She thought, "If I close my eyes I can't cry"

She laid on her bed, her pillow arranged in such a way that she could cuddle it for comfort.
Curtains pulled closed.
The world shut out.
She felt them start, brewing away. The warmth and the tingle rising.

She thought...
"If I close my eyes they won't appear"
"If I close my eyes they won't fall"
"If I close my eyes, I can't cry"

She closed her eyes gently at first, then tighter. Head buried in the pillow as extra protection.

The tears couldn't break through. And with those under control, all she had to do was breathe.
That's it. That's all she had to do.
Then she would be ok.

Calm, so she thought, she kept her eyes closed.
"If I sleep this will all go away"
"If I sleep I won't feel this anymore"

Hearing a noise, she opened her eyes.
And then she realised, you can cry with your eyes shut.
One. Two. Three. Four.
Heavy, warm tears fell from her eyes and down her face, onto the pillow.
Taking her by surprise.
She left her eyes slightly open, letting the remaining tears roll down her cheeks, no longer holding them in.

Knowing there was nothing to comfort her she slowly closed her eyes.
"If I sleep this will all go away"
"I can't cry if I sleep".



I'm not the girl you fall in love with

I remember being sat on Yarmouth beach. Ok Yarmouth has a negative image sometimes but you know what, the beach is beautiful and first thing in the morning, with no one around on a sunny, calm day, it is really lovely.
I'd met the guy I was seeing on the beach. Yarmouth was between where we both lived and we stole an hour or 2 before I started the later shift at work.
I remember feeling quite content, there was drama on his side so it wasn't ever going to be an easy relationship but I was willing to give it a go.
It'd been almost 2 years of being single and I felt ready to give a relationship a go. It was still a novelty to have someone interested in me.
As we sat cuddled on the sand and looked out to sea he told me he loved me. It was soon into the "relationship" but I don't think you can truly determine whether it's too early to love or not. It's not something you have the choice to feel.

Fast forward 3 or 4 weeks and something didn't feel right. The difficulties of the "relationship" were all becoming a bit much. To the point where I said to him, over Facebook messenger of all places, during another conversation about his ex and how tricky things were, that he didn't have to see me anymore if he didn't want to.
"I don't think I do". Was his response.
A coward for not telling me in the first place.
And it was fine. I would have walked away quietly. Until he said "I tried to love you, Lauren".

I didn't need him to tell me he loved me in the first place. I didn't need him to try to love me.
But it was still a punch in the stomach.
Almost the verification that yes, I am not worth love. I am not worth respect.
It was almost confirmation that I was right all along, I wasn't worth a relationship. Just to be there when someone needed me.

I got over it.

I then met someone 5 months later. And this time, during a phone call, he accidentally told me he loved me. And it felt like the hole left of not being loved by my husband and then of not being loved by the guy on the beach, had been filled and patched up.
We had a great year and 3 months together. It had its ups and downs (it seems I tend to go for men who have issues with their ex and need fixing in some shape or form!).
Then all of a sudden.
Ghosted by someone you are in a relationship is worse than being ghosted by a potential on a dating site. Thankfully I knew something was up and was expecting it, again a coward for not being able to break up despite me asking him a couple of times if he was fully in the relationship.
But, another time, proof that I am not worth love. Not worth respect.

And I don't worry about that. I never have. I've only ever worried about my own feelings. Not anyone elses because I know I'm not the girl people have feelings for or fall in love with.
I've accepted it. And that's it. It's ok.

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to have someone feel like that for me.
For me to be that person who someone thinks about a lot. To have someone have that moment when they feel, for the first time, that they love me.
To not be called amazing, brave, funny, cute, kind, honest, or cool as a way of avoiding that that's all I ever am and all I ever will be.
The one who is there for a bit. But not for long.
A secret friend.

I spent so long wondering how I can change myself to be that person.
The one worthy of love.
And now I've realised that it's just not who I am supposed to be.

I guess it's hard in some ways because naturally I am a person who loves a lot. I love my friends and people I work with and I'm not afraid to say it. Those moments when you just can't help but to talk to someone or laugh with someone...not romantically...but on a friendship level and just say "awww I love you". I love those moments. I have those moments with people I work with and I find it important to let those feelings out. To let people know.
And I feel jealous sometimes I guess. That those people are worthy of those feelings. They are good enough to have someone feel that of them.

My children love me. My mum loves me. And I know that.
But for anyone else.
I'm not the girl you fall in love with.
It's just not possible.



Cocktails and Chopsticks

Despite a ridiculous journey the afternoon/evening before (because of a missed turn off and ending up a bit too close to the centre of London rather than being in Watford) I'd had a relaxing nights sleep but I woke up in the hotel on Thursday morning feeling a mix of excitement and anxiety.
I've met and worked with some incredible people this year and headed to Watford for a meeting and team building day and was hit with the "I don't belong here" fear.
Soon enough I was sat in the meeting room feeling super lucky to be able to be involved and part of an amazing group, and lost the anxiety and gained more excitement for the day ahead. It's nice when you can genuinely think there isn't one person here I don't want to spend time with.

