Hello again. I’ve left it much, much too long haven’t I? Trust me, there has been more than enough self flagellation for my lack of writing and consistent blogging, though I have started a food/ Portsmouth review page on Instagram, so not entirely static thankfully.
How life has changed since last we spoke. I sit now in my relatively new, slightly chilly flat in the centre of Portsmouth, where I now live on my own and even pay my own bills. The building is as central as they come, but old, with single glazing and one brick thick walls. I wish the journey into solo-living was as animated and empowering as everyone imagines, but honestly much of the time is spent wanting to keep the place pest free, thinking about your electricity and heating costs, wondering if the building is even secure, and not feeling entirely comfortable with the fact that I am, genuinely, alone here.
Of course there are the perks. I have to put up with no one’s mess but my own, so for the most part it is very tidy. I don’t have to share any communal areas (the no1 reason I wanted my own place), so the lounge, kitchen and bathroom are totally my domain. My gym and sports centre both sit a stones throw away, as are my lectures, library and the centre of town. I know I am privileged to be able to afford this, and felt frankly at the age of 27, I deserved my own space after sharing accommodation in one way or another my entire life, bar my year spent teaching when I had my own apartment on school grounds. For the most part it’s a mixed bag, but I am grateful, and think the more I use the space and enjoy it with others, the less lonely or wasteful it will feel.
I am also in my final year of university. Several weeks in now. HOW?! How did we get here so quickly. This last summer is a total blur of again- preparation and painting before my big move, clearing out an entire house, times spent with my significant other (both good and bad) and the hard final push to meet my deadlines by the end of June. By the time I moved in here in mid August, the summer felt like it was already fleeing, and I again felt far away from myself. I cannot tell you how much I hate these times when I lose my anchor. I feel like I’m drifting, unattached to the world and not sure what I should be caring about or where my motivation and passion have disappeared to, only recognising the feeling of dread that- perhaps, they may not return.
Last Christmas was a fright. After making the six hour treck to Suffolk to stay with my mother and spend time with my brother, it seemed at first all would be well. For the first two days, my mother was sober. We visited the wild and chilly Suffolk coast for a meal in the rustic Harbor restaurant she had been promising to take me to for years. We ate buttery lobster and drank crisp Prosecco before a windy walk on the Suffolk sand dunes. I waded in the waves in my purple wellies and let the bright winter sun warm my face. I was healing a broken heart at the time. The blossoming romance about which I last wrote here, that I had been so afraid had been too good to be true, ended up being just that.
I confess, I naively put all my romantic eggs in one basket, and hoped in spite of some signs to the contrary that my Hollywood style romance would inevitably blossom. It did not. After experiencing my first ever few weeks of ghosting in November (a move where if a person is so emotionally inept/ retarded they simply all-but stop talking to their partner instead of facing the perhaps uncomfortable conversation of honest feelings) I was unceremoniously dumped, via text, during shift whilst they knew I was at work. With the shoulder of my darling brother on the other end of the phone, my wonderful few friends and coursemates both here and faraway, I cried for a few days, took a hot bath, and got back up in time for Christmas.
Over the Yuletide and surrounding weeks I decided to spread my bets, talking to a few different suitors whilst safely far away in my Suffolk homeland. Like I said though, the peace didn’t last long. For whatever secret reason, because of whatever trigger, on the third day, my mother removed her safety ring and jumped off the deep end. Jekyl well and truly began her all too familiar alcoholic transformation into Hyde. By Christmas Day, the only reaction we got from her once my brother and I cooked the Christmas roast and laid out the silverware, candles and crackers on the table, were garbled screeches of expletives from the lounge, and demands for alcohol though she had at this point drunk the house dry and the shops were all closed.
My heart was now broken double-fold. Not only was I wounded from my first romantic rejection in a long time and the loss of that hopefulness, my mother now broke it once more. Instead of joining us in joy and wanting to spend some rare time with her children, she refused to come to the table, or even touch the food we cooked. I decided to leave the following day, comforted only by my brothers company and our shared warmth and friendship which never falters. When my mother was told of my plans to leave, luckily it was enough to wake her up. She realised for once, that she was throwing everything back in our faces, came to the den to apologize, and asked me to stay and not leave her yet. I did.
Once returned to Portsmouth in the new year, I decided to start afresh. I love January. It feels like the month in which anything is possible and the greatest diving board from which to jump with all your aspirations for the year. I was happy to be back in town and safe from family woes. I joined a yoga studio, began eating well and decided to get in shape ready for the spring and summer. Beyond the few others I had been talking to, I had been getting on extremely well with one person in particular. From our first conversation our dialogue had been easy and fun, our humour clicked and there seemed to be for once, that elusive spark. I dated two others before I met him, for the sake of protecting my heart from its last mistake of putting all hope in only one, but from the moment I met the bike rider, we both knew there was something there. Very quickly we began seeing each other every week, and a few months in he asked me to be exclusive, then soon after to be his girlfriend. I’d longed for this to happen all this time, for someone to reach out and say ‘I want you to be my person’ and for me to feel exactly the same way back- that I quite literally shrieked with joy when he asked me that very thing on top of a hill, over looking the sea and sunset as it shone down on Southsea.
The best adventure since my last entry was not in fact with him, but with one of my best friends and fellow student, when we packed our bags in April and took off to Florence. I’m planning on doing a separate blog post about this trip (only six months late), but suffice it to say it was a dream come true, for the most part, and the highlight of my year.
For the rest of the year, life consisted of going to yoga classes, the gym, to lectures, slowly losing weight and spending more and more time with my new biking beau. However, as both deadlines and my birthday approached, life began gathering a negative momentum. Signs of insecurity and anxiety began to show in my beloved, with my own bad habits resurfacing around the same time. I had to extend for my last big piece of coursework in order to attend my aunts funeral, for which my brother got the wrong day, so made me do the trip to Eastbourne (4 hours + on the train) twice. My biker beau and I continued doing wonderful activities together, he took me to my first music festival and got us VIP passes, we ate sushi, visited Arundel, walked through fields of bluebells, took trips to London, Cornwall and Brighton for my birthday, eating wonderful food and embracing being together. As wonderful as each of these sounds, and in many ways they were- they all bare the tint in my memory of having been ruined by a bout of anxiety, jealousy and even paranoia at points. It’s like holding a memory in your hand like a glistening gem stone. You look at it and see it’s beauty and preciousness, but you can never forget or ignore the ugly chip that’s hidden from all other sight but your own.
I’ve learnt over time that these things are not all his fault, or mine. I’ve learnt that we are two very imperfect people, both with separate demons and insecurities just like everyone else, trying to find love and acceptance in another. All we can both do is try and make ourselves better, as indeed we are, and keep faith that the other will get back to that wonderful best you saw, when first enthralled in each others light and personality.
In any case, here we are. A little into third year, with the looming prospects of a two part dissertation, 30 minute script, pitch, presentation and critical essay all ahead- just for now. Not easy days these. My fingers are cold as I type, and a lot of the time I feel distant and far from the person I would like to be. I know the most important thing for me to achieve, and my reason for even being here, is my degree. I know it will not be easy. I know that I will struggle and there will always be days when I doubt myself and if I should even bother. But for now putting pen to paper/ finger to phone has felt good. I feel like I’ve purged half a year of ups, downs, drama and sorrow in a way I could not even to a counsellor/ therapist. Perhaps that is always what I go back to.
Writing is my therapy. Maybe that’s why I should do it more often. I’m going to head downstairs and try and do some writing in a warm coffee shop. Wish me luck, I think I’ll need it for this year.