THE LIFE LINE

Relationships

FullSizeRender-1The umbilical chord is often seen as the ultimate connection between mother and baby. For me, it’s nature’s helping hand; a necessity rather than a matter of choice. A survival tool for the child within.

And although carrying something as wriggly and heavy as me for nine months is testament to how strong we are as women, it’s the connection that is made after that time is up, the invisible one, that is what makes a mother, a mother.

My brother was a nightmare, much like most teenage boys growing up in the big city. He had an attitude, loved women a little too much and hated school. I, on the other hand, was glued to your hip, aiming to please you at every turn. I felt bad I didn’t want to wear that money belt you insisted on me wearing at secondary school and was wracked with guilt when I snuck off to see boys instead of revising. Your children were polar opposites, but you seemed to balance our characters and fulfil our needs so seamlessly from day one that I’m sure you’re some sort of super human. And for that, we both thank you.

I had always thought that you were the only one capable of such magic, but of course I was wrong. Naturally, I still think you’re number one, but after asking for people to share the love they had for their mothers, I realised: you’re one part of a very big, very strong and very beautiful tribe. And so, the Dear Mum, Project was born.

So many of you had lots to say about the women who brought you into the world, proving how strong maternal bonds really are. I personally think something must happen to a woman when she gives birth that is never spoken about except for with fellow mothers because I sure don’t possess the stoicism, the strength or the resilience that you and I describe about the women who gave birth to us.

Today is a chance for mothers everywhere to take a break from the hardest job in the world. So as you put your feet up with a cup of tea and a chocolate hob knob, we say thank you, we love you and we appreciate you, for one day of the year (which really isn’t enough but there’s no real way to repay you, so it will have to do for now).

Happy Mother’s Day, to all of you wonderful creatures.

(As for you mum, I will never be able to show you how grateful I am for the last twenty five years, but I can do my best, as you always tell me to. So, dearest mother, the unquestionable love of my entire life, thank you for absolutely everything you’ve ever done for me- from telling me daily that everything will be okay, to gently letting me know that I should never, ever wear red lipstick – you’re an angel, and life without you is unimaginable.

Happy Mother’s Day, my life line.)

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THE TRUTH

Mindfulness, Relationships

sssh_by_publiccenzor-d4aziuaI’ve travelled the world. I worship Madonna. I hate you.

There you go, I lied three times and I’ve written three sentences.

There are jobs out there that are designed to figure out the truth: doctors, judges and scientists, to name a few. But outside of the work place, how much truth can we really handle? And given the choice, do we want to know the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, all of the time?

Our biggest secret as human beings is that we even have secrets. We like to pretend that we are honest, up front about everything and have never told a lie. We aspire to be deemed, “really genuine” by everyone we meet and it’s our own job to persuade the world that we’re legitimate – a bit like a second hand car dealer selling a motor he knows is flawed – because if we don’t sell ourselves as the real deal, then who will want us? Trying to be the perfect human being is impossible, because we’re impossibly flawed. But we’re triers, us humans. And that is why we lie.

We try to fool our friends into thinking we’ve ditched the guy that’s bad for us, we hide things from our lovers for fear of losing them and we persuade children that there’s a tiny person who trades their molars for hard-earned fairy cash. But who do we think we’re actually kidding? As humans, we know a lie when we hear one, but we choose to ignore it most of the time because it’s easier, because it’s not worth the hassle, or because we knew it was a lie all along (and being British, we’ll do anything to avoid an awkward exchange).

So, armed with the knowledge that everybody does it, why does it hurt so bad when we find out that we have been deceived by someone we love? Before thinking about their good intentions and whether you really wanted to know or not, you feel disappointed, hurt and then a little bit silly. Then, if it’s really bad, you feel like you’ve acquired a brutal stab wound, a gun shot and a slap to the face all at the same time.

