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I keep on wanting to apologise.

No, I've already said it, I don't need to say it again. #1apologyLaura

RIP John x

Sophie opened the door to my bedroom to turn my light off without asking and it took my two hours to get home and last week was totally shitty and I was going to write a post about that.

But I've just had a message on Facebook about how my friend's dad has died. I knew he hadn't been well, but we hoped it would be months - perhaps a year - before it took him.

Last year after going food shopping, his dad took a step into his living room... and fell through the floor.

Except it wasn't the floor that was weakened. It was his leg bone.

Medical attention revealed he had some form of bone cancer that had settled around his spine and was unoperable. It was a question of when, not if.

I didn't know his dad very well, but whenever I met him he was also kind and humble. We happened to be in Scotland at the same time and he drove me around, bought me fish and chips, and saw me home all without a single request from me. He brought me home late one new year, and my parents thanked him by giving him some wine. I think the relationship peaked when he was in one of my dreams, in a case where he famously tried to con me by selling me hollow fruit. Regardless of how well I knew him, he was a gentle man who will be missed.

I don't know what my friend is going to do. Worse yet, I know he will shun pity and ignore any actions people take to reach out to him, I know he will try to handle it on his own, because he's an intensely private man. There's very little I can do, but I will try to do it anyway.

Makes me want to get in touch with my family. It's my dad's birthday tomorrow, so I'll give the home a phone. And perhaps Aunty Rosemary and Uncle Stephen too.
I've done lots of things in the last few weeks or days that have lead me to think about the way I build and have relationships.

An acquaintance from twitter has been poking his head round again after I went off him because he was a bit creepy ("I'll always love the stars, we met because of them.") and I've promised myself that I'll face my fear and give him a second chance.

I met up with Mum last week because she was down in London for some work thing, and next time I phoned home she kept trying to keep the conversation going, about the things we'd just discussed that minute, like she thinks we're all pally now that I'm doing OK and I've got my own life.

I made an incredible friend last year, and when she was too touchy feely, I got mixed messages and freaked her and myself out. I can't stop feeling completely attached to her and it's still difficult to draw a line, because when it's warranted (and she's usually very good about that) she's very comforting.

I guess what I'm saying is that there's still a huge Want in my life, and it's not going away. I don't understand how people have romantic relationships and I'm not sure I'll ever feel that kind of love. I read people trying to introduce me to asexuality and aromanticism and stuff, but I don't *want* to be those things.

I'm beginning to think that my behaviours with friends and family have been abusive, mentally or emotionally, and when the time is right I need to go back and say sorry. But I don't have that many healthy relationships in my life, and I've noticed more and more that it feels rude to say no. I feel "no" but I end up saying "could do" or "maybe this instead?" or directing attention to a new option. It means I have difficulty standing up for myself and that means I'm not even at the beginning of knowing a healthy relationship when I see one.
First post of 2015! Hurraay! I've got about a million new years' resolutions this year, but write more in my LiveJournal might be one of them since it really helps me nail down my thoughts, gives me somewhere to vent my feelings and in general is a safe space to put words down. It's not a promise or anything, but it's a start.

So. Twenty fifteen is here. For the first time I worked between Christmas and New Year, which was weird, but not uncomfortable as such. It meant I didn't have any choice where I spent new year, but I had somewhere nice to go so I guess it's not all bad. (I went to Lily's party where I drank a fair amount on an empty stomach and then desperately tried to line my stomach with the mozzarella sticks I'd bought for everyone else. Oh well.)

London travel was free on 31 Dec-1 Jan until 4am so I went home and on the way started my year with some nice old fashioned street harrassment and then went to bed. I don't really remember going to bed, but I obviously did. I woke up at 2pm, and then slept some more. I finally had breakfast at 5. So starting the year as I meant to go on then.

On the 2nd, I recovered, waking up slightly earlier but still keeping to the house and not doing a great deal, then went over to Monica's, where I stayed with her until 5th.

just avoid this bit tbhCollapse )

I remember reading in someone's LJ ages ago that they'd had a wonderful weekend with someone and then when they'd had to go home and leave it all behind, it was "coming back to Earth with a bump". I can understand that now: my year started off so lovely, it seems like it can't go anywhere but down :/

Saturday and Sunday

Weekend has gone by in a bit of a blur. I feel like I haven't woken up this whole time.

