January – Go! Don’t go!

What does one do when the creative writing well seems dry? Find a topic? Pick something?

It’s nearing the end of the first week of January. I could talk to you about howJanuary feels to me? It feels like a month of 62 days! Most of the time…

But this time may just be different. We are almost one week in to this (usually) most arduous of months. At this rate it will sail by! But that is the trap January usually sets. It starts out fleeting and then seems to grind to a laborious halt around midway through. 

It’s definitely a northern hemisphere affliction, the long, arduous January. I have no recollection of Januarys lagging while I was growing up. In fact it was very much the opposite. Januarys were all too fleeting. It’s the height of summer in the southern hemisphere and for kids on the east coast of Australia, it’s summer holidays. Schools break up a few days before Christmas, and when I was growing up we had a six week break from school. We didn’t return to school until the second week of February. Yay!! It’s a little different down there now as there is an extended break over Easter that didn’t happen when I was going to school. At Easter back then it was just Good Friday and Easter Monday off school. Now there is a full week off school which means summer holidays are now generally five weeks long and the school year starts at the end of January in New South Wales, at least. 

So, as you can appreciate, the Januarys of my childhood felt like they were only maybe a week or two weeks long. And the end of January was dreaded! It meant the return to school was imminent. Now – the end of January is to be celebrated! The days are getting incrementally longer and, at long last, the month is done with! There is light at the end of the bleak, mid-winter tunnel. Hurrah!

This January is different. There are things to look forward to! My university study begins in just over two weeks time. And a few days after that, the new book on Simple Minds – Themes For Great Cities gets released. I’m looking forward to hearing everyone else’s thoughts on that. Also, Sarah Brown is releasing the debut single off her new solo album. That will be fantastic to hear.

What other news to come of Simple Minds? I pray there are some! March quite literally marches on and we are still quite deep into this Covid thing. Is the fear of it now vastly exceeding its threat to our lives? I feel we have turned that corner due to the vaccine rollout. It is very obvious the vaccines have done an incredible job by and large by reducing the severity of symptoms and effects, of not necessarily severity and rate of contagion. 

I am as doubtful of the prospect of seeing Simple Minds in Paris in March as I was by mid March of 2020. But then I had the gratitude of having just seen them in Copenhagen and the blind optimism that the Covid pandemic would be over in a few months at worst. 

April is a more promising prospect. And all within the UK, so perhaps even if on a personal level Paris proves a no-no, I am…mildly confident I will see the band come April.

But what else is there on the horizon to look forward to? Jim’s posts of late have been more on the personal, or of band history, not much of what’s to come – which is incredibly odd for a forward thinker like Jim. I guess he’s just as flummoxed as the rest of us about what the imminent future holds? There was talk of new music last year, but little of that has been discussed since. No news (from the next world) is good news? We’ll see in due course, I guess.

Perhaps I am better at this “writing from scratch” with a blank page in front of me than I give myself credit for?!

It bodes well for the study. Over the weekend I looked at the breakdown of my course. I could see what the whole academic year looked like. The topics we’ll be covering every week and what is required for each assessment during the year. I am excited. The Arts and Humanities is so broad. We’ll be looking at many things, from Cleopatra, to Elizabeth I, Gothic Architecture, painting and Greek and Roman sculpture, Mozart, The Blues, Philosophy, poetry, art from central and southern Africa. I am champing at the bit to dive in.

Today, January is flying by and I am welcoming its end for vastly different reasons than I normally would be. 

Let the year begin!

In the meantime…a nod to January…

Baby Steps Into Mature Adult Learning

Today is another day in which the excitement in me is quietly bubbling over. 

I WANT TO KEEP THIS FEELING! I don’t want to lose it but equally I am scared of trying to hold onto it! 

Let me explain!

I have spoken about it somewhat already in a recent post titled The ‘Off Topic’ Uni Student, explaining that I have enrolled to study at the Open University for a diploma in Higher Education in English. 

