Two years gone by

Glad to hear all is good with you, PoD. You continue to inspire me, I’m right behind you!
Good luck in NY – time for new blog perhaps?

Pizza of Doom

Hmmm. Not sure if anyone will read this post. I’m not sure what any of my readers are up to these days. It’s been a very long time. So long, in fact, that WordPress has kind of changed and I’m not entirely sure how to use it anymore.

As if to prove that point, my screen keeps freezing. But I’ll keep writing anyway. Because that’s what we do.

It’s been two years and 28 days since the Pizza of Doom, dear friends. Is it pathetic that I know that? Probably. But bear with me. I promise, I’ve done you proud.

Two years ago right now I was still a mess. The man I thought I was going to marry had broken my heart. I was about to start a terrifying new job. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t sleep. A lot of the time, I was struggling just to breathe. I…

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I like blogging

Well, here we are again. I wish I could tell you that I’ve been holed up with a fabulous bloke for the last 8 weeks, just laughing, and coo-ing, and touching and kissing, ahh, would that be grand, but no, of course not. Why would anyone’s life work out that way? The Universe is much too much of a sly, wily fox to let that happen. We have to work hard for our miracles and we have to somehow find a way to laugh at ourselves in the process. It’s either that or go stark, staring mad. I’m heading out pretty close to the mad, but right now I’m holding on.

So the date with the fabulous guy was actually pretty funny. He was very sweet. Tall(ish), dark, handsome, a former Mr Universe no less (I kid you not, and he had the muscles to prove it). But he was so, so shy. I sat there, coaxing out his stories and opinions, and I thought, I just can’t do this again. There are some super men out there, I’m sure of it. But it seems that so many of the single guys I meet can’t express themselves. How hard is it to say ‘I like ….. (insert opinion here)’ ‘I don’t like ….’ etc etc? MCG was another example of this. He had a great imagination and lots of ideas but very little confidence. All it took was four years of my life to coax out his sense of self worth and then bang! The bugger was off. So I’m not going there again. Because in order to get them to talk, you have to sacrifice yourself. You have to be less than threatening, less than scary, less than confrontational. You have to come down to their level. Well I want someone who will come up to mine. Who will give as good as they get. Who will keep their promises and be the man they say they are. And I would rather go through the rest of my life single than compromise myself again. It’s just not worth it. The disappointment is soul destroying. And it’s really difficult re-growing one’s soul. Much harder than I thought it would be. And it takes a lot longer too.

Anyway, Mr Universe … Bless him, he’d got us tickets to a local gig. It was a rare and unpredictable fusion of Irish folk meets Bollywood dance. And it was pretty awesome. It had energy and passion, foot-stomping and sideways head movements. Cracking stuff. Now Mr U was in training for a body-building event so he wasn’t drinking and carbs at dinner were a no-no, protein only, but he got into the swing of the music and it must have girded his loins, for at the end of the gig he leaned in for a kiss. This would have been acceptable, although quiet, he wasn’t unattractive, until he opened his mouth and the consequence of those weeks of muscle shredding prep revealed itself: rotten, meaty, bad breath. And me a vegetarian. There were no hearts and flowers. There was a big smile, a hurried thank you and “it was such fun, so good to meet you!” Then I ran for the train and back to the safety of my own company.

The following day he texted me to suggest a second date. I was touched and glad that I hadn’t offended him. But I turned him down. He’s not the man for me. We were bizarrely different from one another: he had complete confidence in his body but barely any in who he was whereas I have very little confidence in my body (it’s serviceable but I’m no Elle) but I’m secure in my me-ness. I will never be a super model and that’s fine, but a half decent conversation is not something I’m willing to wait for. Even writing this down I feel guilty. I know Mr U was a nice guy and I know that I was hard on him. But for god’s sake! C’mon men, you must have something to say for yourselves!

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Light & cookies

Hello Blogverse
It’s been ages, I know, but I promise I have been here, just hiding my light under a bushel so to speak. Actually, I’ve been hiding it under an enormous pile of Maryland cookie wrappers, it’s amazing I didn’t set them on fire, so bright is my light and so plentiful the wrappers. But perhaps the less said about that the better, methinks. Actually this blog is pretty much about food and light so hooray, behold the many packets of Maryland cookies I have consumed over the past six weeks!

