All the feelings and the day they stopped.

Innocence is defined as freedom from blame, freedom from guilt, harmlessness, innocuousness, inoffensiveness, irreproachability, lack of malice, purity. Aren’t they some of the qualities that we all have in one way or another?

There’s always a lot of guesswork involved in who and what you let into your life. We all take chances every day, some come off, some don’t, that’s just the way it is. It hurts when you get it wrong though, you’ve trusted your innocence in believing what you think you know or what someone tells you, it’s just part of trying to be as good a person as you can be.

It’s never good though if a day comes when you stop believing in your personal fairytales, and you realise that there’s no point in holding onto hopes that won’t take you anywhere. You understand that you’re not the only person out there who has things to deal with every day, things to think about, decisions to make. There are plenty of people in the world who have gone through and are going through things that you’ll never understand. No one’s fault, just innocence rearing it’s head again, right? Some people you meet will bring you down and make you feel bad but, there’s no point in holding it against them, aren’t we’re all inexperienced at life in general, no matter what we might think?

It sucks when that innocence makes you spectacularly wrong though about someone or something and your feelings get hurt.

One day, you’ll stand up on your own.

Sometimes what you think you’re looking for comes when you’re not looking at all, and sometimes you don’t know shit about shit.

We know each other but nothing has ever happened, we’re just friends. Hugs, but no kisses, nothing else at all, other than random texts and emails. She’s super cute, If she could turn my head, I’m not the only boy who’d end up with whiplash, but that’s not enough, don’t we all need someone to stretch us on an intellectual level too? She’s nothing more than a one time passing thought, but she’s a friend, so there are feelings there but they’re innocent.

A message arrives on WhatsApp with an invite to her birthday party. There’s a bunch of other people copied in that’ll be amazing to catch up with, it’s a yes. The night comes, presents are given, drinks are poured and the music is on. Everyone gets to pick a song from iTunes and we’re all on rotation, the music will be eclectic, no one knows what’s coming next, it’s never a bad thing to discover new bands and songs. Let’s see what the opinion is in the room about some Canadian rock.

The birthday girl comes over after a while, glasses are clinked and we speak for a while. A lot of the chat is about music, about who the band is that are currently playing, what sort of musicians each of us are into. Let’s be honest, everyone likes talking about themselves and what they like so it’s not a difficult conversation to have. She heads off to mingle and it’s good to get some boy chat instead, football, girls, the usual nonsense that boys talk about.

As with every party ever, people begin to drift off as the night stretches on. She comes back over and she’s clearly drunk, it’s her birthday so that’s her prerogative. We talk again and a kiss is attempted, easily the worst idea she’s had tonight. Turns out that saying no to a girl is easier than you think as a boy, especially is there’s another girl out there that you’re thinking about instead. We’re at a junction, turn left or turn right? Turning wrong isn’t an option, but there’s no decision to make. Maybe a wise man never counts all the way to three, but there’s no point trying to second guess it, no hesitation, definitely no overthinking. It seems that I never read her right and it’s like I’ve knocked over the first domino of the end of our friendship by saying no. Reverse isn’t a gear I’m familiar with but something doesn’t feel right. You always need to get over someone first before you can get under someone else, it’s not fair otherwise.

She’s going through me like shit through a goose, tonight needs to be about putting out a fire before heading home, but she’s not accepting any of it. Can’t anyone of us speaking to someone for an hour just be someone being nice, especially if the conversation is strictly innocent? Boys and girls can be just friends, but telling her to be strong enough to let go about tonight and be wise enough to wait for someone she deserves is not a good idea. Taxi for one.

Life is messy sometimes and some people, this boy included are deluding themselves if they think they can just wave a wand and everyone will suddenly play nice. It turns out that there are some things that you can’t fix.

Endless messages, calls and emails follow but when you know something isn’t a good idea, perhaps it’s better to ignore them and try and forget. It’s never good when a friendship ends, but there comes a point when you realise that all of us have different degrees of understanding about what innocence is.

I remember losing hope, I remember feeling low.

One day you’ll have to let it go.

@TheSamMcLeod

Get up off your knees.

