Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Independence Day (warning - this is a long one...)

Ladies and gentlemen, today is Independence Day and I have officially been single for exactly one year. As break-up dates go it was a pretty good one to pick! This evening I’m having a girly pasta and pampering session with the lovely Juicy (a sober celebration, how bizarre) so I’m writing this on Sunday night having spent a rather mad half hour planning my future travels and working out that I need to save absurd amounts of money in absurd amounts of time. But more on that later.

I vividly remember where I was this time last year. I’d gone back to work after tour and had a stressful hectic day catching up on stuff that I thought other people would have done in my absence, but they hadn’t. Tour had been…not the best, and everything was still feeling really weird and very very fragile. I cooked dinner (I even remember what I made!) and we ate on the sofa as usual, and I mentioned that my manager had suggested I should take a CIPD course which would mean staying in the same job for the next few years, and I wanted some advice. This talk of the future appeared to be the final straw, and the deed was finally done, just after the washing up. Having fought so hard with every weapon I possessed (not literally unfortunately) the previous week, I had absolutely nothing left, so I spent the evening in hysterical crying fits the like of which I didn’t think were possible, alternating between lying face down on my bed and face up on the sofa. Every time I allowed myself to think about the possibility that it might really be over I went into another bout of hysterics, so instead I concentrated on thinking about the fact (and it was an absolute fact at that point) that my life was over, I had nothing left to do with my days, I had no future and I would spend every day existing but no longer living. Surprisingly, this didn’t make me any more cheerful. :o)

The next day Juicy came round with a large bar of Dairy Milk and a loo roll (substitute for tissues!) and then my mum arrived, having driven down from her dad’s house in Lancashire, and we spent the day doing bizarrely normal things that I haven’t done before or since, like walking to Homebase and spending ages in the pets section looking at the hamsters and guinea pigs. Weird. I spent the whole day in a state of denial and refusing to cry in front of anyone, and as soon as mum had gone I just sobbed and sobbed, which felt much better for a brief moment. I can safely say that those 2 days were the worst of my life. I spent the next week waking up and seeing the world in black – this was the strangest thing, as usually I wake up and wonder what the day will bring, but now I was doing the cliché of not remembering for a split second, and then feeling life falling in on me. It’s the only time in my life I haven’t been able to think of a single positive.

And then things got better. I had the rest of the week off work, and went to look at houses on Thursday and Friday because I knew I had to get on with things, and even if I was going to be depressed forever I had to have somewhere to live. From that point it took 5 months and one week to get over it, and I vividly remember the point when that happened – it was a Tuesday in December and I was on the number 12 going through Kenilworth in the dark on the way home. It literally felt like a great weight had been lifted off, and when I got off the bus in Leam I floated home with wings on my heels.

Far from being over, in the past year my life has been amazing. I’ve moved house and discovered that I can manage my own home, write my own budget and pay my own bills. I’ve got a new job that I love and that gives me career prospects and ideas for the future. I’ve been on four dates of which three weren’t total disasters, and I’ve remembered how much fun it is to find men attractive and have them fancy me. I’ve been speed dating! I’ve had crazy cocktail-fuelled nights out and hilarious cocktail-fuelled nights in (spotting a theme here?). I’ve been drunk more times than I care to remember and have learned some life lessons – chief among these being that it’s unwise to drink so much wine that you fall asleep in a pub and subsequently fall asleep again at your own party. I’ve proceeded to totally forget these lessons and been forced to learn them again with the very important addition that wine should not be mixed with port and vodka, and that one should never EVER throw up in a tent. I’ve spent cosy nights in feeling totally content, and I’ve spent nights out feeling so happy that I thought I’d explode. And I’ve got albums of photos to remind me of the brilliant year that has been 2005/06.

The most important thing that I’ve learned, however, is that I have the most fantastic friends in the world. I really didn’t know this before, and I’m so grateful that the people who I thought would be nice were actually brilliant, and that people I totally didn’t expect to help were so quick to offer nights out and advice. I really don’t want to go through thanking everyone in the manner of the Oscars because it would be cheesier than this already is and would make it even longer, but you all know who you are and you’re all brilliant. Without my friends I’d still be sitting in a little tearful heap knowing that my life was over, but with them I’m happy and looking forward to the future.

And as for the future…well tonight I started planning to go traveling which is something I’ve decided I definitely want to do. It’s going to require an awful lot of saving and I’m still unclear as to how I’m going to manage it, but another thing I’ve learned is that if I want something it’s up to me to make it happen so that’s what I’m going to do. I’m such a shy person and I’ve sworn for years that I won’t go out of the country unless I’m with someone, so my round-the-world ideas had been put on the back burner until I found a man to go with. However, there’s no guarantee that that’s going to happen, so why should I shelve my dreams when I’m perfectly capable of making them come true on my own? As I wrote at the beginning of my planning, “this bitch ain’t hanging around for no man” – I think I was in an over-excitable state at that point and feeling strangely drunk despite having not drunk anything, but you get the general idea. I’m planning and I’m dreaming, and although I have very little control over getting the thing I want most, I’m going to make damn sure I get everything else. My little fantasy about proposals on Sydney Harbour Bridge might never happen, but that doesn’t mean I can’t go and appreciate the view!

Apologies for the length of this ramble. If you got this far I’m quite frankly amazed! I hope it’s been suitably cheesy and over-emotional as we’ve come to expect from this blog. I’m off to attempt to de-stickify after this immensely hot day. Open day tomorrow...

10 comments:

Juicy the emotional said...

It wasn't cheesy! (unlike my crisps which most definately are, and are a poor substitute for breakfast). Brought a tear to my eye that did. I'm so proud of you for being so brave and strong and doing so amazingly well this year. It's all been down to your determination to not only survive, but suceed in all you do. Here's to the future and all the challenges and excitement it will bring!!

Julia said...

Me too! Go Sarah! You rule!

Sarah said...

Thanks girlies! You both rule too. Ooh and Julia, I must apologise for crying all over you in the Leamington branch of Spoons last year! Not quite the most embarrassing thing I've ever done in a pub but it comes pretty close...

Jess Hood said...

Sarah, you are so Bridget Jones!

Good luck with the travel plans! I traveled around America by myself and had an absolute blast. It gives you complete freedom to do whatever you want. I discovered so much just be wandering aimlessly lost in thoughts, which you just can't do with someone else there.

Sarah said...

Thanks Jess, that's good to know. Ooh, and if I'm Bridget does that mean I get Mr Darcy? Yum.

Em said...

Hey...as we say amongst my girlfriends: We wait for no man, and you Man are no exception!

Good for you on getting over him...and for getting out into the world--especially if it's a world that involves really, really long plane rides!

Juicy said...

mmmm Darcy.

Sarah said...

Mmmm indeed. Sadly, I expect that only happens in Jane Austen/Helen Fielding novels and the crime fiction of Dr Slackenbacker. Ah well.

Lu said...

We can still dream though!

Sarah, you are a living legend and a true inspiration. If anyone can pull of the dream of going travelling, it's you. Kudos (I love that word!) to you for coming so far in the past year and for being an incredible independant woman, you really are amazing!

Gushing over. And no, it wasn't too sentimental, just very true to life!

Sarah said...

Thankyou ladies all. Bizarrely, I read this at work and noticed that it's pasted all funny in Internet Explorer. Looks fine in Mozilla though. Apologies to all those of you who are still using the evil Microsoft browser!