Hurting, searching and learning.

Each one of us has our own preferences on many different things, life would be boring otherwise. Take food. If you like mushrooms, what the hell are you thinking? Tinned sweetcorn, there are no words, put the can opener away and donate those vegetables to a food bank. Smoked fish of any kind, have you lost your mind?

It’s the same when you choose to be with someone new, what’s your criteria? Finding out about someone’s personality can be a slow burner whereas looks are more immediate. What you find attractive though is going to be different from what someone else does. It can be a minefield because how we view ourselves is often different from how others see us. You look in the mirror every day and perhaps tell yourself that you’re a solid 6, but everyone you interact with might see you as an 8 or a 9. Clearly, we’re all our own worst critics and with that comes insecurity. It’s a reasonable reaction to think that people who are ridiculously attractive are out of your league, there will always be someone you like who’s a tiny bit intimidating. Are you just talking your way out of rejection though by not answering or asking the question? No one likes to hear the word no.

The liking of someone starts with the little things and then you start to realise that those qualities you’re looking for are right there. You’re falling but the penny drops, she’s way out of your league. Insecurity. You make me sick to my stomach, I wish that I wasn’t me.

An invite for dinner from a couple of friends comes via text. ‘Dinner on Saturday at 8pm, bring wine and don’t dare say no. My sister is in town, we think you’ll get on well.’ There is zero amount of money that could persuade me to say yes to a blind date, there’s as much chance of that happening as me becoming the starting QB for the Jets. Curiosity gets the better of me though and I check out her Twitter. Uh oh, looks like I’m going. Put me in, coach.

I rock up and get introduced. ‘Hey’, she said as I tried to fold my tongue back into my mouth and tried not to stare. Her smile holds my gaze, it’s kind of like that part of the FedEx logo, once you see it, you can never unsee it. Now is definitely not the time to be awkward or shy. The conversation flows as easily as the wine, the night goes better than expected and numbers are exchanged. Maybe this could be something, more likely it’ll be nothing. Insecurity. Before I’m even home though a message arrives asking when we can meet up again. The three day rule is obviously bullshit, right? There are some people you meet and you’re pleased to leave their company, she wasn’t one of them.

We hang out every day for the last two weeks of her trip, the personality is there to match the looks, she’s pretty cool.

Is it any surprise that book smart people sometimes act like complete idiots? Of course I messed up on her last day when she tried to kiss me and I put my hand out to stop it happening, the first time I’ve ever done that to a girl. I didn’t enjoy the look of confusion on her face, the tears on her cheeks, far less the sight of her walking away. It feels too quick but that’s where most men want to get to with someone like her, me included. I just don’t want to be hurt again, the i word.

A message comes from her sister. ‘Looks like you might’ve fucked that up?’ That’s like saying that the Titanic encountered an issue or two. Maybe her attitude softens when another one comes a while later asking if I’m okay. I’m miles away from being okay, I couldn’t see okay through binoculars right now.

You need to take a chance now and again, don’t you? Is it natural to want to try and stop your world from turning so you can figure shit out? It’s rare in life when everything you want lines up just right, but isn’t it true that the worst set of circumstances is always what your brain conjures up? Never mind what the reality is, the fiction always seems more real. Maybe you don’t get through discomfort or pain easily. Sometimes life throws you a curveball, a little roadblock on the place you need to get to. We might always have that tiny bit of self doubt, but perhaps you have to go with what you know in your heart and trust yourself. No one is out of anyone’s league, you might think that you don’t have a chance but how would you know if you haven’t even asked?

After being alone for a while, it’s strange when your thoughts start to include another person. A message is sent with an explanation, hoping for a reply. Time to wait.

Take a breath.

@TheSamMcLeod

Memories of a stolen place.

There’s a generally accepted train of thought that as you get older, your life becomes a little bit more boring than it was when you were younger. Perhaps it does end up slightly less exciting, a touch more tedious and not as filled with as much adventure as it once was was. Fair or not?

How long do you give something that you have going on but you know doesn’t make you happy to continue? Someone or something that’s stopping you from doing all of the things that you want to in your life? Mae West was bang on the money when she said that ‘You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough’. No one wants to get to a point in their life when you realise that there are a lot of things that you wish you could have done, zero point sitting around complaining about stuff when you’re the only person that can do something about it. It’s okay to feel fear, but once you know that you have to make yourself the priority, don’t you know that you might have a ton of fun once you look inward? If you are or have been unhappy in a recent relationship, shouldn’t you look after yourself first, just pursue your own wellbeing? Who wants to check with someone else before you do the things that’ll make you happier? Saying fuck it, I need to do me can be difficult but you’ll probably thank yourself for it later.

