Sunday, 21 February 2010

Life Laundry !

So just what have I been up to? I have been 'improving' myself ! For those of you who think that a few days is definitely too short a time to work on such a extensive project as myself, I would totally agree.

On Saturday I attended the “Make It Happen” Seminar. Me at a self-help seminar? I know Gasp! Shock! Horror ! I’ve always hated the ‘cult’ of self-help. Lots of people herded into a room, like demented cattle. Encouraged to talk, hug out their pain and be better managers, leaders or darned it people!

Add that to my natural aversion to being told what to do by someone I don’t know and you could be forgiven for thinking that I had gone along under some kind of duress.

Actually it was deliberate. I’ve been following the facilitator MH online for a while and been impressed with his passion and conviction of purpose, no bullshit approach and more importantly results.

Standing in a room of young thrusting, intelligent mid-20’s to mid-30’s guys, would normally be my idea of heaven on earth, but on this occasion I was a little nervous. Everyone in the room seemed to have taken a pill which had pumped them up, ready to undergo some mind-blowing chance, except me.

I was trying to work out whether it was the early morning start or missing my favourite guilty pleasure Saturday morning show ? I was also worried because I have the attention span of a knat (like an ant – for my American readers!) and sitting in a room for nearly 6 hours, is a feat I’ve only ever managed once at the London Film Festival on their Movie Madness Day, sustained by a sugar overload of popcorn and full fat coke!.

I needn’t have worried. MH was amazing. He was energetic, knowledgeable and totally committed to enthusing and driving his audience, to not only take onboard his tips and tools to overcome their fears of failure, inactivity ……you name it really he called us on it…being lazy, saying we’re too busy…..

He was particularly great at working with a businessman J who had quite literally hit the wall in his business, finances, self esteem, emotional well-being and just life in general.

As he sat there in tears at one point, which was at odds with the big bear of a man mountain we had all noticed when he got on stage, it once again made me realise what a good place I am in and how if I continue pushing myself, things can only continue to get better.

Thursday, 18 February 2010


So how's G? Mmmm…..well……after a lovely non-Valentine Saturday meal, our first non-friends kiss …..which was ok, but kind of like kissing someone you know you shouldn’ do it, you like it and then you wonder whether you should have done it or not?

When we talk on the phone, it’s clear that he already thinks we’re dating and has mentioned three holidays (all for this year), two mini-breaks and asked me what I want to do at Christmas; which even for a multi-tasking freak like myself is a little excessive, but his actions don’t quite match up to his words.

I admit I'm confused. It’s strange watching someone who shouted so loudly about them showing you how great being with them could be, to then watch them sort of blow it without actually realising they are doing so.

Not blow it by not treating me like a princess . Yes, I can hear you all yelling I’d love that! Of course I would. Who wouldn’t? But reality and experience have taught me that such expectations are a tad unrealistic.

It's little things – like having a work schedule that is unbelievable. I’ve always known that G is a workaholic, even leaving me in the shade, but in my transition from friend to whatever, I’ve noticed a lack of life/diary balance and compromise that is truly stunning and perhaps is the reason he hasn’t had a girlfriend for the past three years.

Next there is text adversion – Can’t live with them can’t live without them - that’s texts not me ! G manages perfectly well. It takes him on average a day and a half to respond to a text message, whether they are short and sweet or one of my long rambly ones.

Fair enough if you are a super busy executive, but surely you have a moment to just say ‘Hi’ or even ‘I’m busy now, talk to you later’. The problem with not responding, is that when he actually replies the 'moment' is gone, or you wind up scrolling through you phone to find his last message.

During the week it's a given that most people are distracted by work. This weekend - which he already told me last weekend, he is ‘doing stuff with the guys’on, which cool and not at all unreasonable.

The good thing is I will find out whether he can spare a thought, a text or be bothered to phone or if he one of those people (and until recently I would have counted myself amongst them) for whom the chase/fantasy is the thrill.

