As I make the relatively short 2 hour journey back to my hometown, I feel the stresses of London life lifting. I find myself thinking of the last time I made this trip, remembering how I felt, remembering how it was all such a blur and that I just wished I wasn’t making the journey alone. As I turned the corner onto my road, I could hear the gentle crash of the sea against the shore, I looked out at the view that I used to see every day, its beauty, its calming effect on me and wondered…why the hell have I waited so long to come back?!
My Mum is simply amazing and could not do more to make a fuss and welcome me home. Its breakfast time and she’s cooking me pancakes (my favorite), singing along to her Dirty Dancing CD and I’m watching the sky change all sorts of colours as the sun comes out from behind the Isle of White. I’m struck again with the question…why have I waited so long to come back?!
The magical thing with living by the sea is that the view is essentially the same but it’s almost like its alive and its constantly changing, reflecting the weather, the seasons and the passage of time. As I have grown, my view has also grown and its something I have always taken great comfort in. Whenever I am away from the sea for too long, I miss it, I need to see it, breathe in the special sea air, see the open space and I have always, always said how much I appreciate the view I have from my home. I have never, ever stayed away for so long. I went to university in the local area, lived a mere 20 minute drive from my family home and although I always knew I’d move to London, I didn’t think I’s spend months without coming home. So… why? Why have I stayed away?
As I walk with some friends down to Mudeford Key and I snap pictures of the sunset in the spot that I have always called “Proposal Point” I finally accept the answer to my question. The reason I have stayed away for so long is because…everything here, everything about home and all I see when I look around are memories. There is an empty hole, that was once filled with a guy whose photos are still all over may room, whose clothes still hang in the wardrobe and whose shaver still rests on my sink.
I was struck with the realisation that we lived far longer as a couple here, “back down South” than we did anywhere else. Memories of our life together are far more prominent here and by being in London, I have escaped from that and been able to move forward. Being back home was like stepping back to months ago, when we were together, happy and unable to imagine not being “us”.
We spoke on the phone and I ended up in tears, telling him all the things I’d been remembering over the last few days. He was surprisingly understanding and related to all I was feeling, sharing with me his memories and moments since we split that have caught him by surprise.
I am far too sentimental for my own good and see “moments” and “times” in all corners of my home and I think I knew deep down, I’d struggle with coming back. When I was home before, I saw through blurry eyes and didn’t look around at the reminders quite as I do now. I think I also felt that if I’d come back before now, I’d have ended up wanting to stay. I needed the time to pave my own path in London and build a life for myself, make friends and discover new interests.
Although I realise these reminders won’t just “go away”. I have now at least faced up to them once, and hopefully each time I come back, I will contemplate our life together less and just live mine as it is now. I guess I just need to give time, time but know that it is also normal and healthy to remember.
People always say that “you don’t know who your real friend are until something bad happens”. Those who love you, care for you and genuinely worry if you are suffering…those people will come through every time. They will listen, wipe the tears, advise and support you, make you laugh and sometimes force you to see truths. And what I have experienced is, those people are the ones you least expect, the ones you’ve neglected or have lost touch with or you’ve never felt that close to. And sadly, as hard as it is to deal with, it is those who you expect to be there, the ones you know you would do anything for or that you took for granted would step up, that don’t come through.
I’ve spent the last month feeling really disappointed and angry with a person I thought would be my rock whenever anything went wrong. I thought we were best friends, no matter what or where we were in our lives, that we would make the time to be there for one another when we needed it. I was wrong. He was the first person I called, above my family, above people I see more regularly, I called him. He made all the right noises but that conversation was the last I have had with him.
For a while I waited, and then I asked to meet up with him to catch up and talk about…everything, the way we used to. He then cancelled. I’m still waiting to hear when he is next free to see me.
I am deeply upset at the thought that I have lost a friend who meant so much to me and surprised that quite clearly, our friendship no longer means all that much to him. Yet I then look at all the people who have taken the time to call me, text me, come and see me, have a coffee, take me dancing…
These people are the biggest surprise of them all. They have shown me what I mean to them and how lucky I am to have them in my life. In some cases, newly made friends have become my closest and I have opened myself up to meeting new friends and embraced all their advice as well as sharing experiences. They have helped me rebuild and discover who I am, on my own.
I guess I’m writing this because… although it is a sad that tough times can reveal negative truths about relationships you thought you had, they also open your eyes to those who really do care for you and love you, no matter if your crying, saying nothing, shouting, going over and over the same old shit and just…feeling all those things you need to feel.
My mum always said, you can really only ever count your true friends on one hand. I think she is absolutely right. Real friends are the ones who you can spend time with, doing nothing, saying not a lot yet you still have a great time. Just being around them is enough. And your bond is unique to you, no two friendships are the same. You don’t need to make extra effort to have a good time. And even if you haven’t seen each other for a year or more, when you do it is like you have never been a part.
