‘It’s Okay I’m Wearing John Lewis Ear Muffs’ – surviving the jungle of 2016 and other fables

It’s that time of the year again where facebook fills with ‘new year, new me’ based profanities, new year’s’ rounds ups, statuses of good will and ‘thanks for a goodun’ I however have resigned myself to the fact that I will be leaving 2016 exactly how I entered it – fat, broke and full of wine.

As far as the 2016 health kick went I think I managed to be slim(er) for about three months and that was only because some days I  was too miserable or hungover to eat/ couldn’t be arsed to trek up the hill to co-op to fill the fridge with sustenance. I’m pretty sure I managed to make a quality street easter egg last me about two months (possibly my proudest achievement) and I even managed to live of a staple diet of luke warm cheese strings and the odd berocca without catching scurvy- win! I tried to be veggie for a while an though sure it amounted to very little other than opting against fried frankfurter for the odd veggie sausage, I’m beginning to think it wasn’t the worse idea I could have had. I mean if there was ever a reason for cutting down on meat in 2017 the position i’m in now would provide a more than satisfactory point….

I sit nursing a sore little finger blistered and pulsating after catching it in the fire line of flying, frying, ‘fecking hot bacon fat jumping like a maimed cat and biting my lip to prevent a wild and animated showcase of the most popular swear words of the twenty first century leaving my mouth and potentially scaring an unsuspecting five year old into the realisation that his father is in fact dating a wild animal in a blonde wig.

But by squashing this release (which is not dissimilar to the brechtian mother courage silent scream)  all I can do is whimper at my sorry state of culinary affairs. I don’t know how people do it… the domesticated thing I mean. All these people cooking up delicious dishes, baking sweet treats to rival bake off, making homes look lovely and with the sweet smell of bottled happiness rising through the air and I’m here in my pyjama top unable to so much as cook a pizza without accidently leaving the grill on and serving it up ‘char grilled/ borderlining charcoal.’ I think some people just aren’t destined for certain things and I am one of them – thank f**k for Dominoes 😉

I’d make it my new year’s resolution to improve on some things but they’d be no point as the only changes I’ve ever been able to achieve have been ones made by me in a none time-sensitive epiphany moment of ‘f**k my life.’ It’s been an odd year, from the insane woman who tried to take me on Jeremy Kyle (I kid you not) to sodding off to Venice by myself with no working phone to cover a film festival there have been ups and downs but it’s the one where I finally woke up and smelt the coffee. A moment that you can’t force or pin point no matter what people say or what you lose or gain- the existential crisis of I’ve spent the most part of the past five years being a absolute ‘See You Next Tuesday’ is one that you can only arrive at by yourself… and boy did I hit it.

After the hazy debaucherous summer that ended in my birthday, I woke up the day after my 29th year began filled with the standard, guilt, shame and dread. The kind where your heart beats so fast you struggle to breathe as you panic about what you could have potentially said or done. The only difference this time being that I actually hadn’t been a git I’d just been the standard birthday drunk the majority of people indulge in once a year, not an LPJ special, pub based punch up and a black eye…. but I was so used to waking up filled with the dread of the night before in my formative years that it had become a pattern weather I’d been an idiot or not.

After a couple of beta blockers and a long nap I told myself and then publicly exclaimed that the only thing I was looking to achieve for the last year of my twenties was to meet someone half decent to share a romantic KFC with… and I meant it.

Be careful what you wish for….

The only problem was I was done with dating and like the majority of women tinder had caused me more matted hair and disappointed than good so that wasn’t a route I was looking to explore either. But weak and low I attempted to re-download that magic, coveted app if anything in an attempt to make myself feel better. Now little did I know that whilst in the thralls of Birthday based wine consumption the day before, my friend had logged me out of said app and facebook on my phone to show someone a hottie on their profile and I couldn’t get back in – thus preventing more madness that could have happened.  Instead I perused my old POF profile, an avenue I usually choose to avoid at all costs due to been bombarded by weirdos….

Now I am fully aware that all of the above sounds like the worse thing anyone could do after vowing to turn their life around but having being bought a bottle of channel perfume titled ‘chance’ when I received a message from someone who didn’t look like a potential murderer I did just that…

I thought to myself this isn’t what I’m used to, this isn’t the normal ‘plan’ but maybe just maybe I could go on a sober date with someone. Meet for a quick no pressure coffee rather than three wines in the pub and a clumsy good night snog that results in nothing. And even if nothing comes of it at least I know I can do it. Now don’t get me wrong sitting and attempting to sip on a hot latte without getting your red lipstick in a joker style pattern is a tough feet and attempting to be funny and witty and all the things you know you can be in front of someone new doesn’t seem as easy without a jug of pinot but the reality is that not slurring your words at first sight is most definitely the way forward…

And now the rest is history but I still resent the same smug people who came out with ‘oh you’d be happier if you had a boyfriend’ and ‘you’d get a boyfriend if you lost weight’ coming out with, ‘well at least you’ve got a boyfriend’ and ‘What do you think of Bridget Jones now you’re not single?’  No matter at what point I’ve been at I’ve always known that relationships weren’t easy and that being in one doesn’t make things any easier, it just compliments your life in a different way and people who think that being with another makes you a cut above need to give single lasses a break. Of course it’s lovely to be with someone, of course it’s great to find something that fits – but anyone whose managed to survive being single in the city or in fact in the age of social media and dating apps will certainly have learnt a few life lessons along the way.

I, like many girls around my age are at a different time in their lives, one that has evolved from who snogged who and the student union, passed have you seen so and so is working for that place and split up with wotsit, back to raw and animalistic nature of the playground.

While I’m not there myself (nor do I ever think I will) a lot of people in my life are the proud owners of small, often cute things known as children. I’ve always been a fan of this species as they’re great company and if they’re not yours, when they get to much you can hand them back. But unfortunately unlike taking care of someone’s cat, there’s no instruction manual as to how you should act around or involve someone else’s child.  well considering I struggle to follow the most basic of recipes I’d probably mix things up and improvise anyway but still….I remember offering to look after a friends 3 and 1 year old one morning to be handed over these cute mini people, one of which with a full nappy to be like oh feck what if I break it? Where are the spare batteries?

I’ve been an unofficial adoptive aunty to other people’s sprogs for years, headed to school nativity plays passing others I went to school with and people of my age bemused at to why I don’t have one and if there’s one hiding in my bread bloat. But that’s always been easy enough but cos you’re not there to be judged. But in the clichey world of village yummy mummy playground gossip a new presence in the form of someone’s blonde, relatively younger and far from middle class girlfriend is like a lamb to the slaughter…

I mean having children around has it’s perks- there’s always tinned spaghetti hoops and yummy things like potato smilies lying around. And if you want to have a sto, providing it’s on one of the days they’re not there, forget the sofa, you’ve got a very comfy cabin bed to sulk off too…. admittedly you risk tripping over Tracey Island, getting lego in your toes and sleeping under a duvet of snot ball tissues when you get there but win-win!

It’s the grown ups that in all this become the children. I remember being at some mid-week village light switching on event where certain mummies were giving me odd looks thinking jesus wept I know I’m not Albrighton standard regatta waterproof wearing mother standard but we would be the only people here with pint glasses and shit, oh god I’m wearing teddy bear ear warmers…I must look about 12. Oh christ after the teenagers move on I must be the youngest ‘grown up’ here by about six years… But it’s okay, I’m wearing John Lewis earmuffs everyone can stop panicking now – Shropshire approved clothing has entered the oxygen sphere….

I feel I’m in uncharted territory, like David Attenborough reporting on a territorial species in it’s known habitat….  ‘The arse-faced nappy valley mummy observes new female in companionship with the recently estranged male and alerts ‘class blah blah’ whatsapp group…’

I exaggerate but all playground dwellers have been there and I understand. In fact I understand some things too much. There have been occasions recently when  upon seeing said happiness people have gone a little bat shit, left shitty facebook comments, even sent strings of ridiculous text messages to the wrong person. And every time I’ve had to deal with a crazy women whose upset me and should know better I haven’t gone batshit because I’ve been there (well perhaps not to that extent) and am so embarrassed by myself that I feel I’m not in the position to judge others.

