Tuesday, 27 March 2012

'You're not her, though I try to see you differently' - Ed Sheeran

Is pining ever worth it? Memories certainly are, but as all memories catalyse some sort of reaction, who would want memories that make you ache? Moving forward is hard enough without the emotional baggage that memories force you to drag along with you. In a weighted suitcase. With no wheels. Comparisons are of course natural; no matter how 'over' someone you are if you're used to that way of operating on dates, in relationships, then the change can ONLY be compared to the norm. That's fine. Understandable. But, as we all know, people are terrified of change. However, we all forget that change can also be the best thing that can happen to a person. People are always so scared of this change because they think about what they will miss, tangible things that they can realise and know exist - it's a lot harder to imagine the things a person will gain from making that change, and so it seems best to keep the ship steady. Uncertainty and fogginess in your future are indeed scary. You hear success stories and people can nearly always recall a time where they had to take a gamble. Gambles by their very nature are insecure. Success in relationships can surely only come about by taking those risks, taking those gambles, rather than 'playing it safe'? At least attempting to leave the past behind is what Ed Sheeran was singing about I think - and that's half the battle. You can say over and over again to yourself that you've moved on, but if you don't willingly make the effort to, you're already fighting a losing battle to the weight of that baggage we mentioned. So, you've moved on, you've done it. What now? Well, first rule is not to presume someone is guilty based on someone elses mistakes. I've been witness to SO many ridiculous conversations with friends, dates, where the classic 'All men/girls are the same!' line is exasperatedly sighed out before the unwitting potential suitor has even had a chance to SAY fuck up. TRY to see that person differently to the person that made you so jaded, otherwise they will already have a foot out the door. Myself and a female friend got very boring over dinner chatting about the usual and, as it so often does, the conversation turned to ex-partners. Standard agreements ensued but then she mentioned the worrying observation that she could 'never trust a man again.' Now, I'm not one for kicking someone when they're down or mocking another's painful experiences caused by cheating partners, but surely, SURELY tarnishing an entire sex with the same brush can only be detrimental to your happiness? I pointed this out, in the politest and most charming way of course, and was told that the next guy would have to earn her trust. I immediately felt sorry for him and silently wished him luck. Secondly: let yourself go. And fall, Fall hard if you have to. But if you don't let yourself get swept up by this new relationship you will always be looking back, erring on the side of caution, and never fully committing yourself emotionally to something that could be incredible. You're meant to feel happiness when they do, hurt when they do - but if you don't let yourself go through fear of change or from not letting go of the past then you can never really be in a new relationship. It's what's meant to happen - you won't know whether it's right or wrong until you feel something either way. Thirdly, at least attempt to follow in Ed Sheeran's footsteps. If we don't, what hope do we have?

Monday, 30 May 2011

'What if these moments between us mean more than we could Dream?' - Allie Moss

Who's to know when the important things in life are coming up? Or if they've already passed us by? For all we know, that moment, that person, that decision, that seemed so inconsequential at the time could have been the pivotal crossroad between happiness and, well, fierce mediocrity. Sounds serious doesn't it? My housemate has actually asked me not to discuss this idea with her for the anxiety it creates. That guy that smiled at you as you were buying a paper the other day - mild flirtation? Should you have acted on it? That girl who you spoke to all night in a pub, who then had to leave because she needed to be up in the morning for work so had to call it a night - a memory of a pleasant evening or a missed opportunity? To get a little dull if I may, this bring us onto the aspect of chance and serendipity. Hindsight means nothing if you believe that these chances, these decisions, will keep coming. They happen every day. Every day. The difference between moving forward and taking those chances doesn't even have to mean recognising them when they come, it's just not dwelling on those moments that we think may have passed us by. By not regretting, by being open to 'moments' you never know what path your life might lead down.

