Solo Flight

A few weeks ago I won a pair of tickets to see American Singer-Songwriter Ryan Adams (not to be confused with the ever-so-slightly-more-famous Canadian-singer-songwriter-Bryan Adams) at the iTunes Festival. In case you haven’t heard of it, the iTunes Festival is held every September at The Roundhouse in Camden, London, and showcases around fifteen or twenty musicians during the month. iTunes gives fans the chance to win tickets for as many artists as they want. This is the fourth year I’ve entered and finally won tickets. I can’t help wondering if this is because I am actually living in London now.

Despite my joy at winning tickets, I had a job of trying to get anyone to join me. My close friends were all busy, so were work colleagues. I resorted to a general Facebook post offering the free ticket, but while some of my American friends would have jumped at the chance (especially my friend Mark who has seen Ryan in concert twice), the Brits were slightly less inclined to go. In the end, the guy I’ve had a few dates with said he would go, despite having declined previously.

We arranged that I would head over to his place first and that we would go to the concert from there. Due to the engineering works taking place in both Twickenham and also further north, it took me over an hour and a half to get to his place, half an hour longer than it should have done. After indulging in what two consenting thirty-somethings would do, I asked him what time we would need to leave to get to the concert. To which he replied, “Sweetie, I’m not going to the concert.” I stormed out.

While I have no problems doing stuff on my own, since I have travelled overseas on my own and even been to concerts abroad alone, I was rather pissed off at having to go to the concert by myself, especially after what had happened. I had been expecting to go alone since it wasn’t looking like I would find anybody, but having somebody offer who then had no intention of going really pissed me off.

Although I am angry with him, I am more mad at myself. For many years I have met guys and rushed into intimacy in a blind bid to find “the one”. But of course I always end up feeling disappointed and used, metaphorically “lying cold and naked on the floor” to borrow words from Aussie songstress Natalie Imbruglia.

The main problem is, when this happens, my self-esteem plummets. I feel like I will never find someone, and ask myself why does nobody ever want a relationship with me? The truth is, it is very rare that a great sexual encounter will lead to a relationship. I do know of a couple who are expecting their second child after a one-nighter at a party (well, not after that party obviously…you know what I mean). But sadly they are the exception; because most guys just don’t want to know after the deed is done.

Despite going on my own to the gig, and being stood behind a lovey-dovey couple (which is enough to frustrate me on a good day) I really enjoyed the concert, and I’ll be listening to a lot more of Ryan’s music in the future.

Recently, on the way to work after a very bad morning, I stood at the train doors waiting for them to open at my station, and it occurred to me that what those people waiting on the platform were about to see was my very grumpy face. I realised I didn’t want them to see that, and so I made an effort to put a big smile on my face. And you know what, it really did make a difference; I felt so much better. So lately, I’ve been trying to make more of an effort to smile, especially when I feel like crap.

Last night I had a counselling session (which was good timing) and then I met a friend at Oxford Street. On the bus I reapplied my make-up after my tearful appointment to make myself look and feel better. Using my recently-discovered ability to smile through the pain, I made a concerted effort to put a smile on my face as I entered Debenhams to meet him. As I greeted him, he still commented on how thoroughly fed up I looked. So despite my best efforts, neither make-up or a forced smile were enough to hide the glumness I feel at this latest dating disaster.

I guess a still have a long way to go in not allowing my relationships with men affect my mood and my self-esteem. Last night with my counsellor I made a list of the qualities I want in a man, as well as some ground rules for dating. While I have no intention of going back to internet dating anytime soon, the difficulties in meeting someone the old-fashioned way make it likely that I’ll be back online within a number of months. Armed with my list and instructions on what not to do, hopefully I can navigate this minefield a little better and without setting myself up for situations in which I only end up getting hurt.

I wasn’t going to make this a music blog, but since it’s partly about Ryan Adams, I feel I want to share at least one of his songs. Come Pick Me Up was the last song he played as part of the two-song encore. It’s about getting hurt yet going back for more. Which I think sums up this blog.

