Friday, 5 February 2016

Pause, or Stop



I'm taking a pause. Or perhaps a permanent stop. I haven't decided yet.

Last night, I changed my twitter and instagram handles. I realised I no longer really identified as a blogger, and certainly didn't identify with the The Cup and Saucer thing I had going on all over the internet. Though of course, that's what this space is still called because, quite frankly, I'm not sure I have the energy, inclination, or desire to try to do a thing where I change a name of a website online without losing followers because, to be honest, I'm not worried about whether anyone reads these words in the first place.

And I think that's the reason I really am stopping. Because I don't care if anyone reads the words I write here, I'm not writing here. I'm writing in notebooks or- good gracious- talking to friends about the things in my head instead.

I don't care about the latest lipstick colours, or freebies sent from brands looking to boost their ranking on Google's front page. In fact these days, I think I'm less likely to buy something if I suspect a blogger has been sent it for free. 

I've more or less stopped reading blogs, because I no longer find them interesting, for the most part. There are a (very) few- Charlotte's and Jenny's and Laura's and Meg's- that I read still. The former two because they're two of my absolute favourite people on the whole entire planet. And the latter two because they say the things I want to say in a way that's so great I find myself nodding along with every post. 

So yeah. This might be it. It might not be. But it probably will be.

So to those of you who have read along for a while- or who have just floundered by in your travels across the internet- thank you for sharing in a part of my life that has been, in a lot of ways, the making of me. 

But I think I need to just carry on and make myself now.

Thursday, 7 January 2016


I saw a friend on Sunday for a walk and a coffee. It was pouring with rain, and we went through five umbrellas in three hours. We caught up, swapped Christmas stories, sipped hot drinks, and she said to me "This is the first time since November that I feel like you're almost completely back to yourself again. It doesn't seem like you're just putting a brave face on. You seem okay again".

And I felt it. After two months, I felt back to myself. World-weary and walls rebuilt (taller than ever) but I felt okay. Strong, even. I was doing totally fine, and feeling great.

And then this morning, I caught a person's eye, and I felt myself fall apart all over again.

I'm going to do my damnedest not to. I've been too busy holding myself together with tape and glue for the last two months to let a passing glance undo me again. But for now, I can feel that hole at the bottom of my sternum reopening. The focus drifting. The memories sinking in. 

Allowing that to happen would be the easy option. 

But I'm not going to take the easy way out this time.

Tuesday, 29 December 2015


Being home for Christmas has been an amazing thing. I feel rested, calm, slightly bored, and a lot more at peace than I did before the break. 

The interesting thing about going home for Christmas though is how it makes everyone revert to their teenage selves. My older brother and I bickered over the TV remote, him insisting on watching Match of the Day while I was mid-Big Bang Theory. My younger brother spent time with friends he's known since the age of 5. We were all exposed to the local, small town, gossip mill. 

But while my brothers revelled in catching up with some of their oldest friends, but I actively avoided almost all contact with my former self.

I'm not the girl I was when I was in school. In fact, when I look at the one or two pictures of 16-year-old Alice I can find easily, I barely recognise her. She and I still wear the same size clothes (in fact, I still regularly wear a top I'm wearing in one of these pictures), our hair is not dissimilar, our smile is of course roughly the same- somewhat tentative, crinkle eyed, with that weird upper lip dimple- but there's practically an entire decade between us. A decade of change, of development, of joy and sadness and fear, and I'm just, quite simply, not her.

Why would I want to spend time with people who still remember me as that girl? Who have known me since before I knew myself?

In some ways, there is something immensely comforting in spending time with people who have known you for the best part of your life, and I do spend a lot of time with Z, my primary school best friend. But Z and I have spent time together throughout all of that change. We recognise each other as the adults we are now, not the girls we once were. 

(Though of course we still remember the times we dressed in matching outfits, or made up dance routines to Disney songs)

I feel this year has been a huge one in terms of development and change. Maybe more so than at any other time in my life. And you have, of course, read passages of that (and, incidentally, thank you to sticking with me through all of this. It does mean a lot). I no longer feel as though I really have to explain who I am to people. I no longer have the energy or inclination to spend time with people who don't make me feel good about myself. 

I'm at the point of welcoming the new year with open arms now. I have grand plans for this year. I'm still trying to work out the logistics of them, but I'm so excited to make the most of this year and to travel and visit new places and see old friends marry and make new friends and have new adventures. 

I'm going to use 2016 to find out more about myself- to take trips alone, to start a new job (I hope), to experience ALL THE THINGS. 

And while I'm so excited for the new, and to discover and dream and explore, I'm also happy to know that- despite hating being thought of as the girl I used to be- there is always a home for me here.

Thursday, 17 December 2015

A Growing Sense of Peace

On Monday, I got home from work and promptly burst into tears. Big, heaving, heavy sobs, tears pouring down my face, leaving me unable to catch my breath. 

I cried for so many things. For angry comments aimed at me. For my friend leaving for a new job. For news which should have been good, but which really left me panicked. For everything that has happened this year, and the year before. For Christmas, for my family, for friends, for feeling lost.

After a while, I stopped. I picked myself up, I made myself supper, and I carried on.

Last night, I met my friend L to talk about something that happened to me seven years ago. And of course, we started by talking about everything that has happened to each of us recently. In fact, she greeted me with "Alice, it sounds like you've had a really, really heavy few months". And I filled her in, and she filled me in, and we talked about mutual friends and families and health and happiness, and laughing, I told her that in fact, it isn't just a couple of months or years of chaos- in fact, I think this is just my life. 

And I asked her Is this what life is? Periods of chaos and crap and everything being really dreadful, punctuated with little happy times?

Of course, I accepted that some of those happy times are longer than others, and of course, you could argue the opposite- that life is periods of happiness punctuated with little moments of chaos and crap. But I think accepting that things just kind of are like this, and that that is okay, makes things a little easier to deal with. 

This morning, I text M to wish him a Happy Christmas. He's heading home today. No one deserves a peaceful Christmas more than he does, and I needed him to know that I was thinking of him and wishing him well. And the fact that he replied within moments, and told me to have a great Christmas, and suggested a catch up in the new year... it made me feel more peaceful. It made it easier to accept things the way they are.

Because maybe life is just constant chaos punctuated by little moments of happiness. And maybe that's hard, and horrible, and difficult to accept. But maybe when you do accept it, you realise that it isn't altogether a bad thing. That maybe rolling withe the punches, rather than letting them knock you flat, is the only way any of us can get through the day to day. That happiness isn't something we should perpetually feel. That heartbreaks happen, and everyone leaves, and things are so so tough. But that these things make us stronger, and braver, and harder, yes- but also softer to those experiencing the things we've gone through.

Because that's all any of us want, isn't it? To know we aren't the only ones feeling what we feel? 

So yes. I'm feeling exhausted, and hardened, and battered and bruised and strong and weak and like there's actually a gaping hole at the bottom of my sternum... but there's a growing sense of peace within me too.