You’ve got it at your fingertips.

You’d do anything for the people in your life that you care about, wouldn’t you? No cry for help or question goes unanswered if a call comes, when you’re needed, you’re there. An email, a text, maybe a visit needs to happen. Shit, sometimes, your presence isn’t necessarily wanted or expected, but when you know something is wrong, you get there, you help in any way you can. Sometimes a cuddle is needed, sometimes harsh words need to be said, albeit in a caring way, sometimes just being around when that someone finally realised that when they need someone to pour their heart out to will help, even if they don’t realise it in that initial moment. We all have two ears and one mouth, sometimes it’s much better to listen than speak, especially if it’s someone who tugs at your heartstrings because they’re struggling and they need you, or they need someone.

We all need someone now and again, especially when you can’t tell that you’re bigger than the sea that you’re sinking in.

A visit becomes a little tougher when they’re over 8000km away, although an offer is made, yet politely gets declined. Calls happen though, texts are exchanged, thank goodness for FaceTime. That said, it’s never easy to watch a friend struggle, to see them cry, to be able to witness their fragility. It doesn’t take too long to catch on to the things that she’s trying to say without her being able to articulate the words. What advice can you give from so far away without everything that leaves your mouth sounding like a cliche? ‘It’ll all get better in time, there are plenty more fish in the sea, you were better than him anyway.’ How easy it is for those words to sound hollow? Finally something I say makes sense, ‘How about heading away for a few days somewhere, have a change of scenery and try and collect your thoughts?’ A couple of days pass and I don’t hear from her, but you give the people in your life what they need, even if that’s a little bit of space. You can try and help all you want to but sometimes, they need to get to a place on their own when they begin to think that they’ll be okay.

A call comes and she’s at the airport. Not her airport, my airport, can I go and get her? I can’t, but she knows where I live and she knows that my neighbour has a spare set of keys so she heads there. Work is finally done, I get back to my place and she’s already there, is already in pyjamas and has managed to demolish a large part of a bottle of bourbon. Usually this would be a great night together, music on, maybe a film and just hanging out. Given everything that’s happened though, letting her finish the bottle would be a bad idea. We sit, we talk, she cries, we hug and awful television is watched.

She falls asleep so I take the chance to make up the spare room, who doesn’t like fresh bedding, although by this point, I doubt she’d even notice. I pick her up, lay her gently into bed and pull the covers over her. I head for the kitchen, grab a couple of bottles of water from the fridge and stick one on each side of her on the bedside tables. The lights get turned out in her room and I watch the rest of the shitty TV show and make sure that there will be no bourbon left by morning.

It’s been a long day emotionally so it’s time for bed. I climb in and as soon as my head hits the pillow, sleep isn’t far behind me. I’ve no idea how long it is, but I feel something, turn over and there she is next to me with her hands on me, trying to kiss me. A few years ago, absolutely. Right now? Zero chance. We have a difficult conversation, mostly because she’s still drunk but I lead her back to the spare room and put her to bed. Again.

Her actions are understandable, maybe we’ve all been there. Perhaps nothing numbs the sting of a breakup quite like a rebound fling or relationship. Toxic for some people, but maybe beneficial for others. Maybe sometimes it could grow into something amazing, but this isn’t one of those times. Don’t you both need to be on the same page about whatever the fuck this is? No point in dragging someone else into your emotional horror show while letting them believe that there’s a chance that your new relationship could be something real. Sure, it’s easy to assume that once they’ve finally healed from their breakup, that they’ll look to you as the knight in shining armour who swept into their life at just the right time to make it all better, but how is that a basis for something new?

It’s more than okay to hurt, but maybe if you’re in pain, you should try and heal, rather than move onto someone else straight away. A rebound will never the best idea you’ve ever had, everything should happen with dignity and especially when you’re sober. Take time to heal before committing to someone new, right?

No one wants to be the first person to be picked out of a lineup of a potential new partner.

It’s not going to be fun if I start to get feelings for her in a different way, there’s no way that it’ll happen though, to make her hope that things will be anything different, anything more than just a friendship. Once upon a time, maybe, but she chose someone else and that’s okay, but no one should want to be a rebound, I certainly don’t. Hopefully the morning comes, she remembers and apologises, or forgets completely. It’s okay to be alone and wait for the right girl but what’s the point in ever allowing your own loneliness to drive you into the arms of someone that you know that you don’t belong with?