For the past month I have suffered near daily anxiety attacks where my heart beats faster than it should and I can;t get certain thoughts out of my head. Memories of when I got drunk and said something stupid, got over emotional at someones get together, said things that I bottled up when sober but make me look ridiculous when they came out after a bottle of wine. I know why I was like that, I was sinking in this sea of ridiculousness with no anchor but willingness to help myself and swim to the shore. And the guilt and embarrassment won’t stop. It consumes me until all I can do is sleep and then I dream it… Now I can’t exactly send a group text message to about twenty odd people being like ‘soz for being a c**t I was in a bad place’ mainly cos it brings it all up and aside from that most people don’t even care but I do… now I’m better I cringe at myself. And thought completely unintentional have no idea how I still have friends.

I wrote so much about wanting the clouds to lift but it never appeared and when it did I’m now wracked with guilt that I spent half a decade being a complete an utter bellend.

To anyone I ever pissed off after sailing a ship of intoxication drowning in a sea of Pinot Grigio, I am sorry with all my heart.

xx

So here’s to 2016…. the year that sounds like a figment of my imagination the one that lead me to cry more than I ever would over politics and the death of inspiring legends… things that before (Whitney aside) wouldn’t have even touch my little bubble, the year I smelt the coffee and decided to be a better person… not just for friends and loved ones, but for me- and it was only then that the dreams I wanted started to come true….and it’s what will make 2017 one of the hardest but best years yet.

Don’t touch the sleeping pills, they mess with my head,  dredging of big white sharks, swimming in the bed, and here comes a killer whale, send me to sleep
Thrashing the covers off, has me by its teeth , and ah, my love remind me, what was it that I said?I can’t help but pull the earth around me to make my bed
And ah, my love remind me, what was it that I did?
Did I drink too much? Am I losing touch? Did I build a ship to wreck?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘You Don’t Own Me’ – single sex & slut shaming

Does a day go past when we don’t hear that three letter word? Weather you’re celibate, single or in a long term relationship, sex is everywhere. You only have to leave ITV on for half the afternoon  to have it plastered all over before the the watershed with everything from Loose-Women to Jeremy Kyle having their say.

S E X

Yeh I said it – the word you like to think your grandparents have never heard of and was pronounced at primary school ‘ess-ee-ex’ because to say it in it’s full glory was far too naughty.

It’s not the 1950s anymore, we don’t all go to bed next to the only man we’ve ever shared a duvet with and wait for him to pull his pyjama bottoms down and as a nation we are more sexualised than ever before.  I remember being 13 and reading an article in bliss magazine about how to snog a boy… kids today can probably just google it and get a full you-tube tutorial followed by a link to an online purchase of the morning after pill for if things go too far….. I exaggerate but sex has become more accessible than ever before, be it a few taps on a mobile dating app or locked eyes across a sticky city centre dance floor- it still works the same way.

And we’re empowered to follow our desires, our urges- be it through high street sex shops encouraging you to explore alone or magazine articles on how to achieve that big ‘o’ – it’s everywhere and not nearly as censored as it once was.  Making love to that magical person you want to spend your life with, or at least think you do for those brief minutes of intimacy is wonderful, beautiful even but it’s very different from just sex and to get to that in the first place and exploration of the latter isn’t exactly uncommon right?  Did I blink and miss the 60s- we are living in 2016 right? Where prescription birth control is free, abortion is legal and some dude thought it was incredibly clever to make sure plenty of condoms were available in the Olympic village because believe it or not people have sex, accidents happen and not always with someone who puts a ring on their finger…

So why then I asked, are single women in their late twenties, who infact probably understand their bodies and their sexualty better than they ever did before being slut shamed for their choices?

Oh I’m sorry I wasn’t lucky enough to get shacked up with my childhood sweetheart or meet some genuine keeper at work who wants to move in with me and get a cat – shall I cross my legs until I’m forty and pay for an e-harmony subscription?

If anything sex at this age is the best it can be- because people know what they’re doing and you know what you want…

It’s taken a long time but for once in my life, I’m okay with being alone, for once, I don’t mind it…

The sun beats hard on the idyllic view of John Bright Street Rent-A-Car.  A  few stray tramps pass and the background soundtrack is made up of the ‘Angelic’ voices of a group of school kids learning some Grease medley at the Alex alongside the road rage of Suffolk Street.

‘Gorgeous view isn’t it?’

‘The best…’

I always hated Grease

I turn to him, envious of his natural blond hair, youthful looks and say, ‘I don’t think I want to be with anyone again.’

‘What like ever?’

‘Don’t really see the point anymore, too much trouble.’

And at that moment in time I think I truly meant it.

The wooden table is wobbly and unvarnished, I feel like I’m going to get a splinter in my arse as the shrunken Jack Wills dress rides up and we both know that one gust of wind and I’ll be flashing my cath kidston undies to half the Cherry Red’s lunch clientele behind us.  .

My shoulders catch the sun, the next day it’s my face, my nose as we sit once more fulled by half a pret each, slightly warm booze and unexpected sunshine on a dark cloud.

‘Don’t think I could even date a girl you know, tried it once and it was like that scene in fight club where they end up punching the mirror…’

‘Well I’m not sure anyone could deal with two Lauras…’

We laugh and I wish I hadn’t have scoffed that pret so quickly as I’m scared I might burb up my wine.

For somebody who feels like a pig in an abattoir the moment the sun comes out, I really should learn to carry around suncream and not allow myself to bake like the stray chips left in the chip fat fryer for too long. A welcome part of the meal to begin with but a crusty leftover by the end that you go along with anyway and wished you hadn’t.  The amount of stray maccys chips that have ended up in the bottom of my handbags have taught me one thing- shit doesn’t go away if you bury it and carrying it around just clutters your life.

It makes you scared, too overwhelmed to touch it – close the wardrobe doors and pretend it’s not there. Like the calls from HSBC about that student over draft you had 7 years ago- phone on silent,  chuck in pocket and hope for the best 😉

I leave clutter everywhere… can’t even do a move in one sitting. After the split from hell I left my attic room and slowly moved into one the floor below but never moved the furniture. Annoyed me too much to be in there and I wanted a slightly cleaner break.

It was only on the  Friday before that I finally got ‘the desk’ down.  A two person job that that needed the added support both physically and emotionally – mainly for if I stubbed my toe of bashed ‘Boz’ the scarred knee.

I cried when my ex bought me that bastard, sat on top of the number 9 bus from pigeon park, a place that has become far too familiar with my tears of late. He told me it was always mine whatever happened but considering what did happen  I feel a tad guilty for writing off it so have been using a piece of wood in the corner for the past few months.

By the time we get it down the stairs into the new room chuckle brother’s style and gagging for a beer it doesn’t really match anymore.  He says I should just use it as a dressing table, I agree, but for the hours that pass it becomes out beer balancer.

I leave in a rush Saturday morning, slam the door behind me and the nob falls off once more – even the door can’t make it through the summer with me. I’ve been drinking too much recently, lips puffed, stomach bloated, mental health debatable but what’s a girl to do.

Open the bedroom door for the first time in a couple of days some time later… and I’m like what the actual fuck, the odd smell of fresh washing meets stale beer fills the air and I think, didn’t I grow out of this? I open the window- the roof is covered in fag buds again and there’s a 22p sweet potato that I should have made into something delicious days ago. The ‘beer table’ now contains four empty bottles of becks, a full bottle of peroni, empty BLT sandwich box, half a dozen SNOBS receipts and a rolled up tenner amongst a nest of bottle caps and a stray sock . Jesus wept.

I sit on the window ledge and attempt to remove said stray fag buts with a travel hairdryer and remember the last time he sat there and I attempted the same with a wine bottle filled with luke warm water the next day.  That day the healing process started and something else began.

My first reaction wasn’t what it should have been – ‘shit what a night, been a while since I had that kind of sesh’ it was automatically a sense of relief meets guilt – ‘thank fuck I can get away with this now..’ because what would my ex think…

‘fuck what he thinks Laura, fuck him, you’re awesome, I mean you’re a pain but I love every bit of you.’ – As drunken and exaggerated as the sentiment may have been, that was all I needed to push me back through and out of those feelings of guilt for how I was still acting.

No matter what the end outcome may have been I can now take responsibility for my part and freely admit at times I was a bit of a shit girlfriend. Unused to the situation I had found myself in , still unsure weather it was right for me or a void to fill the loneliness, in the early days my eyes could be found elsewhere. I may be pushing 30 but still, give me a sticky floor, indi boys with whom you have an unwritten connection with and my heart takes a different beat.

But I still took comfort in the fact that he had no idea of what I’ve since been getting up to and  that was wrong because when we break apart from people our actions and decisions become our highs and burdens- no one else’s.

