The Break Up-Part 1

“Anything in particular you are looking for madam?”

Wow, that question prompted more of an internal reaction then I wanted. There was a silence for a few seconds as the lady with blonde hair tied up in a twist and immaculate make up – big smoky eyes and red lips stared at me with a smile. I had no idea what I was looking for, potentially the part of me that was missing, well perhaps not missing but numbed. It doesn’t seem to feel anymore, I don’t even know if it is still there. Maybe it collapsed when my world did. I feel drained and the lady’s question makes me feel stupid. Stupid for coming here and doing the typical girly thing of trying to change my appearance after a break-up.

Shopping won’t make it go away neither would drinking or getting high or sleeping around but it could delay the problem. Numb the pain even further, just so that I didn’t have to deal with it right away. I don’t have the strength at the moment, I feel so drained and emotionless. I know though, that I can shop now and drink later but once the thrill wears off, I will be a mess again.

I’m just going through the motions, I’m alive but I’m not living. This is the point where my friends may want to define the word, survived. I’m not sure I have, I’m not the person that I used to be. That part of me has disappeared and all that is left is me in the purest, simplest form. My personality seems to have gone along with my laughter and smile. I haven’t told many people either because I don’t want the attention and sympathetic looks. They say everything heals in time but I know people can delay that.

It sounds odd but I haven’t even thought about life without him yet just about the fact that I wasn’t enough for him. I wish I could hate him then it would be easier, knowing that he had done something specific to hurt me rather than just dislike the person that he had turned in to. I couldn’t hate him and I never will but this all just seems like one big mess that should be able to be superglued back together yet we both know it can’t because I am made of an incompatible material to his. Somehow they changed over the two years.

I have to do something though, so I get up, get dressed- may as well wear some of that new clothing. I put on the floral skater dress and chuck my necklace on that says Becky on it. It makes me feel like me when I put it on, like I know who I am so I guess this action was more of a hopeful one. I leave the house and as I lock the door, I pretend to decide where to go even though I know exactly where I am going. I am going to my favourite place in the city, it’s high up and I can see the whole place. It’s quiet though so I have room to reflect on my thoughts. I think about all the people down there doing things and how I can’t see them so they don’t matter at this moment. Only I do. I am the only one up here. There’s no phone signal either, it truly is just me and the city alone thinking, perhaps talking. It knows me this place, it knows what’s good for me.

                Coming down is a come down in itself though but at least I’ve attempted to find some clarity in my thoughts, I’m not sure that I have though. Lottie’s texted me asking for cocktails tonight. I want to go and I don’t. The thought of being somewhere in a bar that means I can’t use the boyfriend excuse when boys chat me up terrifies me however I know getting glammed up may make me feel better. I may as well give those new purchases an outing. I ring her and tell her that I’ll go. I know that way, I will find it harder to back out. The girls being around me could help though especially Lottie, she knows what it’s like and has told me that it would be shit for a bit but I’ll make it through. I suppose showing my face is better than nothing at all and I can always leave early.

I look at myself in my mirror heels, midi skirt, top, earrings, hair, make- up, take it all in and think ‘Come on T, you can do this, you’ll be fine’. I almost believe myself but can tell that my lack of confidence lets the whole ensemble down. I take a deep breath, down what I want to say is a white wine but is actually a JD and coke because that is what I have always drank after a tough day and maybe I’m hoping it will bring out a party girl. I’ve never really been one though. I always preferred cocktails in a nice bar or dinners out. I guess that in itself makes me feel better in a relationship.

The girls are sat there ready with their unintentional looks of pity as tonight’s accessory. This is why I didn’t want to come out. I know that they will tell me that they weren’t keen on Luke but I don’t want them to tell me that because then I will see all the cracks that were present in the relationship and I don’t want to see the flaws. The girls say it will make me feel better if I see them and then I won’t be but I will because although we weren’t perfect, we had something that felt like it was or close enough anyway.

