Category Archives: Love

An age old question.

When I was in my teenage years, it used to be the case that I had more guyfriends than I had girlfriends but these days, it would seem that there’s been a bit of a reversal. I used to find that being a friend with a member of the opposite sex was a simpler more comfortable kind of relationship than those relationships I had with people of the same sex. There was less pressure to act a particular way for fear of judgment and while this is still true to some extent today, I’m finding that the majority of my good friends are female rather than male. I can be as goofy and dopey as I like with my girlfriends but I seriously miss the uncomplicated male friendships that I used to have. This got me wondering, am I subconsciously afraid or at least more wary of men now? Can I actually maintain a healthy friendship with a man without ever wanting it to go further?

Having battled my way through a few different romantic relationships in my post-adolescence years, I think that it’s really tainted the way that I now relate to men and how easily I can befriend them. I don’t want to consume men the way I consume ice-cream but when I do meet a new man who has the potential to be a great friend, my first thought isn’t “Ok well he’s a pretty rad dude! Lets be friends.” but rather my brain goes straight to considering how compatible we could be as a couple and how good of a kisser he might be. Sure I did think about this when I was younger (I was a teenage girl after all) but it wasn’t the first thing that came to mind like it is now. A devastating realization in itself I assure you.

It really would be nice to know what’s happened to my brain over the last eight years that’s made me change my friendship tune from male to female? Sure it’s easy enough for me to relate those of the same gender but I used to hate all of the bullshit drama that would come along with being in constant contact with a bunch of girls. Being friends with a guy was just so much easier! Nevertheless, it would seem that I kind of love the drama these days. My life is so uncomplicated and boring at the moment that any excitement or drama that comes from someone else’s life is far more entertaining than anything that I can come up with on my own. However this doesn’t mean that I intentionally cause drama or insert myself where I don’t belong, it’s not my style. The thing is that lady gossip is just so much more intriguing and scandalous to listen to than man gossip (I have no doubt that there’s just as much man gossip as there is lady gossip. I’m pretty sure that men are bigger gossips than we are!)

Getting back on track. This has now got me thinking that while having a friendship with a single guy as a teenager was fairly uncomplicated and easy, having one with a single guy now would probably be more trouble than it’s worth. I get nervous and weird around some of my single guy friends (well one in particular but I won’t get into that) because I can’t help but have little daydreams about being with that person. It’s a torturous habit that will clearly never bear any fruit but I put myself through it all the same. If the situation ever eventuates that I end up dating one of my single guy friends, what happens when (not if) we break up? Do our friends have to choose sides? Is the break amicable enough to remain in the same room? DEAR GOD! Would there be “friendship assets” that we’d have to split up? He would get to see my friends but I wouldn’t get to see his or vise versa? See what I mean by it being more trouble than it’s worth?

Anyway, I’m just as confused as I was before so I’m not going to get an answer for my questions any time soon. Here’s to trying to figure it all out. Some day anyway.

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The Bridget Jones Effect.

I recently received the new Helen Fielding novel Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy (2013) from my sister for Christmas. I haven’t read it yet (I’m currently immersed in the world of George R. R. Martin) and I haven’t read either of Fielding’s Bridget Jones predecessors but it prompted me to download the two consequent Rene Zellweger films Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001) and Bridget Jones: Edge of Reason (2004). I hadn’t seen either film in years and was greatly looking forward to snuggling down into my bed and preoccupying myself with Bridget’s verbal diarrhea, excessive drinking and chain smoking not to mention fawning over Mark Darcy (Colin Firth) and Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant). A little eye candy never hurt anyone.

