Almost There

My 25th birthday yesterday and to celebrate my quarter-of-a-century-ness the opticians delivered my first ever pair of glasses. Seven years of reading and writing and reading and writing and reading some more at university has left my eyes a little bit worse than where they started off.

Perfectly lovely birthday even if I did panic a little bit at the restaurant we went to. More than an hour in the queue but between you and me, totally worth it. Even lucky enough to be given one of the best tables in the room. Luckier to have pretty awesome company.

I got my exam results today.

I got a distinction in my degree.

That means I’ve kept my job.

That means, after all this time, after all this hard work, after everything that could go wrong and did go wrong, I’m finally going to be a Trainee Solicitor.

At one of the top law firms in the country too.

I really messed up one of my exams, I knew I did and I was worried the mark was going to cost me my job but turns out I passed it. Only just mind; I passed the exam by 5 marks and God did it bring down my average, but, I passed.

And even though it was my lowest mark I’m incredibly proud of it because though I majorly struggled I tried my damned hardest to learn everything I needed and coming out the exam I knew I was close to the pass mark, nothing more but potentially a lot less.

But it doesn’t matter how much I got past that pass mark because I got past it. All I needed to do was get over the pass mark and I would still be employed come September. The firm could take my job away if I didn’t get a certain mark in my degree but they can’t because I did it.

I made it.

Well, almost…

I still have a week to finish the business masters the firm wants me to do and I’m half way through. The finance element has killed me mentally, I’ve never cried over work but that made me cry four times. However, I currently have 2,432 words of my education left, so I suppose I best get back to it…

For once, it’s not really been a bad week in my world.

Instagram: umbrella_adventures.blog

Welcome Home 


I’ve had this blank page staring back at me the past few days. Want to write, know that I do, but about what? I don’t know.

I just don’t know.

My head is spinning with a thousand questions, so much so I won’t allow myself to even take a step back and appreciate how well the past three weeks have gone. I’ve not weighed myself at all and I don’t feel as much of a need to. Part of me thinks that shows massive progression but the other part tells me its because I’m scared to see the number, that I’m bound to have gained weight.

Every time I think I’ve made steps forward that voice simply tells me I haven’t. It downplays my success. I’ve not purged for more than 3 weeks…but that’s probably because I’ve been with other people, not because I’ve gotten stronger…

He wants to be with me. Says that he does. Says that he really likes me. But I don’t know. What if I’m setting myself up for yet another failure. Am I weak for going back? Or am I making the right choice by trying to work through whatever happened? But what did happen? I don’t know. I still don’t get it, I still can’t process it because he hasn’t given me a reason as to why he did what he did.

And my head keeps spinning.

When I’m with him, its perfect. As though nothing happened. But when I’m alone I just think of all that pain he brought to that Sunday a few weeks ago.

He said after a really long (and I mean really long) relationship he’s scared of picking the wrong person. He described it as akin to a mental health issue, that he panicked and almost couldn’t control the things he was saying. I can half understand that, even though none of my friends do.

But surely that means I’m the wrong person? I mean, of course I am. No matter how many steps I move forward nor how many achievements I make, I have so many failures and broken pieces of me that can never be forgotten.

Failures and broken pieces that are rooted in a bastard of an eating disorder.

Of course I would never be right.

Of course, each time someone ‘genuine’ comes along, they soon enough realise I’m not right.

Why would I be?

Does this mean he’s just going to end it another day in the future? Right now, he is right for me. I don’t believe its healthy to look too far into the future regarding relationships too soon but am I just here, making him better for the next one to come along? Just like always.

Always setting them up to treat the next one better.

For once I thought I was finally getting treated better.

I just don’t know anymore.

But he does treat me right. One stupid afternoon, one epic mind fuck but everything else feels incredibly normal and perfect. I can’t spend a relationship second guessing everything…just like I can’t spend my recovery second guessing every step forward that I make.

