Accepting Stories

It no longer surprises me when I meet someone and instantly think “Yep, I want to get to know you better.” It’s also no longer surprising to me how often this happens.

There’s a common saying about luck: luck has to find you before it can bless you. The more chances you give it to find you, the more times it does. The more I actively look for and take chances, the luckier I am.
It doesn’t stop me thinking I’m useless with people and will never get with the sort of people I’m worth.
I’m reading another self-help book, and this one seems decent. It was recommended to me by my counselor. It’s called “The Happiness Trap” and it makes a shit ton of sense.
I won’t go into too much detail – that’s what the book is for – but something that’s resonating with me is the view that our thoughts are just reactions. Our thoughts are just stories and words reacting to the stimulation around us. They are not the truth. They do not predict the future. And they aren’t always helpful.
Because I have the thought that I’m useless with people, I try hard when it comes to people I like. I obsess over their reactions and play with infinite ideas for dates and jokes and sex. It’s all a waste of time and energy.
Because – in all my arrogant humility – I know I’m good. I know I’m worth it. And that’s a helpful thought.
I received a letter from my father the other day. It made me so angry. It took me a while to realise that, actually, it only made me feel so angry. Realising that stole all the energy from my anger and allowed me to look at what was causing it.
This letter is the second time he’s ever told me he’s proud of me.
The first time was at my school’s final ball. At that stage in my life, I didn’t like wearing nice clothes, believed sex was for marriage and thought dancing was stupid. I’d been feeling my then girlfriend’s pussy and arguing with myself whether marriage required a church or not. I was also dressed in the most ludicrously-fitted suit to ever drape a body. I didn’t want to go to the stupid ball and listen to stupid speeches by stupid jocks about the stupid friends they’d made at the stupid school, and I definitely didn’t want to do any stupid dancing: I wanted to stay at the hotel and make out.
My girlfriend decided that sex was only for marriage and vanished herself to the bathroom. My father’s impeccable timing led to him knocking at the door to help me with my tie – school taught me nothing other than how to climb trees.
I was quite distracted. My mind was in a large amount of “what the [non-offensive swear-word]?”. I felt queasy and guilty and lost and horny and my father pulled me into a bear hug and with a tear-filled voice whispered “I’m so proud of you.”
It was about then that I started to realise I didn’t give a fuck.
I didn’t tell him this. I awkwardly hugged him back and said thanks. I noticed he was crying. It was the second time I’d ever seen him cry. The first was when his father died. We’d loaded the wood-shrouded body into the car together. We turned and my gran was stumbling out of the church, her face wrenched into a grimace of grief as the boot door hid her soulmate’s body. I looked at her face through my soaking tears and all I could think was “she looks hilarious.”
I wanted to laugh. I wanted to burst out laughing at the sheer stupidity of it all. Behind me, I heard what sounded like my dad laughing. I turned in horrid wonder, a grin spinning onto my face, but he was crying.
I realise something about my father: to him, family is everything.
It’s not to me.
I hate this seven-page letter. I can’t write anymore.
And that’s not a helpful thought. I wrote everything above five days ago. This post has been sitting on my screen since then, reminding me I need to write. It just hurts so much. So I kept reading the book.
It offered some new ideas.
Driving analogies work best for me.
Taking a corner at speed requires a subliminal balance of traction and angle. The better the angle, the less correction, the less traction needed. The less traction, the less resistance, the higher the speed.
It’s all pointless if you enter the corner backwards.
The state of your car before the corner is vital. It must be steady, balanced, perfectly paced and perfectly lined. The better the entry, the less fiddling in the corner, the faster the exit.
To better myself, I need to accept who I am now. I cannot move through the next corner successfully without being at peace with all the things inside me.
It feels like I came out of the last corner correcting crazily, feet blurring in a panic on unresponsive pedals as I saw at the wheel. I’m still not back in control, I’m still gripless and lost but I have time. The next few corners look simple and unmentionable. I don’t know what comes next, but I have the time to accept me before it comes.

Happy Foots

I went for a walk this morning. It took me and a hot coffee over wet grass to a small bench and – when I looked back – I realised my feet can’t even walk straight.