As always, I try to relate this to me in someway - not because I'm incredibly self-indulgent obviously, more because it might make more sense in my own head. That's the excuse I like to rely on at least. In all truth though, Allie Moss's lyric did get me wondering about what I should act on and what I shouldn't. If anything, a second thought about being proactive rather than being instantly dismissive makes for a much more fulfilled mindset. It's a minor change, but actually stepping back and thinking, 'this IS a choice I can make', and knowing that you can decide what happens next is weirdly empowering, even if you come to the same conclusion as you would have before this change in outlook. Jesus, I sound like some sort of fucking life coach - which I HATE - buuuuut if I hadn't tried it myself I wouldn't preach it. Recently, I had a date (garnered through this new openness to invitations)which is not an uncommon event in my life if I'm honest but what was different here, is that I asked her for dinner, I thought 'Why not?' and broke my cardinal rule of never asking through fear I would get shot down in flames. As it turns out, we had fun but absolutely nothing in common, a result that I was absolutely fine with. It was a night with a girl that I didn't know, but now I do. Did the moments between us mean more than what they were? I think not. But at least I know. And when I eventually do have a moment with that someone that I want to spend my life with, I'll be pleased that I didn't just recognise it, I was open to it. Because without hindsight, that's all we really can be.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

'Can you lie next to her, and give her your heart?' - Mumford & Sons

I often wonder what life would be like if my belief in love was jaded. Let's not play games - I am clearly an advocate for the heart-wrenching 'movie love' we so often see sold as the ideal. A brief scan of my previous posts will attest to that. And in doing this my thought's, as they would, tend to stray to past experiences: those moments, those memories, and those people that have shaped the way I feel about current relationships. There is of course a common theme that emerges through this reminiscence: every relationship in my past, whether short or long, has come to an end. And if it entailed an angry parting tirade or a friendly mutual understanding, each goodbye catalysed a fresh dose of knowledge with their passing.
'Do more of this next time.'....'Be less of that next time.'

I question what it is that these past experiences do for us? Do they help or hinder? Do they strengthen us, or simply serve to put doubts in our mind? I know that my own experiences certainly haven't jaded my want for there to be an ideal, but have they limited my actual ability to appreciate it?

An example: My first love was the strongest I've ever felt for someone. Even having had closure on it, on a purely physiological level I know that THAT experience was the most involving emotionally. Now, retrospect tells me that this relationship flourished in a very different world to 'the real world'. As two young people growing up we didn't have the stresses of bills, jobs, and certainly no responsibilities. So, again in retrospect, I know that it is foolish to consign this relationship as my 'ideal'. But what matters most I feel, rather than pander to my 'not living in reality' justification, is my own knowledge that since this, I have never experienced higher highs or, conversely, lower lows. This is what we all look for surely? Haven't we all seen movies that tell us we do? The songs sing about it don't they? This magical rollercoaster, the whirlwind of feelings, of emotions that are uncontrollable and consuming and stupid and needed and welcomed and frightening and primal? And I know, I know, that everyones experiences are different, and I know that putting a childhood sweetheart on a pedestal is foolhardy - but ever since, no matter how much I like the person I'm with, I ask myself the above lyric: I just never realised how important that question was. I believe in a love where there is no doubt. I believe it is out there. I believe that there is someone out there just as geeky about Disney and Harry Potter and books and music as me. Someone who is more than happy to have a duvet day with shitty movies and each other's company. Someone out there who tells me when I'm wrong, but understands when they are. Someone out there who thinks they are lucky to have found me, knowing that those feelings are reciprocated. Someone out there who, when I do lie next to her, I can give her my heart. All of it. Happily.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