So there I am, happily settling into the groove of the film watching Bridget (Zellweger) slopping about in her pajama’s with a glass of red wine in hand, mouthing the words to Celine Dion’s “All By Myself” when it occurs to me, dear God. That’s probably (almost definitely) going to be me. I’ve now been on the singles table for close to five years (with no future relationship prospects in sight) and have pretty much all but given up on finding my own version of Mark Darcy. I’d rather sit at home on a Saturday night and sob into my pillow while watching a hopelessly romantic film than go out and “mingle”. The mere thought of embarking on a Saturday night quest to find Mr. Right is enough to send me back into bed with a tub of ice-cream (there go my New Years Resolutions) because I know that no matter how many nights I go out, I’ll never find the man of my dreams in a bar. A truly negative outlook on the dating scene but I’m yet to be proven wrong.

I know I’m nowhere near a perfect specimen of the female form but it would be nice to find someone who says to me, and I quote Mark Darcy here, “I don’t think you’re an idiot at all. I mean, there are elements of the ridiculous about you. Your mother’s pretty interesting. And you really are an appallingly bad public speaker. And, um, you tend to let whatever’s in your head come out of your mouth without much consideration of the consequences… But the thing is, um, what I’m trying to say, very inarticulately, is that, um, in fact, perhaps despite appearances, I like you, very much. Just as you are.” (Bridget Jones’s Diary, 2001) A girl can dream.

Just a little somethin’ somethin’.

I love to read. When I was growing up, I absolutely hated it but then came Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. I fell in love and haven’t been able to stop since. My vocabulary has been extended and each book that I read opens up endless opportunities for escape from my dreary life. In interviews with J. K. Rowling, she says that Hogwarts and all of her characters had been alive in her imagination long before she ever wrote anything down and that the characters are as much apart of who she is as they are individual, three-dimensional fictional characters. I’ve previously written that I would love to one day write a book or series of books that are as loved by readers as the Harry Potter series and while I’m nowhere even close to being able to do that, I’ve been bored at work lately and as a consequence, I’ve been tapping away at the below story. It’s by no means an amazing piece of writing but it did help to cure my boredom for a little while.

The pre-dawn air was cool and there was dew covering the hard ground beneath my feet. I curled my toes and caught the grass and red earth between them. It was peaceful here. There were no interruptions and no unwelcome noises, only blissful silence and calm. I looked out towards the familiar farmhouse from my childhood, looming in the distance and noticed a tired looking tree that seemed to just appear out of nowhere. I had grown up here and yet, had never noticed the tree before. I began moving towards it but it seemed like no matter how many steps I took, the tree remained where it was and I got no closer. I started to run and then panic started to creep its way through my feet, into my legs and up my body surrounding and clutching at my heart. I have to get to that tree. I’m not entirely sure why but I’m pretty sure that my life depends on it. In my panic, I didn’t see the tree root before it was too late. I crashed into the ground and then all I could hear was the pounding of my frantically pumping heart in my ears. After a moment, I felt something start to pull at my right arm. The pulling became increasingly more desperate and it felt like my arm was going to be ripped from my body. There was one last fraught pull and then all of a sudden, my eyes snapped open and I was in my bed, in my apartment with my arm still safely attached.

“It was just a dream.” I sighed and reached over to check the time on my phone and quickly retracted my arm as a sharp pain shot up from my wrist to shoulder. I got out of bed to look in the mirror to see if maybe I hit my arm against something in my sleep but it looked fine. Strange. I gingerly tested my arm and it felt fine. I shrugged it off and went over to my bedside table to check the time. It was 5:16am and my alarm wasn’t due to go off until 6am. “Great.” I said to myself. I debated about whether or not to just get up but an extra forty-five minutes of sleep was too tempting. I crawled back into bed and slipped back into a fitful sleep. All too soon, my alarm was blaring and I had to drag myself out of bed. I should have just gotten up forty-five minutes ago. Now I feel even more tired than I did before. I was so preoccupied with being cranky at the morning that all memory of the dream and my sore arm were gone.