In love with the idea of being in love. It's just such a pity that making it happen can be just a little bit ordinary. Even in the relationships I’ve had that have worked (I know, I can count those on one hand!), I’ve never been a week day girlfriend due to a combination of work commitments, different locations and just me being a busy butterfly socially, so I’ve always made an effort in terms of communication.

But from G's actions it would appear that dating/hanging someone means you don't have to communicate, because everything (including me apparently) is a foregone conclusion, which is a bit of a challenge for me.

F who I had dinner with last night, summed things up perfectly "B when you’re already friends, you don’t feel like you’ve got to make that much of an effort, which is why G is just doing what he’s always done with you” .

Ordinarily I take F says with a large grain of salt because he tends to be quite extreme in his thought process. However, on subject of men – H who he had pegged from the start as being "a toxic player" and DG who he offered to "deal with old skool style" after his double disappearance. I have learned to take F says as gospel, but only when it comes to men.

Don’t get me wrong I am not throwing in the towel or behaving with the same fickle contempt and disposition of some of my past love interests. I’m seeing how things pan out.

After all the measure of love is not as a poet once said what you are willing to give up for it, but the effort and time you take to nurture it and keep it going which determines the final outcome.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Happy Valentine's Day !

So you want to know what happened with G? It was nice! Going out with someone whose already a friend means, that you don't have the awkward getting to know you phase. You already know their strange habits, dodgy sense of humour and you shouldn't be nervous right?

Guess what I was! I had lunch C and E and then met up with G for dinner. The Italian restaurant we went to was jam-packed with couples who had decided to avoid the Valentine's Day massacre on the 14th and celebrate that loving feeling the day before.

Having impressed the maitre'd with actually being Italian, G took my hand and walked me across to the bar, while we waited for our table.

The waitress came over with two complimentary glasses of champagne. "What's this in aid of?" said G cheerily "Valentine's Day" she replied looking at him with a surprised look. "Oh shit!" said G turning to me with a sheepish look. "And let me guess you've brought me a card!".

"Yes" I said smiling. "It's in my handbag. Didn't the fact that we are surrounded by lovehearts, balloons with Happy Valentine's Day and lovestruck couples wherever you look, give you a bit of a clue?"

"You know me B, can't see anything that's not right under my nose!". We both laughed.

I know the feeling G !

Friday, 12 February 2010

Happy Friday !

Tomorrow I’m off to Bath for the day with G and secretly (oh who am I kidding!), I am really looking forward to it. Don’t get me wrong I don’t think this is Love Story, but whatever happens I should have some fun, something which has been in very short supply until recently.

Maybe my sunny disposition and all round universal joy is rubbing off on the people around me, because when I got back last night, I found C sitting on the sofa beaming like a Cheshire Cat. He is off to Malaysia ….the jammy bugger!....For work…true, but how lucky is he! I am really proud of him, because he really didn’t expect to be considered to go on the trip, despite being one of the very best guys on his team.

As I mentioned, C and I have been getting to know one and other properly since my departure from dark side (which from what I heard now closely resembles the land Mordor in both heart and mind, but without me pretending to be Frodo!)

C is a total sweetheart, who has put up with my moody self (when he first moved in) my “woman on the brink of a nervous breakdown self” in the final days of HWMBO, through to my overly happy self of today.

He has these funny little sayings and way of laughing at the world and himself that, is truly hilarious and sometimes makes him look like a small boy who is so pleased they can't stop hugging themselves.

As we sat on the sofa catching up on all our news, I couldn’t help remarking “I told you there was a good vibe in the air around us at the moment” “Aye you did !” he replied doing his spooky hands move !

Just call me Little Ms Sunshine !

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Hart to Hart

Today I bumped into a former love rival and ended up sharing a latte moment with her. One, because I didn’t say no quick enough when she suggested it. And two, because, we used to work together and just seeing the obvious physical change in her; I was kind of curious about what she’d be up to, since the last time our paths crossed.