The Last Dance with Michael Jordan has been one of the better things to watch whilst we’re trying to occupy time right now. Isn’t it right that there’s usually at least one thing you remember from any book that you’ve read, any song that you’ve listened to, or any film or television show that you’ve watched? ‘To be successful, you have to be selfish or else you never achieve. And once you get to your highest level, then you have to be unselfish. Stay reachable. Stay in touch. Don’t isolate. Clever guy.

None of us are experts at life, it’s easy to become frustrated at whatever you have going on. No manual exists to help us decide what to do as we grow older. Mistakes will happen, we’re all selfish in our own way, but shouldn’t we all want to have as many joy filled days as possible? Isn’t it true though that you you can be selfless and selfish at the same time? What if a day comes when you realise that you can’t carry someone forever and you know that your own happiness is slipping away? It’s selfless to let them go but selfish for you just to to do you in a way.

If you find yourself doing something that makes you think of a lot of things that you liked when you were younger, then aren’t you cheating yourself? Maybe it’s time to start making a list of everything that you need or want to do, to help you find your very own moments of magic and wonder.

I’ve made a list of things to do and say.

Things interfere with your world, sometimes in the greatest way imaginable, but now and again in a way that you wish had never happened. Love, need, want. Two out of three isn’t bad, depending on who your musical favourites are. Zero out of three isn’t a good batting average, and whilst intentions were made clear at the start that none of those things were on the radar or available, if someone chooses to stick around anyway, sometimes it’s easier to just let them. Pretty selfish, but an absolute waste of hours, days, weeks, months and years. It’s never nice for a relationship to become Sylvester Stallone, especially if you knew that’s exactly where it was headed for from the very first second. Sure, it takes risks to make a mistake, but aren’t there mistakes in all of our lives every day? Turns out that nothing is ever simple and nothing is ever perfect, but sometimes it’s of your own doing. Time to cut ties, one thing down.

A random act of kindness in helping out an elderly lady needing advice during her week long stay in a strange city ends up coming with an incredible offer. She’s made her own bucket list for 2021 and it involves travel. The problem is that she needs someone to house sit for her in Grey Lynn, one of the most beautiful areas of Auckland. Who would say no and why wouldn’t you help someone who needs it? Selflessness wins out, looks like guidebooks to New Zealand will need purchasing. One more thing that’s on there, hope the Kiwi ladies are ready for a kilt.

Telling a girl that nothing will ever happen between us because we want different things, no point jumping into something new on a whim. She’s beautiful, ridiculously out of my league, but looks aren’t everything, selfishness and selflessness combine, best for both of us, we’d only hold each other back. It’s okay to be honest with yourself. Three down, but plenty to go.

Snorkelling in Blue Pearl Bay once more, skydiving, getting lost in Venice, this time alone, visiting every one of my friends that live overseas, be prepared for a surprise.

When you feel like life is passing you by and there’s pressure everywhere around you to be at a certain level and place in your life, shouldn’t you be the only person to be the judge of when that is? Isn’t it boring to stay in the same spot, to have to grow up. Better to grow? If somebody’s boring you, chances are that it’s probably you. Time to mix it up, to discover some things or somewhere that’ll make you happy.

The destination, the place to get to?

The boy I used to know.

@TheSamMcLeod

Shine bright.

We’re all living in strange times right now. Some of the stuff we used to do every day are no longer possible. Not being able to catch up with family and friends in the way that you used to sucks. How much did you take for granted, how easy was it to go and watch your favourite sports team, whether it’s baseball, basketball, soccer, or any other sport you’d care to mention? Date night at a restaurant or the cinema has been off of the menu for a while. Life has changed, who would’ve thought we’d be wearing face masks or social distancing from each other? If you’ve been unlucky enough to contract coronavirus but lucky enough to come out of it the other side, you’ll have an appreciation of how lonely you can become when you’re stuck at home, especially if you’re single. It’s no wonder that subscriptions to sites like Netflix and Prime have gone through the roof, what else can you do when you’re not allowed to see anyone? How much terrible television can one person watch? Turns out a lot.

It’s easy to become anxious or stressed wondering when all of this will end, when you feel like everything is heading downhill at a rate of knots, overthinking is the worst, right? As everyday normal people, it’s no shame to admit that we struggle to deal with uncertainty because something’s thrown us for a loop. Apprehension, fear, nervousness, worry are all perfectly acceptable feelings to have right now, but perhaps you need to learn to be kinder to yourself, aren’t you doing the very best that you can? Striving for a sense of self can be more difficult than you think, experiencing a feeling of trying to run away from everything sometimes is understandable. It’s more than okay to know what it’s like to be afraid of your own mind, we all have anxiety about different things, we all have insecurities.

