Thursday, September 30, 2010

Histrionic Personality Disorder

I came across something online a short while ago that answers a whole lot of "omg wtf?" style questions I have had about certain persons/people of late.

There is an explanation to completely bizarre behaviour!

It's called HISTRIONIC PERSONALITY DISORDER.

Allow me to elaborate:-

"Histrionic personality disorder is marked by an insatiable attention-seeking, a great emotionality, a provocative and flirtatious behavior and a false sense of intimacy in relationships when in reality there is very little. Most histrionic personality types are women who have not gone beyond the infantile stage and thus enact the role of both child and woman. Often the histrionic personality has great social skills and a hyper alertness to others so that she can decide how to manipulate them in order that she can be the center of attention, outside of which she is very uncomfortable. By being seductive, often exhibiting overt sexual behavior or flirtatious skills, her goal of making the object of her focus dependent on her is secured through histrionic exaggeration."
- Info from http://www.alwaysyourchoice.org/

Let's take a more detailed look:-

- Uncomfortable not being the centre of attention... so, this could be the type of person, for example, who might well do her best to prevent any other girls who are particularly liked by guys from being around. Makes sense...

- Excessively flirtacious behaviour... I suppose that would be someone who doesn't even flirt selectively, but who flirts for attention constantly with anyone - guy or girl! Sexual behaviour... yep. Check.

- Child and woman - so someone who openly admits to behaving like a big kid at times and can switch from behaving like a child to behaving like a woman in literally seconds.

- Great social skills...definitely makes sense.

- Always hyper alert to others.... so I suppose that would fit the bill of, say, someone who openly talks about how alter she is of others would definitely not be able to argue fitting this bill.


Other signs of Histrionic Personality Disorder, according to my research, include:-

- Rapid shift in emotions/mood. So... I guess someone going from your friend to "omg, die" in the matter of seconds without you having said anything would fit that bill.

- Is likely to threaten, attempt or claim to have attempted or thought about suicide.

- Begins a lot of projects without finishing them... so deciding for example that "don't want to do this this week"

- Makes lots of rash decisions... Like closing venues when attention/audiences don't turn up.. switching commitments on or off at a moment's notice.. yada yada.

- Excessive sensitity to criticism or disapproval. Nuff said!

- Act very dramatically as though performing before an audience with exaggerated emotions and expressions, yet appears to lack sincerity at times. Hmm... certainly familiar.

- Constantly seeking reassurance.



Wow.... this explains a lot actually. If someone in particular is exhibiting all of the above, then methinks there's a good chance this is exactly what the issue is.

And you know what, people can't really help personality disorders. It's not something she's chosen, I am sure. Which makes me feel a little sorry for her and like I really shouldn't overthink said actions.

So... that solves that little mystery!!!

About Darren

I work with a friend doing slam poetry sessions with teenage lads who have been in trouble. I don't mean a little telling off at school. I mean kids who have been released fairly recently from juvenile detention.

I don't give a shit what people say about reoffending rates - the few kids that I come into contact with are GENUINELY REMORSEFUL. They know they've screwed up their educations and they know they've really messed up big time.

But you know what pisses me off? It's when people label these kids instantly. How on Earth can they clean up the mess if nobody will give them a dustpan and brush?

And although the courses that are available to these kids are improving, the public perception of them is pretty low and they know it too.

I want to share (with permission) something writtwn by Darren, who is 16 and has spent 9 months in juvenile detention.


You don't even know my name
I'm just an inmate number.
I done my crime
I done my time
But now that number's always mine.

I'm just a number to you
Just a hoodie wearing statistic.
But I'm armed with my clothes man
Not with no knife
So why you judge me
And why you judge my life.


You say all kinds of shit about me.
Single Mum's kid.
No Dad. Gets mad. Behaves bad.
Emotional problems.
Violent.
Could be good at maths and stuff
But doesn't try hard enough.
Argumentative.
Cries when you ask about his Dad.
And then gets mad.
Not in contact with his Mum
(Probably his own fault).
Foster parents gave up.
Problem child.

You make all these comments about me
And say all these things.
But you can't include my name.
I'm just a "him," or a reference number.

Hi I'm Darren and
Why can't you all just say
Darren has problems and we want to help him.
Darren made mistake and he wants to fix them.
Darren wants a job and a family one day.
Darren wants to work with computers.
Darren is trying really hard on his courses.
Darren is going to do his GCSEs this year.
Darren wants the past to stop hurting the future.
Darren is trying.

I'm not just a number man.
Give me my name back.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Get Over It

I've been passionate about poems
Since I knew they existed,
Cos when emotions boiled over
The poetry fixed it

So let me assure you,
In case you've not heard,
You're nothing to do
With my love of the words.

You're in no way a part
Of the things that I do,
My writing, my blogging,
Came long before you.

I don't know what make you
Shriek out with these cries.
Is it ego or arrogance?
Or vindictive lies?

Whatever the problem
Or issue may be.
Get over yourself.
And then get over me.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

All Muslims are WHAT, now?!?!

I just overheard a conversation that really, really angered me. Now, I shuld start by giving you a bit of background about me. I have no Faith (openly Atheist). My Father was a white English man, my Mother was Argentine and fairly dark skinned. I’m somewhere in the middle. So it’s very rare that I encounter, personally, any form of racism and aside from preachers screaming at me in the street, I don’t often get harassed about Faith either.

That doesn’t mean that I cannot detest racial and faith based discrimination.

I live in an apartment building in the centre of Manchester. There’s a 24 hour concierge. Beside concierge is where I collect my mail. I went to collect it today on my way back up to my apartment and overheard a conversation between the fellow on concierge and someone I assume was his friend.

“She’s seeing a Muslim fella,” one of them commented.

“What? Why?” the other asked.

“Don’t know...”

“Muslims are all crazy f***in’ suicide bombers!”

I was absolutely furious. I couldn’t help but say something...and might have sworn. Perhaps. Of course, they denied any wrongdoing...told me they didn’t mean it. I reiterated that I thought it was disgusting and told the guy on concierge that, had my son heard that comment, I would be reporting ass to his manager.

Racism and discrimination based on Faith irritate me like you wouldn’t believe. It’s narrow minded, intolerant and the most low-life form of bullying you could ever encounter. It’s absolutely disgusting and hideous to pass a judgement on anyone based on their faith or the colour of their skin.

Who on Earth thinks they have any right at all to judge anyone based on this stuff? I tell you – stupid, misguided, ignorant fools who have a chronic superiority complex and a severely hindered intellect.

Judgements should be passed on individual behaviour. Not sweeping race of faith based generalisations. People like that disgust me.  Even my six year old son knows better.

In case it wasn’t clear – I am feeling irritated lol.

My Beautiful Boy

It will be a year at the beginning of next week since my son's Mother died. He's aching particularly badly at the moment.

Last night he woke up at around 2am, crawled into my bed quielty, soon followed by our two cockerspaniels who normally go wherever he goes. It woke Chloe and myself up. She's so amazing about it thought... she cuddles him, she kisses his head and he falls alseep invariably wrapped in her arms. I mouth "sorry," over to her and she looks at me as if to say, "Don't apologise!"