Like the page turner in a predictable soap script contact was remade.  It’s civil, he’s caring, he understands that I only kicked off because I was hurting, attempts advice on how I should go about finding someone new… add in the bit about hoping my dreams come true and it may as well have been a dodgy Adele remix.  But I stand up for myself and say I want to be alone for a while, to move through my issues that  I have before I put myself back out there because I have seen people since him and I need to fix myself up.

And that’s when it starts…the lecture on ‘love-less’ sex, how ‘no decent man’ will want me when they find out how I’ve disrespected myself, that they’ll make their excuses and leave…that I’ve disrespected myself, that I should get a dog and join a book club – ‘loveless sex will only lead to one thing and that is pain…’ I’m sorry darling but I’m pretty sure I wasn’t a 28 year old stay at home virgin when I met you and you weren’t complaining then…

‘Respect yourself as you’re nearly 30’

‘I thought you would have realised how a real man treats his lady but in one ear out the next’

‘What would you nan think if she knew how you’d disrespected yourself’

‘Having such loveless sex is what sends people wrong’

‘You’ve disrespected yourself again’

How exactly? I haven’t exactly been going round dropping my knickers for a different man every week – I grieved, I ached, I pulled through and I got back out there, because that’s what girls do when they’ve been dumped. And for someone to lecture me on this so called ‘love-less’ sex when they never told me they loved me in the seven months we spent together is in itself a bit of a head fuck…

‘I stayed true, I was lonely but I didn’t go out shagging women’ – good for you I never asked you to…. and just because I didn’t stay at home alone for three months doesn’t mean it didn’t hurt any less.  I cried, I bled, ended up with ten stitches to my knee ‘tripping over myself, begging you to come help’ – Shawn Mendes style, completely dependant on my baby sister for the weeks that followed, my eyes opened and I re-found myself only to land this.

‘It’s your vagina do what you want with it’. – thanks for the confirmation….

It’s a interesting word ‘disrespect’ because personally I think I would be disrespecting my vagina and the sexual freedom god gave me while I still don’t look my age or have any real responsibilities, if  I were to just hold back from new opportunities or even just letting go in fear of a couple of months down the line someone calling me a ‘slut’

It doesn’t hurt anymore, or not like it should.  Because I know that somewhere in those choice of words they were trying to care but we’re obviously on two very different paths of direction when it comes sexuality.

Maybe I should grow up, act my age… I’ve been told I’m like the female Peter Pan

Replace Becks and ‘The 1975’ with Strongbow and ‘Bloc Party’ and I could be that young 18 year old girl again, still directionless, making the same mistakes. Maybe I am too old for  snogging in snobs, maybe life has passed me by and maybe I should move on from being the definitive lost boy, but maybe you need that release… and that’s exactly what it is, a release not disrespect.

I sit back on the windowsill and think of the boy in the brown Chelsea boots who left not just the fag buts, but the door open to the freedom I now I see I have – because when I was  around him I no longer felt afraid of myself. He’s going places and has a vision I wish i’d have clung on to when I was 24, I know I’m old and should know better, but when the tears came through accidental circumstances, he became part of the very small group of people who may not show it, may not always be there but have through no fault of their own learnt how my head works, how to calm me when I freak into chimpmunk mode and still let me run free and he’d never judge me for being single by choice.

I do believe in love, there is a hopeless romantic in there somewhere- but for the time being I believe it’s okay to be alone but still have sex… to be single but still fall in love and not persuse it…to be an independant woman and pull who you want as long as it’s not hurting yourself… it’s not disrespect it’s empowerment because ‘you don’t own me’ no one does, we own ourselves, our own sexuality and our own bodies….

Some people are single, single people have sex- get over it..

 

 

True Friends Stab You In The Front: How Social Media Kills The Modern Relationship

Where would we be without Facebook? How would we know the names of all three kids spawned by someone you sat across from at school or know exactly what your ex work colleague was having for lunch?

I joke but it’s pretty useful really isn’t it, you don’t even need people’s telephone numbers anymore. You can track down that fittie friend of a friend you’ve been spying on in the pub easy peazey and with just one click you can go through all the public profile pics of your ex boyfriend’s new piece and throw metaphorical tomatoes at the screen. Judge at your heart’s content. But it’s kinda sweet too. You can keep in touch with people you’d never have spoken to again with a cheeky like every now and again. Then casually ignore them on the bus….. It makes things easy doesn’t it? So easy that you can even dump someone you’ve been seeing for half a year over an inbox message.

The first time round was via a whatsapp message so I’m not sure why I thought I deserved a telephone call or a face to face explanation. Jesus even my boyfriend when I was 17 had the decency to sit me down outside the music block and tell me it wasn’t working out (true he’d probs run out of credit but that’s besides the point ha))so why did I think my 28 year old self was worth more?

Social media makes things too easy but it also creates unnecessary wounds that would never be there other wise. That grooling process of taking yourself out of a public relationship with each other – it feels like when divorcees parade themselves on the front page of ‘Hello Magazine’ for you to drool over. I just took mine back to being invisible and he did the same. I thought that would be it.

It’s difficult when you’re the confused one. When you’re the one who didn’t make the decision and are living with the confusion. I mean I’m no innocent party here but to go from holding hands and kissing one day, being dried down post rain storm by them, your closing words being about what pizza you were going to get on your next night in together. Ignored the next day and dumped over facebook the one after when you became confused as to why they’d been online all morning but not been in touch for two days when you were so tight 8am phone conversations weren’t even unheard of on a Saturday.

I shouldn’t even have had that amount of information at my finger tips. But social media allows it. It drives us mad. He changes his whatssap pic for the first time since I’ve ever known him and slowly deletes the photos of us, the comments, the posts and exchanges all from being online. Far too much effort for me but it hurt to witness.

So many of us, myself included use social media to vent our thoughts and feelings. When we are hurt, when we are happy, extatic even. But it makes the hardest days all the darker. Whenever we fell out he’d blame my anxiety, say I needed to get better and yes I have had my testing moments, been difficult to be around. But aren’t we all? And surely to shut out an over thinker so coldly is only going to make them worse.

I spend my weekend in a haze of alcoholism and self destruction, but even I can no longer drink myself into oblivion. I’ve been changed too much. By the end of it, our last night together I only demolished half a bottle of wine which I dulled down with Lemonade, leaving the rest in the fridge.  My former self could have knocked back two, hit the vodka and had the rest for breakfast….

And with this I can’t deny that the experience hasn’t helped me to grow and become calmer as a person but I feel like part of me is missing, like I’ve been diluted and that it’s absence brings out the wilder, passionate suppressed side. Like Jean Grey in X-Men who’d conditioned her mind to only let out the subdued then tragedy brings the other side to the surface. Obvs I am no mutant, and any comparison to marvel is fictional but it still fucking hurts. The cowardice.

I’ve done bad things, I’ve been a bad person more than once but it’s nothing that I can’t justify or if not haunts me at night. But still in shock, over the mascara tears I find myself on the dance floor of old metal clubs with old friends. A part of my past that seems the only thing able to save me right now. I feel like a geriatric Avril Lavigne wannabe sipping on a cherry coke clambering through the crowd while Lost Prophets’s last train home plays. The only difference being no one plays them anymore as Ian Watkins turned out to peado and Jack and coke is my new drug… Bring Me The Horizon plays on repeat and I feel like an emo kid who got wrinkles too early.

He said I was his best friend but I’m not sure I’d treat my worse enemy like this.

I wouldn’t hold my breath if I was you
Cause I’ll forget but I’ll never forgive you
Don’t you know, don’t you know
True friends stab you in the front?

It’s funny how things work out
Such a bitter irony
Like a kick right to the teeth
It fell apart right from the start
But I couldn’t even see the forest for the trees
(I’m afraid you asked for this)

You’ve got a lot of nerve, but not a lot of spine
You made your bed when you worried about mine
This ends now

I wouldn’t hold my breath if I was you
Cause I’ll forget but I’ll never forgive you
Don’t you know, don’t you know
True friends stab you in the front?
I wouldn’t hold my breath if I was you
You broke my heart & there’s nothing you can do
And now you know, now you know
True friends stab you in the front

It’s kind of sad cause what we had
Well it could have been something
I guess it wasn’t meant to be
(So how dare you) Try and steal my flame
Just cause yours faded
Well hate is gasoline
A fire fuelling all my dreams
(I’m afraid you asked for this)

Pretty emo tastic but it helps….

