Cracks won’t fix and the scars won’t fade away.

Is there really just one person out there for each of us, some kind of soulmate that we’ll spend all of our lives with? Is it an overused term, the idea of finding one perfect person has to be pie in the sky, doesn’t it? What are the chances you’d ever meet someone like that? Someone you could love forever and who would forever love you back? Sure, maybe when you know, you know and whatever you have going on with someone might be a major thing but it doesn’t mean that you can’t mess it up or that it’ll work out in the way that you both want. Fingers crossed you get it right but until you try, how will you know? A gut feeling or a voice in your head? Perhaps there isn’t any need to doubt yourself when the real thing comes along, although it takes a ton of bravery, guesswork and a massive leap of faith.

Maybe we all need to disavow ourselves of the notion that there is someone perfect out there for each of us. Let’s face it, if you start from perfect, you have nowhere to go but down. On the flip side though, perhaps we’re given multiple chances to meet more than one soulmate. Not acting on something is okay, a chance will come again, won’t it?

Every single one of us wants different things from someone who might become our significant other. Someone who challenges you, who can make you laugh, who can teach you new things, who can tell you when to shut the fuck up when you need to be quiet, the list is almost endless. It doesn’t hurt if they’re easy on the eye too.

Is the 12th letter of the alphabet the most important one? You can love someone with every fibre of your being without being in love with them, family and friends obviously fall into this category. Can one of those people be a soulmate, does it depend on how you feel about them when they’re not around?

How do you manage when you have trouble sleeping, restless dreaming?

Falling for someone is a big deal but how many times have you thrown the L bomb out there thinking that you were in love with someone and how many times did you actually mean it? Is nine too many?

The first time was after meeting someone in a bar. She was on holiday with half a dozen friends but I only had eyes for her. We struck up a conversation and they all come back to the house. Whilst everyone else chats and drinks in the living room, we sit in the kitchen finding out more about each other. We hug, we kiss, they leave and promises are made to see one another again. Regular visits in both directions of over a 299 mile round trip happen, I even meet her parents, she could be the one. Being a teenage boy though, I fuck it up for someone else. To this day, when I pass her street on the south side of Glasgow, I still glance up and smile.

She was and still is a 10/10. Pretty much all of the boys in the entire club one Saturday night spot her and try their luck. She politely rebuffs all of them, there are times when you need a wingman or wingwoman. Ego takes over and I try my luck via said wingwoman knowing that everyone else wants her. Dick move in the long run, incredibly immature and it means that I make the biggest mistake of my life so far by discarding someone who was infinitely more suited to me. It lasts a matter of months and whilst we said we loved each other, we probably didn’t. She’s a cool girl and whilst we’re still in touch, it’ll never be a thing again.

Once bitten, twice shy? She’s bonkers beautiful, the girl who would become the second most important person in my life. Once she removed herself from the relationship she was in, we became a thing. I’m not in love with her but I’ll always love her. She’s with a great guy now, nothing but love for them but she’ll always be the one that got away.

It’s difficult to explain how you attract people sometimes. She was married to a famous sportsman but for some reason showed interest. Essentially, it’s an affair and it’s another shit move but it takes two to tango and all that. I fell deep and told her but she wasn’t interested in anything serious. Days, weeks and months pass and she changes her mind but it’s too late. She’s married again now and we’ve met since for coffee but that ship has sailed.

She was ten years younger so I was flattered. What an absolute car crash of a relationship, beginning to spot a pattern? She said the words first so I instinctively said them back.

Sometimes you connect with someone on a bunch of levels. We met through work and it progressed into something more. Everything was going swimmingly for ages, the words were exchanged, albeit drunkenly but then she drops the bomb that she needs to relocate for work. I accepted it grudgingly so she moved alone. She’s awesome, her now boyfriend is a lucky man but recently she opened up and said she’d have stayed if I’d asked her. Fuck.

It was a thing that was on and off more times than a television. Nice girl? Sure. Flawed? Definitely, but aren’t we all? It was a casual thing for ages and it should’ve stayed that way, but when one person wants more out of a relationship than you really want to give, you have a choice to make. Fingers crossed you get it right if you acquiesce but shouldn’t you trust your gut?

The last girl again said those words first so I replied in kind, despite not meaning it. Proof right there that you don’t get wiser with age. She was wrong in every single way, bordering on sociopathic, happy to argue with all of my friends because she thought she was superior.

Sometimes you know immediately who the most important people in your life are. It’s easy to overthink the mistakes you’ve made with people but you’re not always in the wrong.

When you’re single, it can be tough to find someone you can connect with and that you’re excited to be around. As you get older, isn’t the thought of finding new love completely frightening?

Thing is, maybe your soulmate doesn’t have to be a romantic thing. It’s sad to contemplate not being somebody to someone, but I know there is one girl on this planet that I’ll love unconditionally until the day I take my final breath.

You’re in my head, always.

@TheSamMcLeod

Catch Gavin on tour from July 4th, https://shop.gavinjamesmusic.com

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

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

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

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, do 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!

Dive in blind.

