She and I are nothing without You

For the purpose of anonymity names have been changed. For my ‘usual’ readers ‘You’ = ‘Him’ = the boy/guy from which my blog originates.

November 2007: Craig and I met at CU in Dundee. This was the start of a beautiful friendship which includes living together in our final year, causing havoc on committee in our 2nd/3rd year, and many Clements coffees.

July 2012: Having myself moved to NI a year previously Craig introduced me to his sister Carol, who was returning to NI having studied in England for a few years. Carol and I didn’t have much in common but we were both ‘new’ to the city and looking to make friends. We would meet for coffee every now and then but we had other people we naturally spent time with.

August 2014: After keeping in regular enough touch between the months of March and August- when I was back in Scotland- Carol and I picked up our face- to- face friendship again but for one key reason…

August 2014: Returning to NI from Scotland- in a way kicking and screaming and forcing myself to trust God in the outworkings of my life- I met Him. He was everything I needed and didn’t need all rolled into one. I prayed that God would remove him from my life. I prayed that if this relationship was supposed to continue and develop I needed God’s full guidance in it. I prayed I wouldn’t fall like I did last time.

September 2014- December 2015: Carol and I saw each other loads. Carol and I saw Him, and the other boys loads. Carol and I really only ever talked about Him and the other boys. Looking back on messages the chat was always focused on him. We would spend time as a three, and as a six. She saw how happy He made me.

February 2016: Things ended between Him and I.

February 2016- September 2016: Carol was like that friend at the party…

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…She supported me, she really did, but if we weren’t talking about him then what were we talking about? The few tv shows we shared an interest in.

July 2016: Carol got engaged, and I was asked to be a bridesmaid.

September 2016: I went to Australia, and obviously this was really bad timing re: not being around for planning the wedding.

January 2017: Whilst at the same time making it clear that she misses having me around, Carol also makes it clear I’m getting the other bridesmaids’ backs up. All we talk about is the wedding and the hen do because I ask her questions about other stuff and she doesn’t answer. From the beginning of our friendship I have asked questions and received very few answers. I share about my life and I get nothing back.

March & April 2017: I’m not trusted to organise anything- she’d rather do it all herself. She doesn’t think my dress fits right and its my fault- I should have picked a bigger size. She has given another maid the authority to tell me what to do. She doesn’t care that I’m trying to move on from Him; she makes jokes about me being ‘too much’ for some guys. I head straight home after watching a program with her because I’m not convinced she wants to spend him with me/ I’m scared she’s going to find another wedding related issue to blame me for. I don’t know how to connect with her like I do with other friends.

I’m scared to talk about You because what if I never Get Over You? But, She and I are nothing without You.

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Vacations and Wisdom

21st: When was your last vacation? Where was it?

Well… Thailand was approximately eight weeks ago. Or Brisbane, 7 months ago? Although that was no vacation.

And so here is where my story picks up again. On 27th September 2016 I boarded a plane to Brisbane for 1 year. On 10th March 2017 I boarded a plane from Chiange Mai to Belfast. I came ‘home’… It still hurts. I miss Brisbane, and some days I want to return. But I think about why I came back. I remember how I felt being there.

Before heading home from Australia I took a vacation to Chiange Mai, Thailand. I was there for eight days and really enjoyed it, though I was lonely. Chronically lonely. I loved walking the backstreets, eating food from the various stalls. I made the most of the hotel’s gym and pool, working on my tan before returning to the land where the sun hardly ever shines (not quite). It was restful but because I knew what lay ahead of me- and being aware there was much I didn’t know- my mind was constantly active.

 

22nd: The greatest wisdom comes from…

God. Duh. Eleanor is wise too.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.- James 1:5

…because they perceived that the wisdom of God was in him to do justice.- 1 Kings 3:28

 

Tinder Rambling

So I’ve never really been interested in using Tinder. I’ve heard the stories and really, I don’t think it’s the way I’ll find my spouse. It’s only ever been installed on my phone for max. 24 hours before I get bored and disinterested, or disheartened, or disgusted…but two weeks ago a good friend and avid Tinder user told me to install it again and have a little heart.

So I installed it, and I gave it some time, and I didn’t uninstall it 24 hours later. And I matched with some guys. One of them sent me a message. Lets say his opening line told me a great deal about his personality and I didn’t like his opening line, so I unmatched him. Then another guy messaged me and his message was good. We appeared to have loads in common! We were in similar life situations, both really looking to run away to warmer countries. We had good chat, lived real near to each other…. So we exchanged some messages and seemed to be in a rhythm of communication, then it stopped. No word from him in days.

