The biggest regret

When people talk about their biggest regrets, it’s usually met with something contrite like “I don’t believe in regrets” and “everything happens for a reason”, and sure, I’ll bite. I’ve told myself that many a time to get through all my wrongs. But no part of me believes all that much in ‘fate’ or ‘destiny’, or that there’s some grand plan for all of us. Maybe once upon a time I did, before somewhere along the way this hopeless romantic got struck down, knees scuffed up by cynicism. And, by some cruel twist of… not fate, but careless actions and falsely placed trust, my biggest regret happened. Or, rather, he walked away.

There are words lying around here in old, dusty posts vaguely talking about being unhappy, about giving up too soon — about how I didn’t and don’t deserve nice things. My most painful almost. The first sits primly in March 2014, not two months after I pushed away a boy I still to this day, three and a half years on, think I could have very easily fallen in love with. It’s a big regret of mine. Actually, it’s humungous. It’s this gigantic, hollow, echoey hole in my chest that still — still — hasn’t been filled in your wake. Three years is a long time to still care, longer than even the most stubborn, resilient teenage hearts. Because, oh boy, did I tumble in and out of (something that sure felt like) love hard when I was young and fearless, thinking my heartache would never end. But the broken hearts mended. Far quicker than the three years and six months I’ve accumulated of this.

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A bee & a bonnet

As a woman, I am upset right now. And it may be because I’m even more hyperaware of my inferiority complex since finishing ‘Moxie’ by Jennifer Mathieu. In the book what girls have to say doesn’t even register; they don’t even rank in terms of their… impact, I guess. And I’m upset by this and by my own experiences. I’m upset by the fact that, even since identifying as a feminist and feeling empowered by what I am, I still have these internalised feelings that a man’s word is more important, that I should keep my lips pressed tightly shut even when what I really want to say is, “Hold up, what I wanted to tell you is important, too.”

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The problem with almosts

As a twenty-two and a half year old woman, the outstanding fact that I’ve never had a relationship bothers me. As things go, it’s not a huge issue and I’m aware — painfully aware — that I am not alone in my solo sailing boat, that plenty of my friends and other people my age have yet to resign themselves and latch on to another human being. And I know, yes, I know, that I am ‘still young’; ‘there is time’ and I ‘will meet someone someday’. But, the thing is, in less you’ve dealt with the same kind of levels of self-esteem issues, in less you’ve battled with the insecurities about my body and those that live in my head, telling myself I’m not worth it… Then, piece by piece, build yourself back up and are still left hanging, you won’t get it. And you won’t experience quite how it starts to eat away at all you’ve worked on.

I’ve learnt the hard way not to seek validation in the people you’re falling for. I know that doesn’t work, that the cliché saying of ‘you’ve got to love yourself before you expect anyone else to’ isn’t so completely awful. There’s actually a tragic truth in it that it burns me a little to hear. But, when you’ve begun to reach my age and you’ve seen everyone else, siblings and friends, start their romantic entanglements in their teens, or at the cusp of adulthood, you begin to question whether there is something unloveable about you. Whether anyone will ever see the qualities you admire in yourself, like that you’re a little bit weird in your sense of humour, but you crack some damn good jokes. That you’d never change yourself to fit in or to seem cooler. That you read a lot and you goddamn better believe you read what you like, same goes for music. That you’re a touch dorky and, sure, you’re not blindingly beautiful, but you’re cute and there’s a part of you that can really appreciate those cute odds. And no amount of solid appreciation can be enough in a string of almosts.

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Deep like like…

That day left a bad taste in my mouth. I was readily prepared not to let it have this power over me. I felt like I was in a relatively good place to deal with Valentines Day and all its romantic gestures and overpriced bouquets of roses that, yeah, are pretty flipping extortionate but I definitely wouldn’t mind receiving. Honestly, I genuinely thought and still think I am okay with being single. I went on a date recently, and whilst it was nice there was no spark. We’re better suited as friends and that’s fine. It’s just reinstated my beliefs that no one should settle. That whilst epic love is probably one for the story books, it doesn’t mean I have to live with something that simply fizzles. I want it to catch fire. So, trust me, I’m cool with being a singleton if it means finding the real deal one day.

What is not cool is working on that dreaded day in retail and seeing the mad dash for last minute bits and that one girl who looked way too smug clutching her heart-shaped helium balloon as she strolled around the store. It reminded me of my solidarity, of the fact I’ve been single for forever (literally), and that I’ve barely even experienced the cusp of romance, relationships… Any of it. But then I read the lovely Grace’s post, ‘5 on the 14th.‘  and it made me want to carve out my few and far between brushes with love, or at least… intense like like, and treasure them for what they are even if they’re not much of anything. So here goes.

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