'Money Can't Buy Me Love'' - The Beatles

Now this blog has been inspired by someone. I know on most of my posts I tend to speak from personal experience but, seeing as how I have never been a sugar-daddy for anyone, I can only relay the thoughts of said muse. What I can offer though is my belief that money should be one of the last reasons you fall in love. This, to most people, I think is a given. Yet it continues to amaze me how people can rank monetary issues above things like trust, fun, and chemistry. On the flipside, it also amazes me that people use their financial status in such a way that makes them believe they are more worthy of love than others. Throwing money at an unhappy partner to keep them quiet certainly isn't a scenario I want to have in a relationship, and if that tactic works then the person you are throwing the money at clearly isn't with you for your companionship. When being told of my friends situation, I listened as best I could, and was in fact given the Beatles quote by her as a summative quote of her story. She had what others would describe as 'it all'. She was in Australia, was given a job by her partner's parents, had clothes bought for her, was taken to fancy champagne dinner parties; was essentially given whatever she wanted. Now, the tragedy of this is that from the start she loved him for him. She fell for him and who he was. However, it would appear his answer to anything was money, and that sort of life became incredibly overbearing and, ultimately, was what sent her coming back to the simple life in the UK. Just having the money changed his priorities, his actions, and how he dealt with those he loved. It is the above lyric in action. Now, I'm not going to sit here and deny that money can be appealing - God knows it is what we work for, and the vast majority of the population concur that it would certainly take the stress of the everyday out of life. If anything, you could say that having financial freedom allows you to be more free to experience opportunities in which to find love, and to be in the right mindset to make that love work. I think the problem arises when people make money the substitute for everything I believe should be valued in a relationship. Yes, times are hard - they always are and they always have been. Yes, with that in mind a partner with money is a bonus, but that is all it should be: a bonus. I must admit, whenever I have been in a relationship, I have always loved spoiling the one I'm with, but have always yearned to be able to give them more. More of what I think they want. More material things because I thought that was important. Trying to show that I'm a good guy, practically shoving it in their face, saying 'Look how much I love you by how much I give you'. It's a dangerous thought. In some ways I am happy I didn't have that opportunity. By thinking these things are important, rather than just loving each other and being grateful for the things you share that money can't buy, you can shift perspective in both parties. Again, as I have never been in the position to spoil someone as much as I think they deserve to be spoiled, this is merely conjecture. I think money can buy you the illusion of love. It can buy you a facade. Would I want that? I think not. I'll compare it to my view on religion: I am not a religious person, I am a child of science and always will be. But I believe religion holds great value to many people so would never debunk its worth, it's just not my bag. My thoughts are this: If both myself and a devout religious person had nothing, no job, no family, and were living on the streets, I, to all intents and purposes would indeed have nothing - but a religious person would still have their faith. They would still have faith in their lives. I see this as being the same with love and money. You could take two people, rich people, and strip them of all their wordly goods. One would have nothing, but if the other was in love, truly in love, then the loss of all those things would be secondary. They would have love in their lives. So they would have everything they need.


Wednesday, 23 June 2010

''It's not always Rainbows and Butterflies, it's compromise, it moves us along'' - Maroon 5

Now, under normal circumstances,this belief goes against all my idealistic views on love: I want it to be 'Rainbows and Butterflies' and all the things the songs tell us that love could be. However, being a member of 'the single people club', I get constant reminders from my attached friends just how 'lucky I am', and how they 'envy the freedom' that I have. I, in response, question why? They, in turn, respond thus: 'Alan mate, you get to go where you want, when you want, and don't have to answer to anyone.' This is normally followed by some gentle ribbing about said friend being 'under-the-thumb' and other cliches that single people use. Now, over the last few months I have tested this 'freedom' theory. I have done what I want, where I want, when I want, with who I want. I think I can safely say that I miss having someone to come home to. Someone I can spoil. I tell my friends that the life that I have, that they mock-envy, is a prime example of the grass not being greener. What they think they lack in 'freedom', is more than compensated for in companionship, trust, and having someone care for you and care about you. This is totally backed up by the fact that for all their protestations and complaints, these friends stay with their partners, go home to them, and share life with them. There must be a sprinkling of 'Rainbows and Butterflies' keeping them there. I was discussing this with another friend of mine, who is a true advocate for being single. This guy can literally not see himself in a relationship at all and, when asked why, he retorted that he 'wouldn't want to compromise himself'. I explained that not all girls would make you compromise who you are, that the girl who manages to make him want to be in a relationship would be one that would want him for who he is, not who she could turn him into. I shared that I felt a successful relationship is one where you take two independent people and entwine their lives. They keep their independence and identity, do what they want to do with no guilt trips from either party, and generally support their partner no matter what. You can't really ask for more than that. His response was that a woman who would let you be independent doesn't exist. Well I suppose you can't convert them all. But I do think that if he, or anyone, finds someone like that - then there will be more 'Rainbows and Butterflies' than you thought possible.


