Stories…

Imagine

Imagine cold winter days snuggled up by the fire; imagine coming in from work and crawling into your arms on the sofa; imagine completing crosswords; imagine dancing round the kitchen singing badly and cooking equally as badly; imagine spanking you with the tea towel just because; imagine the pillow fights; imagine the food fights; imagine every birthday year after year; imagine being wrapped up warm in scarfs and hats on firework night cuddling when the fireworks scare me; imagine learning every last detail; imagine going on runs; imagine jumping for joy and fist pumping the air when life goes right; imagine confiding our biggest fears; imagine the long walks; imagine evenings in, candles lit reading side by side; imagine hiding behind you or sobbing into your t-shirt when a film or documentary gets too scary; imagine sitting on the toilet whilst you shower just so we can continue chatting; imagine the smell of your skin every day; imagine making a roast dinner together and having friends round; imagine you are the best person in my life; imagine endless fun at gigs; imagine signing off hilarious cards as a team; imagine the peace, knowing you will always be there; imagine a Sunday evening wrapping up and heading lazily to the cinema together; imagine peering into your eyes every day; imagine listening to albums together and discussing the best and worst music of all time; imagine how much our faces would hurt from all the laughter; imagine the taste of your lips every single day; imagine late night chats every night righting the worlds wrongs; imagine hearing your voice every day; imagine stroking your back each night; imagine the indisputable trust; imagine being my sole confident; imagine being appreciated completely; imagine being my best friend as well; imagine forever.

And yet…

‘And yet’ because nothing is smooth, there’s always reasoning, highs, lows, misunderstanding, pain, joy, pros, cons, ups, downs. Everything between.

So find a short series of what some might call musings, others call poems, written across a bunch of months.

Look forward to a love that makes me feel how

Norah Jones

Otis Redding

Stevie Wonder

Lianne La Havas

Bonnie Rait

Joni Mitchell

Madonna

Eva Cassidy

All felt.

No more cryptic

No more uncertainty

No more anxiety

No more hopes crushed

No more empty words

No more.

You made me fearless

In my pursuit for you

You set my soul on fire

Does something have to make sense

Can it not just feel right?

Someone’s potential

Someone’s ability to love whilst you’re there

Someone’s capacity to make you feel

Does not make it enough

I don’t know what I’m looking for exactly

Fuck the boxes to tick.

The fire, the all night conversation,

The laughter, oh the eye smiling laughter,

The challenges, the fight,

The deepest desire,

The kisses that rumble your whole heart and question everything you thought you knew about love.

Wanting to rely and be relied on

Wanting someone with every fibre of your body

Wanting someone with every thought

Wanting every conversation, every single word to count

Wanting every moment to count.

Because what if that is the very last.

I’m looking. But I’m blinded. I want

What Sally had.

Laughter and growing together

That’s all anyone wants, right?

You will never get

These eyes

These lips

My touch

My scent

My concern

Understanding

Affection

Passion

Me

Again.

Know your worth.

Take nothing for granted.

Be fearless in love, in life.

Otherwise, tell me, what is the point?

If you cannot rely

Can you trust?

Can you confide?

With everything that is precious?

With you?

How long do you compromise

How long do you mould yourself

How long do you exert energy

For what back?

Our heads reeled

Our stomachs reeled

Our hearts were bursting

Our lips, our bodies were perfect

I honestly believe

You are the best I will ever have.

In the end,

Words don’t matter.

Your eyes

Your kiss

Told me more than

Your mouth ever did

Enough is enough

There’s nothing I wouldn’t do

For one good run with you.

& whilst sometimes it doesn’t make sense

& whilst the timing feels wrong

& whilst sometimes it’s scary

& whilst it feels impossible

& whilst it’s hard

It is everything, it is perfect.

How you feel.

What you want.

What you need.

It’s all valid.

I hope

I am

The biggest mistake

You ever make

‘It’s terrifying’ he whispered

‘It’s love’ she replied.

And they held each other.

And they clung to one another.

Like no one else existed.

Like no one else mattered.

Did I scare you?

Do you love me?

Will you ever know;

what we had was real

it was the best we will ever have

Our bodies fitted perfectly

Our thoughts aligned

Life ambitions in sync

We connected, sparks flew

For a reason

Kind, warm eyes.

Smile with your whole face.

You take my breathe away.

It was his scent, his aura.

It was the taste of his lips

It was the warmth and softness of his skin

It was his eyes that lit up when he looked at her.

What if knock backs propel you further forward than you could ever imagine?

It’s important to remember

I never had you

And you never had me.

Not really.

