Little Miss Grumpy

I am so grumpy this Monday morning. Thank god for Fleetwood Mac is all I can say. It’s definitely softening the edges of this razor-edged mardy from hell.

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You Can Call It Another Lonely Day…

As I get older, I have begun to realise that life doesn’t necessarily have a set plan for you. What you once believed to be a truth now becomes not a lie, but an untruth. Perhaps it was never to be believed, but it’s all to do with your perspective, and how you see things. Sometimes you have to take off the rose-tinted specs. And then place them in the bin. No, retrieve them from the bin, and stamp on them until the pinky glass shatters to a million different pieces.

I once wrote a blog about a trip to Italy, where I had gone to see my favourite singer, Eric Martin, play a gig. Travelling at the time of the ash cloud, I was stranded in Venice for a few days. This took place a few months after I separated from my husband, and I was searching for that one person who eluded me. It has taken me a long time to realise who that person was.

It was me.

Sitting in the Hard Rock Cafe in Venice, faced with being exiled in another country indefinitely, I heard Fleetwood Mac’s Go Your Own Way, and took that to be a sign that I was at least on the right path.

Last year, one of my housemates had left his Fleetwood Mac greatest hits CD in the kitchen. Never one to miss an opportunity, I opened up my laptop and imported it into my iTunes.

The first song on the album is Go Your Own Way. While the song still holds that powerful suggestion to me that you can go your own way, literally that you can choose your own path, having listened to the album over and over, I realise that the song does in fact have a completely different meaning:

If I could, baby, I’d give you my world
But how can I when you won’t take it from me?
You can go your own way
Go your own way
You can call it another lonely day

As readers will know, the last few years have had a heavy focus for me on finding a relationship. At times when I should have been studying, I’ve been so wrapped up in a guy that my focus was never on what I should be doing. And I asked myself, how can I give you my world if you won’t take it from me?

What becomes clear, as I sit on the National Express heading North, is that Ishould have been asking myself why I won’t take the world that is being offered to me?

I’ve had the opportunity to go to university, to study abroad, to live in another country, to travel extensively and to live in one of the biggest capital cities in the world.

Yet I am faced with spending Christmas Day alone. The fact is, I have no money, as debts have built up since I finished university and made the move to London. I haven’t managed the little money I have had well, which has resulted in more debt and finally running out of money the week before Christmas. But this is nothing new. I have always taken the view of money that “you can’t take it with you.” Well that’s to be applauded, but I also realise while I am on this earth that it’s difficult to live for free. You can’t be ruled by wealth, true, but I know from experience how hurtful it can be to have nothing. But it is always at the times when I want to show those people who have supported me throughout the year, how much they mean to me. This Christmas, I have run out of money, and I can’t afford to buy some of my closest family the presents I want to get them. Some I have even had to say I will give you yours when I get paid on the 30th December. How shitty is that.

Yes, it’s been a tough year for me money-wise. But it’s not like I haven’t had a roof over my head, or food to eat. I have treated myself to clothes or shoes or a coffee because, to justify it to myself, I need to treat myself.

Otherwise I will get nothing.

I wish I could say this is the first time this has happened, but it isn’t. Many, many times before have I been in this situation. Penniless, at a crucial time of year, because I have mismanaged my money for the other twelve months.

This year I want this to be the last time I have to worry about money. By Christmas 2014, I want to be financially stable.

The last two New Year’s Eves have seen myself and my housemates host a house party, and this year will be no exception. The first year, on New Year’s Day, we wrote our resolutions for the forthcoming year and sealed them in an envelope. Last year, on New Year’s Day, we opened them, cringed at the resolutions we hadn’t kept, and smiled proudly at the few we had.

My resolutions for 2013 wait patiently in an envelope in my bedroom. I know, before I even open it, that I have achieved few of the ten aims I listed last year. Sadly, I know that this New Year’s Day will see me listing many of the same once more. But next year, I must change. Because I’m swimming round in circles and getting nowhere fast.

In 2014, I want to be financially and emotionally stable. I want to look back at the pages and pages I have written and know that I finally got over that block which has crippled me, particularly over the last six months.

In 2014, I want to go my own way, take the world that I have within my grasp and make it my year.

You Can Go Your Own Way – Fleetwood Mac (1977)

Blogger’s Note: This post was originally written on the afternoon of Friday 20th December 2013.

You Can Go Your Own Way

In a deviation to The Twelve-Week Challenge blog (Day 37 will follow at its usual time later this evening), I decided it was time to write a ‘normal’ blog.

I arrived in London around lunchtime, having travelled down from Chesterfield on the National Express coach this morning.  I think I might write a blog about that too, but I’ll put that under a separate heading.   It’s far too humorous to include in this blog, in which I need to talk about serious stuff.