My how things have changed! When we first met, I was on the way up, or so I thought I was. She was a painfully shy, recently graduated wallflower, with a dodgy haircut, the major hots for my ‘soon to be boyfriend’ (it’s amazing where a mistletoe moment at the Christmas party will lead a girl to!) and a propensity to drink way too much at work do’s and end up going home with very unsuitable types, who treated her like crap.

While I have remained or retained my working girl ladder status as PA/struggling freelance journalist, taking a pitstop to pick up my degree; while still waiting for that all too elusive big break, she is a now Head of Marketing, super succesful, groomed to within a inch her life and with shoes to die for !

She is a confident leader and all round superwoman. So why did I have to meet up with her again with my hair resembling a haystack, dressed down in my jeans, farmer’s checked shirt and trainers!

As she reeled off her list of achievements in the last three years, which includes giving up drink for more dubious pleasures of wheatgrass shots (I thought only Sam drank that in Sex and the City, and only to win the affections of Smith!) it left me feeling a little...inadequate and disappointed in myself.

While she has climbed the corporate ladder, I have remained stagnant, regressing in fact to student status to pick up a qualification I was not ready to commit to when everyone else was, or at least had a rough idea of the value of having one.

“You know I used to be as jealous as hell of you” she said reflectively.

"Why?" I said genuinely surprised.Momentarily transformed from possessing the resigned slumped posture of a long-term underachiever to the upright stance of a beauty queen during her Ms Personality interview.

"Why? You were just so bloody happy all the time. Nothing touched you and even when you were hacked off, you were over it in like five minutes!” “Oh” I said quietly smiling.

It’s funny how we spend so much time comparing ourselves with others isn’t it? At the beginning of our latte moment I was almost ashamed of my ‘underachiever’ status.

By the time she’d finished telling me about the killer hours she works, the boyfriend she never sees, the baby she wants but it scared to take time off work to have and just generally hating where she's at in her life, well I felt like I wasn’t doing too badly really.

Onwards and upwards !

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

The Not So Single Valentine

Well I thought that the impending descent of Valentine's Day would send me into a obligatory whirl of general misery and self loathing - which is sometimes the default remit of singletons, who find their status highlighted in neon, on this the most romantic of all days.

Instead I am chilled out and optimistic about the future. Why? G and I (who's G I hear you ask ? - a friend who's just come clean about fancying the pants off me ... I know, hooray! I'm not so scary after all apparently).

After 'confessing' something which has apparently been on his mind for a while - how he feels - I know, it sounds so Mills and Boon when a guy says it! G is 'kidnapping' me on Saturday (not Sunday, because doing anything on Valentine's Day if you haven't pre-arrangedpre-booked it, is without a doubt going to be an expensive type of hell!) for some fun.

The other reason we are not going out on Valentine's Day is that as he's doing stuff with the guys, which in the past would have wound me up and made me question just how desirable or worthy enough I was. Now I see it for what it is one date, with one boy who happens to be a friend. If it works great, if not, I'll chalk it up to experience and move on.

The whole situation is a bit of a weird one. G has alway behaved like the schoolboy in the playground who pulls your hair. He has always hated any boyfriend I have ever had and always seems supremely happy when I am at turns happily or miserably single.

Am I worried about our friendship? Yes of course, but sometimes what you're looking for could be right under your nose..I'd be a fool not to give it a chance right?

Also for the first time in a very long time I don't regard finding love as the big must happen in my life right now, this very minute. There are so many other things going on.

Tying up the last remanants of my life as gopher to HWMBO (so tedious and seemingly neverending!), exploring new opportunities which surprisingly keep coming my way and cotinuing to enjoy my life run by me not others.

And what am I actually doing on Valentine's Day. I'm not sitting alone on the sofa or crying in my latte in a coffee shop somewhere.I'm meeting up with the girls and we are going have a meal (at home), watch dvd's, drink wine and enjoy the gift of friendship - one of the greatest loves of all.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Is It Me?

So I was going to write about DG, who actually called, but something far more interesting and infinitely more challenging has just appeared in my email inbox.