We went to the Escape Rooms in Watford which was challenging but so much fun and after a win from the girls we went for a drink whilst we waited for the mens team to finish. Las Iguanas "Happy Hour Cocktails" (which should really be happy hourS as it's all day and night!!) was the perfect way to celebrate!
Once the men joined us we enjoyed another drink, and a little winners gloat from me, before heading back to the hotel to quickly get ready for dinner.
We'd been sent the location for dinner, The Florist in Watford high street, a week previous and immediately I looked it up on Google and Instagram. Oh my goodness it looked INCREDIBLE! And actually maybe my lack of photos make me a failure at blogging and instagramming!
I'd had a look at the menu regularly in the week leading up and I was glad I did as there was so much to choose from and seeing as I am so indecisive I would never have been able to choose in 15-20 minutes once we'd sat down.

When we walked inside I realised how photos don't do it justice. It is SO beautiful. The details are so perfect, even little things like framed dried flowers on the walls, the perfect background for a photo and an old telephone box with flowers trailing in and around it.

Although I had pretty much decided on my food I did not pay enough attention to the cocktail menu and with so much to choose from decided in the end to get the waiter to choose one for me. Which I was really glad of in the end as he'd picked me a gin based cocktail with Elderflower and Cucumber. I wouldn't have opted for gin but it was so nice I was pleased I got him to pick it for me.

I don't think there was any point in the night when one of the ten of us wasn't laughing or smiling...or on a couple of occasions crying with laughter!
I soon wondered why on earth I felt so anxious in the morning when I was sat there having a heart to heart about my marriage breakdown, talking about motherhood, tattoos, various other conversations and then having a chopstick eating competition during mains and dessert. FYI I think eating sweet potato and aubergine Katsu curry with chopsticks is a lot easier than eating chicken Katsu curry with chopsticks. However, watching someone grabbing at chicken with chopsticks is highly entertaining, as is watching them have to eat every grain of rice with chopsticks also. There was a moment I wondered if I'd have to resort to licking the plate to get all of the rice off and thought twice about being so cocky.
However, nutella donuts are a lot easier to eat with chopsticks...although equally as entertaining when watching your component struggle when the donut filling is a bit too hot when it explodes in their mouth.

The food was amazing, to the point I could have quite easily have eaten everything on the menu or quite happily return every night to try out the whole menu!

When it came to the end of the night it was one of those "Oh" moments because I genuinely didn't want it to end.

On the drive home I felt so content. I'd woken up feeling really happy and realised that despite a tough year in certain ways, that actually I have had some amazing moments. Moments I'm so proud of and happy to have been part of and I felt this overwhelming feeling of being so lucky.
And on that drive home I booked in with my tattooist and the following day had a four leaf clover tattooed on my wrist.
A reminder of despite how tough life can be, I am lucky to be who I am and to get to have done the things I have done this year and have been lucky enough to be around people I would only ever have wished to be around.

Even now, a week and a half on, I miss it and wish I could go back and do the whole day all over again.



Reading Tarot and Oracle Cards

I got my first pack of Oracle Cards back in 2016 after a long time of being curious about how they worked and if I could use them.
I'd been confident within my faith for a year for that point and knew that Oracle cards were for me.
I've always worked well with them and now own 5 different packs. I have my certain ways of working with them and one thing I am proud of is that I've never felt the need to look up how to use them or how to read them.
For me, if the cards want me to work with them, they will show me and if my guides want me to work with the cards, then they will help me to connect and they will help me to understand what the cards mean and what they are telling me.

Last year I got my first pack of Tarot cards and recently was gifted a pack of Grimaud Marseille cards.
I find Tarot not so easy to connect with and definitely have a feeling of needing to work harder with them. Looking into it I found, and accepted that, Tarot cards are more structured compared to Oracle cards and have specific meanings, whereas with Oracle cards don't have a specific meaning and can be read in various ways.

Since being into cards I get a lot of questions about them or requests to read for other people and although I'm confident enough to do them for myself, I've never felt quite able to do them for other people.
For those who are curious, websites such as 7Tarot offer free readings and an insight into how Tarot works and the different options available.



The Gap in the Curtains

She welcomes the gap in the curtains. One she might usually huff at and, annoyed at herself for not closing them properly, will dramatically get out of bed to rearrange, tutting as she goes. 

She opens the windows slightly, unsure really of what she will be woken up to during the night or in the morning but for now the peacefulness is as welcome as the breeze of fresh air filling the room.

Everything else is dark and quiet. 

The light coming through the curtains from street lights, the noise of distant cars, reminding her that outside of these walls life is there. And she isn't alone. 
No matter how much she feels it. 
She isn't alone. 

