Everything You’ve Ever Wanted

After living in a perpetual existential crisis for a few years it’s no surprise that sometimes I have days were I think ‘what the hell am I doing with my life?’ I reckon most people think that sometimes and I had just such a moment the other day.

It was my first day back on placement after six weeks in lectures. I love learning, I feel at my best when I am doing productive work that involves tonnes of learning. I think that was one of the biggest problem with my first attempt at a degree. The first term was packed full of new interesting things, then after Christmas the learning stopped as we began our production module. Don’t get me wrong I love performing but it was not I wanted to be doing for the rest of my life and I didn’t want to be paying £9000 for it!

But studying nursing, there is never a time where I’m not learning. In fact I’ll probably be googling those terms on the handover sheet for the rest of my life. Which is great! But after six weeks of solid learning, being back on the ward threw me a little bit.

I knew how to do observations, I could do a fluid balance chart and I could sit at talk to a patient if I needed to. I got home feeling that sinking feeling that I was doing the wrong degree again. This couldn’t be happening, I had to get this degree. My Grandma would kill me if I didn’t get a degree before she died…

I’m glad to say this is only a short post because the next day I had a renewed sense of purpose and I’m back on track to becoming a registered children’s nurse! So I guess I should be all meaningful and say that even though you have those days, or months, when you don’t have a goal and you aren’t happy, you’l find something.

Actually I’m gonna end with a quote Michelle Visage posted on instagram because she is an absolute babe.                  “Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear”


A Powerful Magic

I found myself crying on a train again the other day. Not uncommon for me but it had been quite a few weeks since I had shed a tear and I was starting to become rather proud of myself. What made me cry I have known for a long time I just needed to apply it to a situation with a friend and hope I can move the F on!

I wrote a short while ago about a guy I knew whom I called ‘York’. After the whole debacle at Christmas I was sure that my feelings for him had been thoroughly shed…through my eyes of course. But the first time we aw each other after Christmas I knew that wasn’t quite the case. We had gone to see a show, a regular occurrence for the two of us, and there was a slight air of awkwardness between us. If we accidentally touched he’d be quick to apologise and I couldn’t look at him without wanting to dive into his arms.

Alas time moved on and slowly my feelings and the awkwardness subsided. London can be a pretty lonely place so I was more than grateful to have him as a friend, I couldn’t screw that up. Anyway a few weeks ago we went to an open mic night at the Phoenix, which was amazing, and as it was late and the trains had stopped running he offered to let me stop at his.

I, of course, accepted so I didn’t have to pay for an extortionate taxi home and I coincidentally happened to have everything I needed on me to get up and head straight to work in the morning. He’d had a good serving of wine but I knew it wasn’t quite enough for any funny business. Which was a good thing! I didn’t even like his adorable little face anymore. Dammit.

Naturally we had a bit of a cuddle but it really was minor spooning and I was very responsible and pushed him away..after a while. Okay so maybe I did still have a few feelings but I could deal with it! And actually that’s not when I cried so I did handle it pretty well for once.

The following Thursday rolled around and he text me telling me where to meet. I think he was joking but I was like a night out and potential drunk cuddling with a guy whose seeing someone else, what could be better?! (I’m an idiot I know) So I threw on some half decent clothes and spent the night out with him again. We ended up in Heaven, pretty intoxicated and dancing together. Not full on sex dancing but i made sure to get a few touches in where I could.

And we met these guys in the club and one of them read me like an open book and so I went off to have a little heart to heart about my one true love and our tragic story. That’s when I started to realise…I was in love with the story.

After we got back to his flat we spooned and slept most of the night in each others arms, I even managed to steal a few kisses. And in the morning like clockwork we did the whole oh no we had ‘a hug’ in the night oops. Let’s not do that again. It wasn’t even there that I cried! Crazy I know.

Having those little kisses sealed the deal for me. How could I ever like someone who’d hurt me so much. It wasn’t intentional hurt, I’m not resentful to him at all but I still cried…a lot. I was heartbroken and hearts aren’t so easily put back together.

