Love is not designed for the cynical.

Everyone makes mistakes, just part of everyday life. Hopefully the majority of them are small and reasonably insignificant though, nobody wants to fuck up spectacularly. Sure, go ahead and try anchovies. You like oysters? Try the Rocky Mountain version, they have to taste similar to the ones you could get from Prince Edward Island, right? Choosing to sit through a showing of Titanic just to try and impress a girl? There are some hours and minutes right there in your life that you’re never getting back, especially if the old yawn and arm-stretch around the shoulder trick doesn’t work. Some mistakes are bigger and obviously impact your life in a much more meaningful way. Accepting a job that you realise was a mistake as soon as you start it, nightmare. Why did I choose to live in this apartment? You should always view somewhere at night too, shouldn’t you? Picking that one person to share your life with, maybe the toughest choice of all, and possibly the easiest one to make an absolute mess of.

Pretty grim when you think about it, but some of us get a lot of things right, anchovies excepted. Life rears it’s head once more, every single one of us struggles with different things now and again, aren’t we just a person trying to find acceptance and love about something or someone, trying to make sense of different things, probably to try and make ourselves feel better? Trying to move to a new place, changing that job, saying goodbye to someone, even when you know that it’ll sting. Sometimes the hardest things and the right things are the same.

It’s okay for your confidence to be dented when something ends though, especially if you weren’t 100% sure about it or them in the first place. Soul searching, trying to tell yourself that it’ll be okay, don’t tell me this is all for nothing.

Do you, or have you ever had someone in your life that if you could only see them one day a year, rather than see somebody else every day of the week, you’d choose the former? Aren’t the few hours you spend with that special someone worth the thousands of hours that you spend without them?

We were young, we lived hundreds of miles from each other. She was visiting family, a mutual friend introduced us, and it became the very definition of a summer romance. Eight magical weeks spent together, giggling, holding hands, hanging out, hugging, kissing, it might have been the best summer that any 17 year old has ever had.

What were the chances of seeing her again? Zero at the time or so it seemed, but all you can do sometimes is to try and better that number and then everything is out of your hands, fate kicks in. Apparently, a school of thought exists that missing someone gets easier every day because even you’re one day further from the last time you saw them, you’re one day closer to the next time you set eyes on them. Bullshit or not?

Christmas comes and she’s here again but things are different. There are hugs, but no holding of hands, no kissing. She has a boyfriend back home now so it’s the right way for her to behave and it’s immediately understood, no words are needed. Nothing better than hanging out with someone who’s quickly becoming a best friend, I’ll take what I can get. It turns out that distance means the square root of fuck all when someone means so much, even if it might not go anywhere. Different holidays come and go,and it’s accepted that if one of us is seeing someone when we catch up, nothing inappropriate happens. Kissing is as far as it’s ever gone but when someone wants to press their lips onto you one day and then do it again the next, how can that ever be bad? Could it be more than something? A question that was never asked, simply for the reason that I might have been scared of what the answer would be.

The holiday visits slowly come to an end and contact becomes infrequent. Days, weeks, months and years pass. She started seeing someone and I’d met an incredible girl who’d give me the best gift ever. We split, she moves onto someone so much better than me and they’re happy. Life again, live in the moment, not the past. What now, miss you or forget about you? Thoughts drift occasionally but only when single life is the reality. I meet someone else and it’s an on and off thing for longer than should ever be necessary for two people. She’s a beautiful person in her own way but it doesn’t take Einstein to work out where the mind goes when it’s an off period. It’s ultimately destructive, you can’t keep covering for someone when they’re in the wrong. Sometimes the people you count on and trust the most turn on you because of their own failings. Some secrets should stay hidden though, even if you’re the one that takes the shit for them. Every day is a school day though, but if all you learn is what’s done is done, then that’s enough. Does it help or hurt? Fuck knows, I’m numb. There is absolutely no harm in trying to constantly connect dots and to forgive someone to make things right. Can it be sorted, is that even what I want?

A message comes from the girl I remember as a teenager, and whilst my smile is huge initially, it’s not by the time I finish her words. She’s now single and is reaching out. Whether as a friend or something more is clear, but who wants to be a rebound?

