I’m back…I think

3 years ago, I found myself swallowed by a big black hole. I was numb. I was exhausted. I woke up one Friday morning and I could not move. It wasn’t because I was paralysed physically, but mentally and emotionally I was broken.

I’ve suffered with anxiety as far back as I can remember. I have stubby fingernails and some pretty crazy actions, borne out of overthinking, that pay testament to that fact. But after a break up, a new home, a new job, finding my feet with single parenting and the loss of my beloved dog Rosie, the cracks in my toughened exterior finally shattered into a million pieces.

I rang the doctor. I had no idea why I was feeling the way I was but after a 20 minute chat, the doctor simply said…it’s not an anxiety attack you are having. You are depressed.

For the first time in a long time I cried. I cried and cried and cried and cried. I struggled to breathe through the sobs as the reality dawned on me that my brilliant astute brain and my inner strength had finally given up on me.

Of course they hadn’t given up. Simply put, my mind and body forced me into facing my reality that I cannot lunge myself into all manner of exciting things as a way of dealing with what was going on inside.

I was hurt. I was sad. I was carrying a heavy guilt. I felt like a burden on my friends and family and rather than face that head on, I simply ignored it and went on with life. I was fixing a broken heart. I hadn’t felt loved in a long time, nor did I think I was deserving of it.

At the very same time, I had met a guy. He was nicknamed Super Mark because he had done all these incredible things. He had such an amazing life story. Things were moving rapidly, but when I woke up on that Friday morning I had no idea how I was going to tell him.

He knew I was off work. And one night on the phone he asked me if I struggled with depression. No, I answered. He responded softly saying ‘I have you know. I’ve been depressed to the point of suicide. I know from experience that the only way to start healing is to talk’.

In that moment, everything I had been holding in came tumbling out. I have no idea how long I was on the phone for. He patiently listened to me pour my little heart out. I have no idea if he was listening really, but I sensed he was from his mmm’s and aah’s and awww’s.

By the time I finished, he simply said ‘this is a chapter in your life. You won’t feel like this forever, just for now. Do you feel better?’

It dawned on me in that moment that by talking and getting everything off my chest, I felt a sense of relief. I wasn’t ‘fixed’. I had simply opened the door into healing.

And the mad thing about it, was that afterwards, Mark didn’t run a mile. He chose to love me instead and gave me a wonderful 8 months. That is until I found out he told my Dad that my mum was fit and how much fun it would be to have me and her together.

(Which is proof that even the good guys can be grade A fucking dickheads)

I digress. Back to healing.

I started therapy and working on doing things that made me happy. That’s how I got into football coaching. And how I got back to my hiking. I started budgeting properly and planning days out to the beach. I discovered hypnosis and meditation. Eventually, although it took a while, I found writing again.

Reflecting on the last two months, despite the wonderful things I have been experiencing, I have definitely fallen backwards a little. Depression isn’t ever fully resolved. It’s a constant battle of forgiving yourself. Forgiving the feels. Forgiving people. And in my case, speaking your truth. And after the year we have had, being confined to my own four walls, it’s amazing that I didn’t slip sooner.

I injured my foot and broke my big toe at the end of March, which stopped my usual exercise routine in its tracks. I was able to walk so I still hiked a little. And I managed to limp around the football field twice a week, there really isn’t much running in coaching thankfully. But it delayed my progress.

Last weekend though, I climbed 5 mountains (not as dramatic as it sounds. Actually it was, because it was hot as fucking hell in England) and since then I have been doing my 15 minute hiit or dance workouts. The result is I am happier. Less fatigued. More motivated. I’ve found myself singing again, to the point people have commented. I’m dancing as I walk and shop and talk. My mood is just way more upbeat. I don’t feel like writing is a chore (sorry for that), I’m doing the washing again. The plates are no longer stacked high.

I’m not saying that exercise alone fends of depression, but I’m a pretty good example if it does.

