The Real-Life Fairytale

westminster abbey

Image by hjjanisch via Flickr

Ok, it’s happened. I’ve been sucked in.  It was inevitable I suppose, I am after all a hopeless romantic. I am irreversibly, irresistibly hooked on the story of Will and Kate and I will be settling down on my girlfriends couch tomorrow afternoon to watch the televised wedding with a slight twinge of glee and I suspect, a great deal more wistfulness.

I watched the telemovie “story” of the couple last night as I sipped at my very average home-cooked chicken soup, whilst talking (yes actually talking – amazing) to The Crush on the phone.  Of course he was able to call me because he was back in the middle of nowhere and quite frankly, there is nothing else for him to do but call me.  Yes there goes the cynical voice again, making itself heard.  When questioned as to why he didn’t call over the weekend when he promised he would, his response was a less than adequate “I forgot”. Hmmm, not really doing it for me given that having had keyhole surgery on his knee on Saturday, he was under strict orders from the surgeon to rest up and not aggravate it.  Thus, after complaining at length at how he consumed far more chocolate than he should have (given he is incapable of burning it off through exercise) because –and I quote- there was nothing else to do but eat chocolate, I am left wondering, exactly how far down the list of priorities am I, that in is bored-chocolate-consuming state, he was unable to find 5 minutes to pick up the phone.  I’m not sure which is worse, the fact that he can’t find 5 minutes in his day to speak to me, or the fact that he can’t seem to remember to speak to me!

That said, he professes to miss me terribly, he claims to have fallen for me, he declares he can barely contain his excitement at the prospect of seeing me again.  But they are just words aren’t they, and as someone else said recently:  Talk is cheap.

And so it was that as this conversation was unfolding, I was witnessing Kate being ignored and de-prioritised until she had finally had enough and wound up stepping out of the car and walking away, only to have her Will a short time later, discarding his shoes and jacket in preparation for launching himself into a cold river for a chance to speak with her.  In the end it was she who dived in and swam to him (according to the movie), something I was slightly disappointed about, I must admit.  But nonetheless, he made the effort, he fought to get her back. It got me to thinking of all the men who have never fought for me.  My ex-fiancé being perhaps the only exception, he did try to cajole me for months after our break-up, but perhaps through my own fault, I had let him neglect me for so long that even though he did try to rekindle our connection, it was too long lost.  Mind you, I don’t think even he would have considered risking humiliation in front of a women’s rowing team and threatening to dive fully-clothed into a murky river for me.  He was a little too cool for that. 

But what is it about these stories that leaves me tearing up and wishing for a man to love me so much to fight tooth and nail for the chance to get me back, to risk whatever is necessary, just for the chance to speak to me? Does that kind of love really exist? We all see the fairytale, the beautiful girl, the prince, the grand wedding and the beautiful ring. 

But at the end of the day, they are [mostly] normal people, who will have [mostly] normal problems and it won’t all be rosy. 

However, even with that thought in mind, when I watch that wedding I will be unable to help but wish that I had someone who is crazy about me, someone who makes sure he calls when he says he will because he doesn’t want me to get the wrong idea and risk having me walk away.  Someone who I love enough to still be excited to see them at the end of the day, when the sun is setting set on all of the petty arguments and I am having to replace the cap on the toothpaste that he has left off for the millionth time…

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When a Non-Writer, Writes

Unlike many other bloggers on WordPress, I’m not a writer.  I’m not even an aspiring writer.  I enjoy this blog it’s fun, but I would never think of writing as something that could be a career for me.  Besides, having read a few other blogs I know I’m actually not so great at it either, so it’s probably a good thing I’m not relying on it to make me my millions.  This for me is therapy, it’s to help me face my less desirable personality traits (e.g. whining and general pessimism) and get the hell over whatever is bugging me at any particular moment.  It’s easy to have a whinge to your friends and then immediately forget about it, only to whinge again few days, hours or minutes later about the exact same thing. They’re your friends of course, so unless you are really ticking them off, they will politely listen and nod and make all of the sympathetic noises at all the right times, and maybe they might repeat some of the great advice that they have previously offered, and which you obviously did not take given you are whining to them all over again.

However, when you write out your rants, in black and white, for all the world to see (should they bother to check it out) it makes it a bit more difficult to repeat oneself over and over in a single day without it making you look a little…well, boring.

It also forces you to stop and think a little about what it is you are writing (or, as in my case, more often than not- complaining) about. Does it have to be a complaint? Is there a silver lining? How has this experience changed me for the better? Is there another perspective? Do you have all the facts?

