A Year Off…

So, it has been a while. Over a year in fact!

Last year I was feeling even more lost than the year before, if that was even possible. I went through a period of wondering what the hell I was doing with my life, why I still lived at home, why I couldn’t find that elusive ‘someone’? Younger JA would have beaten herself up about not having the answers, about not being ‘grown-up’ enough to know what to do. I mean, I’m in my late 30’s now. SURELY, I should have some idea, right?

The benefit of being in my late 30’s though, is that I have enough wisdom (who knew?!) to understand that I don’t think anyone ever has THE answers. I think we all just make the choices we feel are best at that time, although, hindsight sometimes proves us wrong!!

Also, I just don’t care anymore. Who cares if I still live at home? A home I have been helping to buy and will ultimately inherit when the time comes. Who cares if I don’t know what I am doing with my life? I do envy those who have a clear idea of the path or direction they want to go in, but I think the world needs people who don’t have a clue, who try new things and find the things they are good at. Who cares if I haven’t found that elusive ‘someone’? It doesn’t really make a difference to anyone but me.

I’m learning and accepting, everyday, that life is not supposed to be clean and tidy, that for each day I wake up I at least have a fighting chance to get to the end of it, that I need to like the person I see in the mirror every morning. That is the hard part! To learn to love the things about yourself that you hate, that you wish you could change. Ultimately, these are the things that make me who I am. That make me an individual. That make the people who truly care, stick around…even when I am being a handful.

And trust me, I am a handful…



I can’t do what I know I must.

Things still aren’t right between us, I’m starting to wonder if they ever were? We talk everyday, mostly about how our day has been, what happened at work, your round of golf.

It always feels familiar and it always feels strange. I feel so happy when you message me first, but lately I have been thinking that it would be better if I didn’t try to be your friend.

I’m always upset, always thinking about you and what I did wrong, always wondering what I did to deserve this. I can’t even go to London anymore without feeling sad because I took you to all of my favourite places.

I don’t think I will ever understand why we always get close to each other and why we have an obvious connection, but we can’t get this thing between us right.

I’ve always thought you were the one I would grow old with, the one I would tell all my secrets to and the one I would get a puppy with. You calm me down, make me think twice about reacting in a certain way or about saying something impulsively and you make me feel safe and loved. But, none of this is enough, not for you.

You’ve told me that things didn’t ‘feel right’ between us, and I know if I asked you to explain further you would say you couldn’t. I often wonder if there is something specific that you just don’t want to tell me?

I have seriously considered asking you to leave me alone, to not text, not speak to me on Mondays – but I’m not even capable of doing that. I miss you, everyday, some worse than others, today is one of those days. I don’t know what to do! I know what I should do! I can’t do it, not yet. I’m not ready to say goodbye. For goodbye it will be, I know this can’t go on and at the same time I don’t want it to stop. Because I need you in my life, but, more importantly than that, I want you in my life.

I don’t want anyone else, just you. I want you to hold me when I’m sad, encourage me when I need encouraging, tell me when I’m being a pain in the arse, argue with me when we can’t talk properly. I want to share all the good things that happen to me, I want to make you laugh, I want to make you smile, I want to be there for you when you are having a bad day. I want to fall asleep with you and wake up next to you, I want to hold your hand, look into your eyes and tell you that I love you. That I am ready to tell you my secret, that I’m ready to share the part of myself that I am most ashamed by.

I don’t want anyone else, just you. I know I should stop trying, I just don’t know if I can and it’s slowly killing me.


19 years and I still miss and love you.

19 years ago today, the first boy I ever loved left to join the Army. I remember it like it was yesterday. Talking to him the night before, crying myself to sleep, waking up looking like I had gone 10 rounds with Mike Tyson without even attempting to defend myself. I didn’t go to college this day, I left the house as though I would, but ended up walking for hours trying to process what the hell was happening in my head. I didn’t and to this day I haven’t been able to, I’m not sure I ever will.

