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

When you’re lionhearted.

As a new year approaches, isn’t it the best time to say goodbye to some people and some things, and hello to a lot of new stuff that could change your life in the year ahead? Perhaps the most exciting part is that you have zero clue about what any of those things might be.

Transformation isn’t an easy thing, it’s often full of chaos and can be the start of a lot of conflict with yourself. Change is scary, it’s okay to be a little bit frightened about the good and bad things that await you. Maybe the point is though, those things are a chance of a shot at inner growth; a rebirth almost, where you restart yourself, when you realise who you are once more. There’s fuck all wrong with learning to learn again. You remember what you’re all about and the game changes, one moment could decide it all.

Good things can prompt you into thinking about the year ahead, a choice about new decisions. Jobs, relationships, travel, new friends, additions to your family, the list is almost endless. Flip things though, and it’s the same for all of the bad. Losing a job, a relationship ending, losing a loved one, life has a way of putting up obstacles that stop you getting on with what you need or want. Does anything ever remain as it was?

When the bad shit happens, we all know that it hits hard, and so we need to decide on certain things, about how we continue, about how we move on. Realising that you can find that you know exactly what to do in all of those dark days has to be a crumb of comfort, doesn’t it?

It’s not always easy, sometimes we brace and then fall.

It’s normal to lose confidence but it’s not normal to stay down. Now and again, we all have to stumble or fall to reach the next phase of our lives. Do you ever dream or feel like that you’re standing on the edge of a metaphorical cliff looking down and thinking, ‘I need to do this, I need to jump, it’s the only thing that’ll help me move forward?.

It doesn’t matter a lot of the time what you’ve done in your life. The friendships you’ve made, the breaths you’ve taken, the words you’ve spoken, the people you’ve fallen in love with, you’ve got to start over. Undoubtedly, between the optimism and pessimism that we all juggle with, we reach for either chance or stability, to try and carve out a sense of belief that we’re all on the right road that we want to be on.

It’s not always something that’s said out loud but as midnight approaches, don’t we all think to ourselves, ‘Next year will be my year?’ Let’s hope so for every single one of us.

This year can do one. The loss of a loved one, the end of an important relationship, serious injury, life threatening illness, having to move house and change jobs. Fuck you 2019, 2020, I’ve got this.

Anguish, grief, hurt, loneliness, regret, no emotions that any of us should have to feel on and day, week, month or year but it’s just life. It can be a tough road but you know that some things will only scratch your surface whilst others will hit you at your very core. You get to decide which are which though because you’ve got this too. Suss out the emotions you need to have to start the year in a strong way, right?

Good news will come your way in the year ahead, and whilst it’s hard not to be able to share your joy with the people you miss the most who are no longer around, thinking of yourself should kick in again. Retain the love, respect and thought for others, but do you.

Sometimes you wake up one day, just like any other, and you decide that you don’t like it anymore. So, you make a change. You need to be selfish at times and do what’s right for you.

Sometimes we don’t fall at all.

@TheSamMcLeod

Tired of beatings and battles.

All it takes sometimes is a single moment and your whole life can be turned upside down. It’s just one of those things, some of your days are good, some of your days are damn near excellent, whilst some days are a proverbial kick in the stones. One day can change your life, one day can make your life, one day can ruin your life. Whatever shit comes your way, you react in the best way that you can though, don’t you? Always in all ways. You find a person or place in this world that you know is worth fighting for and you get your game face on. Some days are a struggle, but isn’t the beauty of fighting that you can come out of the other side of something difficult in a better place?

In The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays, Albert Camus scribbled that ‘There is scarcely any passion without struggle.’ You need to focus on having a positive outlook of fighting through your struggles when life tosses you a curveball, don’t you? You have beliefs, friendships, values, fuck, a shit ton of different things that you care about, aren’t all of those things worth keeping in your head when something comes along and knocks you on your ass?

Undoubtedly it’s difficult, but sometimes you need to put on your big boy pants and suck things up. Sure, it’s not always easy and it’s okay just to let things be wrong for a minute. You’ll come back stronger and find that one thing that’s worth fighting for.

It’s more than alright to feel like you’re the one person in the world that’s the most alone, but that said, you need to at least let someone know that when you’re struggling with something, don’t you? The hardest things to speak about are the ones we can’t understand ourselves but we need to try. Opening up when you’re vulnerable is tough, but somebody cares that somebody knows.

