Be Nice It's Tuesday


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Changes

A lot seems to have changed in my life recently.

Mid-September I left home again and moved into my new term-time house which I am renting with some amazing friends – it’s really starting to feel like home, and there haven’t been any arguments yet (even when we disagree about when the floors need cleaning). A week or so after moving in, my second year of university started. As well as being back to intense classes of German and Russian language, I’m doing modules of history and linguistics, and I’ve picked up Czech language. I’m enjoying the classes but it’s a lot of hard work, and I feel slightly like I’m drowning in an endless sea of vocab.

I’ve got back into the societies I was in last year, and am on the committee for my choir. Last week I went to an LGBT+ meeting for the first time, which was quite a big step for me. Also at the start if this term I started a new part-time job, and I am in the process of applying for two more.

A particularly exciting thing that’s happened is that I successfully asked someone out on a date. That was very scary, and I’m now nervous about meeting with him, I haven’t really done the whole dating thing before, in the past it’s taken so long for things to happen that we’ve just skipped straight to a fully formed relationship. But I resolved last summer to get better at doing things that scare me, and not just waiting and hoping things will happen, so I thought I should just go for it.

Finally, my family is currently very spread out, with one of my sisters in New Zealand for the next year. The other sister is in Edinburgh, not so far away, but still difficult enough to get to from Bristol that I don’t know when I’ll next see her. So I’m just trying my best to keep in contact with them as much as possible.

All of these changes are exciting, and I feel like I’m in a good place in my life right now, however they take up a lot of time and I am often very busy and tired. When I do have free time I usually watch Netflix or play my musical instruments. If I’m in the mood for writing I’m trying to write more of the piece of fiction I started over the summer (calling it a novel sounds too grand, but story sounds too juvenile). So as much as I want to keep blogging, and have loads of ideas, I just don’t really have the time and energy for it at the moment. I’m not giving up for good; I may post random things at odd times, and I hope to get properly back into it sometime, but for now I am freeing myself of the guilt I feel for not writing up any of the things I want to.

Until I write again, I hope everyone is doing well and staying positive, and don’t forget to keep smiling 🙂

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How Lucky I Am

I promise I will try not to make all of the posts I do in the next few weeks be about moving to uni. But it is a huge thing in my life at the moment, so a lot will be. And a lot will be quite sad and scared because that is how I’m feeling at the moment. But I saw a quote the other day which really resonated with me, and reminded me to think about the amazing, positive side of what I’m going through.

How lucky I am to have something which makes saying goodbye so hard.

Last week one of my friends moved to Holland where he is starting uni this year, and I was rather emotional about him leaving, and I’m not going to see him again until at least Christmas and he might not even come home then. This is someone I haven’t even known for very long; we met in January and he went to a different college so I just saw him at parties and nights out. So if I was that upset by him leaving, I dread to think how I will be when it’s people I’ve known for most of my life. The ones I’ve been seeing six days a week for years. The ones who’ve been through so much with me, who know me and look after me. But I’m going to be upset because I’m lucky enough to have kept these friends for so long, to have these amazing people who are there for me, and with whom I’ve had so many good times.

When thinking about uni I keep wondering how I’m going to cope living without my Dad to do all the shopping and cooking and generally knowing what’s what at all times, and without my Mum to offer lifts when I’m walking in the rain and to help me out and generally both of them there for advice and chat and anything I need. But not everyone is as lucky as I am to have such loving, generous parents, and to get on well with their family.

Another thing I’m going to miss when I move away is the place I live. I’ve lived a lovely, decent sized, if slightly cold and damp, house my whole life, surrounded by beautiful country-side. I’ll miss being able to walk outside and just go for a wander through fields and woods, or on quiet streets in old villages. But I am incredibly lucky even to have a home, let alone live in such a beautiful, safe part of the country.

My Mum was recently talking about when my sisters started school and one of them in particular did not want to go every morning. For a while Mum was embarrassed and confused about it, until she realised that my sister didn’t want to go to school because Mum had looked after her so well at home, so it was actually a positive reflection on her early life.

I am sad about leaving. I am going to miss my friends and family and home, and saying goodbye is going to be immensely hard. But that’s because I’m lucky, because what I have here is so incredible. And what makes me even more lucky is that, in this instance, all of these things will still be here for me. I can always come back home.