Now, if you do happen to be a savvy writer, you might be lucky enough to have a few dozen (or more) people from around the world leave a comment with some advice or encourage you to look at something from a different angle (and sometimes if you’re really lucky you will have some twat post a completely ignorant comment, maybe spam a few of your followers and spark an interweb spat which completely distracts you from your current problem, such that by the time all the bytes settle, you are over it anyway).

Alternatively, no matter how bad you are at writing, and assuming you’ve told people about your blog, there is always going to be someone reading it.  Whether it’s your bestie, your mum, your sibling or your co-worker (hopefully not in my case, how mortifying would that be?!) and chances are they are able to provide you with little nuggets of wisdom when next you are sitting down for a coffee (or milling around the water cooler).

So, whilst my blog started out as a means for me to vent, it is now also a means via which I encourage feedback.  The beauty being of course, that once I have received the feedback, I can then go back and review my original post with the benefit of this new knowledge, and hopefully, that leads to learning, or as I like to refer to it: growth.

Some people don’t need feedback.  Some people are smart enough, gracious enough, calm enough and confident enough to just sort through it all themselves.

Me? On one hand I’m a sponge, I talk to lots of different people about what’s bugging me in the hopes that each person will provide me with an entirely unique thought on the matter- giving me far more information to absorb and process- but which, in the end, results in me feeling like I have done a thorough job in analysing the facts and non-facts and coming to a logical, reasonable conclusion.

Or I end up even more confused.

On the other hand, I am also now discovering that I have an intuition that is more often than not accurate.  Some people are good at following their ‘gut instinct’.  I have never been one of them.  I have lived my entire existence feeling confused, not knowing what I want or think and being distracted by what I think I should want, or think. The process of writing has helped this because, in order for the blog to not be completely boring to my friends, I try not to talk about the subject matter too much before I have written the post. By the time I have written an entry, posted it and had my friends read it, I have already done a lot of self-analysis, which in turn has helped me to tap into my own intuition, into what I know.  So then the feedback either becomes a validation of what I already concluded, or it shows me that I haven’t really looked at something objectively, OR it highlights that what works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for another and that my friends, leads to tolerance (of myself and of others) and again: growth.

So my conclusion is this:

Writers must be geniuses.

I’ve only been doing this for 9 months and I feel enlightened.  Imagine what it’s like after you’ve been writing (personally OR professionally) for years!  Long term writers must feel like they’ve been touched by the freakin’ hand of God or something!

Is this what it’s like to have a religion? Whoa- I’d better stop there, that’s gotta be a whole other blog…

A Push Towards Positive

turn that frown upside down!

Image by zappowbang via Flickr

One of the techniques taught by positive psychology is to focus on what you have now and appreciate it, rather than focussing on what you don’t have, and feeling deficient.  By satisfying ourselves with what we have now and where we are in our individual lives now, we relieve the stress and the panic and the negativity that is often coupled with thoughts of what we want or where we feel we should be.   We find contentment and we move forward with a sense of capability rather than fear of failure, thus being more likely to achieve what we set out to do.

That’s the theory anyway.

Admittedly, when your eyes are swollen shut from weeping, your cheeks  blotchy and resembling Victoria Falls and your frizzy hair is sticking out in all directions, it can be hard to focus on being happy about everything that is good about your life (particularly if there is a mirror in the vicinity because you get to add “hideous” to the mental list of reasons why you are NOT happy at that particular moment).  Truth be told, whilst I have been actively working on focusing on the positive rather than the negative, I am by no means very adept at it.

Imagine my surprise then, when The Crush first revealed to me a couple of months ago that one of the things he thought was so attractive about me, was my positive attitude! At first I thought he was pulling my leg, but he seemed genuine.  I think I know what made him think that though, it was probably the conversation we had about me having effectively ‘two Mondays’ every week.  Monday and Wednesday.  Wednesday feels like Monday because I work in a different office Wednesday-Friday (same company though) and I’m often exhausted by the flights and the 18-20 hour days on Monday and Tuesday.  Yet this particular day that I found myself yabbering away to him on the plane, I was perhaps a little overly chipper for someone who has to suffer through two Mondays every week, and who on this particular day, still had one more Monday to look forward to.  I put it down to sleep deprivation, the euphoria of planning to move into my own house and the two cups of strong black coffee I had just consumed “but I love my job anyway” I chirped away “and the upside to having two “Mondays” every week, is that they are obviously short weeks! Haha” (groan).

