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Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Now that I'm Forty Four..

I had a really lovely weekend. It felt like a week of fun and I am now in my joggers with a vest chilling on a wet Bank Holiday Monday. I am delighted that it's raining. It means that we can stay inside and watch telly without feeling guilty. I have fed my chickens and cleaned out their home. I have put out the bins and replanted a lavender bush. I have done a few loads of washing and hoovered the kitchen. Let's not forget clean out the blasted hamster for Mary who insisted she would look after it.. Hmm.. Have I watched any telly? Of course not. I am still pottering, sorting and digressing. Procrastinating and not labelling school uniform. Not until the very last minute as usual.

I danced like a 20 year old on friday night and woke blearly eyed and pale skinned on Saturday morning completely not ready to repeat the fun. We dragged a flat-tyred cart full of chairs, rugs and umbrellas to a mass in front of a stage and I sat in a heap more deflated than the wheel itself. How can having fun feel so horrendous the following day? How can fizzy pop create such a head-ache? Was it worth it? A few hours later, I timidly sipped a small plastic glass of lager and when offered a gin cocktail, I smiled a happier 'Yes Please!'. My girls ran riot not forgetting their manners and seemingly spent all my wages on themselves and their friends. I continued to gingerly sip my pink gin. My Grandmother would have joined me with a smile.

I saw old faces and old friends with younger faces than mine feels. I confessed to having had botox and filler to an unassuming husband and his genuine look of surprise made me laugh out loud.
"Really?" he asked
"I wish I had been lying" I replied.

I sat and stood with people who have truly lovely husbands and wives. Even the ones who I have occasionally questioned looked blissful and content. It rained and still the smiling continued. I guess where there's a will, there's a way.. Was I jealous? No. Am I envious? Only a little. I don't want what isn't mine. I would never stand on anyones toes to take something that belongs to someone else but I have to admit, I would like to stand next to a man who in the silence or amidst the noise, gave me a look of reassurance and togetherness making us a pair. A man who properly understood and got me. Not just sugar-coated and bullshitted his way into my bedroom for a few months and pretending that he was in for the long-haul. I am not resentful or regretful that I believed someone was telling me the truth. Yet unknowingly, they were not. I was lied to again. Am I full of self-pity? Absolutely not. I wouldn't change a single thing except I would make my mum another cup of tea on a rainy afternoon and we would laugh about it.

I find it hard to lie yet do I actually tell the truth? That's a tricky one isn't it? I have told a few faces the real deal and it always sounds like someone else's voice. I try and make a funny story out of my absurd obsession to never get our bathroom mat wet. I will never change that but I am beginning to allow a few tiny feet to be stationary as they try and dry.
"Whats' it there for?" both my girls often ask laughing with their eyes as I begin to get agitated and say, "Move your feet onto a towel. Quickly!" but I cannot explain it nor do I try.

I call them quirks but I guess in reality they are more than that. Here lies just a part of it..

I am terrified of queues. I am terribly claustrophobic. I panic in crowded situations if I cannot see an exit. I cannot sit in a cinema or theatre unless I am on the end of the row. I need my bedroom window open to sleep even in sub zero months and yet I am happiest at night with the curtains drawn and the fire lit. I have to have my children downstairs and sitting at the kitchen table by half seven and I cook them breakfast every day before school. I let them run free and need them to be independent and capable without me but I am terrified that I might leave them unexpectedly. I have been lied to so often and so much that I rarely know if I'm being told the truth. I am 44 years old yet I need a parent now more than ever. My father is still alive but not one of my friends has ever met him. I am capable of doing most things on my own but I long for someone to step into my path and help me. I love baths but I almost always have grubby feet from wearing no shoes. I smoked throughout my entire teenage and early twenties but now will turn green if I smell a cigarette. I have been married, divorced and separated. I have been dumped more times than I want to admit and I have been pregnant 4 times. I am not perfect nor do I expect or want perfection but I do have high standards and won't be fobbed off. I'm intolerant, impatient and irrational. I am incredibly sensitive. I am an optimist and a realist. Why am I doing Confessions of a 40 something old woman? Because I have nothing to hide anymore and no one to run from. I am confident that my friends are real and the ones that peer at me with quizzical looks are simply passing by. It will at some stage stop raining and someone, someday will walk through this family front door and be grateful for the humour and truth inside. I absolutely know that I am on a journey and I almost always get into bed at night relieved and satisfied.

Tomorrow is the 1st September and I am beginning the month with a "If in doubt, just do it" attitude. I have friends giving up fags, booze and/ or sugar.. I'm giving up bullshit.

The smiling I saw at the weekend reminded me that Life is meant to be happy. It's my turn soon.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Searching.

And they all lived happily, ever after.

It's what we all want. We strive for that happy ending. I was given the best bit of advice when I first decided to get on and write a book and it was this.. Everyone, even men Rose, want to read a happy ending. It's human nature.