  • I slept in on both Saturday and Sunday - didn't hear my alarm either time, which is slightly worrying.

  • I went off to an open day on Saturday, only to find out it was the wrong day.

  • I lost my purse, locked myself out, and spent about half the day doing... well.. not much.

The whole weekend, I was just not there? I don't know. I think I'm tired. Work seems to be stressing me out a bit too, so there's that. I guess the two together are a bit self-purpetuating.

On the flip side though, it's been a good weekend :)

At 6pm on saturday, I got a call out of the blue inviting me to a "thing at the globe, well a band" so I went to that. There was late-night pizza to end.

Sara, who invited me the night before, came round again today and we went to the original open day at the Police Station. Learned all about riot gear, got my bike marked and then sat in all the different police cars! :D

One of them was from 2006, one from 1995 (think The Bill), another 1983, and one from 1973. I managed to get the phrase "am I back in time?!" into my conversation a lá Sam Tyler. Pretty proud of myself.

We spoke to a historian of the police service who was convinced that "we've stopped catching so many criminals since coppers had to wear hi-vis. They can see them coming a million miles off now, and then just leg it. Better when they couldn't be seen. And there wasn't a drug problem back then either. Far fewer criminals, far fewer drugs."

WELL. My erstwhile friend diplomatically pointed out that hi-vis was a key part of *prevention* and that it meant coppers were safer too.

"Nah, we did better when coppers were sneaky."

We walked away quickly. Neither of us were up for any more of that shit.

i went to the ladies, just in time to hear some kids talking:

GIRL1: It stinks in here.
GIRL2: It's a police station, it's not exactly going to smell of roses is it?

then GIRL1 started singing loudly, banging doors and running around. GIRL1 points out that it's OK when it's just them, but they're not in public at the moment; they are representing their family and "garden", so they have to be well behaved or they might get judged. "Some people get judged quicker than others", she said, somewhat sagely.

I thought it was particularly poignant bearing in mind these were black children saying this in a police establishment. For a child younger than 10 to know such prejudice is tough to bear. I feel like pointing out that whoever their parents are, they've brought them up to be savvy, but saying that might be on the edge of victim blaming.

Tellling, nonetheless.

We walked to Stratford, went to eat at GBK and had a catch up; Sara's thinking of moving to London so it was nice to do a bit of forward planning as well.

This weekend is going to be a bit mad (huge event on 25th) but next next week is my holiday! WOOHOO!

so, this post didn't end up being what I wanted it to be, but that's OK.

I'll leave you with a video of Madness because WHY NOT

On tipping, and making the world go round.

So I went home for the weekend.

And hi, I'm back (I've wanted to post about three times in here since that other post, which I'm taking is a good thing).

It was great. I mean, the travelling (both ways) suuucked but I made it and it was totally worth it. I have been reminded about being careful what you wish for though. By the time I'd got my train in and then a taxi to the house, it was 1.15am and the house was wonderfully, peacefully, strangely quiet. My parents had gone out to meet some old friends and still weren't back. It got a bit awkward when I was in before them.

On the way back, I secretly wanted to have plenty of time to drive and to get through the music playlists we'd put together, and dreaded driving through the busy-ness of central London. We set off at 6pm and there was a crash on the A1 which meant we didn't get into London until about 1am.

That said though (=thinky post alert=), I have wished for some things and they happened more better than I can have imagined.

Cats remembered me.

Home bed was more comfortable than ever before and I had the best sleep I've had in a while (well overdue).

OK so Mum got offended because I gave her a gift but I did it in the wrong way but mostly we avoided argument. Even when I was driving back from the christening and Dad decided to launch into me about how I'd stolen the family photos and they were theirs and they wanted them back I managed to calmly explain the situation and.... divert the fight. while I was **driving**. Super impressed with myself, ngl.

Early last year, or maybe the year before, a house mate told me something that changed my fundamental beliefs. She said that if she goes out and receives bad service, she tips more than she normally would. I remember thinking at first that it was a mad idea - why would you reward someone who hadn't done their job properly? - but then we talked through it. That if they weren't doing very well, it was probably because they were having a bad day, and why make someone's job harder? The very fact that they were trying when their day was so hard made it worth tipping that much more. And the beauty of this, is that you can turn someone's bad day into someone's "well, that turned out OK actually" day. You can make someone's blind cussing into a smile, by recognising... well, them.

