Who needs matching socks?

Time can have a damaging affect on a couple. Not necessarily because of the two involved, but because of what goes on around them.

Time can steal away what makes you you.

* * *

This past year and a half has proved to be more than challenging for me and le man. With life throwing more than our fair share of rubbish at us, we’ve found ourselves having to deal with issues that older couples than us would struggle with. We’ve not been able to catch a break, with one thing after another hurling itself at us, trying with all its might to batter down the barricade we had built up around us.

And for a while, we’ve been in a state of giving up. We surrendered to the trials of Time and stood, mouths open in vague shock, limbs frozen in an ice block of stone, while bits of ourselves were chipped away in the onslaught.

The problem was not the things we had to face. We faced them with bravado and gumption, and came out the other side changed – older, wiser. In that respect, we were a strong couple. A triumphant couple, standing the test of Time.

But it’s not just about longevity in a relationship. Our real problem has emerged in the aftermath: over Time, we lost the little bits that made us the individuals we fell in love with in the first place.

Le man stopped playing the games he loved, and watching the things he enjoyed. He stopped drinking in the pub with his friends and getting Chinese take-out. He stopped surprising people with visits and laughter, and stopped driving any place new to look at the stars.

I stopped spending time with friends, and writing and reading in the sun. I stopped staying up late, talking until the early hours about increasingly obscure topics. I stopped singing in choirs and dancing in thunder storms.

Now neither one of us are ourselves, and as a result, we have stopped being US. 

We are stuck in a state of limbo, loving and not knowing each other. We are lashing out and saying hurtful things…ultimately I think, because we miss each other. These past few days have been full of conversations, of letters written to each other by shaking hand, of tentative promises filled with hope, and embraces by starlight that are slowly knitting us back together.

It is so easy to be swallowed up by time, to allow your own individuality to disappear amongst the beauty and intricacies of you as part of a couple. It is easy to stop being a me and become  a you and me. It is what drives a wedge between people, what seeps into the purity of love and poisons happiness with resentment. When you are faced with it, it is a Mount Everest, it is Dante’s trip through Hell and back, it is a deep sea dive with no oxygen to buoy you to the surface. But in reality, it is simple.

Stop tip-toeing around the relationship. If you aren’t working as a unit, maybe that’s because neither of you are working as a singularity. Don’t walk away from the love, just get out there. Go and find out who you are.

And then run back to the one you love to tell them all about it and share that new nugget of you with them.

You don’t have to be identical in order to work. Two mismatched socks work just as well as matching – and in fact, they make a much more interesting statement.

So this coming week, I am going to share a cocktail with my best friend and sister. I am going to dance in any storm that comes my way. I am going to sing along with the radio in the morning. And then I am going to run into the arms of the man I love to tell him all about it, and laugh until the early hours of the morning.

Hell, I might even wear a funky hat. Just to lighten the mood.

Hell, I might even wear a funky hat. Just to lighten the mood.

* * *

Time can have a damaging affect on a couple. But a couple? A couple can fight back and heal.

A couple can become reborn.

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Universe – go get a haircut. Get out of the house for a bit.

space

There are times when you are stuck in a kind of limbo. You aren’t quite sure what decision you’re going to make. You may be swaying towards option A one moment, before quite decidedly stepping in the direction of option B the next.

I hate times like this. Equally though, they very rarely happen to me. It’s odd for me to be unsure about something, especially feelings. Usually, I know myself pretty well. I know what my reaction is and what it means, and I move on. Right now though, I am having a whole lot of reactions all at once, and none of them seem to be particularly appealing, or in fact, very correct.

Tonight however, it seems that there are forces much greater than me playing a part, and I am feeling very small.

You know the kind of things I mean: a book falling open to a specific page; a line in a film having a special meaning; circumstances falling together so you are alone in a car with the person that you need advice from most before tomorrow comes; and a song on the radio, playing insistently, as if screaming at you ‘Make THIS choice, don’t be a fool.’

Which is great, and all. All the signs from the universe are pointing in a positive direction.

Still.

