Just relax!

I am naturally quite a lazy person. I enjoy activities and rushing and getting stuff done, but I definitely need rest, and preferably one day of every weekend would involve not really leaving the sofa and certainly not leaving the house. I need more sleep than I ever, ever get, and I have the constant suspicion hanging over me that I could achieve rather great things should I ever actually feel well-rested and fully functioning.

I just don’t have a Type A personality. I’m not particularly competitive (friends and family never get bored of me saying so), and I have reasonable levels of what you might call ambition in that I want to progress, I want to be well thought of, and I get bored easily. But I’m not willing to work as hard as I need to in order to achieve my ‘dreams’; I value my work-life balance and relationships too highly to reach for the stars, so I just sort of reach a little above me in a way that is achievable but still feels like I’ve made a modicum of effort.

But unlike the classic Type B personality, I do very much let stress get to me. I have found increasingly that I get agitated and tired when I have a lot to think about, and I can’t really work out why: every job I’ve had has been busy and pressurised. My current role gives me plenty of autonomy but I have the support available, for the most part, when I need it. So I don’t understand why I seem to apportion seriousness to occasions that don’t require it; I take pride in doing a good job but I think it goes beyond that.

In September I took two weeks off to catch up on some sleep and generally unwind. We hadn’t had the quiet time at work during the summer that I had hoped for and I was feeling seriously frazzled. I planned a few activities but my main aim was really to rest and recharge, hang out with the Puss and potter about a bit. During my time off however, I felt like I was sitting on an anthill. My mind raced, I struggled to focus, and I was constantly distracted by what I ‘should’ be doing or what ‘needed’ to be done. I was overwhelmed by the small things- washing up, spraying some cleaner around the bathroom, putting a few items of clothing away- and how much there was to do, but I didn’t manage to get any really big projects done because I felt so trapped between trying to relax and being haunted by chores. My fortnight did not feel as enjoyable as I expected it to as I just came back to work feeling that I had forgotten how to relax.

Sali Hughes wrote a great piece for The Pool about the effect her smartphone was having on her life, and how stressed it made her. I have really been thinking about whether this could be a factor for me and while the reference to the small hits of dopamine we get as a result of an interaction on social media really resonated, I don’t feel that it is my phone that’s causing me to be so frazzled. I don’t rely on it as a tool for my work so I can keep it separate (I think!) and just enjoy downloaded episodes of The Bold Type on the Amazon Video app. Smartphones definitely don’t help us to wind down and I think there are strong arguments for not keeping them in the room in which you sleep; I also think that they’re always there to give that little hit of stimulation during a boring moment. I just can’t help but feel that my iPhone isn’t the problem, or it’s only part of the story.

This I do know: I recharge around people so I need my quiet time at home with my significant other, and I also need to hang out with friends and family, and to get out of the house. I need dumb TV to offset being busy at work, but that often doesn’t leave me room to feel intellectually nourished so on top of the podcasts I listen to- which are generally reasonably intelligent- I’ve signed up for a course through edx, which is a provider of online courses from universities all around the world. You can choose from hundreds of courses in the sciences, arts, law, technology, and it’s free so wonderfully democratic and inclusive. I paid £40 so that I get a certificate at the end, and it helps to support the programme, which is truly phenomenal. Predictably I haven’t got very far with my women’s history course yet but I know I’ll feel so much better when I pick it up again.

So the plan from here is to be sociable but not to the point that I’m exhausted; make sure that I’m continuing to learn challenging things; get some exercise in (I’m starting to walk more again but I need to be more consistent); and make sure I get a few more nights when I haven’t used wine to unwind. I still feel at this moment that I will struggle when I next have some time off from work to refresh, and at the moment I’m just not sure that the Headspace app is going to cut it. I do know that this intense woman will need to have a plan in place to get just the right level of activity and rest, a flexible plan that provides structure but not too much structure. I know I can’t be the only one, but I’m also not sure where to start. It definitely begins with taking my supplements on a regular basis, and finding a way to quiet that busy mind of mine, but beyond that relaxation for me seems to be a project all of its own.