We stayed together until the end of his basic training at which point it transpired that he had done what all 16 / 17 year old squaddies do, gone to a strip club and thoroughly enjoyed himself with one of the ladies. The pain of this betrayal has long been buried, but I can recall only too vividly the hollow feeling I carried where my heart should have been for weeks. As an 18 year old girl, in love for the first time, let me tell you – there is no pain quite like it.

So, back to present day. I wake up this morning feeling utterly crushed, but not knowing why. It might have something to do with the fact that Bus Driver had some terrible news yesterday and I know he is upset, which makes me upset. I want to help him, need to be ‘there’ for him, but I just don’t know how to or if it is even possible. I leave for work, with the nagging feeling that something else is amiss. I arrive at work, begin my usual morning routine (tea, Buzzfeed catch up), then it’s 08:30, so I open up my work email and check my calendar…September 9th.




I miss you, even 19 years later. Even though you cheated on me. With a stripper! It makes my head hurt, tears start to fall, both for the loss of the first boy I ever loved and for the pain I know the man I adore now is feeling.

Today is not a great day, it hasn’t been since Monday, 9th September 1996 and I doubt it will be until the day I take my last breath. Some might say I’m being dramatic, I clearly got over the loss of the first boy I ever loved a long time ago, except that I didn’t – not really. The love I felt for him then I still feel now, usually only on this day when I remember our 18 months together (but sometimes at random times throughout the year).

Recently, I was told by Bus Driver that he felt I never let him get close to me. He’s right of course, but not for the reasons he thinks. If I let people get close to me, they hurt me, they leave me but they stay with me forever in my heart. How do you carry that pain around with you and not let it affect you. I’ve often been accused of not appearing to care, not being able to love and generally being closed off and cold. The problem is, I love too easily, I’m scared of opening up to people and that comes across as cold and unfeeling.

So, what now? For today I will carry the pain I felt 19 years ago, the same as I do every year. I’ll cry later when I remember the first boy I ever loved and all the things we used to do together and how much love I had for him. I’ll cry because I know he is happily married and has a family of his own. I’ll cry because that is something I am still searching for, something I think at times I will never have. Then tomorrow I will push him to the back of my mind, until next year. I will continue my attempt to show Bus Driver that with a little effort on both our parts I am a person worthy of love, I am a person capable of the very deepest love.

But for today, to the first boy I ever loved I’ll just say, I’ll always remember that you are a ‘Mac’ and not a ‘Mc’…until next year my love…


You’re adorable, you really are!

Bus Driver…

There has been a lot going on and at the same time nothing at all. We ended up on a night out with friends in July, we walked home together and spoke about a lot of things, mostly how he thought I had never let him get close to me, something I was unaware he had felt. Once I was home, he text me and we talked some more. This continued into the next day and the next and the next and so on.

We never spoke everyday, maybe a few days in a row and then nothing for a few days, but it was nice to have that contact again. I tried to be ‘friends’ with him, respectfully keeping my distance at times when I didn’t think it was appropriate to speak to him; late at night, when he was at pool or football, I even stopped talking to him immediately if I had text and realised he was not at home.

One such occasion springs to mind; he was going to a family wedding one weekend and realised a button needed sewing back on to his suit, he asked if I would do it for him? Of course I would, it’s what friends do isn’t it, little things that take no time at all? We had talked a little the previous night, as I had seen a movie I knew he wanted to see and dropped him a text to say I think he would enjoy it. This was on a Monday night, he was at pool and it was a little before 10pm. I never answered his reply as I didn’t have an awful lot to say, it didn’t seem like the kind of text that needed a reply, it was one of those times I didn’t think it was appropriate to speak to him and I was tired and going to bed anyway. The next day after being asked about sewing the button on, he hits me with “what happened to you last night, did you fall asleep as you stopped texting suddenly?” My first thought was “I don’t really see how it is any of your business why I stopped texting suddenly”.

I tried to explain this as gently as possible, saying I had gone to bed a little while after, didn’t have a lot to say etc, but then things got worse. He would text late at night, after returning from work, when out playing pool…all the times he used to text – when we were a couple and when there weren’t boundaries. I don’t think he understands why there are boundaries now, why there has to be. It’s difficult to distance the feelings I have for him when he treats me no differently and I’m certain he misunderstands the reasons I distance myself from him.

