A Blog About A Book

As you’re maybe aware if you follow my social media, I’m writing a book! The blog inspired more writing and so what started as just the blog in book format has snowballed into a 6 year memoir of me rebuilding post-divorce and getting back into dating. Many of the stories from the blog are in the book but there’s also a lot more about my personal growth and struggle, and other areas of my life – not just the men.

The book is highly personal and honest, I’ve attempted not to sugarcoat anything and hope my self reflection allows readers to relate to at least one if not many parts of the book. And while allowing myself to be so vulnerable within those pages was difficult, and at times resulted in me crying into my laptop in Starbucks, arguably the harder part has actually been knowing where the line is drawn between telling the stories that are mine & telling someone else’s story.

My approach to the book, and including the stories and people that I do, is that this is my life story, this is my experience of the events I talk about and I attempt to be as unbiased as possible. But as they say every story has 3 versions: your version; the other person’s version; and the truth. So what I’m offering is my version and I don’t doubt the people involved in these stories, particularly when it comes to the men, may have different versions of events. It’s been the same the whole time with the blog. I tell the stories of the dates from my perspective. After all, it’s all I have.

However there is a line that exists, which I’m trying to stay on the right side of and ensure I’m not attempting to offer up explanations for someone else’s behaviour or hazard guesses as to why someone’s character is the way it is. That is not my place, regardless of my interaction with that person, all I can talk to is my behaviour and my character. If this was a fiction book I could run wild with assumptions and distanced analysis but these are real people and I’ve always been firm in my want to respect them as much as possible, despite the outcome of our dalliances.

Some of the men I’ve written about both here on the blog and in the book have read their sections and it’s been fascinating both to see them register my thoughts on the situation but also to hear theirs. No two people truly ever see a situation in 100% the same light, even if both do see it positively! It is simply part of the human condition. It’s like that question that keeps me awake at night – how do you know what you see as the colour blue (for example) is what everyone else sees as the colour blue? That’s a rabbit hole that’s kept me up for hours. 

People may also argue it’s not my place to include these men in my writing without their consent, or at least knowledge, but the fact is these stories are mine, and providing the context of the dates and the men simply allows me to make commentary on life, people, dating, myself, gender stereotypes, and a whole host of other topics. But their privacy is still paramount and so I ensure I’ve always used their nicknames and never given too much detail about them that would make them recognisable or Google-able.

I have met some fascinating men, some beautiful men and some incredibly wounded men – all have taught me something. And for any of the ways the stories have ended, I am eternally grateful for the experiences and lessons those men have brought to my life.

Lou Who? Will be out later in summer – you can sign up to the mailing list here to receive updates!! 

Nevertheless, she persisted

Nov-2019

I haven’t written for a while. I haven’t written because this year has kicked my ass. There has been man stress, work stress, more man stress, and now more work stress. I haven’t had mental capacity for the blog and, for months now, I haven’t been “properly” dating either, albeit somehow there are still men in my life.

Throughout the man stress I’ve wished work felt more stable, fulfilling and enjoyable. And throughout the work stress I have desperately wished for a partner to walk through it with me, and comfort me on the many nights of tears. I have incredible friends, who have supported me constantly but, at the end of it all, what I’ve had and what I will always continue to have has been solely me, myself and I. 

When I let myself go down the rabbit hole, it’s incredibly easy to feel butt hurt for myself and wonder what I did so bad in a previous life that I’m being dealt so many personal challenges in this one. I can lament the fact that never did I imagine that I’d be 35 with no job, no financial stability and no relationship. I can compare myself to other people who are seemingly thriving and wonder when will it be my turn for success and happiness and love. It can be a pretty quick downward spiral into a full on Joey-esque “why me god, why????”

But there are no answers to any of those questions, especially not down the bottom of a rabbit hole, so what good does it do to ask them. While I believe in allowing yourself to feel the feelings and not just slap on a smile for the sake of it, I also don’t believe in wallowing or perpetuating negative emotions. 

I have no understanding of where my life is taking me, or what exactly this path is leading to, but I’m trying to trust in it, attempting to become comfortable with the uncertainty and instead accept that this is just where I’m at, for now. We often get so wrapped up in where we’re trying to go that getting there just feels like it gets in the way. But I’m coming to terms with the fact that I will perpetually live in the journey and so I should probably get comfortable with it.

And with every challenge, with every “what the actual fuck” moment, I find myself believing in myself a little bit more, less questioning if I’ll be able to get through something and more wondering how I’m going to get through it. Challenges, disappointments and time spent outwith our comfort zones are truly the best place for growth. And, honestly, I feel like it’s going to take something pretty spectacular to “beat” the trauma that my divorce inflicted. Not that I’m hoping to ever have that happen.

Within it all this year I’ve also seen myself start to harden, something that until now I had never let happen. I was always proud of remaining open, and soft, and hopeful, but I guess after a certain amount of shit you get to the point that it just makes sense to put up some walls – finally! I’ve found myself regressing from new social situations and shutting myself off from hope of new relationships. 

I’m hoping it’s a temporary solution while I find my feet, while I try to get some of my shit together – knowing no one ever fully has their shit together. But in the grand scheme of shits being together or not, I’m definitely on the “absolutely do not have them together” end of the spectrum. 

If you’re just joining my dating stories now, know that I write with a fairly large time gap from when the stories happened to me writing about them. Partly to protect everyone involved and partly to allow me to reflect on them in a less emotional way. Also that gap is now much bigger simply because I took time off from posting them. *the date I write at the top of each post is the date the story / thoughts happened, so most of the stories are in the past, but a lot of the thoughts (like this post) are from the present.

So far what we’ve covered is the “finding my feet” stage – where I was like a deer in headlights, realising online dating was some merry hell that a happily married person must have come up with to punish us for the other freedoms we have. Then we moved into the “oh, these men are kinda hot” stage – where I was surprised at my pulling ability and got a little too carried away with gym bods, after having found my own. And now the stories are moving into the “but none of this is working so let’s change it up” stage – where I tried to move out of my comfort zone, go with the less obvious choices and see if anything there worked. It’s been… fun!

But throughout it all, from those very first stories and right up to where I find myself now, one thought, one mantra, has remained in my head – “nevertheless, she persisted”.

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