It’s more than okay to hurt but don’t we all need to find our own little corner of the sky to try and repair ourselves first? Being a friend is the first job, sometimes we all need reminded that hard times will pass eventually. It’s hard not to make this anything more, but I can’t mess someone about, despite how much I want to say some things. Pouncing on someone who’s emotionally vulnerable would be a dick move.

Maybe the feeling of knowing that fighting for the one that you think you love is worth it, but how do you articulate your thoughts? A feeling lingers that there could be a million people against us, but when we have that one person that stands beside you no matter what, does you even care?

You’re hurting and I hate that. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you might think, but the most important thing is I’ll always be with you. It’s as simple and as complicated as that. Every time I get a text, I hope it’s from a certain someone, you’re my favourite notification.

It’s late, I’m in my bed, you’re in your bed. One of us is in the wrong place but I can’t tell you. I wrote some words and then I stared at my feet, became a coward when I needed to speak. Who knows what could happen if you ever ask again?

I see everything you can be, I see the beauty that you can’t see.

@TheSamMcLeod

@YouMeMusicLife

The debut album, ‘Without Fear’ drops on September 27th, available online and in all good music stores. Shit, it’s likely that you’ll be able to pick it up in some bad ones too, so go and get it!

Why isn’t this enough?

There are things in life that you know intrinsically are a bad idea. Take running with the bulls in Pamplona. Sure, it’ll be helpful if you’re not the slowest thing on two legs, who wants to be chased by something that could kill you? Base jumping, bungee jumping into a crocodile infested river, yes, that’s a thing, kayaking over waterfalls, shark cage diving, skiing off a cliff, skydiving, train surfing, trekking around an active volcano, wing walking, there are way too many things to mention.

Not all bad decisions will risk your life thankfully. Putting pineapple on pizza will never be acceptable, choose the toppings you want, but be prepared to face never-ending ridicule. Calling or texting that one person that you know isn’t a good idea after one too many lime cordials will be embarrassing in the morning, but the feeling will pass. Brown shoes with black trousers? Take one more look in the mirror before you leave the house.

Going back to someone that you were with once before, how can that be a good idea?

Everyone’s been with someone when things just didn’t work. It would be great if we all lived in a world where no matter what happened in our relationships, every little problem could sort itself out, although that’s easier said than done. Isn’t a relationship supposed to be about two people who are able to have their own friends, hobbies, lives and thoughts but still come home at night and be with the person they love? You should definitely be able to have your own time outside of your relationship as well as in it, but it doesn’t always work out that way. Everyone is different about what they expect from someone, maybe you just made a bad choice, hopefully no crocodiles were involved. Any relationship needs to find a happy common ground, communication and compromise is key, right? A relationship without any of these things is like a car without petrol, stay in it all you want, but it’s not going to go anywhere. Sure, it doesn’t always work so it’s time to say goodbye. So, you move on, you get by and after a while, you’re okay again. Nothing else for it, sometimes you lose, you win, maybe you cry, you definitely grow, lessons are learned. Aren’t they?

We tried everything under the sun.

What if you try to give it another go and it doesn’t work out? You’ve been burned once before, why do it to yourself again? You only ever get a second chance at something you took a first chance at though, maybe it’s a good idea. It applies to both of you, when you split, chances are that someone has fucked up. It’s okay to give someone a second chance, but are third or fourth chances a bridge too far? This time it is. We know that it’s not going to work out, we tried it before, time to just let it go forever. What the fuck was I thinking even contemplating it? All we ever do is all we ever knew.

Thing is, people aren’t always what you want them to be. Sometimes they disappoint you or let you down, but we’re all capable of doing those things. It’s not like you can just meet someone and expect them to be everything you’re looking for and then be angry when they’re not. Aren’t you misguided if you believe that someone will be exactly what you imagined them to be? Hopefully sometimes it goes the other way, you give each other a chance, and you both turn out to be better than either of you ever thought possible. Jealousy off the scale right there.

