Strong.

I can be strong.

I can resist.

I can remember the lessons of the past

And refuse the pull of a fictional future.

I can admire from afar

But keep my distance.

I can harden my heart to possibilities

That were never possible –

apart from within my heart.

I can focus on the truth..

The truth I’ve learned the hard way, every time.

His heart connects to mine;

Our minds are so alike;

We inspire the greatest within each other; but,

We will not be together.

Learn.

Take heed.

Live.

Heart to Heart

Can I talk to you about Christmas? My memories, my reflections of the first Christmas without my beloved Dad?

………..…

“Well, it’s all over for this year,” as my Dad would say. Although I never really agreed. I suppose, due to my job, I feel like I’ve another week and half of holiday yet. It’s not over until I have to get the uniforms ready and my schoolwork out.

Or, I should say, that’s how I normally feel at this point in the Christmas holiday. Last year, my sister, brother in law and nephew stayed a week in the end and it was wonderful – a week of film-watching, game-playing, laughter and good food.

This year feels… Weird.

My sisters and I feel that it’s very important to create new Christmas traditions. We’re not sure what these will be but we know how important they are for us all. As children, we would all descend on my Grandparents’ house on Christmas Eve: my mum’s five siblings and their spouse and children. My sister and I loved it. We haven’t had that tradition for more than twenty-five years but we still hark back to it.

In my teens my Aunty – mum’s single, childless sister – would join us at home and stay over. We loved her being there and the fun she brought. One year my Dad, mum and Aunty were still awake (and drunk) at six in the morning and ended up going back to bed. I think that was the first year I made a Christmas Dinner.

Early in my marriage, my in-laws would come to us on Christmas Eve as we were so conscious of the imbalance between my parents whom we lived with and my in-laws in regards to sharing their grandchildren’s Christmas experiences. Then Dad would cook the turkey and we would have turkey sandwiches for supper.

In the years of my separation, my children would spend the day of Christmas Eve with their Dad before coming home to me and seeing their Nana and her new partner. I’d then spend the evening with my Dad, drinking wine and chatting until it was time to put out my children’s presents. I wasn’t alone, because Dad was there.

This year, for the first time, he isn’t.

This year, I spent Christmas Eve at my sister’s house whilst my children spent their first Eve at their Dad’s. I woke early, walked the short distance to his house and watched them open their presents. It was different but, surprisingly, OK. I then went home alone and started the dinner.

Before rolling my sleeves up and putting on my apron, I sat in Dad’s candlelit livingroom, put on some special music and allowed myself to let go. To think about him and speak to him. I told him how much I love and miss him and how grateful I was for the 38 wonderful Christmases he had given me.

I cried. I smiled. I grieved. But then, as the last song finished, a calm came over me. I can do this. Dad’s with me, one way or another.

There were fifteen people for Christmas Dinner this year. My sisters and their families, my mum and her partner, my ex and his parents. I wanted my house filled with people that we love and this was especially important for my three children who have lived with their grandad all their lives too.

I can’t say that I enjoyed it. But I can’t say that I hated it either. It was numbingly important work: to prepare and cook a meal for my family so that everyone could enjoy the day. I finished the meal with pride that I’d successfully created a family meal for a group of people for whom half were grieving someone important that was missing. For me, it just was. I’d got through it without mishap or breakdown and I was proud of myself as I knew my Dad would be. Sure, there were no annual conversations about who made the best roast potatoes (me) or gravy (Dad, always) but it was OK. I was busy, and my family were content.

Most people left a few hours later until my children and I, and my sister, brother-in-law and nephew were left. Then I felt more settled – perhaps because if Dad was here, by this point he would have settled in his own chair to watch TV, not join in with games like the rest of us. So, it felt normal, and I began to enjoy myself.

By midnight, my sister, bro-i-law and I had settled into Dad’s more cosy and warm livingroom by the woodfire. We’d played games and had drinks all evening: it was nice to sit and chat by the light of the fire and Christmas Tree.