The rest of my day passed without any major incidents. I made myself presentable in all black, went to work and slaved over a hot espresso machine in forty degree heat for eight hours. By the time 4pm rolled around, I was more than ready to head home. I walked through my apartment door to find my pig of a boyfriend asleep on the couch, covered in pizza flavoured Shape crumbs with the TV blaring. Fucking useless man. I decided that the best approach to waking Noah up was to unceremoniously kick the couch until he stirred from what I can only imagine was a dream involving V8 Supercars and bikini-clad women. I told you, he’s a pig. I don’t even know why I’m still bothering with him. Maybe it has something to do with being comfortable or maybe I’m just afraid to be alone. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been in a relationship. I don’t think I’ve ever had more than a two week period of singledom. Maybe I should just dump Noah and be done with it, with him. Maybe it’ll good for me but then again, I would be alone and despite everything, Noah has his charms. When he wants to be, he can be the kind of man that sweeps me off my feet with his romanticism but it seems like, these days, those moments are few and far between. It’s been months since anything even remotely resembling romance entered my life. I don’t even think I like, let alone love Noah any more. I really do need to do something about that. Didn’t someone once say that a life without love is no life at all? Maybe it’s time I draw a proverbial line in sand but for now, Noah needs to get off my couch.

“Noah, get up. I’m pretty sure you have to be at work in 5 minutes.”

He groaned as he rolled off the couch, brushed the crumbs off his shirt and proceeded to laboriously stuff all of his belongings into the backpack next to him. God he’s a slob.

“You could’ve woken me up earlier Cara. A little common decency wouldn’t kill you.” Noah grunted.

I looked at him in disbelief. “Ok so you being late to work because you fell asleep in front of the TV at 5pm is my fault? I literally just walked through the door after having spent the last eight hours making the money that pays for this pleasure dome of an apartment you’re currently frequenting. Sorry that I wasn’t more considerate of your precious feelings but you know, you do have your own place.”

“Jesus. There’s no need to get all PMS’ey on me Cara.”

“Seriously Noah? You’re going to pull that misogynistic crap with me?” he looked at me like I’d fatally wounded him.  “You know what, don’t even bother. I’m going to go and have a shower and when I get out; I expect you’ll be gone.” And with that, I walked out of the room. I really need to stop letting him get to me. I really need to stop wasting my time on him. I’ll deal with it tomorrow. Promise.

I drop my bag on my bedroom floor and head for the serenity that only a hot shower can provide. There’s nothing better than having the scolding water wash away the day’s grime and to emerge a refreshed and calm person. Right now, I need calm. I need to forget what just happened and all of the fights that have come before that one. I need to escape. I turn on the shower and undress while the bathroom turns into a makeshift steam room. I climb into the shower and let the water rush over me and momentarily, I don’t care about anything else other than how nice the water pressure and heat feels against my skin. I close my eyes and put my head under the stream of water. The world begins fades away. I’m finally beginning to relax and my body feels too heavy to be able to hold up any more. I sit down and utter relaxation washes over my entire body. The hot water against my skin together with the slap of water against my blue shower tiles soon consumed me.

I’m back in that familiar paddock behind my old house. I see the house and the horizon but there was something not quite right with the picture. It was like I was trying to see the picture while under water. The outlines are blurred and fuzzy but still recognisable. Slowly, my vision improves and I see Noah standing there. It’s strange because I didn’t know him when I lived here. I never even told him about this place so how can he possibly be here? He reaches out towards me and says something but I can’t hear him. I begin to take a step towards him but as I do, he doubles over, in what I can only assume is pain, and drops to the ground. I run over to him to find him lying on the ground, motionless. I touched his face and immediately pulled it away. His face felt ice and was hard as stone. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up. There’s something very wrong going on here. I looked up from Noah’s lifeless body and saw the same gnarled and tired looking tree beside my old house that was so unfamiliar and yet, maybe it isn’t so unfamiliar. I get up off the ground and walk the hundred meters over to the tree. It had to be at least thirty-feet from trunk to treetop. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything so tall in all of my twenty-six years. How could I never have noticed it before? I reached out and touched the gnarled trunk. It looked so rough and weather-beaten but it felt as smooth as silk. I looked towards the emerald leaf-covered canopy and thought; this tree must be hundreds of years old. Suddenly an electric shock when through my hand that was touching the tree. I jerked my hand away immediately and checked to see if there were any marks where I felt the shock enter but I saw nothing. A cool breeze stirred the leaves in the undergrowth beneath my feet and caused my summer dress to gently brush against my legs. Someone behind me called my name. It wasn’t a whisper but rather like someone had called my name from afar and travelled on the breeze towards me. I quickly turned towards the sound and for the briefest of moment, saw Noah standing there, beckoning to me. Then I woke up.