But the romance of it all, our heavenly first date and then our distance for a while. Then my move to London where he worked, we could reconnect and fall back in love and I would get everything I ever wanted and a happily ever after. But I didn’t…I got 40% on my first assignment and a man who was taken.
No worries, I could get rid of the other guy and our story would just have one more twist. But love is the most powerful magic of all and our love could prevail! He was my Prince Charming. We were meant to be together.

Writing it down has made be realise even more how deluded I sound. Someone send help?

I don’t think I cried on the train home that night because I still loved him. I cried because for a brief moment I knew that life wasn’t fairy tales and happily ever after. Perhaps since December I’ve been working through the five stages of grief at losing my Mr Right. Perhaps those tears where the acceptance that it was over and I had to finally move on.

I might not have moved on just yet, if we have a few too many glasses and start talking about how we met and our kids names maybe I’ll want to start looking for a ring. But I know that I won’t, I’ll leave him and his partner to that and I’ll find someone else who deserves my hand.

America #2

After the training week there were nine weeks of camp. Generally ever week we’d get a new set of kids although some did stay for a few weeks or come back later in the summer. For members of the YMCA (who ran the camp) it costs around £620 for one week at camp. One kid was there for seven weeks! That’s one expensive summer.

Every week followed a similar routine, we’d wake the kids up nice and early to head to the canteen for breakfast and we always tried to be the first to arrive, which we did on several occasions! That meant we got the fresh hot food as we were at the front of the queue. Tuesday was the best day for breakfast and lunch, pancakes and pizza! Although for the entire lunch period on a Tuesday they would play a song called ‘All I Eat is Pizza’ which I loved…some people not so much.

Between breakfast and lunch the kids would be split down the middle, half doing land activities and half doing water activities. I ended up working at the rifle range most weeks, which was absolutely fine with me! Spending a day out in the sun shooting with some awesome kids. What could be better? Then after lunch we’d head back to the cabins for some down town then back out to switch to land or water.

We were assigned our cabins at the beginning of every week and there would usually be two or three councillors (the grown ups) in each cabin with about ten kids. That was our little family for the week. After dinner we’d get ready for the evening activity. On a Monday this was usually some camp wide activity but there would be multiple routes a cabin could take through the story. One week I had the pleasure of being a Chitauri (from The Avengers) and the kids went round camp doing Marvel related stuff…like a real life video game.

As for time off, we’d have lunch to ourselves one day and then on alternating weeks we’d have a long night or a short night. The short night we could leave once the kids were settled in for dinner but we had to be back by…I can’t remember what time but we had a few hours off. On a long night I think the curfew was 1am so we’d go out for dinner, take a trip to Walmart to stock up on sweets then head back to camp. At least that’s what I did.

Ten Thousand Pounds of Regret

Let me be the first to say that I cannot wait to get married. At the age of 22 and with my love life on a forced standby it may be a little early to think about such things. But working in the wedding industry has given me countless ideas and I don’t trust myself to remember them so yes I may have started planning my wedding a little early. 

But I really can’t understand why anyone, including myself, would want to spend so much money on one day. One day which, so I have been told so often, is over before you even realise it’s begun. Take the last wedding I worked, just over 100 guests for the day and night so right off the bat that’s close to £10,000 (now you understand the title). Let’s not forget the extra 20 evening guests, so an extra couple of hundred, then flowers, favours, a guestbook, drinks all night, transport, the church’s fee. Suddenly this very expensive day could be funding a deposit on your next house. Which would I rather have? A house of course!

And the number of brides and grooms who tell us that they don’t know where the day went is extraordinary! They hardly sleep the night before because of stress, they have to be up early to get ready to make it to the church in time and even after the deed is done you can’t relax! There’s an endless list of group shots the photographer wants to take, the staff are shovelling canapés down your throat and you still haven’t thanked Auntie Jean for coming. Oh and those children you didn’t want to invite are starving and will soon be crying if they don’t get a bread roll.