Recently, we had a ‘serious’ conversation resulting in me crying most of the night and having to go to work the next day feeling very tired and emotional. I woke up to a text from him and felt even more wretched, I decided to not speak to him for a few weeks in an effort to get my own feelings under control as I didn’t think it was fair on him to deal with me when I was so down. Bus Driver took this the wrong way and ignored the last text I sent him. Best Friend number 2, who is friends with both of us said he had witnessed the text being opened, read, closed and then the words “It’s been over a month…”

All of which has left me feeling like….

Well, he’s just the most ADORABLE thing ever!!! Odd reaction to have when someone you care for very deeply is consciously ignoring you, but let me explain. For someone who claims to have no relationship feelings, he’s getting awfully emotional. I was very clear on the reason I had to stop talking to him for a few weeks, I’ve been very clear on how I feel. I may, however, have been less clear on the boundaries and why they have to exist. I know he misses my company and talking to me everyday (Best Friend number 2 was there when this was stated and even advised Bus Driver to tell me and not him), I miss him too, more than I can express with words.

I’m not sure where I go from here, some might wonder why I don’t just give up – a thought which has occurred to me many times. The reason is hope! I have to believe that I am capable of being loved by someone and being able to love them in return. Life isn’t easy, there will always be disagreements, misunderstandings and times when you fall out with someone you love, but I don’t want to end up alone in this world. So I have to hope that I am able to have the difficult conversations that mean I can move forward, with Bus Driver I am not sure which direction this will be, but I do know the road I prefer to travel – with him, rather than without him.


Learning To Drive – Lesson 1

I made the desicion a few weeks ago to take the plunge and book driving lessons. I’ve always wanted to learn to drive, but I’ve had either not enough money or no time. I’m fortunate now to have both, so I decided ‘what the hell, I’ve got nothing else to do with my evenings.’

I had my first lesson last week. Mohammed, my instructor, thinks I’m hilarious. He spent most of the last 15 minutes of the lesson laughing at me every time I opened my mouth and words came out. I’ve mostly retained the information he gave me last week, the order in which to do things might be a little fuzzy, but it’s there, inside my brain, gently tumbling around. I’m sure Mohammed will set me straight later as we’ve got another lesson tonight!

Looking back, my first lesson was a bit of a blur. Lots of information to absorb and about 15 – 20 minutes of me driving around, in a circle, very slowly. I do remember I enjoyed it immensely and wanted to more driving immediately. I distinctly remember thinking, as the car moved forward, on purpose, because of something I was doing, ‘Oh S**t, I’m actually driving an actual car.’ But, as I joked to friends and family the next day, I survived, Mohammed survived, the good people of this town survived. I went round a very quiet residential street twice, parked and moved off a few times, stalled the car twice and learnt the brakes are very sensitive.

I am looking forward to tonight, I have a 2 hour lesson booked where I’m sure I’ll be more relaxed and able to take more in information and do some serious hardcore driving, who knows, I may even get to change gears while the car is moving.

Wish me luck, wish Mohammed luck and most importantly, wish the good people of this town luck.


In Limbo

I saw the Bus Driver recently for the first time in 5 weeks. I had gone to watch Best Friend #2 play pool and I’d been feeling a certain amount of panic all day, would he say anything, would I say anything, would I do that thing I usually do?

In the end it was all over very quickly, after the initial shock of being in the same room as each other for the first time in a month had gone, and I was sat alone, he approached and said “you alright?” His voice was soft, I know from previous experience that he is cautious around me when we have stopped speaking for a time, and he was clearly unsure of what my reaction would be.

I did do that thing that I usually do, I didn’t quite make eye contact (odd as I’d spent a lot of time looking into his eyes in the past months), said two words (“Yes, thanks”) and dropped my gaze pretty quickly. This thing I usually do irritates me, but I always do it. I’d even sat there, silently willing myself not to do it, but still did it anyway. Small wonder then that he approached with caution.

