Monday, 23 December 2013

Tell someone how you feel this Christmas... Actually, best not.

I’m going to tell you something about myself you may not know. It’s not exactly ground breaking, nor is it something anyone can really gossip about. It’s something that really annoys me about myself and it’s the reason why sometimes I find myself exhausted, fed-up and feeling inadequate.

I’m a people pleaser. There, I’ve said it. I’d much rather make everyone around me happy than myself. As long as they don’t have a bad day, I don’t mind about mine.

The problem with being a people pleaser is that not many other people are. It’s not that they are selfish, it’s that they’ve got their priorities worked out a lot better than I have.

This goes hand in hand with another thing you may not know about me – I don’t tell people how I really feel. Ask any of my exes, and they will tell you just how frustrating it is to get me to tell them I actually how I feel about a situation.

I blame my drama training. I find it so easy to put on an “I’m completely okay with what you just said to me” expression that I find it hard to snap out of. I’m not saying I never tell people how I feel, the problem is that I normally keep all those feelings inside my head until a really inappropriate time when I decide to explode and know one really knows what to do with me.

However, it is Christmas, and all those stupid songs and adverts tell you that you should tell that ‘special someone’ how you feel at this time of year. Now, I’m guessing that it’s meant to be romantic and a nice thing that you are telling them how you feel – but for some reason my head has decided that isn’t the case this festive season.

For probably the first time in my life, I just have no filter system. For the past week I have been telling people exactly how I feel, and exactly what I think about them. The worst part of it is…. There hasn’t been any alcohol involved.

Now, I never complain about retail staff. I’ve worked it crappy minimum wage jobs, and you know what, they are fully entitled to snap at the fiftieth person that day who’s asked what they can use there voucher on, when it is displayed very clearly on a hundred different signs in the shop.

You know when you’re just having one of those days – you have to dry your tights with a hair dryer, you find mould on the toast you are already halfway through and you can’t find you’re keys five minutes before you need to leave.

Well I was having one of those and I popped into Sainsbury’s. I normally like food shopping, but it looses its appeal when all you can afford is pasta, bread and beans. I got to the checkout and was greeted by one of the most miserable women I think I’ve ever met. I always just forget a bit of bad service, but it must have been the fifth time this year I’d not even been acknowledged by this employee as she scanned through my Basics cheese.

So, I did something I never do – I made a complaint, and I’ve felt guilty ever since.

On my comment card, I explained just how rude she had been to me when I asked for cash-back and how unhelpful to the elderly lady struggling to pack quick enough in front of me, prompting me to assist.

Every time I had come across this woman she had been awful, so why did I feel so horrible?

The second time, I feel less guilty about. I know people are panicking so close to Christmas that they haven’t got everything they need, but why does this have to mean a complete forfeiture of their manners?

On many occasions this week, I haven’t been thanked for opening doors for people, letting people struggling with bags get on the train ahead of me and running after people who have left belongings behind. Well, I snapped. I snapped in the Disney store.

As I was walking through the store I went past a woman who knocked several pyjama sets on the floor. Being nice, I bent down to pick them up for her. I’m not saying I need a round of applause, but at least a thank you. Well, I got nothing but a dirty look.

I seemed to speak before my brain really engaged and ended up spouting; “Yeah it’s alright that I picked up something that you dropped. Thanks for the gratitude”.

I got a very sheepish “sorry” reply.

And the third time, I feel absolutely no guilt about at all. I told someone I hope they have a rubbish Christmas, and I absolutely stand by what I said. 

A few months ago I was speaking to a friend of mine about how I’d been treated in the past by guys and he said “And what did you do to them?”. I didn’t know what to say, because honestly, I hadn’t done anything. I walked away every time, thinking that keeping a dignified silence would stop me from looking like a psychopath. Well, it may do that, but actually all it does is just leave the door right open behind you as you walk away. By not telling these guys what I really feel, I haven’t had any closure.

Not this time.

As soon as my nice little bubble was burst on Thursday night, I sent a text (I know, not very dramatic, but I’m getting there) that I will be proud of for the rest of my life.

I told him how I felt. For the first time in my life I didn’t let someone get off scot-free for how they treated me. I told him I hoped he had a rubbish Christmas... because I meant it.

I hope there aren’t enough pigs in blankets for his Christmas dinner; I hope the Internet shopping he’s done doesn’t arrive in time and I hope he gets turned down at midnight on New Years Eve.

