Do you believe everything happens for a reason or that your life is just a series of random choices and decisions that just happened to coincide at that exact moment?
I’ve always chosen to believe life events DO happen for a reason. It’s helped me through a lot of crap to tell myself that, and it’s something I keep telling myself in times of hardship.
It’s now been six months since I came home from Australia – and we all know exactly how the world has been turned upside down since then. Truth is, I didn’t actually need to come home. I was living in Australia – Melbourne to be precise – and I could have created a life for myself there. I didn’t actually love Australia – it was too similar to London and quadruple the price – and so I’d booked tickets to visit my family for my mum’s birthday in March. After this, I was going to visit (as we know) Argentinian ex lover re. Twatface in Argentina and then return to OZ. Well, in the short amount of time I was home, the virus made its mark, people my family knew died of the illness, life stopped moving, Argentinian ex lover re. Tw*tface reiterated why trust is seemingly impossible to give and receive and broke up with me out of nowhere, and the borders in Australia shut. I am now living in a situation I believe I physically tried to avoid by backpacking the world. The added cherry on top of that sh*tshow cake, is that I’m trying to balance living my life normally, with the exception of not bringing a virus back to my Dad. I can tell you, it’s really difficult, so today I needed to have a bit of a cry. Then I needed to exercise. THEN I needed to list out the negatives and try to put a positive spin on it – so here goes.
Returning home reminds me my life is different
Negative: My life has been different to other lives from the age of 14 years old when I became a young carer for my Dad who suffers from Multiple Sclerosis. Multiple Sclerosis is an illness affecting the nervous system – my Dad’s lower body is paralysed. This is something I’ve always struggled to accept. I know I’ve always been older than my years, mature from a young age, but it doesn’t make the situation less painful. I guess when I was backpacking, and able to leave that behind me in a box titled “Things I don’t need to worry about” I felt free. I felt like anyone else, with smelly clothes, a carefree complex and a realisation that this is where I should be. I didn’t need to worry – because that was behind me and I was living my life. Returning and getting stuck during a pandemic, reminds me I’m living with someone vulnerable – so you know, nothing like coming back with a BANG.
Positive: I’m not stupid. I know that this type of situation I’ve lived with can only be healed with therapy. Growing up with a parent you love who’s disabled is gut wrenching – and you can live with it for years, but it doesn’t mean it gets easier. I had a year and a half of travelling that gave me the space to realise I needed to speak to someone about it. Lockdown, therefore, is giving me the opportunity to work on it.
Romance on the rocks
Negative: Kinda like Disaronno on the rocks but a lot less fun and definitely not amaretto-tasting. I’m single and on dating apps like most young people. Dating apps are fun, I guess. It’s like being in a candy shop (who am I, American?) and being able to choose any chocolate bar available. The problem with this though, is just because you’re in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory (mind the pun) doesn’t mean every chocolate bar is going to be sweet and nice. I’ve learnt from my fair share of useless romances what is good for me and what is not good for me. I’ve realised I have a fantastic ability to source the very red flags who are absolutely useless for my self esteem and confidence. These red flags walk around London with their penis located firmly on their head like a rotating blue and red LED police car beacon, letting off a really annoying siren when they find ANY attractive woman – leaving you feeling like you’re just on some vagina conveyor belt. As much as I’m not looking for a relationship right now, that’s a pretty hard thing to just accept and be 100% cool-as-a-cucumber fine with. But that’s modern day dating right?
Here’s another thing – I’m dating during a pandemic, and I’m living with someone who’s vulnerable. That’s difficult for me to accept – why? Well, because it means if there’s any chance I’m going to be attracted to this person, I’m going to need them to take a test so I don’t risk anything. Although some people have accepted this, I’m aware that those who just see me in the line of the many women they can tap won’t be bothered and will cast you aside easily for the next, as soon as I even mention it. That makes it quite difficult for me to a) not get embarrassed over my home situation and b) remember my worth. It’s difficult to not feel hurt when your possible date casts you aside for something that is really quite personal to you. It makes me not feel good enough and embarrassed I’ve even asked.
Positive: I guess everything happens for a reason right? I personally prefer meeting guys through other people, they usually turn out to be a lot more real, but what can ya do. I can’t help my life or what’s happened in it. I can’t help that returning from travelling means I’m skint as hell and I can’t afford to move out – which in turn means I need to be selfless and think of someone more vulnerable. If I want to try and live my life as normal as I can – as a 27-year old woman who wants to date and meet people – then I have to live up to the realism that this IS my life – and it’s different to others. I hate the fact I need to ask, but if I get on with someone, whether they are a penis siren head or not, and they can’t be bothered to get a test – or just drop me like a sack of sh*t because of it – I can’t help that. That’s not my problem – it just means they weren’t right for me, and I can source my fun and good times elsewhere. Ultimately, I know there’s a billion girls on these apps, and I’m one of them. There’s loads that will happily meet you, Hinge or Bumble man reading, who don’t need you to get a test beforehand – but I’m not one of them. If that puts someone off or they feel like they can’t be assed (despite the fact, that I’m funny and a great time) then that’s their loss, and I deserve someone who can understand that, rather than make me feel like rubbish because of it.
Job security – and lack of
Negative: Well, let’s not beat around the bush here – this has been a sh*tshow for a ton of people. Loss jobs, flailing travel and hospitality industries trying to get money back in – it’s been tough on everyone in some way shape or form. When I was travelling, I was ecstatic that I’d fallen into a writing career. There also didn’t feel much pressure with it – it was relaxed and I didn’t need to think at that point about income. That changed as soon as I came back home – where I had a ton of thinking time and space to compare my life to those around me. Here I am, a writer at the beginning of (hopefully) a long career and I’m surrounded by those with stable jobs, great income and a path to follow – and I can’t afford to move out. OH GREAT. So, what does this mean?? Does this mean I’ll be alone living with my parents until I’m 75? Does this mean I’ll be on a diet of bread (gluten free) and butter (or dairy free margarine ‘cos #intolerance) because I can’t afford anything else? I can just picture myself, living with my four dogs with my parents, the pandemic still continuing until I’m middle aged, still having to ask people to get a test before they see me. OH WHAT A LIFE.
Positive: Okay, so for the first time – possibly in my entire life – I’ve found something I LOVE, and how great is that?! For the FIRST time, I feel confident in what I’m doing – and I know I’m not too shabby at it either. I love writing, I love telling stories and connecting deeply with people I don’t know through a pen and paper (or fingers, a useless Google Chromebook and Google Docs, but same same). I’ve now got the time to brainstorm, pitch ideas, write and create – and for now, not need to worry – because I believe bigger and better things are on the horizon. It’s just about committing to it and continuing with an open mind.
SO – to summarise.
I wanted to get my thoughts in order – because it’s when I don’t get them in order that they become all consuming over things that in reality, don’t matter and aren’t so important. I think it’s easy for me to judge and overthink my situation. I think it’s easy to compare my life to those that are seemingly more “normal” – lives that don’t involve worrying about, jobs, income or asking random dating app people to get a test before meeting. It can make me not feel good enough, embarrassed and not worthy. But if there’s anything that travelling around the world SOLO taught me – is that I AM bloody worthy dammit. I’m worthy of great achievements with my writing and of possible date-ees getting a damn COVID test before we can wine and dine and obviously get on like a HOUSE ON FIRE. I know my life is different to others, but those who want to be in it will, and those who won’t won’t, and it’s as simple as that. It’s just about knowing which negative thoughts to not let infiltrate and which people to let go.