Comfort eating is a funny old thing. It makes sense that when a person feels emotionally empty they seek to physically fill themselves up. And when a person thinks they hate themselves, they use the most destructive force on the planet with which to beat themselves: junk food. And even though I know this and I am an intelligent, articulate, attractive woman, emotionally healthy and physically strong, I still use food as a weapon and I hurt myself with it over and over again. So what’s to be done?

Well I was wallowing. I was looking at internet dating sites feeling sad 😦 And I have been watching way too much Shondra Rhimes melodrama which is the TV equivalent of binge eating and, like I said, Maryland Cookies were my drug of choice, and then I read http://artofmodernliving.com which was the right woman with the right words at the right time. Kristin Peterson writes the words I wish I could write in the way I wish I could write them. Witty and wise, funny and pacey and just fab. Every woman should read her blog! But more than that, she made me realise that I am the master of my own life and I have got to stop waiting for someone else to make me feel better! And with that I pulled on my trainers and got back out on the trails. My first run in 6 weeks. My first run since I last saw that funny beardy bloke I used to go out with.

Thank you Kristin, you fucking rock.

So, here we are, back to “finding intention”. I know it’s taken a very long time, but the journey was a worthwhile one. You know, the soul searching thing has its purpose. My intention is to get on with my life. Look forwards, not back, eat to please, not to punish, and when I don’t know the answers, remember RUNNING IS THE ANSWER. I’ll be back … I’ve got a date tonight with a lovely man and the way this day is going, anything could happen! You know I’m going to tell you what happens, right?

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Wise

I am blessed to have more than my fair share of wise women in my life. One of them I also thought was a bit ditzy, turns out she’s just super wise.

Tonight she told me that my relationship with MCG has brought her and me closer. Now I have known Ditzy since I was a dot and I didn’t think it was possible for us to be closer, but it appears that it is, for now I have known heartbreak I can empathise with her in a way I couldn’t before. But not only that, she observed that the building of the relationship between MCG and I was careful and not pushy and given time to become what it was. She said that because of this I was less granular. I’m not really sure what that means, but I’ll think about it …

Ditzy also told me that I was WAY overthinking the MCG friendship thing. She’s spot on there. I love my friends fiercely but I have been known to (perhaps) expect too much of them. I set high standards for myself and them but I think I am really flexible about whether we hit them or not … However, Ditzy pointed out that I was expecting much too much of MCG and he can’t respond in the way that I want – and that’s assuming I know what I want from him, which, frankly, I don’t. So both of us can only fail. I need to be kind and gentle to him and to myself. MCG and I are friends. We are, we made it. Now that friendship needs to be let be so that it can become whatever it is it’s going to become. That’s very beautiful if you think about it and not ditzy at all. I told you she was super wise. Wow, this blows my mind.

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Philosophy

It is one year today since MCG and I broke up. This night one year ago I sat alone in my living room wondering how I could keep on living. Tonight, one year on, I found out about the wu wei.

The wu wei is the natural order of things. It’s the Taoist version of what will be will be. When I first heard it I thought ‘Woo way!’ and pictured a snowboarder waving their hand horizontally across their body – ‘it’s the woo way, dude’. It’s a bit woo … and a bit way … a bit this … and a bit that … it’s the woo way, the way of woo. But perhaps wu wei is more succinct. Cool though.

Anyway, the point I’m trying to make, is that MCG and I no longer being a couple is how it is. No matter how hard I try I cannot cling to a partnership that no longer exists. That way of life, even though I don’t understand why, was not harmonious, it didn’t work and it ended. There is a new way of life for me now. Fighting it is painful and difficult and serves no purpose. I do not need to understand. I cannot change what is. I can only be with what is. I am embracing the wu wei.

