Should I be freaking out?

Thanksgiving is not something I have ever celebrated, being from the UK it isn’t a tradition I was brought up on. However, this year I was invited to have Thanksgiving dinner with some family. Sitting at the table was an ex Investment Banker, the Director of a successful Advertising Company, a Children’s Theatre Manager, an Events Manager, a medical student about to receive his Doctorate and me… a receptionist and the youngest in the room by only a matter of months. Throughout the meal a thick helping of loaded questions was sprinkled upon me, the sum of which  was: “what are you doing with your life?”  I feel as though its a horrible question that people are asked only at the times of their lives when it is obvious that they don’t know what they’re doing. From my online ramblings alone, I think it is pretty clear that this has been a tumultuous year for this somewhat sporadic writer. And I ask myself this same question pretty much every day…”What are you doing with your life?” Honestly, I don’t know. I sit in an office in central London, working with perfectly nice people, in a perfectly nice job feeling perfectly unsatisfied. A bit like being in the gilded cage, its all very nice but its not enough. This weekend, I met up with the girls I used to live with at University. Of the 6 of us, 5 were living at home, and working in the gilded cage, trainee lawyers who worked their arses off for three years back in offices and retail outlets because that’s how you have to do it to get a trainee-ship. I’m told that we are supposed to get ourselves on the job ladder, to seek work from work. But how is that possible when you don’t know what you’re doing now, let alone what you want to do for the rest of your life.

 Bird in a Gilded Cage

It’s a shock spending 4 years away from home living what you thought was ‘independently’, using your student loan to buy food and pay rent, using money from a part time job to get yourself drunk on the days where you should have been working, then moving back home. I am one of the lucky ones; I live at home and I have an amazing relationship with my ma and her man, we eat dinner together every night, we have breakfast together on weekends. So for me, the pull of ‘independence’ is not so strong what with the lack of rent to pay and the constant feeling of support. In truth, I know that the only way for me to find me impetus to move would be to find my dream job somewhere I couldn’t get to from home in less than an hour by train. Very few of my friends have moved out of home, and those who have are paying though the nose for rent and bills. At the end of my working month, less than a grand goes  into my bank account. I am staying put until its at least a grand and a half. A lot of the time it is easy to get my head down at work, binge watch a series on an internet TV site and not think about the future. Other times, like Thanksgiving, I begin to freak out asking myself endless unanswerable questions; have I wasted my degree and gotten myself into over 10k’s worth of debt to sit in reception all day doing nothing? Was doing a drama degree a terrible mistake? Was my father right to unsuccessfully try to dissuade me for all those years? I felt, after this meal last week, about an inch tall. I was useless, going nowhere, I had no wish to act anymore because I dislike the attitude of young actors, I had no qualifications to get myself a job which I could potentially do well in. What I do have is my ma. I have my mates. I have a support network that will never fail me. Even if I feel I am failing myself.

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I have a friend who is an actor. He has gotten pretty constant work from when he left uni to the present (he’s currently touring with a show!) We had the most brutally honest conversation the other day over a glass of red wine in a virtually empty pub in North London. We came to this conclusion: everyone is struggling in some way or another. Whether its the problem of making ends meet and paying rent, whether its finding a job that makes you happy so that scraping by doesn’t matter so much, whether its freaking out because the idea of getting yourself a mortgage and paying real bills every month. Everyone of my generation, bar those who managed to sort themselves out (hats off), is freaking out a little. It seems as though we have to settle in one part of our lives, if we want a good job which pays well, we have to let go of our passion. If we follow our passion we wave a tearful farewell to financial security and what my friend described as comfort. Comfort comes in many forms, whether its treating yourself to a solo Wagamama’s at the end of a brutal day of envelope stuffing or receiving a drawn out hug from a parent. Comfort is one of those little things that can make everything ok, and put you in the frame of mind that says “Life is not so bad”.  So when comforts are few and far between, when pressure from sources out of your control gets too much, when you are unhappy at work, what do you do? Make time.

