Call me Superman.

Most people probably have a day of the year that we enjoy and like best. Our birthday? New Year’s Day or New Year’s Eve, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Australia Day, Saint Patrick’s Day, All Saints’ Day, Liberation Day, there are way too many to mention.

How about Lupercalia? If you’re not Italian, it’s understandable if you’ve never heard of it or have no idea what it is. Shit, even if you are, it’s perfectly understandable to have zero clue about the origin of it. Just an ancient Roman festival held every year between February 13 and February 15 celebrating fertility and health, who doesn’t want to be have both of those things? Spotted the day that falls in the middle yet?

Valentine’s Day, what an absolute minefield, even if you’re in a relationship. Do you celebrate it, what do you buy your significant other, do you cook, do you have reservations about even doing anything at all? Fuck it, go all in or don’t bother at all, reservations are for restaurants, aren’t they?

A lot of the days mentioned have become commercialised but that’s not to say that they mean anything less to any of us. The fourteenth day of the shortest month of the year can be a tough one if you’re on your own. It’s too easy for thoughts to turn to the last boy or girl that you can’t stop thinking about. Maybe you told them how you feel, maybe you didn’t, but you still think about them, don’t you? If they said yes or no, then things go one way or the other. You get together or you don’t. If you didn’t ask, then how will you ever know, especially if you can’t stop thinking about them? Is it worse if they know and they don’t do anything about it?

The person that whenever they decide to be in touch with you has the ability to make you doubt yourself beyond reason. Emotions and feelings, it would be nice sometimes if they just fucked off. Who wants to second guess themself, to be anxious, to ask if this is something that you really want to pursue or that you should simply let go of. Isn’t the first step is to figure it out for yourself, and then take a deep breath and choose which way you’re headed? Identifying the emotions that you can’t stand feeling about someone is super important.

Sounds easy when you say it, but you know they’re your emotional kryptonite.

It’s easy for that someone to make you feel rejected or worthless but deep down you know that you’re not. Feelings again, do they really help though? Just when you think you’ve moved on from what you had or what it is that you think you wanted, an email drops into your inbox. The ping of your cell lets you know that you have a new text. Some people even go old school and write you a letter or send you a card, the sound of the letterbox means you have mail, always exciting to see what’s come for you. Except when it’s not.

By their very nature, emotions that we can’t tolerate feeling, overwhelm us. Do you respond? How many times have you gone to try and send an email or a text message and then read it back and delete it before sending? Should you even reply in the first place? You were doing okay and now they’ve made the first move and you need to make a choice. Reply or delete, the ball is in your court now. Doubt though. It’s important to remember that it’s just a feeling, it’s not going to kill you. Carry on with the way things are going or take a chance and type out some words that might change everything for you, how do you choose?

Maybe it’s a new dilemma for you, difficult not to feel like you stumbled in and bumped your head.

I’m in a hotel for a week and everyone knows that they can be a pretty lonely place. Still, it is what it is, so you try and make the best of it. When you’re in a strange city and you don’t know anyone, it can be difficult to meet people. Nothing new, we’ve all been there. A day off comes up, but you’re always awake at the same time, so I get up, throw on the running gear and head out. As I’m pasing through reception, I spot a fellow guest, she catches my eye too and we smile at each other. It’s not even 6am and she looks immaculate, clearly out of my league, so I think no more of it, other than it’s a nice start to the day.

I bump into her the next day, and the next and the next one after that. She’s super shy, but friendly and we talk when we see each other. If you can make someone laugh, make someone smile, then regardless of anything else, isn’t that a cool thing? The aforementioned loneliness is sorted by spending time together, chatting, sharing wine and talking about different places and things that we’ve done. Could it ever be something? For once, my head and my heart align and I think not, but it’s still cool to spend time with someone that you have fun with. I don’t ask the question because I know that she’ll say no and I don’t want to hear that word, I just enjoy the moment. Let’s face it, It would be like if I glued my head to a railroad track and then waited for a train to come along. We’re inseparable for the next week and the other people that have shared our time, told me to go for it but I can’t, no is not a nice word. I can see in her face that she knows what I think but the week ends and we both go our separate ways.