This quote, albeit from Wikipedia, sums it up nicely:

The goal of spiritual practice for the human being is, according to Laozi, the attainment of this purely natural way of behaving, as when the planets revolve around the sun. The planets effortlessly do this revolving without any sort of control, force, or attempt to revolve themselves, instead engaging in effortless and spontaneous movement.

Wu may be translated as not have or without; Wei may be translated as do, act, serve as, govern or effort. The literal meaning of wu wei is “without action”, “without effort”, or “without control”

I would like to think that all this philosophising marks a new direction for my break up journey, perhaps this is me heading towards acceptance (finally!)? I hope so but there’s a fly in the ointment (of course there is, this is the Universe we’re dealing with here, and we all know how much the Universe enjoys a laugh at our expense) – MCG is returning to the UK on Monday. It’s not permanent, I don’t think it signals the end of his sojourn with Aussie Bint (although at least it looks like he’s breaking free of her apron strings) but it’s unexpected and I’m not sure what I think or feel about it. He and I are meeting up next week. No doubt our meeting will throw up a load of shit – philosophical and otherwise – and no doubt you, my lovely Blogverse friends, will be on the receiving end of it. My intention is to go with the flow and let whatever is just rise up to meet me.

It’s the wu wei to do it.

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Antacid

It’s very nearly a whole year since MCG and I broke up.  There’s no question it’s been the hardest time of my life.  I’d say it’s been the hardest year of my life, but this ‘hardest’ whatever is going to go on for a while yet. But the duration and the intensity is not his fault.   How I feel is not his fault.  His behaviour is his fault, what he did is his responsibility.  What drives me bonkers is knowing that he will not suffer as I have suffered because he will do nothing to try and understand why he behaved as he did, whereas I am doomed to analyse it all.  This is my fault.  This is my responsibility.  It is up to me to figure myself out and because of who I am (not who he is) this has taken me down a long, painful path. Part of the experience of this road to self-discovery has been meeting, loving and being left by MCG.  This was the catalyst to finding out about me.  It’s almost as if in order to find out about me, I made all this bad stuff happen. Maybe I did.

In nature there are opposing reactions that cancel each other out. For example, a dock leaf to counteract the sting of a nettle, an alkali to neutralise the burn of an acid. I’ve been wondering if there’s a kind of emotional neutralisation that we naturally (and probably unconsciously) seek out in life to help us make sense of things that happened to us in childhood.  When I was tiny, two and a half years old, pre-memory, I had to go to hospital and was left there alone.  It was the night my brother was born, my mother was in labour in a different hospital and I hurt myself.  My dad had to take me to hospital and leave me there so that he could go to my mum. I don’t remember this; I’ve only recently heard the details of the story. I asked Dad about it, he said I was ‘inconsolable’ when he left me with a disapproving nurse (although what she was disapproving of, I have no idea.) Dad loves embellishing a story so I don’t know the absolute truth of what happened, but I am struck that whilst I can imagine how appalling it must have been for my dad to leave his tiny daughter, I cannot summon up the feelings of how it must have been for me to have been left.

Until now.

When MCG left me a year ago, I think I must have felt something like I did the night my dad left me in the hospital.  I think I’ve been living through two traumas this year: MCG abandoning me a year ago and re-living my dad leaving me alone at the hospital 45 years ago when I was two and a half.  Both times I was distraught.  Both times the end result was me feeling like I had done something wrong and that somehow I deserved to be abandoned.

But finally I understand.  Of course it wasn’t my fault.  How can a two and a half year old girl be responsible for hurting herself?  How could I have been responsible for my partner fucking another woman in another country? Not only that, these things did not happen to me because I am a bad person. They just happened.

I wonder if my whole life has been leading me to this moment of realisation and understanding of myself so I might finally accept who I am.  I don’t need MCG or even my father to accept me; I do need to accept myself.  Rather than spending the next 50 years trying to be ‘better’, trying to be something that it’s impossible for me to be in a quest to get those I love to stay with me, all I have to do is just be me. Just being me is the Pepto-Bismol I need to finally cancel out the acid indigestion of not feeling good enough.  I am enough.  From this point on, rather than looking for someone to love me and validate who I am, I can love myself and be proud of my life.  It makes so much sense but it took a lot of pain and hurt to discover such a simple answer.