No one

Simultaneously

Loved me so much

And yet did not.

It’s okay

It’s okay to practice yoga and still not be able to touch your toes

It’s okay to pretend to know lyrics when you haven’t got a fucking clue

It’s okay to love men and be a badass feminist

It’s okay to not have the first idea about contouring or fake nails

It’s okay knowing you have so much love to give

It’s okay to be confident in yourself – it’s not arrogance it’s your right

It’s okay to wear the same outfit two days running if you gotta!

(It’s perhaps not okay if you wear the same knickers though)

It’s okay to want both a career and a baby one day

It’s okay to love reading and playing the violin

(On that note, it’s okay to love playing any instrument)

It’s okay to be an absolute hopeless romantic

It’s okay if Son of Dork or Avril Lavine is your guilty pleasure jam

It’s okay to feel lost sometimes

It’s okay to not even put on pants somedays

It’s okay to use your gym membership once a month, we can’t all be superhumans

It’s okay to have a glass of wine by yourself

It’s okay to not buy into the self care industry – if candles and mindfulness don’t help you, it’s okay

It’s okay to snort when you laugh

It’s okay to be vegan and occasionally eat meat/dairy – you aren’t a robot you’re human

It’s okay to get scared

It’s okay to pull out wedgies in public

It’s okay to not know what the hell is going on right now

It’s okay to slyly wipe your nose with your sleeve if there’s not a tissue in sight

It’s okay to be in touch with your feelings

It’s okay to not keep up with all friends; the way you grew out of them, they did you

It’s okay to be a chatterbox

It’s okay to eat McDonald’s and Nando’s in the same day

It’s okay to sit in silence; you might not have anything to say but your company doesn’t either

It’s okay to want to go on a date so you can wear a nice dress

It’s okay to wear good knickers to work to make you feel good about you that day

It’s okay to call yourself a musician despite not touching an instrument in a while. You know if you picked up that shit you’d kill it

It’s okay to put 1000% effort into looking effortless/casual

It’s okay to like dogs more than humans

It’s okay to want to compromise

It’s okay to not brush your hair

It’s okay to want to be loved.

All We Have Is Now

All we have is now.

It’s a phrase I have seen posted a few times lately. It is easy to overlook this simple fact. It’s easy to complicate tomorrow, race ahead to 6 months, in our minds stress constantly about futures that are completely unknown and out of our control; we throw ourselves into turmoil trying to prove ourselves, achieve goals, progress, to what, for what? 

Rarely do we think about where we are at. Right now. In this moment. What is in front of us. Literally who is in front of us. How frequently do we stop to deeply breathe in the air that freshens our lungs? Appreciate the body we have, the people directly around us? When do we stop and appreciate those in front of us that are irreplaceable, that are making us laugh, that snap us out of bad moods, that make us feel good and just brighten up life purely because of their exact presence in it?

Tomorrow is out of reach, impossible to fast forward too, impossible to attain. So why is it it’s all we think about? Why do we not focus on the literal now, appreciate exactly what this crazy thing called life has placed before us in this moment?

Late night ramblings on, yep that’s right, love…

Is our idea of love unrealistic? Have we made it up? Have we built an unrealistic expectation, a fantasy that we think love should/will be? 

Do you really think it is possible to truly love and be loved in return? Is it possible to fully appreciate someone for everything they have done, everything they have been, everything they are, and everything you see that they have the potential to be?

Is it possible to fall in love multiple times, is one love better than the next? Should one be better? Should we feel guilty about a ‘bigger’ love coming along? Should love with THE one trump all the others? And if so, what does that say about the other loves, was it love at all?

Or does love change depending on the person you are with? Is it the potential someone makes you feel, the total comfortability you have in your skin and you have holding them, the person you become when you are with them? The security and the fearlessness they make you feel, the peace, the warmth, the sense of wholeness they bring to life.

Is the deepest level of intimacy love? Intimacy is an intensity that involves a deep trust, a willingness to look further into someone’s soul, push emotional boundaries, physical boundaries, dwell on and be inspired by each others thought provoking ideas and dreams. I wonder if intimacy is to crave, truly crave someone, to want to know everything about someone, and be willing to allow that in return. Is intimacy to hold someone’s soul in the palm of your hand, understand every thought,  every look, sound, every passion, every fear, and hold it close, protect and love them fiercely for it. Is intimacy perhaps the most vulnerable and crucial jigsaw piece to every love story? 

