Bags to Boot

You know what’s been bothering me the last few days? On Saturday I bought a new pair of brown ankle boots.  No, it’s not that that’s bothering me.  Only two or three years ago I bought a brown bag, Jasper Conran from Debenhams.  Somewhere along the line of dejunking, I’ve given it away to the charity shop.  That’s what’s bothering me.  

Now I have boots and no bag.  What is a girl to do?

Buy another one, would be the sensible solution.  Except I’m not sure I have spare money for a bag this month, especially when I’ve spent money on boots (among other things).

It really chafes me that I had a perfectly good bag and got rid of it. Aha!  Maybe that’s it!  It wasn’t perfectly good, maybe the faux leather had started wearing off and I thought I’d get rid of it as it was starting to look a bit shit.  

Maybe, but I can’t remember.  

Hoarding possessions is linked to depression and anxiety.  People don’t want to get rid of physical stuff because it means they have to part with something inside of them too.  

I have made great progress the last few years.  You would not believe how many bags, boxes and crates have gone to the charity shops of Lincoln and London.  Of those hundreds of books, clothes, bags and other bric-a-brac, only a few have I thought that I wish I’d kept.  But those few eat into me with regret, poisoning my mind against further donations.

Like so much of my mental baggage though, there is only one thing to be done.  Let it go. 

More bags can be bought.  More fish in the sea.  

On this bright, sunny day, letting go seems like such an easy concept.  If I had time right now I’d go into  Debenhams and buy another bag.  Part with my money and not think about the fact that I’m buying something I had but gave away on a whim.  I don’t have time though, so a new bag will have to wait.  

Physical possessions, while important, are not the be all and end all.  I know that I did the right thing getting rid of the Jasper bag.  Because the last few years I have been sinking in stuff, and would have suffocated under the weight of it had I not seriously dejunked. 

I don’t think I’ll ever be in a position to live in a shack with the most minimal of possessions.  But as my room becomes tidier, so does my mind.  As I see a path through the clutter in my house, my mind will visualise the path I am to take.  There is no charity shop in my mind, but perhaps I should build one.  Except it won’t be a shop that sells on; just takes donations and keeps them safe.  So that when I’m ready, I can look back at those memories in a way that doesn’t hurt so much. 


The Opposite of Train Spotting

The last two days I’ve been on a last-minute business trip with work to Leeds, West Yorkshire (the West is important apparently) which meant getting the train from London Oop North to Leeds. This particularly train line takes me approximately 16 miles (25km – as the crow flies) away from the cathedral city of Lincoln where I was born.

While I have never been ever so fond of the place in which I grew up, it does have one extremely redeeming feature, and one that I find myself becoming more and more proud of as the years wear on.

Think you’ve never seen Lincoln cathedral? Think again. If you’ve ever seen Tom Hanks in the film adaptation of Dan Brown’sThe Da Vinci Code, then you’ve seen inside it at least. The cathedral was used for filming when officials at Westminster Abbey refused permission to film in the London Minster.

While the inside is pretty spectacular, it is the outside that always amazes me. As a child, we would play a game called “I Can See the Cathedral”, which is very similar to being the first to spot the sea whenever you got anywhere near the coast. Lincoln cathedral is perched high on top of a hill, called Steep Hill to be precise, and if you’ve ever tried to walk up it sober, well you’ll know it’s certainly not advised to do it after a few pints. While Lincoln’s alcohol consuming population curse its location, back in the 11th Century, its siting on top of the hill had the ideal defensive location. In the modern age, when floodlit at night or on a clear day, the cathedral can easily be seen from around 20-odd miles away, proving that the Normans knew what they were doing.

To add to its fame, between 1311 and 1549, the medieval cathedral was the tallest building in the world.

A number of years ago, on the train home back to Lincoln, I spotted the cathedral on the horizon, some 20-something miles away to the South. I was in awe of the fact that it could be seen from that location. I often travelled with my family to visit my Grandmother to the East of the county, where the Minster was always very visible, but I hadn’t realised it could be seen, albeit not so easily, from just past Grantham. It was that sighting, combined with the view I had as I entered the city from the South by car on another visit home, that really cemented it into my heart.

On the outbound train to Leeds I once again spotted it, quite painstakingly by staring out into the horizon. Whilst I did the same on the return train, the glare on the windows and the pure blackness outside prevented any beautiful vision.

As I head back down South, I think of the family and friends I have not had time to visit during this emergency work-related visit to the North of England. I also think of my beautiful cathedral upon the hill. While I don’t miss too many things about my home city, the cathedral is one of those that I do yearn for. Its beauty and spellbinding powers yield far more admiration from me than any London landmark ever will.

The Truth? You Can’t Handle The Truth!