One of the most difficult aspects of growing as a person is learning how to forgive yourself after you’ve fucked something up, if you’ve made a mistake. What if you don’t even know that you’ve made one though? It’s entirely possible that you didn’t think you did anything wrong, but if someone important to you thinks that you’ve let them down, then they’re right, their perception is their reality.

We’re all human, bound to mess up now and again, even if we don’t realise it at the time. When you’ve inflicted hurt upon someone, forgiving yourself can prove to be the difficult part, it’s easy to keep telling yourself that you’re nothing but a social hand grenade. Even when you finally find out that you did something that caused them some pain, or if you’ve been forgiven, it’s tough to not to examine where you went wrong. Making mistakes, taking risks, even accidentally, no other way to live, right? We all get up in the morning, we all step out of our front door at the start of each new day, learning is important, don’t we all want to be a better person every day? It’s tough when clearly something has happened though and you’re left in the dark. If the dynamic has changed and you don’t know why, and they don’t tell you why, what can you do? You can ask the question, but if they’re less than forthcoming, then all you can do is hazard a guess. Sometimes shit just falls out of the sky for you. Nothing else to do but focus on yourself, try and get through each day and be done with it. If you’ve said sorry for whatever it is that you’ve made a mess of, then you’ve done all that you could. Fuck, you can say sorry and not even know why, some people are just polite. Tomorrow is a new day, and although it’s easier said than done, there’s no point in continuing to worry about something that you can’t fix. Zero point in taking yourself out at the knees before you’ve even learned to walk in any given relationship.

On the flip side, perhaps it’s much easier to forgive than to say sorry; maybe it’s something we learn as a child. As we all get older, we realise when people hurt us, it’s not always a reflection on us, it’s more to do with their flaws and insecurities. There will be good times and bad times, and maybe you shouldn’t want it any other way. Still learning. If that someone doesn’t want to tell you where you’ve gone wrong, then saying sorry and forgiving them for their silence is the way to go. Holding grudges is bad for the heart, the mind and the soul.

Let’s be honest, no matter what you’ve done, you’re never beyond redemption and if you can see that, fuck it if someone thinks that they’re so perfect that they can’t front up or think that they’ve never made a mess of things.

It’s normal human behaviour that when people are hurting inside, they believe that no one else in the history of the world has been hurt as much as them. It’s tough to say, but none of us are that special. Everyone messes up sometimes, and you don’t have the monopoly on feeling hurt or let down. If someone saying sorry isn’t enough, then it says more about you than it does about the other person. No one wants to be in the ‘friend’ column, rather than the ‘I love you’ column, but what’s the point in hanging on for someone who won’t be honest with you.

Friends are always important, especially when it comes to needing advice. As is the case with all people you have in your life, some will tell you what you want to hear, but some will be brutally honest. Let her go or try and resurrect things, what to do?

They say let you go, but I want you back.

From thinking about her every day, she’s gone to crossing my mind less and less. Days and weeks pass when I don’t think about her at all. It’s no reflection on her, we’re just not in contact. Sure, she’s missed, but again, what’s the point in thinking about something that you can’t fix.

I have to travel to discuss a potentially life-changing work opportunity. As beautiful and big a city as this is, it’s a small world. I think I see her, but it can’t possibly be her, guess she has a doppelgänger, maybe we all do. It’s the first time I’ve thought about her in what seems like forever. Still shaking my head at the coincidence, I walk into a store and a song comes on shuffle that reminds me of her, iTunes has that way of messing with you at times, doesn’t it? Still listening to that song, I can’t bring myself to skip it, so I check my emails whilst browsing stuff that I don’t need. A note is there, but at least I finally know why we’ll not be anything. Autocorrect on a message changed ‘wasn’t’ to ‘was’ and it altered the entire context of the conversation.

It’s innocent, but she made a choice to not query it initially and not let me know why she was confused. It hurt then, but now it’s okay. It’s been said before but it’s fine to say again, there’s nothing wrong with being humble.

Girl, I’m sorry I let you down, so stupid that I messed up.

@TheSamMcLeod
@YouMeMusicLife

I fucked it up again.