I was up against the wall in my shower where the water was now lukewarm. How long have I been asleep? I got up, turned off the water and got out of the shower.

To be continued….

Piercings and tattoos and stretchers, oh my.

These days, pretty much everyone you meet has (or has had) some form of piercing, tattoo, stretcher or all of the above about their person. It is a rare thing indeed to find someone whose skin is neither blemished with ink or perforated by a stainless steel or silver rod. This is no truer than with me as I have a current total of three tattoos and thirteen piercings (there will undoubtedly be more) but a friend of mine has never paid a visit to the local piercing/tattoo parlour. Outrageous I tell you! She prefers to stick to clip-on earrings, devilishly stylish in their own right, to sate her accessory appetite. What I don’t understand is why, if I’m so addicted, isn’t everyone else?

People often see my piercings and tattoos and predictably they ask “Didn’t that hurt?” to which my response is usually “Not really, no”. Sure there’s a measureable about of momentary discomfort when you get jabbed repeatedly with a needle but pain? That’s not what I’d call it. I prefer to think of it as more of an instant but fleeting reminder that I’m not dead yet. As well as that, it’s a way for me to express myself. Like with a new hair colour and cut (which I also do fairly regularly), I feel like a new and more exciting person when I get a new piercing or tattoo. They are simply a way in which I can change my appearance when I get bored or feel like I’m stuck in a rut but more than that, my tattoos, in particular, are a permanent road map of my life so far. They each have their own story, place of origin (I got each one in a different country), meaning and are as individual as I am. You won’t see any generic images inked on my skin.

All the accessories that I’ve added to body are representative of the person I am and when I’m asked “Why don’t’ you just take them out or cover them up?”, I rage a little (to myself of course) while also attempting to laugh it off. Removing a piercing or tattoo would like be trying to scrub clean a part of myself that is so ingrained within me that it would be next to impossible to remove all signs of it. In any case, it’s not going to happen any time soon so quit asking.

Like with everything, our society and perceptions are in a constant state of flux and so the way we see the world and those people in it, is constantly shifting. There used to be such a taboo regarding people with lots of tattoos and piercings but now, it’s a culturally acceptable thing. About fifteen years or so ago, it probably wouldn’t have been acceptable for me, a young 20-something-year-old woman to be working in an office environment with multiple, visible tattoos and piercings. More likely than not, I would have been asked to take them out or cover them up. Nowadays it’s perfectly acceptable which I think is excellent. Sure there’s still a small amount of taboo associated with people with lots of tattoos and piercings but it usually only comes from the older more conservative generations. I’ll never forget the time my Auntie’s husband said how inappropriate it is for a young woman of my age to have metal rods coming out of my face/ears and tattoos inked into my skin. He’s a bit of a fuddy-duddy.

Anyway, all I’m really trying to say is: Power to the pierced and inked. We will rule the world.

The Twelfth Wheel.

We all have friends. Our friends are there for us when we need them in times of peril, heart-break and elation and in turn, we’re there for them. If you don’t have friends, you’re either a sociopath, who is incapable of forming any kind of relationship outside of their own severely decrepit and unfeeling minds, or so socially awkward that even the socially awkward kids avoid you in the playground. For those of us who (thankfully) don’t fit into either category, our friends are our lifelines and without them, we’d be lost.