Picture credit: relax by Saeful Muslim from the Noun Project

Category: Life
Seriously Strong cheddar spread colour2

We’re in October and here are some Things I Like Right Now!

I just wrote a truly horrendously depressing intro and then deleted it (well, cut it; I’m very indecisive) because we all know that the world is a terrible place full of guns and I don’t need to retread that ground here. I’m in the sweet spot between the bonkers beginning of term and the stress-spending of Christmas and I have a mini-break to Yorkshire with my girls coming up. Let’s breathe deeply, get more sleep, and reflect on some of the absolute rubbish that’s been propping me up in the last couple of months.

1. RuPaul’s Drag Race

For the longest time I may have thought that RuPaul’s Drag Race was actually about cars. It’s the sort of stupid assumption that hadn’t made it into a fully-formed thought and there’s really no excuse. I’m not sure what prompted me to start watching but there it was on Netflix and I needed an easy-going download, so we met and now I’m in love.


Once I decided to start watching, I realised that while it is outrageous and OTT, it’s not as painfully camp as I thought it would be and RuPaul has this incredible charismatic way with her; it’s not schlocky, it’s insanely well judged. The character that RuPaul has created in his drag persona is gorgeous and the show has all the classics of reality TV: arbitrary judgement, editing that creates villains, a lower tier destined to leave early on in the competition. But what it also does is make the viewer really think about drag as an artform, and as a musing on gender. At least two contestants have come out as transgender, which prompts a closer look at gender and identity politics: for some Drag Queens the artform reflects the feminine side of their personality, for others it is more driven by the love of performance. For some Drag Queens, is it a stop on the way to fully realising and reflecting their true gender? And as cultural and societal norms shift, there will be an interesting conversation to be had around the relation of body and genitals to a person’s sex and gender.

In the meantime, there are fabulous gowns, terrible wigs- if I’ve learnt anything watching RDR, it’s that you need to spend on hairpieces, queen- and some very funny ladies. Get you some (on Netflix).

2. Into The Gloss

I had heard of Into the Gloss, a US-based beauty blog, but mainly in relation to the brand Glossier, which has just started shipping to the UK (and doesn’t the beauty press know it). Glossier is famed for its cool products which are marketed with hot young people who don’t hide their freckles when putting on their make-up and just dab on a spot of concealer where they need it.  I cannot relate.  But ITG is actually quite a fun, accessible site; yes it still showcases those Beautiful Freckle Girls, but there’s also lots of features about fillers and hair products and self-tanning, and they’re mainly quite compact and easy to read when you only have a couple of minutes.

I’ve been binging on their Top Shelf feature which interviews all sorts of people about their skin care and cosmetics; chefs, writers, actors, Creative Directors of fancy brands. It’s in the subject’s own voice and of course some of the pieces are 300 words on products that cost hundreds and hundreds of pounds, but I still find the articles quite interesting and soothing. Along with the podcast Fat Mascara, it’s just a fun but well-written beauty diversion for the end of my lunchbreak.

3. Spreadable cheese

Modern thinking states that there are no guilty pleasures, that if you enjoy something then just accept it: there is no shame in enjoying Michael Bolton. But I feel like a cheese spread flavoured with Brie might be the exception. President Creme De Brie has been an absolute favourite of mine for a number of months; it’s cheap, tasty (arguable, but I like it), lower in calories than real cheese (about 300 cal for the whole 125g pot) and lasts ages in the fridge with a Use By of 2-3 months’ time.

President Creme de Brie
You broke my freaking heart, man!