Have you ever been in a relationship that you thought would last forever but didn’t? It sucks, but it happens, isn’t it what you do next that’s important? Sure, we all know that every day moving forward on your own won’t always be be full of rainbows and sunshine, and that sometimes, we’re going to go through some rough patches. What choice do you really have, don’t you need to tell yourself that you’ve got this even when you think you don’t? Maybe it takes a tiny piece of our hearts breaking to shake us awake and help us see that we’re worth so much more than what we’re settling for. You can spend minutes, hours, days, weeks, fuck, even months over-analysing things; trying to put the pieces together as if your relationship was a jigsaw, attempting to justify what could’ve and would’ve happened if only things were different. What’s the point?
Time passes, the pain slowly fades. Only you know when is the right time to move on, but another day spent thinking about who went before is another day not wondering about who comes next. Even when you know that you want to move forward though, it’s okay to have at least one foot on the brakes, there’s nothing wrong with a little bit of vulnerability. Sometimes, it feels as if there are hundreds of reasons not to move on. Perhaps we hope that by trying to hold on, we somehow think we have a way of getting back to how things once were. You’ll get past certain people in time so give yourself the chance to do so.

Most relationships don’t end well, so when you finally meet someone new, you’re probably going to arrive with some baggage, the next person is going to have to endure some things that someone else has caused. Keeping baggage from the past is pointless though, right? Just because something has gone sideways, it doesn’t mean that you need to think that everyone coming will make things the same as they were before. Maybe when someone leaves, it’s because someone else is about to arrive.

Well, that’s the school of thought I’m from.

If you feel like you’ve been burdened with blame for someone or something that’s happened in the past, then it’s probably time to be moving on. Spending time on your own can be the best and something that you need sometimes, but it doesn’t mean that you want to be lonely. New people will enter your life every day, even if you don’t expect them to. Unexpected surprises don’t need to be a bad thing.

The girl from Vancouver met through work. She seems super nice but after a few drinks and zero kisses, she starts discussing baby names. Keen much? It’s nice to be liked but some people need to rein it in.

A long while later, a girl comes along one day. Kissing doesn’t feature again but there might be something. There are mutual interests, could this be a thing? One way pictures and videos start to come though that are overly explicit and that’s not cool with someone that you’re not even in a relationship with. If you’re sending those to me, damn skippy you’re sending them to other boys. Whatever it was, it doesn’t end well. She’s the girl who acts like she wants revenge on Dorothy for killing her sister by dropping a house on her. Bullet dodged and batting zero with Canadian girls. That’s okay, nobody bats a thousand.

A random meeting in a hotel bar with an American girl over a mutual love of a football match that we’re both watching. Too much beer, too much flirting and too much regret when she reveals that she’s more than a decade younger. The half your age plus seven rule is bullshit!

The nurse who sits and chats with me every night, who lives nearby and has cared for me for weeks. Stockholm syndrome almost. Funny, pretty, out of my league for sure. The question is contemplated but I see her outside smoking one day, deal-breaker right there. Sigh.

The Italian neighbour who lives directly above me and who knows where she needs to go when she needs something done in her apartment. Chivalry again, and whilst I’m old enough to own a toolbox, no one should shit on their own doorstep.

The one girl from Twitter who invites me for dinner. We interact frequently, she’s super cool but I’m not in a place to give her what she needs. She moves on, finds someone and is happy. Win win, nothing but love for them both.

We met reaching for the last for the last copy of the same book. Chivalry isn’t dead so obviously I gave it up. It sparked a conversation about our favourite authors, about similar books that we liked. Numbers were swapped and drinks are arranged. What an absolute disaster! If you need to wear glasses, wear them. Deciding not to, made her think she’d be more attractive. I couldn’t tell whether she was looking at me or trying to see if a bus was coming. The kicker was when she asked why I wouldn’t use ‘lol’ when we’d been exchanging messages. My response of ‘ I’m not a thirteen year old girl.’ went down as well as you’d expect. Thankfully.

The one girl that I had numerous business type coffees, dinners and lunches with that I thought might have liked me, but I was too scared to ask out. She’s married now and it fucking stings when I see them together, how different life could be. Her friend keeps telling me that she would have said yes if only I’d had the balls. I know you come from a place of kindness, but please, please stop telling me.

Thing is from all of this, it’s alright if someone breaks you in a hundred different ways, it just leads you to where you are. What if you need or want to get back to where you were? It could all change with one kiss. When you really care for someone, just maybe their mistakes never change your feelings. No matter how much we want things to stay as they were, maybe we need a change. Sometimes change is for the better, sometimes it’s not.

Is it okay to go back? If we both rewind to a time where I had you at hello?

Ready or not?

@TheSamMcLeod

@YouMeMusicLife

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

This kind of day has no night.

Adversity sucks, it’ll break you or make you, but you can choose the way in which it manifests itself, even if you don’t realise it in that initial moment. So many of us are touched by adversity every single day, we fall down, some of us never get back up, whereas others go through tough times and discover things about ourselves that we never knew, and so we come out of the other side stronger. Just a mindset, right? It’s not always that easy though.

