Monday, 15 December 2014

Why I Write

Superlatively Rude
image via @superlativelyLJ
What I hope for is a book deal. The working title is “My Vagina’s Monologue” and it’s the story of how, when the man I thought I’d marry dumped me and married my high school best friend instead, I did not think I would survive it. But I did. And that’s the point of it all, really. That however our lives unfold, that they do unfold. That they continue. And how we deal with that is on us.

My story of heartbreak isn’t special – and that’s the point, too. That nothing that ever happens to us is. Heartache – romantic, familial, platonic – is about the most common condition there is. So it’s exactly because my story is a common one that I feel compelled, from my belly, to find a way to tell it. Because human-ness is universal.

I looked through the archives of this blog last week. I had this idea that I’d compile a list of my favourite posts, into an eBook, to give away for free. So I started at the beginning and read every one of my 450+ entries, over more than six years, and I cringed. What features in my book also features on this blog, in different shapes and forms, and the difference between the two versions of my life is startling.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

The Finish Line

Laura Jane Williams
So I know this guy, and I love him.

He’s a teacher. A cheerleader. An example.

You’ve never seen a smile that can light up a room like his. In his hometown, walking into the local bar for an espresso and brioche, he is greeted by handfuls of people who hug him, kiss his cheek, share a joke. He asks about them, their family, their work. Jokes back. Asks, “how are you?” and listens to the answer. Gives a shit, in all the novelty that entails.

At his parents’ house, he talks with his father about the latest ethical hunt, and makes funny voices when he speaks with his nephew. At his sisters house he mans the barbecue and fills up glasses. In his own house he makes sure you’ve got towels and enough bedding, telling you just to knock if you need anything. He’s right there.

Love. That’s his word. Everyone has one. I don’t think I’m strong enough for that to be my word. I’ll settle for authentic. Authentically in awe of him.

He’s Italian.

(The good kind.)

Survivor of heartbreak.

Had nothing to lose when, three years ago, he packed his bags and got a flight to America.

Land of Dreams! And oh, how he dreams.

Alex – did I tell you his name is Alex? Alessandro – was 34, back then. Happy as he ever was in his small Italian hometown, near Brescia, married, living down the road from his parents. And then suddenly it just wasn’t that way anymore. And he knew he could become something else.

So he took a chance.

Wouldn’t be beaten.

Took a leap.

Monday, 8 December 2014

How I Transformed My Life In 2014

This year I have lost (and kept off) forty pounds. Ran my first 10k races (plural!). Left a PR job I hated (okay, fine. I basically got fired, but fuck it they did me a favour). I spent six weeks in Rome, and finally visited Sicily and Sardinia, as well as Milan and Austria. I wrote a book proposal and began, finally, talking with professionals who are genuinely interested in my project (!!!!!!). I wrote 30,000 words. Moved to Russia for the winter. Got photographed naked. Started freelancing. Booked a flight to Bali for New Year’s Day. I tripled my blog traffic, made the kind of friends I could not, now, physically live without, and I got my heart a bit dented and survived.

2014 has been, in no uncertain words, the making of me. I have changed my outward life, and I did it absolutely on purpose. But. But I didn’t realise the magnitude of what I’d done, what I’d achieved, who I’d become, on the inside, until I wrote it in an email. When I saw all of that information together, in one spectacularly impressive paragraph, I stopped typing for a full ten minutes and just… stared.

Fucking hell, I thought. 

Monday, 1 December 2014

Darby and Joan: November 2014

Superlatively Rude
Joan (me) with her Darby (him). Read the other letters here.

“So like, everything is the same, it’s just… in Russia?” you said to me about my latest adventure.

“Pretty much,” I replied.

You said, “That’s well boring.”

I’m sorry my big brave life-changing trip isn’t more emotionally traumatic, friend. I’ll try harder to provide you with Skype calls that have a little more erratic feeling next time. Except – not really. Because that’s the thing, you see. Why I adore you. You don’t need me to be in turmoil to love me: you don’t desire drama to feel needed. You have no want to see me in pain or angst so that you can feel better about your own days.

And mate, it’s staggering, actually, how many people *do* need those things in a friendship. It marks you as different. But then, I knew you were. I don’t know how many times I have to re-learn that.

I haven’t written to you for almost a year, and so it’s important to me, after our cross-country catch-up last week, to tell you: I forget how incredible you are until I remember, and then it floors me all over again.

But I mean, listen. I was so fucking mad at you before I left. You didn’t come to see me! YOU DID NOT COME AND SAY GOODBYE BEFORE I LEFT FOR RUSSIA. You asshole! You sent a text saying, “Ah, be reet. See you in Bali or summat next year.” And I have continued to be enraged at you as I read Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Signature of All Things” on the plane, a book that you promised to buy for me after I took you to her talk at the Southbank Centre OH ABOUT A FOURTEEN MONTHS AGO NOW but tick-tock, tick-tock, homeboy, I’ve had to purchase that beast for myself because, to reiterate: YOU ASSHOLE. 

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Be Less Likeable

Superlatively Rude
I know what they say about me.

She fancies herself a bit, doesn’t she?

She must get money from her parents – she doesn’t have a "proper" job, and is always travelling somewhere.

There’s no way she’s as nice as she tries to make out. She was so rude to my friend {insert name here} and she doesn’t even talk to {insert second name here} anymore.

She’s unreliable.

She changes her mind all the time.

It’s gross that she’s always posting about other people – stop brown-nosing already!

All of her friends are way more successful than her. She’s a social climber for sure.

She needs to shut up about her vagina.

For a girl with that many selfies, she’s not even hot.

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