You Can’t Have Us Both

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“I’m keeping my guard up, because you let me down. But you can’t blame that I wasn’t always around. I’m keeping my guard up, because you were the one to run away…”  – Ziggy Alberts

I’m here, thinking about you always. You drive me absolutely wild. I hate you, at the same time. Our relationship is so fragile, I am so fragile. Still… It’s been four months now and I’m here being me, being the person I aspire to be, and want to be; I’m here and I’m only going onwards. You don’t get to come back in. You don’t. You don’t. Stay away.

Go and be with her – with anyone else, if you want to. I will be here for you always, but you can’t have it both. I don’t trust you not to hurt me again. I still hurt by not having your love. I was in such a good place before you interrupted me again. Stay out. Go away. You can’t message us both.

I’m keeping my guard up because you still drive me wild.

I’ll be here when you’re ready.

 

 

Children of Trouble

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The way you looked at me with your big eyes filled with fear. The way you looked at me filled with joy. You are only small and you have so much behind you already. The depth of your eyes shows the knowledge beyond your years. You stand there with your heavy worry, snacking on a giant feast. How do you see the world? Why do you see bears? What is your story?

You make me feel like you’re the only thing that matters – the you’s of the world are the most precious things. You could be brilliant – the best and the most – if we can support you to flourish. Your innocence is scary but your weight is heavy. You know so much but so little at the same time. What will you become? Will I be here to see it? Will you be jailed for your anger or institutionalised for your obsession and your difference? How can I stop it? That is my role, isn’t it?

Who are we to judge how you should behave. Einstein was a lost boy but now he’s a hero. Hawkins is a genius but he was not “normal”. These, you, are the greatest beings, they could be at least.

Your beauty is paralysing as I watch you be precarious but proud. Your nature is soft but your mind is complex. What do you say, sir? Let’s see what else is behind those thick and velvet curtains. Let’s see what else has not yet escaped from that marvellous mind of yours. Let’s go.

Happy Birthday

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Happy birthday beautiful!

I wish so much I could click my fingers, open my eyes and be with you. With the winter behind us and the arrival of spring we could find a nice spot in the park where the sun falls softly on us and the first blue bells in the grass.

Reminiscing of past adventures we realise turning one year older isn’t all that bad. Another year with love and friendship like ours is plenty of reason to celebrate. Like any good adventure story there’s triumph’s and falls, heroes and villains, romance and heartbreak. Let your new chapter begin! I believe the best is yet to come.

On this birthday may you feel steadiness in the waves of life and comfort in your spirit knowing Jesus loves you and so do I.

I look forward to the day we sit on the grass for real. That thought alone fills me with joy.

You’re a treasure.

Thank you for being you and giving all you have.

Enjoy your day. Your birthday!

I Am Nothing But Something To You

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I am nothing to you until I have children. Sometimes you make me feel like a chore. Is this the world you want for me? No wonder I could feel objectified, because that’s how you are with me. Cart me round in your fantasy but without actually seeing me. You know very little about who I am, how fragile I can be. You don’t see it, all you see is your own views of me.

You don’t encourage me when I tell you I want to do something big, you tell me it’s a lot of work and money. Yet, if my brother or boyfriend want to, then they get your support? Why? Because all you want me to do is have children so that you can be a grandma and tell all your friends that your story is complete. Well guess what? Fuck your fantasies and start listening to me, to mine.

Dare I dream of a world where I can come run crying to you, for that would be a killing hope. I learnt very young that you don’t know how to hold me. You wonder how I can be so dismissive towards you – it’s because you were to me. Where do you think I learnt it? Children don’t just imagine up dismissive behaviour, they learn it. It’s taken me years to listen to my body and understand why I felt this way towards you, and why it’s not my fault, and why I shouldn’t carry around guilt for feeling it. Now I see it so clearly that it’s always been this way, and it’s not me exaggerating. I am an adult and you can still affect me with your ways. I am an adult, trying to be somebody, and you can still make me feel like I’m just some thing.

You must be deeply unhappy under all of that, even though you won’t be aware; masked it for so many years. I was. I did. Another thing you taught me – how to search for happiness in all the wrong places. I can’t blame you for that part I guess, since you don’t know the answers. But you should still see me, care for me, show love for me. Listen to me, listen to what I tell you, show you, feel.