I guess I’m glad I know who my friends are, who really matters to me and who I matter to. If nothing else, that is a silver lining to a rather dark cloud.
Valentines Day. Hmmm… I’ve never been a fan of this particular “holiday”. It seems a shame that we need to have a nominated day where we bother to take the time to tell that special someone that we love them. I don’t want anyone sending me flowers, cards or telling me things they don’t feel because they feel they “have” to.
HOWEVER…there is the total flip side to this argument…
It forces people to take the time to show their loved one how much they mean to them and allows for some romance in a world that doesn’t always encourage it. It is also (more commonly used by school kids), to tell those you admire from a far that you like them (something I used to find exciting and frustrating in equal measure!).
I was talking to the guys I work with about their valentines day plans and we were debating whether gifts were strictly necessary…? I think…no. I mean…why?! Surely the gift is spending that day or evening together, having dinner, conversation and (hopefully) some devilish fun. But. My advice to all of them was A. to give a card (with a personal message) and B. to respect the power that red roses hold!
It probably sounds silly but Red Roses are guaranteed to make any girl smile. Men generally don’t “get” this. Not one guy in the office seemed to see the point in red roses over other colours. So I try to put it simply…
For a start, the colour red itself evolved from an early primal symbol for life into a metaphor for deep emotion. It is the colour of our heart and our blood that runs through us, keeping us alive and therefore it suggests the emotion you feel does the same, keeps you going and run deep within you.
The red rose is universally known as the symbol of love. It dates back to Greek and Roman mythology where the red rose was closely tied to the Goddess of Love and people would decorate their wedding venues, clothing and hair with them. The tradition never died and in fact, grew stronger and more prominent with time. It has become an unmistakable iconic representation of saying, “I love you”.
In fact all colours of roses hold a meaning. I could be wrong but here is how I understand it:
White: Purity, Innocence, Youthfulness, Happiness
Pink: Appreciation, “Thank You”, Gentleness, Joy
Yellow: Friendship, New Beginnings, Freedom
Yellow With Red Tip: Falling in Love (good one for new valentines?!)
Red and White: Given together these signify Unity – often seen at weddings
Orange: Desire, Fascination
Black: Infinite Love
Blue: The Unattainable or Impossible
Also (good news for the pocket) giving a Single Red Rose means: True Love
And a Thorn-less Rose means Love at First Sight.
So…however you feel about the girl you are with (or hope to be with) …there is a colour for you! But my advice, if you are in love…go for RED!
To set the scene… I am sat at about 1 am, with a glass of wine, tears in my eyes and I hear this for the first time. Possibly the most unbelievably “close to the bone” album that I could possibly listen to. My ex boyfriend has returned to our flat and wants me to listen to it, will think I can relate to it. I do.
Have you heard it? No?…then please listen. It certainly seems a massive leap away from songs on their first album such as “5 days time” and “Jocasta” which are fairly standard mellow commercial tracks that got the Noah and the Whale name out there and pleased the label enough to justify a second album.
But this second album…what an album. It is rare you find a whole album that you can listen to start to finish but…this is one of those albums. From the moment it begins you can tell it is going to be a lot darker and deeper than its predecessor. On this first listen, I didn’t know the context or the history of the album. I was open to hearing it and curious as to why my ex boyfriend thought it would touch me so much. It is part of a “greater-whole” and there is also a film on DVD which I have not yet watched because at the moment I’m enjoying the scenes I see in my head. However, on the first listen, I immediately felt that it was part of a movie sound track. Emotive, and deeply honest, the tracks all make you feel something and you are compelled to listen, drawn in by the soft vocals and simple yet…somehow epic melodies. There is lots of long notes on strings and heavy piano that build and drop back down taking you on a journey. I could picture each scene intensely and I could relate to everything being sung about.
I don’t want to “review” the album…that would be a little pointless seeing as this was released in 2009 and their 3rd offering is out this year. However, I do think that if you haven’t listened to it, take the time to do so! If they are a band who you have ignored or let pass you by, find some time for them and particularly this album (although I haven’t heard number 3!). They are bloody great musicians and even with all my emotional attachments aside; if you just want to find yourself a new band, a new album to listen to…please give this one a go! I would be amazed if it didn’t grab you.
However… if you, like me, are walking around with a broken heart, unable to get it out of your mind, you might take comfort in the lyrics. Almost every song says something to me that makes my skin tingle and that floods me with those feelings again. I don’t know…it might not be the most helpful thing to you! But for me, it does help. Its poetic, dramatic, descriptive and real. There are lyrics that relate to anyone who has ever had their heart broken and lead singer, Charlie Fink sings of moments and scenes we have all had with people we are losing. It might hurt too much to listen, but it might also make you feel less alone. And if you ever just need to cry and feel all the things everyone else tells you to distract yourself from, then indulge in The First Days of Spring. Let yourself feel those things. Sometimes, that is what we need.
MY TOP THREE TRACKS (although I really do love them all)
The First Days of Spring