What’s broken is broken, isn’t it better to remember it as it was than attempt to try and mend it, rather than recall all of the bad times? It hurts, it stings, but I know that going back would be wrong for both of us. Life has become easier because I’ve accepted an apology that I never got. It probably won’t be tomorrow, or the day after that, but soon, things will be better. After all, a face that’s going to be full of smiles used to be a face hidden with tears.

A brand new start or a brand new ending? Let’s see.

It’s time to wake up from this, it’s time to make up for it.

@TheSamMcLeod

@YouMeMusicLife

The lessons.

Sir James Matthew Barrie, the creator of Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up, had it spot on, ‘Once you’re grown up, you can’t come back.’ How long does it take for that to happen though and what occurs in our life in order to make it so? Some of us are wise beyond our years, whilst others never want to be older, and like most things, it’s different for each of us. Just the naïveté of youth, right?

Perhaps it’s when you have things in your life that you look back on and wish you could change. It could be nothing quite so important, sometimes it’s simpler stuff, having the courage to ask that one person that you’ve liked for a while to have dinner or drinks with you. Setting up standing orders for your outgoings, opening a savings account, moving out to live on your own for the first time, shit, it could be almost anything. One day realisation kicks in though and you know that despite all of the important decisions you’ve made before, a choice is going to come along that’s going to define everything that comes next for you.

It sucks, but maybe part of growing up is just taking what you learned from all of the bad things that went before, moving on and trying not to take them to heart. The good things you definitely want to keep on doing and experiencing, don’t we all believe that intrinsically we’re a good person? For a lot of our days, we’re young and irresponsible, but maybe that’s what growing up is, you eventually learn from your mistakes.

It’s more than okay to have mixed feelings about growing up, apparently it happens to everyone. Still, you should never stop having fun, to make yourself smile, it’s okay to fuck up now and again. Did you make mistakes when you were young? Absolutely, but haven’t you made just as many when you’re all grown up?

Growing up is never easy, you keep a hold onto things that were important but that you don’t really need any more. Your mind can wonder what’s to come, obviously there are going to be moments when everything is fine, and other moments where you know that there are some memories that you’ll never get back. Certain people in your life are never going to change, and the hardest part is knowing that there’s nothing you can do except watch them, unless you remove yourself from that situation. It happens to everyone as they grow up. You find out who you are and what you want, and then you realise that people you’ve known forever don’t see things the way you do. So you keep the wonderful memories, but find yourself moving on, even if you don’t really want to.

The hurt is palpable when you have to leave someone behind but you can’t always get what you want or keep what you had. There’s that choice again but you know you have to make it but how can you both go on when they were everything?

How will you exist, how will I exist?

A day comes and we knew it was time to let go of what had been, and look ahead to what could be. Different days, new days, those days that are yet to come. It’s okay to forgive each other for growing up and recognising that we both need a change. Again, everyone’s different but how many of the people that you’ve been involved with romantically are you actually still friends with? It’d be like adding your captor on FaceBook once you were released after being kidnapped, fucking stupid idea.

It’s a change that involves thousands of miles, quite literally. We weren’t miles apart before but days later we were, not everything has a happy ending. Benjamin Franklin has been quoted as saying that ‘Three can keep a secret, if two of them are dead.’ What if only two people know the secret? If you do believe that you’re a good person, is learning when it’s better to lie to the people in your life, rather than to hurt everyone else with the truth not a good thing?

Growing up, peer pressure, and what people in your life want you to be and what you think you should do can be life enriching, but also a massive pain at times. It’s important to surround yourself around amazing people that actually love you for you. We all have flaws but if you fuck up, isn’t forgiveness one of the best attributes you can have? How many times has someone bumped into you in the street and you’ve apologised? I’ve lost count of the amount of doors that I’ve held for people who haven’t had the good grace to acknowledge even the tiniest act of kindness. As an aside, top tip gents, if you have to pull the door, the lady goes first, if you have to push it, you go first. You’re very welcome.

Time away, discovering new things, a new start sounds like a great plan. A new apartment, new experiences beyond the wildest of dreams, new friends, a new job, life couldn’t be better. There’s always a but though. Thing is, despite reaching what can be one of the highest points of in life, what happens when it’s hard not to feel alone, to know that you’ve lost everything? The only tattoo I have reads is, ‘Only one who has lost all has the freedom and the ability to gain everything.’ Time to take my own advice and leave all of the good stuff behind. A choice is made about trying to grow further, to face those demons, and the loved ones in life who have been failed by me as well as those who’ve failed me. Three plane flights are booked.