It’s difficult being alone, what are you meant to do on a Friday night, fight over the TV remote and what’s for tea by yourself? If we weren’t making a go of things why invite me round weekend after weekend, get my rose in, cook tea, run me a bath, let me watch my favourite Marvel film, fill my cupboards when I was skint, help me when my kidneys gave in? Kiss me in public. Share his bed…..

Sex has never confused or hurt me in recent years- It’s the one currency with an exchange rate I understand, it’s the inbetweens that fuck me up. He says I’m too much of a good friend and a ‘Laugh’ to hurt me and mess with my head. But he still does.

When I close my eyes I’m in a happy place, driving somewhere aimlessly in a blue van, sweet sweet loving playing on repeat, sweets in the side door, Pepsi max on tap. When I open my eyes, the tears form and I hate myself for the times i was offish or raised my voice.

Jesus Christ- are you reading this? Does someone want to put this wet lettuce down or shoot her slowly with a gun to the head? I sound so whiney I’ve become to get sick of the sound myself.

I feel guilty for the tearful mess I’ve been on and off recently. Awful for calling the same close friends and my little sister up in bits every time he said something else cutting. I avoid writing as I’m sacred what might come out. Then I man the fuck up.

Minding my own business, watching a shit film and un picking my hair extensions I get a Facebook notification, well a news feed announcement. One which might as well have said-‘Hey your ex boyfriend has decided to make himself officially single on Facebook to piss you off and hurt you’

I click on it, I know I shouldn’t. It’s forefront on his profile, it’s the second thing you read. Even when we first met neither of us had public relationship statuses. We both hid them we weren’t like that. And as petty as it seems, it feels like his announcement into the world is there to stab a final nail in my coffin like a 17 year old girl on myspace whose pissed off and uploads a mirror selfie with My Chemical Romance quote.

My friend says he must be chatting to another girl. I know better, I know it’s to prove a point. If not to me, to himself and everyone else. Because if he wasn’t hurting too he wouldn’t care enough to change such things. Someone who lists their home town as ‘Moscow’ having never lived outside of Sedgley is not bothered by facebook based political correctness.

My reaction is exactly what he wanted. I message my friends, I load up the laptop.

It was you who encouraged me to write baby.

And I told you why not to.

But I’m not here to bitch and shame.After all this may as well be my diary of relationship failures. And even the most beautiful and strongest of plants can’t grow and nurture itself in a sea of rocks.

In periods of hurt, all women can be pushed to their limits of insanity. But even I know better than to send everything I was ever given back or to box to the left Beyonce sale…. it would look like a community yard sale for a start and it would be pretty dumb and marginally ungrateful to throw out essential bedroom furniture.

I feel like a failure I feel like I have spent the passed six months trying to prove to everyone that I could do it. That I could be the perfect girl. That I could hold down something real. But if we can’t prove it to ourselves who are we trying to kid?

He said he told me not to fall in love with him, that I should have listened but how can you prevent such a natural human emotion?

In the shadows of loosing myself, I bumped into an old friend in a pub toilet. A simple exchange that would normally have ended there. But I oddly feel like I’ve been given a second chance at something I regretted for most of my early twenties. When I was 18, before I went to University back to the hazy days of the Lite Bar and Blast off I hung out with a group of girls. A group of friends I lost because teenage Laura thought it would be incredibly classy to co off with someone’s ex boyfriend. When you’re that age everything seems massive and I remember feeling like I was going through the worst break up ever. Lambrini in the week nights and pub at the weekend. Giving me a sense of belonging. All lost down to teenage lust.

Being the age that we were it soon became water under the bridge but from that day onward I made the conscientious decision to be a good friend. To be there for people. Bros over hoes. And that’s the Laura I became at University and the person that never stopped nurturing friendship. Sounds silly but a decade later  being in a similar boat again and hanging out with mates I grew estranged from, friends who aren’t tied up by social media, I felt like I’d been saved slightly. Just at the right time.

Though it hurts, though I miss you holding me and fighting to sleep next to the wall. Cuddles under the mauv blanket on the sofa. Fetching the purple cider and wanting to smack you one for scoffing the chocolate you bought me. My conscience from all those years ago would never have been cleared if you hadn’t have decided that I, my warmth, ambition, generosity and love for you wasn’t enough.

I hear the jokes we had in my head, the dog drinking the rose from the bowl in The Cabin, the argument we had over what we would name our first child, the mini cheese burger canapes I said we should serve at our wedding. I feel a sense of loss, my hormones changing, my sweet tooth returning for the first time in years and I wonder what could have been.

But don’t we all do that, destruct slightly as one door closes, thinking about what could have been. Realising what it never could.

I don’t regret falling in love with you.

I don’t regret getting my heart broken.

I don’t regret fighting for it

I don’t regret feeling.

Because we’re only human

I find myself listening to acoustic ‘Bring Me The Horizon’ covers and over emo shit, not being able to concentrate. Wondering how I’m going to get through this. How I’m going to cope without the rock that steadied me,  It comes in waves, I close my eyes.
Hold my breath and let it bury me. I’m not okay, and it’s not alright.
Won’t you drag the lake and bring me home again? Who will make me fight? Drag me out alive?Save me from myself, don’t let me drown.  But I know with time I’ll make my own way as I was never anchored. Only wedged….

 

 

 

‘We were on a break’- processing the inbetweens…

Everyone knows the whole ‘on a break’ scenario was invented by Ross in season 3 of friends.  But it’s slowly become a modern day relationship conundrum used by couples everywhere to see if space and time can indeed mend broken limbs and let the heart grow fonder…

It’s a difficult limbo like phase – the purgatory stint that may just leave to the inevitable stage of heaven or hell. Or for the less dramatic of us out there- headspace and learning to sleep/eat/shop alone.

If anything I should find it super easy, I’m used to being alone, I’ve been single on and off for the vast majority of my adult life and I’m pretty used to ballsing most things up in a mad wave of Pinot Grigio.  But this time it’s different.

The most difficult part of it is the routine. Who am I meant to chat to about my impressive change in bowl movements, the latest developments in the love lives of my friends, or share the excitement of fruitshoots reduced to a quid in the bargain isle at co-op…

Without the daily morning text wakeup call I open my eyes around five but struggle to function until 11 – and who is going to appreciate my new selection of incredibly perfected selfies? Sounds superficial doesn’t it. But my point here is when you’ve spent so much time with someone it’s not the big things you sweat about… it’s the little insignificant things you miss.  Falling asleep to Disney based Netflix and the everlasting fight approaching the Oldbury junction between the same classic garage CD or the mundane background noise of ‘Talk Spot.’ It’s all relevant.

Being my own worst nightmare I’ve never been able to do as I’m told, take advice or ‘play the game’ so when it comes to the text ban, I may as well give up now and join ‘compulsive texters anonymous’

But this was my idea… I was the one who despite a fight from hell and faults on both sides gave the whole ‘nature/nurture’ argument and decided a couple of weeks with no contact could be kill or cure. It’s easier to walk away, upload a new heavily filtered pic to Tinder and cut your losses then stick around and work your ass off but a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do…

The first night was the hardest. What am I meant to do exactly? I can’t get pissed cos then I will either cry, say something I regret or send a stupid message about Donald Trump  and my peace offering was that I wouldn’t go out as much…what does that leave, eating?

Okay I can do this I can go out on a Friday, not get shitfaced, instead get stuffed… I can manage a night without whattsapping photos of my food… totally.

A few mouthfuls of cheese based nachos later and I’m there staring at this plate of deliciousness- breaded halloumi burger with sweet potato fries in one of my favourite places and full after two bites all I can think about is that we’re not meant to eat grilled cheese as it makes him fart…

Dear Christ I’ve become one of those girls I used to want to slap.

Back in my room the waters fucked again and with no legitimate reason to stay up past midnight I put myself to bed.  A night cap would only leave to youtube renditions of Bananarama ‘cruel summer’ and I’m pretty sure the neighbour’s already think I’m nuts.

Waking up at 8am to find 1am texts from unsavoury men asking ‘what u up2’ I want to reply with ‘anything that involves being a million miles away from your saggy nob Weasel tits’  the thought of going even sniffing distance of anyone else right now makes me want to gag and I get this over whelming wakeup call of was I really the kind of girl who’d entertain such things at 1am?

The answer is yes slagbag…

Fuck My Life

The most excitement I used to give my boyfriend at that time in the morning was me not hogging the duvet or snoring attractively into his neck.

I have no idea what to do with my Saturday. The suns shining everyone’s full of high spirits and he’s at the seaside- git.