The excitement is all wrapped up in the anticipation of actually having my part-time fee grant application with SASS approved. I am trying to keep an optimistic view. That the grant approval is a given and that I WILL be studying next year. Such a positive view I am sticking to means I have already taken other steps in getting myself into the mindset of being a student. Purchasing the set books required for my course module, applying for a library card giving me SCONUL access to other university libraries, checking the OU StudentHome site daily. Familiarising myself with the OU website and where things are and just keeping myself primed and enthusiastic to make that start. 

Today my library card arrived. I have been to the University of Glasgow website this morning and was looking around the site for information on the university’s library and what I’d need to do for SCONUL access. Each university has its own criteria for SCONUL access. Disappointingly all I can see on UofG’s page about SCONUL access is their own students gaining access to other university libraries. No info on what is required of outside students wanting UofG library access. I think I will just have to visit the library itself one day soon. Hopefully in the next few days. It will also give me an excuse to see the Cloisters all lit up and pretty.

The main library is opposite the Huntarian and has TWELVE FLOORS! Yes. TWELVE! I think the biggest library I have been in up til now has had…maybe five? I think Luton’s central library has four floors, if memory serves me? And the main Liverpool library (back in Sydney – the nearest major “city” to where we lived was called Liverpool) had three, possibly four floors also. Most libraries I have been in have only had a single floor. I think the Mitchell Library only has two floors (correct me if I am wrong, Glaswegians)?

So, I am looking at the floor plan this morning and I am trying my best not to just want to dance about like a loon and go nuts! Lol. My excitement is palpable – but I need to keep it all measured and in check. I am so scared of being this excited and hyped and then it all disappears because SASS don’t approve my part-time fee grant application. These 28 days are going to feel sssoooo long!

Of course I KNOW I won’t have any need to use ALL of the UofG’s library services. I won’t be needing to visit all twelve floors of the main library! But it won’t stop me from having a keek at all the floors the first time I visit.

And, as a student from a different university, I can get access to the UofG’s other library branches – which includes the Library Research Annexe, which is only just down the road on Saracen Street! I can’t believe it is so nearby! It could potentially be an incredible resource for me as it holds microfilm and newspapers. Oh my days! 

Anyway, this is a rambling kind of “days of a uni student” post. I still can’t even get my head around referring to myself as a “university student” right now. It just sounds like pish! Lol

I’m trying to stop myself from running before I can walk. I’m scared that all this enthusiasm will actually put the mockers on it, instead of putting me in good stead to start my course. 

Certain aspects are still making me nervous. I mean, I did this tiny exercise on the OU site yesterday in which you had to give personal examples of three encounters you’d had with the arts and humanities in the past week and what made those encounters interesting to you – and my mind just went blank! I could come up with examples of encounters easily enough, but elaborating on what made those encounters interesting and not wanting to just answer “because” I found quite difficult. I am feeling daunted by it all too. And I am worried about if I will find my tutor someone I’ll get along with and be easy to reach out to. But of course all of that is all running before I can walk. But it’s positive to project ahead, right?

P.S. One day soon this blog MAY actually have some Simple Minds news to talk about!

The ‘Off Topic’ Uni Student

I’m sitting at my PC today wanting to continue with the exercise of writing. And I have things swirling around in my head. Bits and pieces of this, that and the other and just wanting to try and blurt all of these things out and try and do that in a quick manner before I lose all train of thought. But my mind is such a jumble of so many things I don’t know where to begin! And I would love to write to someone directly…but…you know, it’s a pure fantasy to think he would ever come to this blog to read what I would write. 

Today I can officially deem myself a university student. I am now fully enrolled in my Higher Ed. English diploma at the Open University. Never in a million years did I think I would end up studying Higher Ed. ENGLISH! Science, Maths…all the biological, chemical, astrophysical – all the sciences were where my interests lay when I was growing up. Never felt good at art. Never felt good at English. The humanities, I felt, was where my weaknesses were. Not that I by ANY means felt capable in the sciences either. I just had more desire to want to be good in them. 

History was the bridge. 