Sunday, 6 June 2010

'Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder' - Loudon Wainwright

The question I ask is: Does it? Yesterday I was privy to two of my very good friends saying goodbye to each other. The scene: we were at an airport - classic. The story: Boy and girl are good friends. Girl has boyfriend. Boy starts to like girl. Girl starts to like boy. The unspoken is obvious to all but remains unspoken. Girl breaks up with boyfriend. Boy and girl spend some quality time with each other, as boy has to leave to another country. Participant C (myself) - a good friend of both boy and girl, plays chief listener and advisor. Participant C invites girl to come to the airport with both himself and the boy to say goodbye. Participant C says goodbye to boy and makes his excuses to leave boy and girl alone to say goodbye (I really didn't need a bottle of water from the shop). Participant C peruses books for ten minutes before returning to a glum looking girl. Cliches are thrown back and forth until a conclusion that sometimes 'life just gets in the way' is reached.
Now, as a romanticist, my hope is that whilst the two spend an indeterminable amount of time apart, within that time Loudon Wainwright's sentiments ring true. That they pine, that they yearn, and that they miss each other in general so that upon their reunion they take that step that was unspoken about - that they become a couple. My worry is that in that interim, life will indeed get in the way. People forget. People move on. I've done it myself. If anything, you could say time is the healer that people will need to recover from said heartbreak. Memories of happy times past, rather than serving as a reminder of where you've come from as a couple to where you are now, become exactly that: memories of past times. Times from a different, never-to-get-again time. And that those times get consigned to being just another stage in their lives that, because of life, they have to move on from. Some of my fondest memories from my younger years were ones that I had to move on from, and it was time that helped me do that. Absence forced me to move on. However, through such experiences, I think that when love seems so hard to find, that those people you share such happy times with are an absolute rarity, then no matter what life circumstances there are you should do what you can to keep that special person in your life. To stop them from being absent so that Loudon's theory doesn't even get tested - or at the very least work to keep them from being absent no matter what the distance. Why give up on something that could be amazing because of something so trivial? If that person you yearn for is worth the yearning, absence certainly shouldn't get in the way. That is what I hope for girl and boy. Are they right for each other? Is their sadness at this time apart justified? Only time will tell.


Wednesday, 19 May 2010

''I'd rather live in his world, than live without him in mine.'' - Gladys Knight and the Pips

Now that is sacrifice. When someone can love another so much that they would give up their dreams, their lifestyle, what they know, all to be with the person they can't live without. Gladys Knight sang about that kind of love, and sold this belief to millions. After all, isn't that what people search for? What people like me attempt to write about? My question, however, is that if that person was so worthy of love they would never make you change or give up things that mean so much to you. The things that give you your identity. Over the last few months my sense of identity has got stronger, through not having to compromise any aspect of me to please another. I know more about me now than I ever have done, and I know the world I want to live in. I want someone to share my world and love it as I love it. Of course in a relationship you compromise, but it should be practical things that are compromised, not your character. The person who is right for you would never make you be anything other than what you are, and they will love you all the more for being that person. Sharing your world with someone worthy is a goal, but sharing it with someone who already lives there without compromising THEMSELVES is the ideal. Can it be found? This perfect match? I like to think so. Never settle for something less than amazing. Preachy rant over.