One of those plans was a good idea.

Maybe we all need to start accepting ourselves for who we are, and whoever is not going to accept us, weren’t really meant to be in our lives in any way whatsoever. The most important thing that I learned is forgiveness is something that when you’re able to finally wrap your head around, you free yourself to move on. All grown up now and I shouldn’t have come back, it’s time to leave again.

It’s a constant back and forth for a while with both enduring different experiences. Sure, it might be the same story, but it’s being read through opposite lenses. Whose ugly side is the ugliest? It doesn’t matter, both of us know.

@TheSamMcLeod

@YouMeMusicLife

Dance in the light of a lesson learned.

Bad things happen to us, good things happen to us, just the way it is. The same is true about people who come into your life, some you keep around and some you’re quick to let go of. Trust your judgement, hopefully you have things going your way more often than not, and you keep around the good folk who deserve to be in your life as a friend.

Now and again, someone comes along though who turns into something more. Somebody new is on your radar, you’ve noticed it and you start giving them some attention. Trust rears it’s head again, you dip your toe in the water if you’re sure that there might be something between you both, and if you’re lucky, that trust is mutual and perhaps something beautiful is just beginning.

Does it matter how long that something lasts? One night between two consenting adults can be mindblowing. It might just be random circumstance that brings you together but if you’re both single and want the same thing for that one night, then why not? Sure, there’s going to be more nights and days together with someone if you really like each other. You took the chance, they did too, now you’re sharing something together. What happens though if you misjudged yourself, what happens now?

Maybe when someone makes you a promise, they cross their fingers, hoping that they won’t let you down and think that makes everything okay. Just because something isn’t a lie does not mean that it isn’t deceptive. Perhaps the greatest distance between two people in any relationship is a misunderstanding about what the future holds. Not much else for it, the time has come to say goodbye.

Out into the unknown.

Aren’t most relationships onesided? Sometimes you’re the fish and sometimes you’re the fisherman, but when something ends it can still sting. It doesn’t matter who did and said what, the hurt will be real for a while but you get by, you move on. That said, is it okay to care for an ex, obviously not romantically, but as a person? They gave you happiness at some point in your past, so why should you hate them? We’re all different, so it’s fine if they don’t wish you the same. Maybe you don’t care what they think about you because you don’t think about them at all any more, you’ve moved on and a day comes when you’re happy again.

As soon as an ex sees you smiling though, isn’t that the moment they decide that they want you back? It can be a fucker of an emotional hot potato if they decide to get in touch again, what do you do?

One day a message arrives saying ‘I miss you’ from the girl who could have been an almost forever, a maybe forever, but she was definitely something. Was is the operative word. It’s okay to take a few days to think about what to respond with, if at all, but it’s nice to be polite. I know what those eight characters mean though, it’s just that the next person she replaced me with didn’t work out. When looking back at your history with someone and you know that they don’t do anything for you any more, you’re probably doing something right for yourself. If someone did something bad enough to make you have them not be in your life, you back your trust the second time not to be stupid enough to let them in again. Fool me once and all that. Getting with an ex would be like taking your driving test when you already have your licence. Pointless, stupid, a waste of time and effort.

Messages continue to follow and it’s clear that she wants something more than I’m ever going to give. It’s probably a dick move to reply at all but the replies are completely vanilla, hopefully the hint gets taken. Just because someone hurt you once, it doesn’t mean that hurting them back unnecessarily will do you good or make you feel better. The best idea is to probably try and forget the person who forgot about you, even if they tell you ‘I love you because I need you.’ What a shit and selfish phrase. I need you because I love you sounds infinitely better, doesn’t it?

You’re my ex. Ask me as many questions as you want but I no longer owe you any answers. Don’t worry if I’m with anyone else now or not, all you need to know is that it won’t ever be you. Everyone deserves to move on and find someone that makes them happy, good luck with everything to you, to all of us. We’re not enemies, not friends, now we’re just strangers with some memories.