I don't have to apologise. I know that. It's just a habit... I have no need to apologise to CHloe about my son, about his demands on my time or about anything else. She doesn't only accept it. She loves it.

At around 4am he woke up again. He was crying to the point that he actually couldn’t articulate what the problem was. He was clinging to me almost for dear life.

Chloe kissed his head, then she kissed me and said,

“I’m going to give you guys some time. I’ll make drinks.”

She left the room and went to the kitchen to get hot malt drinks all round while I talked to my boy.

“I want to see my Mum,” he eventually managed to get out. “Just for one minute.”

I don’t have to say anything when he says that. He knows I’m powerless, like everyone and everything else in the world, to make that happen. I just hold him.

He’s so grown up for his six tender years sometimes, my little man. But he’s still a baby, really... and a baby who has been through way too much. It’s agonising for me to see him suffer like that and to not be able to make it even the tiniest little bit better.


Thanks to a hot drink from Chloe and some cuddles, he eventually fell asleep again at around 5. I think I did too... at least for an hour or so. This morning he was understandably tired, still incredibly emotional and just generally “not with it.”

“I’ll take the day off,” Chloe offered. “I’ll ring up and see about getting it as a last minute annual holiday day... I don’t think you should send him to school.”

“It’s ok,” I told her, “I’ll cancel my meetings today. I’ll stay home.”

“If he’s ok staying with me, Adam, you go to the office. You’ve got a lot on.”

I went to sit beside him where he was eating his breakfast i his pyjamas looking a little lost.

“Want to stay home today?” I asked him.

“Yes.” He started crying again and hid his face in my T-shirt.

“Ok. Well Chloe says she will stay home with you if you want... so that I can go and take care of some meetings and things in the office. But if you prefer me to stay home too, I will do. What do you want buddy?”

“I’ll stay with Chloe. You can come home when you have finished all the meetings though, can’t you?”

“You bet. I’ll be home by 4!”

“Ok....”

So as I made my way out of the door this morning, Chloe and my son were cuddled up under a duvet on the couch deciding how many DVDs they thought they could get through with a whole day. The dogs were at their feet and there was an air of calm...
I’ve spent much of the afternoon in and out of short meetings and now I’m waiting 40 minutes until my final meeting of the day... after which I will go home and see my girl, my baby and my crazy dogs.

It occurred to me that this is the first time since his mother died that my son has willingly spent any more than an hour or so with someone alone, with the exception of my Sister. He doesn’t like to spend too much time with his friend’s parents unless I am there. Whenever he’s with “Uncle Craigy,” (my best friend and cousin) he’s always with me too.

He’s taken to Chloe incredibly well... and she to him. In fact, they gang up on me over DVD choices. It’s quite intolerable ;-)) lol.

...I know that the next few days are going to be tough for him. He wants to do something special next Monday and he and I will do so. He wants to do something to remember her and I am actually encouraging it. I was questioning for the longest time whether I should feel bad that he’s focussing on dates (a habit I blame myself for subconsciously passing on to him). But I’m assured by the “professionals,” that it’s perfectly normal and in some ways healthy for him to elect a specific date to remember her.

The last year has just gone so quickly in some ways and has, in others, been the longest and most agonising I’ve experienced.

One year on, the smiles are lasting longer, the nights are seeming lighter and he’s really getting there. But I don’t expect it will be quick. He was a Mummy’s boy in a lot of ways and still remains so. I know, from experience, how much pain he is in. And even though he’s incredibly intelligent, no 6 year old can possess the emotional intelligence to deal with grief well. So it’s been tough for my little guy. But I’m so incredibly proud of the way he’s handling himself, opening up and talking about it but still making the best... He’s handling this situation better than I handled the death of my Mother when I was 24!

I’m so very proud of my little man. So, so proud.

And his Mother would be too.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Why Wait?


My girlfriend and I were planning to wait another few weeks, until her tenancy was up, befor she moved in with me.

We changed our minds this morning.

My son wants her there now. I want her there now. Even my crazy dogs love having her around. And most importantly, she wants to be there now.

Why wait?

Well, we couldn’t answer that question, so this weekend we will be moving her stuff from her place to OUR PLACE :)

What a way to brighten up a grey day :)

Perfectly Imperfect

Nobody is perfect. In fact, its our flaws that make humanity so beautiful, if you ask me. But that’s not to say that there aren’t things we would all like to change about ourselves and anyone who denies that is either lying or has confidence/arrogance most others can only dream of.

I’ve been analysing and assessing myself over the last year or so. I have made a lot of changes and identified further changes I would like to make.

Thing I have changed include life balance and “emotional accessibility” as my sister so aptly calls it. I’ve stopped pushing those closes to me away and stopped refusing to talk about things that cause me upset/discomfort. That’s the change I am most proud of this year.

But now I can stop the bragging and boasting because there’s still a whole list of things I have not yet changed...

I’m impatient. I really am! I can’t deal with waiting for anything. I would like to change it but this is proving more of a challenge than I might like.

I really struggle to “rise above” baiting. Indifference, at all the appropriate times, is what I need. Easier said than done. I’m getting better. I can now be wholly indifferent to that type of thing in a Second Life context – largely because I have such balance now that SL is only a portion of my life – rather than the significant chunk of it. But when it comes to issues in RL, I struggle not to rise to the bait. My sister is being hassled by a former friend of mine and he’s pulling shit to deliberately attempt to get me to bite. Despite my sister and girlfriend both insisting I “ignore it and rise above it,” this is something I really, really struggle with.

I wish I could be more trusting of people – to an extent. I treat everyone new who comes into my life with a degree of suspicion and while I maintain that it’s healthy, to a degree – it sometimes comes at the cost of inviting potentially amazing people into my life.

I’m incredibly arrogant. I know that I am and sometimes I think about things I have said and ask myself, “Why the f**k would say that?”

I act now and think later. Impulsiveness to some degree is definitely healthy – but I think that I have it a little extreme...

So there we go – those are the things about me I would change – and am working no changing too.

What about you guys? If you do post a “things I’d change about me,” post on your own blog... leave a comment with the URL to that post here. Would love to read!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Bad Customer Service Makes me Swear

Bad customer service makes me swear. It really does.

There are three things that piss me off primarily:-
-    Slow response times.
-    Rudeness.
-    Completely inaccurate responses.

If you pay for a service or a product you should surely have the right to a reasonable level of support. Take a couple of recent examples.

I filed a support ticket in Second Life a while back – 3 and a half weeks later, I get a response. Now, the response was satisfactory, resolved my problem and was what I wanted to hear from the support team. But my waiting time wasn’t. Is there ever an excuse for it to take so long?

Another example... I bought a laptop that was supposed to be delivered within 5 working days. 2 weeks later, I received it – but it wouldn’t power on. Called up support, got a rude and ignorant woman on the phone who told me, “You’re not doing it right,” to which I responded, “How many ways are there to press a power button?” I was passed around to 4 different people before finally being told I could send it back – and having to wait almost a month for a new one.

Grr... like I said, bad customer service makes me swear [insert a series of cuss words].
Rant over.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Damn Right I'm Picky!