Today has seen me write two blogs, this being the third. For me it seems, writing a blog has a way of opening the floodgates to the truth; to allow those outside to see inside my soul. Writing allows me to expose my feelings and fears. To pinpoint where I am in life, where I want to go, who I want to be.

While it has taken me months to build up the confidence to press ‘Publish’ on a blog post (I have nine unpublished blogs in my draft folder, in varying states of completeness), the overwhelming response I have received from my friends and family has been great. Many have taken the time to give me advice, but mainly just to remind me they are there. I have been moved to tears by this, not that it takes much these days, but just to know that people have faith means a lot. Writing a blog is my way of saying that I have faith in myself, although it may not seem like it from some blog posts you may read. But writing is a release, and I know from personal experience that to keep the truth inside can only lead to an eruption of volcanic proportions, the consequences of such can be long-lasting; taking years to remove the lava and ash that cover everything in its path.


[Picture Credit: Jack Nicholson as Col. Nathan Jessup, A Few Good Men, Dir. Rob Reiner, 1992]

I almost lost one of my closest friends shortly before I left my ex. We used to meet for lunch every few weeks, and she revealed to me after the eruption that was the end of my marriage that I seemed like a stranger. Having ignored her message two days ago until after I wrote Woe is Me, I know that I have been holding back the truth from my friends and family. The truth is, I have a lot of friends. I just don’t have a lot of friends here in London. But my friends, though they are scattered around the world, are always there for me. I know since I moved to London I have hidden away from them. London, and the events since last May have caused me to retreat into my Cancerian shell at an extreme pace. Blink and you’ll miss me.

I don’t know why I feel the need to do this. Perhaps it is because several of my friends from back in Lincoln have told me that it is ok to come home. It’s funny, because even though I was born in Lincoln, I never felt “at home” there. Never felt like I belonged. But then I haven’t felt that way anywhere else in the world either. London is the closest place I have felt that, and when I returned to London for the first time in a few years last October, it did feel like coming home.

For me, moving back to Lincoln is not an option. To do so would feel like going back with my tail between my legs, for the second time. It would feel like admitting defeat.

My FWB (Friend With Benefits) tells me that I should think about moving away from London, since I am obviously not happy here. But, I say to him, where do I go? I have never seen any other city in England as a possibility, and moving to somewhere hot with a beach seems, while tempting, very impossible.

For me, I can’t imagine that place where I want to put down roots. For that place waits for my roots to be entwined with another, before planting them in its fertile soil and building upon solid foundations. But it is very obvious right now that I have no guarantee of when that may happen.

On the tube, I read the adverts that offer fertility to the over 40s, and wonder if I will need it. While my 40th birthday is five years away, I think back five years and those years have flown by. Five years ago, I hadn’t even written anything. I had no idea that I had this ability inside me to pour out my heart and soul, and that people would actually want to read it.

I am grateful for my blog. For it allows me to communicate with those people I know (and those I don’t) about things I otherwise may not say. I am thankful to the family and friends who read and support me through the difficult times. To the new followers I have since I posted Woe Is Me at 9am this morning, welcome. While my blog may be the only way I communicate with some of you these days, know that I am eternally grateful that you are there.

Woe is me…Bollocks to that

I have been busy.

I have started lots of blogs.

I haven’t got time to write a blog.

I have been too stressed to write.

Life is shit.

Woe is me.

I have had endless dates through internet dating which haven’t gone anywhere.

I had to move to a new flat which was extremely stressful.

I make mistakes at work and my boss has a go at me.

My cat wakes me up at 5am every morning so I have a shit night’s sleep.

I had a friends with benefits with someone who doesn’t have the same feelings for me.

My apartment is really expensive.

I have no money three days after pay day and am sinking in debt.

My depression is getting worse.

On the first of February it was four years since I left my husband and changed my life.

I thought it would be better by now.

Woe is me.


[Picture Credit:]

As you can see I am an expert at self-pity. Languishing in a pit of despair going “oh my life is horrible blah blah blah” can be really comforting, and does go hand in hand with depression. I have always been one to appoint blame elsewhere when possible rather than open the door and let the blame come home.

London is tough. I don’t know why I should be surprised at this. I came to London as a shy 19 year-old and found it hard then, and although in the long run it was a great learning experience for me and finally opened the lid on my contained confidence, being here makes you lonely, especially if you don’t have money/friends/great living environment to fully enjoy it.

I was desperate to escape my home city of Lincoln once I had finished my degree. Before the ink was even dry on my final uni assignment, I had moved myself to London, while I still had the bulk of my last student loan payment to support me while I found a temp job. I was so desperate to escape the pit of despair I felt there, that I had no question of staying in Lincoln. It wasn’t an option for me. I had wanted to escape for so many years (thirty-two and a half to be precise) that I believed that once I could finally make that break, I could finally start living.