It’s taken so long for me to realise there is so much more to English than just storytelling. That it does open up things I am interested in – like history, research, working in a library, being a museum curator, and so on and so forth. 

I am ssooo eager to get started. Literally champing at the bit! And I don’t want to quelle my eagerness. I want to capture it. Bottle it! Give it an outlet in the meantime. So if for the next eight weeks or so this blog drifts wildly “off topic”, please forgive me! It’s a great creative outlet for me – but it can’t be 100% Simple Minds based. I mean – Jesus – some NEWS to actually write about would be grand right now!

So, I am currently an OU student. I am enrolled in my first module – A111: Discovering the Arts and Humanities. I have already invested in purchasing the books that we’ll be studying during the module: The Faber Book of Beasts, Sophocles – Antigone, and A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Books. I have applied to have access to the University of Glasgow’s library as an OU student. And I have also applied for a part-time student fee grant – something I believe is only available to students resident in Scotland.

It is now a waiting game. And this is the part that is playing havoc with me. Deadline for applications of enrolment on the course is January 13th. And although I am enrolled, it is still pending on my fee grant application being approved. It can take 28 days for the fee grant to be approved. Allowing for staff to be off over Christmas and New Year, it will take me right up to the application deadline. No problem if I get the grant. But if I don’t get the grant? One, I’ll be devastated! Two, I’ll be de-registered from the course and if I still want to do the course and somehow pay the fee, I’ll have to reapply to the course! So it really does all hinge on me being given the grant.

I have to “sit tight”. I’ve never been good at sitting tight. And I really don’t want my enthusiasm to wane! So everything that will go on at this blog in the interim that isn’t Simple Minds related will be me just wanting to keep at my creativity and writing and brain activity and…all of that. 

I have been wanting to discuss The Beatles documentary, Get Back – but I feel that every man and his dog has reviewed it now, or passed judgement on it. What else do I have to add or offer? Short of being brief and saying it’s a LONG documentary but well worth the effort, there isn’t much else I can add. Perhaps when I am a little more focused I can discuss it in more detail. After the initial dust has settled and there’s a bit of time elapsed from half of the world having just devoured it over the past week or two. 

I didn’t even think Jim was going to brush upon it at all. But lo, there he was this morning talking about it, mentioning his mum, his brother and a “mongrel dog” called Ringo. I love when he shares memories. I know not everyone in the fanbase wants that. Some just want…I don’t know what they want! For Jim not to talk from a personal angle, basically. Which I find perplexing, I have to say. Why don’t you want Jim to talk/write that way? It would be so…analytical and perfunctory on their social media if he didn’t. Jim may as well not be involved in the FB page at all in that case! 

I absolutely LOVE the way he writes and interacts (when he actually did do so) with us! It is the most special thing there is about Simple Minds having a presence on Facebook. Every other official band and artist FB page I have seen is, by and large (there are a few other exceptions – Gary Numan, for example), devoid of any real connection with their fans. 

I want band news, of course I do! To hear about new music on the way would be extremely welcome right now. 

Jim’s writing inspires me. And I don’t mean his songwriting, but of course that does too, in a more fragmented way. 

There is something else I’d love to say here but conversely, I don’t want to discuss it. Suffice it to say I had an epiphany recently about my writing and its cathartic benefit to me. That is as forward as I can be about that. 

I have been writing A LOT since July and not all of it has been posted here. I guess not all of it needs to be posted here. But an element of my writing is not just the feeling of expression that comes from it but wanting it to be read! The want of having people read what I am saying and feeling. And that is why now it is feeling like art. People in the visual arts – painters, graphic designers, sculptors, photographers, dancers – whether they realise it or not desire an audience. Desire their work to be seen and appreciated. I have felt that with my digital art. Always made it for my own enjoyment in the first instance, as an outlet of expression but then beyond that wanting it to be shared. Then, with any luck, liked and appreciated by others. 