“But T, you want something perfect not close to it, properly perfect”, Lottie points out. I sigh but nod in agreement anyway, Lottie’s known me for too well and knows that I am all about the ‘Big Love’. The Carrie and Big, Blair and Chuck, Noah and Allie, all consuming, swept off my feet, nothing else matters true love. There was a time when I thought that was what Luke and I had but it didn’t last too long but I thought I was being a realist and that that movie love didn’t exist. I guess now is the time to start believing in it again. 

Reflections on Easter and Faith

Easter has come and gone this week and I had a lovely Easter break spending quality time with my family and ate a lot of chocolate. Easter, to me, is this, time spent with my family when we can all come together and hopefully get a few precious days off work to spend together. Although I have been brought up as a Christian, I class myself as having no religion at this point in my life. I went to church with my dad on Good Friday- if you ever want a Christian to admire- he is one to admire as he had his fair share of hard times yet is still a firm believer and I admire his faith although completely fail to share it. However, I tend to think of religion like I think of sexuality- it is not a choice, you either do believe in something or you don’t. You either have the faith in an intangible being or you don’t and for me, I am pretty sure that I don’t. I love the idea of believing in something so strongly but I just can’t.

Dad wanted me to go I guess because he wants me to believe in God and Jesus and share his faith. I obliged to make him happy and to share in something he likes as well. He has spent a good 20 years of his life sharing in mine but I also wanted to spend time with him. Now I am away at university, I don’t get to spend nearly as much time with my family as I would like.

During the service, the speaker kept talking about how amazing it was for God/Jesus to do something so selfless and to die for our sins which I mean, yeah is pretty incredible. However as I get older, I realise that the mistakes  or sins I make are mine and while others may be able to help rectify what I have done, I ultimately will pay the consequence.   And the truth is, I think I am ok with that. I don’t want Jesus to take blame for my ‘sins’- I mean obviously I sin, but truthfully, I don’t believe that all of the things noted in the bible are sins. I will never have an issue with homosexuality, sex before marriage or people getting drunk or high. Throughout the service all I thought was, I am usually quite aware of any consequences of my actions therefore I want to take blame for them all whether that means eternity in Hell or not because I want to really live my life. I feel that as long as I know that I have lived a good life now, that will be enough for my soul forever. We are unsure, no matter how solid our faith, there is no proof of what happens to us once we die and so I would like to make this life as meaningful and as outrageous and fun as possible because then at least I have done it once. I have properly lived for me, not for anyone else. I want to know that I have felt really alive during my time on this Earth and I am extremely fortunate to say that I have already had that feeling in several moments of my life where I feel grateful to be alive but it is more than that, a feeling of true elation, like life can’t get any better. (Yes I have been sober while it’s happened too.) You can die for someone (of course, I’d die for my dad if it came to that) but you can’t live your life for someone else just because it makes them happy even if you are choosing to make them happy then you are still living the way you want.

I figure that’s what these religions feel when they worship but I have found that in myself and that seems enough. However, if I do think about becoming religous once I have lived life my way and figured that there may be a better way once I’ve had my time. Religous people often come out with things such as how do you know you’re living right if you haven’t tried God’s way but equally if you haven’t tried to live by yourself, how can you be so convinced that God’s way is the right way? So maybe, once I’ve lived my way for a while and I decide to give religion another go, I feel that I should become knowledgeable about them all before making a decision about which one to follow particularly as we are so so lucky to live in a country that lets us be any religion we want without scarificing our life for it.

I have huge respect for everyone religous, agnostic or atheist and find them all equally interesting however this is my current stance on it.

 

Euphoria

They ran down the hill laughing and holding hands then collapsed on the floor, sighed and looked at each other. This is so much fun, thought Beth. Tim was wondering what to do now, as he closed his eyes tightly and tried to hold on to the floor to get rid of that overwhelming dizziness. Tim’s hand somehow found hers and the other grabbed on to the grass quickly. He could smell her sweet perfume even over the smell of the wet grass. Tim leaned over and kissed Beth, it was like the world was spinning, around them, without them but they didn’t care. This was the moment in which they wanted to live in. Neither had a care in the world at that moment.