How do you define character? Doing something that you don’t want to do but deep down knowing that you should? Standing up for, or protecting someone close to you regardless of what they’ve done? Just be trying to be a good person, full of compassion and love for anything and everything around you? Choosing to be as good as you can be from the moment that you step out of bed? Sure, we all control our own choices, but sometimes someone might throw you a curveball, they need you to keep a secret for them. People are entitled to their secrets, but is it selfish of them to decide to share those with you, especially if they know that it’s going to have an impact on your life? What if it’s a secret that affects two of the most important people you know? One of them has confided in you, whilst the other person has no idea about any of it. It’s not always easy to decide what the right thing to do is, but is keeping secrets the equivalent to lying? It’s probably right that the best way to keep a secret is to pretend that it doesn’t exist. Easier said than done. Anyone who’s ever been entrusted with a big secret and who struggles to keep it, knows exactly what that feels like.

All of us are blessed with free will though, you can choose to decide between saying nothing or saying something. The moment you share a secret however, you’ve lost all semblance of control with it. Keeping the secret that now belongs to you and maintaining your silence is probably the best way to go, right? Maybe it’s about not being owned by someone else’s secret that’s the easiest way to cope with someone messing with your conscience, your moral compass.

If I’ve learned anything about women, and I probably haven’t, it’s that pride and stubborness have a way of warping men’s thinking, whereas perhaps the ladies in all of our lives, can manage to be a bit more composed when it comes to making a decision. Girls seem to have that ability to always find the right words. I don’t know whether to speak up or hold my tongue, there’s going to be consequences either way.

I can read between the lines, I want to run from everything.

Moving to live and work in a new city and country is exciting, everything is an adventure, the newness of it all is intoxicating. Meeting new people, experiencing a different lifestyle. Discovering new hobbies, finding a local watering hole for those after work drinks, travelling and seeing places that you never thought you’d see in your entire life, pretty damn cool. It turns out though, that it doesn’t matter how old you are, you can still get homesick. Whilst you’re forging a new life for yourself, it’s easy to be a tiny bit sad from time to time. Thoughts turn to the people that I’ve left behind and a plan is hatched after six months to go back and visit. Quick tip, if you move to the other side of the world, either get your friends to figure out what time difference means, or switch your phone off at night! Calls are made, flights are booked, and I don’t know it yet, but plans are made also, catching up with friends will easily be the highlights of the trip. If I was any happier right now, I’d be triplets.

Two of the most important people in my life are in a relationship and dinner reservations are made for the first night back. They didn’t know each other until one night years ago when I played matchmaker and set them up, and they’ve been together ever since. She ends up having to work so it’s a boy’s night, there will be time to see her again. It’s a night you’d expect, two friends letting off steam after not seeing each other for so long. It’s more of a liquid dinner and then it’s onto a night of bar-hopping. We bump into some of her female friends and they join us. Way too much tequila is had but after a 37 hour journey, I know that sleep will come easily tonight. I have to say my goodbyes but can’t find my friend to say goodnight. As I leave, I see a couple kissing and my heart sinks. It’s him but it’s not with his her. Shit has gone sideways. He sees me, she leaves and there’s an immediate demand to know what the hell is going on. He confesses to seeing someone else for months now and begs me to keep his secret, he doesn’t want his relationship to end, but he doesn’t want to let go of this new girl either. Talk about a hospital pass, what to do now? Damned if I tell her and damned if I don’t.

It turns out that she has to go away for work for a week, so I have time to mull things over. I’ve been friends with her for a lot longer so I have to say something. Don’t I? I put the responsibility back on him and decide that some secrets are meant to stay secret forever, I don’t want any part of it. Little did any of us know that one of her friends told her that she saw him kissing the girl that night, and that I saw it also. A storm is coming and I’m inadvertently a part of it.

She comes home and we meet for coffee and I’m oblivious to what she’s aware of. She tells me that she knows, accuses me of being disrespectful and a shit friend, hard to argue. She leaves in tears, so I sit there on my own learning the cost of keeping something to myself. No matter how much you try to contain a fire, it always burns the way it sees fit. I’ve been the arsonist, can I be the fireman? I reach out because you care all the way or you don’t care at all. Still no response and my heart hurts, especially as I have to leave soon.

The timing’s poor, I know it’s never right.

@TheSamMcLeod
@YouMeMusicLife

A few mistakes ago.