It’s not until you take a step back and think about similar lies that you have told that you realise that they might actually have been trying to protect you from pain as opposed to inflicting it. But the cliches we so often use – Ignorance is bliss. Curiosity killed the cat. Things better left unsaid –  all tell us to stop searching for truth, because knowing itall might actually lead to our downfall. I am in no way condoning the actions of a liar but am merely drawing attention to the fact that it’s as common as a roast on a Sunday.

Do I believe that it’s right to be honest? Of course I do. Have I shared all of my secrets? Hell no. There are some things that I’ll take to my grave. So how many cats should we let out of the bag? The truth is, I don’t know.

All you ever hear when talking about the perfect relationship is trust, trust and more trust. But can we actually really rely on anyone?

A friend of mine said you could only really count on your mum.

And even she told me Father Christmas was real…

Just use your instincts as best as possible I guess. Good luck!

THE EX

Relationships

large (9)I will never be friends with any of my exes, ever again.

Not because they are monsters, in fact quite the opposite, but really- what would be the point in it?

In the past, I used to think that it was a good idea to meet for a coffee every now and then, or check in with how their mums were getting on, but as the years go by I realise that they rarely check in with me and my parents and the only reason we actually ever had an interest in each other’s lives is because we were sharing the same bed.

You’ll probably think that I’m being a bit harsh here and that all of the people who touch our lives should remain in our lives.

But here’s the thing: I get far too attached to the past.

I hold my hands up to indulging too long in nostalgic moments. Lengthy glances out of the window happen on an almost weekly basis, as I remember how good things were, as opposed to the greatness of now, so it really is no option for me but to let things go quickly (and without much thought) before it’s too late. But even if I weren’t the type to relish in reminiscing, I think I’d still adhere to the same lack of contact post-break up.

I do understand that when you date somebody in your friendship group, it becomes a little more difficult to do this. You bump into them at brunch and nights out end in discussions about what happened in a corner of the bar whilst everyone else  works out how they’ll pick up the pieces in the morning. But if you have the option to never see or speak to them again, then do it; it’s great to know that they exist, but you don’t need them in your face- sort of a bit like sharks, or Katie Hopkins.

An important thing to remember is that from the moment you break up, what they do is no reflection, whatsoever, of you – or what you had together. Even if that means that they sleep with someone two days later, which might be a little hard to swallow- frankly, it’s none of your business anymore. Just as much as it’s none of their business that you’ve just downloaded Happn whilst you wait for your ready meal to heat up.

Although it’s idealistic to assume that every break up will be amicable, particularly as they pretty much never are, just make a pact to be at the very least, respectful. Even if the remnants of your relationship seem like they are strewn across the bathroom floor, don’t plaster your new lease of life all over Facebook or shove photos of your new fling into the public forum; be discrete. After all, you did love – or even just like them – once upon a time, so there’s no need to rub salt into the wounds of what is probably an already traumatic break up. Because, let’s face it, they’re all crap.

And that’s another things about exes- you aren’t the only one to have them. Be mindful that your boyfriend might have left a trail of destruction in his path and be patient with previous partners. Harsh words about you, or endless messages declaring their love for your chosen one come from a place that you should sympathise with, instead of show anger towards. Just think about how long it took you to get over that ex and remain calm, however tempting it might be to throw warnings her way.

Lastly, don’t try to convince each other that you can be friends because you think it’ll be less painful. It won’t be, so instead, look through your recent calls or texts and you’ll see a list of people just waiting for you to get in touch with them. And keep reminding yourself that you were never friends, you were in a relationship, and that those are two very different things.

Fingers crossed I have found “The One” and won’t have to add another ex to the list ever again. But if I do, then I assure you, I will be adhering to all of the above.

And for those of you who have stumbled upon this at an appropriate time in your life, then I urge you to follow these simple instructions to start moving on: meet with your ex one last time and hug them – and when you do, squeeze them really, really tight – then tell them that you love them as though it might be the last time that you will ever see them, and then step away. For a really long time.

It’ll be painful and you’ll cry, but I assure you: if you are able to do that, then you’re already half way there.

EX O EX O