Why is it I can’t find my over jelly sandal but three of his odd socks manage to find their way into my possession just beautifully…

I stare in the mirror my stomach is a third of the size it was last month but there’s point as I can’t face wearing anything other than pj bottoms or the jeans that are so far in need of a wash they could probably walk. I want to tell myself to man the fuck up, that I am fabulous that I should be going out there skipping into the big wide world like the ‘unreakable Kimmy Schmidt’ minus the bagpack but in reality I’ve become a moping spinster.

Me and a friend of mine used to joke that when girls from school came out of relationships they suddenly became super active on social media, like a fuzzy bear out of hibernation wanting to party every night and engage with people they hadn’t spoken to for about five years. Oh feck have I become like simple Sharron from down the road?

Time to face the day I walk aimlessly up Bearwood high street with my laptop in toe, if I spend any more time in my room I’ll go nuts. What to do, can’t exactly go for brunch for one, ‘oh hi Mr. Plough in Harbourne with your rammed tables of couples and girl pals can I have a stool and smoothie for myself please…no I’m not waiting for anyone, just me…’ I walk round the indoor market and sigh, they don’t have the Bilston market highlight of 10 chicken nuggets for a quid and it’s not nearly so much fun pretending to strop about your surroundings by yourself. I and up in a greasy spoon and order a bacon sandwich which is about as enjoyable as Luke warm tea. When I get to co-op I have to physically make myself put the bottle of wine down as I won’t just have one glass in the sunshine, I’ll drink the bottle, end up half-baked and where’s the fun in getting accidentally pissed by yourself on a Saturday?

I reach for a piece of paper to blot my lipstick having classily run out of tissues and find a piece of paper with someone else’s writing. It makes no sense to me ‘1 HR fire shutter, 3000mm clear width.’

It’s his and has sporting fixtures on the back that I don’t understand but I begin to make sense of the door measurements.

Whenever the fire alarm goes off in our house the fire doors slam shut closing the rooms off to everyone, giving the individual rooms which once interlinked as one breathing space.  Until the alarm system is reset the doors will open but continue to slam themselves shut at the smallest intervention even after the alarm has stopped. Then once the system has had time to reload they’re open again, just the same inside as they were before but without the high pitched background noise.

It can be the same with relationships, there might not be an actual fire, just a bit of smoke, someone burnt the toast that one time too many… but the fire shutters come down in panic and won’t reboot without intervention.

We’re not getting any younger and sometimes the grass isn’t greener on the other side. You can’t stay with someone and try and make a broken jigsaw puzzle fit just because you’re 18months of 30 but you can re-air the house, reboot the system and see if a little time and space can open up the doors once more.

At least that’s the mentality I’m sticking with at the moment….

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Feck I’m a Freelancer’ -Relationships, Recruitment & Realisation

I have a confession to make- a known fact and shameful admission, I hate Sundays.

Always have.

There it is, I said it. I mean they should be the best day of the week right, the day of rest all that. But as a kid they normally comprised of things I didn’t really want to do, going to church, soggy Sunday dinners, crap TV, visiting relatives that didn’t really like me and crumpets with too much butter. As a late teen there was left over homework and working in retail then as an adult the pressure to be doing something rather than staying in bed alone and hungover, dreading Monday.

And bank holiday Sundays are EVEN WORSE as you feel you should be out doing something even better rather than in my case, over sleeping, cooking soggy fajitas and blogging in the spare room with a Luke warm beer.

I thought a relationship would save me from the bitter sensation of Sunday based loneliness but in actual fact it only made it worse. The sadness and almost jealousy as they left in the afternoon knowing they were off to the pub and you were in for the ultimate treat of last night’s casualty on Iplayer and an early bed.  But it shouldn’t be like that you shouldn’t secome to anxiety because you feel you should be out doing stuff when in reality you’d probably get drunk, spend money you don’t have and spend Monday battling through a three day hangover.

God I sound like a right miserable cow, a one woman monologue to a warbling Smith’s Soundtrack whilst world’s smallest violin plays softly in the background…

I mean it’s not that bad, at least taking the ‘freelance’ work option I don’t have to get out of bed when anyone else tells me too (lazy cow) but this ‘freelance’ lifestyle can cause all kinds of worm holes.

Could you imagine if your love life had a CV?

How would it read? Would potential employees with that special vacancy laugh in your face, decide you weren’t the right fit? Tell you to get more experience or keep your CV on file for when the time was right?

What about freelancers and tempers who wanted to move into a more permanent position and build something lasting with the right firm?

As a recruitment consultant I was always taught that it was a big risk to put freelancers or people who liked to jump about a bit forward for permanent roles it raised cautions.

But what happens when you’ve inadvertently been a relationship ‘freelancer’ for most of your adult life – the odd permanent position here and there but a project by project temp bod, something you’d practically made a career out of…

Is it possible to brave the way to a permanent position where you build a future with no breaks or are you infact fucked?

There’s lots of ways of freelancing…Some times it’s just for an odd project, an intense couple of weeks and then you move onto the next. Sometimes it can be for a few months at a time, sometimes you end up in a permanent but casual relationship with little stability treated like a bit of a dogsbody and you know you’re better than it but can’t leave. Other times you’ll stay for a while, go off and come back again. Then occasionally there’s the magic temp to perm where you start off casual knowing it’s not going to last but with hard work they see the potential and decided they can’t function quite the same without you.

It’s the same with relationships.On a permanent contract there are provisos, more terms more conditions but ultimately more stability. You’re never alone and even when you just can’t face it and you want your own space you have to go in, make the effort and make it work.  But it’s a difficult commitment to get into. There’s the references from others and always that one person whose got that dogey pic of you on social media to show you up. Then there’s the inbetween guys putting in their two pennies, the  recruitment consultants and  stuffy Moira from HR- outside influences who put in their opinion on the hiring. The recruiter for their own self gain like the jealous friend or fat girl in the friend zone. The HR the policy givers, like the family members who watch the company nurture and grow and take the flack when things don’t quite work out- it’s all relevant.

With permanent fixtures comes holiday pay, bonuses and the occasional treat for good behaviour, you get sick leave. They can’t just walk away from you and chuck you when you’re ill, stressed or depressed as much as they might want to , because they have to stick by you and support you, give you a break, cut you some slack and be there where they can as a duty of care. On a freelance contract that doesn’t apply even after four months of intense giving and late nights they can walk away from you and then bitch about you down the pub on a friday night about how you were a pain in the arse who wore too many short skirts.

Occasionally you’ll get that magic temp to perm contract and it’s cut short when the above happens. Or you yourself decide it’s not right. Too many people stay in shit jobs for years upon years, miserable every day or just mediocrely content because it’s convenient but too scared to be unemployed or worse down the job centre (internet dating) and then they jump into the first one that comes along willing to take them as they’re too scared to be without.

It’s far braver and stronger and right in the long run to walk away from something after the four month probationary period then to stick it out and make things worse for yourself. Doesn’t stop it from sucking like hell though.

The sense of failure, you really thought this was going to be the one this time, you’d told everyone about it, everyone was gunning for you, even your bloody gran was proud. To begin with you’re full of excited posts on facebook, then comes the odd rant, then it all starts to dwindle and you delete your employment status from your settings in the hope no one will notice or catch on to all the free time you suddenly have. Just like admitting defeat with a relationship.

Life as a freelancer , the self employed, lone worker was not something I ever intended for myself, just something I fell into and have managed to make work for myself. I just wish I could say the same about my love life…. because the link is uncanny.

I’d forgotten that sad sensation where you feel so lonely, like you can’t breathe, panicking when your phone goes off and not being able to face your room because it lingers of them. Even your bed has their imprint. The trail of their odd socks and empty cider cans mixes with the unwashed plates, old magazines and empty wine bottles to the point you just can’t face any of it. The mould settles inside a Cavern Club Liverpool mug in the windowsill and you’re worried the decay is two deep to save it.

But you try your best and attempt it anyway because you know that one day when you least expected it the right opportunity will come along and that person will choose you to fill their permanent opportunity.

And when that comes along, great but it still won’t stop you from hating sundays…

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘I feel fantastic, bombastic ecstatically astounded’ -From single sleepovers to cider can covered side tables and scratchings on the pillow…

There’s that old saying that when you stop looking for something that’s when it happens. But in the modern day dating farse I’d decided that theory was about as out of date as adding someone on ‘MySpace’

I mean dating has become like shopping now right? Want a new dress go to TopShop, phone contract ends, take it to O2 for an upgrade, lust fizzles out, download Tinder and get yourself a new side piece…

This was the tragic world I had found myself in but also one I had become comfortable with. Dating, I was an old hand at, accidental one night stands- a semi pro, the inbetween stages of duvet hogging, fighting over the radio station and waking up to find half a pork scratching on your pillow is uncharted territory, a land I left behind with my Blackberry Curve and young persons rail card.

