Tag Archives: ex

Tracing memories…

A few weeks ago, my aunt gave me her unused copy of Cheryl Richardson’s Turning Inward, a lovely journal of self-discovery. I’m loving this unexpected hand-me-down as it’s forced me to really reflect upon what’s important in my life, what I fear most, and what’s blocking me from unleashing my potential.

Tonight, I turn to page 22, where I’m asked about a favourite memory. I struggle against the memory that immediately pops into my head as it involves an ex, with whom things ended badly. Despite this, I start to write…

"Recalling days of sadness, memories haunt me. Recalling days of happiness, I haunt my memories.' Robert Brault

Last summer, my ex-boyfriend bundled me into his van and brought me to Ballyferriter, a small Irish-speaking town in County Kerry on the west coast of Ireland. This was where I had spent my childhood vacations. I hadn’t been there in 16 years so I was extremely excited to revisit this special place.

This impromptu trip has elbowed its way into my patchwork quilt of favourite memories because it was beautiful in its own right and because it awakened a whole landscape of wonderful older memories…

We peered into the boarded-up caravan where I’d spent summers playing heated games of cards and Scrabble, where I’d listened to the tap-dancing rain when I wasn’t warbling along to Mariah Carey on the Walkman, where my cousins and I had huddled together as we whispered ghost stories and feasted on apple drops and Dip Dabs, where my grandma had taught me how to knit a tea-cosy while my granddad completed the Irish Times’ crossword, where we’d dipped bread soldiers into runny eggs with RTÉ Radio One  playing in the background…

We visited the beach where my family and I had picnicked and ridden waves, built sand castles and squelched across seaweed, savouring the sounds and smells of the ocean. This was where I’d drunk my first can of cider and chatted up boys in my native tongue.

We pitched a tent (which was an experience in itself) and drove into the village. I pictured myself, as a child, walking into town, stopping to pick black currants and suck on fuchsias. I remembered dangling from monkey-bars in the hotel playground as I gazed out at An Fear Marbh

An Fear Marbh (the dead man)

We wandered around the village as I regaled my beau with stories of my brother, cousins and I going to the pub to drink  Coke “in a bottle, with a straw”, playing pool against the locals, then buying lollipops and turnover bread with our winnings of punts and pennies, and investing in my first pair of dangly earrings…

Having showed him all the sights, we munched on fish and chips, washed down with a pint of the black stuff. That night, we cosied up on the beach while the crashing waves serenaded us…

The following morning, we woke ourselves up with an excruciatingly refreshing swim. We warmed up by running the length of the beach, then executing a number of yoga moves while still in our bathing suits (much to the astonishment of the well-wrapped-up passers-by). Afterwards, we used a small camping stove to make the most delicious breakfast I have ever had (no exaggeration) of poached eggs and tea…

Writing about this bittersweet memory has taught me three things:

  1. The most wonderful memories are made up of the simplest scenarios.
  2. Even though life hasn’t turned out the way you expected, what happened before still counts.
  3. Just because someone is no longer in your life, doesn’t mean the memories you shared with them should be tinged with sorrow.

Last summer, I was happy and in love. Last summer, I delighted in spooning and holding hands. Last summer, the man I loved made it possible for me to rediscover some of the best moments of my life and, in the process, gave me a wonderful new memory that will stay with me forever. And for that, I will always be grateful.

Images: http://mydeardiamond.tumblr.com/; http://crunchy-little-human.deviantart.com/art/Childhood-198323794; http://inphotos.org/2006/12/21/an-fear-marbh/; neon-stories.tumblr.com; http://www.bigonbuds.com/category/uncategorized/

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On the floor

The last time I ventured to the pub was about three months ago with my then boyfriend in the Donegal Gaeltacht, where the most outrageous thing anyone did was speak English. The last time I got drunk was about six months ago with an old college friend, when we had Thai food with our wine and spent the following day blaming the takeaway for the annihilation of our insides (as you do). And I can’t even remember the last time I set foot inside a club. Does watching self-proclaimed guidos fist pump on Jersey Shore count?

And you know how when you haven’t done something in a while, you wonder if you could even remember how to do it? It’s part lack of energy after a recent flu; part rawness after a recent break-up; part fear- I think I’ve put on weight, I don’t have anything nice to wear, I don’t remember how to small-talk; part sense- memories of extreme exhaustion after a 7am finish, a night spent hugging the toilet bowl (it was a night on the tiles all right!), hangovers so bad you rue the day alcohol was discovered. Damn you, rotten fruit! And part downright laziness at the thought of having to choose an outfit, do the hair and makeup, and stand around in heels all night. Effort. I think I’ve developed a mental block.

But after three weekends in a row of calling over to my mam’s for chips and a two-hour sentence of The X Factor, where the most daring thing I did was drink tea after 11pm, I think it’s time I worked on my social life.

I’m told I need to get out there (code for showcase my talents- I have a large chest- in order to date around). But do I really want to find a man in a swirling sea (maybe I shouldn’t have had that last Cuba Libre) of checked shirts and shark-like smiles? It’s dangerous choosing a partner when you’re both sporting beer goggles (Why do they call them beer goggles anyway? Goggles help you see. They should be called beer shades. Because they blot out the light. But I digress. I do that when I try to avoid an issue.)

On the one hand, I’m not bothered with all the pretending that goes on on a night out… fake tan, false eyelashes, concealer… pretending that everything’s funny, pretending that this club doesn’t suck rear end, pretending that you can walk in those heels and that your feet aren’t burning… Plus, I don’t want to get so drunk that I lose the following day (or my mammy’s chips).

