What Love Told Me book



PAMPER PARTY at your home !

14/09/17: BITCH

This week I have mostly been a bit of a cow. Actually let’s upgrade that to total bitch. Think of the moodiest, most self-absorbed, judgemental, blows hot-n-cold-every-two-seconds person you know then multiply it and you’ll have some idea of where I’ve been at. Which is terrible timing as I’ve just moved in with My Big Love and this bitchiness has been aimed at him!!

My thoughts have been cruel and attacking and sometimes they have leaked out into actual mean comments out loud. But mostly they’ve been trapped in my head and I’ve been their only witness and have despised myself because of it.

But of course My Ego was LOVING it. “Not very spiritual, Kate” it comments every time it happens. “well, he might as well find out what you’re REALLY like, now you’re living with him”.

Basically 3 months ago I kissed a mate (and I liked it) and ended up falling in love which meant me first giving up inappropriate unavailable men and the single life, then after that my job and Manchester postcode. But I was unhappy and a bit lost there anyway and longed to meet My Person, so when it happened I suddenly felt happier and calmer than I’ve ever felt before.

Until this week, that was! With the final stages of my previous life melting away (I have 2 days left of work) I have woken up to a parallel-universe-type coma in a HUGE panic as I am about to become an unemployed housewife and stepmother with no friends who lives in Lancashire. 

Yep, Of course we knew it was coming. I know the drill. Come out of comfort zone. Get giddy about the endless future possibilities. Stay calm and trusting that The Universe will deliver new job and new mates. Believe 100% with all my heart that I’ve made the right decision and feel so excited about the fresh start. Then BOOM - Ego rocks up, with all his self-doubt, insecurity and worry. It’s standard practice. I learnt from Mastin Kipp on that Hawaii retreat that The Master pre-empts this stage, where during a lot of uncertainty, the Ego will MASSIVELY freak out and will try, at worst, to sabotage your plans and at best, protect you from all of this change in case it all goes horribly wrong.

And I was always prepared. “Hello Mr Ego - I’ve been expecting you”. I’ve done it loads of times when I’ve left jobs, gone travelling alone, moved to a new city, started studying etc. Yep, happens every single time where I have shaken up my life to bring on change after feeling stuck.

...But oooh this is new, this time there’s someone other than me, who has been the catalyst for all of this change ...for all this comfort zone jumping... someone who, when Ego starts PROPERLY bricking it, I can actually BLAME for all the uncomfortableness!!! So rather than stew alone during the Eye of the Uncertainty storm, this time the ex-commitment phobe Ego in me has brought out the Big Guns and resorted to MASSIVE punishing behaviours, blame tactics and said bitchiness towards the man I love because indirectly it’s HIS fault! 
Poor guy!

This is a man who is kind, generous, actually does what he says he’s going to, even redecorated his bedroom (which involved painting a wall 17 times) and built a massive wardrobe for me, is an amazing dancer, excellent communicator (especially during conflict), makes me wee myself laughing, calls me beautiful, is totally in his Masculine and treats me like a Queen every single day...oh and did I mention, that he said he would ‘look after me’ if I wanted to take some time to write my book...and yet here I am slagging him off mentally and giving him the cold shoulder, during what SHOULD be the happiest time of my life!

But here’s the thing. He seems to be able to handle it. He’s lived with girls before - he knows about our Ice queen tricks. It’s not very nice for him but he’s ok. He says he can love my darkness. But I’m not ok. I can’t stand myself when I lash out. When I’m on lock-down and being a cow. It’s me who is judging the thoughts, trying to resist my feelings and doing a terrible job of ‘acting’ like the loving girlfriend during this whole debacle.

Ironically my Course in Miracles lesson yesterday was ‘Let every voice but God’s be still in me’!!! haha Fat chance of that with all that bitchiness going on ! There’s no way I could hear GOD over all that ranting.