It doesn’t matter how old you are, what your creed, gender or nationality is, everyone experiences anxiety or stress at some point, and whilst this year is only just over halfway done, it can already take a flying fuck to itself.

Everyone needs a reset button though, don’t you want to try and fill up your little bubble with as much positivity as you can? FaceTime, Skype or Zoom calls with family and friends, every little helps. Isn’t it amusing to see how out of control some people’s hair gets when they can’t get to a hairdresser? You find and take the humour where you can.

It is tough but you need to do whatever you can to make things as easy for yourself as you can, don’t you? Take a breath, smile as much as possible, even if it’s just for yourself, right?

They say you can’t, but you can.

Some of us have an innate ability to deal with all of these challenges easier than others. That said, just because someone else can’t explain the feelings or articulate the words about their anxiety, it doesn’t make them any less valid. An actual hug might not happen for a while but you can have as many virtual ones as you need or want. You might think that some people don’t worry as much as you do and that someone else is stronger than you are. It’s bullshit, maybe that other person just thinks differently, you’ve got this. Isn’t it true that you can’t always control what goes on in your inside? You feel what you feel. Give yourself permission to fuck up now and again, nothing wrong with that. Things are difficult right now but they’ll change eventually, fingers crossed, and then it’ll be the little things that are more of a concern to you. Maybe if this shitshow teaches us anything, it’s that there is zero point sweating the small stuff, why worry about things that might never happen? Now and again, we’re all unsure of who we are and where we fit in the world, and whilst all of this isn’t helping, don’t we need to have faith in whatever is around the corner?

If you haven’t done so already, maybe today is the day where you reach out to someone who perhaps appears not to be handling things as well as you are, someone who might be struggling with their self confidence. Just be a friend, be there. Nothing wrong with offering a shoulder to cry on or to lend an ear for them to tell you anything that they need to.

You’ve got empathy, support and sympathy but never judgement. You’ll also learn, if you’ve not figured it out already that I’ve got your back, and that I’ll care about and defend you forever. Forever ever. I’m not going to blow steam up your ass though, you will be told if you mess up, harsh love is still love. Just know that someone cares and appreciates everything about you, especially right now.

Your innocence is your USP.

@TheSamMcLeod

One heart that was broke in two.

‘Love us like friendship set on fire.’

Perhaps one of the hardest relationship questions you’ll bounce around in your head is whether or not falling in love with your best friend is a good idea. Sure, there could be potential in it, but you just know that it could be an absolute shitshow too. What to do? If your feelings aren’t reciprocated, it’s going to ruin your friendship, isn’t it?

Maybe a lot of relationships begin as friendships and grow into something more meaningful that’ll impact you in a big way. Do you take that chance? You can never know initially but that shouldn’t stop you from imagining a future with someone who loves you. There’s nothing wrong with waking up next to your best friend.

All you want from that significant someone is for them to be there for you, the one shoulder you know you can lean on when you need to, to be your everything. Someone you can laugh with, somebody emotionally comfortable enough with you that they’re okay if you ever cry. Too much to ask?

Common sense tells you to never fall for your best friend, they’ll break you. It’s easy to think that it might not be that way for you but how can someone be so naive to think that they’re any different to anyone else? You have an intrinsic awareness though that once you change the way you look at a friend, you go all in or you stifle your feelings. It’s funny how things work sometimes, you can fall for someone without realising it and so when you finally do, it’s too late. You can’t just switch those feelings off.

Maybe some of us know immediately who it is we’ll end up with and that’s cool. If you don’t know, you have to take a leap of faith. Chances are though, one of you is going to fuck up and spoil every shared moment that’s gone before.

Maybe you shouldn’t have gone there that night.

You don’t need to like someone from the first second you see them, but a friendship can start and progress from there. In the beginning of whatever this was, there was a lot of laughter and smiles. Until there wasn’t.

Cheating, infidelity, call it what you want but it’s a game changer. Is it worse to emotionally cheat on somebody? Calling, emailing, texting someone you shouldn’t be, that counts too, doesn’t it? You don’t accidentally bump into someone in a hotel and decide that you’re going to spend the night, a lot of work has gone into that arrangement. There are millions of people in the world who make good decisions every day, someone chose not to. Let’s face it, you can’t choose to be monogamous whenever you feel like it. None of us can ever ask for 101% from someone but 99% isn’t enough. Is there anything worse than betrayal, than being deceived by someone who you thought was everything? When you lie to someone, aren’t you also lying to yourself?

Maybe some positivity can come from bad things though, you end up appreciating the more humble part of yourself. You might not need it but a gentle reminder sometimes of how to treat people can never be a bad thing. You can take whatever you want from any experience, getting rid of toxicity is good, and whilst there’s bound to be a bit of heartbreak, don’t we all know we’re better off alone than staying with someone who is quite happy to knowingly hurt you?