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It might be the spirit of the holiday season which is forced upon us like acid rain, but I honestly feel as though making time to see friends and family around this time of year is worth its weight in wine. And gold. And gin. And cheese. In all seriousness though, when you feel as though you are drowning in your worries, that you’ll be alone forever and die alone only to be eaten by Alsatians, that you’ll never pay this month’s rent on time, that you’ll be eating tinned beans until March, that you getting a promotion is about as likely as unicorn orgies; just find some time to spend with your loved ones. Talk things out, be honest. The less you talk about what’s worrying you, the more gravity you give it. Everyone is freaking out. Its only natural that you are too.

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And That’s Why They Call It a ‘Crush’

Crush

1.To press, mash or squeeze so as to injure, break, crease etc.
2. To break or grind into small particles
3. To put down or subdue
4. To oppress harshly
5. To defeat or humiliate utterly

This word ‘crush’ is one which we spend our entire lives using to describe the feeling of idolatry, colloquialisms have shrouded an absolute demon behind a thin veil called ‘puppy love’  or ‘adoration’ , when actually what lurks beneath the surface is a malevolent creature out to annihilate you.  For many of our first years we crush on everything, from Peter Pan and the fit one from The Biker Mice from Mars to Ben from A1 (who I recently saw on an episode of Celebrity Juice, where it turned out he had zero chat) and Jack Ryder from East Enders (I obviously had a thing for curtains in the 90s)

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Now these first crushes are actually sort of harmless mostly because a) they are fictional or b) they are at least 10 years older than me and would have gone to jail had any of my perverted fantasies come to fruition. You think your heart bleeds for them, you will never get over them, and then suddenly Orlando Bloom and Johnny Depp make it to the scene and you forget all about Ben, Peter, Jack and Throttle because you’ve found real men, bloody pirates! And so your fantasies change and evolve, and eventually your obsession with celebrities subside as you realise you can fancy people you actually know and speak to! And that’s where the word crush really works.

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Oh how I miss the days when I fancied people who I knew I would literally never meet. Its so much easier to love from afar, because when you’re right there with the person you like the danger begins.Your palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy (hopefully no vomit on your sweater or anything, that would be super awkward and socially inept of you) but you know the feeling. I remember my first proper crush, it was a guy called Brett, we were 7, his friends were mean to me at school (actually everyone was but this kid actually punched me once….asshole…punched me in the back…I mean what the fuck is that?!) but he would always give me a little smile. Then I remember moving schools and starting to crush on guys who were mean to me. I think that’s where my issues began really, I could only really have been 9 or 10, but I obviously relished a challenge. I remember fancying John McCloud who was in the year above me and was about a foot shorter with bright red hair…how embarrassing that I’m pretty sure he knew and never said jack shit.

This crushing business is so aptly named because that’s exactly what it does, it molds you into this totally distorted person who lurks in the shadows like Gollum waiting to get a whiff of Lynx Africa as your Prince Charming (who is more often than not actually just a total arse hole with a cute face) walks by.  Its fucking creepy really, I used to keep these diaries and write literally everything in them, and the amount of pages dedicated to that FLAMES game (you know the one where you count how many Fs etc there are in your two names and somehow through witchcraft and maths work out the percentage for potential love), or writing ‘I heart so and so’ until the pages all look the same but with different names. I even used to keep a list of people I’d pulled, always seemed to be the older brothers of friends, or randoms at parties for the under 18s at the local Liquid. Oh the shame. What was nice about this golden age of innocence was that mix of excitement and embarrassment whenever you saw your crush. Now, because apparently I’ve had to grow up and bring sex into the equation, crushes are so much more complicated.

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Don’t get me wrong, being in my mid-twenties is the most fun ever, I can do pretty much whatever the fuck I like and it seems as though the crushing stage only needs to last a matter of hours before all those naughty Johnny Depp fantasies come to fruition because banging someone you fancy is just what you do now. But no one warns you about after that. As I’ve said before, sex and emotion are two VERY separate things for me, so why is it that I have managed to get emotionally attached to someone who is no where near good enough. I mean seriously. I mean essentially what I am dealing with now is a controlling sociopath who does everything in his power to push those around him away so that he has a reason to be angry and resentful. I know this because I’ve done it a thousand times, and originally recognizing this in him I did that paradigmatic thing women are renowned for and thought “I can help! I can change him!”…..no. No you cannot, do not be a stupid bitch. Firstly, if someone doesn’t worship the ground you walk on, you most certainly shouldn’t be building shrines around every coaster they ever used. Secondly, if your friends hate him immediately, the chances are that you have been blinded by some sort of witchery and are now incapable of seeing what an utter nipple this person is. You will create excuses for them; oh he hates himself, oh he’s sad when actually OH he’s a total penis who cannot make up his goddamn mind.