But don’t let me put you off! Because it’s time for the food, thank god! Now let’s assume nothing goes majorly wrong with service, a few plates of beef get sent back because they want well done but that’s fine. But don’t think you can just sit down and eat, how dare you relax and enjoy your day! You’ve got to eat as quickly as possible and meander around the room talking to every single guest, including those family members who you can’t remember the name of that you stuck on table ten. And half of the top table will be shitting themselves at the thought of the speeches. Although you could be clever and have the speeches first, but the staff will hate you for that, I would. Then you finish the breakfast and are whisked away as the room is readied for the evening. 

A couple of hours dancing, some more food that threatens to ruin your dress and that’s it, it’s bed time. And trust me you’ll both be too tired or drunk for any of that wedding night fun people talk about! Then you wake in the morning for breakfast and see that the next days bride is already there setting up for her ‘special’ day. 

I feel as though I’m trying to put myself off getting married here, but trust me, I literally cannot wait till I tie the knot. I’ll just know that Auntie Jean can wait for her thank you like everyone else and that the staff have better things to do than talk to you about this beautiful day. The same beautiful day that they see every day. 

General Election Angst

I really love politics. I’d never pretend to know a whole lot about it but it is something that really interests me and that actually, I feel quite passionately about. With a general election approaching I couldn’t resist writing a little about it. Maybe in another post I will write about my political views and give some rationale for them but not today. 
This may end up only being a short entry. All I really wanted to say is how much I hate it when peoples reasoning for voting for certain parties is mostly based on why they shouldn’t vote for someone else. I realise that wasn’t very well worded…

One of the biggest problems with the brexit campaign, for me, was the fact that instead of focusing on the positives of their campaign and trying to persuade people to vote for them, people resorted to simply slagging off their opponents. 

And certainly from many of my friends on Facebook that’s all I am seeing again in the run up to this election. Very few people are saying “oh we should vote for this guy because his policy on this is really good.” They’re all saying burn the witch Theresa May, she’s done this horrid thing and Jeremy Hunt has committed this monstrous act. (Not my views: disclaimer)

As important as it may be to compare policies between parties is there not a way to do it in a more dignified manor please? I get it, people get incredibly passionate about this stuff and that’s great! It means people care and they will go out and provoke change. But how can all these Crobyn supporters ridicule UKIP voters for being stereotypical assholes when they themselves are lumping all conservatives under the banner of wealthy idiots who want all the money. 

Maybe this is a good time to briefly mention my views. On paper I’m a firm labour supporter. I grew up in a very working class family in a relatively small town in the north of England. I would reckon some of labours heartlands, yet I have always voted conservative. 

I’d also like to say I don’t think I’m the type of person to vote blindly on these matters, I read the manifestos, I watch the debates and I go with what I think is right. But I would never be as aggressive to my labour friends as they are being to the world on Facebook with their endless sharing and posting about how terrible the tories are. 

So please can we all be a little bit nicer to each other? It’s okay to try and persuade others of your views but don’t be an ass about it and if I have views of my own that won’t budge. Respect them for gods sakes!

America #1

During my first gap year I had the absolute incredible pleasure of spending a few months in America working over summer. I applied for Camp America in a fit of pique because I hated living at home with my terrible step father. He isn’t actually terrible and really I should thank him for being grumpy sometimes because it meant I got to spend a summer in the states!

I applied just after the normal deadline but instead of decline me they put me onto a special ‘ready, Steady, Go!’ program which meant I could end up leaving for America at very short notice. It was all a bit of a dream for a few months, my application was sent off and I did the required interview but I honestly didn’t believe I would actually get a place at a camp, especially because I’d applied very impulsively.

But then one Saturday evening, halfway through a 12 hour shift at work, I got an email from a camp in Virginia asking if I could run the drama program for the summer. Of course I had to accept and I snook outside to send an reply saying I would love to go. I swiftly got a reply telling me my flight out to camp would be on Tuesday morning. That’s right, Tuesday, as in two full days away.