We see each other again more than once, but it’s friendly, nothing more, but I know that she knows, that I know. Time to distance myself, there is no contact for what seems like an eternity but I’m cool with it.

Lupercalia, the middle day comes along, and there’s a card that drops through the letterbox, and a message that pings into my phone. ‘Happy Valentine’s Day.” Just ignore them and wait for my stomach to stop bouncing around? It’s hard to decide.

Call me Superman.

@TheSamMcLeod
@YouMeMusicLife

Give yourself a moment.

We all have a lot of stuff going on in our lives. Some good things, maybe some great things, some bad things, maybe some awful things. We all have a ton of problems, different things that we need to think about, to make decisions on every day. Some of them are known only to you; some might involve other people. Some things are big, some are little, but they’re definitely different for all of us. All of our problems are unique though, because we are unique. We all lead lives filled with issues, some can be changed or fixed easily, some can have you scratching your head about what the fuck to do about them. Just life I guess, sucks to be an adult at times.

Life can throw you a curveball when other people’s problems impact your life. You’d do anything for your family or friends though, wouldn’t you? Time to look after them before focussing on yourself, but whilst it’s not always the easiest thing to do, it’s the right thing to do. Help others, but if you can’t, the last thing you want to do is hurt them, so you try your hardest. Advice, a shoulder to cry on, letting them know that you’re at the end of the phone for them, let them know that they’re not alone. The little things sometimes turn into the biggest things. Isn’t it a beautiful concept that others come first and you come second? Perhaps it’s a form of love that makes you think, that makes you believe that the happiness of another person is essential to your own happiness. Loving a friend so selflessly means that you share in their happiness whether you are part of it or not.That can never be bad, make someone happy and be happy too, win win. Sure it’s easy to take from people, but sometimes all you can do is give until it hurts. You give what you can whether it’s a little or a lot. Maybe it’s who we are from the start? Like everyone that’s gone before all of us, we all have our strengths and weaknesses. It’s easy to be a good friend to others but sometimes it’s more difficult to be more of a friend to yourself.

Caring and thinking of others is awesome but if your present moment is filled with good things, and you’re switched on, you see them. Maybe you need to give yourself your own advice and take yourself away from life for a while, and get totally immersed in the right now rather than everything else that’s going on around you. You need to stop and take a breath sometimes, give yourself a moment and let your body be. Count one, two, three.

An email drops into my inbox that I don’t expect. I don’t know the person, I have no idea when I see their email address and picture as to why I’m even on their radar. I read the message, I understand it and it’s an opportunity to change my life. Not in a Nigerian prince offering billions of dollars for my bank account details kind of way, but something that will need to turn the focus on myself, rather than the friends and family that I’ve been making sure are okay for the past number of years. It feels like that all I have and that all I need is right here in this moment. My index finger hovers over the reply icon. What if life is about not knowing as much as you think you know, about having to change everything, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next? Scary, but maybe every great move forward in your life begins with a leap of faith, with putting one foot in front of the other, taking a step into the unknown. I can be here now but will it be better to be somewhere else later? Consonants and vowels are formed, words take shape. The index finger hovers again but finally clicks the send button.

It’s taking a chance, but shouldn’t you try and promise yourself that you’ll enjoy every minute of the day that is given to you? No point in fucking worrying yourself with what happened yesterday, or what’s going to happen tomorrow, none of us know. What if you get that one call, that one email, that one text, that might change the possibility of everything for you? Maybe we all need to learn that this moment is enough, as long as we have the belief to make it so. It’s all an adventure, so why not try and look after yourself from time to time?

We all endure tough times and the dawning of a new year can feel almost cathartic. Looking after people rather than yourself is an emotionally draining experience. The here and now is all we have, but if we get it right, isn’t it all we’ll need? Nothing is more important than this day. Yesterday is gone and tomorrow isn’t here yet, so the focus needs to be on today. That said, there’s less than 72 hours until a meeting that could change my life forever. Those people I’ve been fighting for are okay now, but they might need to be without me for a little while, because this is about me for a second.

Excited?

It’s okay to be chasing stars and to find a place and lose it.

@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

We all get lost sometimes.

How far would you go for someone you love?