On the other hand, I miss dancing to the latest Rihanna number, making an effort with my appearance and being told it’s paid off by a random hottie (even if he is hauled outside by the bouncers three minutes later for being too drunk) and cackling at dirty jokes with a gaggle of mates.

I don’t have to drink too much (famous last words). My eyelashes and tan (or lack thereof- I didn’t have a sun holiday this year, okay?) will be real. And I might wear flats. Who’s with me?

Images: http://myspace-fusion.com/graphics/photography/index.php?page=6; http://willberwillberforce5333.wordpress.com/tag/willber-willberforce/page/159/; http://bahalwan.de/gallery/fashion/MicheleWaldmeyer/

Featured Image: http://2812photography.wordpress.com/2011/08/25/dance-floor/

Dumping someone: kickin ’em to the kerb, but with less violence

One could argue that it’s the dumpee who needs the help but sometimes it’s hard to be a dumper. The last thing you want is to hurt the other’s feelings, you’d rather not face their tears and/or wrath, and you worry that you might not make it out of there with all your bits intact.

I know it’s hard but, please, don’t employ the “never contact again” approach. It’s just cowardly and unfair. A number of years ago, I met a handsome fellow skier in Austria. We hit it off and went on a couple of dates when we came back to Ireland. And then, nothing. We’d had a great last date, he drove me home, and we kissed. And then, not a dickie bird. I spent the next week checking my phone and wondering. Maybe he dropped his mobile down the loo. Did he get back with an ex? Did my breath smell? I shouldn’t have worn my hair up. He could have been in an accident. Maybe he’s dead. I kinda hope he’s dead.

After a week of theorising, I decided to bite the bullet and text him myself. I asked how he was. He complained about being sick all week. But I knew something wasn’t right. So, I told him that I’d wondered why I hadn’t heard from him. It was only at my courage and prodding that he finally told me he wasn’t interested in having a girl friend. I replied: “That’s ok. Just needed to know.” It wasn’t the response I’d been hoping for but at least now, I knew where I stood. I didn’t have to waste any more time inventing scenarios where his sexy female friends had lured him into an alcohol-induced coma. So, I stopped acting like a crazy person and moved on.

It’s not easy to be the bearer of bad news. Your partner may be oblivious to how you’ve been feeling. Things had been going great. You like them as a person but you no longer want to share your saliva or your plans for the future with them. You’d rather study/work/wash your hair several times in a row than hang out with them. And your partner deserves to know this. Well, not about the washing your hair part but you know what I mean. Your future ex will be unhappy for a bit but it’s better to end it now than have two very unhappy people further down the line.

Here’s how to end a relationship (and come out alive):

1) Be honest

If it comes from the heart, it’ll make sense to your soon-to-be ex and it’ll hurt a lot less too. Tell him/her how you’re feeling and what you want and don’t want. This will allow them to fully understand what’s happening and to air their own feelings. Who knows, you may even wind up being mates.

After a (mostly) wonderful four months of fun and kisses and romantic sunsets together, I decided to end it with a lovely chap from Wicklow. Because, despite the fun and kisses and romantic sunsets, there was just something off. I felt he was trying to be something he wasn’t just so I’d like him more. After a good stint of gentle pleading, flattery, and pulling at the heart-strings, he changed tactics. He told me I was too afraid to commit, that I was gullible, that I lived with my head in the clouds, and that I clearly had issues with my mother. He obviously knew deep down that I wasn’t suitable for him. But he chose to ignore our differences, and instead tried to change himself just so we’d have a chance at working out. And it was only when he knew he’d lost me that he was finally honest. No doubting my decision so!

2) Choose your moment

Don’t dump them on their birthday/Christmas/Valentine’s Day/New Year’s Eve/right before an important exam or job interview/on the anniversary of their mother’s death. This doesn’t leave you with a lot of time. So, do it on a Saturday when they’re not in work. This will give them space to blubber and wail and plot your assassination without having to hide their tears and snotty noses from their co-workers.

3) Choose your medium

Ideally, do it face-to-face. Your partner deserves this. You need to suck it up and deal with their shock, sadness and possible rage. Having said that, it’s not always possible to end it in person. Thanks to modern technology, you can also dump someone via text message, phone call, email, Skype or Facebook chat. DO NOT dump someone on their Facebook wall, even if they did cheat on you with the young wan you used to babysit. It’ll just make you look like an insecure, psychotic, bitter biatch.

4) Know that you’re doing the right thing

This knowledge may make it easier for you. You’ll both be better off in the future. If two people, who are totally unsuited, stay together, they’ll only damage each other with resentment and anger in the long-term. At least, once the pain-staking break up is over, you can move on, and enjoy being single for a while. And as a result, you’ll know a little bit more about what you want (and don’t want) from your next relationship.

5) The beauty of the white lie

If you want to make a clean break, maybe it’s best not to divulge how much you hate the way they chew, and how you sometimes had sexy dreams about their brother. Or that their new hair style makes them look like Susan Boyle. Before the makeover. If you haven’t been together long, the white lie manoeuvre is ideal. Tell them that you’re just not ready for a relationship, or you’re not over your ex, or that they’re just too good for you and you’re too messed up to appreciate that right now.

Alternatively, you could do like Chandler in Friends and tell them that you’re moving to Yemen.