After a while of feeling so sure and confident of herself she all of a sudden feels so overwhelmed. 
Consumed in thoughts of self doubt and "Why am I here?" "What am I doing?" and a resentment of "Why can't you see what I am capable of?" "Why can't you appreciate all I have to give?".

She looked in the bathroom mirror. The reflection of numerous tattoos, long black claw-like pointed fingernails, dark hair. A chubby girl. She liked it. She was happy (would rather not be chubby but she made herself this way and accepts it)
This is the shell. And as life goes on she isn't sure what this shell is supposed to look like. 
How it is supposed to be dressed. The colours it wears. The type of nails. The length of the hair. 
She has days when she can see herself and feel so content with "this is who I am!" but the echoes of previous voices of others and the words she has told and still tells herself make her crash down with self doubt. 
She looked again in the mirror. Wondering if the reflection of numerous tattoos, long black claw-like pointed fingernails, dark hair, is what holds her back. 

"Do other people not like this?" "What are they thinking of me?" 

Her only "friends" are work colleagues or her cats. And even then, she questions what they think about her and her worth (other than the cats. The cats definitely love her). 
She leaves work and goes home, exhausted by how much she analyses how someone looked at her, spoke to her. Their body language. "What are they thinking of me?!"

And hiding away feels like the only option. Be alone. Be away from everyone. That way. You won't feel those things. 

But loneliness becomes too much sometimes. 

She welcomes the gap in the curtains. The slightly open window. 
Her reminder that outside those walls. The world is continuing. 
As she will too.



She Breaks

She laid on her bed. The light off. The evening darkness rolling in, the only light coming from the opening in her curtains.
She listened to the cars outside. To the rain hitting the window.
She looked out at the glittering light bouncing on the raindrops resting against the glass.

She hadn't felt like this for a while.
Like she doesn't know who she is.

Only this afternoon was she thinking how badass she felt and how for the first time in so long she felt as though she could achieve anything. Like all the plates were spinning in time.
Confident in everything she does. Confident in her full control in every area of her life.
Confident in her choices.


2019: The Third Quarter Review

As we now head, far too quickly for my liking, into the final quarter of the year it's my chance to look over the third quarter.

It's not been the best. It's not been the worst either but there are moments I am trying quickly to forget and to not let consume my life for much longer.
I did a 2 part course at work which was really helpful for part 1 but part 2 was fantastic in terms of helping me with where I need to focus and where I need to look at, address and cope with past situations. To strip them apart and to realise that they have no part to play in my life as they were due to other peoples actions and not mine.
My mental health has really suffered the last 3 months and I can't let it control my life for much longer.

There have been good moments. Really good moments.
I've made some fantastic friends through work, a couple who are local and one who lives almost 3 and a half hours away. I always find it funny how you can meet people and just go "You! I like you!", or to know that there is a reason they are in your life and that they have some kind of part to play. I like to believe that anyway.

So the other good moments.
I've made a lot of lovely memories with the boys which this year I've really felt is a big part of my purpose.
We went to a trampoline park for Harry's birthday, we went to Snetterton twice; once to watch British Superbikes and the second time to watch Truck Racing, we went to Las Iguanas for a meal and then went to the cinema to watch Toy Story 4. Charles had his first sleepover so Harry and I went to the Owl Sanctuary. We marched at Norwich Pride to represent Wickes, went also went to Norwich on the train a few weeks later with one of my best friends and his husband for a meal and a walk around the shops. We played in the garden (paddling pool summer!!), walked in the woods, had a beach day with Hayley and her two children, had a day at Bewilderwood, went to Bristol, and Wales.

I've definitely felt a bit unsettled really due to my job. My temporary placement is coming to an end however is also partly being extended meaning that actually I work for two departments in the company and have two bosses. It's nice to feel wanted and trusted but I think it might take a week or so to adjust.

In terms of dating, because I want to look back on this one day and have it noted, I've been on one date and that's it. For the first time in a long time I am almost completely ok with being single. But not "single and ready to mingle" but more "single and back off!!!". I'm not emotionally, mentally or physically (in terms of how I view myself and my looks and body) ready or willing to put myself out there for anyone.
I have a lot of work to do to be happy enough with myself to let someone in.
I'm not saying that I would completely rule out dating or anyone at the moment but it's one if those "if someone turns up then ok".
I'm happy to live by the quote "Sometimes what you're looking for comes when you're not looking at all".

My career has played a big part in my life the past 3 months but also, so has down time. I'm recognising when I need time to just forget it all and relax, have fun and be in the moment.
I've started to read again and managed 6 books in 3 months which for me, isn't bad at all!
And managed a trip to the cinema to see IT: Chapter 2 which I absolutely loved.

It's been really nice to have things to look forward to as well really.
So far for the rest of the year I have a theatre show, James Arthur concert, Dermot Kennedy concert,  hoping to fit in a trip to Milton Keynes to see Hayley and the children also, as well as a car race and fireworks at Snetterton, various other fireworks displays, and then whatever Christmas holds!

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