That is how I feel and I shouldn’t feel guilty about it. If you’ve been treated like dog poo of the bottom of their shoe, there is no way you should feel guilty about hoping they get a bit of acute food poisoning or get caught in the rain ahead of an important meeting – because that is poetic justice and it doesn’t happen enough.

Merry Christmas.

Live. Laugh. Love.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Losing my cherry

My mum gives me a lot of advice, some I ask for, some I don't. She comes out with some great one-liners, mostly designed to give me a metaphorical slap in the face when she's a few too many miles away to give me an actual one.

One piece that has stuck with me, has probably been very vital over my formative years - it's also been the opening line of many a drunken rant, one of which took place this Saturday. Sorry, Laura and Danielle.

It's been quite literally a sanity saver (if I have any left) and if there's any room left on the list of things I am thankful to my Mum for, it's this:

"Don't let a guy be your cake, only let him be the cherry on top."

I think the first time I heard it was after Chef Boy, which was probably the most blown-out-of-proportion reaction to a break-up in history. You see I'd let him be the cake. I'd let him walk all over me, and arranged my life around him. He was my cake... And no one likes it when your cake gets taken away from you.

Now, it wasn't like he was a Red Velvet cake, or gooey centred Chocolate cake - he was more like one of those Cupcakes that underneath all the impressive frosting was just disappointing, but nevertheless, just like when someone takes away my actual cake, I was gutted.

I don't think my Mum really knew how to cope with that. I don't think she'd ever seen me like that... I don't think I'd ever seen me like that. So, on a cold February night she turned to me, my steamed up glasses, tear soaked break-up jumper and Happy Meal, and told me exactly what I needed - not wanted - to hear.

I needed to make my own cake before I let anyone be involved in it. You can't have a cherry on top of a cake, if there's no cake to begin with. You need to have a life that you're happy with and a base that's stable, before you can let a guy be a part of it. Because otherwise, if you let him be the jam that holds the Victoria Sponge together or even the eggs, flour or milk, when something bad happens or you breakup, well, what are you left with?

So as gutted as I was last night and as snuffly as I've felt all day, I know that all I lost yesterday was my cherry. I can get more cherries, new cherries, better, fancier and maybe more than one cherry. I still have my amazing friends, crazy life and incredible year ahead of me - him not being a part of that won't make it any different, because he wasn't vital. Yes, it was nice and yes, it made me happy, but he wasn't the only cause of my contentment.

Did I just become a grown up?

Live. Laugh. Love.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Seven things you don't want to hear - but really need to.

 Sometimes as girls we completely block out things that are right in front of our face. Glaringly obvious truths are sometimes too hard to accept, because it’s not what we want to hear. We know that guy isn’t right for us, but we don’t actually KNOW.

No matter how many bottles of wine and boxes of tissues we get through with our friends, sometimes we simply can’t take the obvious. We convince ourselves that ‘this’ is different. It’s not our friends’ fault that they tiptoe around our feelings. We all do it. No girl ever wants to tell her friend that the guy she’s fallen head over heels for is actually playing her more than he does FIFA.

But I have a friend – one of the greatest people I’ve ever met – whose honesty frankly took me by surprise at first. She sat me down a few weeks ago and said “I’m going to tell you what you don’t want to hear”… and she did.

And you know what, I’ll be forever grateful. Her complete and utter honesty made me realise what was staring me point blank in the face.

We as girls whilst trying to make each other feel better can make another girl make a heap load of more mistakes. It’s not our fault; it’s how we’ve been brought up by Jennifer Aniston movies.

But girls, it’s time to thicken that skin. So, here are seven things you don’t want to hear – but really need to.

Breaking up with someone will never feel good. This is not a Rom-Com.

It just doesn’t. There was a girl on my Facebook newsfeed a few months ago who split up with her boyfriend and they had both put a status saying how it was a joint decision. They said they wanted the best for each other and that the relationship had just run its course. She seemed unbelievably happy… Two weeks later I saw her in a nightclub toilet sobbing on her friends shoulder about it.

That guy who lied to her... Yeah, he's lying to you too.

I used to have this theory that if it’s the right girl, any guy can be the right guy. Basically, I thought guys could be nice. It’s essentially the same as “Once and cheat, always a cheat”.

Psychologically, as human beings, the more times we do something the less guilty we feel about it. It becomes normal.

     Deleting his number doesn't delete him from your life

Come on, we’ve all done it. Deleting his number to stop you from texting him – either drunk or sober. It never works, gone are the days where you could lose a piece of paper that had his house phone number on. I once went through a stage where I deleted my exes number so often, I’d actually accidentally memorised it from it popping up all the time.