Out of the frying pan, into the fire, so they say. It took me longer than I thought to find a job. I had to borrow money to pay my second month’s rent. My temp job only paid £16,000 rather than the £22,000 that the agency promised me. I had to move house again five months later under stressful circumstances which only enflamed my already struggling money situation. Poor money management since then and the need to treat myself otherwise nobody else will (because I’m worth it, jeez thanks L’Oreal) has led me to the financial hole I’m in now. Endless bad dates and the same pattern of clinging to guys even when they’re not interested leaves me feeling lonely, so I just go on more bad dates and cling even more.

While the guy I cling to sadly isn’t the one for me, he has provided me with a lot of support and advice during the last few months. He is the one telling me not to wallow in my self-pity, to make the changes, to budget with my money, to see and appreciate what I do have, rather than yearn for what I don’t. I have realised the last month how much my depression and its tendancies to make me stressed or upset or down affect those around me, such as my housemate. And of course the classic pose that only encourages your problems to snowball is the ostrich. Stick your head in the sand and hope it all goes away.

I have a great apartment which I share with a wonderful housemate.

I have a cat who has been there for me since July 2000.

I have a job which offers opportunities and a boss who is willing to help me take pride in my work.

I am having the opportunity to go on lots of dates.

I have someone who gives me intimacy and life advice while doing his best to ignore my self-wallowy bad points.

I am living in a city where so many others flourish.

So why don’t I??!!! Woe is…BOLLOCKS TO THAT!!!!!!!!

I have the ability to change my life. I have a blueprint for how to do that. It’s time to use it. As I have proved to myself in the past, I am responsible for my own destiny. Time to be positive and seek that destiny.

The Twelve-Week Challenge: Day 10

With all endings, comes goodbyes.  Or rather, till we meet again.  I had one of those moments today with one of my oldest friends (as in how long we’ve known each other!).  Over a Starbucks, we reminisced how next year would be our 20th anniversary of being friends, having met at the first place I ever worked at, Stapleton & Co Estate Agents in Lincoln.  I was 15, and my friend, Sarah, was 20.  We’ve been through so much together, and I will miss our regular chats over posh coffee.  Tomorrow I will meet another friend, someone else I’ve known for a long time, and that will be another step towards leaving town, and leaving the friends I’ve known for years, through the good times and the bad.

It took me a long time to appreciate good friends.  After I left school, I had a great distrust for so-called friends, and for many years, while I had no problems trusting men (unlike a lot of women I knew), I did struggle to trust female friends (I didn’t have any male friends, which is probably why I have such issues with men).  I think those who have been my friends the longest are those who were the exception.

In my mid-twenties, I began to realise that I didn’t need to keep people in my life, if they were bringing me down, or using me in some way.  I had, to be blunt, a “clear out” and those people are no longer in my life.  Since then, you pretty much only get one chance with me; blow it, and you’re out.  Life’s too short to have bad friends.  That doesn’t mean you can’t be forgiven, but you’ve got to work damn hard to make sure I’m not going to regret letting you back in.  Saying that, I love meeting new people, and I’m always happy to make new friends.

I am a firm believer that people do come into your life for varying times and reasons.  Not everyone will stay forever.  Some people will be there only while you need them, likewise you may appear in their life for a specific reason.  There are people I’ve lost contact with over the years, and I do regret that, but with social media, there’s always a chance that we may be reunited.

What I want to say though, I guess, is that despite the fact I’m moving hundreds of miles away, I know my true friends will always be there for me, and they know that I’ll be there for them.  Distance will never wreck a good friendship, be it over land or sea.  Through the tough times, the fun times, the very, very shitty times, I’d like to thank all my friends for being there for me, and to remind them, you’ve got a friend in me.


The Twelve-Week Challenge: Day 12

With twelve days left of The Twelve-Week Challenge, I’m excited to report that today’s search for a new place to live was successful.  And I shall be moving the day after this challenge finishes, which believe it or not, wasn’t planned (I hadn’t realised until it was pointed out to me).  But it seems fitting that I shall be starting the next part of my life so soon after the conclusion to this challenge blog.

Today has been a long day trip, travelling to London and back, as we drove the 264 mile round-trip from Lincoln to Cockfosters, before catching the tube into Central London, and enjoying lunch in Chinatown with one of our former uni friends.

I got a good feeling about the new place, and I think The Bish will like it too.  There’s certainly lots of furry friends to keep him company.  If he ever talks to me again after leaving him for another day…

Anyway, it’s late, and I’m tired, and I have to crack on with my essays tomorrow.  Because now I have a move date, and that means packing.  As I’ve mentioned before I get excited about moving, but packing always promises to be more of a challenge than expected.  But it’s a good opportunity for a dejunk.  The less baggage I take with me when I move, the better.


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