So next time I go AWOL, please, somebody shout at me to dance round the living room for 15 minutes and all will be well again.

Peace out mofo’s!

The S Word.

How do you know if you are settling for something?

Is settling OK?

Or should we be striving for the absolute best?

It’s been five months with GG, 6 if you include the talking/virtual stage before we actually went on a date.

The list of good qualities he has just pours out of me, kind, generous, laid back, funny, charming, fit, geeky.

So, you would think after 6 months, I would have met at least one friend or at least one member of the family and I would definitely have heard something along the veins of ‘I love you’. Not necessarily that direct, but things like ‘I’m crazy about you’ or ‘you make me so happy’ or ‘I can’t imagine my world without you in it’ or ‘I miss you’. None of these things have happened.

My love language is quality time, closely followed by acts of service. Physical touch and words of affirmation are sub-par to the above but that doesn’t mean I don’t need them. Because I do. I hold no value of gift-giving, albeit, I do think it has it’s place in a relationship that isn’t just directly related to birthdays, holidays and Christmas.

And I don’t think you can say one person is 100% a love language, because it’s more like a spectrum;

I’m 36% Quality Time, 30% Acts of Service, 18% Words of Affirmation 10% physical touch and 6% gift giving.

And my love language will increase or decrease depending on any given scenario I am in, but in general the above is an accurate reflection of how I give love and how I like to receive love.

I get a lot of quality time from GG. Assuming cooking or buying dinner is considered an act of service, then he tries really hard. But there’s not much else. There’s very little words of affirmation, he can choke out ‘you look pretty’ when I’ve made an effort. He’s not into PDA which is fine but he does like to gift things, either buying dinner, or bringing a bottle of wine or buying chocolate.

And I feel guilty, because as much as those things are nice, it’s not what I really need. I can buy my own things, you know?

And so, I’ve done the worst thing I can do, I’ve started drawing comparisons. Comparisons to other people, ex’s, tv, social media. I know I shouldn’t. I know. I don’t need anybody telling me why I shouldn’t draw comparisons but the other side of the coin is that we use our past experiences to develop an internal radar. We have a gut. We have instincts. We are animals after all.

My instinct is telling me that I’m settling.

Remember my boundaries post? And how I was adamant that I would not invest in somebody who wasn’t investing in me?

Well, GG has met my parents. We’ve talked about meeting my son. He’s been on the phone to my friends with me. All these things which are normal building blocks to a relationship, yes?

And while I’m trying to build my blocks, every time I look over, my metaphorical wall is always much higher than GG’s.

Now I’m not saying he doesn’t make an effort and isn’t investing. He’s just organised a weekend away, we had a lovely time and he’s organised another the end of this month.

He’s asked me to be a plus 1 for a wedding in October. OCTOBER! So there’s the future element of building going on, but it feels superficial. It’s surface level. Do you agree? Or have I started my usual of overthinking?

I need to be honest here too, because the doubt has crept in for two reasons;

1) 6 months is usually make or break time for me. It’s like I have an internal body clock telling me, here you go, 6 months in, decide if it’s worth your time/effort to continue things forward. But then I think, hang on, that’s your pattern and the whole point of the last 18 months was about recognising patterns and changing them. So then I think, no decisions need to be made now but then I think again and I don’t want to waste another couple of months if it leads me to the same conclusion.

2) After 3 months going cold turkey, managing to avoid any contact with Mr Big, we’ve done nothing but see each other or talk to each other (professionally of course) over the last two weeks.

And damn if my body doesn’t just vibrate around him. It’s like I’m on a completely different frequency with him to anybody else. Not even football dad had that effect on me when I was at the height of my crush. The babes comment? Pah!! Nothing on what I feel when Mr Big is in my midst.