Where there are roads in our lives, there are bound to be speed bumps too, but isn’t there a time for acceptance as well as a time for kicking the fuck out of something? Maybe life isn’t always about having a good day but about finding good moments. Perhaps every day becomes less difficult if you can learn to fight back against whatever you have going on. You love the people you love, you cry, you laugh, you fail, you succeed, you fall, but the most important thing is to get back up. When something’s difficult, you’ll do so much more to ensure you don’t lose the things you care about. We fight.

The harder the fight, the more glorious fuck you will come at the end of your battle, right? How much joy is there when you can flip a middle finger at something? Is it right that only the things that are really worth fighting for gives everything in your life it’s value?

Those quiet, little personal moments when you get bad news are vital. You suss out a plan, which details you choose to share with everyone that you care for, how you get over it, everything is a contest, head and and heart clashing as they often do.

Two days before Christmas and the news isn’t good, it’s as bad as it could be. Who wants to spend any time in hospital, far less a day where you should be surrounded by your family and friends? More than likely, it’s as bad for the staff as it is for a lot of the patients, healthcare professionals are wonderful, especially at this time of year. They’re pretty humbling people, kudos to all of them.

Words and intentions are good from the people that care about you, but when you’re down, you’re down. Kindness is a lovely thing, but isn’t it true that if you have to pull yourself back from the negative thoughts you’re having about everything you have going on that it’s easier said than done? We fight.

We made it to today, we’ll make it to tomorrow and hopefully the next day after that. We fight.

This is the biggest thing that I’ll ever have to face but there’s no other option, I fight. My little girl, family, friends, everything that I still have to achieve, I’ve got this. We’ve all got this, we just need to tell our minds to believe it.

Maybe if you have nothing to fight against, you have nothing to fight for. So, we fight our way in and we fight our way out.

Just pick yourself up, it’s time to go.

@TheSamMcLeod

Fist fight with the mirror.

It would be pretty amazing if we all could have a superpower, what would you go for if you could pick one? Invisibility sounds good, but definitely has the potential to get you into a shit ton of trouble if it malfunctions, I know you know what I mean. Superhuman strength would be awesome, think of all the things you’d be able to do. Move your house somewhere else without actually moving house, you’d have zero chance of losing a fight. Flying? No more need for plane tickets, who wouldn’t want to spend every weekend somewhere different? Super speed? Hello Olympic gold medal and a new world record, stand down Usain, I’ve got this. Telepathy could be a plan, but wouldn’t the moral dilemma that comes with knowing everyone’s private thoughts worry you? Unless it’s that one person that you think you might be into. Better to know than not without having to put yourself out there, right?

Couldn’t it be possible that your own personal powers are some things that you have to deal with every day? Compassion, humility, kindness, strong decision making about what or who it is you want? Perhaps the ability to never get things wrong can be a superpower.

Have you ever done something that you know you really shouldn’t have? Maybe there’s a tiny bit of rebellion within all of us, to make a choice about something that’s a terrible decision in hindsight. The age old idea that if we have a bit of forbidden fruit, our lives will be all the better for it is misguided, isn’t it?

There aren’t a lot of people in this world who are either brave or silly enough to not change, fair play to them. Sometimes you need to though, if someone isn’t making you happy any more, then why are you wasting your precious time? It’s easy to move onto someone else but maybe your point of view gets to the stage where you decide that you never have to say goodbye to someone if you never say hello in the first place.

I guess it’s kind of messed up.

There’s a girl, she’s new, chosen over someone who gets left behind, good or bad decision? In time, she becomes closer to me than most people have, yet still there was distance, an interesting dichotomy. That said, could she be a glimpse of a new life? She might be the one that I could grow old with together doing all of the things that you love to do with someone. Quickly, wrinkles appear though and we’ll definitely not be buying each other birthday cards next year. Time to make another decision, iron out the wrinkle or watch as it gets bigger and bigger. No one is a fan of ironing but for once, it’s going to be more cathartic than watching.

Daylight fades and vulnerability kicks in. With a head full of bad ideas in a bar beneath Fenway Park’s bleachers with a view of centerfield, more beer is not a good idea if you’re eleventeen drinks deep. It’s a real number, don’t even @ me. Still, a decision has to be made, and it’s the right one for a change. The night is closing in and there is no grey, things are very black and white. I gave up the best girl to settle for someone else and now I have to face the consequences, all I can do now is brace for impact. Sure, ponder the emotional turmoil, it’s okay to be alone in the world and now it’s inevitable, can’t be stopped, can’t be slowed down.

A quickening of breath happens just before the words are said. She’s a walking awkward silence, turns out no one has ever had the stones to break up with her. We all numb ourselves at times to make room for the hurt and pain that you experience with someone but don’t you want to try and remember only the good things about them and not the absolute shitshow that they’ve caused for you? A good decision over a bad one.