I’d become to used to spending my days screenshotting unsavoury internet dating messages to friends in the same boat and preparing for dates with with men who made my heart jump into my mouth but only wanted one thing that I’d forgotten the basics of being around another.

I just knew, high heels, good pants red lips, drunk banter.

Weekends that I spent attempting to sleep through my hangovers and cushion my loneliness with hair of the dog and empty promises.

Nights where I could look a million dollars at 9 and feel like a creased fiver in the back pocket of an old pair of jeans by midnight.

Everyone has goals, dreams endings but mine were always solo ones. Live here, do that, work there, look like this, publish book, rise up the ladder.

I used to think 28 was my cut of point that if I hadn’t found someone by then I’d be left on the shelf, alone forever. But as I got older the whole married with 2.4 kids ‘happy ending’ I began to fear more than I craved. I can feel myself getting older, it takes me longer to get up hills, my skin wrinkles in new places, my hips hurt in compromising positions…and I genuinely couldn’t (still can’t) imagine coughing out a kid until at least 35.  It’s like I’ve wasted five years and I’m desperately trying to claw them all back.

And then it happens. Out of nowhere you meet someone organically, a normal person who can fix things and shit and you go into complete and utter panic mode.

OMG I’VE WOKEN UP NEXT TO THEM AGAIN AND I’M NOT TRYING TO SCRAMBLE FOR THE PANTS, THEY’VE SEEN ME WITHOUT MAKE UP AND HALF A HAIR EXTENSION FALLING OUT AND I STILL DON’T WANT THEM TO LEAVE ARGGGGHHHH.

I fought it as hard as I could. This wasn’t my plan, my room is enough of a shanty town as it is without half drunk cans of cider and packets of stale pork scratchings loitering around. I wanted to move back to London, I wanted to work for Empire Magazine (Don’t we all) and now my accents gone to shit, I listen to old school garage in a van, have a handbag full of those sauce samples you get in restaurants (because someone likes to get their money’s worth) leading to exploding mayo in my handbag and I don’t like waking up on a Sunday alone.

But I’m the happiest I’ve been in a long time and it scares me and it hasn’t been easy. The one thing I forgot/ didn’t give people enough credit for is that being with another is TOUGH it can be mega chill and before you know it you’re falling out over Benedict sodding Cumberbatch.

I remember this faux feeling it happened in 2010 I didn’t write for months filled with young loves bliss and then fell flat on my ass bitter, heartbroken and en route to a long term relationship with a bottle of White Zinfandel.

But we shouldn’t let the past define us or influence new decisions. It’s hard to trust something when you’ve been hurt. Even more so when you’ve both been hurt. When their wounds are still raw and you find yourself holding them tight into your chest hoping to suck away the pain you know might very well be still there somewhere.

He asks why I haven’t written for a while, that his black country antics would make my blogging go viral. And I don’t doubt that the amusing stories would , but this is the thing , it’s difficult to date a writer, we can turn the smallest hiccup into a screenplay , a entire fart into a monologue and the tiniest of gestures can come accompanied with it’s own orchestral score.

But like all things that define us it becomes impossible to give up, I tried but it was like a cloud following me like trying to hold in a wee on the train, or looking up at the ceiling to prevent you from crying- It’s going to come gushing out eventually not matter how hard you try.

All I can say in regards to this catalogue of documented mishaps is is- ‘These are just ghosts that broke my heart before I met you, these are just ghosts that broke my heart before I met you….’

The sentiment worries me but I guess we all half to grow up and leave the ghosts to rest….

 

 

 

The Hounds of Love are Haunting me- I’ve always been a coward…

Every had those days where nothing seems to work? You try and give yourself Taylor Swift style effortless curls but end up looking like blow-dried sheep or attempt to give yourself killer smoky eyes to rival a catwalk model but instead look like a Soho drag queen?

Some moments are just set out to be disastrous from the beginning and there is nothing you can do to change the inevitable .

Everybody has those moments, those fantasies when they envisage bumping into a former lover and imagine what it will be like. They’ll be strutting along, long legged and high heel clad, being busy and important holding the hand of an attractive young gent or in a gaggle of girls. They’ll smile and nod or even say hello but you’ll carry on walking because you are too busy, important and caught up in the dizzy haze of your own self importance to so much as flutter an eyelash.

A stone or so over weight. Dashing for the peak hour train to Birmingham New Street with shit make up and being refused entry because you tried to pull off an off peak (with rail card despite being 3years too old for the 16-25) is not one of them.

It was Tuesday evening , I’d been working in the city for most of the day and was en route to a house viewing at the other end. I foolishly forgot to process the odds of getting on a peak time train with such a ticket and failed at the gate so attempted the back route. On my approach back that’s when I saw him. The original Casanova stood there looking like he still did a decade previously albeit in need of a haircut and I stare at him.

I bit my lip. He stares blankly ahead as if he hasn’t noticed me when we know full well that he bloody well has. Now this would have been fine if in my spaz of an ordeal I hadn’t had to go back the barriers and through again to the other side of the station sandwiched like a sardine en route the long ass stopping train to brum , with no seat, no plug socket 1% battery and no longer the stomach muscles to allow me to sit cross legged.

He of course is sat in first class, power, water and wi fi clad while I sit and slum it. When our eyes meet again he continues to ignore me. It’s a sad state of affairs and though I am over him and was so many years previously I begin to cry. Only for all of two seconds mind you. A sock tear not a phwoar marry me and have my babies kind of tear.

I make myself a little pit in the adjoining carriage. All I have to keep me going the duration of the extra long 2.5hour journey is a wifi-less lap top on borrowed battery time, a miniature bottle of wine (one of those one glass jobs) with no beaker and half a packet of Sainsbury picnic eggs.

My life is a sorry state of affairs.

Earlier that day I’d felt the happiest I had in a long time I was boss babing it , going places, had attending an epic film screening, had a great brainstorming sesh, caught up with some friends and seeing the nicest man I had in like forever – he even buys me socks and sorts out my mates double socket issues 😉

*vomtastic I know*

But now I find myself having to beg someone for a plug, cancel said house viewing and cry to him down the phone about how someone my mother used to refer to as ‘Captain Pugwah’ has rubbed me up the wrong way.

He tells me to calm down, that everything will be okay and not to let this spoil my lovely productive day. I don’t know how to take this, I am not used to this kind of treatment, the most the original cassonova would have done in this situation would have been to ignore my call and give me a lift back to his if I offered him a blow job then make me get the bus home in the morning.

I don’t know why it still bothers me, it shouldn’t, I should laughed it off but the truth is I’m still hurting for her.

My former self.

I really left her in a bad way. Lead her astray and let her do things she shouldn’t have.

Let her be too easy, too melodramatic too fond of him.

We haven’t clapped eyes on each other for almost three years. Good Friday, bleach blond , florescent pink dress, walthemstow, Blackberry phone. That ended in tears too.

I don’t think I’m actually upset, there’s nothing to be upset about it’s just an unexpected sense of shock having managed to never bump into him in the city for this length of time and in my head I thought it would be like something out of the Dido ‘white flag’ video in a bar looking nice. Not squished below deck on a suitcase while he warms  his arse in first class. It’s like the ‘London Midland train’s’ answer to that scene in Bridget Jones the edge of reason.

Spotify shuffles to Gwen Stefani ‘Used to love you.’ A song I have never heard before but it goes ‘I don’t know why I cry but I think It’s cos I realised for the first time that I hated you that I used to love you…’ – apt.

What have a learned in the 12 years since we first met?

How to be a woman.

And the women I want to be would never end up gittering over him whilst balancing her arse on the hairdryer poking her from inside the suitcase and necking that cup of wine. Instead it stays in the hand bag until she can at least sit down and she uses her coat to make a nest to avoid getting  hair implement induced piles.

The younger woman/older girl in me is so flippant  I fear she will hold me back from happiness and stop me from recognising the love that’s there. Because I push. I push push people away or suffocate them until they can’t breathe we all have our daemons and mine are beginning to work their way out slowly and delicately before I drown with them.

I’ve found something real, something that albeit not what I set out for  can take the drama, take the crazy and grow along with it throughout the trials and tribulations that the hounds of love bring.

