Archive | February, 2012

A Note To All Singles On Valentine’s Day

12 Feb

February the 14th is upon us, which means it’s almost time to express our affection for one another with tacky cuddly toys, porno-red love hearts and ridiculously big cards that exclaim ‘I WUV YOU!’  If you scratch away the dreadful consumerism that is attached to Valentine’s, however, what you find underlies this day is the celebration of something that is worthy of a big soiree, and that is love.

As much as I pride myself in being one of the most cynical people to have walked the earth, I cannot fault love. After all, is there anything more beautiful than finding another human being with whom you completely connect and wish to spend the rest of your life with? Is there anything purer than the love that is shared between a mother and child? Is there anything more wonderful than the love that you see between siblings or friends? Love, whether it be the kind we have for our partners, family members, or even jobs, is what we wake up for in the morning, and it is the promise of love in all its forms that keeps us going through the years. So yes, you could say it’s something worth celebrating.

In the past I could never understand single people who dreaded Valentine’s Day. What difference does it make if you’re single on that one day of the year? But I confess that for the first time in my life, I am not looking forward to being alone on Cupid’s Day. Over the past few months, I have started to long for a partner; for someone to share things with, whether it be something as insignificant as the fact I’ve managed to top my Scrabble score or as life changing as finding out I just got a new job. For most of my youth this has never bothered me, but all of a sudden, it does. As much as it hurts the cynic in me to say this, the truth is, I want someone to love.

I can now sympathise with all the fellow single people who are dreading February the 14th. Tuesday will be just another reminder that I have yet to find that special person. But following a lot of deep thinking I have decided to turn this around. Yes, I am single – but that beats being in a relationship that isn’t working or with a partner just for the sake of having someone in my life.

There is a reason I am still alone; over the years I have been wasting my time on the wrong guys. I have the perfect knack for sniffing out the most emotionally unavailable men, endearing myself to them, and then watching them pull away while wondering why it’s all blown up in my face. All the signs are always there, yet I go back for more, over and over again. My subconscious just loves to reaffirm its false belief that I am not capable of being loved.

It was only recently that I recognised this pattern and how emotionally damaging it has been. I therefore made the decision to ditch the rubbish men and to always ask myself these questions before letting myself fall for someone: What would my mum think of him? Would she like how he treats me? And if the answer is no, then that’s the end of it. This is a fail-safe technique, as my mum always wants the very best for me, which is exactly what I should want too. And when I say the very best, I don’t mean the fattest wallet, flashiest car, and whitest teeth – I mean a good heart, caring nature and, most importantly, to be emotionally available.

As I look back over my failed ‘relationships’ (and I use this term loosely, as none of them ever lasted beyond a few weeks), I realise that my mum was right – NONE of these guys were for me. Sure, they made my heart race, and yes, they made life that much more exciting. But the truth is, none of them would have made me happy in the long run. And I am pretty sure that the reason I liked them so much at the time is that I knew I couldn’t be with them – we all want what we can’t have, after all.

So, like many of you, I will be single this Tuesday, and, yes, I will probably feel sad about it. But, in the true spirit of Valentine’s, I suggest we give ourselves some platitudes; let’s remind ourselves that there are reasons as to why we’re single – whether it be because we have yet to find the right person, or that we decided to let go of the one who was wrong. We should use this day to celebrate the fact we’re refusing to settle for second best and that somewhere out there, there is the imperfect perfect person for each one of us, and when we finally meet them, we will know from the beginning that it is right – and, with any luck, my mother will also approve.


To Beer Or Not To Beer

10 Feb

So, I did it. For the entire month of January, I am proud (and shocked) to say that not a single drop of alcohol passed my lips. As many of you will know, I wasn’t sure if I was going to last; I cannot remember a time over the last four years or so when I haven’t craved a cool, refreshing beer within a day of my last drink.

But I did end up completing the challenge and I have come out the other side feeling miles better for it. For one, it has proved to me that I can survive social situations with strangers without using alcohol to make myself feel confident. It also made me realise just how much I rely on a good drink (or several) to make myself feel more self-assured.

There’s nothing wrong with having a few cheeky ones to bolster your confidence when you’re out and about at night.  After all, I am pretty sure many relationships would have never started had it not been for the gentle shove of one too many beers. But, like with anything, when you start to rely a little too much on something, it can spell disaster. I have realised that I am at the point where if I don’t have a drink, I feel incredibly insecure. Drinking to me is an easy way to get the conversation flowing. It is also a great way of blocking out all my insecurities; I am so self-conscious of everything I say and do in social situations, so drinking helps me gets rid of these weird barriers I have, which I attribute to shyness.

But being shy, I now realise, is a part of who I am. I can vividly remember when I was a child how I would run and hide when members of our extended family would come to visit. My cousin Marina, on the other hand, would be in the middle of the room putting on a magic show for everyone. As I grew older, it didn’t get much easier, especially as certain life events made me feel less secure, and even more unsure of who I am.

As the years have passed by, instead of addressing some of my insecurities, I have been masking them with alcohol. After one too many Long Islands I can easily forget myself. And while this is all well and good when I still have some sort of control over my actions, I always take it a little too far and end up, as I said in a previous post, in a heap on the floor, crying. Or, even worse, shouting abuse at people for no apparent reason.

I now look back on these types of scenarios in shame – if you have ever seen me in one of my drunkard stupors, you will know exactly what I am talking about. I also pity myself slightly, as I realise that my excessive drinking is just a bad symptom of self-loathing. How can I carry on doing that to myself? Drinking is supposed to be something fun, but it stops being fun when most your nights out end in tears.

Being shy, I now figure, is not such a bad thing. So what if I’m the quietest person at the dinner table? Surely that’s better than being the drunkard tit who is rude to everyone? And who cares if there are awkward silences in a conversation? Downing drinks to fill those silences really isn’t the way forward.

Instead of filling the gaps I have in my life with alcohol, I have decided to start filling them with things that make me feel happy, and, in turn, more confident. The best conversationalists, I have found, are the people who are passionate about what they’re doing with their lives, so I am now seeking out the activities I am passionate about, such as my writing and photography.

There’s nothing better than doing something you’re proud of and then being able to share it with people. This blog, for example, has given a massive boost to my confidence. I get such lovely feedback from my readers, which in turn makes me happy. I started a career in writing because I realised I can spread joy through it, and making people happy has always been something that’s made me happy.  So I should be typing away like there’s no tomorrow! The blog is also a great thing to talk about with strangers at a dinner party. People always love the idea behind it and want to know more, which again, is a great confidence booster.

I would say that so far, this challenge has been the most enlightening. I have learnt more about myself in the space of one month than what I have in more than five years of living in Dubai.  I have always known I am not the most confident of people, but it has taken me all this time to realise that one of the things that was hindering me from growing confidence was the excessive drinking.

It’s now time to take back control of my life and start focusing on things that will actually help me to grow. So, in the future you’re more likely to find me in a coffee shop, writing and shaping my future, rather than in the pub, drinking and stunting it. And you know what? I am damn sure this will turn out to be one of the most important decisions I have ever made.