Monday, 23 November 2015

Parallel Universes

I've spent a large part of the weekend living in my head and thinking of a parallel universe. It's a dangerous habit of mine, where I think "if this hadn't happened, I'd be doing this or that". It's a game which can sometimes be fun- "oh god, thank GOODNESS I'm not doing that!"-  but for the most part leaves me feeling lost and a little confused as to how I ended up doing what I'm doing, and feeling how I'm feeling.

This time, I thought of the people to whom I've had to explain what a "tor" is. I was so caught in my head, I took a snap, before I realised that everyone who cares about me now knows what one is. I pictured myself wandering hand in hand with another person, or giggling down the phone late at night.

I don't recognise this girl. The Alice I know is independent, self sufficient, strong. The Alice I am at the moment is tearful, contemplative, quiet. She leaves the room when certain conversations begin; looks at her loved ones jealously, begrudging their happiness. She forgets to eat breakfast, and spends days at work with her headphones in, head down, quietly trying to make it through the eight or nine hours she spends at her desk. She doesn't bake any more.

I feel like this year, I've lost who I am. I've spent so much of this year being something else to someone else (multiple someone elses, in fact) that it has stopped me from thinking about the things that I am, that I want, that I need. I've spent days, weeks, months feeling guilty about asking for the things I need. Hiding what I feel to allow others to feel what they feel. Diminishing myself so as not to make others feel small. Hiding my feelings, hiding relationships, hiding in offices and stairwells and bedrooms and on trains.

I'm ending 2015 as a person I don't really recognise when I look in the mirror. The dark circles under my eyes, the sadness in my face, the set of my jaw that makes it look like I'm steeling myself against another blow.

I don't know who I am any more. I don't know how to get back to myself, either.

And that scares me. I don't want to be this person. I don't want to be sad, I don't want to be lonely, I don't want to pull myself away from the people who do care about me. But it's what I'm finding myself doing.

And I have no idea why.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

On 2015

Where do I even begin? Where, for that matter, do I end?

You'd assume that a post entitled On 2015 would begin back in January and would end 50 days from now. But I have a funny feeling that there are events from this year which will ripple into next year, and there are certainly things that have happened this year which are a direct result of things I did last year.

So where do I start?

This year... I have no words for this year. I think I have felt every single emotion. Currently, for example, I'm swinging wildly between deep grief as the result of a truly horrible heartbreak; to happiness for friends and family; to a sense of acceptance of the way things are at the moment; to guilt for boring my friends with yet more drama; to anger, at situations being the way they are; to concern for those I love; to deep frustration at my inability to do anything to ameliorate certain situations- for myself or others I care about; to pain.

Actual, physical pain. 

(I read a piece on A Cup Of Jo recently that mentioned that taking painkillers actually helps the pain of a broken heart. Who knew?) 

There's been another ending. Neither of us wanted it. It isn't a situation that either of us predicted when we were making plans for weekend escapes and hiding in stairwells and whispering across pillows and dancing by starlight. But life is hard, and it is what it is. And my god, what "it" is is painful. I feel raw, and it just plain hurts.

And strangely, this year started in the same way. With my heart in a blender over a really inappropriate man. A man who I let in, and who I was a fool over, despite his own better judgement, and despite my better judgement. We cared about each other deeply- we still do, in a funny sort of way- but it was a situation I'm so glad we never took further than it went.

I think I'm addicted to those highs, you know. The highs you feel when your heart and your head are screaming different things at you but you go with your heart and oh my god it feels so right

Of course, your head is inevitably somewhat right, as you realise when you're quietly crying at your desk on a Tuesday afternoon, thinking of the plans you hadn't even realised that you had made, grieving for a future you hadn't realised you had been planning, thinking of a man who came into your life in a blaze of charm and humour and life and vitality.

It's hard. 

I've learned a lot this year. I've learned I can deal with a huge amount more than I ever thought I could. I've learned that I am strong, that I love quickly and deeply and strongly. I've learned that I am able to put myself first on occasion, and that normally, that isn't a bad thing.

In many ways, all I want right now is to sleep until 2016. I don't want to deal with the way I feel right now, or the consequences of some of my actions earlier in the year. 

But really, I know that it is necessary to feel what I feel right now. I need to remember that I am allowed to have feelings and emotions. That I do not need to hide them, or feel embarrassed by them, or pretend to feel anything more or less than I actually feel. And I know that this will pass, and I will heal, and I will enter 2016 a different woman to the Alice who entered 2015.

This too will pass, but in the meantime, it will be what it will be.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

And So It Is

I'm not one for rituals, or routine. 

I have my morning routine- up at 6:45am, kettle on, shower, make tea, music on, clothes on, sip tea while blow drying my hair, make up on, work snacks gathered, and out of the door by 7:40am (to be at my desk for 8am- yes, I'm that person). But aside from that? I like to take days at face value, to enjoy them independently, individually, for precisely what they are.

A new opportunity.

But recently, M and I have slipped into a funny sort of routine. 

Conflicting diaries and the kind of time consuming dramas and issues which make you realise holy hell I actually am an adult (that is to say, house sales and job interviews and meetings with lawyers and meetings at all hours of the day and the like) have meant that lately, we haven't been able to see quite as much of each other as we might have liked.
But somehow, Sunday has become our day. 

We don't necessarily do the same things each time- in fact, we've never done the same thing twice. But Sunday is a day where we do our best to make time for each other. 

Chopping wood by hand and building campfires. Teasing each other. Long walks through Richmond Park to peek through the telescope at King Henry's Mound. Buying fancy teas. Or even just a stolen half an hour, hidden away in a stairwell to keep out of sight of prying eyes.

(Life is complicated)

But life is what it is, and for those hours on a Sunday, none of the dramas or difficulties or complications seem to matter. Technology and tiredness and complexity gets put to one side and we are just... us. 

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Small Happy Things

A delicious Portuguese red wine, shared with friends over steak and ale pie and wide ranging conversations.

New feather pillows.

Plans to visit Jenny for wedding cake planning and long catch ups (and, I'm hoping, a countryside walk with Pip) 

Being taught how to chop wood correctly with an actual, proper axe.

Long walks through Richmond Park, complete with a peek through a telescope to spot St Paul's Cathedral, and childishly balancing along the edge of a wall, instead of walking on the path like a sensible adult would.

Tesco deliveries where unpacking the box feels a little like Christmas: "Oh, I forgot I ordered this!"

The autumn sunshine, and watching the sky change colour as I peek through the window while I shower.

Plans for a supremely girly day with one of my favourite women on the planet, complete with wedding dress shopping, make up lessons, and tea at Ladurée.

And a man who is incredibly important to me, who told me lately that I don’t seem 25. Despite my baby face, and tendency to dance to Taylor Swift, and the wide-eyed wonder with which I look at the unfamiliar, he told me that I am an Old Soul. Someone who has packed a huge amount into their twenty five years on the planet we call Home. He told me that I am intelligent, and wise, and beautiful, and I could have cried at the realisation that here is someone who looks at me and sees not the past or the damage, or who sees me as somebody’s someone, but who seems (bizarrely, incredibly, wonderfully) to see me as entirely and completely myself.