It’s all about the ring

Being single is one thing, people get the usual pressure from the society (over 30).  Nothing new, it is time to hurry up and find someone. When you are single you get used to it (see old posts below). When you are in a relationship for a long time however, you need to be prepared for another type of pressure…

The unavoidable question; “And when are you two going to get married? “Classic! I was lucky enough to “enjoy” this fascinating question for a year at least. Recently I have been talking to another friend who brought these memories back and made me realise how many of us have been through this or going through right now…

Being in a relationship for 5 years without “the” ring can make you feel doubtful. Even if you are not that type, people around you would remind you that subject every day, so eventually you start to raise these questions: “Does he still love me?”, “Does he plan with us?”, “Is he just lazy and wasting my time?”….. Worst dates in the diary: Christmas, New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day, 30th birthday, trip to Paris, Rome, Venice or Thailand (not a full list, I know). And this is the time when those nasty expectations can ruin everything because they only make people feeling disappointed. And disappointment can lead to bad decisions. Surprise pregnancy (the child will fix everything), getting on dating sites, having an affair, or just simply being happy because it is still better than being alone etc. 

I think it’s actually not about the ring. Happy couples do get married after 5-20 years and the ring is never a problem. It made me wonder why. The ring is only a symbol, the most important thing is communication and how the other person makes you feel. If he talks about the future, kids and expresses his love on a daily basis this fear doesn’t exist. Likewise if he never mentions the future, kids or the fact that you will get old together, you start to have this awful fear and you are probably right, something is not ok. And everything can fall apart pretty soon after.

It feels like a lifetime ago when I used to face this pressure every day. Due to the fact that this friend has just told me her story, my feelings from the past became crystal clear for a couple of minutes (those comments, the sadness). How people were checking my finger all the time, how he didn’t say anything when they asked us. Of course he didn’t, because he knew that what we had just wasn’t enough. I don’t blame him by the way, I know why he didn’t feel it and he was right.

I will never forget that moment when I got my birthday present, a trip to Venice (which is beautiful by the way and highly recommend it). I knew it would be our last trip. Being there where everybody holds hands and there is so much love in the air and many engagements on a daily basis. Except us of course. It was visible that we were not one of the many happy couples. We didn’t have it anymore. That special something was gone. Normally I take many pictures, that time I only took a few… This is how Venice could become a sad memory for a year or so.

Now I don’t mind to remember it at all. I only remember the good things of course. Time fixes everything. Two months later we weren’t together… According to my friends they all warned him not to take me to Venice if there is no ring.  But he loved me (just not enough) and wanted to make me happy. Guys really don’t think like girls. He really didn’t think it would be a problem. They looked at my hands after the trip, not his. Colleagues, family, friends and even my hairdresser.

I can really feel other people’s pain and doubts when they tell me about their fear and I don’t have an answer. I can’t give any advice and I wouldn’t. All I can say is that I know how you feel and I made one promise – I’d never ever ask couples about when and if they are planning to get married. And I’d never ask married couples when they want kids. And never ask them when the second one is coming. You just never know what they are going through. How long they have been trying or what other problems they have. Stick to the weather. English people talk about the weather all the time for a good reason. It’s safe….

(Author: An, not edited)

Next: Being out of practise 

its all about the ring

its all about the ring

Good or nothing…

I have met some guys recently….

I wouldn’t call them “dates” but my friend is constantly  laughing at me because I am meeting with guys and I don’t even realise that they are dates. Maybe I am naïve or maybe I am right, who knows. Regardless, I have many male friends and I think it is normal. Anyway, let’s get to the point.

I have met with this nice guy and very soon he made some observations that I have found very negative. It is not important what he said and I am pretty sure he didn’t want to be mean but soon enough I put a wall up and I started to be very quiet (so not like me!). He didn’t notice it at all. Made me wonder why I took it so personally, I shouldn’t have. I know who I am, what I am worth and my confidence is ok (finally). But at the same time my gut feeling told me to run away. Why? Because I don’t need anyone around me who likes picking on me or on others actually. It is not inspiring at all. Who wants to be judged or criticised especially by someone who doesn’t even know you? No one is perfect and this is the best part. And I have thought of someone from my past. Made me realised how positive he was and why I missed him so much, he is the exact opposite. He would never say anything bad about anyone, he talks about his family and friends with so much love.  And he has the ability to make you feel special.