Maybe strength doesn’t come from the things that you think you can do to get past something, it happens from overcoming the things you think that you can’t do. Perhaps in times of adversity and change, we don’t realise that a figurative kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world to ever happen to us. Wouldn’t you take one if it meant that something amazing might happen to you after you get yourself together when your world has fallen apart? Stars are there all day, every day, but they can’t shine without darkness.

You can want to do everything yourself but it’s okay to lean on friends for advice, even if it’s just cliches and platitudes that you hear. Be brave, try and be calm, take a step back and look at everything closely, stay strong, push on with everything. All lovely sentiments but not necessarily inspiring. So you look elsewhere, let’s face it, you can find inspiration in a shit ton of different ways. Music, books, television, the medium doesn’t matter as long as it helps you move on.

Not moving mountains, but digging the ground that you’re on.

It’s easy to feel sorry for yourself when your life changes for the worse. Just maybe though, humility emerges at the exact point when your knees fall to the floor and we tell ourselves that some things need to change, starting with our attitude. It can be contagious, so you should want to make sure that your’s is worth catching.

Hospitals are never a good place to be in, unless someone is giving birth or getting better. When you spend 22 hours a day on your own, it’s easy for your mind to wander about what comes next and what your future holds, it’s difficult to get motivated. It’s okay to look at other people in your life though, and use them and their experiences to motivate you to try and help you.

The friend who’s just been at Yosemite and has posted the most beautiful pictures. Yosemite promptly gets added to the good list. A friend in Sydney who’s just had a baby, so the availability for babysitting duties has just been activated. The girl in Boston who keeps posting pictures of her adventures on the weekend, super jealous. The best friend who’s just had his first child after years of trying. He kept going, literally, and seeing his happiness in his baby girl puts things in a different context. The friend who has finally convinced the girl he’s liked for ages to go out with him. Is he punching? Fuck yes, but he didn’t give up. The other friend who decided to jack in his job and buy a motorcycle and ride across the States. How cool is that?

Sometimes, things come along unexpectedly that motivate you and are a lot less personal. 22 hours is a lot of time to fill, and although sleep happens fitfully, awake time still needs to be filled. Netflix, Amazon Prime, iPlayer, YouTube, all feature heavily.

A random show pops up on YouTube from Food Network as a recommendation, Guy’s Grocery Games, Kitchen Heroes. Just another food show, shouldn’t be anything overly exciting. Wrong. The owner of a restaurant in Richmond, Virginia who donates 100% of his profits to help alleviate hunger in his hometown. Humbling as fuck. The guy who used his restaurant in San Juan, Puerto Rico, to feed hundreds of people every day affected by Hurricane Maria in 2017. Astonishing kindness. The lady who opened a restaurant to everyone who can’t afford to pay for a meal but lets them contribute by helping out. The other lady who started a culinary internship for disadvantaged teens. How can it hurt to offer a helping hand?

Another recommendation follows straight after, The Brotherhood of Football. A story about a kid from Temecula, California, a promising young QB for Linfield Christian football who gets a bad injury and needs to get part of one of his legs amputated. There are tears but now, everything takes on a new perspective, life could be worse, people everywhere are going through much worse things than me.

You binge watch TV shows if you have some time on your hands, don’t you? Some can surprise you, you might not immediately a fan of what you think the content is, but until you watch it, you’ll never really know. Take Friday Night Lights, probably the second best television series of all time. We all know what the best is, don’t even @ me.

Things is, Friday Night Lights will make you feel all of the feelings. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know anything about American football, it isn’t just about the game; it’s about relationships that will drag the caring out of you.

Take Coach Eric and wife Tami, it’s almost a perfect ideal of love and friendship. Ups and downs, making sacrifices so they can both carry out their personal dreams, whilst treating each other as an equal. Perfect relationship goal right there.

Obviously there has to be a bad guy in the show but what if deep down inside he’s a really good guy, even though he doesn’t always let it become apparent? None of us always make the right decisions, but he wants to, so that has to be important, doesn’t it? It’s okay too when you’re emotionally unavailable, which can be part of the allure to someone. Layers and vulnerability, anyone else beginning to recognise themselves? Seeing someone become a better person, never a bad thing. It can motivate.

How about those days gone by when a flirtation turned into a crush which turned into a relationship? We’ve all been there. Want to go to bat for the underdog? You’re in luck. 76 episodes will basically rip your heart out, yet you still come back for more. Maybe it’s time to ask that person out?

Sure, football is a major part of the series, but at it’s heart it’s about people having a fighting chance at making their dreams come true. Not a bad thing to be thinking about when you’re hurting, when you’re struggling. You find your motivation where you can. It’s not for everyone, but the levels of inspiration might just make you think you can do anything if you set your heart and mind to it. Never a bad thing to put yourself out there but also not to be scared any more to wear your heart on your sleeve.

Like strands in a ball of yarn, life can get tangled. Just maybe though, something good this way comes.

Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.

@TheSamMcLeod

@YouMeMusicLife