Sometimes the hardest part of loving someone is that moment when the penny drops that the best thing you can do for them, far less yourself, is to let them go. It’s a shame when someone fucks up but better to know as early as possible what their character is really like. It’s okay to choose poorly on occasion, hopefully it makes you a bit cleverer the next time you’re in the position of picking someone that you want to get close to.

Spin it to your family, friends or on social media in any way that you want, only one of us ruined something built up for years for a relationship that lasted for hours. Turns out that best friends can become strangers a lot quicker than strangers can become friends.

Maybe you should have told a little less lies, maybe you shouldn’t have gone and ruined my life for one night.

@TheSamMcLeod

Don’t kid yourself.

If only. Are they the two saddest words in the world?

Despite what you might think of Hillary Clinton, she once nailed a thing with just 21 words. ‘Life is too short, time is too precious and the stakes are too high to dwell on what might have been.’ Maybe one of the things we all can ever do is to hope to end up with the least amount of regrets as possible. Sure, there will always some things that you wish you can change, but is it ever really that bad, or is it experience that you can draw on? Does the potential introspection make things any easier even if something wasn’t your fault? Sometimes your emotional bucket gets full and and it can be hard not to overthink things. The guilt in the nighttime, being in bed awake and replaying all of those things that you didn’t get right sucks balls. Nothing solves your insomnia better than a big fucking glass of regret and hating yourself for a while. If you do mess up though, don’t you make right the mistakes of your yesterday today? You’ll take a win in life all day long, sometimes you accept a loss but either way you get ready to go again, don’t you? Swim upstream, whatever it is, it’s something that happened, shouldn’t we all just try and get over it?

Mistakes are just things that happen to all of us, sometimes everything goes to shit. Each one of us does things that we wish could go back and do differently. Thing is, we don’t have to be defined by the things we did or didn’t do in our past. There is zero point in spending time trying to alter any of it, it’s like trying to eat soup with a fork or thinking you’ll win an argument with a lady, absolutely pointless. It’s easy to look back and regret things, but maybe smiling at what you’ve learned is better.

Perhaps the most important part of moving forward is realising that you appreciate that you shouldn’t second guess yourself and become emotionally vulnerable. We all sit in the front row of our own lives but who wants to let down their guard and show signs of heartbreak?

The devil’s right there, right there in the details.

New York didn’t happen but not for the reason you were told. Being lied to is perhaps a bit harsh, but what you heard from someone else was wrong and my heart hurts about that. Resurrecting our plan would be nice, one day?

I should have told you how I felt as soon as I knew how I felt. I didn’t, I messed up and now we’ll never be a thing. That’ll always be a constant source of regret, even though I’m happy that you’re happy with someone else. It hurts more than you’ll ever know, sometimes you can’t see what’s right for you is there in front of you. You are a Lamborghini and I was hanging on like I was cans on the back of a fucking wedding car.

We should have never even interacted or said hello to each other, far less kissed and gone further. When you’re hurting from a breakup, you open yourself up to things that you shouldn’t because you’re in a bad place. Maybe take a minute and try to identify if someone is toxic. Good luck to the next man in your life, it’s not going to be puppies and rainbows for that guy. When you begin to doubt someone and their intentions, it’s very difficult to stop that playing in your head continually. The bad stuff that happens doesn’t always fall on your side. If you have a bag of ten snakes and nine of them are harmless but one is poisonous, you’re not putting your hand in that bag, are you? Perhaps the good thing is when something ends that wasn’t right for you is that you learn to make your fuse longer.

The attention is flattering but I’m not a location, I’m a destination. Someone can be cool, have similar interests, be sweet, but when you get to a certain stage in your life, you know what will work and what won’t. Friendship is cool but more isn’t happening. No point talking someone off of the ledge every time they’re insecure about what might come next. As long as your moral compass is in the right place, it’s okay to feel okay with yourself. Don’t speak from a place of hate, speak from a place of love. There’s nothing wrong with liking not knowing where you’ll be tomorrow or the next day, taking a few risks is fine, as long as you know what it is you want.

You can be obsessed with details and sometimes your life needs a change of scenery, especially if something isn’t right.

It’s you right there, right there in the mirror.

Messing up today doesn’t need to impact your tomorrow. Regret, remorse, sorrow are all natural emotions. Accept the shit that comes your way when you’ve fucked up, but it’s not always your fault.

Don’t punish yourself, you’re looking too closely.

@TheSamMcLeod

 

 

Sunlight starts

Have you ever been to a place that seems to implant in your heart a homesickness and that also stirs up a ton of confusion when you leave it? Hiraeth is a Welsh word for an earnest desire or longing, nostalgia or a sense of regret. They’re emotions that we’ve all felt at some point in our lives, right?

