For Valentine’s Day, I Quit Tinder. 

I’m alone in the adult world for the first time and that feeling of camaraderie- constant cheering and support from a large group of girlfriends has slowly tapered to “are you alive?” texts in between coffee runs and pap smears.

The first and and last time I had a Valentine was in my last year of high school. And thank God for that. I say thanks because at my high school, up until the 4th form (grade 11 for you muggles), Valentine’s gifts were delivered to your homebase classroom by your class prefect during the second last period of the day. (These details are fuzzy but stick with me).

So, the bell would ring and overexcited young girls who had worked themselves up to hyperventilation all day, would scamper past their lockers, playing Oracle about who would get what from whom. (Or, who would get nothing from nobody.) What this meant was that if you were like me and weren’t popular with the boys (read not popular in general), the absence of flowers, oversized stuffed creatures and other love themed paraphernalia from your desktop was only witnessed by approximately 27 other females. (Yes, I’m an elite all girls school survivor).

This worked really well for me because I always got that one face- saving gift. From my young brother at an all boys high school at which he was much like I was, fighting for his life. In exchange for his familial duty, I would do the same. He was a dork, I was a nerd, it worked well. Of course everyone knew where the roses would come from because we would inspect each other’s takings once the handing out ceremony was done. I made it through this custom unscathed for 4 years straight. Then final year happened.

The difference with 6th form (the final two years of high school, again, for the muggles)  is that all the sixth formers were required to congregate in the school hall and travel from the seats on the floor, to the stage, in front of each other, to fetch whatever presents the vermin had deemed we were worthy of receiving. This was fine if you were in Lower 6. You were new to the senior game. Your importance was viewed the way one considers a wet piece of leftover bread-with just enough disdain to imply that whilst you are an eyesore, you aren’t enough of one to be paid much attention.

In Lower 6, you’d assemble with your crew, sit at the back and hope the final years wouldn’t notice you almost crawl to the stage to get your measly parcel. And they wouldn’t because they’d be concentrating on one of two things. The first was each other-she who received the largest/loudest/most of anything, ruled. Forever. The second was to make sure that said ruler was  not a Lower 6th former. (read wet piece of bread.) If that ever happened, ESPECIALLY if the gifts came from someone whose affection had been mentioned in the same line with the word “dibs” by a final year, then screwdom. (use your imagination here).

Right. In my final year, I began a fated dalliance with an attractive, popular young man who happened to attend the same school my brother did. When I say I was a nerd, I mean it-glasses and all. But I was a clever, smart mouthed, sporty, funny nerd. And one of my best friends was the most beautiful and popular people in our stream. So I wasn’t a complete social pariah – I just missed the cool factor. So when I look back,  I know 17 year old me could not believe that this popular individual picked me. I digress.

So when V-day (vomits in mouth) rolled around, panic levels were at Defcon One. “What if he’s just a fuck boy?”  (we didn’t have that term back then but the species was strong), “what if he sends nothing and my crew is embarrassed because I got only the customary present?”I was a wreck.

I need to emphasise that at this point, I’d come into my own pretty nicely. I was a school prefect, well liked and respected by my peers and staff and showing some promise in the boob department. Boys still however, baffled me.

Final period rolled around, we congregated in the hall and all eyes were on us. And guess what? My name was called TWICE that year. I went out with a bang. I had a boy friend (kind of, I think)  and clearly the boobs were working.

Fast forward 9 years. I’ve been in relationships and situationships but never have I ever had a Valentine -not  since that February afternoon. The first two years I looked back with sad fondness at my high school triumph and wondered if I was to die a bitter spinster (melodramatic phase). The last 6 years have been a breeze. I’d book myself a movie and kill myself with red wine (my favourite anything) and live. Because Valentine’s Day is a scam. I’ve been quite happy.

But this year, in the build-up to today, I’ve experienced  a sense of aloneness. Not loneliness. Just being alone and mildly concerned. And when I consider the sheer volume of dates I’ve been on in the last year, and for what-cheap thrills, bad kisses, mommy issues, short man syndrome, mediocre conversation and egos the size of The Donald’s head?(I Tindered A lot). 

I’m alone in the adult world for the first time and that feeling of camaraderie- constant cheering and support from a large group of girlfriends has slowly tapered to “are you alive?” texts in between coffee runs and pap smears. I’ve tried to fill the empty feelings with dates to keep busy. See, I wasn’t even looking for meaningful connections or even the traditional Tinder hook-up. I was looking for time pushers just so I wouldn’t be that girl who really likes to sit alone on her couch after work and read a book for three hours whilst listening to scratched New Edition CDs. All so that on Monday when people asked how my weekend was, I wouldn’t say “great, I watched 32 episodes of Arrested Development and finished a book”. I was looking to have something to do for one Valentine’s Day.

This morning I deleted Tinder and went shopping online for a book I last read in high school. I found it at a book store near my house. I’m on my way to pick it up now (along with a good bottle of wine because I can afford non-poison now). This Valentine’s almost reduced me to that insecure mess I was on the last V-day that meant anything. All to prove to perfect strangers that I’m loveable.

I’m alright. I’m alone and rather pleased that I’m not frantically calling restaurants for a last minute booking (because that’s the human I am). So to you who doesn’t have a date tonight and is currently swiping right on everything (with your “I’m going out” settings on), it’ll be okay. Today doesn’t define you. The huge chocolate cake on your counter you bought as backup? That defines you. (chuckles at own joke)

Happy Valentine’s Day (read Tuesday)

The Empress. x

 

Happy growing up

Stop wearing shoes that hurt your pinky toe

I’m 25. Recently 25. I feel 38. I feel 38 because of the mountains of animal excrement I’ve had to shovel through in my quarter century. And I don’t even have the biceps to show for all my shovelling. So cheque please. But before I exit the building, here are some nuggets of wisdom.