I’d quite like the opportunity to search myself for a while longer. I would quite like the ability to make my own decision, without everything around me trying to make it for me. I’d quite like to be left alone that little bit longer, to be allowed to feel indecisive for one more minute.

So Universe, thank you and everything. But please, I am asking for just a bit of time.

Just. One. More. Minute.

sign

Mowing the lawn has never felt so bad.

lawn

Today, whilst I was sitting in the garden, minding my own business in the sunshine, my next door neighbour began to mow her lawn.

Usually, this would not bother me. In fact, usually it wouldn’t even register on my radar.

But today it did.

Her mowing the lawn startled every living creature that had been settled in her garden. Suddenly I was surrounded by flies and bugs and tiny blades of grass, all seeking refuge from the gardener. The sound of the mower ripped through the air and even birds fluttered discontentedly from her garden into mine.

Now, I am NOT a nature girl. Not a single particle in me likes nature (apologies for nature lovers), so being instantaneously inundated with every creepy crawly thing with wings from within a ten meter radius was NOT ok with me.

So I scurried back inside, into my beautiful brick cage.

As I watched the swirling mass of chaos flying over the fence from next door, I got to thinking. This mower effect seems to be the perfect metaphor to describe ME recently. I may be doing something I see as harmless, but am I ever fully aware of the ripple effect I’m having on those around me?

At the moment, I am trying to work my way through a treacle-y sludge of stuff, in order to better myself and improve my life. But as I claw my way through this mess, have I stopped to consider what it’s doing to others around me? To people I love? To the one person I am trying to make peace with?

I process and react and make a change, and all because I think it’s going to help. But that’s methat’s my opinion. I can’t speak for anyone else and would be arrogant to assume I can.

The problem is, that for right now I haven’t figured out any other way to move past this. I have to take time for me and do things for me, because I haven’t done so in such a long time that’s it’s done more harm than good.

I’m just not sure I’m entirely comfortable with Lawnmower Me plowing through this mess, throwing all of my unwanted grass and unwelcome bugs over the fence in the meantime.

But as for now, I have no other choice. So whack on some bug spray and breathe through your nose. I’m on the grassy war path.

Close-up mowing the front lawn with houses in the background

Leave, don’t leave

leave

Soon, you will leave.

I think that is partly why I am so happy. It will be a release, a small window of time in which I can fly free, soar through space: be a comet burning and bright.

I need you gone. When I walk through the house, I walk through filtered memories, over the stain of tears on the carpet, past that place where love became rage so quickly.

Numbness consumes me. When we touch, my fingertips bounce off of you as though made of rubber. They feel nothing and leave no sensation behind. You ask me if I love you and my tongue swells up, filling my mouth, giving you an answer of silence even though inside I am screaming at you: YES.

Night brings with it the heaviness of the day, the gripes we ignored until they all come pouring out under the stars. Accusations and resentment, a fortress of destruction. We are two stick figures, waving swords haphazardly on the battlefield, hoping we hurt the other. Praying we don’t.

I need you gone.

Leave.

Don’t leave.

This morning you cradled me in your arms. I didn’t pull away when you held my hand, stroked my back, soothed me. You seemed cautious, as if expecting me to leap from you like a startled deer.

I didn’t move, but I did come closer, atom by atom. It was safe electricity, a shadow of the untamed lightning that used to flash between us. The crackle and fizz was familiar, still.

Seconds ticked by and we still didn’t move. You looked at me and I at you and we breathed each other in. We were so close in that moment, closer than we had been in eons. It was a closeness that overrode the hurtful shouts and apologetic tears.

We let no darkness in for the rest of that day. We laughed and baked and carried out chores as if nothing was about to happen. I walked you to the bus stop and kissed you goodbye, telling you this would be good for us. Telling you not to be silly, we need this. I need this.

I watched as you waved from the window, the bus drawing further and further away. Your face became a pale dot in the distance as you mouthed at me the words: ‘I love you.’

I didn’t move. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t think.

Pain came rushing in where once the numbness had been, but this pain was different. This was my own pain, my guilt, my regret, my solitude. My wish that I could be someone different, do something other than push you away.