I was talking to my best friend today as we sat in my apartment watching a footie game.

“You’re picky, you know?” he suddenly came out with.

“Eh?” I questioned. “Where did that come from?”

“Just thinking about the chicks you’ve dated. Chloe’s frikkin perfect and pretty much everyone else you’ve been out with has some sort of amazing talent, wicked career, been ridiculously hot or a combination,” he told me.

“Well,” I answered, “Your fiancĂ©e is gorgeous. And she’s funny and sweet and really creative.”

“I know,” he grinned. “But you are picky.”

“Are you telling me I’m shallow?” I asked.

“Not when it comes to looks, nah I don’t think so. But you're 'brains' shallow.”

I thought about this and he’s actually right. I dig chicks with brains, creativity and a really cute face. I’ve dated girls with some sort of talent all my life... and you know what?

I’M FREAKIN’ PROUD OF IT!

My current girlfriend is a really talented graphic designer and creative copywriter (with the cutest smile in the world, bar none). I’ve dated great singers, amazing dancers, an incredible poet, a brilliant 3D designer, a superbly talented painter...

I love creativity. There is nothing more beautiful in this world than raw human creativity. Yup... artistic chicks are HAWT!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Tomorrow

If tomorrow never arrived,
Would I be happy with the yesterdays?

Would I be happy with the words I'd said,
The things I did,
The folks I met?

Would I be happy with
How I closed every conversation?

If I didn't get chance to apologise
For every badly spoken word
Every short, half hearted response,
Every, "Sorry, I'm too busy,"
Would I really be ok with no tomorrow?

I don't think so.

See, we take too much for granted,
We take time and we use it like,
"Hell, what the Heck, I've got loads of this stuff."
When in reality, we don't know how much we have.

Maybe you wil get chance to apologise
To your sister for brushing her off
When you were out with Your friends.
Maybe you'll get chance to make it up
To the buddy you lost your temper with.
Maybe you'll get to tell your Mother
That you love her, tell you Father
That you're grateful,
Tell your daughter that you're proud,
Tell you're son that you admire him,
Tell the old friend you fell out with
Back in the first year of University,
That the chick you were arguing over
Wasn't worth losing a friendship over.

But why wait until tomorrow
When it might not even come?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Life is too Short

Today I found out that a Second Life blogger I was very fond of passed away. My post on that is on Pixel Scoop.

It's really, really devastating and it's been playing on my mind all day. It just got me thinking... life is too, too short. This is something my Mother used to say to me, but when you're a stubborn teenager who thinks themselves invincible, the idea of life being too short is ludicrous.

She used to tell me to end every conversation with people the way I would end it if it were the last time I would ever speak to them. That's a habit I, unfortunately, have not developed.

We knew my Mother was dying, so I had the ability to spend those last hours with her and was able to say the things you think you might say in a last conversation... though what's surprising is how fewof the words you would expect to appear, simply do not.

It's a habit I should get into though. Even people I've disagreed with.... fought with... disliked at times.... I really should be putting things right in some cases. Not always as easy as it sounds though, right.

If I followed my Mother's logic, I would take each person in my life and ask myself, "If I found out this person had passed tomorrow, would I kick myself over and over for things I said or didn't say?" And if the answer is yes... then I should be putting it right.

Not always possible... granted. But I'm going to make a start at least with a former good friend of mine. He slept with my girlfriend (the girl I lived with a few year ago) and that was the end of our friendship. I didn't speak to him for years. I saw him at a reunion a couple of months ago and when he offered me a drink I told him to "F**k off." I want to put that right. I've moved on since then, my ex gf has and so has he. While we might not ever be good friends again, I would like to accept the apologies he has presented so many times. Everyone makes mistakes. So I'm gonna hunt his number down from a friend, call him and arrange a drink.

I would like to say I will make my way through a whole list of people I should "fix things," with, but some wouldn't want to hear from me and with some,it's just unfeasible.

But that doesn't stop me making a start, does it?

:)

The Thinks For Which I'm Thankful

My Son
I love his smile and the way his nose crinkles up when he's thinking. I love his laugh - both types. The one he does when he's genuinely uncontrollably amused and the one he does when he doesn't get why something is funny but gets that other people think it's funny so he should laugh along too. I love how he wants to change the world and is still innocent enough to believe that he can and he will without opposition. I love the way he looks at everything as though it's the first time he has seen it, the way he holds the dogs as though they're his babies and refers to himself as their "Daddy." I love the fact that he's so completely intelligent and doesn't realise how much so. I love that he believes that the only barrier to achieving something you want is working hard enough to get it. His work ethic at such a young age (6) is astounding to me. I love that in some ways he's so mature for his tender years and yet in others he's still my baby. I love that he becomes vulnerable when his pyjamas are on and that he's not yet too cool to insist on half hour's cuddle time before bed and a bedtime story. I love the fact that he reaches instantly for me when something hurts - either emotionally or physically and I absolutely adore the way that he's not afraid to ask questions.

My son is my life.


My Sister
I love how beautifully creative she is, how she almost sings every sentence she says and has an amazing voice, but is humble enough not to completely appreciate her talent at times. I love how dedicated a Mother she is, how she would lay her life down for her little boy in a heartbeat. I love that she can wear her heart on her sleeve, that she feels something and just says it. She's been through enough that anyone would understand if she was unable to express her pain. but she isn't. She doesn't push people away and she's got so much emotional honesty, it's incredible. I loev the fact that material things don't matter to her, that she would honestly give up everything and live in a tent so long as she has the people she loves in her life. I adore that she's so committed to the belief that love is the most important thing in the world, that she prioritises this above all else. I love that she has an almost fairytale outlook on life, without treading over the line of naivety. I love that she's courageous enough to put everything on the line for that one thing - for love.


My Nephew
I love his curly black hair and his massive eyes. I love the fact that he thinks he can walk a whole lot better than he can (resulting in many frequent falls) and the fact that he can hold an entire conversation in gargles and one mono-syllabic noises. I love the dimples he gets in his ckeeks when he smiles and how his laughter becomes squealing when something is really, really funny! I love the fact that when I look into his eyes I see my Mother's eyes and that his eyebrows move in much the same way hers did when he's confused by something. I love the way he simply adores my sister, the way you can just tell instantly how she is his world by the way he gazes at her. I love how, in the short 17 months since he came along, he's completely changed my sister's life. This little man will be a heartbreaker when he grows up, you can eb sure of that.


My Girlfriend
I am in love, like truly in love for the first time in my life. I love the way her hair smells and the way her skin tastes on my lips. I love those massive beautiful eyes and the way she cries at happy moments in predictable "chick flicks." I love the way she cries when animals are rehomed on documentaries about UK animal rescue services. I love the way she can put anything on paper, such a talented artist. She can draw her imagination in vivid detail and I simply love that. I love how her breathing mimics mine as she's sleeping on my chest and how her fingers twitch sometimes when she's just about falling asleep. I love how she can't even really speak when she first wakes up for a few minutes but has the cutest tired look in the world!! I love how she tries to be serious sometimes but can't help but giggle at serious things. I simply adore how, at the flick of a switch, she can go from my cute little Chloe to an uber smart turned on business chick! I love her logical thought processes and the way she isn't afraid to combine those with emotional vulnerability. I love how honest and open she is, how she doesn't speak in riddles and how she doesn't expect me to be anything other than what I am. I love how she loves my son - even coming to visit sometimes just to see him!! I love how they just get on so well. I love that she tucks my (spoiled) dogs into bed and I love she loves cuddles. I love that I get butterflies (major man point loss, I know) every time I lay my eyes on her and that I cannot think of a single thing about her I would change.