Unfortunately- and I say that through stifled sobs- I have just found out that the President spready Brie is not vegetarian. NOT VEGETARIAN. I have been eating it with not an inkling! I’ve googled all the ingredients and most of them are not only vegetarian but vegan, so it must be the rennet used in the Brie. Which is weird because the normal President Brie is suitable for vegetarians.  It doesn’t say anything about its animal derivatives on the pack or on the President website, but Asda, Ocado, and Waitrose all state the fact clearly. I must accept it.

Anyway luckily the Seriously Strong Cheddar Cheese Spread is suitable for me. It makes me feel nowhere near as continental as the brie, but at least it’s a tasty spreadable treat that can stay in your fridge for months until you’re too lazy or full of red wine to cook anything, at which point you just open a pack of crackers and dig in. I’ll do my mourning in private.

Category: Life

Three years later, I’m still not sure what to say about Domestic Violence

Statistically, you know someone experiencing domestic violence.

I wrote almost three years ago about a friend, H, going through a truly fucking awful time. We chatted online about her partner, the destruction, what it did to her. H sent me photos of things that had been broken. We talked about the woman she saw at the school gates who H knew in her gut was experiencing something similar, and I received long messages about where H’s abusive partner’s problems started, where the anger, frustration, and violence came from. His difficult start, how he’d been let down.

Scrolling back through our messages and seeing a screenshot of a text conversation between H and her now-ex, including a glimpse of an injury; it’s very dark and very sobering. H very generously thought of me to tell her story and thought I could do it justice, and for a while I thought I could too. It’s a feminist issue- as well as a human one- and I like those a lot, so why wouldn’t I write about domestic violence? It’s so blunt and cruel and often so nuanced and complicated. It’s not like I haven’t been around manipulative people and I definitely know what a twisted relationship looks like. That sick feeling I get seeing a huge imbalance of power between two people. The subtle abuse, the not-quite violence: these are things I recognise. But I soon realised that I didn’t have anything original to say about spousal abuse. It’s something I care so deeply about but beyond my own feelings and paranoia, I didn’t feel the words come. It simply felt like a story that wasn’t mine to tell.

I offered to proof-read H’s words, edit and present them, but I found myself unable to write anything myself, even when she asked me to. We talked about this but the discussion petered out until H got in touch again in April.  The media hysteria surrounding the breakdown of Mel B’s marriage was peaking and the Mail Online was having a jolly good time with it.

Check out the comments, that right there is every last one of the reasons why it took me 15 years to leave.” 

They were obviously hideous.

The notion that if a woman doesn’t leave then whatever she suffers is her fault belongs in the last century, but let nobody accuse Mail Online commenters of subtlety or human empathy. It’s a website that sexualises children and then judges young people for dressing sexily. Of course it’s massively, stonkingly popular. It’s really easy for me to laugh at the online cesspit but the reality is so grim.

Because ultimately the biggest fear in breaking silence is that no one will believe you……… it’s what the abuser grooms you to believe and this sort of comment and debate reinforces that… [it's] just awful. “

All that your abuser has done, all the hope kicked out of you and the amount of self-worth lost, beautifully topped with the cherry of a society that can’t look at a woman being controlled or beaten by their partner and feel anything but disdain. And yes, obviously not everyone feels that way but we see and hear these messages so often that one has to actually question one’s own thinking on the subject. Still, at least the government is on our side, eh Philip Davies MP? H found these comments so depressing and angering that again she asked me to write something and again I was hit by the feeling that I couldn’t say anything important or new and therefore should probably not say anything at all. Understandably, H found this a shitty response. So then she sent me her story in her own words and it was brilliant. But man, I felt bad.