Well that part is over now, because you have lost your hope. You’ve confirmed for me that it is how it is for a reason, but it can’t be any other way. The difference now is that I can see it. I can see through all of it, and I just need to accept it and find ways to manage it. You.

I am more than what you make me, and I’ll be more than you could dream for me too.

 

 

My Struggle Within

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What did I do to deserve this? What did I do to make you not love me anymore? Why don’t you care? How could you abandon me?

These are the questions that I ask myself all day long, but the truth is I didn’t do anything, you never loved me – not really. I was never good enough for you, I was too independent for your liking. I reminded you too much of yourself and you didn’t like that. And when I started to want a life outside of you and your husband, that was the last straw for you. That’s when you both let the façade fall, so slowly at first that I didn’t notice and then you let it go entirely and we’ve ended up here.

At first, I was lost and confused – and in a way I still am – I couldn’t understand why you abandoned me, what I had done to drive you to make such a decision. I sunk further into the darkness that I had only just begun to dig myself out of.

But then I realised that it wasn’t me. It was all you. You’re the one who can’t get over past events, you’re the one who called me my father’s daughter in an attempt to wound me. But it only stoked the fire of independence burning inside of me.

I began to wonder how dare you do this to me? All I ever did was try to make you happy, my life revolved around you for 16 years. Now I see that was a waste of my time, I should have put my energy to better use. I shouldn’t have this many regrets at this stage in my life, after all, I was only a child back then – I wasn’t to know any better.

For so long I’ve blamed myself, wondered if I could have done something differently to make you stay, wondered what I did wrong, wondered what it was about myself that made you leave. But I’ve come to realise that it’s not me at all, it’s you. It always has been, right from the start.

You’ve systematically tried to separate me from the family, you’ve even turned my own brother against me. But what you don’t realise is that you’ve alienated everyone else in the process. You tried to isolate me and only succeeded in pushing me towards the people who really care about me.

And yeah, I’m lonely and struggling but I won’t let you win – because I’m a survivor.

A Letter to My Younger Self

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You’ll grow up in the bosom of your mum’s affection.

Enjoy it, it will be a secure attachment for the next 30 years and beyond.

Your Dad will change from a gentle giant to a demanding disciplinarian. He’ll make you work hard and will have a cruel streak. He’ll expect high standards and offer little praise.

Don’t fret. His behaviour is not to do with you, it’s to do with issues arising from his own childhood, far deeper than anything you’ll have to confront in your life. Soon, you’ll be bigger than him, physically and emotionally. He’ll become inconsequential and when the time is right you’ll cut him loose. There’ll be an unexpected bonus from your Dads ways. The working world will be easy. You’ll wonder how you can get paid for what is a fraction of the effort required to work with your Dad. This work ethic combined with your mum’s emotional intelligence will serve you well.

You’ll be soft and compassionate by nature, like your mum. This will make life at school difficult, particularly primary and early secondary school. You won’t understand aggression and will be forced to tolerate it, until you can figure out what to do about it. Your gentle nature will also make you sensitive to your Dads behaviour. It will cause you to over-invest in friends who won’t invest in you. It will cause you to treat women with tenderness and respect but they won’t always see the value in that until much later.

You don’t realise it now but this is your greatest strength. Later in life, it will enable you to form many a loving relationship, mentor people to great feats and be a leader in almost every domain of your life. You’ll come to realise that strong is sensitive. You’ll learn to spread your compassion a little more wisely. There is only so much to go around, so you’ll learn to protect yourself a little better. Your relationship with women will change. They will come to notice your strength and sensitivity. This brings responsibility. They will be drawn to you in a way you are not drawn to them, be gentle with their hearts because one day you’ll wish someone was more careful with yours.

You’ll love sport. Rugby, gaelic football but in particular soccer. You’ll be of average talent. You’ll lack the aggression required for rugby and the skills needed to guarantee your place on the soccer field. This will play on your mind. It will be added to by puberty. No matter how many sit ups you do in your bedroom you cannot fight biology and so, until you grow tall, you’ll remain chubby as your Dad will remind you. This uncertainty about your athletic identity will be compounded by a younger brother full of the talent and aggression required for sporting prowess.