And whilst I know Mr Big and I have no future unless it is to bounce each other off the bed every once in a while, I do wonder…can I find that buzz with someone else? If I can, I should probably do the kind thing and bring the pleasure that has been GG to an end. Would I even feel that buzz if things were right with GG and I? I should feel that buzz with GG, right? And if I can’t find that buzz with someone else, is that settling or is that normal? By not actively pursuing the ‘buzz’ I feel like I may just end up in something boring and unfulfilling, but I’ve only ever followed the buzz and it’s never got me anywhere. I said buzz a lot. There, I said it again. I’ll stop now.

And I know not all days, hours, minutes are constant excitement, but I’m scared that I’ll end up 13 years into another relationship being unhappy. It’s harder to start over in your when approaching 50 than it is when you are approaching 30.

So, to quote Shakespeare, ya know, if Shakespeare was a 30-something-female living in the post-Covid dating world in 2021….

‘To settle or not to settle? That is the question’

Gamer Geek #1

If ever this secret blog was discovered by any of the subjects I write about, I would be mortified. Not because I’m ashamed per se, but who would want to read the naked truth of our situation? Or read how crazy I really am. Or in the case of some, how brutally honest I have been about them.

If it was me being bought to life in words for the blogging world to see by somebody else, I think I would die from humiliation alone. But I’d definitely bring it up. So, just in case I am discovered by any of the men in my life, past or present…Hi!

The reason I’m writing that is because I have told GG about the blog! I’ve not given him a link or a name (hell to the no-effing-way am I that brave) but I’ve shared that I blog as an outlet to let my crazy out and put it down on paper. I said I might read him an example one day and he said OK. He’s not pushed it.

Why did I tell him? GG and I had a proper date at last. Well. A proper date under COVID….food, booze, games and a sleepover. He bought the food, booze, chocolate, even an Easter egg!! All I did was get a little loose-tongued after downing half a bottle of Malibu and a few Tequila shots (self-medicine for not getting the dream job) and provide a bed to sleep in. The booze was only there for losing the games we played but I clearly didn’t understand the rules. Or care for them tbh.

GG spent the night, we cuddled, made-out a little. We didn’t go all the way, despite us both wanting to, especially the next morning. Neither of us seemed in any rush and so we both just spent the morning laughing, cuddling, exploring, eating and sipping tea.

Before he left he asked me when he could see me again, and made it very clear that 2 weeks was too long to wait. The next night my plans changed, I booked a holiday (please COVID gods, I need some sun 🤞🏻🤞🏻) and watched a movie instead of hanging out with friends on zoom for a games night. I also got a new cat this week (more on this in another post) but if it wasn’t for this cat, I’d have been over his place and I’d be writing this post from his bed instead. I’m at that point where I want to spend more time with him but equally I don’t want to go and give him all my free time. This is a fine balancing act because I really do value my independence and I’ll only give it up for someone really special.

So, I am fully in camp GG. I’m still not fully crushing on him though as there’s still something missing, but whatever that is, I’m at a point where I’m willing to find it. Or at least try. And even if it doesn’t turn out to be anything serious or long-term, it’s nice to remember that I don’t have to be a sexual goddess to keep a man interested. Or rather I am more interesting than what I can do in the bedroom.

And anybody who says two weeks is too long to see me again, having witnessed the mess that comes with downing half a litre of Malibu and copious tequila shots, is a keeper!

Fickle Feelings

The heart and mind are such fickle beings! My emotional rollercoaster continues and those thoughts and feelings on Mr Big and Gamer Geek have reversed in one day!

I had the day off work so I met with gamer geek and we did a 12 mile walk, spending about 4 hours together. We had a lot of fun, we laughed and talked. There were some moments of comfortable silence and at last…FLIRTING!!

Now, if this is not an advert to give a guy 3 dates before you make up your mind, then I dont know what is. This year so far has been weird. I started the year off obsessed with a guy for calling me ‘babes’ LOL! Then I found out another crush wanted to get naked with me, so I was like bring it on. Gamer geek and I realised today that we have been talking for 2 months and been on three dates. Not traditional dates because lockdown etc, but 3 walking dates, each progressively longer than the last and thus meaning more time spent together. And we haven’t missed a day of talking. And he’s been investing in all the right ways and I’m here for his consistency.