I love that I ache during the day to be with her and how that ache feels instantly relieved the second I lay my hands on her.

I love that she wants this forever... that she's not afraid to tell me that... and that I want it too.


My Friends
It would result in major piss taking from my friends for me to go through each one of them and declare all the awesome things about them - particularly if the word "love," was used. So suffice to say for this section that my friends are awesoem - every single one of them. And my life is all the richer for having them in it.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

For Those Who Went Before

For friends, lovers and even enemies... the people who, for whatever reason, have left our lives.

One day I hope that I will find
that long awaited piece of mind,
An answer to that old dilemma...
Why were we never meant forever?

One day I hope to stumble on,
A sign, a symbol or new dawn,
That says it all, so plain and clear
The answers that I need to hear.

One day I pray we'll say our piece
In calm and that the war will cease.
We'll talk, as friends, about the past
And close that painful book, at last.

Our Forever

For Chloe, with love, affection and my eternal respect...

I want to warm your winter,
This one and the next,
And many after those as well
With love, laughter, respect...

I want to watch you sleeping,
As I hold you close and tight.
Not just this week, or month, or year..
But forever - every night.

I want to make you smile,
I want to wrap you in my sweater,
Want to kiss away the bad days
And make the down days better.

I want to wake each morning,
To find we're still together,
And give to you the ring with which
I ask for your forever.

Cheesy Grin

I'm wearing on.e.. a cheesy grin that is. Largely because I slept so well last night and also because I found out that Chloe's parents are really, genuinely happy that she and I are together. I was concerned because of the situation with me having a young son, (in light of some of the questions they were asking) that they might not be all that keen. I got on well with them - but I do understand that for some parents that's a huge concern.

But Chloe was texting her Mum last night and showing me some of the messages. They were all really positive, to the effect that they think I'm a great Father, would realy love to meet my boy and think I'm a bright guy who is good for her. I'm really pleased with that :)

It's the first time I've genuinely looked at a relationship I'm in and thought, "This is everything I want." I think abuot all kinds of things that, 12 months ago, I never dreamed would even cross my mind... like holidays in the sun together next year... a lifelong commitment... more children :)

I love my son. And Chloe adores him too. She'll never treat him like anything other than her own... I know that. But she does want more and I do too. My son has been asking for a few months now why he doesn't have any brothers and sisters. I think he'd be an awesome older brother. Not yet... but perhaps before too long.

Life is grand :)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Routines

Isn't it weird how routines just develop?

I've generally been the type of person who likes to have my own bed. I like my space. With the exception of my son and my two crazy dogs who have the occasional habit of migrating in the middle of the night from his bed to mine, I've been fairly protective of my space.

But recently my girlfriend has been staying almost every night and she will be moving in with me in a few weeks. Last night she went back to hers as she was on a ludicrously early start this morning and had to get some work done last night.

ANd I couldn't sleep right. Woke up a few times in the night expecting her there...I don't wake uip in the night much these days. I sleep really well, but last night I just couldn't get into a deep sleep. Very, very annoying.

However, there was no chance of me sleeping in past my alarm this morning, as five minutes before it went off, I was woken up by my son crawling into bed beside me.

"Are you awake, Dad?"

"Not yet," I responded.

"Ok. Well it's nearly morning but I'm just coming in for a snooze."

He snuggled in and was soon followed by Ralph and Charlie... my crazy, crazy dogs, one of whom insists on sleeping under the blankets.

Wherever my son goes, the dogs go!

Ah well... not long now until I won't have to have another night without my Chloe.

My home is hers :)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Optimism - I Got It!

Today, I'm looking forward to... my birthday.

Now, I generally HATE birthdays. I really do. But I will be 29 at the end of October and my son really wants to do something huge. So he, my girlfriend and my sister have been making plans for a few days now and have simply just told me to be free on a set date.

I'm looking forward to a birthday for the first time since I was 21. That's a pretty big deal, for me.

We're probably going to go away somewhere it seems. Me, my sister, her guy (who will be back in the UK soon), my girlfriendm my son and my nephew - possibly even my best friend and his girlfriend too.

It will be a child friendly weekend, whatever the final plans are and I love it. I've no desire to hit a club like I might have done previous years - to drink myself silly on a bingey Saturday night and spend all day Sunday recovering. Nope. Don't want that.

I want the people I care most about in one place at one time with a good old dose of happy. And that's what I am going to get.

Of course, we have a hurdle first at the beginning of October. It will be a year since my boy's Mother died and he's got it marked on his calendar. It seems he's picked up one of my bad habits - days/dates/anniversaries of bad things. But he wants to mark it in some way and that's what we will do.

As he wishes, nobody else, just me and him.

He can let people in most of the time quite happily. He loves my girlfriend and simply adores my sister. But there are certain things that are just for he and I. And this is one of them. Fortunately, I have the most understanding family in the world and they are absolutely fine with my boy and I becoming somewhat insular on occasions like that.

But we have the balance. We have this great family setup and a lot of people close to us at all the right times. He's genuinely finding his happy spark again and every day we get one step closer to the light at the end of the tunnel.

Optimism. For the first time in a long time, I've got it - by the bucketload!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

I Love You

For Chloe - beautiful, wonderful, amazing Chloe.

There's no better way to say it,
No better way to play it,
Than to use three words,
I know you've heard
So many times before.

But tried and tested,
They're the best and
Well, they say it
Exactly as it is.
Beautiful and simple.

I
Love
You.

But I really do,
It's not a line,
It's real this time
And you'll be mine,
I hope, forever.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Fyfe Dangerfield is Frikkin Awesome

I went to see Fyfe Dangerfield last night at a very intimate gig in a really small venue (formerly a record shop) in Manchester - Sound Control.

For anyone who doesn't know who he is, he's the front man of indie band, The Guillemots and is doing a lot of solo stuff at the moment. His album is just phenomenal and his voice is incredible. His lyrics are amazing - poetry!

So needless to say, Chloe, myself and my best friend and his girlfriend had an awesome time. He's one of very, very few artists who actually sound more pitch perfect and even better vocally live than on their recorded tracks.

His upbeat stuff was just as mind blowing as his slow stuff and, added bonus, I played some older and some forthcoming Guillemots stuff.

So... as I went out last night and my son stayed with my sister... I promised him an incredibly fun night tonight. In fact, I said, "Alright, you get to decide what we do, who (if anyone) we invite. Your call."

"Ok," he responded after some consideration, "I want to go to the cinema and see a film late at night after my weekday bedtime and I want to get popcorn and I want Chloe to come."

"Chloe's got plans," I told him.

"Ok... well... just me and you then."

I talked to Chloe about this last night and she thought it was adorable. So much so that she called my sister this morning before he went to school to speak to my soon.

