So here we are, almost at the end of another year. Once again, I’ve been lax where my blog is concerned and the guilt has overwhelmed me, as it tends to once a year. If I’m honest, it’s more to do with craving the catharsis that comes from writing your feelings down. I haven’t felt the need to do that for a while but that’s changed this past week. It’s also been a year of many firsts for me, so I thought I’d share that with you.
This was the year I discovered I am capable of liking sport. A year ago, I’d have laughed in your face, hard, if you’d suggested such a thing to me. Sport and I are not friends. Grown men kicking a ball and occasionally each other, is of no interest to me. I don’t fancy footballers (Beckham aside, I’m only human) and I’m not remotely interested in WAGS. Big England matches aside, I’m quite happy to ignore the whole thing. My main problem with sport? It’s physical and it’s no fun for anyone interested in it, to have to put up with me interjecting every 10 seconds with “But why don’t they just have a drink and eat cake instead?” Yes, I realise football isn’t the only sport, but being British, you do occasionally forget that. So when the Olympic season was about to begin, I was less than thrilled. I moaned and moaned and moaned for England (sadly, moaning, not a sport!) about the transport problems this would cause. I work in the city and I dreaded what this would mean for my daily commute from northwest London.
Then the torch relay started, and I was IN. I lined the streets with every other Brit to watch. I cried at the opening ceremony. I cried at the closing ceremony. I cried at the winner’s parade. I cried A LOT this Summer, but they were happy tears. Londoners talked to each other. We smiled. I repeat, we SMILED at each other. London was suddenly sexy and it was having a strange effect on me. Which brings me to the old feelings.
The Olympics made me feel, how do I put this delicately?….it made me fancy everyone. I wasn’t alone. Around this time, I started talking to a few girls on twitter who appeared to be like minded and fun and feeling the Olympic love like myself. Together, we discovered that we were finding the Olympics somewhat of an aphrodisiac and it was bloody good.
Now if you know me well, either in real life or on twitter, you’ll know that after a particularly difficult relationship a few years ago, I was off men. Completely. I didn’t hate them, I didn’t think they were all bastards, I just hadn’t fancied anyone for a long time. So long in fact, that I genuinely thought I might have lost the ability to. After hours spent moaning (still not a sport) about embracing a life of lesbianism (wishful thinking), I had pretty much given up. So this came as a HUGE surprise. Suddenly, I fancied men again. I fancied the athletes, (both male and female if I’m honest,) I developed my first ever twitter crush on someone I hardly ever spoke to. Someone entirely unsuitable I might add. But I’ve always loved the Summer and have always found it romantic and the combination of that and the sexy Olympics pushed me over the edge. I’d been on twitter for over 2 years at this stage and this was a first. I didn’t understand twitter crushes. It felt odd.
I feel with my heart, but I think with my head and I knew that the completely unsuitable twitter crush wasn’t going to last and the boy was bad news. So after a few weeks of flirting and texting, I decided to take a twitter break and knock some sense into myself. Around this time, I met a guy at work. He was new and I’m nothing if not welcoming, (ahem) so I took it upon myself to do some introductions and help him settle in. We hit it off well and went on a few nights out together. Nothing happened, we were just friends, but again, I could see myself liking him. Something that had been missing for years. Unfortunately, as is normal in my experience, he suddenly changed on me. We’d be fine one day, the next he’d come in and ignore me completely. It’d bother me until lunchtime, when he’d appear out of nowhere, place a muffin and coffee on my desk without a word, and disappear again. I asked him what was wrong countless times, but he’d insist nothing was, but aside from the occasional bit of small talk, he just wouldn’t talk to me like before. I tried for weeks to find out what had happened and eventually gave up. It hurt to lose someone I considered a friend, but I can’t handle it when people play games and I asked him to stop with the presents, just be civil at work and that was as far as it would go.
By now, I had started to remember all the reasons why I hadn’t missed the dating game. It’s not easy today, to get through the ‘getting to know someone’ part without game playing. I don’t do it. I never have. But it all come back to me. How someone would text you, then not reply to you for X amount of time. How you’d give a guy your number and he couldn’t just call you when he wanted to because there were ‘Rules.’ I longed to have been born in an era when the rules didn’t apply. Where it wasn’t acceptable that a guy could keep calling and texting you all the time, but the minute a girl did the same, they backed off. Where you could just be honest and people said how they felt. Where it wasn’t all about pride and everything wasn’t on their terms. Where honesty meant something. Where people apologised when they did something wrong, without it being forced out of them. I longed for old fashionedness, but that’s just making up words.
Having said that, there was also a certain amount of relief in knowing that I wasn’t completely dead inside. That there wasn’t something wrong with me. It didn’t take much to figure out that the reason I hadn’t felt this way for a while was probably down to self preservation. Bearing this in mind, I decided not to take anything too seriously and indulged in a bit of harmless flirtation, both in real life and on twitter. It’s strange but up until this year, I’d never exchanged numbers with anyone on twitter. I had never joined it to make real friends. It was an escape from real life where I could offload and have a laugh.
Over the course of the year, I formed some great friendships with a few of my twitter friends and even went to my first tweet up with 3 other brilliant girls. I had only ever met one person before, a very kind author friend who invited me to a musical she had written and her husband had composed last year and I had also bumped into a couple of twitter friends at a Darren Hayes concert I attended in September. This was the first planned tweet up and I enjoyed it immensely, Though as expected, I was a little quiet as I always am with new people. Meeting friends from twitter doesn’t come naturally to me. A few have asked and I’ve always said no. I like to keep my twitter life very much separate from real life because as soon as you get to know someone properly, it brings a whole load of real life problems to the mix. You have to start watching what you say about/around them, and that would negate the whole point of twitter for me. My safe place where I can let off steam and be as sweary and rude (though hopefully not AT people) as I like. This is the reason I deliberately don’t give my twitter username to people I know in person. That would be too ‘real life’ and a lot of the time, twitter is my Narnia.
So finding that I was starting to care about people, really care about them, and not just the ones I’d met, made me panic a little and I took an extended break from twitter. Yes, I ran away for a bit. It’s not a big deal, people do it all the time. Some even announce it. I didn’t, mostly because I thought nobody would really notice. But they did. That didn’t make things any easier. It was just supposed to be a bit of fun. If someone tells you they care about you, they build your expectations. Expectation lead to disappointment, and I had quite happily avoided this complication for quite some time. I wasn’t ready to let go of the comfort that brought. This led to me being distant with some people, ignoring others and at one point, disappearing mid conversation with someone, to my shame. Of course I apologised and I felt more awful about it than they did, but I also figured out something important. People are no different, be it on twitter, facebook or real life. (Though in fairness, facebook is pretty shite and turns us all into idiots.) I just needed to a) Get a grip, b) Stop being the kind of person who would consider posting inspirational quotes on facebook (you have my permission to punch me in the throat if I ever do this and c) Use my common sense.
My foolproof way of working people out is this; pay no attention to what they say. Words are easy. We use them all the time without thinking. Go by what they do. If someone cares about you, they’ll show it, they won’t give up and they won’t forget about you if you disappear for a few days. If someone hates you, their actions will soon make that clear. But mostly, they’re indifferent. Which is just fine by me because it means less thinking. Maybe being dead inside is not such a bad thing after all. Since I’ve worked this out, I’ve been much happier. I even managed to get through Christmas pretty much unscathed. I smiled politely when people said/wrote things I knew they didn’t mean, I drank rather a lot of vodka and I even did some drunk tweeting. I decided to just let things go and if all else fails, there’s this brilliant button on my twitter app that allows you to mute people without offending them. Now if only such an option were available in real life.