I have been matching the investment too – he’s baked biscuits, made tea, bought me dinner. I have cooked breakfast muffins and bagels and handed over breakfast when we have met. At the end of our 12 mile walk, he made me tea, and we got to talking about travelling later in the year once lockdown is over and travel restrictions are lifted. He invited me to tour Scotland with him. He did say – “its way too soon for me to ask you that I know, but if we are still dating by then, I would want you to come with me!” WOW. And my son. If there is one thing I absolutely love about Gamer Geek is his ability to consider my mini me in almost all aspects.

And today we finally started flirting. Well, he did, I tend to flirt all the time. We also kissed and I did not expect the lightening bolt that zipped through me. It wasn’t much of a kiss, certainly not a passionate one but it was enough to leave me wondering what a passionate kiss would be like. And despite the fact I have already bedded Mr Big, and despite the fact it has been amazing, I’m regretting jumping into that so quickly because I think I’d like to see what gamer geek is hiding between the sheets.

Brain: fucking slut!

Me: Hey!!!

There is something not quite right though. I can’t put my finger on it. Maybe it is just my own mistrust of it being too good to be true. Maybe there is the fact I have started sleeping with Mr Big and that is clouding some of my judgement because the crush is stronger than the newly acquired affection I have for GG? All my boxes are ticked, the heat was the last thing and whilst it’s not exploding, it’s definitely starting to build and that has me excited.

Is the crush on Mr Big just wishful thinking that it could turn into something more long-term? Dare I say it, but Brain was right: I’m already beginning to regret how I handled Mr Big from the beginning, using our typical office banter and filthy sense of humour, in my moment of weakness and loneliness and given the shit show that was FD, I latched onto the first bit of attention I got from a guy I actually like without any thought of consequences. And to make matters worse, we work together. I fucking hate it when brain overules me! But I got to give her credit, she does tend to know best.

Truth of the matter is, sex is amazing and I like it a lot, but it’s way more enjoyable when it is surrounded by the perks of a relationship. I always seem to forget this: Captain A, then The Pilot and now Mr Big.

So, if you have any tips on how I have this discussion with Mr Big, without hurting his ego and becoming the office gossip and facing any slut slurs, then I am all ears. 2 sex dates in feels way too soon to be this earnest, should I let it stew a little while longer? We haven’t booked our third one in yet because I’m making sure he pursues me, and I don’t chase. Childish game really, but hey, I’m not that easy!

Brain: Yeah you are

Me: …..

Men are like Buses

Is it any coincidence that in the week that I start online dating, suddenly every male friend I have in my life wants more? Can they see or just sense my dating aura has turned from red to green?

Or is it purely that I’m just open to a conversation now rather than ignoring people in my attempt to be more date ready?

Funny, huh?

Except FD *rolls eyes*

Reminds me of a poem by Wendy Cope:

Dating Arrrggghhhpps.

It’s January 1st 2021. Happy New Year you magnificent people! Yesterday I felt like the world was gonna end. Today I actually feel amazing and strong. I’m still carrying some ‘baggage’ with me, trying my best to overcome and not think about it because I have to accept the things I cannot change. But do you remember in my last post, I said I was completely and truly ready for love?

Well I’ve only gone and downloaded a dating app. For the first time since August 2018!! I am not shaming dating apps, I haven’t been absent from them because I can’t be bothered or because they lead very quickly to dating fatigue, or because it’s full of idiots or because men only want one thing. Although the fatigue part is true. It’s because I just didn’t need to…spent most of the last 2 years being randomly pursued by people already on the periphery of my life! But, for somebody like me who doesn’t go out (mostly because I’m in the same boat as everybody else due to COVID, but really, mainly because I’m expecting the love of my life to break into my house when I least expect it) dating apps are a god send. It’s pressure free. I can fit it in around my work, Son, hobbies, life and has the added benefit of giving me options, which is especially pertinent right now so that I don’t lay all my eggs and energy in a certain someone’s basket (yes FD, I’m looking at you).