Even if he doesn’t text you, iPhones still remember contacts – so if you typed in their name, it would still come up. Why iPhone, WHY?!

     Drunk words DO NOT speak a sober mind.

Receiving a drunken call at 4am doesn't mean you are special to him. It means he's exhausted all his other options and he wants someone to care about him and give him compliments. And at that time in a morning he will tell you anything you want to hear just so you will talk to him on his long walk home from the kebab shop.

It’s a huge misconception that people tell the truth when they’re drunk. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve told DJ’s it’s my Birthday to get free champagne.

There’s a reason he seems to ‘forget’ to text you the next morning.

     If a guy wants to talk to you, he will talk to you. No exceptions.

Everyone has 2 minutes. Everyone can sneak out of work, text under the desk or call from the toilets. If I really want to speak to someone, I will speak to them. I’m sure the place where I used to Waitress thought I had bladder problems because I used to go to the loo so much.

Fair enough, if you can’t use you’re phone all day, you have no battery or you’ve fallen off a cliff edge, texting back might be a problem – but in nearly every circumstance, if he’s not talking to you – it’s because he doesn’t want too.

    You can’t be “friends” with your Ex.

Maybe I’m alone on this one because I’ve never been able to do it, but I’m sorry you can never just be “friends” with someone you felt that much for. People get back with their Exes all the time. I’m not saying that if the guy you’re seeing says “Hi” to his Ex on the street, or chats with her occasionally that they’re still passionately in love, but who are we kidding…

     If you're still Facebook stalking him, you're not over him

If there profile comes up as soon as you type in the first letter of their name – it’s time for some home truths.

The other day I looked up Chef Boy and whilst it felt good to see that he know had boobs to rival my own – I had a small internal argument with myself as too whether I had done it to see if he was okay, or because I missed him.

I realised that I obviously wasn’t over the situation… not so much the relationship, but the way it ended. (He’s a scumbag)

Another thing that you probably don’t want to hear is that you’re worth more than how he treats you. It’s not okay to feel the way he makes you feel…You are special.

Live. Laugh. Love

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

The difference between 'right' and 'wrong'

Sometimes in life we take all the right turns, open all the right doors and sing all the right words. Sometimes we don’t.

Sometimes in life we listen at all the right times, be in all the right places and press all the right buttons. Sometimes we don’t.

Sometimes in life we do everything right. Most of the time we don’t.

I want to talk about when we don’t do what’s right.

What’s ‘right’ can be dressed up in so many different ways. The correct, or sensible way of living or the ethical and moral way of making decisions. Whatever you consider ‘right’ to be, makes you, you.

The basic outlines of right and wrong are instilled in us at a young age and yet we learn what really is right and wrong as we grow. These can be some of the toughest lessons we ever learn.

You see if we simply lived our lives on the basis of what we know as right and wrong, well we’d have a pretty simple legal system. But, we don’t, because feelings get in the way. Whether it’s revenge, anger, happiness, pure passion or love – it get’s in the way.

Think of life as if you’re looking through a window. A window that’s just been cleaned means we can see clearly, things are in perspective, and nothing is distorted. But as we all know weathering different storms changes that. It can fog up our judgement; change the way we look at things. Sometimes for a short while, sometimes for a lifetime.

It might already be obvious, just by the fact I am writing this, that I’ve not exactly made the right decision as of late. I hope you’re not here to pass judgement, as I would never do the same to anyone who’d made a mistake.

I believe that mistakes can be dressed up as so many things. You might think that you’re the doing the ‘right’ thing. You might even know you’re not doing what is entirely ‘right’, but you think it the best thing you can do.

If you’re anything like me, you might one day decide that you’re not going to make all the ‘right’ decisions for a change. You make a snap decision based on how the ‘wrong’ things make you feel and then it’s too late; you’ve made a ‘wrong’ decision.

I always say to anyone who comes to me for advice: don’t apologise for your feelings. You have every right to feel exactly how you feel in your head and heart. You can pretend and camouflage what’s going on inside, but how you feel is how you feel – there’s no lying to yourself, not really.

If you’re struggling with what’s the ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ thing to do, I’ll pose you a question: In 50 years time, would you smile about it, laugh at it or not even remember it?

Live. Laugh. Love

Friday, 25 January 2013

Don't Send Me Smiley Faces

There are times in life when there’s just no avoiding your ex. Times when whether you like it or not and fully made up or in baggy joggers, you are going to bump into them. It’s something I try to side-step like dog poo on the pavement, but sometimes its inevitable, and by inevitable I mean having an ex-boyfriend who goes to your University.