And all of this taught me two lessons. First of all, I started to pay attention to my own comments and making sure I don’t say anything negative and I don’t judge or criticise. Sometimes I am quite sarcastic so I do have to be careful. And the second lesson I have learnt is even better. Whenever I notice that someone is doing this I know straight away that it won’t work (guy or girl) and I cut it short. When someone has this attitude I know for sure we won’t click at all. This is something I really don’t like and it puts me off. At the end of the day who wants to be told on a daily basis that you are not good enough or you do this and this wrong instead of being surrounded with people who bring out the best of you and encourage you to do even better. BE POSITIVE! I believe in this more than anything.

There is a very thin line between being “helpful” and actually telling someone what to do or highlighting that they are doing something “wrong” (and maybe it is not wrong at all anyway). I am still learning this and no one is perfect, the key is that you recognise your weaknesses and you do your best to improve.

(Author: An, not edited)

Next: it’s all about the ring

BE POSITIVE

BE POSITIVE

Feeling happy and lost at the same time

In 8 whole years, without a doubt this is the second time I have felt absolutely crap, shit and lost…etc. This is the time when I wish I could teleport, when I hate myself for not being with the people I love and grew up with. All I want is to be able to be with them when things matter most….

I received the following text at 4.35 am: “it is happening…”

I couldn’t go back to sleep of course, it was too much excitement for me to handle. It was no surprise that on the following day, I wasn’t really productive. Normally I work my ass off so on this occasion I didn’t feel guilty at all. My eyes kept coming back to my phone every minute – all day – only to read “No new message”. Another hour passed and still I heard nothing. It is so easy to get addicted and dependent on the little buzz on that plastic square object. I know it wasn’t me who was going through the hardest time and it wasn’t me who had all the pressure, but it was me who was extremely nervous and excited and who prayed every second. I prayed “please God tell me that they are ok! Please let it be quick and easy.” It wasn’t quick, or it certainly didn’t feel like it anyway. The next message came at 16.45 pm: he arrived at 16.13, both mum and boy are doing well.

The amount of relief I felt is not something I can easily explain. The flood of emotions hit me so hard it knocked me over. Tears were running down on my face and I couldn’t stop. Two beautiful pictures appeared on my screen and I was simultaneously the happiest and the most upset person. I couldn’t be more delighted for my one and only best friend who has had the most amazing experience. She is a heroine and who has become a mum (an amazing and beautiful mum). And I couldn’t be with her, I couldn’t visit her, in fact I was thousands of miles away.  Suddenly I felt empty, I felt that nothing matters anymore. Who cares about work and money, carrier and path. This is what matters, this is where I should be. It was a wrong decision I know now. It was silly, so silly and I can’t stop blaming myself. I should just pack and go. Would I regret it? Maybe. Would I miss what I have built up again and achieved? More than likely. But right now nothing matters to me. Right now I can’t be where I want to be and where I am supposed to be. Right now I feel so lonely like never before. I can’t show my love or express myself, I just can’t explain how much it hurts. And at the same time I am so happy that it also hurts.

There is only one thing I hope you know my dearest friend: I love you!!! More than you could imagine.

Next: Good or nothing

(Author: An, checked by my lovely friend Rebecca)

addiction

Addiction

I still have to sell this body

I remember the first time I said this sentence.. Since then it has become a frequently used joke!

I would like to point it out first that you may have realised by now, I am rather direct. Some would say blunt! Hence the reason I am lucky I have Sarah & Rebecca who keep my words under control 🙂

But let’s go back to the beginning! How did it start? When you work in an office it’s impossible to avoid cakes and biscuits, they are constantly on offer. As I mentioned in the previous post I am trying to reduce sugar (I wouldn’t say I have succeeded but some improvement can be seen). So  looking at the cakes and saying no is a mission for me as the temptation is within my reach. But I am strong and say no! And here is the thing; there is always one person who can’t accept your “no”, who try to force you to have just the one. Some would say it’s simply because they like you. True. But some would also say it is because they want to justify their own decision. They can’t say no so they want you to have some so they can feel less guilty about their own lack of willpower. Which is foolish, I say either eat it and enjoy it or just don’t eat it at all. Eating food and feeling guilty is just plain silly.

Anyway I should carry on with my story. So this person didn’t take my “no thank you”. So I tried again and said “no thank you, maybe later”, but this didn’t work. So third time lucky I used my magic sentence: “No I can’t sorry, I still have to sell this body” – yep, I got the look, the shock, the thinking face because they seriously consider if I mean it and then a bit of smile. No more nagging, no more comments. I am finally understood. Phew!