So this is why I will be writing – off topic – here on this blog. I went to type “my blog” out just then. But I find myself reluctant at times to call it “my blog” because I still see it as a Simple Minds blog. And as a Simple Minds blog, I feel it shouldn’t be personal. But it always manages to seep in somehow. I actually don’t know what this beast of a blog is! It’s like liquorice allsorts. 

I just hope you enjoy liquorice allsorts.

There’s A Minds Music Monday In There Somewhere! – Destin(ation)y Glasgow

We read what we want to read, don’t we? Even with the text there written out in black and white, we can still end up interpreting things as we want to – can’t we? 

It’s really great to have Jim posting daily again. I actually can’t quite believe he’s posted THREE DAYS IN A ROW now!

Why is it that when you just start to feel like you’re ready to move on with things – when you finally get to the point where you know you have to quelle the desire for something. When you’ve finally lost all sense of hope for anything….that the one thing that you wanted begins again? Refreshes. Resets. 

Jim now posting again every day. Is it a test? 

I can’t deal with the ebb and flow. I can’t deal with the constant emotional rollercoaster. 

The post today. I think I misread a bit of it. I thought he was saying he was back in Glasgow. My stomach did somersaults! My heart pounded away in my chest. 

WHY SHOULD IT MATTER? 

It doesn’t matter. He might as well be on the moon. It means nothing. But just the idea of him being in closer proximity. Just, physically feeling nearer. 

I’m only sharing this so I can write things down. So I can keep my mind active. I can flex my brain and try and keep the creativity from synapsis to fingers on keyboard typing away. To try and say something. But I get scared over the things I share. I get petrified as to how I come across. 

My mind always goes back to a time in 2017. Towards the end of the Acoustic tour. Me and Birdy waiting outside the stage doors of the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. Patiently waiting for Jim to appear. 

I had some gifts, you see? We had been to the Hokusai exhibition at the British Museum that day and I bought some things that I wanted to give to Jim. Little trinkets. Tokens of…

Anyway, when he finally appeared, he said he couldn’t stop. That he had to go. But I just wanted to hand him the gifts. Literally just hand him the bag and go. I regret what I did because I felt what I fear I seem to everybody – the mad stalker woman. I chased him down. Implored him to stop, tugged at his jacket sleeve when he was within reach. 

To this day it fills me with dread, his reaction. I have never felt like he was joking or being flippant (perhaps he was? I pray he was!). He looked around and he said “I’m scared, I’m scared.” 

I tried to think really fast. I was somewhat out of breath and I just said. “I have something to give you.” “What is it?” I didn’t want to give away what it was – silly, eh? And it would have been time consuming to explain, so I said in my haste to allow him to move swiftly on, “Gifts. They’re just gifts.” I held out the tote bag the things were in. Noth thinking the encounter would play out like this, I had actually brought the tote bag for myself. He looked at the bag, saw the British Museum logo on it and said “Now, this I like to see.” 

“I went to a Hokusai exhibition today”, I said. By way of giving him a hint as to what was inside the bag without revealing exactly what was in there. “How was it?”

“Wonderful. It was wonderful.”

And that was it. 

I remember it all because I remember mostly his initial reaction. “Here comes the psycho stalker fangirl.” I don’t even want to be deemed that! Ever. 

So, I feel guilt for the butterflies and the somersaults and the palpitations that the thought of him being back in Glasgow brings. That thought of proximity and closeness. Nearness. Because…he may as well be a million miles away. It actually makes no difference at all. 

I should be writing a Minds Music Monday post. I was formulating an idea of what I was going to do for MMM this week, but it all flew out the window. 

I need to remain positive! Those butterflies and somersaults? They quickly turn to nausea. The thoughts of his reaction and thoughts of me turn me to sickness. I used to feel liked. Now I just feel reviled. All the time. I can’t change it so I have to overcome it. I have to know that I am better than that! If somebody thinks that way of me, then that is just how they feel and I am not in control of that. 

He spoke of destiny today. I have to be in control of mine. I need to be optimistic and positive. To believe in myself. There are so many who show faith and belief in me. I don’t know how they do it when I can’t even believe in myself!