No more second guessing, back to going with the flow, I suppose.


Instagram: umbrella_adventures.blog

Seven Years


A room so hot with heat and stress. Clock ticking down, minutes if not seconds left and then it’s done. Four hours of time that passes so quick and it’s over. Paper handed in, step outside and breathe. Done. Over. Seven years of law school. Finished.

Drinks, food and laughter galore. The bank account winces with every swipe of the card but there’s no cares cos it’s done. It’s over. Seven years of law school. But it’s more than that. It’s seven years of hard work and grind. Seven years of sweat and tears. Seven years of hurt and abuse. Seven years of betrayals and let downs. Seven years…

Seven years is a long time.

It’s 3,679,200 minutes to be exact.

Seven years of pain I never saw coming.

Seven years of an illness I never thought I’d suffer from.

Seven years.

61,320 hours.

I’m basically on my own this weekend packing up my bedroom to move out and I sit on my bed in my empty room and all I can do is think. It’s hard to keep the voices quiet when you’re on your own after one of the most stressful periods of your life.

And whilst there’s pain there’s always so much happiness it’s almost unbelievable. Moving here was scary and I’m scared of more betrayal, more let downs. I don’t even know if I’m convincing myself that more is to come. It would hardly surprise me if it did. But seven years is a long time.

A lot has happened and a lot has changed.

And I am most certainly stronger for it.

Still scared that more hurt is lurking round the corner. More let downs waiting to trip me up.

But forever optimistic. Forever smiling.

And I’m one of the lucky ones with a job that waits. Ready for me after a few travels here and there, Peru, Greece, Italy with the odd week in London. Mountains, forests, beaches and architecture. Full of excitement for the fact I’m about to experience all the things I love. Even more excited for the two weeks I’ll be spending with a friend that I love. One of the two who has held my hand through the darkest of days.

Seven years.

And I’m happy.

I’ve not been this happy for as long as I can remember.

Maybe I’ve never been this happy….

Seven years.

And if that’s what had to happen to get me to today….then fuck it, every single year, month, day, hour and minute of those seven years were worth it.

But for now, less contemplating and more simply living with those upcoming summer vibes.

Instagram: umbrella_adventures.blog

Distant Memories of Past

The lightening hits unexpectedly, and it’s over within a flash…but the after shock – it resonates, of distant memories from the past.

The world was always cruel but in 2010 it took a turn, trusted so many people and all they seemed to do was sit back and watch me burn.

The boy who would force with words he claimed were ‘love’. The boy who couldn’t understand no, the simplest of words.
The boy who didn’t care, about everything he was given. And the boy who took it all…didn’t care for what was forbidden.

Vulnerable and weakened. Taken advantage, for granted…used, abused and worse.

Worthless.

Underserving of anything that could be love.

The world was once so cruel but in 2017 it took a turn. Lightening, ever unexpected, and an after shock that resonates, shaking right to the bones.

With every step moved forward, memories try to push it back. But with every step there’s a friend with a hand or hug – bringing new memories to replace the past. They bring out the smile and they pull out laughter from under the cracks. They hold a hand when its needed most and carry when its hard to stand.

One day you suddenly realise that, those distant memories of past…the ones that used to scream, and shout and tear apart…that’s all they are…distant memories of past. Still there. Still echoing at the back. But an echo nonetheless, are those distant memories of past.

And the one who gives a kiss, he turns the echo into a whisper. The one who stays on the phone all night, she brings laughter to beat the pain. The one who’s always there, giving endless hugs galore, she makes the world spin once more.

Distant memories of past that helped to shape the mould. Built the walls and dungeons, created that Demon war. Screaming. Shouting. So much pain. But distant memories of the past, they also shaped a path.

A path to more. A path back to who once was, who never left. Who can stand ever so tall.

Hand in hand with those who love, those who deserve, those, to whom, I give my all.

