Helpful on a Rainy Monday

This girl is really good fun to watch and some very helpful tips – though with all my shouting “UN” “UUUUNE” “CON” I’m sure the neighbours (as usual) think I’m totally insane!!!

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Living in the now

Aside

“You are a beautiful and unique snowflake”

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As I stare across the street at the woman on her terrace, I think of this phrase and it rings sort of hollow.

She is an exact carbon copy of a former friend of mine in Edinburgh. Same lithe form, same love of clean simplicity, same adoration of all things vintage. As she methodically places a table, two chairs plus requisite vase of flowers (just for aestheticism – she will not sit there) out on her terrace, I smile to myself. I think of that old friend of mine who always wanted beauty around her, and who equally saw beauty all around. Her apartment was like walking through a gallery filled with old photographs, bunches of flowers and herbs, an old bicycle in the doorway. Obsessed by Françoise Hardy while not speaking a word of French, she would spend her evenings designing jewellery and organising her collection of vintage clothes for  Markets at the weekend while listening to Madame Hardy whisper stories of love long-lost or even love which never was. Living in a sort of vintage bubble, she paid no attention to the problems of the “real” world. She never read a newspaper, never looked at anything on the internet other than fashion or her emails. A true dreamer.

As I watch the girl across the street, I’m nostalgic for my old Edinburgh life. Back then I had started to live in this vintage bubble too, going to my rubbish services job which I in equal parts hated but adored because I loved my colleagues, while at the same time going for tea or coffee in cosy artistic places and sitting and reading Vogue. Perusing the local library for old classics and philosophy books. Careening through charity shops and picking up the hand me downs of someone’s old Auntie Bertha.

Was I successful in the eyes of society? Not at all

Was I happy? In retrospect, yes

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I was going nowhere. I had hit pause on plans for real life, and “growing up”. And it was magical. I felt a freedom there I had never felt before. Everything I had was my own, I took care of all my own affairs. I suppose in a  big way I was growing up. I had a lot of bad times in Edinburgh but plenty of good times. I met the Frenchman there so that city will always hold a special place in my heart. Whenever I go back  it feels like home again. It’s ironic as I spent around the same amount of time there that I have now spent in Reims.  I cannot say I have embraced Reims in quite the same way. Maybe when I leave Reims I will look back with my rose-tinted specs. We all have a habit of doing this, don’t we? Perhaps I am nostalgic for an Edinburgh that doesn’t exist. Maybe it’s an idea I have in my mind of a time and a place I was at in my life which I will never feel again.

Letting go of the past sometimes feels like the hardest thing to do. But it’s the only way to really enter the future and live in the now.

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Nostalgia is a file that removes the rough edges from the good old days.

~Doug Larson

There is only me in here

I should warn you immediately that this is going to be a sexist post.

Against women. And like saying n***** when you’re black, I can get away with it. Because I’m a woman. 

What a bunch of sappy, mushy, sentimental man-obsessed twits we can sometimes be. And this coming from someone who moved countries to be with her man. Oh the irony.

Hoes before bros?

A group of fine females are having a party – drink is flowing, conversation is bouncing, the dancing has begun. (Of course already there’s the requisite non-stop texting to partners from one or two).The decision is made to head into town. So off we go, in fine form. Suddenly, news is received that two of the boyfriends have already gone home from their own separate nights out… so we lose two ladies OUTSIDE the night club before even entering. Because their men have called. Now, of course they obviously prefer the company of their boyfriends which is okay. But the difference is that that would NEVER and I repeat, NEVER happen on a guys night out. It would be just that, GUYS night out, which finishes when it finishes and nobody goes home to their girlfriend prematurely.

Why do we make it more acceptable amongst females for one of us to bail on the rest to go home to her boy? Because in a group of men, it’s unacceptable behaviour. Nobody says “Oh Sarah is home alone and she’s asked me to bring her home a kebab so see you guys later!” AS IF! The incessant mocking of being a “pussy” wouldn’t be worth it. So why is it okay for a girl to do that? And let’s not start with the “I miss him” or “Oh it’s difficult when he’s gone,” when someone has a man away. Difficult how? Do you lose the ability to walk? Can you not wake up in the morning?

“You’re not his Mother!!!”

This leads me around to another heated debate going on in my head as of late. The French boy went to the USA for two weeks last May to visit a friend. Alone. And my God was there quiet uproar – from friends, family and random strangers on the street (no, I made that last one up). To give you a clearer picture of how beyond irritating it was here’s a gamut of common questions I had, with their succint answers.

Q: “Why aren’t you going with him?” A: “Because I have neither the money nor the available holidays to go and he wants to visit his friend alone, it’s not my friend. I think also he needs his time out from me like a normal human being etc. etc.”

Q: “Why doesn’t he pay for you, he makes enough money?” A: “Because it’s not his job to pay for my holidays?”  Thank you to this girl for setting back feminism by thirty years.

And an assortment of statements such as “He’s selfish/probably going to cheat on you every night for two weeks.” Helpful. (Of course the last one wasn’t outwardly said, but glaringly implied).

I got in such a tizzy that I probably googled “boyfriend going on holiday alone” about 50 times, where thankfully the responses were much more levelheaded. This one response was my favourite after a question from a girl on an Australian website asking if she was being crazy to be angry because her boyfriend wanted to go on holiday without her.

“God damn, really?  This is an issue for you?  Of course he didn’t ask.  You’re not his Mother!!!!  Sweetheart, cut the smothering or you’ll drive him away.  You’re both adults and having a week away is not a big deal.  Having a partner who thinks you can’t do things separately, is…”

It’s funny how people can get in your head and change your perception of a situation with their old-fashioned views of how a relationship should be. Because I had no problem with the situation before other people’s opinions started to get to me so much that I googled it!

The only reason a woman has to be stressed out at the thought of her boyfriend going away on holiday without her is that she can’t survey him constantly. This is surely where the origins of the expression “the old ball and chain” come from.

It all comes down to trust, insecurity and control. Not enough of the first one, too much of the second and an unhealthy desire for the third.

Needless to say, I was ridiculously busy for the two weeks as I planned to be, it went quite quickly and I was a happy bunny to have the flat to myself (it was always so clean and tidy)! He had a fantastic holiday, saw lots of new things while missing me terribly. Win-win situation for all.

As I write this he is in a European city for the weekend spending quality time with his best friend, and I presume not involved in a drug prositution ring and snorting cocaine off a hooker’s breast (he is French after all we can never be too sure).

Any questions, disagreements, or other points of view are always welcomed!

“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.” 
― Charlotte BrontëJane Eyre