Now this is maybe where the point of this post is: I’m not saying he should have messaged me back already. I’m not freaking out because I don’t think he’s interested anymore. I’m just not a ‘game player’. I don’t agree with all that ‘wait six hours after he’s messaged you before replying’ business. If I’m out of work/ not with friends/ not doing something I should be doing then why wouldn’t I reply? We’re all grown ups with lives and all we’re trying to do is communicate so surely if we want to talk to someone then we do it? Surely we don’t have to wait around in an attempt to not freak the other person out… So maybe what I’m saying is, was he bothered that I replied roughly 2 hours after he sent his message, rather than purposefully holding off 12 hours?!

Five Year Journal

Well…. Seven months later and I’m back. Back early. Way too early. That story could be a whole blog series in itself but its so raw; I still don’t really know what to make of it. But to the point of this post…

At the beginning of 2017 I decided to join the many around the world who daily write a one liner from a prompt or answer briefly a question. The idea is that you answer the same question/prompt on that same date for five whole years, with the intention of looking back to see how you got to where you now find yourself. This quick, just before bed task has worked well for me, with some of the questions having very obvious or fitting for that day answers. My issue is however that sometimes one line is not enough. One sentence is not enough to answer a question or to contain all the thoughts I’m having. So I thought I’d take to keyboard and screen to flesh out some of the answers I’ve by way of pen and paper contained, compacted, half- answered.

For this to work I can only really start from today (well, for the purpose of today’s post I can go back two days). Answers from the past have been given- I can’t change what my answer for that day was. I can’t second guess what other details I would have added, had I been given the space. So here is a little insight into my world from today. Here are the tiny steps I’m taking daily, on the bigger journey that is life.

April

19th: Today was…

…nice enough. Full of food and lacking in sleep. Oddly warm, but rainy too. The start of a new working life perhaps. A nice change from the norm.

20th: What are you glad you did today?

Have dinner with Jayne. After a week on holiday from work, not really seeing anyone because they’re all off and away for Easter, it was so good seeing Jayne and sharing life with each other. I’ve not been eating particularly well either so a hearty home-made veggie mince and vegetable pasta bake was what my body needed.

His response

I sent him a scrapbook of memories- pictures and words to remind him of the fun we’d had together. An acknowledgment that despite not knowing what it’s like to be him, I was willing to learn, and willing to try, and willing to love him.

His response: Hey thanks for the book, it made me smile. I guess a lot of the past several months has been the fact that I struggled to accept I had opened up to you and I am sorry for that. I hear you are off to Australia for some time, have fun, it will be an incredible experience.

In receiving that message I was so thankful for the way he’s put together. For the way he never reacts out of emotion- and despite the angst of waiting-, taking time to think through what it is he wants to say. Thankful that he knows me and even though we haven’t really communicated in months, he communicates now in a way I understand. I had a question about what he had said but I was thankful.

But I read this today:

A Christian is one who points at Christ and says, ‘I can’t prove a thing, but there’s something about His eyes and His voice. There’s something about the way He carries His cross- the way He carries me’.

My thankfulness is all too often misplaced. My sight is all too often too short. Instead of his response to me I should be thinking about His response to me.

For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life. Ephesians 2:10

 

Hurry

In my waiting for a receipt of my book I in part want him to hurry.

In my waiting I read these words:

Hurry is an unpleasant thing in itself, but also very unpleasant for whoever is around it. Some people came into my room and rushed in and rushed out and even when they were there they were not there- they were in the moment ahead or the moment behind. Some people who came in just for a moment were all there, completely in that moment.

Live from day to day, just from day to day. If you do so, you worry less and love more richly. If you let yourself be absorbed completely, if you surrender completely to the moments as they pass, you live more richly those moments.

He need not hurry. Take your time to think things over. Let me absorb completely what today has.

PTSD and Bravery

Well guys, hasn’t it been a while?! I think since I last posted I’ve gotten myself a MacBook- instead of borrowing everyone else! So much has changed….