This was not a time to think but a time to enjoy just being. Being alive. Being young. Being free. Having no concept of time or anything else. They had escaped everything but they weren’t on a remote island but a park not far from the city. It was a time out from everything for them to just be themselves out of the spotlight that everyone else gave to them.

They stroked each other’s hands and talked. Neither of them could have told you what about for it didn’t matter, all that mattered was that they were alive and together. Nobody else had to exist. Being there, wherever they were with each other, whoever they were was all that mattered.

They took a breather and noticed the sun making it’s first appearance around them, suddenly, it was 5am.

“Stay”, Tim whispered. Beth grasped his hand tightly and Tim put his arm around her holding her as if she would make the world stay still. They watched the sky turn from electric pink to its usual blue as the sun rose. It wasn’t a particularly warm day but they didn’t notice as they could feel each other’s and perhaps some of the Sambuca shot’s warmth.  They lay there for about an hour or so more when people began walking their dogs or coming to the park for their morning jogs. Tim  grinned at the passers-by, Beth was slightly more embarrassed however.

They went their seperate ways, both of them changed a little bit forever, they didn’t know how or why but they knew that night was the highest they had ever felt. It was different to anything else that had ever happened and the consequences didn’t matter.

 

Sometimes in life, the best moments are the simplest we share with another person. We might not even know why it was so good or how it changed us but we know it did. We also realise that we may never get another moment like that yet we feel blessed to have had even one because some people never do. They never feel alive and infinite.

Maybe it doesn’t matter if you don’t see somebody for a while whether that’s several weeks, months or even years. A moment shared like that can bond you for life, no matter how far away you go. 

 

#InstaAddict

This is a piece I wrote reflecting today’s social media obsessed culture.

I hesitate before posting. There are enough hashtags and all the right ones there. #girl #brownhair #gettingready #nightout #love #drinking #makeup #redlips #photooftheday #happy #smile #fun #selfie.

 

I check the photo over to make sure that I have smoothed out all of the imperfections on Photoshop. I check that my skin looks perfect even though I have primer, foundation, concealer and powder on. I check that the lighting is good and does not clash with the filter. I set the filter to Mayfair as I have read that it is the most common filter setting of the most liked pictures. I look at the photo from a distance, my shoulder length brown hair falls perfectly while my head is slightly at an angle. My eyes are a piercing sea blue and my cheeks are perfectly bronzed, while my red lips provide a great contrast giving followers and other users many different motives to like it. The fashionistas will love the edgy red lips, my friends will say I’m pretty, make up gurus will appreciate the skill taken to apply my gel eyeliner on top of my eyelid and underneath my eye, the boys will think I’m fit or hot or whatever term they use these days. Secretly, I’m hoping for the comment #worldie.

I take a breath and click post. I wait twenty minutes before checking it again while I get my outfit, shoes and clutch ready. This has now become a ritual in to my getting ready routine and I have to allow an extra half an hour to ensure that there is time to do it. After all, I can’t guarantee how the photos from the night will turn out and if there will even be any. If there isn’t, it’s just a waste, after all people go out to be seen and in this modern age, a cyber-presence is just as important as a physical one.

Twenty minutes later, just as my dad is calling me ready to take me to Ellie’s where we will predrink, I check back on the photo. Fifty- two likes and two comments. I sigh, it just isn’t enough, and I examine the photo again. I can see a tiny dark spot on my face. Will I never learn to check my editing more thoroughly? Then I realise I posted it at the wrong time, everybody would have been too busy getting ready to go out, you must always post it around the time everyone is in the taxi on their way to the club, when they have time to flick through their social networks. I roll my eyes. Damn. That was a rookie mistake. I can only hope people are making long journeys tonight so that they will scroll down their feeds for long enough to come across my photo.