Pretty soon my sister was asleep on the couch whilst my bro-i-law and I – the more seasoned drinkers ☺ – talked into the early hours.

I’m very lucky that I get on well with both my brother in laws and I enjoyed talking to him. Something I don’t seem to have much opportunity to do any more – adult conversations where you can open up and put the world to rights.

We talked of Dad and grief and I was fine. Grief is funny that way – what can destroy you one moment can boost you another. I enjoy talking about my Dad. It brings him near.

We talked about my loneliness and how difficult it is to find real friends and companions in your late 30s. I spoke of my desire to rebuild my life after years of being unsettled in marriage and with Dad’s illness. (My sister is ten years my junior and is just starting her life it seems). My sisters and I have become even closer since I separated with my husband and Dad’s slow decline. But I do worry – I don’t want to be a burden on them. I can’t expect them to always be my social life. They tell me off when I say this if course, which is why I love them as much as I do.

As we spoke of my somewhat sketchy plan to meet more people there was a pause. My bro-i-law began to speak and then paused.

“Go on,” I said, “just say it.” I trust him and know that whatever he was trying to say would be thoughtful.

“It’s just I was thinking that the perfect person for you would be <Lost Soul>.”

This was not what I was expecting him to say. I listened as he explained why he thought we were right for each other. Music to my ears. We then discussed Lost Soul’s recent behaviour at their house. And I admitted my true feelings.

I explained that if Lost Soul told me, openly, that he still had feelings for me and that he now felt in a place to risk his heart, then I would risk mine. That there was too much between us – he was the one that got away and I would always wonder what might have been.

I didn’t get the sense that my bro-i-law has discussed this with Lost Soul and they are good friends. He acknowledged the hints that Lost Soul had made, just as I acknowledged the mixed signals that I had given over the years. Perhaps that the pair of us were too scared to give in to such strong feelings?

He discussed Lost Soul’s relationships over the past six years – not in detail or to betray his trust – but to say that the relationships often ended as Lost Soul felt something was missing and that his girlfriend ‘didn’t get’ him. Not a problem that we had. I can’t tell you how frustrating that is.

So the upshot? I’m no further on. Someone who knows us both well feels we would be good together. But to is unlikely that we will have the opportunity or the guts to see if that’s the truth. This game has been playing for six years and there still appears to be no winner.

I’ve got through Christmas. I held it together. I started new traditions that honoured the love I still feel for my father as well as for my family. The future is the future and it will come regardless of what I want or don’t want.

Lonely heart.

I didn’t expect to see you there. I mean, to be honest, I don’t think about you half as much as I used to do. And anyway, I’d had a bad day and so I had other things on my mind.

I’m self-conscious enough though to be pleased that I still had my makeup on and my nice jeans and jumper from when I’d been shopping earlier that morning. Less so that it was now accompanied by heavy walking boots, a rainproof coat and dog hair (and the dog of course).

Why’d I had a bad day? Long story, but along the lines that I felt lonely. Lonely is quite a regular feeling nowadays. My friend let me down. I miss my Dad like crazy. It’s Christmas. I’m lonely.

So, I attempted to walk off my sadness with my dog in hand, boots on foot. I didn’t know you’d be there.

Was I pleased to see you? Of course. There’s still that little thrill when we meet. A hint of a memory of what was and what could have been. But I’ve moved on now – you’ve moved on. We made that decision, didn’t we? That it wasn’t going to work? Yes, I know we were drunk. OK, yes, I did most of the talking. But I couldn’t cope with it anymore, see, the not-knowing. The backwards and forwards. So, for self preservation purposes, I called it a day on whatever it was. OK, yes, I will also admit that I have wondered what would have happened if I’d have just let you speak, but I got over that. It’s been over a year since then. I got over you, as much as anyone who thought they found and lost their soul mate can. Wrong time, wrong place and all that.

So I was pleased to see you because your addition to the tea and company I expected from my sister was welcome. You make me laugh, think, talk. That’s a good thing when you’re feeling lonely.