In gardening, rotting compost is added to depleted soil. The decomposing vegetation releases carbon dioxide which neutralises the alkalis in the soil and makes it fertile again.  Put simply: add shit to get growth. Maybe, in order to grow, we create shit or seek it out.  If we choose, we can use terrible situations as fertiliser to grow the good stuff on which we live. It’s not an easy choice and often it’s far easier to live in the shit than grow through it.  But when you do you are much stronger and healthier and you can once again feel the sunshine on your face.

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Oh bloody hell …

So I may have made a fatal error whilst pursuing my strategy to keep MCG in my life. If there are any of you out there trying to ‘stay friends’ with an ex, don’t do what I did. Basically, after a series of lightweight, witty missives, returned in kind by the tall beardy bloke, and a growing OK-ness developing about communication between the two of us, I wrote an email expressing my frustration that we weren’t closer and how much he’d hurt me by not contributing to various (albeit extremely interesting and awesome) stuff I’d posted on Facebook. I spelled out that I wanted us to be dear, close friends, with a more meaningful relationship than those he had with people we both knew from work. And, here is the most fatal error, I told him that he would always be precious to me, that I’d always stand up for him, that he would be part of my life forever, or somesuch girly drivel. Again, this is all true, but I’ve given it all away, haven’t I? He’s got nothing to fight for, nothing to find value in. I’ve given myself up without any effort on his part which, I imagine in his (defective) eyes, makes me boring, weak and not worth the effort. Lo and behold, no word from him for weeks and then on New Year’s day he sends a group email to all his work friends, including me, sending all of us his best wishes, or some other meaningless, emotionally deficient phrase. I got my answer. He doesn’t want to single me out as a close friend. He can lump me in with the rest of them, but he’s not willing to identify me as special. Brutal. I left the party I was at and went to bed after that. I tried to talk to my best friend about it, but she was drunk as a skunk and much more interested in her house party than my pity party. Can’t say I blame her.

My New Year’s resolution was not to cry any more over MCG. Unfortunately I’ve already broken that one so I’m just sucking it up. There will be more tears, of course there will, but you always feel better after a good cry. The key thing is for the tears to have more meaning than ‘poor me, MCG doesn’t love me any more’. My tears are about my fear that I will be alone for the rest of my life. I am scared of that. It’s a legitimate fear. Being alone IS scary. So what does one do to face that fear and make it make you powerful?

THE ANSWER IS RUNNING.

Of course it is. Running is tough. It requires commitment and a willingness to experience pain. You have to go outside in the cold, you have to wrap up, you have to get sweaty, you have to do it when you don’t want to (does this remind anyone else of being in a relationship?) But the running is for me, I don’t share it with anyone or do it for anyone. Running also makes you feel fantastic. It reinforces your sense of self. It makes you strong and fit. It gives you a purpose. You like yourself when you run. It gives you all you need to live powerfully, with people and without.

I’m sure you can apply these ideas to other things. I don’t know – dogs, cooking, amateur dramatics?? Whatever. The thing is joining in, giving something that appeals to you a go. When you’re feeling down it’s so easy to give up. I know this so well. The only thing stopping me from quitting on myself all together is the 10k I’ve entered in March. There’s something about it (and the multitude of people I’ve told about it) that won’t let me get out of it. Maybe it’s hope. Maybe if I can actually succeed at the 10k, I’ll be able to find success in all the other areas of my life.

To be honest, I’m trying to just run for running’s sake, just for the joy of it. But this doesn’t always get me out the door when I’m feeling like a potato rather than a runner. A goal helps and working towards the achievement of that goal makes me feel good about myself. When I feel good about myself, I don’t feel scared of being alone. I don’t even think about it. I just get on with being me.

It’s a working theory. I will expound further as the year goes on. You’re welcome to join in. In fact, I really hope you will. Let me know what works for you.