It’s time for moving on, there’s some things you can’t forget.

@TheSamMcLeod

@YouMeMusicLife

Raise your glass in slow motion.

Everyone is guilty. Guilty of giving too much, of taking too much. Of not saying the words that we should have said, of articulating more words than was needed in any given situation. Not all of us keep in touch with family and friends, fuck, all of the people in our lives as much as we should. Sure, some of those people in your life will begin to fade away, it’s just life. Maybe you move away, they move away, you gradually lose touch, it’s not necessarily a conscious decision but it hurts on some sort of base level at least. On the flipside, there are people that you choose to keep around, regardless of where they are in the world, but now and again there comes a time when you have to make a choice about who those people are. Is this person making my life better or even just enriching it? It can be as simple as just liking the cut of their jib, they’re your friend. Sometimes though you have to know when to let go. Now and again time closes the door on any relationship that you have, not necessarily because you failed but just because something inside you finally has the balls to tell you that this particular someone or something no longer fits in your life.

What now? Lock your door, keep yourself to yourself for a while, and then start looking for new doors that you want or are ready to open? Is it a sign that you’re changing and you know that it’s going to be okay? Fingers crossed.

Letting go is incredibly tough though. It matters if we worry about the future without the ones that we no longer want to have in our lives, or if we keep thinking that we’ve made a mistake if we choose to let them go. You trust your heart and your mind though, right? Is it painful at times? Damn straight it is, it can be super hurtful when you know that you have to move on without certain people. No matter how hard we try to keep things as they are, sooner or later we’ll confronted with a decision to make, whether we like it or not. Our attempts to hold on to all of the negative people and things that were familiar to us, inhibit our chances to try experience happiness and joy in that particular moment and indeed in those future moments. Maybe it’s more than one moment and perhaps our lives are always supposed to be about change. No matter how hard we try to keep things as they are, sooner or later we’ll be confronted with a decision to make whether we like it or not.

It can be a good thing sometimes because now we can open up ourselves to to new experiences, new people, new possibilities. It sucks though when that time comes. It’s so clear, I should’ve seen it.

It blows my mind and I don’t understand it.

A change in life presents itself, different things are suddenly are on the horizon and decisions need to be made. Difficult ones, the worst kind. When you’re continually in touch with people and it’s a one way road, it’s time to say goodbye, isn’t it? Focus on yourself for once. Scratch that, focus on the most important person in my life, not me, a young girl who will benefit from this life altering decision. This is for you. Em, it will always be you.

Con te partirò is a beautiful song. It literally means ‘With you I will leave.’ This time though, it’s a solo journey, although there are people that will be left behind that I care about. That said, it’s important to forget what and who hurt me but I’ll never forget what it taught me. Some people need to be left behind because things and people weren’t who I thought they were. It might be the same from their perspective and that’s okay, we all believe what we want to. Maybe sometimes people come into your life just to teach you how to let go. We won’t be in touch again. In person, over Facebook or Twitter, Instagram, whichever social platform you wish to choose. No one wants to be shitty, but if you don’t want to keep in touch, then that’s okay, but don’t expect the same the other way around when a new life is starting. 10,394 miles or 16,727 in kilometers depending where you are in the world, it’s not my loss. Perhaps the worst thing is that this choice won’t even be on their respective radar but that’s okay. Easier to say goodbye than have someone bid you farewell, I guess.

Letting go isn’t a one time thing, it’s something you have to do over and over again. That’s a sad thing. Time to take a second look.

See your eyes, they’re wide open.

@TheSamMcLeod

Like you’ve seen a ghost.

‘Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine.’

Various days come when there are moments of reflection, you have a wry smile to yourself and try and realise why different things happened or didn’t happen in your life. You know deep down that you can’t always allow yourself to think about what you don’t have, or what you didn’t get, what you have or what you’ve lost. Memories have that way of popping into your consciousness at any given time though, hopefully more good than bad.