Since this incident, this retort has become a popular response I use. I love watching people’s reaction, it’s very entertaining. Every now and then when people actually do take me seriously I still get surprised but it’s ok, it’s my fault.

Part of it is serious! Clearly I am not selling my body for money, maybe if someone offers a good amount for my kidney… Only kidding!

To be honest when you are single sometimes it does feel like that you are on the market (fish / meat market). Just think about the good old “plenty more fish” saying….

You should be sold before you go out of date, you should keep your quality up so you are better than the competitors, and there are so many competitors!  The display is important but the taste and content mean even more… and so on…

And what could explain this better than another old classic: every joke has a grain of truth …

Next: Feeling lost and happy at the same time

(Author: An, checked by my lovely friend Rebecca)

dolce vita

When Cancer is taking your loved ones…

I don’t know when and how I will leave the planet but if I can choose I hope it won’t be cancer…. but life is not a wish granting factory….  Once a year I raise money for charities, this is how I chose to remember my loved ones. Remembering those who can’t be here with me anymore (only in my heart). I realise this is just one of many sad cancer stories but this is my story, the one I “watched” from the front row…

Have you ever lost anyone after losing the fight against cancer? I hope you haven’t… I have… This is something I don’t wish upon anyone. However if you have, you will understand why I am saying this. You understand how cruel it is to watch the ones you love the most suffering, changing, leaving you behind. And you get to stay behind and “deal” with it. If only it was that simple…

Within 24 months I lost my uncle, my grandma and my father. In this order. One after the other… Half of my family was gone and there was nothing I could have done about it. I found it very difficult to deal with it, not living at home helped in one way as I didn’t see the stages so frequently, but on the other hand I had to deal with something worse: guilt. For not being able to help and be there more often.

Not being able to ease the pain. My family of course did what they could and I admire my uncle’s children and my aunt to be able to stay strong when he lost the battle. Pancreas cancer, 1 year fight. I know how much he hated the fact that day-by-day he was weaker and losing some dignity. He hated the fact that he needed to be looked after. He could see the pain and sadness on their faces. My cousin was 12 when her dad left us. I promised him I would always be there for her and I should call her more often but she does know that there is nothing she couldn’t ask from me. It was very hard to find the common ground at the beginning due to the age gap but believe it or not there was one thing I could always bring up first to break the ice- One Direction! Those guys haven’t got a clue what a magic power they hold. I have downloaded all of their songs and I am sure I bought more merchandise stuff than I did when I was a teenager. So I bought her a plane ticket and she flew to London and we went to a One Direction concert. You can’t imagine how good that made me feel. And I could see my uncle looking down at me and smiling and singing with us.

I hope one day One Direction can read this and understand what their music can do. She is their biggest fan after all! And the way she handle this huge and unbearable pain was outstanding. She is a heroine 🙂

Only a couple of months after, once my grandma buried her son she found out that she had cancer too. She was way over 80 and it was very hard for her to deal with the illness on a daily basis. The last time I saw her in the hospital she was paper thin and she could hardly recognise me. Her bones were sticking out and she looked so fragile. My heart was broken. My cousin was outstanding how he helped her through, I really respect him for that.

My grandma also happened to be a great baker who made the nicest cakes ever. I am so pleased that I learnt how to replicate her famous poppy seed cakes a few years before she died. No regrets. The knowledge is not lost but I have to confess I have never made it myself since.

Never postpone such wishes (no matter how small or big) because you never know when your last chance will be. Sometimes there is no next time and you have to deal with the regret. We all have these promises to ourselves, make sure you do it. My grandma told me the cutest advice on how to keep a man. 3 things: know how to cook, be clean and tidy and always maintain nice, clean hair.

We only had a couple of months to recover before my dad announced his cancer. I could not believe it, not again… I wasn’t close to my dad but it didn’t change the fact that he was my dad and I thank him for the most precious thing I have: my life. He really started to appreciate his when it was too late. In less than a year he was gone too, his final state was quicker. He walked in the hospital and few days later I got the phone call. When my bro calls me more than once at a time I always suspect that he has bad news… I still couldn’t believe it only a month before he had wished me happy 30th birthday on the phone and he could only whisper it, cancer was in his throat. I remember when I went home a couple of months before and we went to chemotherapy together. I remember looking around at everyone in the hospital talking and sharing stories and hoping that they would not have to go through what we had been through as a family in the past year. Like I said we were not that close (my parents got divorced when I was 6 months old) but his face was so happy when he saw me. He was very proud of me and told me so many times how me and my bro were the best thing he had ever done. No regrets from him there.