"Hi," she said, "I heard you wanted me to come to the cinema with you. I'm sorry I can't make it."

"It's ok..." he told her, "But can we go out on Saturday?"

"Well... actually... I did have something planned but I think I would much, much rather hang out with you at the cinema if you still want me to?"

Cheering ensued, I'm told.

So that's Friday for me - a thoroughly family affair :) I'd have it no other way.

Anyhow, let me leave you with an incredible Guillemots track and an awesome Fyfe Dangerfield one too.





Have an amazing weekend, folks :)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Is God Real, Dad?

That was the question that I was presented with this morning. My boy was watching the news about the Pope's UK visit while I made his lunch.

My Mother was a staunch and faithful Catholic. My sister believes, though certainly isn't as staunch a Catholic as my Mother was. I, on the other hand, do not believe in God.

"I don't know." I answered.

"Because one of my friends said if you don't say prayers every day you'll die young."

"Well, that, for sure, isn't true. My Mother prayed every single day and she died young. And your Mum did too... When you die isn't related to how often you pray."

"Ok," he asked, seemingly content with that before asking, "So do you think God's real?"

Urgh. No getting around the "do you think" element of that. But I do believe some tactful white lying is necessary with children of a certain age and I want my son to make his own decisions about religion. He's 6 and he likes me to think that everything he does is "cool." And I do :) But what I don't want is for him to decide that religion isn't for him on the grounds that I don't believe. So I answered,

"I really don't know. I've spent all my life wondering, actually. When you look at how amazing the planet is and how everything works, well... I kind of thing something pretty powerful must have played a part in making all that. But I don't know for sure what that was, you know?"

He was quiet and scuttled off to his bedroom to fetch his school shoes. Upon returning he said,

"I think it was God, Dad. I think God made the planet. But I might not pray every single day. I don't think God will mind if I forget as long as it's because I'm busy doing good things."


What a beautiful outlook :)

Love is....

At the risk of pulling off the most cliched post in the history of blog posts, I'm going to attempt to explain what I've learnt about love recently.

It's only recently that I've really gotten by head around some of this schtuff thanks to a relationship that has opened my eyes like you woudln't believe. Thank you, Chloe.

Love is...


...knowing clearly enough how you feel about one another that it doesn't need workds... but even so, you can't help but say it.


...Not having to make excuses!


...Being able to be yourself on both good days and bad days.


...wanting to share EVERYTHING with that person.


...finding excuses to involve that special someone in absolutely everything you do.


...Just being.


It's all just fitting. Immaculately actually. I've never been so in awe of someone and wanted to badly tospend every single second with someone. I'm usually the guy trying to avoid spending time with someone - making myself busy so that it doesn't get too intense. But I can't get enough of her.

And, Chloe, to quote one of my favourite songs of the moment by Train,

"Forever could never be long enough for me to feel like I've had long enough with you."

Love you babe. Now and always xx

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

How Soon is too Soon?

What a remarkably bizarre conversation I've just had with my best friend at lunch.

"How's your lad?" he asked

"He's ok...enjoying school, enjoying having Chloe around, seems chirpier."

"That's good. Does he treat CHloe like a Mum figure or like a friend?"

"Hmm... I don't know."

And honestly I don't.

It's only 11 months since his Mother died and even though she and I had not been together since before my son was born, she was his MOTHER. So someone else coming in in that female role is.... well.. a major adjustment.

I'd said back at last Christmas that it would be at least another year until I introduced someone to my boy as my girlfriend - as someone who could potentially be in his life for a long time.

It has't been a year but I have introduced someone to him in that "role."

But I have fallen in love and have done just that. And it's gone remarkably well. I would never have dreamt of it a month, two or even 6 months after while the wounds were still so, so raw. He still hurts. Obviously. But he's in a much better place than he was a few months ago.

It left me wondering, though, about how he looks at Chloe. There are moments I think he looks to her like a Motherly figure and moments I think he looks at her as his best friend.... perfectly placed for ganging up on Dad.

I don't know, is the "helpful" answer. But I do know the following:-

- He loves her.

- He has fun with her.

- She loves him.

- They respect one another.

- I want my Chloe to be in my life permanently. This isn't a temporary thing or a short fling. It's the real deal and my boy knows it too.


- She's happy. He's happy. I'm happy.


So what do titles and roles really matter?

Reflecting on People... and Things... and Stuff.

I got into the philosophicals last night in a conversation with CHloe - the fine line between love and hate and a healthy indifference.

She was seeing a woman for many years on and off until around 9 months ago. The woman in question really is an amazing girl. She's bright, ambitious and creative. Whenever I ask Chloe about why that finished, she's fairly open about it:

"The passion dried up. I know relationships can't be stomach churning exciting forever but I believe they can be affectionate and passionate forever if you meet the right person."

Chloe and her ex still speak from time to time. They have a beautiful way of speaking to each other. Their tone when talking sort of mutually says, "I'll always want to know you're ok," but they've both moved on. Chloe believes her ex served a purpose in her life. She believes she taught her how to give herself completely to someone and believes it was beneficial for her to have so many life experiences with someone she cared about so deeply. Much like I do, Chloe believes that things simply must happen for a reason. Of course, life is ultimately about a series of choices you make. Your choices will, however, be influenced by things outside of your control much of the time - things outside of human control altogether even.

People come and go. That's always the case. An overused quote is that of people coming into your life for a "reason, season or a lifetime." Cliched, I know, but true. I think how we behave once those people have left our lives, in the case of those that do, is a true test of a human.... It's one I generally pride myself on handling well, albeit not so much recently. Thankfully a calmer and more objective outlook has rectified that.

We all fuck up. Yep, every single one of us. I am personally the King of monumental fuck ups - though granted, I haven't made any huge ones in a couple of years now. But mistakes are part of the learning process, I think. And so too are people.

I've made friends I will always keep close, made friends I will always keep in distant contact with and I have made friends I will think of from time to time but never speak with really. What dictates the ones you keep close isn't necessarily about a certain quality of person, but just about how you and they slot into one another's lives.

Chloe and I last night got onto the topic of my formers, many of whom I keep in touch with. I've had 2 really nasty break ups in my life. One was very recent and one was a girl I lived with a few years ago - though she recently sent a heart felt letter (I love getting letter in the email age) apologising for everything, telling me about her recent clean bill of mental health (she struggled with a lot of mental health issues for a while) and telling me about her forthcoming wedding. Basically, it all worked out for her in spite of everything. Chloe made the point that sometimes the kindest thing we can do for someone is simply to walk away. Some will come back years down the line and slot themselves into your life in a different way. Lovers become friends, friends become lovers... roles change as people do.

I don't know where I am going with this post. I suppose what I am trying to sum up is that I don't hate anyone. For the first time in my life I think I have actually reached a point where I couldn't name a single person I would even say I "hated." Philosophical indifference, perhaps? Whatever it is, I like it.

That's not to say there aren't THINGS that I hate of course....

- Cancer. I hate cancer. Hate it with a passion.

