Its hardly descriptive is it, this black dog. Its all abstract words and feelings its hardly surprising people can’t grasp it. To me, its this sense of deadness that creeps in. Where I go through a stage of feeling numb, over tired, exhausted, my brain works at a 100 miles an hour worrying about anything, everything, keeping me up. I stop sleeping, I feel nothing about anything. Apathetic,  just very unlike me.

Then you feel lost, down, sad, you feel like crying constantly because you don’t understand why you don’t feel happy, why you can’t feel properly. Like your heads wrapped in cotton wool, you can’t think, can’t process, feelings tear around inside of you rather than drifting, you’re angry for feeling so helpless when there is nothing wrong, sad for not knowing how to put it right, lost as to the answer to this imaginary problem.

Yet it is so very real. It can come around or go as fast as anything. I take tablets, the highest dose of my prescribed meds allowed, to keep me from feeling that way, but then, sometimes, it all gets to much. I’ll have a few down days, where suddenly, I’ll wake up and something isn’t right, I can feel it, this sense of… an absence. My eyes prick with tears and I don’t understand why, I end up overwhelmed, hysterical, hating myself for feeling so god damn useless. Then, I feel OK.

I sit with someone, I talk, I don’t talk, I take some different tablets, I get a handle on things, drag myself out of my own pit, and give myself a good talking too. I put things in perspective, I contact those I love, I force myself to get on, and you know what, I’m OK again, functioning normally. Enjoying friends company, occupying myself with writing, reading, plans, whatever. The helplessness subsides, the empty void is filled, if only partly on occasion, and I carry on.

Its dangerous. Its worrying how quickly things can turn so wrong, how things can get out of hand. How your rational brain, leaves somewhere and this force takes over. Doctors worry, long term depression is a worry, it leads to scary things, they want to put you with people to talk to, they want to make you feel better all the time, but we all have ups and downs, just because your depressed doesn’t mean you should never have them.

I want the highs and the lows. Sometimes you just need to talk and say, I feel like everything’s slipping away again, sometimes you need people to leave it be, sometimes you need someone to understand they cant get it. People that say its a first world problem, damn right it is. How upsetting is that, can you imagine, knowing there are people in Africa, starving, with AIDS and diseases, their children dying and if you asked them, they’d want to live.

I say its ignorant. Well yes and no. Its hard to understand something you cant explain or feel yourself, Its hard to see how there can be a problem when there is nothing seemingly wrong. It is totally irrational, that is not lost on depressives, its stupid, its selfish, its ridiculous, thats not lost on me either. But its a disease, of the brain, its there and it eats you and it makes no sense and its there for no reason.

I was told last week I was considered a harm to myself, maybe I was, last week I didnt care, I couldn’t be bothered, I was fed up of feeling down, of getting these ridiculous feelings, of the hopelessness, of letting myself get like that, if that was my life, I didnt want it. But this week, well, I’ve got my perspective back, my rational brain and I know, its stupid to let something take such a hold, something you can’t even understand or quantify.

I get upset when people question it, I understand how ridiculous it is, I hate myself for being such a drip, for letting myself become so overemotional, when I’m not one for being overly emotional normally. Its because I cant explain it, I dont understand it and I find it as frustrating as everyone does who’s trying to get a straight answer about it.

I want to hide people from my lows. When I could just lose it all completely and cry and shake and dissolve into a dribbling, snivelling wreck for no apparant reason. You look mental, you make no sense, you seem hysterical and nothings happened. Why would people want to see that? But then your being fake, your being fake all the time. No your not. Sometimes we all want to cry, sometimes we all want to scream out, its just your at the extremes as a depressive. There isn’t a lot in the middle, its from Depression to Numbness to Happiness. the place inbetween the polar opposites is not feeling at all.

I wish I could stop being like that, I wish I could just be happy with my life because I’ve nothing to be unhappy about, I wish I could be like everybody else, without making a problem out of not having a distinguishable problem. But its something I accept, I try not to think about, I get on with, its a part of me. I  was diagnosed 10 years ago, and it certainly won’t disappear overnight. I don’t dwell, I don’t think about it, I don’t will it, but it creeps in, I fight it off, I get tired, I give in, I resolve, I get up, I dust myself down, I slap myself for my stupidity, I smile, I carry on, and I’m back.