I think I'm rambling, but what I'm trying to say, is that I couldn't see a bad side. A little bit of happiness goes a long way. Maybe you help break a cycle and that person does a better job next time, or remembers to keep up standards for the rest of the shift, or manages to keep a job for one day more.

It got me thinking about people's motivations, and in particular how hard it is to be polite and pleasant and open and fair... when you're in a bad mood.You might be in a bad mood because of you, or because of other people, or because of inevitable bodily functions. Any number of reasons. Whatever the case, if that person runs over your toe with their pram when you're already at the end of your tether because people have been rude to you all day, you're hardly going to grin and bear it, are you? If people are cruel, or unkind, or mean in anyway, you probably should be nicer to them than you would normally.

I've been practising this philosophy for a while, and it works. It's not always easy - who doesn't have bad days? - but I haven't found anything to disprove it yet. And in excusing people's behaviour, or at least considering it in context, I'm understanding a lot more about people and humans in general, not to mention myself. It's pretty great, actually.

To paraphrase a favourite TV programme, why not give it a try?: making excuses for other people.

This post is brought to you by the letters H, U, and H and doesn't know what it wants to be when it grows up.

Hi. Hello. Not dead.

*ahem* hi. yeah, hi. That's how these things start, right? I'm Laura and I've been MIA  since.. what, March?

I logged in to post a comment on a fic blog but I've seen some of you posting and I thought I'd take the time and opportunity to ... well. Write back to you, I suppose.

I'm still living in London, with new housemates (and a new address) since my last entry. New job, since July too. Now working in an educational charity in Hipster Central Shoreditch High Street. Still feeling a bit out of place too, and not really happy. But I am enjoying most of my time here, and in lieu of all the other things I haven't done, feels a bit like a rite of passage.

I kinda think that's all there is to it, really.

But I wanted to say. Once a Hufflepuff*, always a Hufflepuff. I live on other internet places now but I've put my various handles below. Maybe I'm hormonal or something, but I have been thinking about you and wondering about how you're getting on... I miss you.
this is me on goodreads

Alternatively, I'm more than happy to email or text or something. PM me if you're cool with that. I don't know what to say, except maybe, "hello"?

*I'm on Pottermore too, but I hardly use it, tbh.
I'm sitting in the South Bank Centre, wondering why I'm unhappy. I used to be happy, I think. I used to be happy with dips of low and now I'm low with dips of happy.

I have a job, and one that I love. Some great people and whether it finishes in May or not I'll have learnt so much and had a fabulous time doing it.

I'm not living with my parents anymore and I'm taking control of my life, even though I still don't feel independent of them as much as I'd like. But I did something and I'm proud of what I've achieved, and earning respect and a name for myself, which is something I've always wanted to do.

I'd like to say I had some amazing friends, but I don't feel I do anymore. I've recently been unable to accept them for who they are and it means all I see are flaws. One of my friends constantly considers her boyfriend(s) over me; another has delusions of grandeur and can't stop trying to tell me his life is better than mine. I think I've forgotten how to tolerate people. Or, more than that, how to love them when I find things annoying. When things are annoying, I end up thinking that means we're incompatible, and then I stop making any effort, because, logically speaking, why bother?

Take out the "logically speaking" and that sounds horrible. In fact, leave it in and out sounds horrible. I don't want to be that person, and yet here I am, getting pickier and pickier about who I choose to spend my time with. It's funny: I'm getting more picky about friends and less picky about food. I thought I'd grow out of being picky about both, tbh.

At the same time, I'm still undeniably single. I can't help feeling the two are related.

I'd appreciate any ideas, by the way. I really would. Right now I just want to sit down and cry about it. I think I'm doing this "people thing" wrong. Maybe I'm not saying enough, maybe I'm saying too much, I have no idea.

