Valentine

I love…

Oh, how I love.

Brighter than the stars… wilder than the sea.

You’re there, and I’m grinning. 17 years old and head over heels,

Wondering what comes next but not really caring, because…

You.

Just you.

This smile that’s going to break my face one day,

But you’ll be there to put it back together

Like you fixed my trust. Did you fix it, or did I?

Does it matter? Because I trust you, either way. I trust you

With my life. My life, which is your life. One great big adventure

With explorations and discoveries that make me feel as if

I landed on the moon.

I’m here in the heavens and you are the stars. So bright, so close

That I’m on fire. You are my fire starter

Burning up the skies until

I

Can’t

Breathe.

I don’t want to. I want to stop time, right here, right now.

I hold my breath

And everything slows. Your face, suspended

In front of mine for an eternity.

Exactly as it should be, right where you belong.

You are home.

You are where I’m meant to be. I’m here, with you, and we are ‘us’.

Stronger together, funnier, louder, more alive. We’re winning

At life. At love… We’ve won the world.

A whole new world. So many memories to make

And time stretching out before us.

I am in love. You are my heart and

We love.

Oh…

How we love.

 

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Clearing Out – Tears Over Candles

Today I cry over a candle. It seems like such a silly thing.

candle

I was taken back to a shopping trip, the day I bought the candles, and he was there with me. The day before my life fell apart. Lighting this candle brings back what a big part of my life he was, how much I trusted him, how much faith I had in him. Lighting the candle makes me fall apart over memories that will always be there.

I take a look around me and I see other reminders. A necklace I will probably never wear again, even though once it was a permanent fixture around my neck. A film I will never want to watch, a book I will never want to read again. As I clear these items away, I know that there will be so many other things that trigger my memories, things that I can’t put into a bin bag. But I will be stronger with time, and will take these in my stride, I hope.

Today, I need new candles…

‘He’s in the Band!’

The show is over… my little girl (not really so little anymore) spent last week giving a stunning performance in her latest school show. I fought the panic attacks and watched her two nights running (even managing to get my mum there for the final night); she did herself proud.

The show finished and there was one more landmark for her: the cast party… her first, as her first main role, so exciting for her. I was given an address, and instructions to pick her up at 2.30am, the joys of running ‘mum’s taxi service’. At the appointed hour I found myself on a dark street, trying unsuccessfully to work out house numbers and trying to call her mobile which was, of course, switched off. No matter; I parked up and took a closer look, finding the house and ringing the bell.

The door was answered by the father of the leading man, who invited me in and offered me a drink (No thanks, I’m driving) and told me to feel free to wander around and find my daughter. I ask a couple of familiar faces and get directed to the back room of the house where I find my daughter slow dancing in the arms of an unfamiliar young man.

Awkward… Do I interrupt? Call out to her? Go over and introduce myself? Luckily, no need. She turns and sees me and begins to giggle as she tells him, ‘That’s my mum.’ Ahhhhh… my ‘little girl’ is a little tipsy. Not falling over drunk, thank god, so I try to hide my disapproval to save her embarrassment. I wait patiently through the drama of finding a pen (‘I just need to get his number’) and searching for the coat (‘I’m sure it was here earlier’) and also the purse (no, not with the coat, that would be too logical for my teen) and finally I escort my young lady to the car.

As I pull off, I am treated to the excited ramblings of my beloved daughter, who has thoroughly enjoyed herself (of which I am glad) while forgetting the advice not to mix her drinks (not so glad). Her laughter is infectious as she tells me about dance-offs and dares and funny stories they shared and even when she repeats herself several times (‘He’s in the band, did I tell you? He’s musical!!’) I find myself laughing along with her. My skirt, borrowed for the night, is never to be returned to me, she tells me (It is a ‘man magnet’ apparently… funny that it never has that effect when I wear it).

I half-heartedly scold her for drinking a little more than I would allow, and she apologises, telling me she drank lots of water too, she did remember THAT much. She will pay in the morning, I tell her, before she is once again sidetracked telling me more about the ‘musical’ young man she spent the evening getting to know.

We arrive home and I send her off to bed, with a glass of water and a kiss goodnight. I find myself unable to sleep again. I find myself glad for my daughter, glad that she has enjoyed herself and glad that she is discovering the excitement of getting to know someone she really likes. I also find myself worried for her; I remember being her age, and I remember the highs and lows of teenage dating. I wouldn’t live those years again if you paid me.

And I find myself grateful for a different kind of mother-daughter relationship to the one I had. Would I have been so open with my mum? Never in a million years. She still tells me the important things, my ‘little girl’, unlike so many teenagers I hear about. She knows I am, first and foremost, her mother, and that I will do whatever is necessary to keep her safe and well. But she also sees me as a friend, someone she can talk to, someone whose advice she values. How lucky I am… and how much I treasure this.