 

IMG_0295img_4981

 

Instagram: umbrella_adventures.blog

Hello

IMG_4624

I have a weekly face time catch up with a best friend of mine. A best friend I’ve actually only known two years, a best friend who’s been a best friend possibly less than a year but, regardless, the best of the best.

Doesn’t matter how long you’ve known someone, all that matters is that they’re there.

But when you realise they are there, even when you didn’t expect it because you hadn’t asked them to be…that’s when you know just how special they are.

I cancelled last weeks’ FaceTime because I was incredibly stressed out for reasons discussed previously and also on that day Dad decided to visit.

I half-reluctantly met him and it was perfectly pleasant but I’m purely going through the motions now (I’m so fed up with him and would be happier without a connection…but mum begs me to stay in touch).

Anyway, a perfectly pleasant lunch ends with him saying its time I met my half-sibling. He spoke about him so casually throughout lunch, ‘oh Jason has exams soon…oh Jason’s doing this that and the other’ and it’s weird to hear my dad talk oh so normally about a half sibling he surprised us all with a few years ago. The half-sibling he dotes on so much more than he ever did me. One of the reasons I had to pick my mum up all those years ago, one of the reasons there’s no money left and mum can’t pay her bills. I wasn’t even 7 years old when dad started the affair, barely 15 when the kid came along and just 19 when I found photographs and letters and skype messages telling the truth. So much hurt from a man that never cared and yet mum asks me to ‘be nice because he’s still your father and he’s so stressed out.’

Oh yeah, let me just put the man who hurt me over the years, who hurt all of us, first. Let me put him first simply because he has the title of father when all he is in reality, is a glorified sperm donor.

I broke down when I got home after lunch – my head was all over – food was too much to contemplate and I hadn’t been sleeping due to nightmares and I simply didn’t want to be alone so I went to his house to spend the night. I text her apologising for cancelling with no other explanation other than ‘I’m really stressed out’ and she completely understood because great friends always understand.

But you know what an even better friend does?

This…

IMG_4626 2

I got this through the post on Monday and I cried. It took me completely by surprise and I cried. I sat on the kitchen floor and cried. I cried because I was slowly realising how much support I have. I’ve never doubted her support but this simply just got me. It went straight to my heart and seemed to release all that pain.

I hadn’t even told her any of the reasons why I cancelled because I’d been so busy the entire week. But that’s the thing. She didn’t need to know the ins and outs to be able to help me. She just knew something was up and that small postcard contained more support than you can even begin to imagine. A small postcard that has pride of place on my bedroom wall. A new daily reminder I can get through all this. A daily reminder that there are people there even when I don’t expect them to be.
Especially when they realise I need them before I do.
IMG_9724.JPG

Instagram: umbrella_adventures.blog

 

Infamous Same-Names

IMG_1343

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet definition. (William Shakespeare – Romeo and Juliet)

An association with something, anything, can lead us down very different paths depending on whether the association is positive or negative. Unfortunately I have, due to more-than-unfortunate-circumstances, developed a negative association with a name…

[Insert name here because after all this time I still try to protect others in my posts]

Whilst we can’t taint the same group of people with the same negative associations I have noticed I do just that but, arguably, the more-than-unfortunate-circumstances that led to such an association are more-than-understandable.

I went to senior school with a guy called Name Number One. He came to stay at my flat one week four years ago….I had to force him to leave. I had swimmers come home with me from training to try ensure the situation went as smoothly as it could go but it didn’t go very smoothly at all

I asked him to leave because it was the second time he had visited and ‘tried it on’. It was the second time he had made me incredibly uncomfortable in my own home. In fact, far more uncomfortable this time round because it was far more intense this second time round. Far more nerve-racking, far more scary…

It could have been scarier. It could have been worse.

But that’s not the point.