This year it is going to be a muddy one…

I’m taking part in the Pretty Muddy London – Finsbury Park 5k 2016 10:00 on 24/07/2016 to raise money for Cancer Research UK and I’d really appreciate your support.Donating to my JustGiving page is easy – just follow this link and click Donate:

http://www.justgiving.com/owner-email/pleasesponsor/getinspiredlondon2016

Next: I still have to sell this body

(Author: An, edited by my lovely friend Sarah)

cancer research run

Opening up?

Can you feel this? This is my heart beating! This is something which is not for sale! The price is not set and I couldn’t tell you how much it would take to own it. Am I going to be brave enough to open it? I am not sure. Can I take the risk? No game, no play and no win.

If you are here for something else you are knocking on the wrong door. The lucky ones got the opportunity in my twenties, now I have enough experience and respect for my body to know what I want/ need. If you are here for something real and something special then you need to work harder. Am I worth it? Who knows, no one can guarantee. I might be the wrong choice. All I know that right now I just can’t give you the privilege to break it to pieces. I have searched for the broken pieces on the ground for long enough. And eventually found them all and used a special glue this time. It might be too solid.

Someone wise once told me that we are all carrying our own baggage. We find it hard to forget and leave it behind and we all hurt and scared. So what do we do with this baggage then?!

The last time I told myself I should play the game I got burnt more than ever before. But it had given me the understanding of many others and the understanding of my independence and also my loneliness.

It is all in our head. Whatever we think about it is what it is. The famous glass can be half empty and full.

How many times I hear nowadays: I am happy to be on my own. I don’t need anyone. I want to be on my own. I love being single, I do what I want. I respect that. If you are truly happy it is brilliant.

And how many girls are telling me that they hate being on their own and are desperate to find the one and they would give anything to be happy again with a man. They get into dysfunctional relationships and for them the glass is half empty. And I can also understand this, don’t agree with it but I get it.

I would like to believe that there are some of us who would like to be happy and still believe that it will happen when the time comes and in the meantime we will use this special time wisely. We will make the most of it and not let the pressure from society force us to make wrong decisions.

Girls still believe in the prince on a white horse and boys want to be super heroes….

Next: When Cancer is taking your loved ones…

(Author: An, edited by my lovely friend Sarah)

When it is about opening up I can’t stop singing this song, it is from an ad – 1999 (Nescafe)! If you know this song, you were around in the 80’s too 😉 Enjoy!

When the universe is playing up

I have imagined the perfect guy! I was as specific as you can be and I thought about everything… Well it turns out not about everything..

I wished for someone who is fun, smart, successful, good looking, and a good kisser (obviously), who wants to live in London (too much to ask for already)… I could continue! And here he was. Picked me from the crowd on a Friday night and together we were watching the fireworks. Had a great laugh and changed numbers. Waited the 48 hours and invited me out and we were having dinner and a romantic walk in London! He is brilliant, honestly. And what do I do? Nothing. I felt nothing. No spark, not the slightest, I could not picture it at all, I have tried so hard and forced it but it didn’t work. And I have never done anything like this (never went out on a date and kissed straight away with a kind-of-stranger). I really didn’t want to hurt him and I just hope that I didn’t but I had to let him go. Well, I kind of ran away. 

Then I looked up and asked “why”? Why did you send me him? What was that for? What are you trying to say? 

And I knew it instantly: I have to stop picturing it and imagining it, cos whatever I think is good for me is not what is good for me! Knowing that whatever happens I can’t and I shouldn’t influence fate. I believe in the law of attraction but this time I guess I have to stop planning…. I put my trust in you Universe!

After effect:

Met with a friend on the plane. As always, friends are eager to ask if you are seeing someone. I started to tell this story and being grateful that at least I have a story to tell. So I explained how we met and what a disaster it was and such a shame as he was nice etc… And my friend’s reaction was this… “Well you shouldn’t be too picky or you will be a spinster! You can get used to him. My wife wasn’t too keen at the beginning either.” Another classic piece of advice added to my list! – Well done my friend! I just smiled as there is no point in arguing but let me tell you this, I would rather be single for the rest of my life than be in a relationship where I don’t want to have sex or I am not in love or it is dysfunctional! What’s the point? Not for me I am afraid.

Next: Opening up?

(Author: An, edited by my lovely friend Sarah)

nextplease