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A Family of Three

Almost twenty-two years ago, my mum gave birth to twin girls. I know little about the following three and a half years, since I didn’t exist at the time, but then I was born, and we became a happy family of five.
I’m not going to say that I’ve never fallen out or been annoyed with my sisters or parents; there have been some problems over the years. And when I was young I trusted my big sisters completely, which I probably shouldn’t have done, since it led to things such as me spending most my life in the smallest bedroom, getting in trouble for opening a Christmas present which my sister handed on Christmas Eve, telling me it was Christmas Day, and having to watch their choice of films because I believed that the actors played the whole film out every time you watched a video, and that they were too tired or busy to do my choice.
And of course it wasn’t easy a) being the youngest – my bedroom adjoins the TV room so I would be able to hear them all enjoying the film I wasn’t allowed to watch, and my achievements are often overlooked because my sisters have already done that, and b) having twins as sisters; they were always very close and I often felt like the fifth wheel in our family.
Nevertheless, I generally got on well with my sisters, and I think the older we got the more they became my friends. I  will always be grateful to them for the way they let me hang around with them sometimes when they were with their friends, at an age where I was still probably annoying and too young to really join in the conversation, but I always say to friends who are annoyed with younger siblings, if you’re nice to the, they will grow up and stop annoying you. My sisters are also very generous in buying me presents, we all share clothes and shoes, we tell each other a lot.
When I was 15 I started year 11 at school, and my sisters were starting university. They both chose different Scottish unis, so are quite close to one another, but far away from home. I was devastated about them leaving, and the fact that both went at once meant it had a huge impact.The timing of them leaving was also bad, as it was only a few weeks before my best friend was taken into Hospital and I didn’t see her for months, so all of a sudden I’d lost three incredibly important people who, before then, had just been there for my whole life. It was a very lonely time for me. I still miss them a lot when they’re away, and the longer they’ve been at uni for, the less often they come home. This summer we’ve had just two nights of all five of us together, and that is not enough in my opinion.
However, it hasn’t all been as bad as I imagined. If anything I’ve got with them even better since they left; I’ve had some really fun trips up to Scotland to see them; it makes it all the more exciting when we do see each other; and actually I have enjoyed experiencing life as an only child in our family of three. I stayed in my tiny bedroom because I’d just got it how I wanted it when they left, and I couldn’t really face all the hassle of changing bedrooms. But I have had a bit more space to work, I get in the bathroom when I want to, it’s easier to use the kitchen. And although sometimes my parents drive me round the bend, I feel like I know them a lot better having lived just the three of us. I also occasionally get random presents, which is easier for them to do for one person than three, or I get a say in food shopping or house decorating and other decisions. And I have to say I do quite like it when my sisters come home and I know where things are in the house, what’s been going on in the village, I have in jokes with our parents, which my sisters don’t get. All in all, it’s been a good three years.
But now it’s my turn to leave. And things are going to be different again. I think it must be strange for my parents, after twenty-two years to go back to it just being the two of them. But as before, I’m sure there will be things about it they enjoy and things they miss. My sisters are both planning visits to me during my first term of uni, and I know we will always see each other as much as is possible, but I also know that’s likely to keep getting less and less. But we’ll come to that when we come to that. For now, I wish my sisters were home right now which they were supposed to be, but I’m just glad I have had such a wonderful family in which to grow up.


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I Love My Friends

At a party I had a few nights ago, I found myself in the garden having a very deep conversation with one of my friends when he confessed to me that he doesn’t know what love is. I said that no one does really, but he told me that he doesn’t think he loves his sister, and how he doesn’t understand it when people talk about loving their friends. He asked if he was just cold and heartless.
I gave it a moments thought; I’ve never considered whether I love my family and friends, it’s just the obvious thing. My sisters and I have only fairly recently started ending phone conversations with ‘love you’, but it’s not as though it’s something unusual, and I’ve always said it to my friends a lot. As a Christian I would say I love everyone, that’s kind of the point, but there are different kinds of love – we didn’t even touch on romantic stuff, but I hope that this friend still feels he was in love with me when we were together – and surely what I feel for my friends is in some way different to other people?
As I was thinking this I heard laughter and talking coming from the kitchen where some of our other friends were. Just hearing that sound of them enjoying themselves filled me with a warm, happy glow which banished any doubt that I love them. Certain of my friends are the most important people in my life, but all of them are pretty high up there. We’ve been through a lot together, I couldn’t cope without them and I always want them to be happy, even when they hurt me, and even when them being happy means them not spending much time with me any more. I have been in love (romantically) twice in my life, but both times I would have (and to some extent did) chosen my friends above my boyfriend in a flash. I intend to get married so hopefully one day this will change, but for now I am just happy to say that I love my friends and would do anything for them.
Our conversation about this was cut short when someone else came outside and interrupted us, but he said he’d like to continue it sometime. But I don’t really know what to say to him. Do we just have different ideas of what classes as love? Is there actually something wrong with him? Am I just overly sensitive and emotional? I’d be interested to know what you all think, so please leave me a comment. Would you tell your friends you love them? Or are they just people you hang out with and nothing more?