Dad looks my way,

“You ok?” He asks looking concerned, “You seem quiet tonight.”

“I’m fine.”

“What’s the matter? One of your photos not got enough likes or something?”

He’s joking yet I still feel angry at him for making such a joke, it’s not a laughing matter, can he not understand that?

It’s important that I come across as perfect online where I can airbrush every bit of my life. I don’t spend hours of my life editing my Facebook profile just so it can be laughed at. I want people to envy me and take joy in admiring my amazing life. It’s like having your own front page but you can design it and control what is written about you and what people see. It is the ultimate cover up of any flaws in your life but also the ultimate tool of acceptance and authorisation of your life from your peers. I am well aware that I am promoting a perfect life which may not be entirely true to form. It’s a reflection of how I want my life to be, how it could be perfect and that’s not false is it? It’s like being able to edit your life so that it is perfect, who doesn’t want that?

I arrive at Ellie’s, the other girls all there, all dressed up. We all of course like each other’s selfies and I check my profile again, seventy eight likes, it’s improving which is a relief.

The next morning we wake up and upload pictures and posts of how we’re feeling. Unfortunately, Ellie has ended up with a huge bruise on her leg so we document that and in roll the sympathetic comments. We moan about our hangovers although I refuse to post any pictures until I’m home and can edit them- why risk getting fewer likes?

The girls moan about my reluctance to post any photos until I’ve edited them. I can see their frustration and they tell me it’s fine to post unedited pictures and I know it is but I just can’t let myself go like that.

You see, there is no feeling, quite as good as your picture being up for fifteen minutes and it receiving one hundred and fifty likes , it feels like fame but in the least intrusive way possible. I can post a quote by an unaccredited person and it can get reblogged over and over. I am popular online and there are people willing to listening what I have to say, eager to see what I post and click a button to say they enjoyed a split second of happiness or empathy from my post.

We spend so much time perfecting the image of our lives that is broadcast to people we barely know, and convincing them that we live a strong and happy life rather than actually being happy and actually living real life.

 

 

Alexandra Shulman Has Spoken Out About Skinny Models on Vogue

Well done to Alexandra Shulman today after being interviewed on Radio 2 by Lily Allen and defending Vogue’s continuous decision to put airbrushed models and celebrities on the cover. It is after all what many people think although it is not supposed to be said as it is inpolitically correct.

I am a strong believer in this point and that those images of airbrushed perfection are part of the artistry and seductive appeal of a magazine. I don’t want to see the same kind of women that I would see in Starbucks in Vogue, it’s similar to the fact that I like the fact that all the pieces are so expensive and it rarely features pieces from Topshop that are accessible to everyone. I want to see that fantasy and I want to see it play up to the fantasy, I do not pay £4 for it to see ordinary people. Nobody ever asks cartoonists why their drawings are skinny or gamers why the women in their games are not more representative. As Shulman has said before, nobody reads Vogue or any magazine for that matter and decides to become anorexic. People may not like it however

Alexandra Shulman also raised controversy when she became editor of Vogue in 1992 because her looks was very different to that of her predecessors, compare her appearance with that of US Vogue editor who is also British, Anna Wintour. Therefore, Alexandra Shulman is very aware of the how the fashion industry is perceived by outsiders. Her comments should be taken positively and having been at the helm of Vogue for twenty-two years, I would imagine that if real women being on the cover did sell, she would know about it and would do it. You wouldn’t buy a magazine with expensive cars and gadgets in if you didn’t like the example of what was on the cover so reallly, the principle is simple and the same with fashion magazines.

Under no means would I ever say that fashion is conformist- look at the designers and what they look like and even the editors, these are the kids that made themselves cool. They were cool before cool was even a thing and recognised by everyone else. Therefore having skinny models is not something which to conform to but something which contributes to the fanatasy of fashion.