Here’s an edited extract (taking out some very complimentary stuff that I definitely don’t deserve):

“The top two searches on my browser history right now are ‘pity party’ and ‘Mel B’. Random combination I know, a little-known hobby blogger and a former spice girl! Pity Party is a collaboration written by my oldest friend and her sister. A friend who has always been in the background, always been the one, stable, non-judgemental voice of wisdom in my life. The person who has known what is right for me often years before I was inclined to agree, a friend that is younger than me but who I never managed to quite achieve peer status with as she was always that bit further evolved than I was…… until now. Until tonight as I write this post. If you’re reading this blog then I’ve finished it and convinced Laura to share it in one of the.. places that house her [writing]. In her writing, Laura is the perfect combination of empathy and logic, of straight talking and compassion that would make her the perfect person to give life to my thoughts. When Laura writes…… I listen and I want people to listen. I have stalked Laura’s blog daily, I asked her to make a comment on the storm that is surrounding Mel B right now, I asked her to put words to the absolute devastation that is invoked when as a survivor of domestic violence you are faced with everything that a google search of Mel B on the internet gives birth to.”

Yeah. I felt like a total fucker. The rest of the writing was so great, and H has said that she’s not ready for it to be out there yet but I hope she will be soon. But holy shit, I really, really felt that I’d let H down. I’m very aware of not making this about me as it truly isn’t; ultimately though, I’d been asked for help and not responded. Which is shitty. It was still another month before I could put any of this into words though, despite starting this draft immediately. I didn’t want to write just because I felt bad or guilty, but I did want to comment somehow.

Last week Refuge shared an incredible piece from The Guardian: ‘We didn’t recognise that he was dangerous’: our father killed our mother and sister. Terrible stories of heart-rending abuse are not that hard to find; one of the most moving accounts I’ve heard was Jahmene Douglas’ Woman’s Hour appearance with his mother. What that woman- and her children endured- is beyond my comprehension. The brilliance of the Guardian article is that there wasn’t physical violence in Luke and Ryan Hart’s childhood, but their father Lance was an emotionally abusive, controlling, and manipulative father and husband who turned to violence when he finally lost control of those he had sought to have it over. These behaviours- and the excuses we make for them- can have terrible effects.

From the piece:

Lance was not physically abusive – largely, the brothers believe, because they all worked hard to orchestrate a calm atmosphere at home, and because they gave in to his emotional demands. They didn’t think of his behaviour as domestic violence, because they had only ever considered domestic violence to be a man hitting a woman. Lance didn’t consider his actions to be abusive, either. “Yes, we bickered, but it wasn’t serious,” he wrote in his suicide note. “It was normal marriage stuff. No violence.” For some months, Claire had been keeping a diary of everything Lance said and did, but didn’t feel she could take it to the police because there had been no physical harm.”

If you’ve ever known a person who dictates the atmosphere and outcome of a situation according to their own feelings, this will resonate. It’s real behind-closed-doors stuff, it doesn’t leave a physical mark, but it’s devastating whether it ends in violence or not. And finally, I felt like I had something to say about spousal abuse and domestic violence; I couldn’t put into words anyone else’s experiences but I kept thinking about how these behaviours are so easily excused. How we allow people to be ‘grumpy’ or ‘sensitive’ or excuse their behaviour as being a foible of their personality when actually they are acting as a dictator, taking more than their share. Since I read the piece in The Guardian, I have thought about it a lot. I’ve thought about it in terms of behaviours I’ve witnessed, and in terms of how I act as a very emotional person. In terms of my own life, and in terms of seeing an interaction between a couple and having that gut feeling that something isn’t right. It’s reminded me that abusive behaviour can lead to violence but it is destructive in and of itself. I haven’t directly experienced domestic violence but there is a lot in the Harts’ story to recognise.

I’m still not sure what to say on this huge subject, but I know I want to remain vigilant.  I’ve taken some of H’s writing and used it here and I hope she doesn’t mind. I just couldn’t para-phrase what she had said and not include the actual power of it. One thing I can rely on is that she’ll tell me if she’s pissed off, but it’s my sincere hope that she will see this as my effort to say something. I’m sorry it’s a bit late.

I know H has incredible words and I hope one day I can help her to shout them.