You don’t have to be in love with someone to love them though, it’s an important distinction. You can have a ton of different kinds of friendships, romantic relationships, best friends, casual friendships, work buddies. Clearly, you love a few people more than others, but maybe some of the most beautiful friendships in your life are the ones that have no semblance of any romance. Being completely platonic is cool with friends of the opposite sex. You might be in a relationship, but isn’t it healthy to have a wide circle of friends of both sexes? Relationships get built, some fall apart as time goes on, but it’s okay to let some people go.

Just a decision. We think, so we do. Our doing shapes the people and things that we choose to experience, and then those experiences help to define our character, right? In each moment, we define who we’ll become and who’ll be a part of our lives.

For all of those people that you choose to keep close, you want nothing but the best for them. Undoubtedly, you want the same for yourself, but you’re always looking out for the special people in your life. For them to get everything that they want, difficult as that is, to not have to suffer any heartbreak, ultimately you just want them to be happy.

Things don’t always work out though, and one day you might find out that someone you love is struggling.

When heartache hits, most of us resort to different things to try and numb the pain, it’s natural to feel in that moment that we have no other choice. Alone time definitely features heavily, but hopefully you don’t decide to do something that you shouldn’t. It’s easy to lose yourself in a bottle, or to go for something harder to try and help you cope, but we don’t have to do any of those things, there are more cathartic choices, but it’s difficult. It’s okay to lock yourself away from the world for a while and just try and make yourself better. Sometimes all you want to do is stay afloat, even deciding to be alone for a while can be scary. Days and nights are hard though, sometimes part of you can think that it would be a blessing to just even survive. Dark times.

We all get lost sometimes, you know?

Life can be an assault course, not many know what it has planned for us, or what might the next bump in the road might be. Hold on to everyone that you love and try and face whatever life throws at you? It’s easy to get lost along the way, and make wrong choices but aren’t all of our mistakes there to be learned from, to make us stronger?

Take a deep breath and let it go, you shouldn’t be drowning on your own.

A message from a friend arrives and it’s not good news. Something bad has happened, she won’t be in touch for a while and crying so much that she’s almost drowning in tears. More than one mutual friend has got the same message and needless to say, we get worried about the person we care about. Calls go unanswered and unreturned, emails and text messages are the same, a ring on her doorbell sounds like the loneliest sound in the world right now.

I have your back, no matter what the situation. If you love someone, you do whatever it takes, the consequences can go and fuck themselves. Any pain will be suffered just to share anything you need. No matter how much you feel down, if you need a helping hand, that’s what you get. If you need someone to give you shit and tell you a few home truths about how good a person you are, then that’s what you get. If you just need someone to listen or shoulder to cry on, that’s what you get. You get anything you want and it’s not a limited time offer. We fight together, you don’t have to face everything alone, guess who’s going to be right there? You can want to let go, but know that I won’t.

Please reach out. We’re friends, so we’re in this together forever, there will be a lifetime of me being a lifeline for you. I won’t let go.

And I hope you know.

@TheSamMcLeod

We were boxing the stars.

Sometimes it’s the tiniest things that brings your feelings to the surface. A spark of emotion can trigger a laugh, a smile, a tear. Different things do that to each of us, a random meeting with someone that you didn’t expect to see, perhaps a message out of the blue.

All you want with someone is to feel good, right? When you’re with them, it doesn’t matter that the world is messed up, because they could be your world now. That one person that makes your bad days good, and your good days even better.

It’s sad to have love and not be able to share it with anyone, but isn’t that the point, you don’t want to share it with just anyone? You need to take a chance sometimes, do you keep your hand by your side forever or put it on someone’s heart? Take a leap of faith and hope that they treat you right? Sure, go for your life, no one needs or wants to be played though, so you’re careful. There’s no sense in being with someone when all they want to do is manipulate you. Someone who wants to beguile and seduce you is infinitely better, right? If you’re looking for, or trying to find someone new, there will be hiccups, there will be bumps in the road. The good parts can become great, but now and again it’s hard not to think of those times when things went wrong before with someone different. You still try though if you really want to, no point in moping around forever, but it takes balls to put yourself out there.