Today my application to the OU took another step forward. I should know by the end of the week if I can go ahead and enrol in my course. If I can’t, then we’ll have to go back to the drawing board. If not the OU, then somewhere. I WILL be studying next year! I WILL be a student somewhere! Gaining skills. Honing my (at the moment) tenuous craft. 

I’ll continue to make preparations. Work out a study plan. Form a routine and have it functioning before the academic year begins. 

It’s time to put an end to squandered chances! 

“I don’t want this destiny.” Not the one that means I give up on another chance. I want to grab it with both hands and give it all I have. Redirect the butterflies and somersaults. Use the nausea for good. MAKE IT WORK! 

Believe in better. (That’s some bloody company slogan, isn’t it? Samsung? Who uses that? Answers on a postcard.)

Here’s to destiny and all that it may hold.

Sunday Waffle – 28/11/2021 – Catfishing and Letting Go

I used to do this with the video blogs (aka vlogs) last year. There was a series of them and I ended up referring to them as the “Sunday Waffle” for, as the name suggests, I’d post the vlogs on a Sunday. Of course I would post other vlogs on the days inbetween too! But the Sunday vlogs tended to be the most “waffling” – on any subject. Not just Simple Minds based. 

I do have a personal blog but I haven’t used it for a long time. I just keep invested in the domain names for it. But something I want to talk about today *IS* Simple Minds related, but I’ll talk more about that shortly. 

Firstly I want to talk about the “off topic” subject of catfishing. This word started to be used more liberally in the early 2000s, after the release of a documentary about a woman “catfishing” a guy she was interested in. The connotation of catfishing in this first instance was that you deceive people into thinking you are living a life that is false. That you’re successful, you have money, you have children, etc, etc. It’s a very toxic thing and in that context should be taken as an absolutely abhorrent, deceitful thing to do to people. I would never do that myself! And I am not condoning anybody else doing that. 

Conversely, I will say that it isn’t black and white and people who feel compelled to do these kind of things deserve some level of compassion and understanding. Unless armed with the full details of individual cases, it’s very easy to judge and make assumptions.

More and more at the moment I see the term “catfishing” being used to describe women who use makeup to alter their appearance. I think the term is being used erroneously in this respect. The original use of “catfishing” had a far more deceptive and toxic definition to it than merely making yourself appear different and “better” in an aesthetic sense. 

It’s a reflection of the world we currently live in, one in which women deemed “ugly” use makeup to make themselves appear as they are not (supposedly). But this isn’t in any way a new thing! And women have been using makeup in some form or other for HUNDREDS of years.

Here is a case of “catfishing” that happened centuries ago. A well known case, if you know your history, esp. your history of Tudor England. And it goes right to the top of the monarchy. I daresay that EVERY PERSON in Tudor times would be deemed to have “catfished” under its current broad definition. Portraits made of the monarchy were deceitful. Nobody was ever portrayed as they actually were back then. 

Ever heard of the term “warts and all”? It was attributed as being used by Oliver Cromwell when he was having his portrait done. He is reputed as saying to commissioned artist Sir Peter Lely, “Mr Lely, I desire you would use all your skill to paint my picture truly like me, and not flatter me at all; but remark all these roughnesses, pimples, warts and everything as you see me, otherwise I will never pay a farthing for it.”

Back to the Tudor case of the catfisher being catfished. 

Henry VIII took MUCH liberty in how he was portrayed. Painted most times to look taller, thinner, more athletic, healthier, and more attractive than he actually was. At the time I am about to refer to, he is 49 years old. That is quite an age in Tudor times! And he’s had some hard and fast living by now. He is not going to be looking ANYTHING like Jonathan Rhys Meyers (who portrayed Henry in The Tudors television series made during the 2000s), okay?! (Meyers today is only 44 years old.)

Jane Seymour has passed away, and after a very, very, VERY brief time of grieving, Henry is on the lookout for wife number four. He is told of Anne of Cleves and is assured by his courtiers that they’re an exemplary match. Anne is a young maiden of 25 years of age. Henry’s already sensing doubt as to be 25 in Tudor times and unmarried – something has to be up with that, right? They show him a portrait of Anne. He is smitten! He cannot wait to meet her! He’s literally married himself off to her as soon as he sees her portrait. 