It would be easy to ruin a life by taking revenge, but I’m not that guy, she’s managed that all on her own.

Someone I respect more than 99.99999% of people in this world once told me that something good stays good forever. He was wrong. It would be grim to think that nobody’s story has a happy ending but this story isn’t over yet. I need to leave, to move on, out of sight, out of mind, no way am I going to miss her or this place. I can’t wait to get away, some memories are good to try and lose. Forgiveness is a personal thing, it doesn’t depend on you being in touch with the person who caused you hurt. When you’re afraid and angry because of what someone’s done to you, it’s more than okay for those emotions to feed off of each other.

Maybe if I can make it past her, I can stay in my own shadow forever, it’s no fun living in anyone else’s. Time to see if it’s possible to find harmony out of heartbreak, nothing hurts like thinking I’m not good enough.

I wish I never met you, but it’s a little too late.

@TheSamMcLeod

Catch Oh Wonder on tour next year.

Tour

Looking for the right one.

Johann Gottlieb Fichte, a German philosopher wrote a book called The Vocation of Man in 1799 where he explores doubt, faith and knowledge. In it, he posits that, “You could not remove a single grain of sand from its place without thereby changing something throughout all parts of the immeasurable whole.” It’s basically the butterfly effect. The thought that a butterfly can flutter it’s wings in China and cause a hurricane somewhere else on the planet. Chaos theory tells us that it’s the little things that really change the world, ergo your world. A random encounter with someone you’ve never met before, but who’ll impact your life further down the road. Reconnecting out of the blue with a long lost friend and rekindling your past relationship. It’s up to you to pursue those if you want to, just the agony and beauty of choice.

You make choices every day, sometimes they’re right, sometimes they’re wrong, but you do what you think is best for you. Isn’t it true that sometimes things are decided for you?

It’s okay to be scared of new things. It’s also okay to think that you’re stopping yourself from liking someone new if someone old hurt you. Leaving someone behind is difficult, there are some people that you know you have to let go of that you hope you won’t think of every day for the rest of your life. If you’re even contemplating the possibility of a new experience, don’t you want to try and find everything in someone that’s the best for you? Is it a naive hope to build something new when you’ve been fucked over? Sure, there’ll be certain people that you like, even though you think you can’t possibly get them. Maybe they’re taken or maybe they’re just not right for you.

Maybe you need to realise that perfection will not come.

A meeting in a hotel bar happens through a mutual friend. If you ever want to fully appreciate how attractive someone is, simply watch the people around them. Girls do what girls do, give their male partners that look warning them off from even glancing in her direction. Some eye her up enviously, whilst some are complimentary about her handbag, outfit or shoes. As a boy, never underestimate the power of knowing what Christian Louboutin shoes look like, trust me, it’ll serve you well.

There was a first glance between us, the sort of flirty gesture that lasts just long enough to blur the line between innocent and suggestive, my friend could be onto something. We’re both staying in the same hotel for the same length of time and a lot of it ends up being spent together, although nothing happens, despite the amount of dancing around the possibility of it. It was a tiny bit presumptuous on her part, but she told me on the first night that no kissing would be happening, she had a boyfriend. She’s got more balls than a table tennis tournament for even thinking that was on my mind, but as usual, ladies are always correct. We flirted constantly, but because of the boyfriend thing, there was zero point in pursuing it. Nothing wrong with having some harmless fun if you’re single though, especially if you’re getting the same in return. Boyfriend or not, she’s moving to New York for work so it’s an easy decision not to get too involved, no matter how much I might want to. A day comes, she leaves with a hug, no numbers are exchanged.

Just under a month later, an invite from a headhunter drops into my inbox about more than one job in New York. No reason to say no, they book flights and the trip is made.

The first night ritual has changed now that I’m doing this alone, no more rooftop beers in the shadow of the Empire State Building, it wouldn’t be right. I’m four drinks deep into Pappy Van Winkle at Whiskey Ward on the LES and headed for five. Next stop, The Rusty Knot on West 11th which probably has the best jukebox in the city.

As I walk in, I stop dead in my tracks. The average adult brain has trillions of synapses, mine are firing all at once, there she is. Over ten thousand bars in this city, what are the odds? It’s unexpected and I hate that, although at the same time, it’s pretty cool. The chance, the sheer impossibility that it could even happen. She has home field advantage though, batter up. It’s like submitting an application for the Darwin Awards for even wanting to talk to her, there are more than a dozen deep breaths. I should have realised that the song currently playing was a sign.