I like feet. I especially like small feet in high heels with painted nails and the right amount of sensitive spots.
So when I shared a bed with Dutchy and we slept back to back on opposite sides of the bed and she kicked her feet back and tucked them between my legs because “they’re cold” I discovered I was very much awake.
And I really wanted to sleep. I’d had four hours the night before and had to walk two dogs in five hours. So I told her about me “liking” feet. Normally, if I say anything that slightly resembles a move on her, she increases the distance between us tenfold.
This time, she simply responded “Oh. I like that being done to my feet. Now I’m turned on.”
She then insisted on swapping sides of the bed. Which involved climbing over me. Which reminded me that, though she’s not my ideal (her bum’s too small, for one), she’s still incredibly hot.
She curled herself up against the wall, pushed her feet back between my legs and fell asleep in 13 seconds flat.
It took me quite a bit longer.
 I’d already accepted that I’ve fallen in love with her. Not as in “OMG I want to bang you really bad, you’re so hot” but more as in “Let’s go sit on a beach under the stars and cuddle and talk and kiss…and then let’s find a bed and fuck  – hard.”
All of which proves to me that yes, you can fall in love with someone platonically; that yes, love is definitely and inescapably a choice; that yes, it doesn’t need to be acted on; that yes, you can love more than one (or even two) people at the same time.
It also reminded me of all the reasons I don’t like relationships.
There’s a sense of entitlement to a relationship – a sense of ownership. Your actions are no longer your own, decisions are shared. You become “someone-and-Gareth” and refer to yourself as “me-and-someone” and somewhere in that hyphenated world you can lose all sense of who you are.
And that would be ok, if life were simpler. If life was all about getting married and having kids and creating a family and identifying as said family and that was all I-and-whoever wanted and had ever wanted, then losing myself in those hyphens would be perfect.
But if that were me, then I’d probably not be interested in the people I am and I certainly wouldn’t be writing.
It doesn’t matter to me if she loves me back or not.
Because when I woke up in the morning (feet still entwined) the attraction had faded with the alcohol. It’s still there, but it’s not a motivator. I was kind of happy when she left: my space was back.
And though my space is lonely, it’s mine. It’s been damaged and bruised and hurt by the expectations and conditioning of a generalised populace, but it’s still there.
It’s hard to stay in that space though. I keep having thoughts along the lines of “I should totally ask her out.” I can never work out why, though. Why should I ask her out?
And there isn’t a single reason that comes from in me. I don’t even know what answer I’d want from her. It just feels like the norm. “oh look, pretty girl, you like her, ask her out.”
I don’t get the need to add a label. And what I’m slowly realising is that what I have with Dutchy is what I’d like with many people (although, I’d prefer it if sex and lips and tongues and feet slipped into those relations).
She does not make me happy, but I can create happiness with her. Just like I can with Porsches and writing and whisky and math and drifting and books, though to a more complicated degree. And that’s what I want: people with whom I can create happiness – who preferably have sexy feet.

Dream Dates

We cleaned our teeth together. She looked as lovely as ever. Work had been long; I was tired. We were talking, gently and quietly. I think I mentioned Downton Abbey.

She told me how she’d watched it with her other boyfriend the week before. I smiled and asked how that had gone – I knew it wasn’t a show he’d enjoy.

She cleared her mouth of toothpaste and grinned, stretching up. It had been fun, she’d said. She hadn’t seen much of the show.

She went into detail as I finished cleaning my teeth, leaning against the wall in a way that dragged my eyes all over her body. Her smile grew. I approached her as she talked, reaching out for her hips, wanting to pull her to me, wanting to kiss her the way she deserved. She caught my hands and stopped me, licking her lips as she went into extra detail. I matched her smile and pushed through her hands, running my finger under her top, onto the soft skin of her stomach.

Fear shone in her face. She backed away. I stopped, confused. My finger left her skin. The fear disappeared. The desire returned. She carried on talking. I reached out once more.

Again, and again, and again this happened. Acid boiled within my chest, searing to my skin; pain blocking my words and cutting my emotions. The pain was so intense, it woke me up.

It had been a long time since I’d had a dream that odd. Anger, frustration and an overwhelming sense of confusion forced my body completely awake. The scene I’d dreamt was reminiscent of the last nine months – albeit in a condensed situation. There’s only so many times a person you love can tell you you’re attractive whilst not wanting you before you stop believing them.

My counselor’s words were easy to remember: I wasn’t angry; I felt angry. Words I’d read followed simply: “Your emotions are a clue. Witness them, feel them, respond to them, never attach to them.”