Jan. 13th, 2013

So 2013 is here. And I am sort of indifferent to it. There is nothing in 2013 that I can look forward to. Nothing. I am moved out, and (technically) employed, not quite earning but definitely getting somewhere. I have friends, and am making new ones while I'm working in more ways of seeing the old ones. I am finally proud of myself, and positive about my future. Except there's nothing exciting about 2013. It's either more of the same, or less of the same. My cousin is expecting a baby, but I doubt it is going to be super exciting when I hardly see him anyway. It's all a damp squib after the joy that was the Diamond Jubilee, the Olympics and the best summer of my life.

[more]Whilst we were walking along the Southbank, I pointed this out to a friend. I was so sad to see 2012 go; what is there to hope for in 2013?

He couldn't help but see the positives, and spoke of how I was in for a year of knowing where I stood, and the number of times you get that are rare. I hopefully wouldn't have to move jobs; I knew where I was living and my self-confidence wasn't taking a knocking everyday; my networks were developing and I could see a list of my own contacts ahead of me. It was all good.

The only thing he thought I should do, was improve and grow my friendships. At first, I was surprised. In London for less than a year and I have people - friends - to go out with several times each week, if I want to, not to mention the people I work, live, and practice Tai Chi. Starting from nothing, I had found friends, I had found friendly people, and I had a social life that had been different from anything before. "I can't go any faster!" I wanted to tell him. I don't trust others easily, and I'm not going to rush it. There's not much of a love life for me, but I tell myself that will come when I'm ready (and I don't think I am yet, tbh); otherwise I am happy and things are great.

But I asked him what he meant, nevertheless, because input from friends is always worth understanding.

He erred for a moment. "Do you want to stay in London?" he asked.

"Well, I don't want to go home," I answered. "I could probably live anywhere, as long as there were some things to do and work for me, but going home would be a backwards step."

"So let's take it that - providing you get paid work and that looks likely - you'll be in London at least for this year."


"So you need to have people who are there for you..."

I thought about the mental list I constantly bear in mind entitled, "People who would be there in an emergency, whatever the cost to themselves." He's on it.

"I do."

"I mean, here." he indicated.

It sounds naiive, but what he'd alerted me to was something I hadn't considered before. It was a brand new concept.

I've rarely moved house - in fact I never moved before going to university, which I'm not sure really counts, and even now it wouldn't be far out to suggest my family home acts as a "base" - and this is the first time I've had to find some people that I like to spend my time with, without having any means of specifying the pool in which I find them, like in University or School. I have friends here, and people I'm on friendly terms with, but where are my Friends? In that moment, I understood what he was talking about.

"You mean, Bridget Jones Stylee?" (And yes I actually say 'stylee'.)

He was in the middle of trying to elaborate more, but stopped to confirmedly agree.

I thought about Bridget Jones for a bit. There she is in this pokey flat, not sure where her job or life is going, and annoyed at her parents for being a bit pushy, but whatever happens, whatever the weather, she's got her friends.

My family have never lived around the corner, and moving away from uni never affected my relationships with my school friends, so it's not surprising that I'd never thought about making really good friends more conveniently close to my living arrangements. Now he'd noticed it, I couldn't help noticing it too. I depend on my friends everyday, to stop me going insane and to keep my heart warm (I'm a hufflepuff, we run on friendship) and yet while I had several really good friends across 4 different counties, none of those included places that could have been listed under the heading "close enough to have a coffee with me at lunchtime" or "can make arrangements for the evening on the day". Of course when we're in the same places we do these things, but we have to arrange these things, often weeks in advance.

I'd realised that all my friends lived a distance from me last year, and had felt the consequences of having to make all those arrangements. But I've never considered the other side of things - that maybe I should make better friends closer to home as well.

The thing is, that I can't stop thinking about this. Where does one find best friends? What happens if I can't? Should I try? Should I just try to be happy with the way things are? Wouldn't it be good if I did have someone in London like that?

It made me understand a few things. I have people who (I think) look out for me, but who is there to come round to see if I'm ok or suggest a film? I end up having a lot of fun, but wouldn't it be nicer to not have to tag along to other people's events all the time? Where are the people who I can be sure will definitely want to do something with me? Where are the people who I can feel entirely comfortable and cosy with? If something happened, whose sofa would be closest?

I just can't stop thinking about this bloody hole in my life. It'd be nice to not be lonely.


Fangirling the Ə since 2006!

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