Leave. Don’t leave.

Come back.

dont leave

Making it to my Friday

Today is my New Start Day. I have been caught up in the excitement of packing, of coming home, of my relationship, of my mum’s ridiculously good food…and I can tell. No one needs to say it out loud because I know. I’m starting to look that bit softer around the edges.

I got called ‘jolly’ the other day. Heartbreaking.

Now, I’m not saying this because I’m one of those people obsessed with appearance. I’m saying this because I’m one of those people who believes you should feel good about yourself. You shouldn’t beat yourself up over eating food you want to eat (I couldn’t survive without my fix of chocolate), but equally, if you start to dislike your reflection, you should have the belief in yourself to change.

Well, ME, I believe in you!

…How corny.

Corny is good though, in this case. Corny gets me out of bed of a morning and makes me smile during the day. I can’t get enough of corny. It is corny that helps me say ‘I will see you in moderation, cake. I will schedule you in on wednesday, just after tea.’

So instead of labelling myself as being on a ‘diet’, I’ve decided I’m on my New York Plan of Greatness. I am visiting the Big Apple at the end of the summer, something I’ve always wanted to do, and when I go there, I want to take countless photos of myself with my family, all of us feeling glorious all over the city.

I do love this feeling on a Monday. The feeling of starting fresh, of setting goals. Of having a Friday to make it to.

Well, my Friday is New York.

What’s your Friday?

Motorbikes, side-cars, and a passing wave to the common bunny

When the time comes, I will do my mid-life crisis backwards.

Instead of striving to be younger, I will revel in my old age to come.

I will ride around the countryside in a side-car, with a satin scarf tied around my head, and my wrinkled, behatted man a beacon of smiles beside me.

I have a story for you. One that begins and ends in the same place.

I think it’s strange the power PLACE has over us.

There are some places I adore. They are filled with ghosts of people, and shadows of smiles, and aromas of foods that I love. They are like those red pins you stick in a map, giving them that magnetic pull, that draws you back again and again. Sometimes I worry that my whole world map will become a mass of red pinpricks, that I will be torn in all directions, spinning constantly to places I can’t get enough of.

pefkos

But then there are those places that I shy away from. The places that lurk in the shadows of my red pins. The places with an ominous atmosphere, a painful past, links to what you want to escape from. I don’t know how an inanimate place – a certain layout of objects essentially – can have such character: a brooding, thin lipped glare; bushy eyebrows hanging low over beady eyes; hissing breath puffing in the cold air, tendrils of lies lilting to fading songs.

Perhaps I have an inescapable need to imprint a form of humanity on things. Maybe I only find happiness and safety in a place because I falsely recognise an element of myself in the way a tree waves in the wind, or a wooden boat bobs on a lake.

But this invisible canvas I lay over the world has always been there to an extent. I have always preferred odd numbers to even numbers, because to me, the evens show arrogance at their ability to be divided by two. I prefer door knockers to door bells, because the shrill call of a bell seems rude, always interrupting me. I prefer land to sea, because the sea is a rippling beast lying in wait, wanting me to slip into it’s murky depths to be swallowed whole by unspeakable monsters.

The place I have been for the last two weeks is one of the ominous ones. Not the city, as such, but the room in which me and le man were living. You could say that a place is whatever you make it, but that wasn’t true, not there. It was a room full of so much sadness, so much tension and words left unspoken for too long. It was a prison cell, one that we created around ourselves to save what was Us…only to find that ultimately, it was choking us.

So I have done what I always do when I turn a place into the bad guy: I run.

I have run to the place I grew up. A place of warmth and laughter and memories and support and family. Le man and I are back where it feels we belong, with space to breathe and find ourselves again, with no threatening growl from the bowels of the beast to greet us as we enter.

Hopefully, it will cure us. I have great faith in the power of PLACE. Place can help you find what you thought you had lost, remember what you felt you had forgotten.

Here, I hope to find that peace within the man I love. That little red dot of a place within him that shines like a beacon wherever he happens to be on my world map.

That little place called Home. That place where love resides.

forever