Come the day they meet face to face, Henry is outraged! As far as he is concerned, Anne is NOTHING LIKE the portrait he was shown and he makes it known quite emphatically what he thinks of Anne, referring to her as a “Flanders mare”. Nice one, Henry! Never mind what Anne must have thought seeing the sight of you for the first time, given the portraits she’d have seen of this unbelievably ageless, athletic, virile “studmuffin” when the reality was you’re a badly aging, gammied leg, portly hypocrite! And you probably haven’t had a bath in about 7 months on top of that!

Yes, it’s the monarchy and there was obviously more to it than that. The courtiers were making Anne look, particularly aesthetically (because they obviously knew that Henry likes a “hot chick”) attractive to Henry because they (and he)  wanted to secure a political and religious alliance between England and Protestant western Germany. 

In the monarchy then NOBODY married for love. Everybody was catfishing the heck out of everyone else. Powerplay. 

I despair that the word “catfishing” is being used to now make women feel and appear even MORE untrustworthy than they are currently being portrayed in the media. I have little sympathy for the men being “catfished”, if all their attraction to a woman is based entirely on her looks. Good! Get fucking catfished, you superficial asshat!

I know when meeting someone for the first time face to face our first impression is the way a person looks. It is, by nature, our first marker. We SEE someone first before we speak to them or anything else. But that is why anyone with a modicum of self-respect and decency would not just think, “She’s fit. Shagging her later.” And if it is what you think and you get your stomach turned by what you wake up to next to you the following morning – I don’t pity you. You are far more abhorrent than you THINK the person next to you is. 

So can we stop using “catfishing” to describe women who want to make themselves look more attractive? I wish we didn’t live in a world where this kind of stuff has to go on! Where women could actually feel like they deserve love no matter how they look. That people could see beyond the superficial and the aesthetic! I’m not saying we’re not allowed to appreciate those things. I mean, geez, how hypocritical is my blog, with all these pictures of Jim all over it?

Today’s “view from the bridge”.

Anyway, let us move on.

This is going to be a more personal aspect of today’s waffle. And it is Simple Minds related because it’s about Jim, and my “letting go” of this desire for friendship that has been churning away within me these past two years especially. 

There were two distinct markers of when this became something that became incredibly “all-consuming” within me – Jim sharing his dad’s cancer diagnosis with us, and my mum passing away. 

I am still very disappointed with myself for allowing myself to get so…dependent and needy. For holding on SSOO tightly to all the early (early in my fandom) interactivity that I had with Jim. That I SSOOO misconstrued what it was and how long it has taken me to “let go” of it. 

I need to talk about the past few days. Enrolling (still not confirmed yet as I have to do some initial part of the application process first before I can actually enrol in the course I want to study) in the Open University and my readiness to “fail better”. 

Last night I suddenly remembered that Jim had quoted the Beckett words in a post he did some time back. So I used the search feature on Facebook to see where and when. And there was part of me convinced he must have interacted with me on that post because I had such a strong recollection of him using the Beckett quote. I would usually only remember something like that if it felt it impacted on me directly. 

I find it. Posted to the SM page on July 11th, 2019. It’s a post about … well … failing, funnily enough. But Jim’s first own personal example was when he first felt “failure” in a major way, playing football as a young boy. Playing for the local Cubs and losing HUGELY to a rival team of, quote “hairy-legged” older boys. He then lists other perceived “failures”. Leaving school with no formal qualifications, being divorced twice, investments in failed businesses. And then things that are now not even seen as failures, but initially were – Simple Minds’ early releases not being commercially successful. I’ll link to the post HERE so you can read it all for yourself.

Then he asks us about our “failures”. 