- Bad grammar. I know it's pathetic that I hate bad grammar, especially in light of the fact that I am the typo King - but it winds me up like you woudln't be! Apostophes in plurals. WHY?? Anyway, ahem, I don't want to get started on my grammar niggles.

- Body odour. Can people really not smell themselves?


But people? No. You can only hate someone if they affect you, right? :)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Meeting the Parents

My parents are no longer with us, unfortunately. So when I talk of meeting the parents, I'm talking of meeting the parents of the girl I am with.

Chloe and I are moving in together in 6 weeks so she is keen for me to have a proper meeting with the parents. Now, this is a situation I avoid like the plague generally... particularly since the last time such a meeting took place my former girlfriend's Mother got really drunk and asked me to "do it to her like a young man does." That was umm... awkward.

"Wow... I am.. I'm seeing your daughter. And you're married!"

"Nobody will ever know."

"Ok... I need to go now. Bye."


But that was an exceptional circumstance. And thankfully CHloe's from a much more "balanced" background lol.

Still, up until now, I've always been reluctant to meet the family. Meeting the family is the step before joint Christmas cards, right? It's the step before meeting the entire family and the step before you attend family weddings and everyone nudges you and says, "You two next, eh?"

And you know what? I still think it is the step before all that... and I love it. I'm not remotely concerned.

I will be going for dinner with Chloe's parents this weekend. I have met them briefly when she and I were friends at university, but itwas literally a quick, "Hi!" I've never had a real conversation with them.

They were a little unsure about Chloe being with someone who has a child. They had assumed, given the fact that her previous relationships have all been with women, she was with a woman with a child. Then she explained it was a guy and they had mixed reactions, I am told. In part happy that she had gone for something "conventional," (they're faily old fashioned and weren't always happy about her lifestyle choices) but full of questions. She has explained the basics, but I'm told her Mother is curious as to how I only came to see my son after he was 4... and how he came to live with me etc. So I am sure it will be a dinner full of questions, some more difficult than others.

But it's to be expected. If it were my little girl, I would want to know too, right? So I'm not concerned. I am, instead, content that how I feel about her will shine through quite clearly and that it will all be great.

I'm gonna look after their daughter :) And, more to the point, it's the first relationship I have been in where I haven't been freaked out by the thought of meeting the parents lol.

There are things they want for her:
- They want her to eventually get married.
- They want her to eventually have children of her own.
- They want her to be happy.

And I, too, want those things for her... and more to the point can give them to her :) So we really have a lot in common, her parents and I.

I'm excited and optimistic. Saturday will be fine... so will Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and every single day after it. As long as I've got her :)

Love you sweetie xx

Monday, September 13, 2010

My Lad Wants to Change the World

A Productive Weekend

I had a great weekend. My son spent the weekend with my sister and nephew. They had a blast!

Chloe and I spent Friday indulging in takeaway pizza, popcorn, a movie marathon and plenty of cuddles! On Saturday she went out with her friends and I did some work and also produced a machinima (beneath this post).

Yesterday was the busy day for my and my boy. He came home from my sister's full of energy, declaring that he simply had to show me all the photos he had taken at the zoo. They were indeed great photos. But then we came to one of a gorilla in a fairly small enclosure. He looked unhappy to say the least.

"See this, Dad?"

"Yes...."

"Look... it's too small for him. He's miserable. He wants to be in the desert."

"Gorillas don't generally live in the desert, son," I attempted to correct him.

"Ok, well the jungle or the trees somewhere. He would rather even be in the desert than in there though, wouldn't he?"

"It sure looks like it."

"Well," my son declared adamently, "I want to rescue him."

"Erm... ok."

"We can buy him and just rescue him can't we?"

"It doesn't really work like that. For a start, yuo can't buy zoo animals and we can't just release him here in the UK, can we?"

He was pensive for a moment before continuing,

"Ok. So what do we do?"

"Well, honestly, you can't just release him. You can't do that. He might have been raised in captivity and so might not even survive in the wild."

"Well he needs a bigger and better place to live."

"I agree," I told him.

"How do we get him one?"

I thought about it for a moment.

"I tell you what," I said, "Why don't we write to the zoo. Tell them you're concerned about the conditions the animals are being kept in and make suggestions for things you think might improve it for them."

"Good idea, Dad. And then we could tell the Prime Minister as well. We can send him a letter too can't we."

"Absolutely."

So I spent yesterday helping my boy to write letters to the zoo in question and to the Prime Minister about the conditions in which zoo animals are kept.

Of course, his letters are unlikely to change the world.... but even if they raise an eyebrow I'll be content that he's done his bit for a cause he clearly believes in.

My lad wants to change the world ;-)

Friday, September 10, 2010

He Misses Her

He misses her like you might miss the stars if the night sky was obscured by an eternal cloud. You'd know they were still there but could never see them. Believing in the existence of something you cannot see is difficult, to say the least.

He misses her like you'd miss a coat in a cruel and cold winter, or as you'd miss a hug when you're upset. He misses her like you might miss oxygen, were it ever taken away....

He carries wounds that won't heal. Stitch them and they hold for a while. But it only takes a little graze or a cut and those wounds tear open painfully and forcefully. They're not terminal, granted. But even when they do begin to heal, they'll certainly leave a lifelong scar. It won't hurt every single day but it may tingle from time to time, like on birthdays, or at Christmas time or even on silent Sunday mornings as she tiptoes carefully around his mind.

He'll ache on special occasions and his achievements will always come accompanied with a bitter sweet "what if?" His first serious girlfriend will ask him questions about her and he'll speak softly and silently, with love. That old scar will tingle, but by then he will associate that tingle with precious memories he'll always have. He might look at the floor, struggling to make eye contact when candidly speaking of how he loved her and his voice will struggle to convey the pain he speaks of when losing her. His girlfriend wlll hold him and she'll probably pity him a little in a way that might momentarily annoy him, before he allows himself to appreciate a gesture not intended as patronising, but intended simply to say, "I can't understand how you feel, but I want to be here if you ever want to talk."

Eventually, he will learn that hugs are people's way of saying that when sometimes the words don't work. He'll learn that people mean well when they ask questions and that it's actually safe to speak of her. He'll learn to predict when the wound might open - most of the time at least. He'll learn, I truly hope, that he needn't push the world out on the bad days and the down days, but instead, to embrace the people he has in his life.

Acceptance

"Acceptance," is simply
Rejection of dark,
Don't let the past
Mark your skin
With scars of scorn.
It's time to move on,
Fresh start,
New song,
New day.

Everything is falling into place

I feel as warm inside today as I've ever felt (despite the end of summer, which usually leaves me glum).

There are a few reasons.

1, Before winter you get Autumn. While I love summer and I'm absolutely a sunshine type of guy (I'm so living in the wrong country) after summer I love Autumn. Just for the colours, to be honest. I hate the long dark nights and I despise the cold. But I love the golds, oranges and reds that litter the paths and streets on the road to winter. I love kicking leaves with my little boy as we walk from the car up the long path to his school. I'm feeling good about the autumn coming in.