Now I think I have some of the greatest friends on the planet. I love them all dearly and am inexplicably happy when we all get together to catch up. There’s nothing quite like meeting up with a group of people who have shared in so many experiences with you and are so comfortable in our lengthy companionship. Nevertheless, despite my undying love for these people, being one of the only single people can be shall I say, a little discouraging? Depressing? Draining? The majority of my friends are in long-term relationships (5+ years) and are in the process of planning their lives together. They’re moving in together, buying houses, getting engaged and doing all of the coupley things that couples do. Don’t get me wrong though! I love that those closest to me are steaming ahead with their lives and careers but it sometimes leaves me feeling rather deflated. I’m a 26-year-old, second year university student who lives at home and is single. I really don’t think my life can get more pathetic and it doesn’t help that when I get together with my friends, they’re so clearly in love with one another that I feel out of place. I feel like a twelfth wheel. As well as this, I also feel like I’m not able to share in a lot of the couple dramas my friends are going through because I don’t have a partner of my own and can’t complain about my own man dramas. At most, all I can do when my girlfriends complain about their boyfriends is nod, look concerned and say “What an asshole!”. It’s been years since my last real relationship and so I think I’m pretty out of touch. I try to give advice based on my own experiences but I don’t know how effective it really is. At least I try, right?!

Anyway, this then brings me to the idea of dating. I don’t even know where to begin! I’m told “Just go on a night out and you’ll find someone” or “Try online dating” but to be honest, both options have me running for the hills at break-neck speeds. I really don’t think I’m going to find my perfect match in a bar or on a website and thus lies my problem. Why is it so hard to find the right guy? And why is it that you think you find the right guy and it turns out that he’s gay, taken or just plain unavailable? I say, WHERE HAVE ALL THE DECENT MEN GONE??!! It’s a debate that single women everywhere are grappling with but the question remains: Is there any hope left for me and my seemingly-everlasting singledom?

But it tastes so good.

I don’t know what it is about me and junk food but lately, it feels like I can’t get enough of it. Chips, chocolate and unhealthy take-out food are slowly clogging up my arteries and filling my belly to provide me with momentary tastebud satisfaction. I don’t know what it is, but I just love it. Now this doesn’t go to say that I don’t eat properly and that I’m obese. I eat salads and protein for dinner and exercise regularly like any other health minded person but it’s those in-between snacks that get me every time. I have no self-control and so when there’s a chocolate bar in front of me, I’m definitely going to eat it. There are no two-ways about it. It all just tastes so goddamn good!

I seem to go through good and bad eating phases every couple of months and fairly recently I went through a 3-month phase where I was strong willed and able to successfully avoid eating badly. I didn’t feel the need to eat that bowl of chips or that ice-cream and so I didn’t, but then one day, I ate a Twix. How was I suppose to know that it would be my food downfall? The chocolatey, caramelly and biscutey goodness released my inhibitions and I fell off the wagon and haven’t been able to stop. What’s wrong with me? Is it that I just love to eat food that’s really bad for me or is my self-control so non-existent that I just can’t help myself? If I’m completely honest with myself, I know that I’m just making excuses. There’s absolutely no reason why I shouldn’t be able to get out of my junk food funk and start eating better but, I repeat, IT JUST TASTES SO GODDAMN GOOD!

I have no doubt that for some of you reading this post, you’re going to want to (maybe) give me some advice on healthy and delicious alternatives to junk food. There are delectable protein balls, gorgeous summer fruits and crunchy nuts and so, in advance, thanks. I know that there are multitudes of alternatives out there that are just as equally satisfying as stuffing my face in a tub of ice-cream but right now, I want what I want and there’s little you’ll be able to say to deter me. Hopefully I’ll be able to wean myself off of junk food before I’m 100kg overweight and depressed.

LOVE: Man’s best friend. My best friend.