My boss had already left for the day so I desperately tried to contact him and I of course told my mother and father that I would be leaving them for a while. I was doing another 12 hour shift on the Sunday so I went in a little early to talk to my boss who was amazing and told me I couldn’t miss an opportunity like this and that when I returned my job would be waiting for me.

So I worked all day Sunday which left me Monday, one day, to sort everything. I had to arrange to be at London Heathrow at 6am for my flight and I had to do shopping and pack for a 3 month trip. That was a crazy day but I pulled through and booked myself onto an overnight coach to London.

This all happened so quickly that it wasn’t until I was sat in Times Square with all my luggage that I realised what was going on. I was shit scared. I was alone in New York with a few hours to kill before my Greyhound down to Virginia. When I arrived in Virginia I’d have to meet with a perfect stranger at silly o’clock in the morning at a gas station and I’d be spending the next 10 weeks looking after kids. What the hell was I thinking applying for this?!

On top of all this my SIM card wasn’t working yet so I desperately tried to find a phone shop to get something so I could at least tell my folks that I was safe. They hadn’t heard from me after all since I got on the plane in London hours earlier. So I found an AT&T to buy a temporary SIM card so I could at least send one text to let them know I was safe. That didn’t work either and American phone plans are expensive! It took so long to get my phone working that my mum had been ringing the camp to see if I was there and of course I wasn’t yet I was in New York. She panics at the Brest of times, I can’t imagine what she was thinking.

I managed to contact camp though and tell them I had arrived in NY and that I would be on the Greyhound as planned to meet them in Exmore, VA. After a long coach trip and a short car ride into Camp Silver Beach in was again silly AM so I snook into a cabin with the other guys and went to bed.

I woke up with them all in the morning but fear got the better of me and I stayed in bed until they had all left. I knew they were heading to the canteen for breakfast so I got ready on my own and slowly made my way over. I can’t really remember what the reaction was when I walked in that first time. Although I do remember people saying they didn’t even realise I was there that morning when they got up.

Turns out I had absolutely nothing to worry about as everyone at the camp was amazing. I quickly settled in and of course my closest friends became some of the girls.The first week I was there was a training week so we had a few talks on safety and how to deal with the kids and we spent a few afternoons in the sun and enjoying the facilities at camp before it was overrun with children.

I was going to enjoy this.

Right Place. Wrong Time. 

What feels like a lifetime ago, I met a man in ‘York’ (I’ve changed the names and places for anonymity). One of my closest friends was studying in the city and so me and another friend (yes I have several) would take the motorway down to spend a few days in the city of…nope I got nothing. Since our last trip I had become proficient at Grindr and had no hesitation whipping it out and chatting to some southern beaus. One particular chest caught my eye more than the others and we started chatting, the chest had a face! And it was a nice one to, a lovely chap who, upon hearing of my approaching departure date, was as keen to meet as I was.

So I explained all to my friends and said that, for the morning, I would be ditching them but they were thrilled at how fast I’d managed to arrange a date. So I headed off to meet my new man and we had a little chat over a hot chocolate and proceeded to take a little tour around a few parks and the waterfront. We’ve already established my heart is way out on my sleeve so naturally I began planning my future with this fine gentleman as we meandered through the city. But the morning flew by and before I knew it, it was time to say goodbye and return to my friends.

But after a few texts we both agreed to make the most of our time together and after lunch with my girls, I headed back out to a new park, date number two on the same day! In hindsight, when I got home, it was a bit of a stupid idea to go on a date. Especially because it had turned out so well! I really felt like I could like this guy and yet I had to head home to waste away in the heart of Lancashire whilst he galavanted around London and …York (London was his work home).