And I can hear you….’Jeez Love, you just got rid of 4 ‘boyfriends’, you’re trying to catch the attention of a fifth and let’s not pretend to forget your little foray onto Tinder earlier this year in an attempt to woo your work colleague.’ But it was only for a week!

Still counts.

Ok, I’ll rephrase: I have downloaded a dating app and plan to use it with serious intent for the first time since 2018.

Better?? Good, can I carry on now?

Maybe it’s because I am feeling so optimistic today that I have taken this step, although I was secretly planning to do this anyway. But I’m really curious to see whether all the work I’ve put into making better choices has paid off and whether the trust I have put into myself to make those better choices is valid. I’ve already noticed I’m being more open with my words, trying to find the balance of vulnerability and flirty rather than trying to be the funny girl at all costs because typically (and through a life of validation in this way from almost everybody in my life), I consider funny to be equal to love. I’m also not finding it so hard to untangle the incoherent mumbo jumbo going on in my head, which I actually attribute to this blog in all fairness. Practice makes competence and all that.

So, let’s take a bet. Can I make it through 28 days? 14? 7? Would love to know if you have used a dating app that worked for you! Or if you are in progress with your dating app journey, what’s your best piece of advice for someone who’s a little rusty?

Roaring 20’s, Boring 20’s…

My last major walk was on 14th December. That is over 2 weeks ago. It’s been a weird couple of weeks as I haven’t really had the motivation over Christmas, with school being out, working, planning for the big day etc, I’ve found it difficult to find the time. But the problem is I’m now in a slump. I have a whole morning to myself today where I would use this time to get some fresh air and get my heart pumping the red life force through me. But meh. Can’t be bothered. I’m doing a days walking tomorrow so might as well stay in bed where it’s warm right?

I also haven’t had football, and with my county going into tier 4 today, that might not continue either so this definitely feels like a lockdown again despite what the politicians, scientists and law makers say. Tier 4 is a polite way of saying ‘stop fucking mixing you imbeciles’!

And I’m annoyed because I have to go to work. I’m in a frontline industry, working for the emergency services. I don’t get the offer of being furloughed, I don’t have the benefit of working from home and therefore saving fuel. Throughout the last lockdown my son still had to go to school but he didn’t get any of the ‘home-schooling’ work at school because it wasn’t fair on the kids at home and so I’d be doing it after a gruelling day of working and it felt punishing at times. Eventually I just gave up, he’s a smart kid, he’ll pick it back up! The key workers amongst us are facing the COVID fight front on and the best we can get is a clap and a pay freeze. Yay! All because there’s no money in the public purse because our inept Tory government flounders it on crappy apps and PPE contracts to their ‘mates’. (Urgh, politics, I digress).

And I know I should be grateful to still have a job and an income and I am grateful, but it’s hard to maintain that positive gratitude when I see people around me only benefitting from this pandemic both financially and emotionally by being at home with their families.

It’s ironic that I feel like someone who is hard done by though. Because the truth is, sitting at home, working from home, not having the company of my colleagues some of whom are very good friends, means I’d be miserable and more miserable. And so in that sense, because 2020 has been a shitty year in so many ways, I’m glad that my life hasn’t been changed dramatically. It was hard enough adapting to the outside world regulations without having to adapt and overcome at home too!

But I’m really fed up now. And I’m not sure why….If the world opened up again, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t even do anything, I might go out and celebrate the end of the pandemic once, but that would be it. I’m not convinced in myself I’d even go and make up for all the lost time with friends and family.

So why am I fed up? Am I bored? Is it the post – Christmas blues? Has the loneliness of singledom finally set in? Am I not fulfilled enough in my job? Do I have some strife in my life that I just can’t resolve?