But… I do have to say though, that I was a little confused by some of what you said. The fact that one of the first things you asked me was “So what’s new? Have you met anyone new? Been anywhere new?” Of all the things that you could have asked me, that was pretty straight to the point. I didn’t answer that part. I wouldn’t have asked you, or anyone else that, so it surprised me that you would ask me that.

And then, later, when we were all talking, you said how you’d missed all this. I’m assuming you mean us together as you still regularly see my sister and brother in law. I was the extra ingredient. I agree, I miss it – you – too. So, OK, may be that one wasn’t so confusing.

What about this one..? We got talking about modern day women and what they want from a man and how it’s impossible. An interesting conversation. Then you asked me what I was looking for in a man… OK, part of the conversation: a woman providing an example. But did you have to then say that there was “only one man in the world like that, and that’s me.” Really? What am I supposed to do with that?

Then later, you mentioned that you had just started watching the film version of my favourite book. A coincidence? Maybe. But I wasn’t the only one to think that it was strange. Why tell me that?

And then, the moment that you pointed out our age gap.. I can’t remember the context, but this was an unexpected twist… That when we met the age gap seemed too big but now it doesn’t. I mean, age gaps don’t mean a thing when you’re just friends so.. you know, that naturally got me thinking.

Don’t get me wrong, I also wasn’t the only one who noticed the name dropping of your girlfriend. Sometimes – if you don’t mind us both suggesting – a little needlessly. I’m sure that we also didn’t need to know that you have no sex drive anymore. Someone a little more invested might think you were hinting that you were less physically involved with your girlfriend but as I ‘called it a day’ last year, I obviously didn’t think this but I just wanted to add it in there as something potentially confusing.

I know, I know, we’d all had a bit to drink by this point. And honestly, it’s not the first time I’ve reflected that I probably imagined all these things. That maybe I am adding more weight to these innocent little comments than there should have been. Except… it wasn’t just me that noticed them. I mean, one of our party commented that you seemed more like your old self than you had done in months. Of course, I know that we have that effect on each other – people have commented on that for years. Just like they always thought that we were an item when… We weren’t. So what if they thought that some of your comments were a little suggestive too?

But yes, it was lovely to see you.

Obviously, in my current lonely state, it’s entirely possible that I imagined all the hints and suggestions. I’m back to those days of self doubt, confusion and heartache and I don’t want to go back to not knowing what’s going on.

What was that? What do I want then?

I’m not sure.

Ok, yes, I will admit that I have given mixed signals too in the past. But in my defence, I was confused. And protecting my heart.

No more mixed signals? OK, here goes…

If you told me that you’ve always loved me – no, less than that – if you told me that I’ve always had a special place in your heart. Or, that we were soul mates (yes, I know you’ve said that beforez but in this context)…

So, if, you told me that you missed me. That you always wondered what might have been. That you were scared of how powerfully we felt for each other and it was too much back then… If you told me that we were both older now, and you still felt the same after all these years. Then, yes, I would loan you my heart. Just for a while. Just to see if all that promise we have felt for all these years was truth. I could do that, if you said those things.

But, if you didn’t.. Well, nothing has changed then. I’d lose a little bit more respect for you as you’re either messing me about and still playing the game after all these years.. Or… You still don’t know what you want. And, you know what? You can’t blame your youth for that anymore. And surely, if you care for me as you say you do, you wouldn’t do that again.

I know we have history. So much of it. But that history has made me really tired of the “what ifs”. Has it not you too? So let’s not slip into old habits. Please. My lonely heart can’t take it again.

Truth

Hey there,

I know this has come out of the blue – I’ve never written to you before. But, you know I like writing and that it is the one way I can truly express myself. You were the first person that I showed my writing to since Uni. At the same time, I know this must seem a little weird..

We’ve tried to talk so many times. There’s you and your riddles, the glimpses you have given me of how you’ve felt and the fear you have about it. I know you and you know me. But I needed more than hints and surmises. I needed you to say it.