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New Year’s Eve 2014

Hey, me again …

Wishing you all fun, laughter and a great big dose of not taking yourself too seriously this New Year’s Eve. I hope we all find what we’re looking for in 2015, even if that is only the smallest hint of which direction in which to travel.

Good luck, thanks for sticking with me this far, who knows what we will discover next year?!

Namaste, keep on running, woof woof, cheers, bon appetite and lots of love xxx

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non-blog

Hey Blogverse,

You know how much I like you? I like you a lot. So this month I’ve decided not to inflict myself upon you.

Things were going well, now they’re not.

All my advice from last month is still true, and I am trying very, very hard to follow it.

But I guess we all have bad months and even with lots of good ideas and a great big heart, it’s still a lot harder than I thought it would be.

I thought that time would pass, I would adjust to a new life and things would be ok. Bearable at least.

Not so.  All pretty unbearable actually.

So I’ll get back to you next month.

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Zombies

I’m scared of being on my own. When MCG and I were together we made a plan about where we’d meet if the zombies ever came. I wanted to buy a Defender and fill it with bottled water and baked beans so that we’d be ready. I haven’t done it yet, that’s not to say I won’t. Last month when MCG went back to his new life in Oz, I thought we’d made peace with each other and that we were on a new path that would lead us to friendship and a unique kind of connection. I was certain we would make it happen and I wrote to him a couple of times but he hasn’t responded. I’m still hopeful he’ll keep his side of the bargain we made, but if past experience is anything to go by, I’m probably deluding myself. I still have faith in him. I think he’ll figure it out but it’s going to take a while. I guess it’ll be on his own terms and will have very little to do with me. I wish he’d try to keep his promise and make a place for me in his life. I miss him so much. Maybe he’ll re-enter my life in the future, I really hope so.

So after he left, I thought the only way I’d get over him would be to find someone else. So I joined an online dating site. I met a guy but either I wasn’t ready or he really was the creep my gut told me he was, and tonight I ended it. Now I’m sitting in my living room watching ‘2012’ feeling scared. If it really was the end of the world I’d have no one to run away with. It’s really scary being single. But it’s scarier feeling weak; it’s scarier feeling vulnerable; it’s scarier giving up. So tonight, watching a duff movie about the apocalypse, I have made a decision: I am not going to give up no matter how much I might want to, no matter how loud the demons yell in my ear that I’m not good enough to be loved and my love isn’t good enough for anyone to want it. I don’t need a new bloke, I need the old me. I learned how to look after myself years ago, and I know how to trust my instincts, I am turning those skills back on. Now, even though I am scared and I am lonely, I am getting on with getting on with the rest of my life.

If there is anyone else out there reading this blog and feeling lonely, I have a few little bits of advice:

1. exercise is good. The adrenalin rush really helps when you feel like shit. I was pretty much a blob before my break up, following a couch potato to 5k programme has given me something to work toward and something to be proud of. Walk, run, bike, swim, doesn’t matter what, just do something.

2. trust your friends and let them help you. I have been so lucky to have had 4 or 5 special people hold my hand through the last few months. A couple of them were friends from my past I hadn’t been in touch with for ages. I have cried, sulked and lost my temper with all of them and they have all forgiven me. I can’t thank them enough.

3. get some therapy. It’s good to talk with someone who has no agenda, whose only purpose is to listen to you. Pay for it privately or get it on the NHS via your GP but do yourself a favour and get yourself a shrink.

4. it’s ok to take a bit of time off work, it’s ok to spend a few days on the sofa/under the duvet. Everyone needs a bit of time to lick their wounds, but keep your eyes wide open for the stuff that gives you hope and be prepared to push away the stuff that drags you down. I know it’s not easy, but you can do it, just keep trying. And if you don’t want to try any more today, give yourself a break and try again tomorrow. It will take a while before you find your equilibrium, but you will find it.

5. get a pet. Having a warm, loving creature to care for will keep you going when you can’t be bothered to care for yourself. They need you. Caring for them will keep you sane.

That’s it.  Sermon over.  Good luck.  Keep your head up.  Don’t let the zombies get you.

Let me know how you get on.

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