Typically, I am the kind of person who just goes with the flow, never really making plans, always last minute. It frustrates people and after this year I suppose I’ve lost a bit of purpose myself. Or perhaps I just need new purpose? My 2020 Mind, Body, Soul resolution worked so well and as it is the time of year to make a resolution for 2021, I think I’ll make some new goals. After all, having goals and something to work towards is a challenge and making progress and achieving great things is what makes life exciting. So… goals to realise for 2021 are set out below.

Realisations.

New Years Realisations!!

1) Read a minimum of 12 books (once a month, not hard)

2) Write 500 words before bed every evening (except Sundays. And Mondays. And Wednesdays). Ok fine, 500 words twice per week.

3) Continue spiritual and personal growth to feed the soul by connecting more with friends and family.

4) Feed my need to know things; continue to explore the world and how to help it through documentaries, news articles, published papers etc and look into taking a new class in Human Factors and Cognitive Bias.

5) Hike once a month with a 5km minimum walk once a week (checking off 100 greatest walks of GB). Those glutes will thank you babe (and so will he).

6) Finish all the small little jobs left to do in the house. Renovation is a pain but so rewarding when the job is finally done. (Plus, do you want to be embarrassed??!)

7) Chores are for rainy days. (Seriously, if the sun is shining, get your butt outside!)

8) Keep a diary to keep me honest with my realisations and create a vision board to see it all.

9) Reduce screen time by 50% (Hahahahaha).

10) Continue to focus on nutrition and overall body health.

So there you have it, my 10 Goals for 2021. Some are totally achievable, others never gonna happen but I strive for the best. In fact, I may not achieve any of them in 2021. I certainly doubt I’ll be consistent with them, but at least it’s all written down, I already have the whole of January planned out in my diary!

And of course there is always the hope that having these goals will naturally lead me into a path of love because I am ready for it. Every crazy, neurotic, anxiety filled, stubborn inch of me is ready for love in my life!

Do you make New Years resolutions or yearly goals? Or like me, do you normally just face whatever the year brings? Perhaps you are you new to setting goals for yourself and finding it hard to keep yourself accountable? Let me know, I’d love to hear your stories.

Post Christmas Blues. A Rant!

Let me start by saying that I really hope that whatever shape or form it came in, that your Christmas and holidays have not been too disappointing. I spent most of the main day working before getting home to my baby and tearing through wrapping paper and the mountain of gifts that were left behind. My son was beaming with smiles and showed a lot of gratitude, which as a parent, you always try to install and when it happens, the pride you feel is immeasurable. My wonderful Mama and Nana bought round plates of food and with some gin and games, Christmas turned out to be a pretty decent affair.

But for some reason, I’ve suddenly started to feel low. I feel like I’m losing control in a number of areas of my life despite the whole mind, body, soul gig this year.

My son’s dad, let’s call him SD, who I love dearly (just not that type of love) started dating my cousin (weird). No wait, my sons cousin (even weirder). This is the second attempt at a relationship. Aside from the fact I just can’t stand it, there is a definite ebb away from our son on his part. As a result, I’m starting to resent and dislike him but he’s too closed off to hear feedback and I don’t know how to get through to him. I’ve been patient. It’s been 6 months, other than making my feelings about this union clear at the beginning (a lot because it’s weird and mostly because it didn’t work out last time because she couldn’t handle the fact he had CHILDREN), I haven’t uttered a word. But I can see his priorities shifting towards his new beau…for example he left him at home for 3 hours on Christmas day so he could have dinner with his new gf. My son wasn’t alone, he had his grandad with him, but as I was working I felt this was pretty diabolical all the same, especially as he told me on the day after he had already left him. And then there’s the polite requests I’ve made to help me out with caring for my grandad following a triple heart bypass, or for work, or just some god damn me time, which have all had to be ran past his gf before any decisions are made. Like…WTF? Is this normal? You have to ask your gf of 6 months, who your son doesn’t know about and has not been reintroduced to, permission to have him?