And then there’s me. I realise how foolish I have been all these years. The mixed messages I have given you time and time again. It must have been pretty confusing for you too.

When we spoke last summer, you said that I was the one who walked away. It hit me so hard as it hadn’t felt like that at the time but I know now it’s the truth. And yet I did it again, didn’t I? You cannot know how much I have kicked myself for that night. We were both being honest. We’d both admitted our attraction and connection. But then I panicked. I told you that we weren’t right for each other: that you needed a young, pretty woman to settle down with and I needed someone to depend on.

Oh the irony! That’s the last thing I need. I need someone who loves me, who completes me, who inspires me. I need someone whose touch I crave, whose kisses make me feel complete. That’s you. The only man I have met in 38 years who has made me feel that way. How ironic that you are now with a woman with children.

I was too scared to tell you how I feel. I still am. I guess I was protecting myself and I needed you to tell me that what you wanted was me. That I could depend on you because you felt the same way as me.

I think about you often. I regret the way I have dealt with my feelings. I analyse and over analyse our time together, the way I feel, trying to understand. But I can’t.

When I see you, it all floods back.

Last night was amazing. We all had a great time: a laugh, a joke. It’s amazing how much calmer you seem now. The way that we looked each other, I know I didn’t imagine that. But there are still games there too, like you were trying to convince yourself that we wouldn’t be good together.

You said a few weeks ago how childish you were when we first met. Why do I always hope that these are private messages to me, rather than simple observations? Like when you alluded to last year, and how ill you’d been. Were you reflecting on our intimacy together, regretting it? Or regretting how it did not continue?

And this is why I walk away. I can’t cope. I can’t cope with how much I have loved you for so long. I can’t cope with the thought that I may never meet anyone that makes me feel that way again. I can’t cope with the idea that this is all in my head.

So I’m writing to tell you that I have loved you for eight years. That I want to be with you; risk my heart and my faith on this love. Because I think we’d be amazing together: We get on well, enjoy each others’ company. We get on with each others’ families. We inspire each other.

I just needed to say this, even if nothing will change. I’ve carried this with me for eight years and I don’t know how much longer I can. Perhaps it’s better to hold on to this ‘maybe’ than the acceptance of ‘never’.

I want to live my life with you. I want the ups and downs. I want you. And I think I always will.

All my love,

Me

Xxx

Hell No

OK, I admit it: I have already hidden dating profile.

Apart from the fact that I kept going on to check it, tweak it etc (far too many times), I’ve had very little interest.

I’m not just talking about a lack of contact, I mean a lack of men even looking at my profile. Six in total. Yes, six. One of those was someone I’d liked. The other five where what one of my favourite dating blogs, Back in Stilettos again, would call ‘Hell No’s’, but they weren’t interested either it would seem.

So, whereas you could blame an inefficient profile on lack of likes, I can only assume the issue lies in one of the following:

  1. I’m not attractive enough to gain attention.
  2. My weight is putting men off. I’m a Hell No.
  3. There aren’t that many men on this particular dating site.

There’s arguments for each one. I fully accept that I’m average looking. Pretty at best. I’m not sexy, I’m not beautiful, stunning or appealing. But average looking women gets dates and get attention. I did choose what I would call a nice, everyday picture. That way they wouldn’t be disappointed in real life.

My weight. Yep, my weight is more of an issue. Doesn’t explain why they aren’t even looking thoughMy head shot is not making me look huge.

Last night, I stretched the boundary to 80 miles away. I got another page of candidates. That’s it. Although I have read of success for this particular site, I think that perhaps there are just not the numbers needed where I live. I’ve dated online before – I know it’s a numbers game. I actually think the same can be said for ‘old’ style dating – think how many people you would walk past on a night out and vice versa.

The likelyhood is that it is all three. And I probably haven’t left it hard enough. Whatever the reason, my small venture into online dating again has made me realise that although my heart is ready, my head isn’t. Online dating is supposed to be fun and I was merely feeling anxious about it. My hangups about my appearance are amplified.