Sure, you can always go to wherever your original home is, and perhaps a lot of the people that you left behind will still be there, living in entirely the same way that they were before you went away. It might be comforting for them but is that what you want for yourself? Whoever ‘they’ are, say that home is where the heart is. Does home need to be the city, town or village that you were born in though? Can you feel a longing for somewhere else that you’ve lived in previously or even just visited before, just because you get it and that that place seems to get you? Sometimes it doesn’t necessarily compute with you immediately how attached you were to somewhere until you’re not there any more. Perhaps you have to leave in order to really miss a place.

We’re all only going to get one crack at living our life the way we want to, so what’s the point in sitting around not feeling as good as you possibly can? Don’t we all need to grasp any opportunity to go and experience new things as much as possible? Who knows, you might find somewhere that works better for you, that feels more like home. The mind can wander to wherever it wants to, can’t it? The moon looks the same wherever you go, so if you’re not happy, perhaps it’s time for a change. Sometimes you feel something, a pang you’ve never felt before. You need a sanctuary for you, somewhere that just feels right. It’s not difficult to want something for yourself that you don’t have or haven’t been able to find yet. What if you’ve already found it though?

The temptations turn my head and crack it open.

It’s easy to get torn between change and familiarity but maybe Hunter S. Thompson had it right when he said, ‘Wake up and ponder the future.’

The plane lands just after six in the morning, immigration is successfully negotiated, bags are collected and a good friend is there to pick me up. We haven’t seen each other in years but who doesn’t like a hug? Never underestimate how much a friendly smile and welcoming words can be a comfort when you’re unsure about what comes next.

The drive to her apartment where I’ll be staying for the next few weeks is more about catching up rather than looking at the scenery. No sleep happened on any of the planes and it’s exciting to be in a new city, a new country, so a shower follows and I get a tour of the suburb that I might call home forever. It’s beyond beautiful.

There are three pristine sandy beaches within a five minute walk of the apartment. Two are always busy but one is almost usually uninhabited, despite the fact that it has a shack that sells beer. It’s super cool, I could care less about the owner’s lack of commercial sense, uno mas, por favor.

Lunch happens next door to another beach less than half an hour away. The walk is beautiful, the scenery is jaw dropping. This new life looks like it’ll be amazing. I don’t yet know that the commute to work is unbelievably pretty. I end up quickly getting my own place with a balcony and view of the Pacific Ocean. Bliss.

It’s incredibly cathartic that after you’ve suffered some heartbreak that life begins to get good again. Each day is a new experience, meeting people for the first time, discovering my new local bar less than fifty paces from my front door.

Life throws a massive curveball six months in and I need to leave. Doing the responsible thing was right, but I wasn’t homesick for anything that I encountered when I got back. The memories of the past were just that. It wasn’t home any more. Stability, somewhere to belong is all that’s needed but it’s not here. I’m in my first home but I’m homesick.

Now even more than when I first saw it, I need to be back there and stay forever. It’s not just a place on the map, but somewhere full of a shit ton of stories about people and places that made things better when it was needed. I’m missing that sky, I’ve been missing home.

During this difficult time, it’s acceptable that you’ll watch a lot of TV. I click on one and boom, there is my old apartment building featured and it brings me to tears, what is that about? It’s weird that some of the stuff you can miss about somewhere can be the simplest of things. This city holds me close and although I don’t really know why, it’s mine.

Before going there, I didn’t know where home really was. Now, me?

A wide-eyed boy slowly going through the motions. A change is coming that has been long in the making.

Take, take me back home.

@TheSamMcLeod

Not this time.

There’s a reason when you’re on an airplane that flight attendants tell you to put your own mask on first in case of an emergency. Look after yourself first and foremost, because then it makes it a lot easier for you to look after others. Sounds simple, right? Isn’t it important that you put your own needs and wants before those of anyone else? Looking after yourself and constantly discovering what and who makes you happy is probably a pretty good starting point. Some people might tell you that it’s selfish but it’s anything but. Introspection is a great thing, look at yourself and see if you’re heading in the direction you want to be going and doing all of the things that you want to be doing, whether that’s work or in your personal life. Dr Aziz Gazipura, one of the world’s leading clinical psychologists gets it. ‘Always putting others first creates deep resentment, destroys your happiness and is unsustainable. Putting yourself first allows you to meet your needs in the most skillful way. This in turn, increases your happiness, joy and capacity to love, so you can give freely and create healthy relationships.’ Healthy would be the takeaway word from that quote.

