Musings and Snoozes

There is peaceful, there is wild. I am both at the same time. 

I’m made up of all kinds of contradictions, but never more so than when it comes to people. I’m an introvert who loves people, but only on my terms, and only with an escape route.

I can, and often do, talk for hours with the right people. Others will struggle to get two words out of me. Equally, I’ll happily sit in comfortable silence with some of the closest people in my life, yet with others I’ll feel the need to fill that every gap, heaven forbid I be judged on what I’m not saying

Some days just being around people keeps me grounded and connected to the world. Others, like today, the mere sound of grating voices is enough to make me want to beat them with the aforementioned wings. 

Put me in front of a room full of people and ask me to speak, present, teach, train, and I’m at my happiest. Put me in a group and make me participate and there are times I’d rather the room just disappeared. 

Sometimes I need people. Sometimes I need the time alone with a cup of coffee to recharge. Though even then I’d always rather be surrounded by other people, even if I have my headphones in and the world tuned out. There’s a comfort to be found in introverting around others. By the very definition of the notion it should be a contradiction in itself, and yet it works. 

 I feel that need to escape, but to escape amongst a world of other people and conversations. Finding new parts of myself in others, and yet at the same time rediscovering parts of me that I don’t focus on enough. 

Balance. Like everything, it comes down to balance. A skill I am forever learning, but one that when I get it right, everything just falls into place. Being a contradiction may be confusing, and it may not always be comfortable, but when those two sides match up, it’s the most peaceful feeling in the world. 

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Choice, Chance, Change

It sort of feels right that I’m at a definite point of looking back, reassessing what’s important, and starting to look forward. Today is ten years since my dad died, and I feel a strange peace in the knowledge that I’m doing something right with my life. 

Quite where those ten years have gone, I don’t know, and I must confess to having had a little cry at happy memories today. But that’s OK, I’d rather cry and smile at those happy memories than still be wrapped up in his actual dying. It’s healthy, and I’m pleased that grief has never been something to be ashamed of in my life. It does get easier, of course it does, and I’ve always said that I’m more likely to be found crying on a random Tuesday afternoon than on an anniversary or birthday. But I still like to acknowledge these days, it’s important to to me, just to put something down in writing. 

We often talk about Dad – even those who didn’t know him feel they do by the amount of stories I can tell. A little while ago we got talking about the split between my dad’s work persona and who he was at home. I’ve certainly inherited that from him, and mum will often wonder who this girl is who kicks arse at work and knows what she wants. It’s somewhat in contrast to the girl who’s too scared to ring for Chinese takeaway on a Friday night or ask for directions in the street! 

I get my impulsiveness from dad too. And my roller-coaster emotions. Those two together don’t always make for the best decision making skills, and they certainly didn’t make for the quietest relationship between dad and I. Many an evening was spent with door slamming and shouting, only to be best friends again half an hour later. I’m much the same now – I’ll be furiously angry with you for a while, but it’ll soon dissipate and I’m quite happy to pretend that nothing happened. Much to other people’s annoyance! 

But at 29, ten years on, I think I might be becoming someone my dad would be pretty proud of. Not that he wasn’t anyway – I’m pretty sure he was almost always proud of me, I was a daddy’s girl after all – but I look at who I am and what I’ve achieved over the last few years and I think he’d approve. Clearly I don’t cook nearly enough, nor do I practice my flute, and let’s not get started on why I categorically cannot play the guitar, but all that aside, I think he’d be pretty pleased with the choices I’ve made. 

Which brings me to now. I need a change and I need to make a choice. I’m not quite sure what the outcome of those changes and choices will be, but I feel very definite that now is the time to make them. And call me crazy (and you’re entitled to) but I feel dad would agree were he here, almost like I have his support. I can’t put it into words any more than that, but it’s the part that’s making me brave right now. 

So let’s see what the next ten years bring (a terrifying prospect, let’s be honest) and if my bravery pays off. If it doesn’t it’ll quite clearly be dad’s fault, just like everything else 🙂

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“Respond to every call that excites your spirit”

I’ve been putting off writing this because it makes the end of my holiday feel far too real. We landed Saturday lunchtime, Sunday was a write-off, and now here I am the night before going back to work for the first time in over two weeks. 

Although actually, I’m not feeling as down as I expected. I have a tendency to fall into a bit of a mope after something I’ve spent so long looking forward to, but this time round, while I can’t pretend that I’m exactly ecstatic about going back to work, I do feel a whole lot better than I did when I left. 

I’ve been trying to put my finger on what’s changed. It’s more than just a good holiday, a break, a rest – it’s something in me. Maybe it’s just timing – autumn always makes me reflect a little – falling leaves, time for a change etc, but whatever it is, I can’t help but feel excited about what’s to come. Even though I don’t know what that is yet.

I can’t put into words the feelings of the last couple of weeks. After my love letter to New York, I’m not sure I could do it justice anyway, but I’ve been happier than I have for a long time. And I’m ashamed to say that it’s an odd feeling, only because I didn’t realise I was necessarily unhappy. 

And so with almost an entirely new wardrobe, freshly dyed autumn hair, my beautiful tattoo, and a renewed sense of purpose, I feel a little like this is the start of something. I’m not sure what, but I’m excited to find out. 

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A New York State of Mind

I am in love. Thoroughly, utterly, head over heels in love. 

I didn’t think I could love this city any more than I already did, but no, being back here again and having the bonus of sharing it all with Jon has just made me fall in love all over again. Maybe a little with him too, as well as the city 🙂

I don’t know what it is about this place. I should hate it – the people, the crowds, the constant clamour for your attention – but no, it all just adds to its charm. I can lose myself here utterly, yet still feel connected to each and every person. The city just feels alive, and in turn, I do too. 