I breathed deeply, and tried to analyse what was going on. Obviously, I was still torn up by the complete lack of intimacy with Someone. I was never going to get answers to that. I was surprisingly ok with that.

It showed me my fear: that those I’m attracted to aren’t attracted to me. That everything I have to offer isn’t enough.

It also told me why every time there’s a new person on the scene I try so desperately hard.

And the cool thing is, I don’t have to fix my fears. I’m aware of them, now. There’s a decent part of me that’s rolling on the floor, laughing and saying “well fuck you then if you don’t find me good enough. Your loss.” There’s a more sensible part that realises that’s a cover. That it still will hurt to have my fears realised, but that that’s completely ok – and normal.

Euro Whore

Sitting on the bonnet of Someone’s car, talking to Her like we used to, not even noticing that we’d been there for two hours and She still hadn’t given me the key, I realised something: I’m a complete an utter Eurowhore.

For a good thirty minutes, we spoke about nothing but cars – almost extensively European. We spoke about the Ferrari She’d sat next to in traffic, admiring the way it’s engine note rebounded off the vehicles around Her. Moments later, it drove by us, blinding us with its gorgeous lights. I’ve photographed that car so many times, I’m surprised he still drives by my house.

I told Her about the Rolls Royce Ghost I see at work and the smug driver. We talked about the Mercedes G55 AMG and how sensual that engine sounds, and discussed in detail what straight six turbo could be blasting past my house every afternoon.

I also told Her I still love Her.

I told her about the Danish girl (who’ll get annoyed if I call her Dutch) and how Someone seems almost sane in comparison. She told me about Her new hangout. I got annoyed that She spends time there, but never spent time with me.

She told me She thought She was happier where She is now. I told her I am happier single. I told Her and She told me how nice it was to not say “I’ve just seen such and such and I’m going here now” and we both said how much we missed getting those texts. I told Her I missed Her annoying “Hey hun how is work?” texts and how I checked for them every half an hour. She told me She missed having someone to call at 2 in the morning.

We both agreed we dated too soon. We both agreed breaking up was a good idea. And I think we both cried once we said goodbye.

I told her how drunk I got; She told me how sober She stayed. I told Her how sorry I was for the things I said; She said it’s ok, but She can’t get my voice out of Her head.

I will fall in love again – often, repetitively, with broken European girls. Hopefully, I will grow. Hopefully, I’ll learn to love myself first. To soothe myself first. To not need someone to care for me, but to care for myself.

And I’m going to hold on to Her. Because the fights were epic and the conversations eternal, the sex was magic and the love was open, and there’s a part of me I’m locking away that says “I belong to Someone” and that won’t change.

Murdered Boobs

“You are legally allowed to commit murder once, but you must fill out the proper paperwork and your proposed victim will be notified of your intentions”.

That’s a writing prompt.

I’m a little distracted right now because the girl opposite me just leant forward. Low cut tops are lovely. She’s so engrossed in Law that she hasn’t even – whoops, back to my screen.

The writing prompt.

I saw it on Reddit yesterday and almost spat coffee over my screen. Swallowing helped. It sounded hilarious. There have been some really unusual writing prompts lately (“You live in a world where eating is taboo and sex isn’t”). I’ve considered having a go at some of them but other things always get in the way.

Not last night though.

After reading the prompt, I walked to the bathroom and tripped over the idea, fully forming it before I hit the floor.

God they’re distracting. Every time she moves they jiggle. Words, focus on the words.

I sat down at my laptop and began to type. It came quickly, making me smile.

So many people – on obtaining these writing prompts – immediately presume that because something is legal/not taboo, it means everyone will do it.  I respectfully disagree.  It is (apparently) legal to shoot a Welshman in Chester with a bow and arrow, but that doesn’t mean everybody is doing it.

She scrunched her shoulders. They’re all squished together now. Sometimes, I really love university.

My idea – for my story – was that it was an old and little known law. No one really used it because why would you? This is a government administered programme: it involves paperwork. Paperwork sucks. With the right amount of paperwork (excessive), very few sane people will attempt to commit a legal murder. And when you consider the effort required to perform a murder – in addition to the paperwork – it’s just easier to leave it be.

And then you get the “legal” side of things. If it’s “legal” for you to commit murder, does that mean you must deal with the consequences? Who gets rid of the body? Is there an investigation? Is the deceased covered by their life insurance? Is it legal for someone to stop you? If your victim defends themselves and kills you, are they liable?