It’s too easy sometimes to think of others first, whether it’s big or small things. Someone bumps into you and you’re the one who says sorry, what’s that about? You hold a door open for someone and not even a nod of acknowledgement comes your way. You let someone cut in front of the queue at a supermarket because they have less items and they cruise on past you like you’re not even there. So shines many good deeds in what can be an unkind world, even if other people don’t appreciate the tiniest of gestures that you’re happy and willing to make. It’s easier said than done but there is zero point in wasting your energy on the things that you can’t control. A point comes when enough is enough, especially when the sacrifice is bigger. Fuck apologies, the only person you need validation from looks back at you in the mirror every day.

How long do you wait until you’ve decided that you’re tired of the way your life is going because someone is holding you back emotionally? It’s been too long for this not to be me.

I’m not perfect, I’ve got pride.

One day you wake up and just know that one person can and will change everything for the better, even if they didn’t mean to. It was a sobering moment when that penny finally dropped but there’s no room for toxic people in any of our lives. Cut them loose, won’t you feel all the better for it? Yep, it takes balls, but isn’t it a far more attractive option to hurt for a little while than to carry on hurting forever? No need for you to become a static cliche, someone who sticks about feeling unhappy just because you’re worried about what might be on the other side? Sometimes the grass is greener. Maybe it’ll be a life you’ve never experienced before, but perhaps it is. You chose to give it up to try and give someone another chance, more fool you, but you backed yourself in that moment, so why wouldn’t you do the same now?

Not everything is black and white though, but there’s plenty of colour out there going around to make things better for each of us, maybe we’ve just not all grasped that yet. Sometimes it’s hard to take but now and again, you need someone to give you a shake, to tell you words that you really need to hear. Nothing wrong with a bit of tough love on occasion. I guess there comes a day when every man draws his own line in the sand. Spending time on your own and listening to yourself is probably something that none of us do as much as we should. Sure, we’re all worried about different things but even if our progress is slow, progress is still being made.

Do you remember that feeling you had when you started something new? How it felt, how it brought a chunk of sunshine into a dark day? It’s not always going to be smooth, but you stick with it because you know the alternative made you deeply unhappy.

I had to come home to realise that it wasn’t home any more. Some people haven’t changed a bit, it’s like I was never away. With good friends, you just fall back into things seamlessly. Other people are jealous of your success, about the life you were enjoying until it gets to a point where they resent you. Those are the types of people in your life that you don’t want to make space for. Any of us can change our lives for the better but don’t hate on someone who’s taken the decision to enrich themselves just because you’re too chicken shit to do the same. I was starting to feel empathy for you but why should I?

Pity and sympathy are two different things. You can sympathise with someone and let them know that you understand any distress, grief or sorrow that they might be going through. All in all, a positive emotion. Pity is definitely more of a negative thing and you might get to the stage where you actually feel sorry for someone.

It’s not been that hard with the benefit of hindsight to decide to leave that toxic person behind. The day has come when plans need to be made to really go back home and try and rediscover that time when everything was nearly as perfect as it could possibly be. Sometimes it takes going away to bring you back.

Usually I go and take the blame but not this time. It’s our world to discover, either alone or with someone and this will be so much better alone.

I would say I’m sorry if I really meant it.

@TheSamMcLeod

JoJo’s new album, ‘Good To Know’ drops on May 1st.

The day bleeds into nightfall

Unsurprisingly, Mark Twain had a way with words. ‘Good decisions come from experience, experience comes from making bad decisions.’

The best of people can do things that aren’t right and they can make shit decisions now and again, but it doesn’t necessarily make them less of a human being deep down. That said, it also doesn’t make how they behaved towards you less wrong. We all get lost sometimes, you need to make choices about lots of different things every day. Life isn’t always easy and sometimes people fuck up. Maybe the trick is not to let your trust in others go when that happens. How much tougher does that become when you decide to leave someone you loved for someone new?

Chances are that we’ve all been stabbed in the back by people we trusted the most. Ever been lied to by by someone you loved because you covered up their mistakes to try and protect them? Sometimes there’s going to be days when no-one is going to be there for you but yourself. Betrayal hurts like nothing else, it can be devastating and destroy a lot of things you believe in. It makes a mockery of the trust you had in others and can leave you feeling like you’re all alone. Sure, you can bounce back from a lot of things but betrayal is hard to forgive. Unless you’re an incredible human being, forgiving is not forgetting, right? For some of us, perhaps all we can betray is our conscience, because let’s face it, we’re all in control of how we treat others. You’re not in charge of someone else’s loyalty, it doesn’t matter how good you are to them, there’s no guarantee they’ll treat you the same way. Just because something goes wrong with whatever you have going on, it doesn’t mean that you get to become the wrong in everyone else’s life. Be kind always.

Sometimes the people you love the most turn out to be the people you can trust the least. You have to make decisions that are best for you and nobody else. You can have bad luck but it’s easy to get that tangled up with your bad decisions, unless you sort out in your own head what’s going to be the best thing for you.