No wonder he thought I had a positive attitude, I’m pretty sure I could not have appeared more “in love with life” that day if someone had slipped a bit of “happy juice” into my coffee!  The fact that he found that level of chipperness attractive at 6am on a Monday morning is a whole other issue, and probably speaks volumes of his own level of sanity.

The funny thing is that now whenever I start feeling negative (particularly if the negativity is related to him), I remember his comment, and I find myself trying to prove him right.

Oh I still have my waily, whiney moments (as anyone who reads this blog would be only too well aware), but when I have those moments now I find myself actively trying to find something about the situation that is not negative, and if I can’t find anything positive in the situation, I find myself trying to just feel happy about my life as a whole, rather than using one bad situation as an excuse to highlight everything else that is not going well.

It doesn’t always work, sometimes the “down” thoughts get the better of me and I wind up having a “meh” day, or sometimes, whilst I might acknowledge that things aren’t so bad and I’m perhaps been a tad childish, I still go ahead and act childish anyway because clearly when I’m whiney, I become petulant.

Maybe if I continue using this technique I will one day be able to stop the negative thoughts before they grab hold.  Perhaps my private hissy fits will diminish and expire. 

One can only hope, and hope is positive, right?! 

Until then, there is Valerian Forte to get me through the really tough moments (along with homemade Nutella consumed neat, as IMO, chocolate and bread should never be combined).

Before I go I must make mention of a  remarkable blog I stumbled across recently.  If anyone has the right to launch a hissy fit of immense proportions, it’s Myra.  Yet she still manages to be optimistic, see the funny side and use it to brighten the days of others by writing about it. 

Plus, she has a rescue dog, and I really like that about her.

Read, laugh and be inspired:

http://myparentsarecrazierthanyours.com/

A Question of Logic

Regions of the cerebral cortex associated with...

Image via Wikipedia

I had a dream last night, or perhaps more accurately, a nightmare.  I was fighting some strange creature that was a little like a vampire.  Not so well either it would seem, I got beaten to a pulp and just as I finally went down, expecting a final blow, or perhaps some teeth sinking into my neck- I woke up. 

Not a very restful sleep, but thankfully the pain in my hip was not the result of a painful gash caused by four very sharp claws, but was in fact just the springs in the wafer-thin mattress of the single bed, residing in the tiny box I call home one night a week.

The dream stayed with me though, left its mark. I can still feel the tickle of sweat in the middle of my back, the sting of the scratches, the ache of the blows  and the dust in my throat as I fell to the ground. I still feel the fear  and pain, and the hope that my enemy, who had been a friend earlier in the dream, would suddenly again realise that I was no threat to them, and spare my life.

As I write this it sounds so trivial and silly, but the feeling of it is powerful and after the help of my good friend Google, and a multitude of dream analysis techniques, I may have an inkling as to why.

Too many empty and/or broken promises, too many disappointments, too little commitment, too much absence.

I’m defensive, with good reason.  I feel my emotional stability- which I have spent so long building- being threatened.  I’m feeling drained from giving far more than I’m getting.  The battle was not with someone else, it was a battle with myself, with the ugly side of me which always jumps to the worst conclusion, the side of me that’s cynical and negative.  The battle result was undetermined in the end, the question of whether the final blow was delivered, left unanswered.  So it’s possible that the not-so-ugly side of me might have prevailed somehow, or perhaps it was just an implication that the other side of me- the optimistic, the side of me that wants to believe in peoples best intentions- is always present, if not always dominant. 

But at the end of the day, it could be fairly well concluded that even if the battle wasn’t finished, the bloodied, battered mess of me on the ground was certainly an indication that it was perhaps, lost.

So, I now face the decision to retreat from this battle, lick my wounds and fight another day.  Or, fight on and risk losing the war.

The logical side of me knows what I should probably do. 

So perhaps the real question is, how logical am I…?

How am I supposed to know what I want if *you* don’t?!

Well, it’s Monday again. It tends to come around quickly these days, week by week, month by month, the years just keep ticking over and disappearing into the past. Yet all the while, though things change, they –rather frustratingly- stubbornly insist on staying the same.

It’s funny how those old cliche’s seem to ring truer for me now that I’m older and w…. no, just older.

All of the developments of the past year indicate to me that my life has changed dramatically and that I should feel very different to how I did a year ago. Yet, while specific “things” in my life are different, I still feel the same. I still worry, I still burst into tears at random moments, I still laugh loudly at inappropriate times, I still feel contented sometimes and other times incredibly lonely, I still get excited about my future and I still get weighed down by the “what if’s” and “what if not’s”.