What next then? I suppose it’s back on to the diet until I feel more confident about myself. I’m also going to do some more research into dating sites to see where I will go next. And you never know, my soulmate may be there on my next walk. Who knows.

Troubled. 

OK, as I’m sure that anyone who has been reading my blog has realised, I’m not over Lost Soul. At all. Maybe a little bit. Certainly better than I was four years ago. But not as much as I was two months ago. 

I’m trying, I am really, really trying- I promise you. But I can’t help thinking about him. No one has ever made me feel like he has. He told me the same. 

Today’s bout of self-indulgent madness is not my fault. Last night I went to my friend’s. They knew about our little romantic interlude a few weeks ago. One of them asking if I had seen him since. 

I had of course, on my daughter’s birthday. One of my friends had come to pick her daughter up and had actually met him briefly although she hadn’t realised it at the time. 

First thing she said was that he was attractive. I KNOW!!! 😔. She also said that she thought it was someone I didn’t know/get on with as she said I had been a little ‘short’ with him. The pair of them laughed for a while at my occasional lapse into ‘teacher face’ and how scary it was… 

Anyway. I explained that I was trying to play it cool and not show him how much I want him and need him and want to kiss him and cuddle him and gaze into his eyes and hold his hand and all the other sexy stuff.. (I know I sound ridiculous but work with me, please). 

They both decided that I was playing it too cool. That if what they had seen or heard was anything to go by, he would have no idea how I felt. 

I then explained that he knew four years ago. 

They started laughing. “That was four years ago! You’ve got to just talk to him about how you feel!”

But I just can’t. I can’t be rejected again, I can’t. 

And so, I am back in this state of nervous anticipation, wondering when I will see him again and how I will manage to show him how I still feel, how I have felt since I met him, without making an absolute fool of myself. 

Because a part of me still thinks that if he wanted me, he would have let me know. 

Any advice gratefully received. 

Is it me you’re looking for? 

The phone rings. I raise my head from reading and smile when I recognise the number. The call is unexpected. I haven’t been waiting anxiously for a text or a WhatsApp. I haven’t replayed every conversation or touch, analysing for signs I may have missed. I haven’t questioned whether he does actually like me or whether he is stringing me along or using me. My life is good: I am happy. He is the beautifully formed cherry on the top. 

He tells me about his day. He likes his job and does well in it, but it doesn’t rule his life. He also talks about his hobbies which captivate me. He then listens to me as I describe my day, offering friendly advice when needed. We arrange to meet up in a few days. 

The days pass quickly and happily. I’ve been out with my children, the necessary housework has been done and I have actually managed a long walk and talk with my friend. 

When we meet I am excited and yet content. My stomach flips at the sight of him… And then at the smell of him.. And then at the touch of him… He makes me feel beautiful and interesting and intelligent. We laugh, we talk. He makes me see the world ina different way whilst respecting my own views and ideas. He inspires me to think and act differently and to be a better version of myself. 

When we are alone our time together is passionate and intimate, frenzied and gentle. I feel complete with him. 

Yet when he is gone my life continues, the earth still moves on its axis.  I’m secure in the knowledge that he is mine and I am his. I enjoy my time without him. I love the time with him. I’m safe in the knowledge that we have all that we need. From time to time we have a wonderful weekend or week together. We spend the days walking in beautiful places or going to museums or art galleries. At night we cook together, share a bottle of wine with friends. Maybe we watch a film cuddled up on the couch. We always make love and sleep side by side. 

One day, when the time is right, we will move in together. We will live together until our dying day. But for now, our lives are better for being with each other. There is an understanding between us that no one else can comprehend. But that’s ok. It works for us. 
If anyone knows this man, please let me know. He’ll be late 30s to early 40s. He will probably look like Adam Levine/Zachary Levi/Gerard Butler/Liam Hemsworth and really fancy overweight, dark haired-green eyed school teachers with three children. 

Cheers WordPress. 

☺