One of the good things about this blog is not only being able to express what’s on my mind instantly, but it is also being able to be honest and open about my own insecurities and issues to put them on public view and stand by them.

I received a really interesting comment today, which I have published un-moderated, because it was upfront, honest and some real thought had gone into it.

First, I would like to thank VB for taking the time to read my blog and then write to me, despite them not agreeing with my point of view.

Which leads me to the question VB posed which eventually hits all of us long-term singletons - Is It Me?

When I first started the blog I was in a really dark place in my life. My confidence was pretty much shot. A series of truly crappy dating decisions, tailed off by breaking up with a particularly cold fish left me numb.

Added to that was a deep-seated dissatisfaction with where my life was headed in general, which left me feeling mentally and emotionally drained.

Was I ever going to meet The One ? Was I letting my demons control me and actually perpetuating my own self destructive pattern.

I looked at what I had done to myself. Turned myself into a workaholic hermit, who ventured out rarely and however, bubbly and outgoing I appeared on the outside, inside I was very slowly dying. I decided break the pattern. Not wait for things to come to me, but to go and get them.

First I had to confront the fact that I’m not actually perfect. Fabulous! Always, but not perfect. Not by a long shot - I see and own my faults. I can be very picky and judgemental, a pain in the proverbial arse, rude, fiery, demanding, impatient and precious.

But I have never ever hidden these darker sides of myself from my friends or mates. What you see is what you get with me. Thankfully and without them I would be very probably a raging basket, I am surrounded by family, friends and allies.

When things are ‘difficult’ and I am running away and not dealing with the issues at hand, they will with their brunt honesty and love, pull me back from the real lows I still regularly experience and save me from being a truly lost cause.

Am I cynical about men – yes, to a degree. I would be a big fat liar if I said I wasn’t. You learn from your experiences and however hard you try to not to let it happen, your opinions do become a little jaded.

But that doesn’t mean for one minute that I wouldn’t gladly welcome into my life, don’t believe in or know some truly amazing men, who feature strongly in my life and remind me, that anything is possible if you are honest and open to it.

There's M who's like an older brother to me, even though he’s younger than me and still looks about 12 !! I love him because he knows me – inside out. He knows where all of my skeletons are buried. My good times and really my dark times. But he always has my back.

M has never once let me down or ever disappointed me. I value his judgement and the fact that he never lets me get away with things, especially when I am totally in the wrong. Despite knowing all the good and bad about me, he deems me worthy to be in his life and that of his family.

A whose bluntness has sometimes been extremely painful to hear, but whose support and love are constant and completely unconditional and who makes me laugh until I’ve cried sometimes. Big D – or as I sometimes like to call him 'The Real Deal' who I adore for his spirit, love of life and overwhelming warmth.

F who is the most amazing father and friend, J who is goodness personified. S who dragged me kicking and screaming to the finish line with my degree and now C who has turned out (despite my initial hysterical judgemental misgivings ) to be pure gold and I've been so lucky to have around recently, with all my dramas.

Have I been hard about a lot of the men I’ve encountered yes, when they’ve amused me, angered me or when they have just out and out flummoxed me with their behaviour. Have I been challenged on this….yes, as I should be by friends, who want me to rise above any negativity I may harbour. Do I listen ! Yes, which is why my particular journey isn’t quite finished yet.

The major differences I have commented on, are the completely opposite approaches men and women adopt to deal with good and bad dating. Some women dissect every single detail of what went wrong invariably and often without realising it; they will turn all of that negativity in on themselve and hold it tightly unable to let go. I know, because I used to be one of them.

Whereas some men are much more likely to ‘deal’ with or avoid a bad situation and then let it go. Sometimes this happens with such indecent haste, it resembles a military operation and what's gone before is effortlessly forgotten.

In the past I’ve always been the reasonable one when things have gone wrong. In short I used to be an accomplished, consummate doormat. The person who would rather quietly crumble then to voice her annoyance with a situation or a relationship.