I’m still impatient and I still panic.

And sometimes, I still feel really, deeply, soulfully, sad.

This weekend just gone was a toughy, having had a friend inadvertently yank Mr X out of the ‘vault’ in my brain and very firmly into my “present” thoughts. It was strange to have anyone else talk about him. I will mention him from time to time but somehow me talking about him is ok. Somehow I manage to talk about him but keep him in the vault. In fact, I had become so good at this that it was almost like I had convinced myself he was a figment of my imagination and that all of that stuff never happened at all, that I never actually experienced anything painful but for in my dreams (or nightmares). I didn’t want to hear about him, or talk about him, or learn who was now working with him, or learn the baby’s name, but short of sticking my fingers in my ears and loudly singing “lalalalala” until the person stopped talking, there was little I could do to stop it. Plus, once the information started flowing I was like a car wreck, I couldn’t stop myself from mentally rubber-necking, I started to want to know and then that darned vault door -the one that I thought I had locked so tightly- swung wide open, and with it came all of the memories and all of the emotion.

Darn my flare for the dramatic, if only I could be that realist I strive to be, and shrug off such sentimental nonsense!

So, this weekend I gravitated between being fine, having shoved all of that stuff back into the vault and shut the door (though I have clearly misplaced the key and cannot lock it), and fearing that real happiness, the happiness that bubbles up from deep within your belly, trickling over your lips with a giggle and a smile, will remain uout of reach for me, or worse, that it was once reachable but is now lost to me forever.

I managed to keep the tears at bay but I found myself mentally and emotionally, back at my desk in July 2009, working on my thesis in between fits of despair and desperate attempts to contact him to repair the irreparable.

As I tried to ignore the burning in my chest and the nausea in my gut, I thought of my present circumstances, and of my internal debate over the “no children” issue, and pondering the curious lack of concern for the prospect of not having them (apart from the concerns that have been instilled by my loved ones). Truth be told, I have been saying I want children for a couple of years now but I guess what I was really saying was that I wanted children with Mr X. I know now that is never going to happen so, why would I care about not having children with another man? To me the fact that kids are off the table with The Crush makes the prospect of a relationship with him far more appealing, or at least much less stressful, because I know that I’m not going to be given an ultimatum in 10 months time whereby I must choose to either have children with him immediately, or move along.

So, basically, I’m torn between wanting what I can’t have, and wanting what I can have and then, confusion about whether I really want any of it at all!

Yup, its true what they say about me, I’m definitely hard to please!

I invite the men out there to rise to the challenge to see if they can figure out what it is that I do want.

First prize: Potentially meaningful relationship with a slightly broken toughened, blonde, 30-something female, well educated, gainfully employed, plus the bonus company of 2 marginally sensible dogs, for as long as we both can stand it.

While you are thinking, could please pass me the Panadol and the red wine?

Anticipatory Insomnia

Palpatine

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve been having a little difficulty sleeping lately. Consequently I fear I’m beginning to resemble Emperor Palpatine, only with better teeth and perhaps a smidge more vitamin D. Seriously, the dude has some impressive red eye bags happening. But then again, I guess it’s inevitable when you are a powerful villain (with powerful enemies) trying to take control of the entire universe. That gig is sure to generate some stress. Don’t even get me started on the bolts of electricity he is want to throw around the place. Such behavior is bound to be energy-draining and let’s just say, I totally dig why he sports a hoodie everywhere he goes:

 electricity + hair = frizz of galactic proportions

There is no conditioner in the entire star system likely to be capable of taming those locks!

Anyway, whilst I have [actually very little, after all I’m not evil] sympathy for the Emperor’s predicament…back to me.

I think my insomnia is work related. I can’t stop thinking about it, I dream about it and I’m constantly analyzing how to improve things and mentally creating lists of tasks that I must not forget to do.

All of which, I thought was a good thing. I’m enjoying productivity! Revelling in the satisfaction that comes with having a purpose.

But it seems that the busier I get, the more difficulty I have switching off. I used to blame this phenomenon on my old job, the fact that the company demanded too much, and you never felt good enough. That indeed was a depressing state to work in. This time, however, I get support and encouragement and yet here I am, sleep deprived and haggard! I realise my stress is self-imposed and I have cause to wonder why I do this to myself. Am I too competitive, or am I just naturally striving to be the best that I can be? Am I looking for recognition from others, or do I do this for my own sense of satisfaction?