But today I finally got sick of being A TOTAL BITCH in secret. And I realised that me resisting my current mood was actually prolonging it. And as Leanne once said sometimes you just can’t fight the moonlight. So I called my bezzy mate. And I spoke out every judgement and evil thought. It wasn’t pretty. Radical honesty. And instead of inhaling sharply and telling me how mean I was being, she just laughed. Because she thinks those things about her husband sometimes. And she said it doesn’t last and it’s normal. And then I called another friend who laughed because as well as sometimes being mean to HER man, like me, she is ‘spiritual’ so there’s this additional pressure because we’re meant to be all love and light, so when we’re not, we can literally FEEL ‘our hearts closing’ (even though 2 years ago we wouldn’t even know what that meant!), and we’re shameful of our EGO thoughts because we’re meant to be committed to loving each other and ourselves and we miss being ‘open and connected to our feminine’ which is our TRUE state of being, which we only know because we’re so fucking conscious now and are constantly reminded by the shiny, loving people on our newsfeed who get up for their 5am Meditation Practice to ‘transmute negativity and forgive everyone by cutting the cords of fear’ and presumably NEVER bitch about anyone. And we’re thinking AAAARRRRGGGHHHHHH WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE ???

And there’s this huge spiritual snowball of FAKENESS cos everyone also thinks I’m like that too, because I do Yoga and drink juices and am a nice person, even though yesterday I only ate toast and didn’t have a shower till 6pm....and then BOOM, the meanness becomes directed towards ME which is a million times more harsh... because the reality that ACTUALLY I’M A FUCKING BITCH isn’t socially acceptable in Spiritual Land.... But it’s part of me and I desperately want to JUST. TELL.THE.TRUTH. cos I’m exhausted with pretending....

So I dropped the bullshit.

And the greatest, weirdest thing happened when I was honest with my friends about my darkest, mean-est thoughts - I felt lighter. I could be totally 100% authentic to my feelings and it felt good. By not trying to dismiss my moodiness with the ‘yeh but I’m so grateful I’ve met the love of my life’ thoughts, the pressure to be happy lifted. I gained permission to be how I actually was and these friends even laughed and said ‘Me too’!. What a relief to connect, by telling the truth and finally feel seen and heard. and the Bitch in me was accepted and loved. So I also gave her permission to be there. And then I slowly stopped judging myself for her and trying to silence her. And I gave up with the ‘SHOULDS’ and embraced what was. And I felt it all. I witnessed all of the bitching and attacks and comparisons and meanness towards my man, myself and others with just the tiniest bit of love and humour, as my friends had.

And actually what was there underneath was just my vulnerable little heart whispering “I’m scared”. And I opened again and breathed a sigh of relief. And realised that I probably also have a serious case of PMT too !

And then of course My Amazing Man came home with a huge slab of chocolate, which for future reference is probably The Fastest heart opener there is and we did a little dance in the kitchen together to celebrate the Ice Queen having melted. Ding Dong the Witch is dead. Until next month that is.


No Words

It’s 5am and I’m angry.  I AM SO FUCKING ANGRY. And I need to write it out.

‘THEY’ have bombed the Manchester Evening News Music Arena.  I don’t even know who THEY are or what’s happened but I know 22 people are dead and many injured and I am so filled with hate and fear towards THEM that its shocking.  Maybe because I’m guessing it was mainly teenage girls at the concert.  With their families. Maybe because its a music venue.  Maybe because its in My Manchester and suddenly it’s not just ‘ close to home’ - it IS HOME.  And I’m lost. And I’m sure you are too.

I found out at 2am - A drunken friend called me in the middle of the night to check I was ok.  And of course I AM ok - because I don’t have children and I was unlikely to be at an Ariana Grande concert ( despite loving one of her songs which reminds me of Maui)  So yes -I wasn’t there.  I can’t even begin to imagine the terror inflicted on those poor kids and parents at the concert last night. The panic trying to get out.   The panic trying to find people separated in the mayhem.  The panic of being in a terrified crowd.  The mass fear. The confusion.  The shock of seeing death and pain. The violence they witnessed.