Image credit: Jessica Lock at the Noun Project.

Category: Life
Chilling with the homies

Being a mummy on a budget

This post seems like it should be unnecessary. Afterall, don’t nearly all mums have a budget of some description? Having children is next oldest thing in the world next to the existence of humans so it’s not like it’s a new concept.

Ahh, but yes it is, because – KLAXON! – there wasn’t social media back then (try not to roll your eyes, I do appreciate it is the most overused phrase in modern times). Yes, you might see the local squire’s wife tooling around in glad rags, and in recent times you would have read about the fineries enjoyed by royal babies. But there wasn’t that reach-out-and-touch, ‘if you’d just saved better/married better/worked harder’, element to some of the things that some new mums, prospective mums, and mums-in-waiting think go with parenthood. Big name-brand pram, designer baby clothes, endless supply of cash for coffees with mummy friends…. The list could be endless because this is a competitive market, not least because being a parent is bloody hard work, so if you have the material goods to fit in then at least that’s one base covered. And who doesn’t want every beautiful, gorgeous, magical thing going for their kid?

All images from Pinterest
All images from Pinterest

For a distinctly working class but touching the edges of middle classdom mummy with friends of varying fiscal means and a wedding, two big holidays abroad and buying our first property within the past five years, this is how I did it to my satisfaction on a budget. [Note: I did toy with titling this post ‘How to be a carer on a budget’ because there are people with the same responsibilities who aren’t caring for a child. However, having no experience of caring for a non-dependent child or adult, I didn’t feel that that would be appropriate. Hopefully though, if you are a carer (inevitably) on a budget, hopefully some bits will be useful for you.]

Buy second hand

Goodness me, this is so obvious but lots of people don’t because they a) think that their child deserves better, b) they think second hand items won’t be good quality or safe, c) they want the experience of buying new shiny things, d) they just don’t want to, or e) all or some of the above.

My first comment here is that there is such a flood of second hand children’s goods available it borders on the ridiculous. Big ticket items such as cots, prams and gizmos like the Fisher Price Rainforest Jumperoo (if you have a baby and you haven’t heard of this, you soon will!) are usually expensive and people are keen to make their money back. For these items, what’s for sale will either be used to an expected extent so will be older, potentially slightly more raggedy, but usually more bargainous, or will be barely used so in really good condition but therefore more a reduced price rather than being truly bargainous.

Set your budget here: research what you want, how much you’re willing to pay for it and how much you want it before looking at market availability. If you’re dead-set on an UPPAbaby pram, you’re going to pay something more akin to the original price than if you want a decent second hand pram of any description, from any manufacturer. My absolute best bargain was my pram which is a Mothercare Xpedior travel system (now discontinued but still available second hand), purchased for the princely sum of £31. This is an exceptional bargain by anyone’s standards but it was used, and Mothercare isn’t necessarily a brand everyone wants. I decided early on that if I won the lottery, I’d be marching into John Lewis and getting the pram of dreams. Until then, it is more important that I buy food and keep my child entertained, so Mothercare was more than good enough for me.*

The pram in action

FYI, there are more places to look for second hand goods than eBay. Gumtree has lots of listings and is far easier to refine by location. Facebook also seems to have lots of sales pages specific to location, and I have bought some unopened baby formula and a baby support for very low prices. Worth having a look. Plus, NCT sales, local nearly-new sales and even car boot sales are excellent places to get good quality used baby wear, which, considering how quickly they grow out of stuff, is one of the easiest ways to save cash.

Learn to balance

With most of my disposable income (ha!) now going on my son, obviously my own wants have taken a back seat. So I have learned the art of balance. With more time away from work, I now shop around for basics and regular groceries, using a mix of supermarkets, discount stores and my local market to then afford the nicer bits such as decent veg for me and my boys and the occasional fakeaway (I might splash out on spices to make a curry but at least I’ll have leftovers and it’s still cheaper than ordering one in).