So we carried on texting for a while but of course, given the distance, things just fizzled out. There was one occasion when he text me asking “why did we stop talking?” I was quick to remind him that he had never replied to one of my texts. So I ‘moved on’, fell for a few other men from the North and never got anywhere with any of them. And then I received an offer for university in London! My dreams were coming true, I could be a young runagay heading to the bright lights of the city. Living near the bright lights turned out to be a flat in Lewisham but it could’ve been worse.

This is relevant I promise, remember York (I’ll just call him that from now on) was in London Monday to Friday for work. This was it, I was going to go to uni, see every show on the west end and I was going to reconnect with Prince Charming. My Disney tale was finally happening. So over the summer I got back in touch, just casually, to bring up that I’d be moving down and at the end of the summer, after an open day, we decided to meet up in the park. Having not seen each other for the best part of a year and having ended our last meeting with a make out session outside my friends house, this had the potential to be somewhat awkward. But we shared a hug and spent the evening on primrose hill catching up. There was definitely something there between us I knew it.

So me and my flatmate made the move and I made sure to keep up the effort in getting to know York, we’d go for lunch or to dinner and he always paid. That was a sign right? Then there was a drunk call. Having never made one myself I had to read into this only what I had seen from my friends. If they ever drunk dialled, it was to a potential date or an ex. This was just what I needed, this was almost confirmation of our feelings for each other. So, close to my birthday I took the plunge and asked York out on a date.

“Awww Rob” – I hated it when he did that, he was so cute. But he’d started seeing someone else in ‘York’, how sweet. I was happy for him. No honestly I was! I’d given it a shot and he wasn’t available, I handled the situation very well. No tears, no drama and it meant I still had a great friend in London, which were in short supply.

Then birthday week came and he took me out to the theatre and for dinner and a few little drinks afterwards and I was thinking the whole night ‘god I just want to kiss you.’ He was too nice and that was making it very hard to move on! Then came my ‘three dates in three days’ fiasco and he was being so protective and I had a hard time believing that this was just coming from a place of friendship, we barely knew each other after all.

Then the following week he suggested we go out ‘dancing’ which in this case meant getting drunk and slut dropping in G-A-Y. Not what I would call dancing but there you go. Being fully aware of my feelings I decided to take it slow with the alcohol, as soon as I start sobering up I can get pretty emotional and I didn’t need that tonight. So we danced and had a great night and that’s the end of that.

I wish. It was a busy night at the club and as we moved around we’d hold hands so as to not lose each other, perfectly innocent stuff, I’d do that with any of my friends. Then when we decided to leave, holding hands so we made it out together, and we started to head down oxford street praying for a 24 hour McDonald’s. York was hungry. Oh but wait, why am I beaming like an idiot…oh right we’re still holding hands and McDonald’s is closed and we’re heading back to his. God help me.

I’ll spare all the gory details, mostly because there aren’t any, I’m very proud of myself that I rejected his advances that night. Of course I couldn’t turn down a cuddle and we had some really great conversation as we lay together. But dawn arrived too quickly and my perfect night had come to an end. Going out the night before a day in university is never a great idea, getting half an hours sleep and being an hour away from home is even worse. So I dragged myself out of bed as he muttered his apologies and why this could never happen again.

The first train of the day, back home, went rather smoothly. I didn’t have time to be upset, I needed to get home, get dressed and get back on the train. So I did the speediest change of my life, grabbed my uniform and headed back out. I’m not going to lie, I’m not entirely sure what I learnt that day, I was so incredibly tired I was just concentrating on keeping my eyes open. At last the day rolled to a close and I found myself on the train back home. With the pressure of university gone and a free weekend ahead of me, my brain turned to the events of the previous night. And I cried. On a train. That’s right, I was in floods of tears from London Bridge all the way to Hither Green. What a fool.

Unfortunately I spent the next week crying and feeling like a 12 year old again. But a few months down the line I am happy to say we are still great friends and I wouldn’t change anything about that night. The first few times I saw York after that brought back the tears but we’ve reached a happy place. And I am so happy he is enjoying his time with his fella whilst I sit inside writing…