She seems shocked in a good way, although my explanation of why I was in the city wasn’t even a distant cousin of convincing, seems you’re never too old to be tongue-tied. She held my gaze but her eyes revealed nothing. Words and drinks follow. She apologises to me within the first ten minutes, turns out there was no boyfriend, she was just tired of boys hitting on her. Fair enough, she owes me no explanation. Now there is a boyfriend in Manhattan though, but if I move, she’ll end things with him to be with me. I know PI to over a thousand digits but I can’t work her out, how is that a tempting offer?

It doesn’t take long to decide, money is thrown down for drinks and I say no and goodbye in that order.

She hugged me tighter than anyone ever has, but it’s wrong to start something new based on a lie. Is it also wrong though to chase that feeling that twisted your mutual past into something so beautiful, even if it was brief? Sometimes you have to tell yourself that you can’t be blinded about what you want to believe, it takes balance. Thing is, if you never let anyone in, you’ll never get fucked over again. If you can treat someone that way, you can do it to anyone, I want no part of that possibility. I’m sad about it but I’ve been sad before.

Sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same.

@TheSamMcLeod

Wishing it’ll all go away.

Learning new things can never be bad. Random facts, finding out about your ancestors, new words, pretty much anything, every day can be a school day. Sabahah is an Arabic word for what is essentially infatuation. We all know what it feels like to be into someone, maybe it’s the best feeling in the world, just as long as it’s reciprocated. Is there a worse emotion than the hurt of someone not wanting you though? Millions of us can identify with that feeling of looking at that other person, wanting nothing more than to be forever around them, but knowing deep down that it’ll never happen because they don’t like you back in the same way. It’s horrible, it’s painful, the French call it douleur exquise, unrequited love. An irrational crush, infatuation, shit, maybe even an obsession, whatever you want to call it, you’re either on the giving or receiving end of it.

Maybe infatuation is when you think you’ve found somebody who in your eyes is absolutely perfect. It’s all bullshit however, none of us are, but it’s easy to get carried away if you think you’re falling for someone. It’s not to say it’s bad, if it makes you feel good, then clearly that’s not the worst thing in the world. It’s different from love though, right? Infatuation at first sight you can understand, but not love.

Sometimes when you look back on a situation, you begin to understand that it wasn’t all that you thought it was. A beautiful person walked into or came back into your life. You fell in love. Perhaps you just had a major crush. Infatuation can’t be sustained forever though, can it? If somebody thinks that they can never get enough of you, don’t they always want more?

If you’re just out of any relationship and someone shows interest in you, it’s normal to be flattered. It can be overwhelming though, especially if that person is a bit too full on. Also, if you’ve taken the time to evaluate everything that went wrong before and what the things are that you want from someone new, don’t you become a bit more fussy? No one should have to settle.

At which point do you become brutally honest, especially if it’s with someone and a friendship that you don’t want to lose?

Just tell her the absolute truth? There’s not a nice way for me to say that.

One day it all bubbles to the surface when I finally click. Honesty is the best policy, it’s a difficult conversation. That punch to the stomach, the adrenaline to the heart, neither of those things are there. Don’t we all want someone who blows our socks off? Fuck, our shoes, even our underwear too? Is she good at what she does for work? Most probably, but she doesn’t challenge me intellectually. No one expects to be with the hottest person in the world, but we all know that some of us would be punching above our weight in any couple, even if we’d never admit it. We should try I was told. All of the ‘shoulds’ in the world mean nothing if you’re not both invested. She told me I was a narcissist, pretty harsh, but I get it to a degree, no one likes to be turned down. No one else should accept someone that they don’t want either, just because it might be easy. The wife of one of my best friends told me that when things ended in my last relationship that she knew it was destined for disaster because, ‘She was never a Sam type of girl.’ I think I know where she was going with that and it’s been stuck in my head ever since.

As expected, the conversation is a dumpster fire. You could fall in love with me, she said. Shit, I love you enough now but only ever as a friend was clearly the wrong thing to say. I could’ve told her that I was seeing somebody but that wouldn’t be true. I know how to make this girl laugh but I definitely don’t want to know what makes her cry and I don’t want to be responsible for her tears. It’s all a bit late now, and it might seem harsh but I didn’t ask for any of this.

Do you get to a stage where you realise that the probability is that you won’t want to have another serious relationship? Between what she told me about my high demands, it seems unlikely that I’ll need to worry about that too much. Are they high though? I just know what I want. There’s something about the beauty of order once you realise what it is you desire and you can’t expect someone to share an unpredictable life, especially if you’re not going to commit everything to it. There’s a distant resignation, this chase has finally ended.

She’ll never be my story to tell and that’s how it should be. The silence feels right, but you know I want you to be happy.

@TheSamMcLeod