I feel different here. Comfortably so. Jon commented yesterday that he hasn’t seen me so well and so seemingly pain free in a long time. And he’s right. I feel…amazing. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not naive and I know adrenaline and endorphins are playing their part here, but to have walked the width of the city yesterday and mooched round Brooklyn, I should not still be standing. Yet 13km later and some sleep, and I’m raring to go again. When I compare that to how I was on our honeymoon four years ago – all I wanted to do was stay in bed and sleep all the time – it’s an incredible contrast, and testament to both how far I’ve come and the power of an awesome city. 

And so to my latest adventure. I knew I wanted something to mark my time here. Something that I could always look back on and hopefully centre myself with and remember how this feels. So I did what any inky addict does, and got a tattoo. 

I did my research first and thankfully got a recommendation, as searching for “tattoo studio NYC” is unsurprisingly overwhelming. The place was fab – lovely people, awesome artist, proper retro vibe. We had a good chat about all things crazy American politics of course, as well as getting thanked for exporting John Oliver! A recommendation for dinner later and we were back out in Brooklyn, with me grinning like a cheshire cat. 

And so here I am at 8am, listening to Jon snore remarkably gently, and feeling like I’m home. I hope that even once I’ve left, I can look at those words on my arm and remember this – how it feels to be truly content and connected to myself 🙂

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A chameleon in a bag of skittles 

Is it too much to ask for just one nice Monday? One where everything goes right, nothing unexpectedly rotten happens, and we all just make it through at our own pace? 
Apparently so. 

Today has been a bit of a…. I was going to say roller-coaster, but that probably implies it’s been more exciting than is strictly true! Instead, let’s just say it’s been downright exhausting. However to give it some credit, I don’t just want to mope about the bad stuff (which is actually essentially what I’ve done most of the day already), but to include the nice bits too that have made my day that little bit brighter. 

So my day started off with backache, cramps, and a definite “I don’t know wat to wear, everything looks shit, why won’t my eyeliner behave?”. I should have known then that it probably wasn’t going to be my day. I eventually left the house (chocolate milk in hand, obv), got halfway to work, hit a pothole, boom went my tyre. Actually, bleugh went my tyre, which was preferable as despite feeling like the whole effing wheel might fall off any minute, I did manage to skillfully drive the rest of the way to work without damaging the wheel or dying. 

Then the coffee machine was broken. I don’t think I need to say any more about this. There aren’t enough expletives in the world anyway. 

On the plus side, my lovely tyre people who come and rescue Bug and I quite regularly, were by some miracle able to get me a replacement same day and so once that was sorted, I felt a little better. 

Then I rang the Student Loans Company to find out where my money is. I will not go into great detail here, but suffice to say they’re no more bloody helpful as a postgrad than they were when I was an undergrad. They also all still have impenetrable Scottish accents, which results in me saying things like “I’m sorry the line’s really bad” after the fourth time of saying pardon. Bottom line is, I’ll do well to get paid by middle of next week. Not quite the start to NY that I had planned, but whatever, we’ll survive. 

From there on in though, things did improve. The calls that I’d been dreading at work went remarkably smoothly, the training session that I’d done precisely zero prep for was a miraculous success, and even resulted in some lovely feedback, and clearly most importantly, my favourite seat was still available when I went to check in for flight tomorrow (creature of habit much). So really, by the afternoon I was significantly less stressy and had stopped scowling at everyone who happened to so much as walk past my desk. 

And then in my biggest achievement, I came home, resisted just collapsing in a heap and napping under a blanket, and instead went to yoga. Honestly, when I stepped out the door and could see my damn breath it was so cold, I very nearly turned back round and came in again, but no, fifteen minutes in the car with the heating on full blast and I was ready to go. And unsurprisingly, I feel rather smug and lovely for it. 

So now I’m back home, trying to muster up the energy to shower before all my post-yoga joints seize up, and wondering (as usual the night before a flight) where my passport is. 

Today has been a test, and not one I care to repeat, but there’s nothing like the lows to appreciate the highs, right? 

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I can smell autumn dancing in the breeze

Lying in the bath and listening to the rain fall on the trees outside. I love the sound of autumn, it’s instantly relaxing. 

This week has not been a great one. Work, life, stress – they’ve all gotten a little on top of me. But there have been bright spots too – awesome friends, meeting my new PT at the gym, and of course mine and Jon’s anniversary on Thursday. To prove that romance is not dead, we upgraded from our traditional McDonald’s and instead had Indian takeaway, curled up under a blanket, and watched TV. I did not touch my laptop or do any work all evening, and it was lovely.

I was supposed to be over at Santa Pod today to go drag racing, but I took the shockingly sensible option of not subjecting my already somewhat aching body to the cold, wind and rain. I don’t know whether I feel proud of myself for doing the sensible thing, or miffed for missing out on a day with friends. A little of both I suppose. I hate missing out on things. I have however slept, rested and looked after myself, so at least I stand a chance of making it through one last week of work and a last minute trip to Ireland on Tuesday. 

And so it’s ten days til holiday. I have waited quite literally all year for this and I’m so damn excited. I woke up at 3am this morning to an email from the tattoo place I’d contacted telling me that yes, they could fit me in. I confirmed date and time with them this afternoon (not risking booking goodness knows what at 3am!), they’re putting the design together for me, and I’ll come away with a forever after memory of NY. Eeeee 😀

So all that’s left is to do everything possible to take care of myself this week. That and try not to wear myself out with excitement, like a small child. I’ll work on that. 

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