Anyway, where was I?  That’s right, I was on the bus, and as we drove down the motorway, the sun was shining.  The further we got from the snow in South Yorkshire, the sunnier it became, and by the time we reached the Nation’s capital it was really sunny with bright blue skies.  As we drove through London towards Victoria, I knew.  I knew this is where I’m meant to be.

Upon arrival at my hotel, I had a bath, which was just the loveliest thing ever.  I live in a house where it takes hours to fill the tub, and when you get in, you are still only sat in about two inches of water, which is normally freezing.  I like baths, especially with candles and a glass of wine.  They relax me no end, and considering how stressed I’ve been the last few years, would have done me the world of good.  Hence why diving straight into the tub upon arriving my hotel was such an important thing for me.

After my bath, I headed for the pool.  I was disappointed that the hotel no longer had a sauna, but 40 laps of the warm pool with the sun streaming through the glass roof did go somewhat towards relaxing me in lieu of the hot, Scandinavian invention.

After my swim, I headed back up to my room and prepared to head out for lunch.  Despite my exercise, before I arrived at the hotel earlier, a girl had been handing out vouchers for McDonald’s, and being a student, figured should go for the cheap option, rather than a more expensive, healthy option.

I had just pressed the button on the lift, feeling quite good about myself, when my mobile rang.  The number was a mobile I didn’t recognise.  Hoping it might be about one of the jobs I have applied for, I answered it.

It wasn’t someone ringing to offer me an interview.  It was the debt collection agency, about that bloody unpaid water bill.

They asked me to make the full payment today; I told them I could not.  I agreed to pay it next week, after the next instalment of my student loan.  They agreed to knock 25% off the price if I arranged a payment for next week today.

I thought back to all the phone calls I’d had years before, demanding when a payment would be made, and I vowed I would not live through that again.

As I sit here in Costa, writing this blog, I don’t feel as upbeat as I did upon arriving in London earlier today.  My mood has been dampened by that phone call.

I know I am on the right path though.  For upon starting this blog, the song that came out of the Costa speakers was ‘Go Your Own Way’ by Fleetwood Mac.  As you’ll know if you’re a regular reader of this blog, that song has become somewhat of an anthem for me, after hearing it played in the Hard Rock Cafe in Venice three years ago, sat on my own, two months after separating from my husband.

That song stands as a reminder that I have done the right thing.  While I have never doubted my decision, the choice to live life alone, outside of that institution of marriage, has been very tough at times.  There have been occasions when I haven’t wanted to continue to follow my dreams; when I have wondered what the hell I am doing whether all the heartache is worth it.

But every so often I get a sign, a reminder that I’m on the right track.   The right track, in this case, is ‘Go Your Own Way’.  And I am doing.

The Twelve-Week Challenge: Day 37

After the great progress of the last few days, today I didn’t get quite as much work as I wanted to do.  I’m working on Chapter Four – A Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore – and although it covers many of the same themes as the other four books, it is not quite so straightforward as the others.  As a result, the chapter is not quite flowing in the way it should, which is giving me a headache.

As well as the metaphorical headache I’ve had from Chapter Four, around 4pm I got a real headache.  It feels like I’ve been stabbed in the back of the head – and the knife is coming out the other side of my skull, through my right eye.  It’s now 10pm and the headache is still there, not as intense all the time, thankfully, but bad enough to make me want to lie down and close my eyes and will it to disappear.  Not the kind of thing you want to be dealing with during the last week of your dissertation.  Anyway, this is the third headache in as many days, although the first two lasted only maybe 20 minutes tops.

Aside from the headache from hell, I’ve had a Fleetwood Mac soundtrack running through my life this week.  But this is no bad thing.  With great hits such as Go Your Own Way, which will always remind me of my trip to Italy in 2009 to see Eric (Martin) and being stranded in Venice due to the volcanic ash cloud; after I’d gotten over the panic of not being able to get a flight home, I headed into Venice and had dinner at the Hard Rock Café.  Go Your Own Way was playing, and I remember feeling proud that I was in Venice, in a restaurant on my own, eating dinner.  I was going my own way.

After this blog post is done, I shall be giving up and going to bed.  After my headache started, I headed to bed for a two-and-a-half-hour snooze, which didn’t really help at all.  But I figure I’m going to need my strength for the rest of this week, so an early night is probably for the best.  As everybody keeps reminding me, I’m nearly finished now, I just need to keep going.  And the last few days I have been enjoying working on my dissertation.  After feeling recently like I’d had enough of university and really didn’t care about my assignments, I’ve got the enjoyment factor back.  I just wish it didn’t come with such a headache.

Anyhow, I’m waffling so I’d best head off.  But I’ll leave you the link to Fleetwood Mac – in case you want to go your own way too…