That’s as well as I can ever describe it. I just hope, for those I want it to, its good enough.

After all, Life isnt about waiting for the storm to pass, its about learning how to dance in the rain.

For all those lost loves…

For all those past loves we have to move on from, we have to let go but we will, always at some point – Love. There is always someone in your life that changes it in a way that you will never forget, one person that takes a little bit of you away with them forever. We have to move on but we have to remember, the good times, the laughs – the honesty of Love.

Golden, golden, golden river run
to the East then drop beneath the sun
and as the moon lies low and overhead
we’re lost

Burn slow, burning up the back wall
long roads, where the city meets the sky
most days, most days stay the sole same
please stay, for this fear it will not die

If I had a boat, I would sail to you
hold you in my arms, ask you to be true
once I had a dream, it died long before
now I’m pointed north, hoping for the shore

Down low, down amongst the thorn rows
weeds grow, through the lilies and the vine
birds play, try to find their own way
soft clay, on your feet and under mine

splitting at the seams
heaving at the brace
sheets all billowing
breaking of the day
sea is not my friend
and everyone conspires
still I choose to swim
slip beneath the tide

once I had a dream
once I had a hope
that was yesterday
not so long ago
this is not the end
this is just the world
such a foolish thing
such an honest girl

Engagements and rest.

“I’m happy to be the bridesmaid, the bride bit can wait till later…”

Today I attended my friends Engagement party. She’s 20, known he boyfriend for years and now a year later, on their first anniversary, he proposed, halfway up a mountain, with flowers, the ring, down on one knee, in a foreign land…It was devastatingly romantic, even for a woman like me, who doesn’t get soppy for compliments or gestures.

But it made me think. It’s not, what I want. For me, it’s all too soon, they’re ready as a couple but, they seem so young, to be committing your life. Is it wrong of me to want to, live a bit more? After a recent break up from a long-term relationship it made me realise,  I’m not ready for all that yet. For marriage, for the whole she-bang. I want to live more, to have a career, to live a little.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those pro feminists who says women shouldn’t be confined to their womanly role and should be able to be the businesswoman, the mother, the martyr all in one. I don’t mean that, for me you can’t be all those things. I don’t think you can be a mum and have a high-powered career and live your life to the full. Its splitting yourself in too many places, you end up doing two jobs half-heartedly well rather than one whole heartedly, and for me, I have to do everything to the best of my ability.

I want that one day, the marriage the kids. I want to be the stay at home mum like mine was, to be there with her kids, for every trip and fall, bump bruise, birthday, swimming gala, football match and Fete. I just, don’t want it now. I have so much more to learn as a person, I am not ready to give myself – all of myself – to another; to give up on my life, and my experience. I guess what ive realised is, I’ve not met that one; the one who I would do anything for, to put my own plans or aspirations on hold for theirs, to settle down and be nothing more than a wife, and a mother.

To say nothing more sounds as though I think it’s a bad thing, like we’re selling ourselves short as woman, but as I’ve already said, that’s not it at all. I’m kind of a traditionalist, I like the idea of cooking for my husband as he returns from work, for being a mum, having mothers coffee mornings, baking cakes for the little ones – being a mother, and a wife, are the hardest jobs I believe in the world. One of the most demanding and worthwhile careers a woman can have.

I’ve just not got there yet. For all my maturity, experience, relationships and loves, I’ve not had that. Or I did, but I messed it up, but that’s for another day. It hasn’t all clicked into place, and that’s exciting, that the world is mine, to explore again, to further myself, to build my career, and have fun finding that person who makes me happy, and you know, will for years to come.

I’m happy for my friends, that they’re there, beginning to build their lives together and support each other. I guess it’s that, I don’t need that now, don’t want it, if it happens, brilliant I shall embrace it whole heartedly, but I’m very much my own person, very much enjoying my life, and looking forward to all that it offers.