In the past year, several of my friends have reflected on the changes I’ve made in the way I behave and handle things for the better. That voice that I’ve always had?Well now I actively use it. I'm a lot less stressed and hung up about the little things. I laugh at my own silliness and stupidity, because frankly sometimes I am a ridiculous drama queen.

I know I don’t have to accept somebody not treating me right. I don’t have to make do or settle with someone just because they show a passing interest in me, if I don’t chose to and more importantly if I know they are not suited to me.

The chip on the shoulder I had about my education I addressed by getting my degree. The crying fits I used to have if a potential relationship went wrong, have now been replaced by saying what’s on my mind and then moving on.

The hang-ups I’ve had about my body for as long as I can remember - I’ve parked, because the only person I was hurting was myself. I don’t need any additional baggage created by me. I’m happy, healthy and for the first time in a long time strong.….a firm believer in myself.

Do I still need to work on myself yes, every day, but don't we all? I already told you I'm not perfect! Do I talk about it in the blog - no. The blog is just my commentary, my opinion of things that have happened and how I in that moment have seen them.

So does my perceived lack of self mean that all of my ups and downs begin and end with me alone.….no VB that's where I have to disagree with you. I do take ownership of my faults and issues, but it doesn’t mean that I won’t find somebody, even "The One", who will take me on warts and all !

Do I know myself ….yes, I think I'm beginning to. It’s all there for me in the black and white of this text and my past entries. Some of which are so pathetic, bruised and self serving in their pity and self vanity that remembering what I was feeling than still hurts me. I almost want to shake myself sometimes.

Do I worry about not finding the one….no. I know myself well enough to know that settling just for the hell of it with someone who doesn’t get me, or will not challenge me or stimulate me isn’t for me.

If I’m alone for a while longer it won’t kill me, it just give me more time to work on me and love the one person that everyone needs to love before they can love anybody else…..themselves.

VB I take onboard what you have said and look forward to continuing my journey with you and ultimately proving you wrong. Weirdly enough with just one month of the year gone, its already turning out to be one hell of a whiteknuckle ride for me!

Let's see what happens next!

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Blast from the Not So Distant Past!

Sometimes somebody in your life behaves in a way so completely harsh and unnecessary, that you are gobsmacked at their sheer gall. And then when they finally slink off in disgrace, you never imagine for one second they would have the balls to reappear; well sometimes they do!

As I may have already told you I am one of those annoying people who needs very little sleep. So nearly every night when all the world is fast asleep, I’m wide awake.

When I studying at night and working in the day, this was a pretty useful habit to have. Now I have no essay plans to stuggle with, no research to digest and none of the last minute drama of re-writing a truly awful essay, I find myself sometimes quite bored, waiting for my mind to slow down enough so that I can sleep.

Most of the time I read. Which was what I was doing at 1:38am this morning, when I heard the dull beep of my mobile. Must be G I thought. We had spoken earlier in the evening.

As well as telling me about a potentially life-changing job, she is up for and totally deserves because she works so darned hard, she poured out her heart regarding the Fool. It left me rather glad that I’m not caught up with anything too dramatic dating wise at the moment. I flicked to the message that read

“Um, tell me to fuck off, but I so want to see you. The reason for the late text is I’m in the States.”

I checked the number. It was DG!

The same DG who disappeared not once, but twice off the radar!. The last time being at New Year’s, kicking my New Year off in truly momentous form and reinforcing my hatred of ‘celebrating’ the New Year.

The first time he did it, I’ll admit I was gutted (as about 2/3 blog entries at the time will attest to !) because I actually liked him. The second time - because everyone gets two chances with me. Why? Because it means I’ve never had a ‘what if moment’ in my life. That’s with any situation, but particularly dating ones (the ones without complications), I can truly say I know I gave 100% and if it didn’t work out, it’s not through lack of effort on my part.

I picked up the phone dialled the number so I could verbally blast him, something he fully deserved, not for bailing, that is his prerogative, but just for being such a wimp about it all. Hell, I even offered him an 'out' escape route of one of those girlie "What’s wrong?" moments.