On 27th September I leave the UK (via Dublin) and head to Brisbane, Australia for a year. I’m more than a little excited. When people have asked why I’m going I’ve said there’s nothing left here for me. No reason to stay is a good reason to go. With the packing up of various aspects of life comes the packing up of relationships, and with that comes the packing up/ sorting out/ last chance saloon of the ‘boy situ’. Yup, I still miss him.

Almost 7 months on and he’s still in my thoughts. Everyday I miss him but I’ve just gotten better at masking it or shutting it off. A bunch of us went for a picnic after church on Sunday and he was there. Like the church BBQ we’d had two weeks previously, the extent of our conversation was, me: “would you like *insert food item*?”, him: “no thanks”. Not much to play with there!

But with his stand off- ness and refusal to talk to me I know he’s hurting. He’s still hurting, and obviously I’m still hurting but we have no way around it. Well, I did something to get around it…. Back in May I put a scrapbook together. I’d been researching post traumatic stress disorder and relationships, and one thing I read was that sufferers forget memories: as a means of survival the brain gets rid of the information it doesn’t need. So I put together photos of us/ things we’d done together, added some captions, and explained that he’d trusted me before with his struggles and so he can continue to do that.

Pretty bold move claiming that the reason a person shuts you out of their life is a brain thing not a heart thing, and so I never gave him the book. Better to wait it out than go barging in and potentially destroy the relationship forever. But with me going away soon and knowing that I would leave without him saying anything to me (even if he wanted to) I made the move: I was brave and I packaged up the book and I left it at his door.

Now, I can get on my flight knowing I said everything I needed to. With time the memories of him will fade but at least I gave him room to speak out to me. Yes I’m waiting to hear back from him but I’m not anxious. I understand him more now than ever- which is daft seeing as we haven’t been together in such a long time- by piecing information together, and if he still has nothing to say he knows I love and care for him and that’s enough. He was enough but if I wasn’t then things need to end for sure.

In closing I think this is lovely, Rob Bell said recently:

We think the best relationships are when we get each other. Sometimes when you really love someone the most beautiful thing is that I get that I don’t get you. You get at me and something happens when I’m with you but you’re a mystery and that’s part of what it means to love you.

 

My African Adventure 26- 30th Jan

26th Jan: Went to Rwamagana with dad to see the sick lady. She has a doctor and she’s on morphine, so thats good. Finding money for the 1 hour bus ride every two months isn’t so good. But much better situation than I thought existed. I found a dog on the walk down there so I got a selfie. She was lovely. Got a denim shirt from the market, had African buffet for lunch. Not really much else to add. Mum told granny about her purse. Granny has started packing already. Maybe I’m ready to go home now. Definitely ready for different company. Ready to return to normality. Need to find a gift for the girls! Saw two small wooden animals earlier but I wasn’t sure that’s what I was after.

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27th Jan: I started the day in a foul mood: lack of breakfast, sore underarm (and mum thinking that telling me she gets the same thing would help), being pissed with *him*… Africans being rude and disorganised. But it was fine. I ate. I took Alice to get her school uniform. Met the others in the market buying books/ bags/ metal cases. School fees were paid, Fantas were drunk. I tried to get as much sun as I could. One boy say by me and talked for ages. Does peace and quiet not exist here? Granny has taken an extra bag of coffee for herself so I had to buy another. I think she’s going loopy. I tried finding fabric for the girls but you seem only able to buy 5 meters. Perhaps the market? Maybe need to get them something else. Bought two mangos and ate a whole one for pudding. Don’t think granny was particularly impressed. Pretty sure its very much her time to go home. Highlight: The ATM talking to me in a Scottish accent. Seeing the boys collecting their new school stuff.

 

28th Jan: The days are disappearing! Hopefully I got my gift shopping complete. Toms for Rachel, and fabric for Emma and Eleanor. Went to Bourbon for an iced coffee so I can tick that off my list. Was going to get my nails done but I didn’t think they’d do what I wanted so I didn’t go back. I did however get a new phone! iPhone 5S- only problem is I don’t have wifi to set things up. And I need to get an even smaller SIM card. Think we’re all very ready to get home. If I had different company I would stay. Queue for the bus home this evening was totally massive. Granny got chatting to the woman in front of us and wouldn’t let her go- typical.