This time six months ago, I was planning an engagement for next year, my life in months to come, with a partner, a house, planning my further education around someone else’s career; how things change in a short space of time. It was naive, and needy, planning ahead hoping to resolve the cracks in my relationship with romantic fantasies and far-fetched notions and plans. Now, i’m celebrating with friends, looking at their relationship and realising everything that was wrong with mine, understanding myself, my mindset, my position and smiling, because despite everything… I like my life and I look forward to its next chapter.

Love conquers and confuses.

“Love, is a losing Game”. A famous line, but really isn’t it? Does it not cause endless heartbreak, suffering, upset because the one you love can live up to, can never be all that you want? No that would be a pessimist talking and not something I care to indulge in. Love, in every form, friend, romantic, the full-blown affair of your life, is after all, one of those things that makes life worth living. Even for all the emotional trauma, it’s still great.

But I’ve got a question. Its one I don’t really know the answer to, I’m not even sure I’m asking for one, it’s just something that’s bothering me and I can’t seem to make my mind up on. I am a person who likes to think psychologically, philosophically about life and when I can’t find a conclusion to something, my own stance. It gets to me, so here it is…

Can you be in love with someone, fall for someone, lust after someone and have someone be in love with and you love them as a friend, all at the same time? Is it possible to illicit so many closely related feelings towards so many different people, all at once.

To love someone, means to care for them, means to love them as a person, their flaws and intricacies, their strange traits and habits, the essence of their being. But are you in love with them? Can you love someone but not be in love with them any longer, and therefore fall for someone else?

We’ve all been with people when things have got tough, you’re going through a rocky patch and suddenly you meet someone, who seems – like a breath of fresh air. You laugh and talk for hours, cry at their jokes, you have chemistry you can’t imagine, but is that just because of the situation. Are you confused, down, needing comfort and reassurance that you are still, lovely, attractive…

I’m a woman who can differentiate between sex and love. Sex to me doesn’t have to be, loving or intimate, it can just be sex. That doesn’t mean I can have one night stands, I have to know the person, have been seeing them, but I don’t have to have, an emotional attachment to them in that sense. I can just fancy them, and want to screw them, and that be the end of it. If you love someone, should you never feel that primeval urge to get with someone else? How can you, we’re not monogamous creatures. I’m not advocating cheating or acting upon these feelings but their they’re, so you can’t argue that you don’t lust just because you love.

So what about confusing lust with falling for someone. When things are rough and you meet someone and you get along, is it to easy to confuse wanting to get with them, to wanting to be with them. Make you contemplate throwing away your relationship for something that you’ll inevitably realise was, nothing more than two people who got along.

And then there’s the question of friends. We’ve all been in that situation, and had someone like us more than a friend. You care about each other a great deal, you’re incredibly close, maybe you even fooled around a bit when you first met or got drunk and slept together. But you know they like you more. you don’t want to lose them, so you inevitably continue on a path that will one day collide with their feelings intentions and your own.

I believe if you are madly deeply in love with someone you can lust but you cannot fall, if you love but aren’t in love, then anything is possible, you are conflicted and torn and its dangerous to get to close to anyone, if you’re lusting after someone, and insecure, in a bad place then confusion for falling for someone is inevitable. And friends? I personally don’t see that you can lead someone on, you wouldn’t, you either like them more than that but wouldn’t manna ruin a friendship and lose them, or your heartless and manipulative and lead people on.

I know someone in most of these situations at this time in their life, and the thing that always comes across to me, is that, they’re conflicted. They don’t know what they want, or where they’re at. How can you commit yourself to someone or start developing feelings when you are so all over the place in yourself. It’s a dangerous path, you seek comfort and appreciation from others around you that, you wouldn’t normally, wanting to feel loved, accepted, wanted, based on your own mental state at the time.

My advice to anyone in a difficult situation, remove yourself from it. All of it. Take a break from your relationship, take a break from the fling or person you’re starting with, no more sexting the person you lust after, or meeting up all the time with that friend. Take time out, sort yourself out. Even if you think you’re Ok, sit down and think about it, are you really feeling like you, or, feeling a bit out of sorts. Acting a bit, unlike yourself.