Maybe SD should stand for Shit Dad. That’s a bit unfair, he’s not shit, but there’s deffo room for improvement…no clubs, no days out, constant screen time, but there is an abundance of love. Or at least, there was….

And.And.And. I could rant on forever. I guess I’m just angry and frustrated and I can’t seem to shake it, I’ve no other outlet for my emotions than here… so you (not so) lucky folk are getting a direct insight into what goes through my mind when the lights go out. But thank you if you are still here reading, absorbing my little 1am pity party.

And don’t get me started on FD. No mention of the walk over the Christmas holidays. No initiation of convo’s, though he did say he’d love to help me complete the UK’s 100 Greatest Walks, which was a book I got from my folks (after I text him). Given the above though, I’ve not really been making much effort and it only seems to be one-way anyway. So I have no control over that either.

We had a re-shuffle at work back in February. I have a new line manager who I barely see, and a new manager has been created who has effectively taken my old job but still expects me to do the work. It was fine to start with, I knew it would happen as they were new in role but 10 months on, I’m still doing it and it’s starting to bug me. I’m a lackey. All the doing, none of the reward and yet again, I have no control over it.

And as I am writing this out, it’s suddenly dawned on me that maybe I am a control freak and that’s my real problem?! Nothing to do with my emotions. I will admit I do tend to focus on my emotions to try and determine if they are rational or irrational. I think my feelings are quite rational on all these occasions so….Is this an epiphany?

How do you know if you are a control freak?

Mind, Body. Soul

My New Years resolution for 2020 was to improve myself. I wanted to get fitter. I wanted to practice mindfulness more and I wanted to take care of myself more. I wanted to find healthy outlets for my frustrations. I wanted to start showing up for myself and become the best version of me that I can. At the start of the year I only stated this aloud to myself because there’s always that niggling doubt that I won’t achieve what I set out to do. Which is scary. I also knew this wouldn’t be a quick fix and it would take some effort, pushing myself to do small things until they become habit and I wasn’t sure whether other people would give me the patience I needed, but it is nearly Christmas and as such nearly 2021 so now seemed as good a time as any to reflect.

I started working on my body as this was the easiest place to start. I wasn’t particularly pleased with the way I looked, a little too podgy in places, but instead of focusing on that, I wanted to celebrate what it could do. It keeps me moving. I have all working parts. I’m eternally grateful for the health of my body. I wanted to reward my body for all the hard work it does for me. I also wanted to focus on the amazing parts of me, my lovely thick long red hair and my big green eyes. My long legs. My athletic body shape. So what if I’m a bit podgy in places, that podge makes for a soft pillow when I’m cuddling my son, which he tells me often. And so slowly over the course of a few months, my mindset switched from fault finding to ‘you are fab’ I started rewarding my body with massages to straighten it out and dedicated a ‘me’ day where my body didn’t have to work so hard…sofa/duvet day with films/documentaries/tv shows/music/reading. On these same days I’d eat whatever took my fancy, whatever my body craves on that day and I’d end it with a hot bubble bath with candles for a job well done all week.

Then lock down hit. And the massages had to stop. I was still working hard as a key worker & felt a lot of pressure and stress, but I didn’t stop the Body process. I continued with the sofa days and the bubble baths and the binge TV, music, guilt free eating.

I found the beginning of lockdown fairly easy, but as the weeks turned into months I felt myself spiralling. And that’s when I realised I needed to do something about the mind. And so I started blogging again. This space has given me the opportunity to write down my own thoughts and feelings and just general get my crazy musings down so they don’t stick in my head. Admittedly it came from my dating life and it has continued along that theme because that is where I really needed the help. I imagine I’d get a lot of weird looks if I voiced out loud some of the things I write on here. I started to learn gratitude. Being thankful for the things in your life is a really great way to switch the negative thinking into positive thinking. I also started learning again. I’m not studying, but just taking some time each week to learn a little bit more about something I’m interested in. I also started creating again, drawing, podcasting and creating wooden signs.