Come Pick Me Up – Ryan Adams (2000)

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V Minus 4 Days

David, Jason, Andy, Jason, Chris, Giorgios, Neil, Richard, the Gas Man, Shaun, Mike, David, Anthony, David, Jason, Tim, John, Tony, Andy, Mark, Jamie, Dave, Malcolm, Super Shopper, Ali, Robert, Rich, Paul, P, John.

I am enough.

It is Valentine’s Day on Friday. Why is it that I have always felt like I needed a man? The above list is not exhaustive, but is the men that preoccupied my mind or body (sometimes both) since the age of 11. After re-reading that last sentence, let me clarify: men (or boys at that time) did not occupy my body until a month before my 19th birthday; I was a late developer in that respect.

Maybe that is part of the problem. From the age of 11, when I had my first crush, through almost my entire teenage years, I didn’t have a boyfriend. I didn’t even kiss anybody until a month before my 19th birthday. Let me clarify again: yes I had my first kiss on the same night I lost my virginity.

My virginity hung like a weight around my neck. I was only too glad to get rid of it, although by doing so in what was effect a one-night stand, I guess I always associated sex with love. I had endless one-night stands in the three years between losing my virginity and meeting the man who would become my husband. They are not listed above, because, quite honestly, I cannot remember their names. I used to recite them in order, quite proudly, to impress myself, but I suppose time makes one forget that which bears no importance to the future.

Now I realise that sex does not equal love. Sending a message on POF does not equal love. I do not know what equals love. I know only that I must remember this one thing.

I am enough.

As Yet Untitled…Like My Life

People have been asking me why I haven’t blogged for a long time.  For some of my friends, it was a way of keeping up with my life, and if I was blogging it would be obvious I had some kind of issue to talk about but at least they would know I was alive.  I recently had a message from a friend saying I had been quiet on Facebook and the blog, and was I OK?!

I am OK in the polite answer of the word.  But lately I have been suffering with that unsettled feeling I’ve had for so many years now, one which every so often builds itself up so great to leave me feeling lost.  And I haven’t even graduated yet.  But after this Wednesday, I shall officially have graduated from the University of Lincoln, with a 2:1 Bachelor’s degree in American Studies.  The problem is, what has that degree given me, except £18,000 of debt and a reluctance to go back to work?

I’ve been doing temp work in an office since June.  The work is almost identical to what I did for 10 years before I went to university, and I have taken a 25% drop in salary, despite my rent costs tripling.  Friday was the last day of my twelve-week contract, and due to red tape I have been told not to go into work on Monday morning, until my boss’ boss authorises and signs the additional costs that my recruitment agency now want to charge the company I work for (although I won’t get paid anything extra).  While I originally thought I would start on a salary slightly higher than I was on when I quit my job in September 2011, as a temp, it was £6,000 less.  Although I was then told I would get that after completing a three-month probationary period and being taken on permanently, I am now informed that it won’t be as much as that, although it should be more than what I’m on now.  Why don’t I just come out and say it: £16,000.  Gutting since I left London in 1998 having earned £14,000.

While life is not about the money, not having money does make things difficult.  And since I left London in August 1998, I have gained 14 years’ administrative experience, not to mention four years of university education (so good I took my final year twice).  I can’t help feeling that perhaps my expectations have been too high, and that perhaps I am not worthy of earning more/having a better job.

Although I hope that I will get the call on Monday to say that the additional costs have been authorised, I know that my timekeeping issues may have an effect on whether they truly wish to keep me on.

As well as struggling with work, I have been internet dating (yes, I know going by past experience that was probably a disaster waiting to happen).  I’ve been on several dates, met some nice guys as well as some very strange guys, but still struggle to read situations.  I have had two dates with the same guy now, although I do not know whether this will progress into a relationship; I am inclined to think not.

Thinking about that, my stomach feels knotted.  I go through phases of wanting to just have fun until Mr. Right comes along, followed by the desire to only find Mr. Right.  At this current moment, I think I am coming to the end of the having fun phase, after realising that maybe I cannot cope with just having fun after all.

Recently, I’ve had that desire I used to get over the last two years; the desire to jump on a plane and get the hell out of here.  But I wonder if I would have the guts to do that now.  I can’t help feeling that while I made a great leap moving to London, perhaps I have started to crawl back into my shell, leaving my confidence, my hope and worst of all, my writing pad, out of reach.