A Same-Name-As-Name-Number-One came into my life around a year ago. He kissed me whilst I had a boyfriend, a boyfriend he knew about. He knew and still went for it…I did fuck up too in that situation, I text him the next day to clarify a few things and him kissing me ultimately led to me realising how unhappy I was but that situation with my ex-boyfriend was also very unfortunate at the time and that’s not the point of this post.

Following the break up there was one person texting me. Following the break up I was stupidly convinced he was devastated that I was a mess due to his actions and, wait no, I wasn’t stupid, I was lied to. I was all over and I went to someone for support that I shouldn’t have gone to. I know that. But I also know that does not mean what happened to me that night was my fault.

I know that now.

It wasn’t my fault.

Looking back I can see the guy who kissed me whilst knowing I had a boyfriend and then hung around, trying to stay in touch, acting sympathetic, saying he simply cared about me,  trying to see me post-break-up…I can see now that I was so completely broken that I could not see his actual intentions. I can see now that I was so vulnerable and someone was actually taking advantage of that.

I can see now that I did put myself in a dangerous situation but that does not mean what happened to me that night was my fault.

It wasn’t my fault.

I keep telling myself that but I don’t know when I’m truly going to believe it. I never did anything about it. I didn’t see the point and I actually still don’t. I want to tell someone new about it but I still don’t want to do anything about it. I know I should, I know we need victims of abuse to speak up and whilst I want to, I also don’t want to take it further (in a legal sense).

I saw ‘Name Number One’ on Friday and I most definitely didn’t expect to. It was at a school-dinner-reunion-thing where people from all ages and year groups came to send off our most recent headmaster who was retiring. I froze when I saw him but not as badly as I did that time I saw him in the street and had a mini-panic attack in an alleyway as a result. I froze for a minute or two and then found a different group of people to go and talk to.

So what is in a infamous same-name?

I’ve noticed I avoid Same-Names-As-Name-Numbers-One-And-Two at all costs from a dating perspective; I can tell you all that I have genuinely swiped left on tinder on pretty much every Same-Name I come across or avoided Same-Names that I meet and God, does that sound silly to type and read out loud! However, Same-Names I come across from a more neutral, maybe work-based, perspective I don’t seem to judge in the same way.

I think I just know I’ll never be romantically involved with a Same-Name and I think that’s understandable. You don’t think all fruits are going to be sour simply because the lemon is but I don’t think I could ever trust or fall for a Same-Name and, to be honest, that’s okay.

However, hating on a certain name just gives them fame and I realised on Friday night that a lot of the fear has gone. I obviously hate what one Same-Name tried to do to me and what one Same-Name did do to me but there is far less fear and whilst I was shaken for a few minutes – I know I always will be – I realised how much stronger a woman I have become.

Still Standing. Always Smiling. And didn’t I smile all night that evening…

IMG_2375

 Instagram: umbrella_adventures.blog

The Number Game ain’t a Fun Game

img_0787

Pesky little things numbers, aren’t they?

We place so much value on what a few digits can tell us and yet they truly tell us nothing at all.

I will be the first to admit I become obsessed with the number on the scales all too quickly at times and the number can either comfort me or send me into despair.

I haven’t been happy that the number on the scale seems to have increased and not dropped at all lately. I usually let it dictate my happiness but there’s more to life than numbers.

A friend pointed out my ‘amazing ass’ the other day and so I had a little think.I put together two pictures one from this week and one from 5 weeks ago…here it is…

IMG_0487.JPG

Same beautiful smile, same happiness. The only difference was the number on the scales.

But look at the change…not only have my legs gotten more muscular I think I look healthier. Now I’m not saying I was unhealthy in the first picture but I do think I look stronger as a whole in the second.

The numbers have dictated my happiness in the past but that’s all they are…numbers..and I’m worth more. They don’t reflect true values such as friendships, work or even that muscle you’ve clearly gained in the gym!

So chin up and ignore what those numbers tell you. It’s only a digit and only you get to decide what it means.

img_0698

 

 

 

Instagram: umbrella_adventures.blog