Every day, different people come into your life. Depending on your outlook, and for how long the interaction is between you both, you might decide that you like or dislike them. You might choose to take some time to form an opinion about them, no choice is wrong, your perception is your reality, so you trust yourself. Sometimes, someone might come along and you have no opinion on them whatsoever. Nothing to do with them, they’re just in your life, perhaps in a work context, or they’re a friend of a friend. A relationship between two people can take a long time to develop. One person can know immediately that they’re interested in someone else, whereas the other person might take some time to notice her or him. Sometimes you have to go with your head, sometimes your heart. Isn’t it always the heart that has the potential to get you into trouble though?

You can think that you have your shit together but now and again, something happens to you and you’re thrown off. You’re tumbling down a hill, crashing into rocks and trees and you’re dazed for a while.

If someone likes you romantically, you’re either aware of it straight away or you have no clue at all. If it’s the second one, you’re probably a man, not really our strong suit, right? If you don’t open your eyes though, you won’t be able to see anything. Sometimes there are people that you’ll meet that are like a fire that should never be lit. The thing is with a new relationship though, knowing when to stop is probably more important than knowing when to start. It depends what we’re all looking for. It’s easy to spend every night with someone different but some of us want something more meaningful. You can admire someone from a distance, but sometimes the distance should be as far away as possible.

Sometimes people come into your life and you feel like you have to look after them, because they can’t do it on their own. It’s not your job though really, is it?

Some relationships are like monsoon season, short and steamy. This was not. Long and drawn out, a slow burner. I knew that as soon as we met, that she was not a good idea. Sometimes though, different things will fight each other for the right to win your heart and your senses. Fear, hope, love, lust. What an absolute cauldron of confusion. It’s just how things work though, isn’t it?

She was a boatload of trouble and I knew that she knew that I knew. Everyone knew. She had a beguiling innocence. Innocence has a way of haunting you like nothing else. She could make your eyeballs stand up and she was well aware of it. Some other women hated women like her, but that was to be expected, because she was a potential threat. No one seemed immune to her charm. I guess she knew this. Was she playing with everyone just for the fun of it? She could have the most devoted of boyfriends and husbands questioning whether or not she might be worth the risk. What man wouldn’t want to tell her everything that she wanted to know? She was one of those girls that was guaranteed to be a shit ton of fun until she wasn’t. She was like walking into a hornet’s nest and being suddenly surrounded by a swarm of bees. Something was definitely going to sting if you decided to give her what she wanted. She was a maze, practically a labyrinth. The issue is though, that the only thing that you know for sure about labyrinths, is that there’s always bad news waiting for you at the end.

She was beyond beautiful, aesthetically. It’s easy to see the beauty before all of the imperfections though. Perhaps there was an inner sadness that enhanced her beauty, one that was barely visible but if you’re perceptive enough, you find it. You just hope that you find it quickly.

The way in which she looked at me practically begged for a cover charge and a two drink minimum, but I liked someone else. I just didn’t have the courage to tell her. It’s nice to be desired, to be wanted though, right? If you’re male, sometimes your ego will be your downfall. Who in the world knows which one of the falling snowflakes starts the avalanche?

I liked her and that bothered me. Fuck, every boy liked her. Everyone liked being around her, but if a little of her company was good, then a ton was even better. Everyone knew that she was trouble, but maybe sometimes, with the benefit of hindsight, someone giving you good advice, can seem like a prophet. Everyone advised against it. Would she be an adventure? Sure, but some adventures, a man can live without. Before you choose to go down a particular road, you should ask yourself what lies at the end of it.

It’s easy to forget how much of an idiot you can be at times. Maybe we’re all sillier than we imagine. It turns out that common sense has little to do with reason. You can justify anything to yourself if you want to. Maybe you have a bad habit of telling yourself things that aren’t true? Could it work?