2. Most of the people close to me are happy. My little boy is coping so much better these days and is truly enjoying his new school year so far. My sister is getting her guy back, my best friend is getting married, my other friend has just mended bridges after telling his family he's gay and is in a relatiopnship with a great guy. People around me are as happy as I am and it's making for a great "vibe." It's been a tough year for some of the people I am close to and to see them smile again is just an incredible feeling.Even people I silently care for, I can see they're finding their happiness too and it leaves me glowing. My ex girlfriend, Michelle, who had a few mental health issues is now working, happy and engaged, as one example of many. When the people around you are having a good time of it, it just oozes positive energy. I love that feeling.

3. I'm comletely smitten. Chloe, Chloe, CHloe... a name that passes my mind and my lips more times in a day than I can count. She's not officially moving in with me for 2 months yet, but she practically has already. We're spending almost every night together at the moment, much to my son's delight. I just feel like this fits so well. She's amazing. We're balanced about it too. She'll stay ost nights, sure. But if I need a night for just me and my boy she's fine with it. She encourages me to go out just with the guys and I encourage her to do the same with her friends. We've got a great thing going on here - and I'm not going to let it slip through my fingers - ever.

So this Friday morning is a good one. My little boy is spending the weekend with my sister and nephew as they have all sorts of fun things planned. So tonight I will have a movie and pizza night with my girl and tomorrow she is heading out with friends, leaving me to (be a boring bastard) do a load of work I need to catch up with.

Life is good :) Have a wonderful weekend, folks.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

I Don't Often Cry, but.....

...this really touched a nerve with me.

Let me summarise the story. Austrialian guy currently battling cancer wants to do something special to say thank you to his wife for her support. He creates a video (and manages to secure cameo appearances from New Zealand's Prime Minister and actor Hugh Jackman). The video is inspired by a scene from Love Actually, because he and his wife love that film.

I'm not a sucker for love stories.... even true ones, to be honest. But this had me in tears.

I'll let the video do the talking, before I lose any more man points. ;-)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Right Words

I'm a word guy - I mean I like words. I loev to write, I love to read. The power of the spoken and written word is, for me, unprescedented.

But I'ev come a cropper in the word stakes when it comes to explaining to my other half how much she means to me. I've told people in the past that I can't stop thinking about them (and it has been completely true at the time I've said it). So while it's true this time too, I don't want to say that. I don't want to regurgitate lines I have used in the past. It's cheesy, cliched and... well... this is unlike anything from the past.

I was laying beside Chloe in bed last night when I told her I loved her. She told me the same back and I asked if she ever got tired of hearing that from me.

"From you? Never!" she giggled.

"It's an overused line isn't it?"

"Yes," she concurred, "But it's the most beautiful sentence in the world when it's used right."

And she's spot on with that assessment. I don't need to beat myself up abuot not being able to describe how I feel to her, to tell her how even my fingertips tingle when she kisses me and I'm subject to random bouts of thinking into a future we haven't arrived yet.

She knows how much she means to me. She can tell by the way I hold her as though she's the last person left on the planet. She can tell by how my lips dance across hers when I kiss her, by how my hands stroke her skin and how my heart beats in time with her breathing when she rests her head on my chest.

Some things don't need words. So I will refrain from using the lines we've all heard before and say nothing other than this:

"It's real."

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

My Forever

"Dad," a little voice shouted at around 5am. "Dad!"

I jolted upright and realised he was calling me from his bedroom. I got out of bed and went through to his room assuming he'd had a nightmare. I was right.

"Hey little man," I said, scooping him up out of bed. "What's the matter?"

"I had a bad dream."

He wasn't crying though but I know it was about his Mother.

"It's nearly a year isn't it?" he asked, his chin buried in my neck.

"Yeh... almost."

"It's on my calendar," he informed me.

I carried him through to my room and gave Chloe (who stayed the night last night) an almost apologetic look. I keep forgetting that she's actually ok about everything and she's a rare breed of lady who actually accepts what I come with!

"What happened?" she asked my son.

"Bad dream," he told her crawling into bed.

"Going to stay in here with us till we get up?" she asked.

"Yep!"

He snuggled right in beside her and was soon followed by my two crazy dogs.

I didn't get back to sleep - not that it was major loss as I get up at 6 anyway. Instead I just watched as my little boy cuddled up so lovingly to my girlfriend. Chloe, my son and my 2 crazy dogs. It just... fits. It feels like home. For the first time ever this morning I literally looked at my situation and hoped it was permanent. I see it as my forever :) And I wouldn't have it any other way.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Playnig with Fire - Brandon Flowers

I've been waiting for weeks for the new Brandon Flowers solo album to come out. I love the killers and his voice is really distinctive. So as soon as I got up this morning I downloaded it from Amazon. I'm not disappointed. What a fantastic album!

I dno't know what the price is like in the USA, but for those of you in the UK, it's available from Amazon for £3.99 this week - compred to about £8 everywhere else.

Gotta love a good deal!

"Playing with Fire" is a personal favourite of mine. And so, as I'm loving this so much today, have the lyrics

Playing with Fire - Brandon Flowers

Daddy, I'm not gonna tell you that I'm sorry
there ain't nothing you can do to change my mind
I'm not here to know the things I can not do
we've seen the outcome of the boys ?? didn't fly
now road outside that you've been taking home forever
that would be the same road that I'd take when I depart
now those ?? that hold this land together
may twist and turn but somewhere deep there is a heart

Chorus:
Playing with fire
you know you gonna hurt somebody tonight
and you're out on the wire
you know you're playing with fire

Perhaps this calling is the channel of invention
I will not bless your fathers, see it as a crime
however dangerous the road however distant
this things won't compromise the will of the design
tenthousend demons hammer down at every footstep
tenthousend angels rush the wind against my back
this church of mine may not be recognized by steeple
but that doesn't mean that I will walk without a guard

Rolling river of truth only spare me a sip
the holy fountain of you has been reduced to a trip
I've got this burning believe in salvation and love
this motion may be naive but when push comes to??
I will till this ground

You know you gonna hurt somebody tonight
out on the wire

I might not get there but this little town this little house
they seem to be leaning in the wrong direction
I'm not afraid you know

Friday, September 3, 2010

A Poem for my Son

Dance as though the song that plays,
Is playing just for you.
Smile like she who stole your heart
Has said she loves you too.

Laugh as if there's laughing gas,
Polluting all the air,
Say something that's so crazy
That your friends just stop and stare.

Make a plan, on every day,
To go learn something new,
For while the world is truly full,
The wise folk are too few.

Help old ladies cross the road,
They'll kiss you on the cheek,
And yes, I know it's sloppy son,
But you just made their week.

Don't ignore your head, but note
The mind is just the start.
A truly happy life, my son,
Is one led by the heart.

Hello Again, World.

I just had an email which really caps a week of a similar theme for me. It was an email from my RL best friend, who I just met up with in town for lunch. His email his short and to the point:

"Welcome back to the world mate. Brill to see you looking happy."

This tops off a week of similar comments. My sister told me last night that my "smile looks genuine," for the first time in a year. My other friend, Andy told me it was nice to see me "back to my old self."

The truth is, I do feel the happiest I've felt in years.

I'm a lucky guy, honestly, and I think I'm coming to feel more and more grateful for the awesome stuff I have in my life. Loss happens to everyone in one way or another. It's not about dwelling on it - it's about learning frmo it, dealing with it and focussing on the optimistic.