How do you read the signs to figure out that someone likes you? Maybe everyone around you tells you that the person is into you, always nice to have a helping hand if you’re not self-aware. When they’re always the one to start the conversation, when they listen to you all the time, when they continually offer you compliments, doesn’t the penny begin to drop? Perhaps they’re a friend so you’re naturally in touch regularly. You can look back on things later and realise that the conversations always centred on the same topics. No one that you like are good enough for you, in their opinion. The subject gets changed when you mention someone that you might potentially be into, they’re always talking in future tense about what comes next for the both of you. When you’re in their company, you catch their eye and they’re staring at you, whilst smiling a lot. They find excuses for you to be alone together and they remember details about you that others don’t.

It’s possible to look at people differently as your friendship or relationship grows. Feelings can change and then there might come a day when you can’t hold back. You might finally click that a friend is looking for an answer to a question that you’re not sure if you’re prepared to ask. Tough to do, what if the whole situation between you both changes, will you kick yourself forever or be happy to have taken the plunge? You can like someone without always having to tell them and yes, the rejection might be painful, but isn’t it worth putting yourself out there? Shouldn’t they find it flattering even if they don’t like you back in that way? Thinking about it too much can be a difficult place and sometimes you don’t know if you can ask any of your other friends for advice. You can be absolutely surrounded by people but feel lonelier than ever.

Have you ever been alone in a crowded room?

She didn’t let him know about her secret for a long time, thinking that she was content to stay in the friend zone forever. One night she told him drunkenly during a lengthy catch up, that he was just wasting time with any of the other girl friends in his life, and then promptly hung up. Clearly, some things are too obvious to some to stay a secret for too long. He has to move forward but isn’t entirely sure that he’s really thinking, the dynamic has changed now. A conversation happens again soon after, and it’s clear that she doesn’t remember anything that she said to him. What to do, does he say something or not? She’s a cool girl, they’ve been friends for years and maybe there could be something, it could be the start of something amazing.

No point asking the question unless there might be that possibility to take it to the next level. Courage is plucked up, the words are spoken and he gets that one reply that can break you. No. Talk about using a shotgun to kill a mosquito.

Time passes and she’s in touch again. Make your mind up if you like someone, this doesn’t need to be a masked ball where we all go as someone else. Be yourself.

It’s now clear that she likes him a lot but when someone says no, it’s difficult to go back, isn’t the friendship a more important thing to save? She could have been a girl that he could have fallen in love with, but she’s pressuring him to do something now that he wanted to do before, and something doesn’t sit right. Can he fix the problem between them? Can she accept things and realise what they had and hopefully still have, is more important than potentially fucking it all up?

He knows that it’s not going to work out now, and it’s for the better if they give it up. Only one of them is willing to admit it, but even though she messed it up, she should know that he’ll always be there for her in the end. It’s difficult but don’t we all need to do what feels right, even if someone wants us to do something else?

What you could possibly expect under this condition? If you’ve ever been alone, you’ll know.

There was a chance, but maybe we were boxing the stars.

@TheSamMcLeod

What dreams are made of.

Day 6.

Everyone has experienced one of those type of days. You wake up in the morning and you’re not motivated to do anything. Sometimes, maybe you can do nothing and laze the day away, but chances are that you still have things to be getting on with. It’s just life, but so full of duties, personal issues and responsibilities that sometimes it can be impossible to know where to start. None of us likes to admit it, but aren’t we all are struggling to get motivated from time to time? Often we simply can’t get started with doing what we need to do. It can be a daily struggle, just a circle that we can’t seem to escape. Things will change though, won’t they?

There’s an old Chinese proverb that probably nails it if you’re struggling. “Deep doubts, deep wisdom; small doubts, little wisdom.”

Doubt can be a useful thing, it keeps you guessing. Can you know the strength of yourself until you’ve been tested? What do you do to try and make things better, doubt your doubts before you doubt yourself? It’s okay, being scared about whatever you want to achieve in 2019 is natural. What’s the point in ever doubting your own instinct? Doubt everything, find your own motivation to do what you need or want to do next year. If you’ve ever met someone that’s famous or successful and you’ve managed to spend some time with them, you know intrinsically that even they have doubts, that they have fears, that they have worries. They just don’t let these feelings stop them from pushing on. Not a bad lesson to learn as a new year gets closer.