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29th Jan: Last night in this bed! Cannot wait to have my own back. I didn’t sleep well last night. Think I was thinking about having to get a million buses to the airport tomorrow. Today was a relaxing day, kind of… So buses don’t ensure you get to your destination on time. I was five minutes early for my massage, but I have The Curse remember. Mum and granny were only slightly late. I wont get into the hoohaa of things but granny left mum paying for my haircut and massage and didn’t tell either of us. At dinner you could tell dad is very ready to get her back to her own accommodation, and not see her for a long while. Earlier I left mum and granny to find dad in Remera so they could visit the Germans and I headed into town: got two SIMS cut (total rat-bag wanted loads of money once he’d cut them! Meaning I had to go to the ATM and get charged, again. Headed to Nakromat for alcohol and chapati which I ate on my walk home. The sun was out so I should have got a tan. Bought peanut butter and tea for taking home. Hopefully the rustling noises I heard last night wont make an appearance tonight. I was going to write this all down but sure I’ll remember the details: I was thinking last night as I couldn’t sleep about how proud of mum an dad I am and of how thankful I am to granny for bringing me. Many stories to tell which are not contained within these page.

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Boys playing football on my walk home from town

30th Jan: We re away! The four of us, only just. As has happened before I’ll spare the details because really it’s not worth the effort. Basically, granny got real mad at me at the airport. Being our last dad and Umaganda not much happened. We packed and tanned. And later felt the burn. We had scraps for lunch- which turned out really well- and beef again for dinner. And I got a moto to the airport! it was really fun. I wanted a photo, dad took one, but it wasn’t good. I’d definitely want to stay here longer if I was with other people, or even just without granny…

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My last brochette of the trip

My African Adventure 23-25th Jan

23rd Jan: Another good but emotionally draining day. Not emotional for the same reason as yesterday however – mum, granny, and I went to Jean- Pier and Marie T’s house. When we arrived she was feeding the kids corn, then porridge and bread. We learnt about Adam and Eve then some of them started dancing, which was more than awkward. Granny was having a right old time. When the kids left the five of us chatted- well I listened and wandered around the garden a bit. They’re such lovely people but you really have to concentrate to figure out what they’re saying. Buffet for lunch- sweet potato was amazing- then a little bit of money swapping hands. Marie T gave me a gorgeous piece of material which I shall wear as a skirt. We met a widow who offered me her grandson in marriage, then I met the cows! Much more my thing. We got a beef kebab at The Guinness and Sister and was utterly shattered because granny’s bloody tablet woke me up at 6am. Had a piece of cake in the middle of the day… Had nuts on it… It was good.


24th Jan: I didn’t have to go to church! Dad was saying we’d have to shake people’s hands and be sung to, and the sermon would be an hour long… But granny only slept an hour last night and she was stood waiting for the bus for 45 minutes and started feeling queezy so the two of us headed back to the house. A guy tried to take mum’s purse out of her hand. He didn’t manage so ran off and dad and I (and so many locals) ran after him but he didn’t take anything so dad and I returned to the bus stop. About 5 minutes later all the locals returned with him, some hitting him. He sat down at dad’s feet and begged forgiveness. Dad shouted that we were here to help people like him, then let him go and told the locals to leave him be. Later the sun was out and it was bliss! Then it rained… And dad and I went in search of Tonic for mum. And we saw guinea fowl in the garden. I fed them bread. Dad was in the middle of making dinner when the electricity went out so we had to eat crisps and nuts by candlelight. Then we had cheesy pasta. Just think: dad and I could have been in Kampala by now. Saw a cockroach sat on the sofa then it scurried away. Bite count is pretty high- going to look pretty mangled when I get back. Really looking forward to my own bed! And there being no Imram praying all the time…


25th Jan: You know how granny ‘lost’ her wee grey coin purse? Well mum found it. Granny had tidied it away in the wardrobe. But we weren’t ready to give it back to her so after she went to bed we hung it on the giraffe in the living room. Today we arranged our hair and massage for Friday. Took a walk to Scripture Union and saw Marie T again. Had Chinese for lunch and granny knocked my juice over. It rained… Took a walk to the craft shop and I bought stuff for people. Granny bought me a skirt. Really not much else happened. Went into the ministry of agriculture and animal resources and asked for a job; they told me to check their website. Tried buying Dimitry a postcard but the lady was charging £1 so I bought a Christmas banana leaf card for 20p. Maybe a total rip off paying £3 for a large wooden spoon but I wasn’t paying enough attention. Need to buy another bag of coffee I think. And perhaps something for the girls.

outside the craft shop