To anyone not inside my head at that particuar moment I know how this interaction looks; he made a huge effort to speak to me, I barely looked at him, said two words and then pretty much ignored him for the rest of the night. Sometimes I wish I could show people what is inside me at times like this, because it is the complete opposite of how it appears.

His approach took me by surprise, I hadn’t expected that he might speak to me although I’d thought about nothing else all day. The soft tone of voice completely threw me, because I didn’t deserve it. I couldn’t bring myself to look directly into his eyes, because in doing so I wouldn’t be able to prevent myself from holding back all of the things I wanted to say, all of the things he isn’t ready to hear yet. I may not have spoken to him or met his gaze  for the rest of the night, but I was painfully aware of his prescence for the entire night. I tried not watching as he played his game of pool, I tried not stealing glances at him, I tried not looking at his hands which, I don’t really have an explanation as to why, I have always loved. I tried, I tried really hard.

I’ve never believed in ‘The One’, I don’t think that out of the 7 billion (and counting) people that inhabit this planet, there is just one person destined for me. I do believe that there are a few people out there, some of which I will never meet, some of which I have met. The Bus Driver is one of these people. I know this almost as well as I know the back of my own hand.

I’ve never liked opening up to people and telling them my deepest feelings, fears and hopes for the future. I might mention in passing that I would love to visit The Great Wall Of China, or that I would consider adopting a child, or that not getting married doesn’t matter to me. I have trouble holding people’s gaze for very long, fearing that somehow they will see something in my eyes that I’m not ready to share. I hold a lot of what I’m feeling or thinking inside myself, refusing to let it out. But things felt different with the Bus Driver, I knew that one day I would even be able to tell him the reason I cannot eat Weetabix.

But, this morning I find myself once again stuck in limbo. He doesn’t understand me, doesn’t understand that my defenses are up once again resulting in very little conversation, not making eye contact and almost pretending like he is not in the room. He doesn’t understand that it’s killing me not speaking to him.

Best Friend #2 says “tell him all of this”, I’m still not convinced.


The funeral of The Pilot

Last month I was told that someone I knew briefly in the Summer of 2011 had died suddenly, aged just 20. This week I attended his funeral.

This charming young man took my cousin to their High School Prom and being particularly close to my cousin, I had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with ‘The Pilot’ over the course of a few months, there were games of rounders on the green, trips to the unfinished play park, (we all felt particularly naughty sneaking through the fence put in place to keep us out) and laughter, lots of laughter. This is what I will remember the most about ‘The Pilot’, the way he could make you laugh even when you were sad, and I was sad during that summer. I remember hearing him talk about how he wanted to fly, how it was all he had ever wanted to do since he was little. I’ve always envied people who have a life plan, who know what they want to do and who have the courage to go for it. In the few short months that I knew ‘The Pilot’, I knew he would achieve his dream, I knew he would grow into the type of man who every woman wants to marry and I knew that he would touch the lives of everyone he would meet along the way.

This week I saw how true that was. The Church was packed with family, school friends, college friends, fellow pilots, football friends and people like myself. People that he had met along the way and whose lives he had made a difference to, even though they might not have realised it at the time. Lovely isn’t usually a word I would use to describe a funeral, but this was. I felt a lot of sadness in the Church, but I also felt a lot of happiness and a lot of love.

The service was conducted by the man who had joined ‘The Pilots’ parents in marriage, who had baptised ‘The Pilot’ and his twin sister and sadly, who had buried ‘The Pilots father’ in recent years. A Pilot friend spoke about the type of person ‘The Pilot’ was, a relative read a sonnet written by a Pilot for other Pilots, “Somewhere Only We Know” by Keane was played and there were tears, smiles and laughter.

At the Burial two of the planes ‘The Pilot’ had flown in his short career, flew overhead shortly after his coffin had been lowered by his friends. One of them had the tail number G-RATE and that perfectly summed up what he was to all who were fortunate enough to have met him.


For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return.

– Leonardo Da Vinci

– Written by ‘The Pilot’ on his whiteboard in his apartment

I’ve never been on an aeroplane before, but I hope to one day and on that day I will remember ‘The Pilot’.

Keep flying high, my friend and rest in peace x