She just yawned down her top.

The words kept on flowing. The story grew, detail expanding. What sort of questions will the form ask? Has the perpetrator performed any research? What sort of person is the perpetrator? Why does he want to kill the victim? What impact will it have on the perpetrator? On the victim’s family? On his emotions and mental state? On his finances?

The back story was complete in my head. I just needed to dramatise and expand.

Her head is resting on her left hand. The other hand is highlighting in waves. The effect is…mesmerising.

I wrote and wrote and wrote. I was amazed at how many words there were leaving my fingers. They weren’t tiring. I felt energised. Awake. Nowhere near my limit.

What liberation.

I’ve been struggling with my books. The editing process is doubt-inducing. I’ve been writing HTS for 8 weeks. In my head, the story is done, all the details completed, but the words are difficult to find. I struggle to describe the emotions – firstly, because of my chosen narration style, secondly because they’re  personal feelings. I just want it done…but it’s simply creeping along. 

So when, at 01:30 in the morning, I finished the final twist and immediately published that raw, unassuming, mistake-laden draft, I felt a huge sense of success, for I’d thrown out a mind-blowing 6800 words in under 7 hours – dinner and shower included. And my fingers didn’t hurt. I wasn’t tired. If I’d had more story, I’d have kept going.

She’s noticed the time. Her books have flown into her bag and she’s bounced up, casting about for something. With a frantic glance at her watch, she waltzes out.

A part of me didn’t care how many views the story got, how many people liked it. I was lucky: one of the stories written on that prompt is amazing, and has received a huge amount of attention. As a result, every other story on there is being…viewed. So some people have looked at my story (32, to be precise. 34 now), and some have even voted on it! Some people even commented!

And that makes it all the more worthwhile. It gives me reason to keep writing. It reminds me that practice isn’t perfect, and never will be.

Wonderful Me

For the last 10 days, I’ve been living on my own with two cats. It’s been a very reflective time. I’ve managed to look deep inside me and find what really makes me tick.

Amidst other things, I discovered I have a foot fetish.

I also discovered that I couldn’t not be in an open relationship – and that has absolutely fuck all to do with sex.

I’ve spent the last few days not really seeing anyone. Apart from the cats. And the lady I bought a coffee from. From Saturday evening to Tuesday evening, I saw no one.

It made me feel very lonely.

What, I asked myself, was the point of being in a relationship with a beautiful Russian Someone if you’re not going to get to see her? What was the point if, whenever I did see Someone, we had a fight? What was the point of being in a relationship where it feels like there’s nothing to talk about?

It took a long time for me to realise how – as usual – everything is linked together.

Being lonely is a choice: a choice to not like who you are and a choice to not see the people that matter to you. And I constantly wanted to choose to be with Someone – because she makes me happy, because I am content doing typical, monogamous couple things with her.

Or so I told myself.

Because I really don’t. I don’t like sitting around watching TV night after night doing fuck all. I don’t like waiting at home for her to come back and all we do is talk about her work or mine. I constantly want more than that.

We’d been doing those things a lot. And they’d been accidentally causing fights: neither of us were satisfied with what we were giving and getting from our relationship. We wanted more.

And the beauty of being in an open relationship is the complete and utter freedom to have more.

Last night, I spent the end of one year and start of another in the company of a very cute, very inexperienced, very fun, very drunk girl. I had probably drunk too much to be in complete control of my desires, so I really, really wanted to kiss her.

But taking advantage of drunk girls is something I think is totally despicable. So I was – for the most part – able to completely ignore my desires and focus on cuddles and talking about cool things like boys and fantasy books.

And I realised something pretty special.

Because I was in an open relationship, I could completely relax. I didn’t have to worry about what I could or couldn’t do: I was controlled only by my alcohol-riddled morals (I don’t actually have morals though). So I could make the choice to look beyond her simple sexual appeal and go “wow, you’re actually a really awesome person to talk with.”

It was such a breath of fresh air.

I’m finding this very difficult to articulate. Perhaps because it’s 00:32 and I’ve only had about 5 hours sleep this year. But this, for me, is exactly what being in an open relationship is all about. It’s about the freedom. It’s about choosing who you spend your time with. It’s about knowing that there is someone there for you whenever you need them. It’s about having the chance to choose to be with whom I want – even when that person is wonderful me.