We can all fight to hold onto something, and now and again, we try and find the strength to let go, even if we don’t want to be seen as weak or failing. Life is too short to make the wrong choice twice though, so hopefully you evolve, you move on and you trust those people who you think you can count on. Once bitten, twice shy. Some are willing to betray everything you shared just to try and look good in the eyes of other people. It’s laughable though when they think they’re cleaner than ivory snow.

A poor choice was made and not for the first time, the grass wasn’t greener.

I let my guard down and then you pulled the rug.

I can’t explain the pain of someone fucking you over. Hopefully not a lot of us have experienced it but even now, it still hurts. Just emotions, I guess.

The worst part is that it could’ve been forever, fuck, it was a major thing. It was a mistake you said, but maybe the error was mine for trusting you and covering your shit up. I would never do to you what you did to me. I would never hurt you just to make your betrayal hurt you back. I’m enough of an adult to forgive you, but I’m not fucking stupid enough to take you at your word ever again. Someone doing wrong doesn’t give us the right to do wrong back. A feeling of wanting revenge is a horrible emotion, sadly it turns out that sometimes the person that you take a bullet for is behind the trigger.

I don’t give a damn about what people whisper, the truth is finally out there for the people who are willing to look for it or have seen it. Seems like heartbreak makes you find out who stands beside you and who believes the shit that gets fed to them. Every day is a school day.

It’s a pity that you fucked this up, I was getting kinda used to being someone you loved.

@TheSamMcLeod

The story needs more pages.

There are some questions that you know you need to avoid asking. When is your baby due? Always a good idea to make sure that the lady in question, is in fact, pregnant. That was an awkward moment. Are you seeing anyone? No one’s status matters in the way you speak to them unless you’re into him or her in a big way. When you meet someone new, it’s probably not a good idea to query what went wrong in their last relationship. Why aren’t you married? Marriage is an absolute minefield of a topic, best avoided at all costs. Why are you single? Yep, great question to ask, everyone who isn’t with someone else sits around pondering the reasons why they can’t seem to find someone that they’re compatible with. If you’re male, you know it’s an unwritten rule that you can never ask the age of a lady, no good can come of it.

Maybe sometimes though, you need to channel your inner kid curiosity. Who, what, why, where, when, how, those little fuckers never stop asking questions. The absolute wonderful naivety of youth, don’t we all wish that we could go back to that time, even if just for a few moments? Asking questions without having an agenda, without being judged, just a natural impishness to settle things in your own head. You know you can’t get the answer you want if you don’t ask the question. If you never shoot, you’ll never know. Isn’t it true that the only stupid question is the one that’s never asked? There’s nothing wrong with being curious about things and finding yourself slightly confused by the world.

Clearly some questions hold more importance than others though. What to have for dinner tonight isn’t quite as meaningful as what you need to ask someone that you think you might have feelings for or that you think you might be falling in love with.

How do you define what love means to you? The need for the well-being of another person that you care about more than yourself? Having a thing with someone so deep that the twinkling in their eyes becomes important to your own feeling of content? To see that person that makes you happy smiling every day more than once? Someone that you care about so much that you would do whatever you could to stop anything bad from happening to them? It’s all subjective, if you’ve sussed it out, you’re doing well.

I can’t seem to get it right.

Life as a sixteen year old boy isn’t that complicated, there aren’t too many questions that you need to ask. Hopefully you know where your next meal is coming from, school, sports, hanging out with friends, you probably know what every day is going to bring. Until someone comes along and messes all of that up.

Every day at 8am, the bus rocks up to take us all to school. It’s not a long journey, twenty minutes or so and everyone gets lost in their own little world. Personal CD players are everywhere, conversation is scarce. Everyone knows everyone else, some sit on the top deck, the cool kids sit on the bottom at the back, nods are exchanged and everyone loses themselves for a while. With it being a small town, chances are that you saw most of the people that you share the commute with over the weekend anyway, you were probably hanging out with a lot of them. You see this lot more than your own family, no need to be inquisitive, what type of questions do you need answered?

One Monday morning is different to the others that have gone before. The appearance of a new girl on the bus has nearly all of the boys going to the extreme step of taking their headphones off to listen to her voice rather than whoever was their artist of choice. It didn’t hurt that she’s incredibly pretty but immediately we all knew that she was major league whilst we were all the Triple-A equivalent.

Day after day follows and you know you’re in trouble when you start looking forward to the journey to school. Slowly though, a conversation happens, a friendship begins and continues to evolve over the next weeks, months and years. I fell in love with her in stages.