Not a curry but was yummy-yummy nonetheless

I now also scrutinise my wardrobe on a near daily basis because the days of only being able to wear that top with those trousers or having to have that particular bra under that frock are well and truly behind me. I am dressing against the clock every day so each item in my wardrobe has to work. That means that every time I refine, I sell the bits I don’t need (the mobile eBay app is a real timesaver here) and can then reinvest in one thing I really want. Most recently I got the Selfish Mother ‘Mother’ sweatshirt and I love it.


Scout out the free activities

This is going to be quite baby-centric because my son is only 1, but this applies across all ages. Essentially, you need to find out what’s available in your area for free. Why? Because it will give you a reason to leave the house, you might learn something, your baby/child will socialise, and it’s a great way to meet other mums if that’s what you want to do.

My local children’s centres have been absolutely invaluable to me. Run by 4Children, they provide free drop-in play sessions, breastfeeding support groups, and bookable sessions and courses on things such as baby massage, baby sensory, First Aid and weaning. I have learned so much from these courses and have made some wonderful friends. My son is now of an age where he really enjoys visiting the centre and playing with the huge array of toys on offer, which keeps things interesting for him and allows him to play with other children. Plus, the baby massage course I attended was vital in coping with his colic, and I felt a real sense of support from the centre staff.

Also, never underestimate the power of a park. It’s a great place to meet up with other mums (I took lunch and snacks in plastic containers to save cash) and having a roll around on a blanket in the sun is a lovely way to play and bond. Once the kiddies are older, swings are just a godsend. As long as it’s not raining, there’s never a day you can’t squeeze in a park visit.

Chilling with the homies
Chilling with the homies

Decide where to splash your cash

Having a baby is expensive. It just is. They need a lot of sh*t. And while you can buy second hand as much as possible and make use of free local resources, there will be times when you have to pay out. Here are the areas we spent money on:

Baby formula. My son had to be combination fed when he was born because of low blood sugar, and we carried on the practice once home. We used the same brand of formula as they had at hospital which wasn’t the cheapest but at least meant we were less likely to waste it because he knew he would drink it. We then had to invest in a particular kind because of his colic. Pricey but totally worth it.

  • Osteopathy. Again, this was to address the dreaded colic but was absolutely worth it. I don’t know what my son would have been like without this treatment but I believe his colic would have been worse. At the very least we knew that we were doing everything we could to help him, which is worth a lot.
  • Swimming. I invested in two classes, and while our baby sensory class was fun, I found it a very competitive environment parent-to-parent, not to mention quite cliquey. My son enjoyed it, and it did tire him out, but overall swimming was the winner. Being in the water together is such a lovely experience and our school focuses on water safety as well. Plus, this tires him out like nothing else. It doesn’t necessarily make bathtime that relaxing but he does conk out like a good ‘un afterwards. RESULT.
  • Socialising. We didn’t go out every day to meet people, but when I did make plans to meet mummy friends, I went to a nice baby-friendly place which felt like a treat. We will still pop into a nice place when out shopping because it’s a bit of a treat for me and him to sit with a drink, being part of the world, looking all cute (him) and smug (me). Getting out and treating myself in this way is worth every single penny because I feel like a normal human being and so much more like myself. I got to see friends and my son got to see other bubs. I loved it and, as most mums will attest, getting up, dressed, and into your local town centre is time-consuming enough as to take up half the day, so throw in a lunch and a mooch and you’re day is done. Perfick.

I do hope you found some pearls of wisdom in there somewhere. Do let me know if you’d like to know more about my mumma experiences or if you never want to hear anything about them ever again! Have a good week everyone!


*In buying my second hand travel system, I researched buying used baby seats beforehand to ensure my son would be safe. If you’re ever unsure then buy your pram second hand but pair with a new car seat.