We’re complex people, with complicated emotions. But at least I guess, it keeps life interesting.

Firsts, Experiences and that ‘New’ Feeling.

“I’m giving up on girls, I’m giving up on the heartache, whats the point in it all, in setting yourself up for heartache or disappointment, who wants that?”

I do. This is a question posed to me by a friend the other day. I couldn’t quite understand, as for me. It’s always worth it. There is nothing more exciting or brilliant as getting to know someone. Talking to them, getting to know them as a person, being interested in them, what they have to say, involved in stories and experiences. Getting to know how they react to stuff, what they’re like deep down, not just the superficial, but under the façade.

Having all those debates on subjects, hearing their points of view, learning their voice and the way they think. Having that buzz of excitement when they text, that ridiculous smile on your face around them, the incessant grin. Laughing uncontrollably at what they say, as though your hearing humour for the first time…

And then there are the first times. The first time they touch you, your arm, hold your hand, the first time they make you laugh, your first play fight, the first kiss, the first fumble, the first encounter, the first experience, first dates, first meal out, first cinema trip, first walk, first words… Everything is so new, so refreshing. The world suddenly becomes more interesting as you see the world from someone else’s perspective…

To me – that’s all worth it. Whatever happens after, whether it all goes tits up, whether it ends in love, lust or heartache, whether you find you aren’t as well matched as you thought, or they turn out not to be the person you thought, that feeling, all of that, I wouldn’t pass that up. The giddiness, the happiness, the excitement, the expectation, the anticipation. It’s a feeling that s unique. Whatever comes to pass, you always have that, you always remember those first days, and the way they made you feel. When you feel unique, special, appreciated. You’re at your best.

“I smile a lot these days, and everyone knows. Everybody knows it’s because of you, everybody knows except you”

I would never pass up on an experience that made me happy, that gave me that feeling, that made everything  a little bit better. If you live your life thinking about the consequences, you’d never do anything. You have to live life for the moment and maybe a step or two ahead, but only positively.

I love people in general, I love getting to know people, I love talking to people I don’t know, when you just get talking to people, on trains, at a coffee shop, in a queue. People are interesting, other people’s lives are interesting. This morning I shared a table in a coffee shop with a woman, and we spoke for nearly an hour about everything, her life, her kids, her plastic surgery, life, people, from the personal to the political to the philosophical and back again. And I loved it, it made me smile. It made today better. It made her day better. It was friendly, and kind, and open.

Don’t pass up the opportunity to get to know someone, to be with someone, to talk to someone, because of the what ifs. What if they turn out to be your best mate, your future boss, the love of your life? That person that you can’t imagine not having in your life? Live for the experience, the feelings, live life, for the now.

“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you”  – Dale Carnegie.

Lyrics of Love and Loss.

There are enough posts about heartache rolling around and insecurities that I felt the need to offer comfort, a shoulder, a song that says it all. For all of us who have loved and lost, who feel insecure sometimes, who are haunted by lost loves – Who want to be loved…A breathtaking song. Get lost in its truth, the clarity and its message. I learnt the piano the other week and cannot stop playing it.

“One foot onto the ice
I hold my breath
And try to believe
Can I look at you at different eyes?
Like the girl that I was, when I was 17

The falling Empires,
The shattered glass
The wicked echos of my past.
I’ve seen it all before that’s why I’m asking.

Will you still be here tomorrow?
or will you leave in the dead of the night?
So your waves don’t crash around me,
I’m staying one step ahead of the time.
Will you leave me lost in my shadows or will you pull me into your life?
Teach me how to be loved?
Teach me how to be loved?

I got caught up in a maze
All the wine and roses
Such a sweet escape
But I watch it all slip away
Like running water from my hands
Raining on this picture land

The falling Empires,
the shattered glass
The wicked echos of my past.
I’ve seen it all before that’s why I’m asking.

Will you still be here tomorrow?
Or will you leave in the dead of the night?
So your waves don’t crash around me,
I’m staying one step ahead of the time.
Will you leave me lost in my shadows or will you pull me into your life?
Teach me how to be loved?