We hang out a lot but the subject is never broached. Having the friendship is infinitely more important than the possibility of fucking things up on a romantic basis, but do the two need to be mutually exclusive? Now would be an ideal time to have that ability again to not care about asking a question. Maybe it’s a healthy thing to hang a question mark on the things that are super important to you, no point diving in if you’re not sure that you’re going to get the answer you want. A lack of self confidence? It’s always easier to talk yourself out of something rather than into it. Sometimes a stubborn mind is a blessing, sometimes it’s anything but. Once an idea forms in your head though, can it be stopped?

Eight words have never travelled from my lips to her ears but maybe it’s time that she knows, if she doesn’t already. Wish me luck.

I’ve been in love with you for ages.

@TheSamMcLeod

A heart of doubt.

A new year approaches and so we make resolutions. Join a gym or at least go back to the one that we’ve been paying for and not using. Stop smoking, drink less alcohol, lose weight and be healthy, take up a new hobby, spend more time with family and friends, the list is almost endless. Those are all pretty common so you might choose things that are a bit more personal.

Answering yes to more questions, to more chances of experiencing new things. It’s easy to shut yourself off at times, to just be on your own but maybe intrinsically you know that you need to mix things up now and again. The word ‘Yes’ is a sentence, first resolution makes the list. Learning to say no to other things, it’s a failing if you’re trying to please everyone all of the time. The word ‘No’ is also a sentence, second one sorted. You can be a kind person with a good heart and still say no to people. You want to know when to say no when you need to, but also when you say yes, the people around you know that you mean it. Setting boundaries can be a good idea. Sometimes you need to let people in, to let new things in or to let some things go if they’re not making you happy. Three for three, that’ll do for now, baby steps, right?

You need some things, people you care about, that you love. Sometimes you find those people when you least expect to. You can just click with someone and know that you’re both going to get along, you don’t have to pretend to be anyone else or anything that you’re not. Sure, sometimes your relationship will be going great and at others, it’ll be a bit of a struggle.

Last night we were more than fine.

In the middle of checking into a hotel and whilst the process is taking place, I look around and see her sitting in the bar. She spots me stealing a momentary glance, I’m so busted, but I get a smile so naturally one is returned. I concentrate on the person sorting out my room though, being rude is no bueno. Key collected, bags unpacked and a much needed shower after a forty hour journey is welcome. A beer downstairs follows, she’s still there and we strike up a conversation. She’s friendly, but our time ends with that one drink. A couple of days go by and I don’t see her.

Walking around the city, I randomly bump into her a few days later, smiles and awkward hugs are exchanged and we go for a drink. It turns out we like a lot of the same things, she’s also into spicy food, tequila, travel and girls. I didn’t see that coming but I like hanging out with her so why not continue to do so, everyone has friends that they’re not into in a romantic way. We have another week in the same city and we spend a lot of time together, eating, drinking, exploring. The friendship is formed and it’s sad when she has to go home.

Sussing out the benefits of any relationship is down to no one else but yourself. You can be around someone initially that you think you’re attracted to, but as time progresses, the friendship takes over and those feelings fade. No romance is on the cards but wouldn’t you want to be friends with the kind of girl you’d believe if she told you that the earth was flat and that Skittles fell from the sky? Sometimes you just vibe with someone.

We’re in touch regularly and she’s super polite, always asking about family and friends, about what’s going on, generally just a cool human being. Do you ever have a friendship though that’s a one way street? You’re always the first person in touch, the quicker to reply.

You text me when you feel like, when it feels right to you.

Days, weeks, months pass and we’re cool though, we speak, we hang out when she’s here and when I’m anywhere near her. An invite is extended to bring in 2020 together with other friends, she accepts and a plan is made.

Her plane lands, I pick her up and nothing has changed, the chat is seamless, it’s like we’ve never been apart. Neither of us have girlfriends but only one of us is looking for one, first time being a wingman for a lady.

The last day of the year is here, food and drinks with friends, always good. The bells toll to bring in the new year, we hug as is the case with everyone else, but she kisses me hard and it takes more seconds than it should to pull away. Conversing becomes difficult as I shake my head and tell her that we can’t. I love her but I’m not in love with her. It’s probably something that would’ve never happened if it wasn’t for a shit ton of tequila. Not all common interests are good.

The pain on her face is almost palpable, those falling tears hurt even more, but it’s down to excess on a special night of the year. It’s hard to look at the ruin, but it’s harder still not to find beauty in her decay, sometimes all you want is to get or give a hug.

Who doesn’t like being kissed? It has to be right though, if it’s not, then what’s the point? Isn’t it better to feel bad for a moment by saying no and stopping things going too far rather than harming you both in the long run? It’s okay to misjudge things but you always know when something isn’t coming from the right place.

On your lips just leave it, if you don’t mean it.

@TheSamMcLeod