Because I have barely written since moving to London.  I know why this is; I am ashamed to admit that I am still as lost in life as I ever was.  What started out as positivity towards the future has become doubt, and I worry that I may never become that which I hope to be.

While this blog post is a step back in the right direction, it remains to be seen whether I can follow it up with another.  I guess this means we all have to wait and see…

The Twelve-Week Challenge: Day 17

Today I have learned a lesson in life.  Well several lessons actually.  I finally heard back about the flatshare in London.  The tenant gave me a call this evening to say that someone else had taken the room.  While I was polite on the phone, thanking her for a calling me, as soon as I hung up I could feel the tears stinging my eyes.  It wasn’t like it was unexpected; I’d decided once I hadn’t heard from them by the end of the weekend that they must have chosen someone else.  I think what got me is like other aspects of my life – job hunting, internet dating – the ultimate choice is out of my control.  I can be rejected at the first hurdle.  Whereas before when I’ve looked at rented properties, I’ve been the one deciding whether I’m going to take it or not, now my fate is in the hands of the current tenant, as to whether they believe I am someone they can get on with.  While I’m trying not to take it personally, ultimately they chose someone else over me, which is the same thing I am hearing several times a week about jobs I’ve applied for.

I know that one thing I’m not very good at is looking on the bright side, unless I’m looking so far at the bright side I’m ignoring the real problem or issue.  I have been told more than once today that I shouldn’t allow myself to get so down about things.  I look at friends who don’t worry, and I wish I could be more like them.  I guess I have to learn to let go; to have faith.

I knew that whether I got this particular flat or not, that it was meant to be.  I am a strong believer in fate, in what will be, will be.  So why do I find it so hard to accept the paths that fate lays out for me, and to be happy that something else will come along when the time is right?  I do feel that way now, but it took a good few hours of tears and laughs with friends to forget the reason why I started crying in the first place.

Anyway, this has left me with the realisation that everybody I know is right – that I should get my essays finished, then concentrate on the rest of my life.  Since I have one essay due tomorrow, one on Thursday then two on Friday 3rd, I’m not really going to have time to dash back to London for viewings, and trawling through spareroom.co.uk or gumtree.com takes time, so I think I’m going to have to wait until I’m done with uni.

As much as I hate admitting that I am wrong, and everyone else is right, I guess this is one of those times.  But I have to have faith in myself; to believe that my inner compass is guiding me in the right direction.  In the past, things have turned out when I’ve followed my heart, although equally things have crashed and burned, when others warned me they would, and I refused to believe them.  I guess what I’m trying to say, is that this is my life to lead, and I have to make my own mistakes.  While there may be times, like today, when I get upset over things that really aren’t that important in the grand scheme of things, I’m a believer.  Otherwise I would have given up years ago.

I have a lot of self-belief, but I also have a lot of self-doubt.  Rejection, in whatever form, be it for a job, for a tenancy, is hard, and it’s easy to use it to beat yourself up with (and I’m an expert in that field).  I hope that one day soon, I’ll be able not to take things so negatively, but right now I’m so close to the start of what is the life I’ve been searching for, and I’m shit-scared that maybe it doesn’t exist.  So bear with me, but feel free to tell me to get over myself.  Friends have done that today, and I’ve needed it.

So now to get back to my essay.  I’m about two-thirds done, but feel confident about getting it finished in time for tomorrow’s deadline.  I’m enjoying the writing, and the re-reading of the novel, and I’m enjoying the knowledge that soon I’ll be able to do writing and reading just for fun.  No homework, no deadlines.  Just for me.

 

The Twelve-Week Challenge: Day 31

I’m actually highly embarrassed writing this blog post.  It’s 2:14am, and this blog is 2 hours 14 minutes late (at least, since you also need to add how long it takes me to write it.  But hopefully that won’t be too long at this ridiculous hour).  I was only talking to my Life Coach, Jon Richelieu-Booth, earlier today about how I’ve pretty much managed to stay on top of these blogs, with only a handful of late blogs during this challenge.  But here I go again, and the reason being, you won’t be surprised to hear, is a member of the male species.