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Louie as a puppy

Meet Louie. He’s our beloved family dog. He’s an 18-month-old, pure bred boxer and I’m head-over-heels, seeing stars, heart-pounds-every-time-I-see-him in love. He’s an incredibly affectionate and goofy young dog whom my family and I adore. Whenever I think about being away from him for long periods of time, my heart breaks and I constantly need photos and Skype sessions with him to sate my obsessive love for him. Possibly not the healthiest of relationships but I think that this is a feeling that all dog owners and lovers can relate to. They play such an integral role in our families and in our lives that it’s unbearable to think about them not being there – much like it feels to think about losing a human family member. It’s not something that we like to dwell on. Sadly though, as with all things the end must come and I suppose while Louie makes my family and I so inexplicably happy (words cannot possibly express how much we love and adore him), his entrance into our family wasn’t as happy as it could have been.

It has been years since my family and I had been able to have a dog. We lived in a two-level-townhouse and it really didn’t have enough space to be able to comfortably accommodate one. We’ve had a couple of different dogs over the years but we had always adopted them at an slightly older age and because it had been so long since we had had a dog, we decided that 2011 was the year that we would get our first puppy. We found out that family friends of ours were having their first and only litter of schnauzer puppies and there was no question: we were getting one. Not longer after, the puppies were born. We saw them that night and instantly fell in love with all twelve of them. They were so tiny and cute that we were constantly finding excuses to go over and visit them. We helped to bath them, play with them and generally just provide then with as much love and attention as we possibly could. It was a shame that we couldn’t take all twelve home but we found Henry. A completely black puppy save for a white spot on his chest and a white paintbrush tail. He was BEYOND adorable and the ten weeks that we had to wait before taking him home were excruciating.

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Henry as a puppy

Finally the day came and he came home to stay. It was hard for him to be separated from his mother and siblings (he spent his first night crying for his family and so for the first week he snuggled up to my neck and face in my bed so he would sleep) but he eventually got used to us and slept in his own bed. By this stage, my parents had bought a bigger house and we had moved in so there was plenty of space for young Henry to get himself into trouble. Oh and boy did he get into trouble! He ate his bones in the house, ran across the street away from us when the front door was left open, hid under the house and countless other things but it didn’t make us love him any less. He was beautiful in every explanation of the word – good natured, friendly, playful, handsome and loved unconditionally. It was in his nature to be mischievous and curious about everything. It’s heartbreaking to say though that his curiosity and excitement to be friends with everyone was also what got him killed.

Henry was 8-months-old when my sister was talking him for a walk around our local area. He saw another dog across the other side of the street and before my sister could do anything about it, he had slipped his collar and ran across the street to meet the other dog. He just didn’t see the car coming in the other direction and the driver, sadly a family friend of ours, didn’t seem him either. There was the screeching of tires, a yelp and Henry was on the ground not moving. My sister was screaming and running towards him only to see him slowly slip away. I don’t think my sister will ever really recover from the experience. I don’t think any of my family will. I won’t lie. It’s been almost two years and I’m still getting upset thinking about it. Our collective family’s heart broke that night and while we love Louie to no end, there’s forever going to be an emptiness in ours hearts where Henry is concerned. The days and weeks following the accident were the hardest for me. I missed him so much and his absence was palpable in our house. I didn’t talk or laugh or smile for what felt like an eternity but eventually, life got back to normal and I learnt to live with my grief. I know that this might sound extreme to some of you but I can’t explain in words how much I loved Henry. I raised him from a puppy. I spoilt him with treats. I took care of him and he loved me unconditionally. There’s nothing in the world like it.

After a couple of months, my family started thinking about getting another dog. It was possibly the easiest family decision that has ever been made in my family. There was no doubt in anyone’s mind that we should get another dog. Our house felt too empty and we wanted the joy that only a dog can bring into a household back in our lives. So I went in search of a breeder and found a breeder of boxers in Tamworth. I got in touch with the breeders who told me that their female boxer had just had pups and that they were ready for new homes. She sent me photos and then there was Louie. We said yes on the Friday night and the arrangements were made to fly him up to us the following Tuesday. We couldn’t have been happier. We still miss Henry terribly but when Louie came into our lives, the pain felt a little less crippling and our house felt a little less empty.