Your early days on the sporting field will be difficult but your love of sport will sustain you for the rest of your days. You and your friends will follow your sports teams around the globe. You too will become an athlete. In the autumn of 2003, with your mum’s encouragement you’ll go for a run with an athletics club. The main thoughts occupying your mind will be ‘how to keep up and not be embarrassed’. What you don’t realise is that this will be the first day of the rest of your life. You’ll become an athlete in a sport where your work ethic is rewarded. You’ll suffer many injuries but your perseverance will pay off. You’ll meet a mentor, an older man, who will become one of your best friends. He will be the first man in your life to tell you that anything is possible. You’ll believe him and with every step you run your confidence will soar. You’ll make a career in sport and understanding all there is to know about it. At times you will feel as though you are living your dream – you are, well done my resilient friend, well done.

In your late teens and early twenties, you’ll still feel a little at odds with the world. You’ll struggle when not surrounded by your tribe of hard working athletic friends. Working abroad you’ll wonder why you don’t want to go the pub with everyone else, every weekend. You’ll wish you could fit in a bit better but at the same time you’ll always feel compelled to choose the alternative path of your interests.

You are right and they are lost. They appear certain by the strength of their numbers. In reality, they crave, at least subconsciously, your hobbies, interests and passions. These aspects of your life are what keep you physically and mentally sharp. It’s hard being the odd one out but on a Sunday morning, look at yourself and look at them. I know which one you and they would rather be. Hold tight, being the odd one out is what will make you a great leader. Remember, although you see things clearly, they cannot, so be gentle. Give more and expect less of them and your friends. They have not yet had your good fortune.

You, your mum and your brother will become the 3 best friends that anyone could ever have and by the way, eventually those sit-ups will give you a six pack.

Aren’t you the lucky one – enjoy the rest.

This article has been published as over five hundred words, only because the author is exceptional.

I am

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I am fragile but can be brash. I am sensitive but I confront. I am a product of excusing laziness. I have ambitious dreams but don’t attempt them. I am fearful of failure but fearless of pain. I compare myself to others. I feel the emotional weight from others. I have to put in effort to not be running late. I am loyal until you betray me. I am compassionate until I drink too much. I am thoughtful. I am scared. I enjoy luxury but I enjoy the small things more. I forgot that I like achievement. I forgot to try. I forgot about the small things. I forgot to have restrictions. I forgot to question. I forgot to answer. I forgot to challenge.

I forgot to dream.

 

Absent Parenting

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How would you know that I hadn’t been well? How would you know I am good at what I do? How would you know what my drink of choice is? How would you know I love swimming in the sea? How would you know I don’t like sand? How would you know you don’t need to worry about bailing me out? How would you know how adventurous I am? How would you know I can stand up for myself if I need to? How would you know that I can read social cues and not force myself on people? How would you know that people actually want me around? How would you know that I am the happiest I have ever been? How would you know how low I was before? How would you know that I asked for guidance to let you go? How would you know that I was always convinced I wasn’t part of you? How would you know I’ve never felt loved by you? How would you know the hardest bits that I have endured? How would you know what a rainbow of people I have in my life? How would you know I am not embarrassed by the things you are? How would you know I was brave enough to make this move? How would you know that I had saved and planned hard for this chapter?

How would you know all of these things?

For you have never asked. You have never listened. You have never shown interest. You have never shown you care or made me feel loved.

My doubts are born from you, all my niggles and hang-ups are from your voice over my shoulder. I’ve been scared, I’ve skirted along the bottom, I’ve stared the worst in the face. Life is beautiful, exciting, challenging, terrifying, the biggest lesson of all – each and every day. But it has to be lived, because it is fleeting and can be over in a flash. It must be savoured and every day you must find joy in something – whether that is a nice chat, a free parking space or a new little flower in bloom. For you are missing out on all of this, so coiled you are in your worries, fears and judgements.

Please don’t bother trying now; what you have to offer isn’t what I need and what I needed from you once upon a time, I no longer need. You don’t have it, I found it elsewhere. The most wonderful bunch of humans I love dearly have each offered me a puzzle piece, which put together fills the void you should have once stood in. You have missed out on so much; I am pretty decent, yet you have always focused on my failings or the worse-case scenario. I am exhausted by you, by thinking about you; you drain the life out of me. I don’t want to see you. I wish you well, I want you to find your own happiness.