It was just a random night out when she decided to open up. You do the right thing, so I walked her home. I said goodnight and turned to walk away. She stopped me, with a hand on my back. Would you like to come up for coffee, she said? It might have only been six or seven seconds of silence between her question and my answer, but it felt like a lifetime. I told her that I didn’t drink coffee. She replied that she didn’t have any coffee. Whatever good things you’ve heard about me probably aren’t true, she said. Whatever bad things you’ve heard, are definitely just the tip of the iceberg, she said. I’ll give you everything that you want, she said. It’s only later that you realise that someone who’s willing to give you everything that she thinks you want, is probably also capable of taking everything that you have. We held each other’s gaze for several beats longer than we should have. Maybe sometimes you don’t have to say anything at all to be eloquent. We should never ask questions that we don’t want the answer to. Sometimes though, the horse has bolted and is a fucking long way down the lane. Everything was on pause and then it wasn’t. It was time to press play. I asked if she liked me? I’ve been in love with you for a year, so I thought it seemed like it might be time to find out whether or not you felt the same about me, she said. It would appear not, she said. Taking a deep breath, I held it for a couple of seconds and let it out. Sometimes you have to do things that you don’t want to do.

A game? Undoubtedly. I started the long walk home. Alone. I’d never fled from danger in my life but she gave me cause for concern. Getting into anything with her would be like trying to pick up a water balloon in the dark with razorblades. It’s not going to work. She wanted me to look at her the way that I did another, but I couldn’t.

In another time and in another life? No. There comes a time in your life when you have to choose to turn the page or close the book. She’s a book I’ll never read.

I knew you were trouble when you walked in.

@TheSamMcLeod

Blah blah.

Gossip. Often defined as “casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details which are not confirmed as true.”

Isn’t it just something that some people use to distract other people who have nothing better to do than feeling jealous of a few or a lot of us? Maybe it’s insecurity on their part? Insecure people can be envious of you and your life, because they’re not happy about what they have going on in their own life. Often those people that criticise you, your life and the decisions that you make, are the same people who have no idea what you’ve suffered through, to get to where you are today.

Some of us will waste our precious years with small talk. It’s sad but most of us understand it probably, at least on some level.

Gossiping is far from nice and jealousy is a horrible trait. If someone tells you something, you can choose to believe it and that’s fine, it’s your choice. The thing is, you can’t always believe everything that you hear.

Is there any point in wasting your time with words though, if people only believe what they want to believe or hear what they want to hear? There is no point fighting a fight that can’t be fought, it’s a waste of time and energy. It’s ironic though. If you let people speak to you, you’ve almost granted them permission to talk to you. No such permission is needed though if they decide to talk about you.

Isn’t it sad and a little bit silly to think that tearing someone else down builds you up as a human being? Shouldn’t a part of every day be about listening to your conscience though? As long as your conscience is clear. Be good, be kind, be nice. People will always say what they like, trying to stop them gossiping is like trying to drink coffee with a fork.

It’s intrinsic in most of us though to trust people, to want to trust people. All you want to do is look out for the people who look out for you. Pretty simple, right? So, you should stop giving time to those people with more faces than Big Ben. Who wants to have a relationship with someone like that? Ninety nine times out of a hundred, if someone is telling you stuff about another person, they’re going to tell your business to other people. You shouldn’t be taken in, if someone is going to gossip to you, they’ll damn sure gossip about you. Someone who smiles with you, can sometimes frown about you too much behind your back and you might never know. We could blame it all on human nature.

How much better would life be if everyone shied away from gossip? Let today or tomorrow be the day that you speak of only the good things that you know of the other people in your life. It doesn’t sound too hard, does it?

You should never judge someone’s character based on the words of someone who is speaking about them behind their back. What someone says about you behind your back, says a lot about them. Isn’t it better to examine the words said to you from the person who is quick to share a story with you? Stories are good but don’t you want to listen to the right storyteller in your life? How could it hurt to be less curious about people, and more curious about everything else that you want to know more about?

The worst thing about talk is that there’s no way to put it to bed. Everyone believes what they want to believe. Hopefully, the most important people in your life will see through the nonsense and instantly know what the truth is. You keep those people around, don’t you?

Some people are so intent on talking about other people’s failures and mistakes that you could almost swear they are talking about themselves. Fucking idiots.

You’re always told to never talk ill of the dead, but we seem to have zero problem at all doing the same with the living. Gossip and rumours are like germs. Spread them enough and people get contaminated.