Category: Life
heart sand

You have Parent Issues even if you don’t think you do

It is obvious that our parents have an almost inconceivable effect on our development as human beings, and most of us can accept that. Whether you vote the way your parents do or reject that completely, you’re reacting to how you were brought up; the conversations, the assumptions, the influences. And when someone has had a tragic or abusive childhood, we can envisage why that might have messed them up. We can see that impact because it’s in popular culture, in TV and paperbacks in WH Smith with pictures of sad children on the cover. But more and more (and more) I am realising the impact that familial relationships have, not just on our development as a human being but on the very way we form relationships. However conscious we are about our decision making, most of us don’t realise the extent to which we are recreating patterns in our personal lives.

Does this sound a little self-helpy? I can see that. It’s probably symptomatic of the sort of literature that I read and the sorts of things I’ve always been interested in that this rings so true with me. The people I’m interested in (in a literary sense) are often cerebral types, often recovering addicts, people who have had a lot of therapy. I also like Jillian Michaels, the trainer from The Biggest Loser, who is- I think it’s fair to say- not a particularly cerebral type. But she is a person who understands the destructive nature of her relationship with her father growing up, and how that makes her react, in a very real way, to authority figures in her own life. When the people I’m interested in kept saying the same thing in many different ways, it slowly started to dawn on me that it made sense.

This shit makes sense!
This shit makes sense!

The problem is that because we live our own experiences and our perception is our reality. It is often very hard to see that it might be worth questioning the conclusions we’re drawing. I’ve been racking my brains for an example that isn’t vague, or boring. Of course when you have an interaction with someone and they appear preoccupied we can read that as them being rude, or having something on their mind, or interpret ourselves as boring or not worthy of their attention. But without a specific example, it’s all a bit blah. So I’ll give you mine.

In my early twenties I was almost always in a relationship and I assumed it would never be that difficult to find another. A little further into my twenties, I found myself single and working in the City, and it was suddenly much harder to meet someone. It wasn’t hard to meet people in general but it was sure as shit extremely hard to meet anybody worth spending any time with. That obviously excludes the unbelievable friends I made  there and continue to be close to: they’re gorgeous. The harder I tried the further away what I wanted seemed to be, like trying to catch a fish in your hands. I’d have dates, and second dates, and sometimes more, just to have the person disappear. Any time I got comfortable, that person would ghost on me, so of course I went into every relationship being scared that would happen. “We all have those fears!”, I hear you cry, and of course we do. But until I was in a relationship that felt like a team, where I felt secure, I couldn’t see how utterly terrified I had been in the early stages of the relationship that it would all crumble. It was a pathological fear, a physical feeling that M would leave me. I put it down to the ghosting morons. Now, 798 high-brow podcasts later, I am struck by the truth of the realisation I had a couple of months ago: my fear that the person I love will reject me is as a direct reaction to my fear that love would be withdrawn as a child.

I’m not going to criticise or blame, that’s not the point. I just feel more free and more calm realising that love felt conditional in my childhood and  that it’s had an impact. I also had a lot of unconditional love and continue to have that, and that is nourishing and has made me a lot of who I am. I just also deeply feel that love can be withdrawn.

Look, I don’t think having a critical parent with their own issues qualifies me to write a misery memoir called Why won’t you love me? My point isn’t self-pity, my point is that I have reflected on this one small element of what affects the dynamics of my relationship and it feels very true and runs very deep, and holy shit where does that leave us all? We’re screwed, doomed to repeat patterns that we don’t even recognise! I suppose some people can identify some of the many fibres that form the whole, to a greater or lesser degree. But even just taking a second to think about your opinion or emotion or irritation or resentment, taking a moment to hold it up to the light and to think about the years that went into it, the assumptions and pain, well I think that might be worth it. Holding up Not Going to Prezzo and examining it, maybe I’ll find that it turns to dust. Don’t get me started on Ways I Need To Be Shown I’m Loved. I’m trying, OK?


Category: Life