For every bad thing that happens, something good does too.

Examples: My son's Grandmother is attempting to take custody of my boy. She has no case, granted, but it's still an unecessary stress. But half an hour after I found out about that yesterday, I also found out that my sister's ex boyfriend, who she is very much in love with still (they only split because he retirned to Brazil) has a work permit and a job in the area starting in November. He couldn't be without her, he said, and so has spent the last couple of months trying to organise his paperwork and get work. Bad news - good news.

Another example is the terrible and untimely death of my son's Mother almost a year ago. I'd do anything to have her back... but I have to focus on the good things that came from it. My son and I are closer than ever and I regained balance in my life and woke up from a fantasy I'd been living in. I would honestly, honestly do anything to have her back... I hate that she has gone, but I'm learning to focus on the good.


I'm done with negativity.

I am in counselling at the moment and have been for some time. I'm not a nutcase. I'm just dealing with issues that I should have dealt with years ago... anger and confusion at the death of my Father when I was 5, terrible and un-dealt with grief from the death of my Mother when I was 24. It all kind of came to a head, I guess, when my son lost his Mother. I had a terrible habit of writing off counsellors as being for nut jobs and the needy. I was wrong. In the name of coming to terms with stuff so that I could help my boy to do the same, I started counselling and it unravelled a lot of confusion. Some of it was stuff I wasn't even aware was there. I genuinely didn't beleive I ever needed to grieve my Father as my memories were so choppy. I remember him. I remember him playing football with me. I reember him dying and it seems then I lost a couple of years somewhere. I have few memories from the two or three years after his death. Well, I thought I had few.. but it seems I remember more than I thought I remembered.

I'm not gonna go into it anyway... but what I've established is that I have a core inability to communicate "upset" to people... so I close doors in faces, get angry and push back. It's not "incurable," though lol! It's part of what I've been working on and I feel so much stronger for it. I'm only about 12 sessions in but I already feel a world of difference. I feel more like me again, more motivated and just better all around.

I'ev established the things I need in my life to be happy.

I need my son. I need my sister. I need my nephew. I need my girlfriend. I need my friends.

Everything else, the businesses, material things and so on, while I like them, I don't rely on them for my core happiness.

Anyway, I have just realised how long this post is getting and it doesn't have a great deal of point in it. More of a brain dump, I think.

Have a wonderful weekend, folks :)

Manchester to Toronto - 3400 miles and a whole lot of heartbreak....

I read this story today that really moved me.

http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/capress/100902/national/girl_abducted

Basically, a young girl was kidnapped by her Mother from Manchester and her Father has since been trying to find her. The little girl has been living in Toronto.

So her Father now knows where she is and that she is alive... but they'e moved from the home the police had her located at. So he's so so close to getting his baby back, but so far at the same time.

My son's Grantmother (his Mother's Mum) is Russian and living in Russia. Following the death of her daughter last year, she asked if she could have my boy go visit there. I agreed, of course, but insisted that I would accompany him on his visits - given the fact she had previously threatened to attempt to remove him from my custody. She has recently become more irate at my refusal to send him off to Russia wth her alone for 2 weeks!!

Yesterday, a letter dropped through my mailbox from a lawyer in St Petersburg, Russia, indicating that she, his Grandmother, intends to fight me for legal custody of my son.

Of course, I have taken legal advice and am confident she has no case whatsoever. But as long as the threat is there, there is potentially some stress ahead.

The story I linked to above really strikes a chord with me. I would be so heartbroken if that was my baby.

But.... onward and upwards. Let's keep positive :)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Pondering: Are there too few people in SL?

I have always maintained that I LOVE Second Life... even when I literally had no more than 5 minutes in a day to myself, thus couldn't be online, I still talked incessantly about the platform.

Everyone - even the most dediacted users - have had moments of "I think I've had enough." But we always bounce back :)

I was having that conversation with my sister today, to whom I was talking about a couple of poets and a literary agent I have interested in coming in to the virtual world to perform (in the case of the poets) or hold a Q&A session for budding writers (in the case of the agent).

My sister has never really been a fan of SL. She did set up an avatar once but couldn't get to grips with the platform at all. She said, however, for the first poet lined up, that she is going to try again just to hear the performance.

Which got me thinking... if more people were aware of such opportunities within the virtual world, would more people use it? Although it has a userbase of over 12 million now, SL still struggles to attract many more than 80,000 online at any single time. If the technology can withstand it, do we think more people could and would be online at once if this type of event (and others too including live music and so on) were made more publicly available?

Too many great venues fail because of a lack of people. I know people who have closed entire places through the sheer frustration at holding a decent event but having nobody show up (granted, sometimes a tantrum cos one event went badly and sometimes genuinely after months of hard work is proving ineffective). Is there really too much competition for the crowd or is it simply that the virtual world is underpopulated?

Anyway... I would normally post thoughts like this on my SL blog... but since my point is about reaching an audience not yet involved, I guess it makes sense to post this particular musing here.

And that, folks... is all from me :)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Back to School for my Boy

My son returns to school tomorrow after his long summer holiday.

"Why do I have to go back on a Thursday?"

"Because those are the school term dates. All over town... not just your school."

"Can I not just go back on Monday?"

"Nope."

"Ok, Dad."

Wow... no debate, no argument.

It was wonderful to take him shopping for his new uniform the other day though. This wilol be his last academic year in the infant school... this time next year he will be on his way up to junior school.

I loved it - taking him for his uniform and his new pencil case. But as were just getting his pants, he said,

"Don't you want to get them too long?"

"No... why would we do that?" I asked him.

"Mum got my school pants too long last year so we could sew them up and then take them down when I got big enough."

It's true. She did. They shopped early last year - the week after his holidays had started. And she bought his pants too long and sewed them up, insisting that when they got too short, she would pull them down again.

They got too short in about March this year. We never took them down. We just got new ones and I could never understand why my son was so upset about that. He wouldn't tell me. Until we went shopping the other day, of course.

"Well... let me be honest," I told him, "I'm crap with a sewing kit."

"Hmmm. But what if I grow quick?"

"Oh," I answered, "I'm sure you will. But what we will do is we will give your pants then to a charity shop." Pants are all grey... they work for any school's uniform so my suggestion seemed reasonable to me. He didn't seem that sure, looking at me for a few seconds as though I was from another planet.

"Alright," he concurred finally.

On his first day back at school last year, his Mum was already very sick. But this will be the first year he hasn't had her here to tell him how smart he looks and to mollycoddle him the way he pretends he doesn't like but secretly loves.

In just over a month, it will be one year since she passed. He's acutely aware of that approaching date. It's marked on the calendar above his bed with a sad face. We talk about it, almost every night. He's talking much more now. We say goodnight to the photo of her on his bedside table every single night and he says goodbye to her before he leaves the house.

Tomorrow morning I will wake him up early and we will have breakfast. We'll get his bag packed and we'll take our time. I want to make sure he's ok. "Back to school," day is a big day... and without her, big events are all potentially upsetting.

But the days are going on and the smiles are getting longer and eventually those wounds will hurt a little less...