As I finally switch off my iPhone’s Have You Blogged Today??!! reminder, which I’ve been snoozing every five minutes since 9pm, I realise that I have a history of making the same mistakes over and over again.  During the time of my university career when I need to be focussed on my work, I have let myself get distracted by the idea of meeting The Perfect Man.  I had just about given up; or at least parked the idea until after I was done with uni.  But no.  The internet dating site I was telling you about the other day, the one where you can’t actually talk to people came up trumps, with a rather good-looking guy sending me a message along with his mobile phone number.  To quote an Eric Martin song, I’m a Sucker for a Pretty Face, and the idea that this particular pretty face may finally be the Man of My Dreams was just too much to ignore, even for two weeks while I rid myself of the dissertation that has been haunting me for the last two years.

So I started messaging said guy, and arranged to meet him this week.  He doesn’t live nearby, so it would have meant a full day away from home.  Long story short, something just didn’t feel right and I had to go along with my gut instinct, and actually walk away from aforementioned hot guy.  He didn’t seem particularly upset, sending me a “Bye babe x” text.  Babe.  Even if it was only for two days, I enjoyed having somebody call me babe, and the excitement of thinking this could be the one.

Of course, afterwards, I went into mini meltdown.  I couldn’t do anything, except cry my eyes out, and lay on my bed.  I’ve somehow managed to snooze while snoozing my blog reminder.  It’s a miracle it’s still going off to be honest, a lesser person would have just switched it off hours ago, but like the reminder for my tablets, I refuse to switch it off until I’ve actually done what the reminder tells me I should have done, otherwise I will forget (hence the reason for a reminder).

I realise that I let myself get distracted because, deep down (or on the surface really) I just want what I’ve always wanted – to be in a loving relationship with the guy of my dreams.  Maybe the reason I’m struggling to finish off my uni work, is because it will finally mean doing what I’ve been trying to do for years, which is to escape from my home town and all its ghosts.  After 34 years, 22 of them spent hankering after the guy I thought was “The One”, well I finally have to admit I was wrong.  He wasn’t the one.  He wasn’t even a maybe.  By finishing uni, and moving away, I’ll finally be putting the last nail in the coffin on The One That Got Away, as I always thought of him.

I am prone to repeating the same mistakes and not learning from them.  A reminder of that came in the form of a letter, received while I was away over the weekend, from a debt collection agency.  It was asking if I was indeed the person named who used to live at blah blah address.  Yes I am.  But I worry as to why it is asking me this, in relation to a “Business Matter”.  Read: unpaid debt.  This is from a time when I was married, in fact I haven’t lived at that address for over four years, and I thought all our debts from that time were paid off.

At the time when my divorce is almost finalised, I’m less than impressed to receive something like this out of the blue.  Almost like a reminder that your past will always be there to bite you on the ass.

After I finish writing this, I will switch off my laptop, crawl under my duvet, which hasn’t hosted me since Wednesday night, and switch off the touch lamp my mum gave me last time she came over.  I’ll go to sleep, with The Bish next to me, and when I wake up tomorrow, I’ll start on my dissertation.  Time to banish those ghosts.  Get those last 2000 words written, and then time for editing, before getting it bound and submitted in time before the deadline.  No more distractions.  I can’t afford to lose focus on what’s important; that I am a third of the way through this challenge, and therefore a third of the way closer to being able to say goodbye to all past mistakes, and move on to a brand new page, and the chance to reinvent myself.  I cannot lose this second chance at life.  My parents are waiting to see me graduate this September, along with the person that matters most.  Myself.

Roses are red…

…violets are blue

I hate Valentine’s Day

It makes me feel like poo.

No, my blog hasn’t been taken over by an eight year old.  Although having watched Home Alone last night, I am convinced that Hollywood eight year olds at least, are the stuff of genius.