Although easier said than done, how is it a good idea to overthink everything, about what’s gone before, about what might have been? Just because someone got away, doesn’t mean that you’ll always be pining for them. No point on missing out on the here and now though, about everything that’s ahead. Don’t miss out on something that could be great just because it could also be difficult, take the leap. Sometimes you tiptoe into the water, but then aren’t you missing out on the adrenaline of plunging in headfirst, who wants to be engulfed with a tidal wave of what ifs?

What if you lose yourself for a minute or two?

It’s a Friday morning, the letterbox makes that familiar noise with mail hitting the mat. There’s a card, much more interesting than the usual utility bills and bank statements. It’s unexpected, it’s not my birthday, it’s not Christmas, so I’m intrigued. The words inside are surprising, ‘I just want you to know that I enjoy your company, that I love being around you. I want to spend more time with you, we could have fun together. If you want the same, meet me on Saturday at 5 where the bus used to collect us to take us to school.’
It’s unsigned, my mind starts working overtime, who could it be? Is it a love letter of sorts? Love letters never used to be thought as something out of the ordinary, but things changed with texts and emails. Why not do either of those things instead, shit, go crazy and dial my number.

Like a Magic 8-Ball, I didn’t come up with any real answers, but then the penny drops and I know who it is, let’s call her L. She’s a lovely girl, very pretty but it’s never going to happen. We’d been spending a lot of time together as part of a larger group, but she’s just split with one of my best friends and there’s a boy code. Once a friend is with a girl, she’s off limits forever. I head for football practice instead on Saturday, I’m too shy to let someone down in person.

There’s also the small matter of someone else, let’s call her M. She’s part of the same group, our parents are friends, so we spend a lot of time together, I’ve been to her house more than once. From the minute I met her, I wanted to know more. Cute, engaging, fun, sarcastic and super clever. Maybe sometimes you can know someone better in ten minutes than someone you’ve known your whole life. Obviously, I can’t say anything. Beautiful ships never sailed by my dock so I couldn’t speak to her, I just didn’t have the courage. A boy having the balls to try and tell an amazing girl that you like them? Like trying to put a jumper on a jellyfish. Despite her obvious physical attractiveness, she was like the ubiquitous girl next door, someone that you could play football with, and happily not mind when you ended up losing. Asking the question might cause the end of the friendship though, she’s too cool to be around and I’m too smart to let that go, so words are left unsaid.

The friendship continues but I have to move away for work. She’s the one that’s being left behind, but I knew full well what that cost of that was, although thankfully M will never know. We could have been two perfect circles entwined, but it is what it is. Thinking of how it could have been if I’d done something, if I’d said something. There’s the feeling of loss, the feeling of never knowing what could have been, the feeling that you let someone that you always wanted slip right through your fingers.

We’re in touch less and less, just everyday life.

Another day comes and that familiar sound of the letterbox is heard again. It’s an invite to a party, catching up with old friends will be fantastic.

Years have passed, M walks in an hour or so after me but she hasn’t changed a bit. Part of me hopes the only reason she even came to this party, is so that she can see me. Pretty arrogant male behaviour.

Everyone is catching up with everyone so we don’t meet again until around midnight. She kisses me on the cheek, we hug and it’s like how it always was, the girl next door is back in my life. Drinks are bought, glasses are clinked, maybe it’s time to say something, Dutch courage always helps, right? Just as I start to say those words that should have been said before, another friend whisks her away to dance. Hours pass and the night winds down. She comes over, leans in for a hug and kisses me, whilst holding my cheek. She puts her mouth to my ear and whispers, ‘I wrote you a card once, asking you to meet me because I wanted us to be more than friends, I was in love with you. I was so hurt and disappointed when you didn’t show up. I’ll love you always, take care.’ My heart drops, I can’t stop blinking. Friends say ‘What is it, you look like you’ve seen a ghost?’

Sometimes we meet people and neither of us guesses that the other is someone who feels it too. That can’t be a good thing.

Soon after, it’s almost like she makes sure that I see her leave with someone else, sometimes you can read the tea leaves as well as anyone. Will another chance come along? No, sometimes you only get one shot. The knowledge that there is one other soul out there who has your number, right down to the last decimal place hurts though. How often does that happen?

You just have to see her and you know that she’ll break you in two.

@TheSamMcLeod
@YouMeMusicLife