I suspect …all of the above.

It’s not just work that I over-analyse (as I’m sure you are all now well aware!). I overthink everything to do with my life be it the writing and rewriting of training schedules so that I can fit in a new activity, or spending hours over cookbooks studying the best recipes to try on my friends (a recent development- now that I have made the splurge and purchased a Thermomix), or of course, my love life.

Yes, many a nights sleep has been lost over stressing about love or the lack of it. But not last weekend. Even though The Crush cancelled on me AGAIN and even though only a month and a bit in, we may have had our first fight. If you can call it a fight – perhaps lets just call it a disagreement (because it’s a bit hard to read the tone of text messages). After clearly, but politely expressing my annoyance he once again surprised me with a) a response (something most men, in my experience are incapable of providing when faced with a potential storm), b) understanding (though he did at one point give me the option to opt out entirely, which was a little unpleasant but turns out, he very genuinely wasn’t implying that he wanted me to take it). Admittedly, I did spend a few hours on Saturday thinking that we had broken up, and though I was upset and a little angry and a little bruised, I wasn’t devastated and I was still entirely capable of enjoying my Saturday.

So, I have made what I believe to be a very grown-up decision:

He gets his three months to finish his exams, and get through some major work events, without me nagging him about spending time with me (or not spending time with me, as the case may be)

BUT

he needs to make it very clear that he is into this once that is all over, or I opt out. I’m not going to hold it against him that this has all come together at a very awkward time for him. However, though I am all for men who are driven and motivated about their career, I will confess that if I’m in a relationship, I do want to actually feel like I’m in a relationship.

Plus, I’m pretty sure some of my friends are beginning to think he’s a figment of my imagination…So really, I need him to man up or else I may end up in a funny white coat…and not of the laboratory scientist variety!

I tell you what though, it felt so good to just be honest, talk plainly and reign in the fear that my little 5 minute speech would leave me single. To be stern, but not nasty, and make sure he was crystal clear about my feelings and what I was, and was not willing to tolerate in his behaviour. To accept the fact that he may well turn tail and walk in the opposite direction, but remain calm in the knowledge at least I would know, and I could make room in my life for someone who was better suited to me.

I felt strong, assertive and capable. And it felt amazing.

Thus, I have decided that perhaps a little more of that attitude is warranted in my career as well! So, my sleeplessness I have concluded, is the result of my work brain kicking back into overdrive after an almost 10 month hiatus, and its a good kind of sleeplessness. It is insomnia borne of excitement! Anticipatory insomnia I shall call it- just like I used to feel as a child on Christmas eve- and I’ll make a point of saying- I wasn’t able to sleep too well then either.

Battles fought today…

Some days I can’t help but think that I am bitter and twisted beyond repair.

I must be, if I can allow a little green monster get the better of me.

I noticed a lovely picture of my ex fiancé and his new partner on FB yesterday. It’s a lovely photo.

Let’s be clear, though I loved my ex very much, since the day we decided to go our separate ways I have never looked back and thought that it might have been a mistake to break up. I have never wanted to go back, regardless of the fact that we are still good friends (the only ex I can still call a friend) and I have a very soft spot for him.

He and his lovely, lovely lady, K, are so well suited to each other, I can’t help but think how could we have ever thought that I was ever right for him?

So why then, does a gorgeous photo of them looking like they are having the time of their lives, and a simple comment from another friend of “wedding bells” plunge me into turmoil?

Turmoil because I know I do not want to be with him, I know he was not right for me. Turmoil because on the one hand I am relieved and truly happy that he has found someone that he fits so well with, yet I am jealous, envious of their bliss.

This is not how it’s supposed to be. I’m supposed to be a better person than this!

I am disappointed in myself.

While I am still blundering through the awkward first steps of a new relationship, navigating my way around big issues that should never even have to be considered until way down the track, constantly tripping on roots crisscrossing my path- which have me debating if this even is the right path- it seems everyone around me is finding their path with seamless grace an ease.

I know that tomorrow I will wake up and will probably feel different about all of this again, such is my fickle nature.

But just for once, I would like to really know what the right thing to do is, and just do it, without hesitation.

Just for once, I wish life were a little bit less of a struggle.

I know.

It is what it is. The battles I face today will [hopefully] make me wiser and more prepared tomorrow. But let’s be honest, that concept is a little misleading, isn’t it?

I mean, everyone knows that tomorrow never comes!