Take lightly what you hear about people. If you hear something bad about someone that you know, why not sit down and have an actual conversation with them? Drop them a call, an email or a text. Isn’t it always better to know the facts? Doesn’t gossip wound your heart almost as much of that as the person that you’re speaking about?

There is a price to pay with everyone that you choose to have in your life. Don’t you just need to work out what that price is?

It’s stupid to forget about your own faults when the person you gossip about is made to think of their own, by the words you speak. If you’ve been a victim of it, hopefully that person knows what they did and they regret it.

Two ears, one mouth. We talk too much.

@TheSamMcLeod

I don’t know why you wonder why?

Isn’t being all about yourself, the surest way that you’ll end up being all by yourself?

Her ego could stretch the shit out of the universe. The problem was with it though that it appeared to have no end. One day she asked him to admit that the majority of things in his life were about her. They weren’t, he told her that and she didn’t like it. They were doomed from the beginning, although he didn’t know it at the time. That person that makes you laugh when no one else in the world can. You need to find them, don’t you? He thought it was her but it wasn’t. He realised that he needed to fall in love with his own heart because she wasn’t opening up her heart to him.

He thought that maybe he just needed to relax, trust her and that everything would be okay. He was no Robin Hood though, he was so wide of the mark.

When we were kids, we used to trust everything that we were told. Somewhere down the line, we stopped. We questioned things. He finally questioned whether or not she was a good idea and concluded that she wasn’t.

The brain. Who knows why it believes what it believes? Neurons and synapses? Maybe it’s your heart that directly impacts what your brain thinks. 99% of the time, he wanted to believe her and the things that she said but he knew that they weren’t all true. That other 1%? It was full of hope. Idiot.

She didn’t want to know how he felt, yet, she wanted him to know everything that she felt. Selfish, right? She was mesmerising and heartbreaking all at the same time. She thought that she was being interesting to him, in every minute of every day, when in reality, she was only being interesting to herself.

They both ended up where they are. Part of him still thinks that he didn’t make a mistake about her when they met, about who she was, about who she is. He saw the heartbreak coming though but it took him a while to get out of the way.

She’s not all bad, she has a fire that burns bright. There is a heart beating behind her craziness, it’s in there somewhere. She is almost perfect. Almost. No matter how much you try to contain a fire though, won’t it always burn the way that it wants to?

He now can’t understand what hurts more, missing her, or pretending not to. He can’t tell her though, that would only stoke her ego.

She was great in parts but she wasn’t the person that he could shape his life around. He couldn’t take the chance in the end. He never ever took her for granted though, it was nigh on impossible to do so. His own pride wouldn’t allow it, call it male stubbornness. Yet, there they were, imploding right in front of each other. Evel Knievel couldn’t jump the gap between the two of them now. It’s not your job to try and change someone though, is it? Even if you could, you can’t shape someone that has no shape.

It’s alright though, isn’t it? It’s certainly okay to her because it’s about her ego. Most of the time, perhaps all of the time, it’s got to be about her. Does she even know that’s why she’s there where she is and he’s not? He would have been there though. In a fucking heartbeat. Guess what fucked it? How do you even manage to give yourself permission to think that you’re better than everyone else?

Everything became a competition and only one of them could win. It wasn’t him, he failed quite spectacularly but he’s okay about it now. Or at least he thinks he is.

Having gone through the relationship with her, it changed his outlook. He’s more aware of how he treats other people now. He has his own ego but it’s not like the world owes him anything, not like how she is. We all make assumptions, we all have biases, we all have our own ego. It’s just the levels that are different, isn’t it?

She might have been the love of his life but now neither of them will ever know. She was the one when he was no one. Now, she’s nothing. It doesn’t even bother her. Her fucking ego.

He thought that he was clever enough to make whatever decisions he wanted to make but she filled him full of doubt at the end. It turns out that meeting her and sharing the things they did has made him better though. Even although she was bad for him, she made him better for whoever comes along next.

He learned not to allow her ego and insecurities to stop him growing, to stop him doing the things that he wanted so she clearly isn’t all bad. If you can meet someone and they make you better, then it’s a positive experience, I guess.

The thing is though, when you have a love affair with yourself, you still sleep alone at night.

And you wonder why, no one’s by your side?

@TheSamMcLeod