It’s not difficult to get over the possibility of a relationship that I wasn’t even in, but it doesn’t mean that my heart doesn’t hurt for her.

The morning comes, I’m awake first and breakfast is made, complete with a shit ton of coffee. She wakes, comes through, looks at me, hugs, says sorry and that’s enough. Saying sorry is always enough. She’ll be okay in time, cliche again, but she’ll always have a friend who has her back.

She stays for a few more days and we do things that friends do. It’s okay to put your arm around someone when they’re hurting, long walks are cathartic. She’s still hurting but K, I know that you’ll be okay.

I know you think your fire is burning out but I still see you shining through, you’ve got it in you.

@TheSamMcLeod

All the things that you do.

Do you ever think that maybe some relationships are destined to never last? You can’t afford any rebellion against what you’re thinking, about what your heart tells you, no one needs to be trapped inside a dilemma, so you have to make choices. Good people come and go from our lives every day, and it’s okay for the impact of that happening to be felt weeks, months, shit, even years later. Maybe we bared our bodies, our future hopes, our past, to someone that we thought was a friend or something more. One day something happens though, and that certain someone ends up a stranger or an occasional acquaintance at best. With each goodbye we go through, we mourn the comfort of catching up with someone who’s now gone. No more calls, no more messages.

Maybe some of the hardest goodbyes are the ones that you didn’t see coming, something that’s incredibly unexpected and something that you didn’t get to say the parting words that you wanted to. At times it’s a choice, whilst with others it’s chance. If you’re lucky, you still try and part on good terms. Does that make things easier? It’s no wonder that many of life’s most stressful events involve goodbyes.

Sometimes that’s something that sits okay with you, but it’s okay to struggle and accept losing someone whether they’re a friend or a lover. You move on, perhaps with a rollercoaster of emotions. Your heart might be hurting, and you’re sure as fuck confused as to what’s happened, as your mind flits between anger, disappointment and any other emotions that you could mention. Acceptance, reminiscense, a hope to forget and to move on. You think it’s acceptable to break our hearts a tiny bit, because maybe we weren’t right for one another anyway? There’s plenty alone time for second guessing though, right? Demons and ghosts matter when you have to let someone go from your life who you thought would be there forever, just someone who was a good friend. Other friends will tell you to let go of all of the blame, guilt and regret, but what if you’ve done nothing wrong? Whoever’s gone is an idiot, aren’t they?

The Italian people have a proverb, ‘One that deceives me once, it’s their fault; but if twice, it’s my fault.’ Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. Let someone fool you three times, who’s the fucking idiot now? Maybe sometimes it’s necessary to burn a particular bridge, the penny drops and you realise that you’re done. Recognising that you fell for the same thing twice and knowing that you should’ve been able to have seen it coming the second time around. It should never have got to the third time.

It’s easy to overthink things, but it’s cool to still hope. Can you rescue it? One more hope to understand?

It was magical, rediscovering someone from years ago. How can it be bad to catch up with an old friend? Mutual friends are spoken of, plans of catching up happen, it’s a cool thing. Sometimes though, circumstances get in the way. Once, twice, three times not a lady, what a pity. One moment you’re something together, and then it’s over. Before you know it, that person is just somebody that you used to know. Blocked on Facebook, unfollowed on Instagram, it doesn’t matter. Wouldn’t you rather live your life for real, rather on social media? No need to make it difficult by the things you say, the games you play.

What now? Drown my sorrows in bourbon over the thought of losing someone who I thought was a friend? Nope, clearly, because of her actions, she’s not worth it. My bad, I thought I knew better, time for some self reflection. Next time, pick someone to be a friend who isn’t quite as judgemental? Who understands everything that you do every day to try and make you and everyone around you better.

Maybe she was left heartbroken by someone, maybe she’s just not as nice as she appeared. Her tears and regret will never make make me smile. We were only ever friends but I hate you, I love you, I hate that I love you. No grudges, not ever, but this will never be a thing.

You know you’ll never change my mind.

@TheSamMcLeod

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

Simpatico.

Simpatico. A person who is likeable and easy to get on with. Someone who is characterised by shared attributes or interests; they’re compatible.