 

Try to remember your sanity people, try to remember that there was life before this meteorite came in like a wrecking ball and relentlessly fucked your shit up

 

 

 

 

Obsession, not Love

We go through most of our lives from one love to the next. It starts with your favorite toy, when you outgrow that,its your first bike, then your first pair of glitter jelly shoes until finally you start liking other people. Now before this you focused your attention on inanimate objects which have no choice but to silently and graciously accept your love, until the time comes you are ready to move onto bigger and better things. Ah a simple time, the chase is brief, the bond seemingly unbreakable. But when it comes to people, you are up against a sentient being which has its own wants and needs, not to mention the ability to destroy you with the greatest weapon humankind has in its arsenal: rejection.

Have you ever been so blinded by your own obsession with someone, hazed by your ability to convince yourself and, dangerously, other people, that you and this person are absolutely game on, perfect and its just a matter of time. I have, not even just once either; many many excruciating times. There are a few different types of people in the word when it comes to lurve; I will look at two of them. There are those who are blessed with the ability to attract those they like and to happily get on with things in a ‘normal’ manner and then there are people like me. The ones who, no matter what, something will happen to rain shit all over your heart. I have never been in love; I consider love to be what I call a ‘reciprocal’ emotion, you cannot love alone, it is a mutual thing. I have however had much experience with love’s ugly cousin: obsession. bunny boiler Obsession is something with which most of us suffer, and it seems with age comes the self-confidence to overcome this most crippling of weaknesses. Looking back at the compulsively kept diaries from my late teens, obsession was something which absolutely mangled my already fragile mind. Being a teenager is horrendous, we all know this, its a time of awkwardness and self loathing, made all the more difficult with those fucking hormones running riot in your veins, giving you weird tits, greasy skin and an increased awareness of your body hair. What a perfect time then, to discover feelings! Now over the years there have been several typical teenaged crushes, I’m talking the popular boy at school who smiled at you when everyone else was taking the piss, the guy from drama who always caught you staring at him but never called you on it, the boy you’ve known your entire life and never done anything about. These are the school crushes, they are the ones who shape you views on love. Then come the more complex ones.

At 18 I found myself living with 27 people 24/7 doing a year long course. One person will always stand out to me in a ‘special’ way. Let’s call him D (for dickhead). D was seeing someone, but D also liked me, so foolishly I allowed myself to think that I would be something to him, the way he was to me. A year of cheating (on his part) went by with various inappropriate texts, adult sleepovers (I would like to point out that at no point did I do anything beyond fumble with D) lies and confrontations, until the final night of the course, where he consolidated everything that had happened with us with a kiss under a bridge and then off he fucked. Our paths have crossed a couple of times since, but I will never be able to look him in the eye and have a normal conversation knowing that he effectively shat all over my very delicate heart. shat on my heart Since then, I pretty much decided that sex was a non-emotional thing, the majority of the sex I’ve had was drunken and essentially meaningless, I remember in my third year of uni my housemate gave my number to the head of the waterpolo team (oh sweet jesus what a bod) who had just broken up with his girl and was looking for a rebound; which I graciously provided. I slept with a guy I met in class in first year who in third year revealed he was single (nb never judge a penis by its abs, this guy was shredded, but man was he tiny) I am coming to learn, that sex is not so emotionless to your partner; a guy I encountered of late told me that ‘the casual sex thing doesn’t work for him’. Now this was astounding to me, the girl who has basically spent the last 5 years being the man, fucking and dropping. The ones I actually like, nothing has ever happened with. Four times now I’ve fallen for a close friend, and each time I’ve fallen hard. I have always gotten over it, with time and drugs….lots and lots of drugs. These guys know who they are, one of their girlfriends has come to be one of my closest friends. But why is it that I can seduce those I have no real interest in, but those I do I repel? Discuss.