Childish poetry aside, here I am during this week that I dread.  I had a discussion with some friends about it at uni today and they were all like, oh it doesn’t bother me.  Well, yes, of course it doesn’t bother people who are in a relationship.  It’s only the singletons out here who despise Valentine’s Day.  I had only just started my blog before last Valentine’s Day, and I actually wrote some fairly positive blogs https://33andlostinlife.wordpress.com/2012/02/14/not-what-you-might-expect/, https://33andlostinlife.wordpress.com/2012/02/14/happy-and-i-mean-it-valentines-day/  despite being single.  But I can’t help feeling grumpy this year, maybe because yet again I am single for Valentine’s, with not even a whiff of a date.

I saw a funny picture on Facebook today with a caption that read, “If you’re sad about being alone on Valentine’s Day, just remember nobody loves you on any other day of the year either.”  Which did make me laugh.  A little.  Before I remembered that, unfortunately, it was true.

But I think I know why February is such a hard month for me.  While February 14th is a reminder of my singledom, February 1st is a reminder of the date I ended my marriage.  Although I do not regret my decision, I sometimes think I expected to have become more settled into my new life by now, and at least, three years later, to have been dating someone else.  But that is not to be.  No wonder I find myself looking at dating websites again, but after my last internet dating encounter, I am hesitant.  Plus, I have The Twelve-Week Challenge to think about, and nowhere in there does it allow time for dating.  But maybe when I’ve finished uni, and I am getting settled  into wherever I’m going to be, it’ll be time to try again.

For now though, I do have two dates in February to count down to.  The first, February 26th, is the date my divorce will go before the court.  It’s been a long time coming, and will finally give us both the opportunity to move on.  The second is something much more exciting, and one which gives me something to look forward to in February: my nephew Jamie’s first birthday!!!  Of course, he was born on February 29th last year, being a leapling baby, so he’ll be celebrating on February 28th and for a few days after that.  I guess February is not all bad, since I do have one little man willing to give me lots and lots of love and hugs.

 

 

Three Posts and a Maybe

So it seems like I’m going for the record: three blog posts in one day.  Never been done before, certainly not by me.  Today has been very down then slightly up, although I feel myself slipping again.  Part of me should be grateful; that at least I am writing, but why do things have to go wrong for me to be able to write?  Is it too much to ask that I be happy and still be able to write a blog about my life.

Like any good soap opera though, the good parts are few and far between.  It is the drama that makes it so watchable.  You’ll always find a high body count on Christmas Day in EastEnders, Coronation Street, Emmerdale (for international readers, the UK’s top Soap Operas and thus, the UK’s most watched TV shows).  But why do so many people tune in?  It’s not because they’re too exhausted to move after their huge turkey dinner.  Ok, well maybe it is.  But mainly it’s because the dramatic plots are what attract people’s interest.  People love a good murder, plane crash, unsuspecting spouse being served with divorce papers (yes, EastEnders’-Den-Watts-serves-wife-Angie-with-divorce-papers-shocker from Christmas Day 1986 still tops the countdown of any Christmas Soap Storyline Poll).

Now I’m not saying that my blog readers only want to read my blog when my life is going down the toilet.  Well, some of them might.  But I’d like to think that most of them read it and hope, like me, for better days.

I guess what has hit me most today, is that I have been upset over what really shouldn’t be affecting me so much.  The bare foundations of a ‘relationship’ (and I use this term extremely loosely), which really hit a brick wall before it even got planning permission.  In my first blog, perhaps during my initial reaction stage, I made it seem like it was the guy’s fault, but really it was more to do with circumstance and bad timing.  Which is really the crux of it.  I met a wonderful guy, we got on really well, we both liked each other, but our individual circumstances are such that we are both in situations where the next few months are crucial, and after that who knows where we will be.  He was sensible enough to see that it had to stop, which is something I was not brave enough to do.  But it still hurts, because once again I feel like I have been closer to what I want, namely a relationship; closer than I have been in a long time.  But the last one, almost two and a half years ago, ended after only six weeks, a consequence of circumstances hurtled way out of my control.

I am reassured by friends, at least you had only been seeing him a few weeks.  Yes, true.  But why I can’t I ever get past that magical month?  Anyway, the man thing is being shelved for a while.  I have 15 weeks until I am free to do whatever I want with my life; move to the Outer Hebrides, become a florist, maybe join the circus.  The world is my oyster.  Time to woman up and make sure I’m ready to seize the opportunity to move on.

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