Being the coward he is, he of course didn’t pick up the phone. There are moments when I truly wish men had never discovered the power of text. Worldwide some (not all!) men have have regularly hidden behind medium, to dispense with their women or just to avoid having those difficult conversations – without actually having to truly have those "really difficult conversations!"

So I texted back:

“0k call me tomorrow. I make no promises, but I will listen to what you have to say for yourself.” . Me and the girls are already taking bets, that the message has scared the pants off of him.

He probably sent it when drunk and didn’t realise it was my number and I’ll never hear from him again. I would like to think that was true, but just like a headless cockroach, this guy just keeps coming back and leaves me as confused as ever as to how men's minds work.

So what about BA ? All good there….well it always starts that way doesn’t it? He’s on the ball, sarcastic, is incredibly blunt and was pretty open about where he is at in his life and what he wants from life.

We talked for just over and hour and... well let’s see how this one turns out, shall we?

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Floods and Photos

After all of the drama of recent weeks it’s nice to get back to the lighter things in life which for me normally equates to writing, catching up with friends and family, eating and of course men.

You may have thought that I had given up on the whole darned dating koboddle, but as they say you can’t keep a good diva down, well not unless she’s lost it or has some other mega important reason to stay on her knees for a indeterminate space of time!.

Mr Invisible continues to sniff around, confirming the old adage, that it is always the people you can never see yourself with and never ever want to see naked, that are always the ones keenest on you !

He phoned me at 11:30 last night to complain bitterly about his house sale possibly falling through, due to a flood at his potential purchase. He prattled on about how terrible it all was and he was ‘still in shock’ (it’s a house sale not a death!) about the damage to the house.

I dread to how he would deal with a full on disaster or personal crisis ! I was my normal blunt self – harsh I know, but I just couldn’t help it!

“You need to make some quick decisions. Get onto the solicitors; come up with a list of queries/concerns you have regarding the sale going through and the renovation work required as a consequence of the flood and get some answers. Then weigh up your options. Look at the market around you, can you find a similar property to buy at such a competitive price? Do you want to pull out of the current house sale? Get as much information as possible, but for goodness sake, make a decision and stop all this woe is me crap!”

Just as men through the ages have an in-built radar which detects desperate women at close range, women have the same about wimpy men and by that I mean men who can’t make decisions or trust their own judgements – the super needy ones!! .

It was as if he wanted me to take over and solve his problems for him. I ended the conversation when he started talking about meeting up again…..why I have no idea ! Even Mr Invisible acknowledged at the end of our conversation

“You are a very strong woman” Too right. I am. Which is why we will never work out !

Compare those hysterics to the rather lovely BA (BodyAnimal – his tag name – I can vouch for the body, which is truly a beautiful thing, but the animal, well I have yet to explore that particular avenue!).

His opening gambit “Fancy a chat”, was direct and to the point, which makes a change. I instantly got stuck into teasing him about his obligatory topless shot on his profile.

Now don’t get me wrong, I did raise an eyebrow in a good way at his well honed body (it would have been quite rude and wrong not too!) but, why is it that men online think taking their shirt off is the only way they can attract a woman’s attention?.

You get the pretty boys and meat heads who take off their shirts to show you how much time they’ve spent in the gym. Which begs the question, how will they manage to fit a girlfriend into their super busy training schedules?

Also it is a taster of what you might win, if you meet their requirements – which is normally to be very young, very skinny and relatively inoffensive e.g. not needy, just grateful to be dating them and always knowing ‘your place’.

Then you get the brainy ones – hot smart boys who don’t think a picture of them in a t-shirt (preferable tight black or white and if they are wearing a nice pair of jeans then…..arrgh but I digress !) or sweater smiling will be enough to close the deal.

Granted there are a lot of truly shallow women out there, but there are also quite a few of us who think a good sense of humour and a cheeky smile, can outdo a self obsessed Adonis any day of the week!.

BA and I talking again tomorrow, so watch this space!