Soul was the final chapter. I’m still finding it hard to articulate what this means to me, which tells me I’m still working on it. But at the height of summer I was able to get back to some of my hobbies – football and hiking, two things that bring me pure joy. And they do help fill my soul, I’ve also lost 1 stone since which is wonderful for my body and exercise is medicine for the mind. But I still feel there is something missing, I can’t quite fill up the tank because I can’t connect with my friends and I haven’t been able to travel much.

But, what has become blindingly obvious is that at no point has my Mind, Body, Soul goals and achievements rested or even touched on my desire to not be single. Which is rather remarkable given the amount of dating I have done this year (ironically, more so than any other year). But it has helped tremendously in an unintended way; whilst I still hold out hope that the chalk to my cheese is out there, I have found a peace in myself. I trust myself to find the right man when I am good and ready and to pick a better than I have previously because I am better than I have previously been. And whether it is the first man I meet and feel a connection with or the hundredth, if things don’t really go to plan, I will trust it is because something better is coming along behind. This mindset has been quite the epiphany, super enlightening, empowering even and when I couple that with my own sense of self-worth, which is that I can bring so much more to the table than just being a mother and having a job and well, that feels rather marvellous!

She Cray Cray

‘’If she’s single, pretty and fit, she’s crazy.’’

This was a statement by a man. And I’ll be honest, I’m a little triggered.

It’s not because I disagree. But rather the fact that it suggests that women who are the opposite of those words, or who don’t fit all three of those descriptions are not crazy.

One of my bestest friends is completely neurotic. She’s pretty and fit but married and let me tell you, the stories she has told me about her husband and the things she has done are way beyond anything I could ever think up.

– she pretended to be an asian model on linked in and chatted up her husband to see if he’d take the bait

– she deleted an entire hard drive containing photos of him in his previous marriage and binned his previous wedding photos.

– she linked her phone to his so she could get into his emails and Instagram

– doesn’t allow his eldest daughter in their house or to speak her name

– checked his internet history, found porn and so gave the laptop a bath soak

I mean I could go on. And I know men who are equally ‘crazy’, pouring fish oil on car trims and leaving strategically placed make-up in the house, dating family members of their ex.

Ok so men may be more petty than crazy but my point stands.

And most often, the word crazy is used in the context of ‘its a bad thing’. If you ask my friend she’s say her actions come from a place of love, and the men from a place of hurt, anger or jealousy. But it’s interesting that all of these things are steered by emotions.

Now, I’m not saying I’m not crazy. I can definitely fall foul of my own emotions and I’ve done some pretty crazy things when that’s happened….

– I once text a guy who I hadn’t even been on a date with a fucking essay on how I felt such a strong connection and that him going quiet on me had really upset me and he was a cock blah blah blah – turns out his grandmother had died. Awks.

– I imagine any guy with dating potential in the role of groom and if he’d look good in an Elvis costume, and if I don’t think he could pull it off, I discount him immediately (have I mentioned how ambivalent to marriage I am)

– I do a social media trawl so deep that I wind up in a labyrinth of pictures and posts and can’t find my way back.

– I have put myself in places I know they frequent in the hope of running into them, and then ignored them when I do.

– I write a blog detailing all my emotions and thoughts

But are those things red flags? Do these actions that may be considered crazy to men really those of somebody imbalanced? Or is it rather a perception that an inability to manage and control emotions is a bad thing and so we should all walk round like robots? I wonder what my male friend thinks the appropriate adjective for his fellow males of the same categories is? A player? A flake? Emotionally unavailable? Has high standards? High maintenance? A pest? Abusive?

Some of those may well be fitting, but for the majority….

If he’s single, fit and handsome he’s a big fat scaredy cat. I’m going to start calling this Alpha Pussy.