And we all spend our lives wanting the path to become clear and the way we walk to be the correct route, see nodding, smiling heads as we go and hold hands with equal silent agreement and a mutual comfort. But (there is always a but) as we walk wanting this to be our normality and our default, surely we should remember that on our journey we need to have hills to climb and obstacles to clamber over, the road might not be a straight one and not all the heads we pass will nod or smile. It is the working out that creates the journey and the difficulties to resolve that open the way. A happy ending is all very well but each of us needs to get there. It doesn't just happen and rarely life is as straight forward as meeting a prince (or princess) on a white horse to ride off into the sunset. Quite frankly, I have a few too many bits and pieces for a journey on horseback and what would I do with the girls, cats and dogs. Not forgetting the new birthday hamster? Nope, for me, no knight in shining armour is going to carry me off into the sunset. It simply wouldn't work. My knight will have to have a pair of capable hands and at least own some wellies.

Back in France, 30 years ago, I held the hand of a beautiful blond boy. He was tanned and utterly charming. He was a diver and we climbed rocks so he could dive 30 or 40 feet, maybe more, into the Mediterranean. I remember being exhilarated by his courage and ability to dive so brilliantly into the unknown. The adrenalin alone was almost worth the difficulty of each climb. I would sit cross-legged at the top of the cliff and watch him wave at me when he reappeared from the turquoise water. His beaming smile of achievement and my smile of young love and relief. Every summer for 3 years we held hands and climbed together. I wonder what happened to him? I have looked for an older version of that beauty each time I have taken my girls back to the same village. I hope he is happy and has children who swim and maybe dive like their daddy. I am worried that he one day he climbed too high and never re-appeared because I cannot find a single trace of him when I look or ask but like I said at the start, we all like a happy ending. It's the smile and the wave I focus on. Who knows, maybe next time.

Un gros morceau de Fromage..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A8jO0c4gJy0

Monday, 17 August 2015

Absence.

I've been away. In more senses than one. I have made a few decisions and am sticking by them. One is this, if someone isn't kind and I mean like behaves in a really crappy way towards me more than once, I am fully entitled to walk away from them without feeling like a bitch. It's obvious isn't it? Why would anyone want a friend who is nasty? Nobody does. It shouldn't be a surprise or a reason to keep being mean. Just leave it. 

Another is this, I am fully entitled to do what I want with who I like if I believe that it is my decision to do so. I don't need permission to live my life or be granted a free ticket (or is it a pink ticket?) to go to a concert, festival, market or out for dinner. If I get asked and I want to go, then I shall. Cinders I may be and I will never be a princess but I don't need a fairy godmother to make me go. It's my choice.

I stumbled upon an old email from an ex looking for a unexpected recent one. I couldn't find it annoyingly because I wanted the link for a suggested song. But I had forgotten about the old one and it was really horrid. An angry, accusational, dramatically incorrect piece of writing telling me off for changing my mind. That's the third one by the way. If I want to change my mind, I simply can't help it. There is usually a reason behind it but I'm not good at candy flossed excuses. I will simply say that I can't after all. It's no big deal but I don't need to be insulted. The proof is in the pudding I guess.

And the last one is this. I love my life. I work bloody hard at keeping my life the way I like it and the way it works for my girls and me. If someone steps in and kicks about a bit, scuffing up the rugs and then expects the dust to settle when they are the reason it is flying high, I will simply close the door on you when you leave. Let us be who we are. Allow me the decency to do my job the way I do it and be who I am. Please.

The thing is, whilst I was away, I realised that a few miracles have happened in my life. True miracles. I have had days when I have prayed for help and I have had nights when I was oblivious to the destructive path I was walking unaware that I needed it. I have had friends who I thought would be with me forever and I have had met strangers who I have kept in touch with after a moment shared. I am questioned a great deal, asked a lot of and it is rarely that I don't answer. But.. I am now at a stage in my life where I like it as it is. I am happy enough with what I have got and I love who I love. I feel blessed and I am grateful. I truly believe I am only half way through and I have the knowledge already that it is about inside not out. I can smell life and taste excitement. I can sit in silence and sway in tune. I know what works and I feel what doesn't. I have hands to hold and a heart bursting with pride. My mistakes have been the best moves I ever made simply because I didn't expect them nor do I ever want to change them. I love with all my heart, always have and always will. And I never lie. Why would I?

I was 14 years old when I sat in a restaurant in The South of France on my birthday with a boy who sang to me. My mum lit the candles on the cake. We watched the fireworks together. 30 years on, I sat there with my children watching a repeat of times gone by. Watching their faces light up and loving them for everything they are giving me without even knowing it. I realised as the music played that if I ever want to do anything, all I have to do is walk forwards and do it.

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