A relationship ends. It’s the worst. It can be difficult to escape the pain, the hurt, the emotional turmoil. You have to learn to cope with it, although it can be easier said than done? It’s over but perhaps your heart and your brain aren’t quite ready to accept it. That’s natural.

Maybe the only way to overcome a split is by realising the fact that the relationship is done and dusted. Don’t glance back, try not to think of it, that should make it easier to move on. Right? Wrong?

During tough times and after the end of everything that you held dear, your family and friends are going to be the biggest crutches that you’ll ever need. Whilst that’s cool, what do you do? Go out and try and be the life and soul of the party? Maybe you prefer to be alone? Neither option is wrong, the one most important thing though is to give yourself some time. Absolutely, the anguish will tear you apart but what’s happened, has happened.

So what now? Moving on? To be able to move on though, you need to learn to forgive him or her. Is it important too though to forgive yourself? If you were the one doing the breaking, it’s on you. Isn’t it better to remember things though as they were and move on? It has to be the same rule though if he or she did the breaking.

If either of you have made mistakes, isn’t there is always another chance for either of you? You can have a fresh start, a clean go at things.

Love can make things great and hurt all at the same time. You wouldn’t want to live without it though, would you?

Does anyone understand women? Maybe they’re just meant to be adored and treasured and never understood? Perhaps the same applies the other way?

If someone in your life loves you the way that you want to be loved, then never let them go. It ‘s easy to think though that love can be something that just happens when two people who are batshit crazy and full of lust for each other become misguided. Not true, right? It has to be something deeper. If you’re in love, do you ever really know whether your love comes from the person you’re with, or the idea of being with them? Hopefully, it’s the former. An instant spark, a slow, lingering flame that becomes brighter? It can be easy for your brain to be confused with a new love but your emotions will never lie to you.

Intrinsically, doesn’t everyone want to really want to love somebody forever? Sometimes though, maybe you just don’t know if it’s possible to do so until the end of time. You have to keep going, don’t you? What is the point otherwise?

Love and lust are are so confusing. Take a new boy or girl home, tell them you like them, tell them how beautiful, pretty or handsome they are. The next thing you do if you’re lucky? Turn out the fucking lights!

A new love isn’t like lights, especially traffic lights. Go for it, get ready to go or just stop? Who the hell knows but hopefully, you’ll work it out. You can probably never control who you fall in love with, it just happens, perhaps when you least expect it. It can be confusing. It’s happened but do you always know that in your heart of hearts that it has begun? Maybe one day, you’ve been talking about someone and all of a sudden you catch yourself with a huge smile on your face? A friend might call you out on it and you blush. That has to be love, doesn’t it?

It’s bizarre to think about how big of an impact you can have on someone or that they can have on you. Either of you don’t even have to speak. A cheeky glance. A knowing smile. Perhaps a wink. It can make the day seem brighter. Doesn’t that then become part of the reasons for the love? Will either of you ever understand or wonder just how much of you or them belongs to the other?

Is it not the best feeling in the world if he or she smiles at you because then you know? For a fleeting second, isn’t that heart bursting stuff for you, knowing that you crossed their mind?

You need to man or woman up if you’re moving on, why be shy? Do you never wonder which hurts more, saying something and wishing you hadn’t, or saying nothing, and wishing that you had? Tough choice, be bold though.

It is super hard to pretend to like someone you don’t, but even harder to pretend to not like someone when you really do. What is the worst that could happen? They say no, fine, you move on. There will undoubtedly come a stage where you need to spill your feelings. One person in the relationship always has to first, that’s just the natural order of things. The worrying thing is that it’s not telling him or her how you feel that scares you. What will their response be? Just try it, it’ll be okay, put your heart out there.

One day, you’ll look at that person and you see something different than you did the day or night before. It’s almost a switch but now it’s been turned on, now you know. The person who was just a friend is now so much more and maybe the only person that you can ever imagine yourself with.

Keep your eyes open.

@TheSamMcLeod

Now you’re gone, but I’ll be okay.

Good things come and go in life. Bad things come and go in life. Good people come and go in life. Bad people? You get the picture.

There are many things that make each of us happy. We all like different things. Music, sports teams, television shows, we all have different opinions on many different subjects and that’s cool. Your opinion on a certain subject may make you like someone or dislike someone. Again, that’s cool, why shouldn’t that be the case?