Or is love simply a timing thing? Or when you meet someone, is that the universe telling you this is the moment, this is the one. That’s a point, what is this ‘one’? Is that another total crackpot ideology? Then again the term ‘soulmate’ is sitting in the dictionary. Is there such a thing? Is there one person for everyone? What a overly crazy but exceptionally beautiful concept (let’s face it). Or is love sticking it out no matter what? Or is love actually exactly how I feel about my dog, maybe we all just need that in a human? I can imagine that not being so bad…

As I sit here listening to Gladys Knights and the Pips, I can’t help but wonder is it a societal expectation we have planted on ourselves? Have we built up such a big, epic, life-turned-upside-down love story in our heads that every person who comes along (bless them) is just never going to live up to that expectation? As Elizabeth Gilbert wrote, are we victims of our own optimism (and therefore arguably imagination?) (Then again, what happens if this ACTUALLY happens and your world is tipped upside down, is that love?)

If so, do we have the films to blame for this idealism? Is it Pretty Woman, Notting Hill, The Notebook that have planted dreamlike versions of love in our heads where the man kisses you in the pouring rain; where a lover chases you down on a bridge; when after a stupid petty fight you find each other because it just doesn’t matter because you just want each other; where the first kiss changes everything; where a man arrives and surprises you late at night to let you know you are the love of his life. Would a man be confident enough these days to make such a romantic gesture? Would a girl? What if the girl rocks up late at night as the romantic gesture, creating the romantic moment? Is that considered needy? Why is it only ever the man that does that in the films anyway? (That is a whole other blog post for another time). I can’t help but think mainly nobody can be bothered, or at best, you might get a text if you’re lucky.

Is it the films that convince us that the big gestures will happen, are we waiting for them? Is dating a social construct? Is it the films that teach us we will go out on candlelit dates, stare into each others eyes and gradually fall in love? Or do we have the likes of Eric Clapton writing ‘Wonderful Tonight’ or Bonnie Rait, Michael Jackson, Van Morrison, The Real Thing, Otis Redding to blame? Those artists that wrote the most epic love songs of all time, surely, surely they must have felt ridiculous levels of emotions to convey love with such intensity, intimacy, immensity? How did Stevie Wonder write ‘Lately’ without enduring the most painful agonising heartbreak of all time? (Side note – assuming that is true as a premise, how is that man still standing?!)

Or is it Gatsby, is it Mr. Rochester, have they screwed with our heads too? The smouldering looks, the extensive descriptions about the brush of a hand, the smell of her hair, a heart beating faster purely because of feeling her presence nearby, the electricity of a touch, the magic of a first kiss, the meaning in just one look. 

Those steamy film moments, the intimacy and the spark described in books, is that possible in real life? Or instead, can love not be born in a random jazz bar getting hammered on red wine shouting too loudly? Perhaps it’s not romantic, but does that make it any less plausible?

Is love having a complete appreciation for someone, or is it finding someone you could never imagine not flirting with? Is love suddenly realising you never want to live another day of your life without that person in it? Is love being patient when you want to scream, or compensating their stumpy toes when you have outrageously long ones. Is love just being in total awe of one other? Or is it covering a person’s back with confidence and strength on days when they don’t feel confident in themselves? Is it all of these things or none? Is love doubting everything in the world except them? Or is it repeatedly directing someone around London streets so they don’t get lost or go round in circles? Is love flooding someone concerns and fears with unwavering optimism? Is love holding someone in your arms and genuinely thinking you hold the best possible thing in the world? Is love having your whole world tipped upside down because of that persons precise presence in it? Then at some point, does love just become a comfortability, a silent, mutual totally equivocal happiness that doesn’t fade?

Let’s assume all the above is somehow possible, the biggest question on my mind after that boring rant is this; is the love we imagine, the love that with every song, every film we have psyched up in our heads since we could brush our own teeth, is it the love we truly deserve?

And if or when we release it is, do we act on it?

Sunsets and the Power Of Reflection

I love sunsets. They are one of the few moments in life when we are not only able to, but feel comfortable enough to stop, think and reflect; they allow us to just be.

Last week I saw an old friend handle the hardest day of her life with memorising composure and unwavering courage. Still now I am in awe of her strength and compassion; she had the room in the palm of her hand as she spoke about her beautiful mum. Everyone in the room hung onto her every word, they laughed, cried and everything in between. She was braver than most adults would be in the circumstances as she said goodbye. And I was so proud to be her friend.

It got me thinking about how much or little time we get on this earth. We have one shot at it; what are you doing to make yours count? What am I doing to make mine?

It’s so easy to be trapped constantly in your life bubble – worrying about shopping, thinking about the next promotion, the run I should probably go for, the emails I still haven’t got round too. I find myself breaking up time into blocks of years, leaving pipeline dreams on the shelf.