1. Every year that you celebrate shouldn’t be celebrated if you are just reliving the same mistakes, not growing, slapping band aids on gaping, self-inflicted wounds.

2. If the man you are seeing won’t step up and be the man you need (fuckboy) then respect yourself enough to walk away. Because let’s face it, clocking mileage on your genitalia for an undeserving individual (fuckboy) will only make you feel older and tired and used. But don’t take my word for it, ask Madonna. Don’t ask J Lo though. She’s in her 40s and looks like she baths in the tears of babies.

3. If you hate your job, stop whining about it and start looking for a new one. I’m not saying quit this one unless you’ve been saving (nobody tell you about saving until you want to quit your job, so look into that too). Your friends and family don’t want to hear about your unhappy work life everyday -save that for your work husband. (Mine is in her 30s and a veritable sensei).

4. Stop wearing shoes that hurt your pinky toe. When your are old and grey, all you will have are your feet and liver. And if you consume as much wine as I do, you may very well just have your feet.

5. Be nice to your mother. She was once 25 going on 38. She knows things. It’s like a secret society that knows how to stitch, make a mean pot of oxtail and stay sane in the eye of the hurricane that is womanhood. She also probably knows the power of emotional blackmail.

6. Stay legit with Jesus. And not just for the bad times. Imagine how you would explain things that you don’t understand without Him. All the inexplicable tears and miraculous blessings. There’s a serenity in knowing you aren’t in control.

7. Number 6 also doesn’t mean don’t try be in control-because let’s face it, out twenties are riddled with holes in the plot and miscalculations with dire consequences. Let’s keep our shit together ladies.

Last but not least. Stop looking for advice on the internets. The internets are bad. The internets are filled with crazy women with access to computers and wine. And half the time they post under the influence-don’t let the time stamp fool you. Day drinking is very adult.

Love and pretty pinkies.

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The Things I Leave Unsaid

I spend the better part of my life filtering what I think and say to ensure the longevity of my relationships.

I spend the better part of my life filtering what I think and say to ensure the longevity of my relationships. Relationships with family, friends and strangers on trains. The reason I do this is simply because people are unpredictable. People wake up on the wrong side of the bed every other day and unfortunately, no memo is circulated notifying the general public of this.

I spend hours on end tiptoeing (I don’t know if that’s how that is spelled) on eggshells to ensure the future of volatile relationships. And the worst is when I have to tiptoe around the feelings of individuals who I love and who claim to love me in return.

They say that we hurt and are hurt the most by people we love. I can attest to that. But shouldn’t the people we love be the ones to hurt us as little as possible-who go out of their way to make sure that our feelings are kept safe and secure? Should they not be the ones to go the extra mile to guarantee our happiness? Yet I constantly find myself drawing the short end of the stick regarding the preservation of emotions (real or imagined).

When I accidentally cross a loved one, I bend over backwards to ensure that the balance is restored and that I swallow MY pride and that MY emotions do not feature-regardless of how strongly I feel about something. Sadly (and pretty obviously) this has resulted in feelings of resentment festering and there is nothing I hate more than conflict with a loved one so very often, I acquiesce to their desires.

I want so very much, for people to meet me halfway when shit like this happens, yet they rarely ever do. So I’m stuck in a perpetual bubble of hope in which a significant of eye-rolling takes place. I want to keep less of my frustrations a secret because I am met halfway with a white flag-but human beings are inherently selfish and mean.

As a result, I keep things to myself and the word sorry is never far from my lips. So when I say sorry, think about whether you deserve an apology from me or you are just getting it because I want to shut you up and move on.

Dark thoughts and tequila

xx

Blood on my hands

this life thing is not a fair enterprise

Today, while scrolling down my timeline I stumbled upon the most astonishing news: Chris Brown’s latest offering-‘X’, may be his last. For an entire 12 seconds my world came to a screeching halt and I had flashbacks of my teenage years and how I memorised lyrics to dozens of his songs and drooled as his ink increased. Then I was distracted by another tweet about incompetent call centre workers who seem to have no training in customer care-or any knowledge of the services they claim to offer-and I nodded a vigorous ‘amen!’.

27 minutes later I was trolling the internet for Chris Brown news (I couldn’t help it), and lo and behold, an Irish online paper had published an article about his alleged resignation from the music industry. Further down the Google hits page, another (significantly less classy) webpage insinuated that his actions were influenced by his long-legged on-again-off-again Bajan lady friend. (I rolled my eyes so hard my head, hurt).

Anyway, the point is this: other people threaten to quit via twitter and obscure gossip mongers who are paid to mong gossip (I really don’t care that that isn’t English), type frantically away and make it headlining news. You become the first child in your family to graduate-you get a goat in your village and sunburn.

No, this life thing is not a fair enterprise. And today was a defining moment for me. In less than six months I will finish law school and click my shmancy new shoes into the real world. And the world will not tilt on its axis, neither will birds drop from the sky, but, a thousand voices will cheer when I get to do what I love.(yes these voices are in my head but that’s irrelevant) And the day I quit (touch wood), the internet addicts may not know about it, but I pray that my hanging of the proverbial towel will be for more than just billable hours and face time with high court judges (tingles all over my body).

Chris Brown and I have a few things in common though-we clean up nicely, love fast cars and are generally awesome. He’s just had a head start and the internet presence thing.

Love, peace and the early arrival of the long weekend!

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