It’s tough to always be strong though, and perhaps the worst part about that to the people in your life, is that no one seems to ever ask if you’re okay. One of the problems with the world is that some people are always so certain of themselves, whilst maybe the wiser ones can be full of doubt. That’s fine, you figure out your own motivation, what’s going to make you happy. Letting someone else be a roadblock to what makes you fulfilled on your journey to your goals is stupid. Doubt will kill your dreams before failure ever will.
Show no fear, have no regrets, display no weakness. This might sound tough as this year closes but don’t waste a second of your life, it’s too short and you’re too fucking special.

We’ve all had a lot dreams growing up. Time to make some of them come true? Will there be difficulties? For sure, but these challenges will make you feel better once you get what you want to achieve.

Hard work and determination can take you where you want to go if you have an idea or a plan. Is there doubt about what lies ahead? Absolutely. Is there trepidation? You’d better believe it. What’s the point wondering about what if though? Several plans have been made, it’s your turn now. It could be a big year ahead for you if you want it to be one.

Just watch. Set, ready, go for the take off.

@TheSamMcLeod
#YouMeMusicLifeResolutions

The things no one can see.

Day 1.

Christmas, the most wonderful time of the year. If you have children, then maybe the 25th of December is all that it’s cracked up to be. Is there anything quite as heartwarming as the smile and the look of wonder on a child’s face, as they open their presents? Tradition is important at this time of the year. Presents, sure they’re materialistic, but who really cares? Everyone has their own things they do every year. Bucks fizz for breakfast, bacon rolls for lunch, maybe an afternoon nap. Isn’t part of the fun of the day, running downstairs on Christmas morning and discovering the pile of presents waiting for you under the tree, especially as a child? Is it really Christmas until the tree goes up? It’s all worth it though when you switch those lights on and see those smiles again. Don’t be doing that shit before December, it’s just not right.

A lot of us don’t have work to worry about for a couple of weeks, healthy eating goes out of the window, and it becomes acceptable to start drinking at 10am on a Tuesday morning. It’s also acceptable to be sitting around in your pyjamas all day and watching Christmas movies. You’ve checked out when your favourite Christmas film is on, Elf, maybe Home Alone. Usually when you have time off from work, there’s that pressure to actually do stuff. It’s different at this time of the year, you can sit back, have a few mince pies, a glass of something and feel no regrets. Spending time with family is maybe something that you don’t do much during the year, but the festive season is a chance to put that right. Sure, some of those family members might be annoying, but Christmas gives you that chance to spend some time with them.

It’s not always easy though if you’re not around the ones that you love. Christmas can be a lonely place and time. For all of it’s tradition of being together with family, it can make those feelings of loneliness feel difficult, regardless of who you have around. Tougher if you’re on your own though, right?

You can think too much about things just now. The year is nearly over and it’s been an emotional one. You’ve lost someone close to you, a relationship has ended, perhaps you’re not where you want to be or who you want to be with. The thought of a new year can be cathartic, hopefully everything changes for you if this year has been one that you’d rather forget. Time to make resolutions?

You can be who you were or who you’ll become.

How shit is it when you’re never more alone than when you’re in a relationship? Someone who has no inclination of your feelings and oblivious to your fears. There’s a casual compassion of friends sometimes, but on one level you understand it, everyone is busy at this time of year, even if they’re not religious. Better to be riding solo?

You don’t have anyone around to spend this magical day on, so what do you do? Travel is always a good plan, take yourself away and experience something and somewhere new. Dinner won’t be easy, but you could rock up somewhere and do something different, who says that pizza at Christmas is a bad idea? Shop for gifts for yourself, always nice to have something to open, even if you already know what it is. You can do all of these things and still be lonely though.

Maybe all you need to do is rejoice and reflect. Maybe things haven’t gone your way. Maybe you’re still grieving for everyone that you’ve lost in the last twelve months. It’s okay not to be immerged in the spirit of this time of year as long as you’re okay. It’s okay to remember one thing.

If it all goes wrong, just hold on.

@TheSamMcLeod

#YouMeMusicLifeResolutions