Of course, I’m not above making her pay in the morning… My son received instructions to shout loudly at her every time he speaks to her, and to keep reminding her loudly that ‘He’s in the band, did I tell you??’ Even for this, I am forgiven, for she sees the lesson behind it. And she still comes in to me later to tell me, grinning from ear to ear, ‘He’s asked me out, Mum…’

Trying… and crying

I’m trying to be normal, but it is so much harder than it sounds. I don’t feel quite like me anymore; I don’t feel strong and I don’t feel certain of anything. I’m signed off work with a ‘stress-related illness’ because I can’t function well enough to teach my classes. I’m stuck at home, unable to find anything that will occupy my mind for more than a few minutes, trying to keep myself hidden from my children because I don’t want them to see my pain.

I must have cried enough to drown a thousand people today, but still the tears keep coming. I cry while at the doctors… I cry so much driving that I have to pull over… I cry when I talk to my friends… I cry even harder when my best friend cries with me. I apologise for my tears, as if I could help them, and I try to hold them back.

I want to be the survivor I know so well. I want to be sure that this will come to an end, that I will find my serenity again. I want, more than anything, to be sure of myself, but I don’t know how.

How do I get past waking up in the morning and wishing I could sleep the week away? How do I get past wondering if everyone I speak to is up to something, or after something? How do I find the energy to get dressed and stick on a smile and face the world? How do I play the Glad Game without finding my list full of ‘but’s?

Double Whammy

I’m not functioning. My head doesn’t work, my tear ducts seem to be attached to something other than my brain (a hosepipe maybe) and have gone into overdrive. I don’t know what to do, or what to think, or how to move forward.

The worst just happened and I’m stuck in it, big time betrayal of trust followed by big time betrayal of trust. People let me down… knock me down… drag me down. Who do I have faith in? Not even myself.

I’m a failed friend, a failed mum and a failed career girl today. Where is the light?

Risky Business

Risk
[risk]
noun

1) The possibility of suffering harm, danger or loss
2) A factor involving uncertain hazards

Risk taking
1) Accepting the potential danger and going for it anyway

“Take risks: if you win, you will be happy; if you lose, you will be wise.” ~Author Unknown

How much of a risk is a risk worth taking? For some people, risk taking is a way of life; they throw caution to the wind at every opportunity and often seem to come out on top. Most of us are a little more cautious, weighing up the possibilities and trying to work out if the odds are in our favour (or if the worst possible outcome is endurable).

So we might decide to ask that person out on a date, because the relationship that could come of it would be worth the risk of a bit of embarrassment. We might decide to start up a blog, because the worst thing that could happen is that no one reads it and we waste a bit of time. We might take up snowboarding… a possible broken ankle or wrist, compared with the thrill of the sport and the benefits of regular adrenaline filled exercise, is nothing, surely.

What about the bigger stuff? The offer of a job in a faraway place, with no friends or family to support – would you take it? The thrill of sex in a public place, risking arrest and job loss – is it worth it?

“It is only in adventure that some people succeed in knowing themselves – in finding themselves.” ~ André Gide

What about giving your whole being up to someone you’ve not known long, in the grand scheme of things… how much do you want to know before you decide to go for it? How many lines have to be drawn? What if you know you could be risking the biggest heartbreak of your life? Are you still going to do it?

Answers on a postcard, please…

Hurt

Let’s talk about the need to impress. Let’s talk about dishonesty as a way of ‘bigging yourself up’. Let’s consider the underlying causes, and the future impact of this need.

First impressions count for a lot, or so I’m told. My first impression of you was that you were someone comfortable in your own skin, someone straightforward and open about things. I’m not talking about the impression from a chat room, though I liked what I saw there too, I’m talking about real life.

I saw lots of things I liked, and I think that was you. I love the ‘you’ inside, the ‘you’ you are when we’re together; you’re a special guy. I love the humour, and the wit, and the gentleness when you know it’s needed. I love the way you take my face in your hands and stroke my hair and tell me I’m not ordinary at all. I love staying up late and talking the night away with you, I love feeling protected from the world with your arms around me.

For me, all of this could be enough, but for you it isn’t. For you, there is something else. A need to impress the people you know with a story or a joke. A need to share the intimacy that should be ours alone… but not even to share it honestly. Let’s tell it a different way, let’s change the slant, and it will be so much more interesting!

I warned you once that I don’t live my life online; I like it here, I like to share some things, I like to see what is going on around me. But I wouldn’t share you.

I find that people know more than I think, because you tell them. I hear that things are being exaggerated, or twisted, to suit the purpose: this need to impress. Why do you care? If you are mine, then there is no need to impress another. If I am enough, it shouldn’t matter what other people think. And now I am hurt.

You see, I am ordinary. Just an ordinary girl, living an ordinary life, thinking that I’d found something extraordinary. I don’t love easily or often and, when I do, it is a big thing. I’ll speak from the heart, and I’ll share my secrets, but I expect them to be kept. I feel let down. I feel as if I was never going to be enough, I feel like I was stupid to think that I could be.

So, you see my ‘ordinary’. You see the every day, and you decide you need more. I can’t argue with that, because I have nothing wonderful to offer. You break my trust, and you make me cry, and I feel alone again. I’d have chosen to be alone in the beginning, if I had known how much I’d hurt.