We all experience new things on our lives on a daily basis. In some circumstances, we’ll remember some experiences fondly. We’ll look back on others with sadness, regret, perhaps even anger. That’s just how it goes, right?

When life is going well, it’s the best thing in the world. Each of us are happy and that has a knock on effect on how we treat everyone that we come in contact with. It can make each of our days a little bit brighter and that’s an amazing thing. More than likely, we’ll feel more positive about the people that we meet, the challenges or circumstances that face us and the obstacles that we may have to overcome.

Hopefully, each and everyone one of us has one or more person in our respective lives that we’d do anything for. There are people in my life that I’d like to think that I’d die for if I had to. There are people in my life that I’d also like to think that I’d kill for if I had to. All melodramatic, I know but it’s just how I feel. I doubt I’d be alone in thinking these thoughts. Friends and family are important but it’s easy to take those people for granted.

Some people will stay in your life forever and that’s a wonderful thing. Some people will also leave your life quickly or perhaps over time. That decision to let people go can be be easy but it can also be very difficult. When you’re facing a tough decision about who to keep in your life and who to let go, self doubt can creep in.

It can be a torturous time, deciding who to keep in your life and who to let go. However, chances are that the decisions or heartache that you are going through is not fuelled by the words or actions of those others; it is fuelled by the mind that gives it credence or importance.

Not too long ago, I had to let someone incredibly close to me go. It was difficult to do but the relationship wasn’t healthy any more and it was better for me to say goodbye to that person.

It was a tough decision at the time but I’m a great believer in making sure that you look after yourself and to try and keep yourself happy.

The good memories have faded but the bad ones have too. It’s not good when you miss someone but the emotional pain will grow less as time passes. I used to think that my heart was broken, but time is a great healer.

I miss missing you.

We could stay young forever.

It’s been a crazy week, one full of changes.

I’ve started a new job and feel it’s going well unless my employers want to tell me otherwise?! As big of a change as that is though, I’ve just made a bigger one. Today I tendered notice on the lease on my flat that I’ve lived in on my own for nearly ten years.

Scary stuff for me personally but a quote that I read about change tempered the fear a bit.

Paulo Coelho said “When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back. A week is more than enough time for us to decide whether or not to accept our destiny.”

He was right, a week was enough time to make my mind up, decision made, time to move on. Although not the biggest test or challenge that anyone will ever have to undergo, it’s still a huge thing for me.

No more nights of just doing what I want all the time. No more video game or film posters adorning the walls. No more wall to wall bookcases filled with books of all of my favourite authors. Goodbye to the fridge that was permanently full of beer.

This was the first place that I ever thought of as mine. Whilst I’ve lived here, I’ve changed jobs. Girlfriends have come and gone. The swing has been retired. It’s an in joke with friends, it’s probably best left unexplained!

The one constant that I’ve had in the last ten years is that I could always come back here and know that I was home. Things change though and within a month, I’ll call somewhere else home.

It’s difficult for me to get my head around but I know that it will be amazing, it’s time to finally embrace all the changes in my life.

I can’t stay young forever.

Live on and be yourself.

Someone once said that in everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.

I’ve never been one of those people who have had dozens of friends. I have a small circle of really close friends who I would do anything for. Due to circumstance, I moved house a lot when I was younger and to very different geographical locations within Scotland and beyond. In hindsight, it was a good thing because I managed to meet some people who I managed to connect with and build a friendship with.

Still though, I’ve managed to retain contact with the people that matter most. That’s how it should be, right?

There are four of us boys that are incredibly close and those boys have always been there for me when I’ve needed them. No questions asked, they always have my back if needed and I’m the same for them. We’ve shared good times, some bad times, some secrets and pretty much anything that you could think of.

Today, one of our band of four, shared the biggest secret yet. He told us that he was gay and that he’d met someone that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with.

Massive news to us but more massive for him. He explained that he’d wanted to tell us for years but was afraid that we’d discard him as a friend. Proud is not the right word but I’m glad that we all told him in unison that we liked, respected and loved him no matter what.

The other three of us had no idea.

We went out as a foursome as teenage boys and did what teenage boys did. We hit on girls that were way above our league. We were unsuccessful more times than not but our friendship and banter more than made up for it.

We’re good friends and I’m so proud of all of them. Especially proud of one of those people tonight. I’ll stand there at your wedding and will be as proud as punch.

Congratulations to you both!