Can I give myself just one more second chance?
And put my trust in love,
Please don’t hurt me.
If I make myself like a feather in you hair
And put my trust in love,
Please don’t hurt me.

Will you still be here tomorrow?
Or will you leave in the dead of the night?
So your waves don’t crash around me,
I’m staying one step ahead of the time.
Will you leave me lost in my shadows or will you pull me into your life?
Teach me how to be loved?
Teach me how to be loved”

Rebecca Ferguson, Teach me how to be loved , from the INCREDIBLE and delectable album, Heaven.

When you’re down, and troubled…

“…And you need a helping hand
and nothing whoa nothing is going right.
Close your eyes and think of me
and soon I will be there
to brighten up even your darkest nights.

You just call out my name
and you know wherever I am
I’ll come running oh yeah baby
to see you again.”

It may be cheesy, and I’ve blogged about friends recently, but its all that I said before, I am lucky to have some amazing friends. This weekend, I needed some support, I wanted to see someone, my weekends plans fell through and I went from enlightened excitement to the biggest anti climax, and then. A light.

A simple text that made it all better. “I’m coming to see you”. It wasnt prompted nor was it planned, and yet three hours later one of my dearest friends stood on the platform at Norwich Station, bag in hand with a smile that made me realise, they were just as glad to see me as I were them.

Long late chats, cuddles and heart to hearts, its been an emotional weekend, and one that just confirmed how lucky I am to have friends surprise me, drop everything just to come put a smile on my face.

We are all incredibly blessed to have people in our lives that make it all seem better. To make a bad day good, a sad day better, A slow day, memorable. For all of those people in your life that mean as much to you as my friends do me, sit back and take a second to thank god, thank your life, thank whatever it is that you believe in, that your privileged enough to have people who care…

Four Quarters are better than 100 Cents…

Last night I was texting a new-found friend, and we were discussing the value of friendship. It is a hard thing to measure, and it seems to differ depending on the individual. There are, it seems,  people in this world that collect friends, they are more concerned with the number of Facebook friends they have, or the number of people they can recognise in the street… People are more concerned with knowing people than getting to know people.

Said friend say the phrase above, “You and I both know the value of things, four quarters are always better than 100 cents” .

I think it’s a shame that people have come around to this way of thinking. When people are more concerned with public opinion and perception rather than reality and a persons essence.

In response to this I have one thing to say…  I don’t have many friends. I’m not that popular, I can’t list 100 people I know or have that many numbers in my phone. I don’t throw big elaborate birthday parties, or drop names to sound self-important. I don’t care if you think i’m uncool for not knowing as many people as you. I’m unconcerned with your perception of me for not caring.

To me, friends, real friends are hard to come by. They are few and far between, diamonds in the rough. A friend is not a person that fleetingly drop into your life and in a year has disappeared out of it again. A friend is not someone you just go out with, or someone you know from your course/work. A friend is not something gained over night or lost by the morning…

As a man put it more eloquently than me…

“True happiness consists not in the multitude of friends, but in their worth and choice.” – Samuel Johnston

I am privileged to have five friends in my life, that I truly love and adore. I would jump in front of a bus for them, drive to them whenever they needed, answer the phone to them at 3 am, understand that if I don’t speak to them for a week, it doesn’t mean they don’t care… We have all heard it say that “friends are the family we choose for ourselves” well I don’t know about you but I come from a very small close-knit family, and my friendship circle reflects that.

Most of my friends don’t know each other, they are part of different areas of my life, and there paths seemingly never cross, but despite this, without them, my life would be incomplete, superficial. They help to ground us, to comfort us, to guide us, to laugh with us, support us, thank us, berate us when need be.

For all of those friend whores, people collectors and acquaintance counters, I pity you. For you shall never know friendship as friendship was intended to be.

“A friend is trust, a friend is love

A friend is giving a supportive hug

A friend is kind, a friend is fair,

A friend is always there to care

A friend is honest, a friend is won

A friend is there till the day is done

A friend is rare, a friend is sure

A friends intention is always pure.

A friend is dear, a friend if true

A friend will never leave you”