At this point, before reading the comments, I was convinced he must have responded to me. Possibly one of the last times he ever did respond to me. I read the comments. I try to find mine first. I had left two. One was me asking for clarity on what he meant by “no qualifications”. Was he implying he left school without a single O Level? And, you won’t be surprised to hear that I waffled. And even apologised for “waffling”. Lol. Then there was my actual reply to his question about our failures. Or more accurately, our perceived failures. My reply was basically – “How long have you got, Jim? How long is a piece of string?”

There were no responses from him as I had imagined. Nothing, on either comment. Not even a Facebook “like” on either of them. Sometimes a “like” I would deem an acknowledgement from him that he had at least read the comment. Nothing. For either comment. No like. And certainly no reply comment. And it was at a time when he was still around. Many other comments received “likes”. 

What I do see in one of my comments is a response from people who I now have no dealings with. One person I had already had that cutting off with, but the other person I didn’t realise had any involvement with what the crux of the matter is, so I had naively responded to them not knowing any better at the time. Perhaps Jim saw that interaction and thought it best to avoid my comment altogether? Or…he just wasn’t interested in responding to me. Which would happen sometimes. But I would usually get a “like”.

But there was nothing for either of my comments. 

This morning I was thinking about “Jalopy”. It was one of the last “interactions” I ever had with Jim on Facebook. The final one being one I had to try and backtrack to and find via looking back through my blog. 

It’s been over a year now. The very last token piece of interaction I had with Jim via the Simple Minds Facebook page was a post he did about the release of Heart Of The Crowd – the book. He said he felt “misty eyed” and I had replied saying was he sure his “misty eyes” were from the book being released rather than the Scottish football team having just secured their entry into the Euros? He replied with a “They’ll be coming!” and a link to YouTube of The Tartan Army singing “We’ll Be Coming Down The Road”.

I can’t tell you how happy that made me! Well, I probably could. But this post is getting VERY long and I must get on with my point. Whatever my point is.

It’s this. I think I am FINALLY, slowly, coming to terms with not wanting to seek reaffirmation from Jim for every single damn half-decent thing I feel I do. There are actually not many things I feel I do well. Very few things at all! But I got ssoo caught up in wanting to impress him and wanting to keep this ever so deluded sense of a “bond”, of a “connection” – I lost myself. And I lost the ability to “let it go”.

I was also thinking about the story I shared about Rodney Johnston and the dog bite. Of my first “serious” relationship. Of my first and only “long-term” boyfriend. The memories of them are really, really strong. And although I am holding on to certain aspects of those relationships – I really did let them go quite successfully. 

I’ve never mentioned him by name before on here. I usually give him some coded name. But the guy I had my first “adult” relationship with was called Brendan McDonagh. It was a relationship I kept going in the hope it would turn into something else. For him all it ever was was sex. And sadly I was the instigator every single time. No self-worth, see? Convinced that if I kept sleeping with him he eventually would want to be with me. It wasn’t until I met my actual first and only “proper” boyfriend, Roger, did this very tenuous “relationship” with Brendan end. I didn’t miss him. I didn’t even think about him. I totally moved on. Roger became my focus. 

I don’t even know when I started thinking about Brendan again. Long after my breakup with Roger. It took me a long time to get over the breakup with Roger. But I was able to walk away in the end. I mean, there were complications. After a time, Roger and I were “seeing” each other again but it was short-lived. And I don’t really want to go into a lot of detail about that here. The point of it is – despite how it sounds typing this out – I could let them go. I could let these relationships go. 

I feel really disappointed in myself with just how much emphasis I have placed upon seeking all this reaffirmation from Jim. I feel sick from it. That I have felt so little of myself that I have spent the past two years just PRAYING for this man to like me, wanting him to interact with me, wanting him to make me feel like I was his friend, making me feel like I was “worthy”. I shouldn’t have to beg. And if I genuinely meant something to him…then I wouldn’t be needing to beg. 

It’s been the hardest these past two years. I think it’s because of mum passing away. I don’t think I knew what to do with my grief. And I think I didn’t feel like I needed to grieve? Like, I thought I was viewing her death rather pragmatically and came to terms with it very quickly. On the other hand there were things like Falling Leaves. Not remembering to tell my sister that mum wanted it played at her funeral, it slipping my mind and not remembering until the day after the funeral. 