At least I think so, if not at least it’s been fun and I learnt how to cook a curry.

The train leaves Coventry and is soon approaching Birmingham International. By this point I have moved on from the trav fest and find myself snotting out load to the latest James Corden car pool Karaoke with Chris Martin.

I look beyond attractive.

I’m so drawn in by the lol factor that I don’t notice anyone around me.

That is until someone comes out the toilet. It’s him we exchange stares we can’t not he’s inches away from me clutching a marks and sparks bag and I’ve just inadvertently heard him piss.

He blanks me it’s for the best.

I begin to think of what I have now, what I’ve learnt now and I panic *don’t fuck this up*

When I was a child: Running in the night, Afraid of what might be Hiding in the dark,
Hiding in the street, And of what was following me… Now hounds of love are hunting.
I’ve always been a coward, And I don’t know what’s good for me. Here I go! It’s coming for me through the trees. Help me, someone! Help me, please…

Oh man up, you’ve discovered the last line of a dying breed – the man before tinder, the land that time forgot, the ‘good catholic boy’ who genuinely cares and isn’t about to lynch you for chopping off your hair and wearing a ‘This is what a feminist looks like t-shirt.’

‘I don’t know what’s good for me, I don’t know what’s good for me….’

So naturally I fight it like the inner teenage dirtbag that I am I put up a big fat blockade to rival the Berlin wall and sit on top of it.

Naturally it breaks down and east and west collide.

That was a month ago….

 

‘Are we out of the woods yet?’chardonnay, sharks and small town mentality

It’s January,  season of the detox, where everyone got a bit too merry over Christmas (because half the population started on the mince pies, mulled wine and Cliff’s carols on November 30th) and the vast majority of your Facebook newsfeed is filled with gym selfies or people trying to flog you weight loss shakes.

Happy 2016 everyone.

You go with it, and attempt to get in the ‘New Year new me’ mode whilst secretly shovelling down the left over festive cheese platter and lying to yourself on ‘My Fitness Pal’

But there is progress to be made… no one wants to carry their snapchat double chin onto February and that extra Baylies or seven is beginning to play havoc with your waistline.  And I my friends am in the same boat.

I found a photo of myself when I was 22, necking a bottle of champagne but still looking like a mean lean blond pulling machine. I could do it back then, Barcardi breezer for breakfast the nights that turned into days and still look fab. I remember feeling fat in that photo but I was at my peak, my body was smaller than my legs- that never happens. Now a fortnight of festive frolics and I’m round enough to roll.

So I made the decision to  eat properly and cut back on the wine for a bit. A few months without drunk dialing ex flings and hugging the toilet seat might very well be a magical experience.

Put the problem with cutting back on the pop is,  the cloudy judgement that once filled the pub as you hit your fourth glass of pinot disappears and you begin to see the human race for what they truly are- a bunch of massive cunts… well not all but most.

I’ve spent a lot of time in small communities and it always ends in tears – village mentality and that but my spell in London broke that. You could go in the same pub every week for a year and still no one would know your name and it didn’t matter if it did.

I’ve always found my home town to be a bit of an odd place, the kind you could weave into some kind of twisted fairytale with the rumple Stiltkins, ugly sisters and little pigs. There’s a reason why I once attempted to retell my teens as ‘Little Red Ridinghood’ – the whole journeys through the woods. Fairytales taught us that huts surrounded by trees were always bad news, remember what happened to Hansel and Gretel?

The thing with small knit communities is that they make it their calling to know everyone’s business, you see it in small pubs everywhere. I remember when I worked in one of the pubs at uni, the locals all had their set seat and god forbid someone else sit in it. They had their set drink, their set routine and their set of standard responses and small talk for those who they didn’t know.

Last night my stomach was making noises I never knew it could- sod top shelf weightloss products, if you want to shred the entirety of your insides get your self some sugar free jelly teddies  and stock up on the Andrex. But after my tummy had stopped singing to the dog I decided I was ready to venture into the outside world. I had afteral stayed in pretty much all week, not been at the wine and told my glowing skin made me look like a different person- swoon 😉

I’d met someone before Christmas. Completely innocently and nothing had happened.  He’d treated me to his left over Burger King Whopper after a Sunday in the pub (oh the glamour) and got me a taxi home like a true gent. But we’d stayed in touch cos he was intelligent and kinda nice.

He isn’t my type and  I promised myself I wouldn’t so much as sniff a man unless they happened to be Tom Hiddleston or at least related to Benedict Cumberbatch but we get on like a house on fire. He gets me and treats me with the respect that no man ever has before, I couldn’t tell you the last time I shared a bed with someone and simply spooned but that’s how it is because  he’s respectful and I’m confused, but its kinda cool.

And when things are kinda cool they grow on you. It’s nice when someone texts you from the other side of the pub to say your hair looks lovely and it’s even better when they take interest in you rather than your tits.

That is all until one of the locals gets rat arsed, slightly jealous and tells  you to back the fuck away from ‘their mate’ who you haven’t even so much as snogged properly yet.

He’s there giving me all this gip about how I’m an evil man eating person (true but he has no grounds to know that) that everyone in the pub hates me and I need to leave and never come back – erm pipe down Peggy, since when were your the landlord?

And I’m stood there thinking jesus wept.

I’ve never so much as sniffed a man in this little hut since 18 I’ve come here and not copped off with anyone. Simply drank wine and sang along to the juke box.  Do I have some secret twin whose been having it off with half the middle aged punters mid whitney medley behind my back?

To make matters worse I do not even know this man’s name but he’s there  yelling at me and people get involved and he tells said man when he holds me that ‘he’s made his decision’ if he leaves with me and I’m like is this real or some kind of jager infused dream?

‘Are we out of the woods yet, are we out of the woods yet, are we out of the woods, are we in the clear yet, in the clear yet, in the clear then good’

Why do people have so much interest in everyone’s business when it’s complete innocent and undeveloped when no ones about to get hurt , they’re doing what people do.

I’m upset that he doesn’t stick up for me but he’s clearly veiled with the shock of confrontation. As I was to a certain extent.

We talk on the phone as I make a cup of tea (none shot faced Laura is capable of making a mean mug of caffeine free builders) He tells me he’s never asked me about my past because he doesn’t want to know about it, that’s not what matters. And i’m like, I’ve got a fucking encarta of a backstory but none of which is known by or involves any of the people who made a made jump at me this evening.

It’s a strange environment where only the bar staff ever see the truth and they deserve a medal- I remember working in a bar and seeing the same things like witnessing animals in the zoo.

Am I really that dislikeable at first glance? When people meet me what do they see?

The intelligent, creative and caring woman I want to be?

Or a drunk selfish man eater?

Because the later has never been me (well apart from the drunk bit) everyone can make up their own fairytales, porky pies and takes on reality.

Anyone can get jealous by someone else’s potential happiness and create a back story to justify it.

But that my friends will never be me…

And I won’t be put off by something because others want to put in their two penneth. I’m en route to being healthy, fit, fabulous and mentally at one and no one will stand in the way of that no matter what fables they want to tell.

New year no me?

No, new year same, just better, self assured and reassured me!

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Somewhere in my memory’- The LPJ Christmas Special

It’s that time of year again, one week until Christmas. The most magical sodding time of the year.

Sunday 29th  November and it had already started, one over enthusiastic wise crack uploads a picture of their perfect dilapidated Christmas scene and the whole off facebook starts having a tree-off.

The ‘most wonderful time of the year’ can be remarkably shit when you’re miserable. I can see it already, engagements, mulberry handbags, tacky Pandora charms and hash tags of lucky girl!

The most lucky girl I’ll be this year is if I manage to wake up on Christmas day hangover free without managing to turn festivities into the East Enders Christmas special.

Some years I’ve been known to actively wrap presents up as last minute as ten minutes before Christmas lunch- I kid myself that it’s to make the day ‘ EXTRA MAGICAL’ but it’s actually just because I’m an awful human being.

Is it possible to grow out of Christmas?

Sod Mariah, see ya later Cliff, Steven go shake somewhere else- I’m listening to Blink 182 like the angsty khol pencilled teen who can’t be arsed to be pleasant and intends to spend most of Boxing Day with their earphones plugged in listening to the very concise list of CDs of the grunge/metal/pop punk genre that had been handed over to their family in mid November.