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Marrying your Dad

Psychologically speaking, people are often likely to marry people who are similar to their parents. A lot of people disagree with this or say that it’s weird, but I personally think it makes perfect sense. I don’t agree with all the Freudian nonsense of children wanting to sleep with their parents, castration fear, etc. etc., but it when you grow up and get married, in a way your spouse does replace the role your parents played when you were younger. You live with them, tell them everything, ask for their advice, they look after you. Obviously it’s not all the same, but there are similarities. And also, generally speaking your parents marriage/relationship is where you first learn about relationships, so it often becomes your internal template of what you subconsciously are looking for in a partner.

When I was with my ex-boyfriend I used to often point out things he did which were like my Dad, things from them both telling the exact same terrible joke, to when were on DofE and he was taking charge of the map. He never liked me saying that, thought it was creepy, but I didn’t. There were enough differences for it to not actually be like I was dating my own Father, but my Dad is one of the coolest guys I know. He is a great man, husband and Father, I generally get on with him very well, and I will be happy if I can find someone like him to one day marry.

Today is Fathers’ Day in the UK, USA and Canada, so I hope any Dads reading this are having a great day and being treated by your children 🙂


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Parents

My parents often annoy me. My Dad and I often seem to end up arguing when we’re both saying the same thing – we disagree about the fact that we’re agreeing! And I just get irritated with my Mum a lot of the time. I have often thought about their flaws as parents, and told my best friend how jealous I am of her mum whom I have known all my life and is lovely.

Having said that though, we never really have huge arguments. We get on well enough, do stuff together, we’re always polite to each other at the very least. In my memory my parents have never really argued with each other, they’ve never had particularly strict rules, and neither my sisters nor I have ever rebelled or disobeyed them in a significant way. Whether their treatment of us has led to us being well behaved, or they’ve been able to be liberal with us because we just are sensible, well that’s probably bordering on a huge psychological debate, so I’ll just stick with saying that in general, they’re pretty good parents.

I’ve always thought this, to varying degrees about each of them at different times, but I’ve heard a couple of things recently which have made me really appreciate everything they’ve done.

Firstly I was talking to one of my friends about his family. He lives with his mum and hasn’t seen his dad for a long time. He knows he has a younger half sister but doesn’t see her, and he’s had at least one step-mum, but he thinks he may now have other siblings by another wife of his dad’s. When talking to him about this I couldn’t help feeling sorry for him, and being grateful that my family are still together. Families break up for all sorts of reasons, so I would never judge anyone for it, but after this I had to just thank my parents for staying together, and I hope for the sake of my kids that when I get married it is for life.

But something else happened this morning. When I got to college I joined a small group of my friends, one of whom was quite upset at something which had happened with her mum. Another friend was telling a story about when she was in primary school and hadn’t done as well in something as her mother wanted, and her mother then told her that she would always love her because she had to, but that didn’t mean she liked who she was. The first friend then told me what her mum had said, which was about equally mean. By the end of this is was in tears; all I could do was give them both a hug. I’ve known for a while that these two women could be…difficult at times. But the girls, my friends, are well behaved, kind, amazing people, and I don’t see how anyone could be so horrible to their own child.

So, although I probably won’t ever say this to my parents, I am so glad that they’ve always been kind and supportive. My Dad an amazing man who I’m pretty sure can do anything, and I’m always proud of the ways in which i am similar to him (well, maybe not the terrible puns), and my Mum has always been there to take me on nice trips and sort out my life when everything seems to be going wrong. And I am constantly glad about how close I am to my sisters. So if any of them ever read this, thank you. And I hope that anyone else who reads this has a family as great as mine.

Edit: I wrote this the other day just straight off the top of my head; I wrote what I was thinking without really thinking it through, and I’m worried I might have given the wrong impression. I wasn’t saying that a traditional nuclear family is the only way to raise kids, or that that friend of mine, or anyone else living with divorced or single parents is having a terrible time because of it. I like living with both my parents together because our family works well and I wouldn’t want to lose touch with either of my parents, and I merely used that example to show when I realised how grateful I am for my parents 🙂