I’m thinking about next year and my diploma and how much study it is going to take and how much focus I need. I need to start concentrating on me!

Next year is going to be a test. My course will start in February. Weeks later, I’ll be at a Simple Minds gig in Paris (all being well and good with international travel by then – I must admit, I have my reservations about getting to Paris even coming to fruition right now). And then a month after that, another bunch of Simple Minds gigs. Then another in June, and one final one in August. 

I admit to still grappling with the “he’s just a man” aspect of Jim. I really wish I could see him like that! But in some ways I think it is probably better that I don’t. That I see him as completely out of reach. Completely in another realm. 

It’s hard because…it’s those things – it’s the things that reveal that he is “just a man” that make me wish for the impossible. It’s the “ordinary” within the extraordinary. It’s him being just Jim. Just “the normal guy” that brings the yearning. 

But I shouldn’t need him to like me. And … he doesn’t have to like me. He doesn’t have to like me for my life to have meaning and importance. I know!!! That should be a REALLY EASY concept for me to master, right? But it hasn’t been. It really hasn’t been. And I am ssooo disappointed and perplexed with myself about that. Bordering on angry. But I have to be kind to myself! To heal. To overcome it. To conquer it. I need to be kind to me. To accept it. To say “Hey, it’s fine. You’ve been dealing with a lot of shit these past two years. And this man sparked up so much positivity in your life. It’s okay that you wished for an attachment that wasn’t there. That you desired a bond. We all hope to be liked. We’re social animals. Our ‘raison d’etre’ is to make bonds, friendships, and to love. And to want acceptance.”

I’m working on it. I’m working on not dwelling on it. I’m working on it not taking up so many hours of my day. And it’ll be hard because aspects of it keep me going. This is a case in point! Writing! The joy and catharsis I take in writing. And so much of it over the past five years has been either directly or indirectly involving Jim. He has sparked so much creativity in me! But that is what it is – a spark. And I need to be mindful to accept it as a spark. The catalyst. The spark- not the whole damn fire! Not the whole nuclear fusion! That the actual fire comes from within me! 

But, Jim. Thank you for the spark. 

Interesting that I should close this with the talk of a “spark” because when I was initially looking into study for next year, I was looking at doing a Creative Writing course at the Centre for Lifelong Learning at the University of Strathclyde. It was broken down into modules that were titled “Kindling”, “Ablaze” and “Inferno”. Jim has been an inferno for too long. Kindling. Back to kindling. The spark. 

A spark is enough. 

Lastly – this has been the earworm for the past few days, particularly as I awake in the morning. Make of it what you will…

Fail Again. Fail Better!

Today I am trying to enrol in a Open University course. A diploma of Higher Education in English. It will lead on to Creative Writing then…who knows?

It SHOULD be a straightforward process online shouldn’t it? I wish I could just enrol and pay the fee and get on with it, but I can’t.

I need to call. And I need help. And I feel like if the enrolment is this perplexing and difficult and it has me doubting myself already, then how will I cope with coursework and study and all of that? What makes me think I can do this?

Two incredible people do, for one.

Scott, you get a shout out again! I honestly don’t know what brings you to this site day in and day out, but your engagement, continued support and faith in me, and your friendship, means the world.

My other dear friend when I told her last night of my steps to enrol told me she was proud of me. She actually said that! That she is PROUD of me. I am crying my eyes out now typing this, incredulous still that somebody should say such a thing! And I don’t want to let her down! I don’t want to let anybody down.

Last night talking about it, I was bubbling with excitement. Today, I’m scared. Just a small stumbling block and I am petrified.

Last night we spoke of Beckett. Of his words on failure.

I am determined to get stronger. I am determined to finally do the thing I have dreamed of doing for years. I am determined to try again. To fail again. To fail better!

Day one may already feel a fail. But I tried. And I will try again. Day two if I fail, I will fail better!