It’s weird not having CDs for Christmas anymore. Do you remember the time before you tube? The excitement of pulling the plastic casing off and leafing through the inlay of the latest Sum41 album. Hours spent browsing in Virgin megastores and the pee inducing excitement of  a NuMetal album that was never going to do very well in tesco being reduced to £5.99. I used to buy some CDs twice just because they had limited edition extras- fuck knows what i’m going to do with three copies of HIM’s greatest hits 😉

But that Christmas magic- when you’re too old for santa clause .and to tragic to wear reindeer patterned jumpers with another, where is it?

‘I believe that children are the future, love them well and let them lead the way, show them all the beauty that posses in side, give them a sense of pride, to make it easier, let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be…’

I hate to say it but they really do help. I was hungover to fuck on sunday afternoon, attempting to sleep off a mixture of illness and weekend of debauchery inbetween texting a man who probably doesn’t deserve my time ,I felt a tap at the door and this little blond head crawls through into the pit of doom that is my floordrobe.

There is only one boy who can get me out of my bed, he is fourteen months old and he is my nephew.

I pick him up and pull him onto my bed as aunty Laura has six days worth of lindt advent chocolate to share… church carol concerts, family traditions and the such like stopped meaning anything to me, I genuinely didn’t care any more because all Christmas reminded me of was arguments and angst, being too old and miserable to give a shit.

But that little face, it’s hard to describe it’s like okay dude I don’t want you to know me as the miserable prick who sits grimacing in the corner.

And so I do it for him.

So When I think of Christmas now what do I think of?

Dudely ironically- i remember many a christmas eve or two / the days leading up to it being around that market and now ironically managed to do all my shopping on that little high street (enjoy guys 😉 ha)

But the good times,

I remember Wham’s last Christmas, the scent of oranges, a plastic school, Barbie pink presents that could never be beat, how many years can you get the three in 1 Barbie house, horse and carriage AND fairy princess sindy? huh? sod knows where that bitch is now…

I remember Mr Frosty, Beethoven, The Snowman. Hot Blackcurrant and Home Alone with my brother.

Come and Join the celebration with the carol singers and the 80s delight that was Santa Clause the movie.

University christmas evenings, dancing dressed as elves to shaking stevens as fake snow filled the SU, Christmas day evening at friends, Clifton boxing days.

It’s not that bad really.

Even when circumstances change and traditions stop because friends stop speaking and families change- it’s not really the be all and end all- you make new ones , half a bottle of rose and Mariah Carey’s Christmas can bring the best out of anyone 😉

Or so I tell myself….

I think I feel more lost this year than I ever did. Two years to thrity and not a sodding clue- but does it really matter, really?

Me and my sister still get over excited about watching the baby video of me in 1998 , a toddler wobbling along to Wham’s last Christmas, fallen over the dog and being asked ‘what do you say on the telephone Laura?’

If only I’d been taught what not to say on the telephone 😉

I’m still a miserable git though Waitrose today was like some kind of new found warzone.

Middle class terror as nan vs parsnip battling the barbor clad masses picking up vegetables off the floor as all hell breaks loose in the under stocked fruit and veg Isle- luckily a special delivery of fresh produce was shipped in and no pensioners were maimed in this mornings Penn based chaos.

Will I ever find the day when I become one of those women? Hosting family dinner for a brood of grown up children and grandkids?

I’ll probably be dead by then but the thought would be nice. I said Bridget Jones is on tonight , she said ‘I’ve never seen it’ I said well it’s pretty much like living with me, she responded with , ‘Oh I won’t bother then’

Hashtag glamorama

One thing I did enjoy as a young adult at christmas was the merry xmas text messages.

They don’t happen any more

so if you’re feeling old school please do send an SMS HA.

My bottom lip throbs, I am now at the age when stress combined with more than one week night out equals ulcers and a pout jordon would pay good money for but you know what it’s okay… my bed may be empty but it’s warm. My bank account may be in debt but I live at home so I’m not about to starve and the tv may be shit but the radio times now comes complete with Netflix and Amazon Prime recommendations (wonder how much they payed for that / for Bill Murry to sell out and do a Christmas prime show- would rather watch groundhog day babes) – ‘Bill Murry is a v.good actor’ #youknowwhoyouare xx

It can’t be that bad tomorrow right? I remember when the LPJ Christmas blog based specials were filled with debauchery and scandal. This blog was always a Christmas story, and one that started with the days leading up to the big day xmas 2009. But please excuse me if this years is spent with pjs, tea and chocolate reindeer (I’m so past it I didn’t even realise xmas blast off was on) maybe I’m losing my marbles, like the cat we’ve had since I was in year seven who has lost her bearings and requires a litter tray like a geriatric as she can’t go outside. Or maybe I am just mellowing like a good cheese, content with being the acquired taste of a stinky old and blue bree rather than the popular young and palatable babybel. Or maybe I just don’y give monkeys anymore but still want to make a good time of it for everyone even if I have gone from succulent grape to brandy soaked raison.

So I light my festive themed candle and raise a mug of fizz,

Because we all have to grow up one day
x

But now old friends are acting strange

They shake their heads, they say I’ve changed
Well something’s lost, but something’s gained
In living every day

I’ve looked at life from both sides now
From win and lose and still somehow
It’s life’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know life at all

Isn’t it Ironic- Don’t you think?- 28 and counting..

My name is Laura Patricia Jones- I am 28 years one month and 12 days old i popped gluten free, low lactose pizza in the oven and I still managed to get it out char grilled, in fact my cooking was so impressive even the fire alarm cheered me on.

I have had a lot of miniature relationships since but have been officially single since June 2010 and have gone from eight years in the dizzy heights of London to living back in my room, in the family home where I was born, with my retired and ever so tiring grandmamar- there is a sitcom there if ever there was right?

But I’ve been trying so bloody hard to be a normal human – i’ve even googled ‘how to function at 28’ and no luck…

I have inadvertently become one of those people I used to hate-the kind that goes home and is always okay because there is always cheese in the fridge and  chips in the freezer so they will never go hungry – I always hated those people, bacon is expensive and that.

I have become tiresome and have no remorse for my actions as I lived away for like ever and this is my grown up gap year *tells herself*

Shit I need to move out before I’m 30- I will move out before I’m 30…

But I work, dear god I work… I own my own buisness, am soon to set up my own office space yet am still judged- oh the lols.

This evening I walked down the road at half ten looking and acting like a seventeen year old parker hoody up, cowboy boots striding down the road humming along to Alanis Morrisette’s ‘Ironic’  There is half a bottle of cheap blossom hill wine in my bag which is probably going fizzy and I have no potential suitors in my phone book.

Life is pretty crap.

I have got to that age where now back in the tiniest of towns the only men I meet are damaged goods on the rebound or already have about three kids- not something I’m averse to  but a situation that is alien to me.

I have come to the conclusion that I will never be a mother, I will be the aunty who gives the cuddles, the sort of aunty whose in the front row at the school nativity and the mommy’s friend who takes you to Macdonalds and lets you have a McFlurry. Because I love kids , I’m good with them, I want to be around when my friends have them, but I am in no shape or form ever ready to have my own.

I thought I was – from my first tiny tears doll to taking care of my baby sister, but as I’ve aged I’ve discovered that perhaps that path was never for me. It’s sort of my own punishment , I swear my body is so fertile it could look at a man and be pregnant with triplets.

But then said body always rejects said responsibility and can never carry it through , It’s almost like my uterus is like noooo this is Big Brother you are now evicted from the house!

I want to be a mother- one day, desperately, it’s all I ever wanted but right now I know it’s all I will  never be.

Anyway the less said about said incidents the better.

But what’s a girl to do?

I sodding hate Christmas as am eternally miserable, alone and married to a glass of wine who is incredibly naughty and simply will not fill itself!

I feel like I have been writing this post every year on repeat for the past five years and what does it say?

I’m still here and I’m still going.

Whether I be writing it from Surrey, Fulham, Islington, Clapham, Wandsworth or Sedgley – the girls still got gip!

Oh god the wine has run out- THE WINE HAS RUN OUT (there was only a crap cheap bottle and I am no longer in London so can’t run across the street for a bottle of cat piss)

Unfortunately I am also at the age when people like to judge – you know deciding your the dinner table joke rather than the evening entertainment.

The moment when your cheerleaders become your trolls is a difficult one for every creative ever but it happens because in the creative process it takes a long time to find yourself and by the time you do you may find you were never the person you set out to be and those around you weren’t either.

However Alanis Morissette will always stay true to the  soul , from the moment I spent my 16th birthday money on the Jagged Little Pill album I never looked back…