"… I’ve been stuck with you for most of my life." Until last year, around this time. Now, be totally aware and know this as fact, I am not about to launch into a tirade about my ex girlfriend, and I am not still in love with her. I don’t hate her, because life is too short to bear grudges for someone who looked out for themselves. And because there are many happy memories to outnumber the bad ones. No, this is about the past year or so and how it has changed me.
So, obviously, I was hurt. Well, broken really. But that soon gave way to anger. And that led to a workout regime that made me ill. I was borderline anorexic, in all honesty. That’s not my words, like a really insensitive exaggeration, but the words of my doctor. I had a couple of counselling sessions, on the referral of my doctor, and I hated them. Like, seriously loathed them. There was nothing untoward in my childhood, but the psychiatrist was convinced there was, making me go through my childhood over and over. I know, cliché or what?! But when I told the story of the break up and what had happened since, I was told that I was too dependent on a female influence and whoever I end up with would have to “compete with my mother for [my] affection.”
I admit, if I have an issue, I turn to my parents for help. But my ex (for the most part) came before my family. If she wanted me, I was there, more often than not. So, I decided, with some discussion with a friend, that I had to stop the sessions, as they were doing no good, and were just reinforcing the stereotypical answers one expects of a psychiatrist. That led me to writing letters daily, voicing my feelings, then shredding and composting said letters. A problem on paper is a problem less to worry about. Kind of stupid really, but it worked.
Next came a period of time where I saw a friend almost daily, and we would talk and talk for ages, because she had been in a similar position. We got close, and became better friends for it. I could tell her everything I was feeling, and she’d give me advice on what I could do. One of which was the money that was saved for a birthday present was to be blown on new shit. With the new clothes came a new attitude, and the acceptance of the end. And so I fucked someone. I still, to this day don’t know how, but I did. That helped a lot.
Christmas came and went, and I started to reestablish my friendship group. Slowly. But it was getting there. I started to venture out to clubs and pubs. I started to do things. I hit the gym again, not quite as much as I did at first, but within reason. I got more involved in my wrestling hobby, started sparring with a personal trainer, reading behind the scenes stuff. It was fun, and I started enjoying myself more, until I broke my toe. Then the gym stopped, the wrestling training stopped. Before I broke my toe, I bought a car. And I enjoyed driving, at first, and the novelty wore quickly. Post toe break, I enjoyed it more. I’d drive everywhere. To the shop, the chippy, the park, everywhere. Driving became super fun. So when a good friend of mine popped up to me on Facebook and said ‘do you fancy coming to a festival with me?’ I jumped at the chance. Not only was the festival free, but it was (supposed to be, according to Google maps, which sticks to the speed limit) a nice 2 hour drive away.
That’s where my life changed rather dramatically. My first festival. My first real experience since the break up where I’d have to make friends and socialise with people. And boy, did I ever. I made friends, across the country, who I miss dearly. People like JJ & Rosie, Cleo/Honda Civic/Robin Reliant, Mikaela, Kati, Kim & Shane, Ellen and Faith. I made a slightly lasting impression on Frank Turner and Newton Faulkner, and fulfilled something I swore to do back in 2008/2010, when I kissed Sean Smith (of The Blackout). I also made friends with Baby Godzilla (see my gif somewhere further down the page…) and made some friends with artists. That’s the kind of thing I want to do more often. That’s why I admire gig photographers, because for the most part, they’re friends, because they see each other often.
After the festival, things get boring. I get rejected from a few jobs, and go out to town a little more. Oh, and crashed my car, writing it off (miss you, Mr. X. Beast). That was a learning curve. I had become so reliant on my Fiat Punto, that I was lost. Something else that I had emotional investment in had left me. But it was ok. I was ok. Because I’d grown up. Matured. Yeah, I’m still an opinionated, loud twat, who doesn’t give a shit, but that’s because I’m free to say whatever I want to my friends and people I meet for the first time, and nobody seems to mind, because I’m actually a genuine person who doesn’t care if you don’t like me. I don’t care if you say things behind my back, because it takes some balls to say something to my face, not just behind my back and know it will get to me. You’ll actually get respect from me if you say it to me, no matter what the subject matter is.
Here’s an example. I’m an instructor at a cadet squadron. I don’t wear uniform, so I wear my own clothes. I never wear regular jeans, or standard branded clothes. I introduced myself to 15 people whom I’d never met before, by saying “Hi. I’m Mr. Reynolds, but you can call me sir. Or god. Two things. Yes, I wear skinny jeans. No, I’m not gay. Any questions?”
This is where I can say that I am more confident than I was 13 months ago. This is where I say that cadets helped me regain my confidence and identity.
This is where I tell you that although stuff will make you feel shitty, and make you question who in the blue hell you are,
you will get through it.
Maybe it’ll take you a year, maybe less, but you will. And your friends will help you through. Keep them close.
So yeah. That’s my year of being single. That’s the year that made me more like me. That’s the year that will see me rising to the top of my ability in the next two years.
Speak to you again soon.