Thursday, 24 April 2014


Somewhere, along the line, I became a romantic.

Perhaps I was born that way. Or perhaps it began as a little girl, where I did want to find my Prince Charming, my Aladdin, my Tramp. I'd curl up and watch those childhood films and I'd feel certain that it was the real deal. I didn't take much more from Disney than the love stories.

And it's always been that way. I've read countless books, perhaps ones I shouldn't have as a child, where people would fall in love and you'd read the last sentence, close the book and lie back and imagine a story with you in it. 

I used to draw pictures as a child. A girl, me. And a shockingly handsome - at least as handsome as wax crayons, a five year-old's hand and steely concentration could muster - boy. Maybe he'd be a prince, or a post man, or a footballer. 

Barbie and Ken would regularly act out proposals and weddings - so much so that they must have tied the not at least a few times a week - in ill-fitting tuxedos and wedding dresses that would never quite have the velcro fastening quite matched up.

I remember going through high school and falling for so many teenage boys, that my hands would be constantly adorned with 'CT hearts ENTER INITIALS HERE'. I was shy. And my 'love' was usually unrequited. But I was happy enough to enjoy the daydreams, not knowing heartbreak.

I would say that I've been in love three times. 

My first love was my first 'proper' boyfriend. The sort of love where you realise that you don't want a life without it, even those it's nothing compared to what comes next. 

Once upon a time, love bore me a son. But it wasn't the kind of love that, deep-down, I knew I was looking for. 

I wanted a fairytale. 

I wanted to finish each other's sentences. I wanted to look into eyes and see secrets behind the pupils. I wanted to find my better half (a phrase I love and loathe equally). I wanted to find someone who would send me songs that reminded me of him. I wanted to be with someone who could make me laugh so hard that I'd be dizzy with breathlessness. 

And four months ago, I stepped unknowingly back into that world. The world where I'd have to search for him. I felt stripped. And bare. And my chances were dashed. Because I wasn't entering this ring the fighter I once was. I had no special moves. I was no heavyweight champion when it came to love anymore. One punch and I'd be out like a light. I was too frightened to fight for what I believed in anymore.

And call it fate, call it happenstance, call it science, call it chemistry, call it human nature, but he was right there. 

And I'm still very frightened. Because when you find what you've always dreamed of. When people had laughed off your ridiculous obsession with love. You don't want to lose it. 

And I can still remember those childhood drawings. Wonky smiles. Two long twirls either side of the head for hair. Stick fingers. Smudges. Mistakes. A prince. A postman. A footballer. 

A web developer. *

*Sorry "front-end web developer".

Ever wonder what I buy in my weekly shop?

I can't think why - but I love watching people's grocery buys, so here's mine!

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

The Incidentals

Do you remember that song by Alisha's Attic? The Incidentals? That song's about love and the things that come of it.

Incidentals are things that come as a result of something else.

I have many incidental things in my life. Like the fact that weight gain is incidental to eating mashed potato too much. Or that butterflies are incidental of holding the hand of that brilliant person in my life. Or that breathlessness is incidental to laughing at my son's use of the word "okay" to a level of mastermind persuasion.

But, truthfully, the incidentals of my life are my insecurities.

My insecurities and my new-found anxiety.

The past few months have played havoc with my mind. It's almost made me jumpy with emotion. I started experiencing genuine anxiety. Just because I couldn't deal with that amount of change, while recovering from what had been and gone.

I'm one of those individuals who has held the 'confident' title for as long as I can remember. I don't tend to suffer from shyness unless I'm particularly nervous (like I was when l met Mark's family for the first time, because I was so very desperate for them to like me). And I can just about talk in front of large groups of people. I'll bend over backwards to absorb someone else's nerves and discomfort. And I'll always try and save an awkward moment with a smile and a silly quip or comment.

But it's not true confidence.

It's just an eagerness to please.

It's so easy to play that role. You learn the part. You carefully smooth your costume around your body. And then you perfect the stage makeup you wear. And you play that role until the last member of the audience leaves, and then you remove it all, you curl up in floral pyjama bottoms and a baggy t-shirt and you think: "Thank God."

And I think, for the most part, we all play a role when it comes to our public lives. I think it's easier to  hide the skeletons in the closet and paint a pretty picture of life, with daubs of yellow and gold, and tales of nights out, excursions, domestic bliss and self-satisfaction.

It used to be that making people happy made me happy. So it was a role I didn't need to rehearse for. But recently I've found things a little tougher.

I worry every day that I'm not good enough for my son. Particularly when I parent alone now. Every decision spirals away from me. So much so that I wonder if this cake I let him have as a treat will be the cake that pushes him to the chubby side like me. So sometimes I know I don't parent confidently at all. I know I dither. And I know I make mistakes.

I find myself doubting friendships, because I've been let down recently, and I feel as though I'm too tired to let many more people in.

And I probably ask my poor boyfriend almost every day if he's still happy. Because I'm convinced that I'm not good enough because I have a son by someone else. And it's not fair. Because he does everything for me. And he's the best friend I've ever had. But my insecurities and anxiety manifest themselves in the strangest of ways and words like 'trust' become foreign and hard to understand.

I'm one of those people who like messages to be replied to straight away, because otherwise I worry that the person has been hit by a bus or hates me because I spelt a world wrong by accident. It's ridiculous!

And what's funny is that I'm always myself. I'm not false at all. I just magnify my positive points and hope that my negatives don't show. It's almost like I've taken the greatest of concealers and applied it all over myself and my life.

As a result I have the vanity that comes with the insecure. I'm a selfie-taker, reflection-scrutiniser, and I have a magpie-like tendency to become absorbed by any reflective surface.

I can twist a compliment into something entirely opposite like you would not believe. It's almost a laughable skill.

But I'm tired. I'm tired of worrying. And putting a dress back on a hanger, at the very back of my wardrobe, because I'm too scared to wear it. I'm tired of losing my home if my mortgage lenders won't approve me as the sole owner of our home after my six month 'prove you can afford it' period. And I'm sick of worrying who's got my back or who's ready to stab me in it.

This post is just one of those things I want to remember. Because I will look back on it as something I overcame. Eventually. It's just honesty. It doesn't deserve sympathy. Or even understanding.

I suppose that I want to point out that no one is immune to the incidentals.

Especially not me.

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