I am a firm believer we are right where we are supposed to be. Every moment, every memory and every lesson has helped us to where we are now, and will be valuable in the future. But are we putting in the ground work, being patient, being understanding, for something that will never come? Or putting in time time and energy to something that is not what we really want? And then if it’s not right, then what are we after? And if we are here for a limited time, how long should we wait before enough is enough? Are we slowing ourselves down to reaching our full potential, our true purpose?

There are those that wait for opportunities to fall into their laps, and there are those that are the go-getters (often mistaken for being impatient). But is to push forwards a bad thing? In many ways, I suppose how can we know if we are wasting time as every moment is an experience. But how are we to know when a scenario, job, friendship, circumstance is stale? How do we know whether the grass will be greener? At what point do we stop and look at the bigger picture, is there genuine value in what is now, or what comes next? And how does one quantify value?

The only answer I have so far is it that cliche gut feeling seems to know. And reflecting is done best whilst watching a sunset.

No time has ever been wasted doing that.

 

rx

Losing my Manicure Virginity: 12 Questions to all Women 

This weekend I lost my manicure virginity, yes, my very first in my 25 years of life. My conclusion? Ladies, you are wonder women.
I am in awe of all of you going about your daily lives achieving menial tasks with total ease. HOW do you open jars?! HOW do you undo your bra strap?! HOW do you hold your tooth brush? Text? Press a button without thumbing three? How is any of this possible with claws protruding the end of each finger?!

When I was three, I saw my older brother boldly giving up his dummies and handing them over to my parents. On that same day, I too resigned from further dummying (yup that’s now a word), and I decided if my big brother didn’t need dummies, nor did I. They were for babies and I absolutely was not a baby. 

So, I set about searching for my dummies – under the sofa, behind the bed, I extracted them from pillowcases and pockets of teddy’s – all the usual safe hiding spots. My parents tried to convince me otherwise, but I was as stubborn and defiant then as I am now.

Of course my parents were right, it was too soon. No sooner had I handed over the goods, I quickly replaced them with my nails, my fingers and the skin on my fingers for the next 22 years. 

To say I am an avid nail biter would be an understatement. (I’m the girl that bit them til they bled, that wore the stinky see-through gloss on her nails and could scrape it off with her teeth, spit it in a bin, and continue biting). Totally gross. But that was me. 

Today, after many many months of um-ing and ah-ing and failed self-help pep talks, I finally found the confidence to walk into a nail salon and get my first manicure. I was bricking it. I can’t tell you exactly what are on my fingernails. All I do know, is despite my continued stream of mumbled apologies under my breath, they are now extended and the word gel was thrown about.

It’s been 12 hours and I am struggling. 

I have regressed to nothing short of a small child. I have a whole new appreciation for women that mindlessly, professionally go about their lives skilfully fulfilling basic tasks with (what to me feel like) claws attached to the ends of each finger.
From one lady to another… help!

1. Holding a knife and fork. How? Someone teach me. 

2. Stirring anything – does it get easier? I’ve so far realised you have to half grip with the lower part of your fingers and over exaggerate your elbow/arm movement in order to effectively build a momentum your hand can follow.

3. I have peanut butter up my nails, how did that get there, how do I stop that happening again?

4. I can barely brush my teeth, how do you hold/grip a tooth brush with nails?!

5. How do you choose the colour? The woman working on my nails was exasperated with how long I took to choose mine. Sorry but 6 weeks of one colour is a huge commitment and I don’t think that should be underestimated. Or rushed.

6. How do you text accurately? It’s a whole different part of the thumb engaging now. I don’t know what key I’m going to hit next. I sound permanently drunk (thank god for autocorrect, is that the secret?) 

7. I mean it goes without saying that violin and piano playing are both completely out of the question. The classical and nail beauty worlds are just not supposed to engage.

8. How do you unclip bras and necklaces? Oh and undo buttons? Genuinely, I went to bed more-a-less fully clothed last night.

9. I no longer need scissors! I can finally do the trick my mum did when I was small and slice packaging open. Soooo useful! 

10. How do you turn the page of a book with your finger!? Currently, I’ve taken to the bend-the-book-and-flick-the-page-open method. 

11. I keep getting the urge to drum my nails on every single surface before me. When does that urge fade? 

12. I’m dreading the moment I have to open a jar.

Despite all these hurdles, I feel sassy. as. hell. Hats off to you ladies. You are silently rocking it in a way I didn’t even know were possible (well, it’s seemingly impossible for me). 
ps. no doubt this list is only going to grow longer… until then!
Rx