Today was one of those days. I turned up early for my lecture, looked through the glass in the door, and there he was. In the very same room I would be in in twenty minutes time was the very boy, who when I say was part of my worst break-up I've ever had, I am not exaggerating. Think Peter Andre and Katie Price… Minus the kids, plastic surgery and mansion. Okay, maybe that's exaggerating. 

So, like any together-person would, I hid in the toilets. I just couldn’t deal with the polite awkward smile and slow-motion-feel walk-by that would happen when he left the class as I waited to go in. Don’t get me wrong, I think both of us are happily able to talk to each other now and all I want is the best for him, but after spending ten minutes trying to dry my tights with a hair dryer this morning - today just wasn’t the right day.

There have been many times that I have run into exes. There just seems to be someone out there making sure that somebody who broke my heart is in the same postcode as I am. It’s really starting to affect the guys I let myself (catastrophically) flirt with. He lives around the corner, then NO. He occasionally goes shopping in Zara, then NO. He catches trains, then NO. He’s currently serving in Afghanistan and his family live in Devon, okay, maybe.

You see, Lifeguard Boy is evidence of why you should never start seeing someone who works at your gym. Its inescapable that he is going to see you red-faced and running like a lunatic trying to burn off that KFC bargain bucket you ate all to yourself. And he will see you almost falling into the pool because you were trying to make sure you didn’t make any eye contact with him. Not that these things have ever happened to me.

The first time I saw Australia Boy again (when he was no longer Australia Boy) was my birthday and I was in a seedy nightclub back home. I was queuing for the bar with my friend and all of a sudden he was just there, right next to me. I couldn’t seem to string any kind of eloquent sentence together. All I was after was Vodka and Coke not a heart-breaking trip down memory lane. Even when he’s not in the area he seems to pop up out of the blue. Yesterday I had an interview and whilst I was on the train he thought it a good idea to send me a smiley face. Just a smiley face. Who does he think he is sending me a smiley face?!

One of the good things (if there is anything good) about Chef Boy is that I haven’t seen him since he broke up with me… on Valentines Day. The only guy that has ever done the dumping, and it was on Valentines Day. So it’s probably for the best that I never see him again to be honest. He moved back to home to be with his ex-girlfriend who he obviously liked bumping into.

Yet, there is something worse than bumping into your ex, and that is bumping into your exes Mum.

Two weeks ago I was happily sale shopping in a department store when I heard a familiar voice. Did you ever have a really strict teacher when you were younger whose voice you can still hear in your head telling you that “NO, YOU CANNOT GO TO THE TOILET. YOU SHOULD HAVE GONE AT BREAKTIME”? Well, it was like that. I looked up and I saw her and all I could think to do was run. I’ve written about her before and how horrible she was to me, so seeing her was worse than all my exes just being sat around in a circle watching me have my teeth pulled out with no anaesthetic.

I ran round the corner and told my Mum that this woman who’d made me cry on several occasions had been stood less than a metre away from me. Well, my Mum has her own similar opinions on this woman so we scuttled away to the shoe section. I think the worst thing was, was that this woman still made me scared to this day. It has been four years since I was with her son and she still made me anxious and shaky.

Half an hour later and we went to the coffee shop and I sorted out the drinks as my Mum sat down. And then SHE came round the corner. It was one of the worst moments of my adult life. There was no one else waiting in the queue behind me so there she was, standing so close I could hear her breathing. I ordered and tried my best to not look directly at her and pretend I was a complete stranger. Just as I picked up my tray, she uttered the words I had been dreading: “Oh Alice, how are you?”

I can’t really remember what happened next, apart from my Mum telling me that from afar I looked like I had been very polite. You know when something really scary happens and your brain seems to just wipe out your memories of it? I sat down with my tray and saw that I’d got a nervous rash on my chest. My body was quite literally petrified of this woman.

I think if my Mum hadn’t got a bad back she’d have stormed on over there.

Well today my attempted avoidance of my ex didn’t work. There’s only so long you can stand in the toilets without looking like a creep. I left thinking they’d have probably gone by then but they hadn’t, and as I arrived outside trying to zip up my faulty bag he walked past, and I didn’t have time to muster up the nerve to look up and smile. After finally having the courage to tell the worst woman I’ve ever met that I’m actually doing quite well for myself now, I didn’t even have the audacity to put together “Hi, you alright?”. I looked like an immature little girl.

It’s something I’m trying to work on.

Live. Laugh. Love.