The fact that ‘These People’ have decided to destroy a life, a family, an experience, a memory because they CHOSE to do so last night makes me shake with anger.  Like, at some point THEY have presumably sat in someone’s kitchen and planned to do this -planned the location, the venue, the night - They KNEW it would be full of an audience of families and youngsters.  How do they NOT GET it ? Do they not know music ? Do they not listen in their cars and sing along to the radio with THEIR kids ? Who are ‘THEY’?....And I want to name them ‘THEY’ as I am bewildered how they can be so separate as human beings.  I DO NOT KNOW WHO THESE PEOPLE ARE.

I feel so much pain that for some of those kids it was probably their first experience of live music.  I am in awe of musicians and singers and dancers being able to share their god-given gift with the world because it is just that - A GIFT.  My first concert was New Kids On The Block aged 13 in Birmingham.  We were excited for MONTHS beforehand - counting down the days till we packed into Alison Hardman’s mum’s car and she drove us to the NEC.  And it was like Nothing I had Ever Experienced before. And then Donnie Wahlberg declared that he was gonna take all his clothes off and we all screamed as only teenage girls know how.  But I will never forget that experience - The buzz, the excitement, the atmosphere and that feeling that you can never explain where the music takes you away into another place.  Your Happy Place. 

I never really thought about what or where that place is.  When you hear certain songs they take you somewhere.  A place from your Past or your Future.  They can invoke an emotion so strong that it takes you over and you feel it all in the moment. You feel like every single word is written for you.  You feel understood.  And seen.  Like wow - I’m not alone - someone else ‘gets’ it.

But the main thing is the connection.  You know that every single person in that place is feeling similar emotions to you.  The Joy. The Love. I totally believe that music is the fastest modality to get you into your heart.  And when it is shared in such a huge space - in this case an arena with thousands of other people understanding too - wow that is magic. Pure magic.  It is absolutely tangible. And that is where the happy place is - It’s your heart.  

But it’s now a sad place too. And for some of those people Live Music will never hold magic again.

Ariana just released a statement saying  this “Broken. From the bottom of my heart, I am so so sorry. I don't have words”.  Bless her heart. God only knows how she’s feeling too.  She’s practically a kid herself and everytime she performs now it will be tainted.  THEY have damaged her precious gift and smudged it in fear and pain. There are new associations to her songs now.  Dark ones. Ones which don’t take you to a loving place.

So for those people last night to have experienced that love, connection, that purity and to have it ripped away from them by such a violent senseless act is inexplicable.  ‘THEY’ have destroyed one of the joys of life potentially forever for some of those people who will never go to another concert again.  But to have that connection and love stolen from them and transferred to the opposite emotions of terror, fear, confusion in a matter of minutes is so so wrong. I am so FUCKING ANGRY that I can’t even ACCESS a stronger word for WRONG, but it will have to do, even though it doesn’t highlight it enough so I’ll have to also add the words CRUEL and EVIL. Because Ariana is right - There ARE no words BIG enough.


And finally after hammering this keyboard so violently for the last hour I can access the other stuff. And the tears flow. The heart stuff.  Which is deep, deep pain for those poor people and regret

AND I AM FUCKING SAD. And that is the truth

And the truth is ALWAYS fucking messy.  And horrific.  And painful.  Which is the basis for so much of The Music. The fact that these Artists are sometimes the only ones able to find the words to totally blast our hearts wide open.  One song or piece of music can say EVERY SINGLE WORD THAT OUR HEART WANTS TO SAY. 

So today whatever emotion you are feeling - let it be there.  I am not one of those Spiritual People who will tell you to transform your fear.  Allegedly we’re supposed to NOT feel negative emotions.  We’re supposed to say the affirmations to re-program our anger.  Damn, we’re not even meant to FEEL anger.  But no - I’m not having it It’s bullshit.  I am here to give you permission (if you need it) to feel so fucking livid that you want to punch something.  Get yourself into a field and scream your lungs out.  Cry your little heart out.  Feel scared.  Feel despair.  Feel fucking terrified.  Feel empathy.  Feel completely and utterly raw.  Feel whatever the fuck you want to feel. It is real. 

But despite everything, we have to remember today that the majority of songs are STILL written about LOVE.  And that reminder that love is also filled with those other darker emotions like fear, sadness, regret, longing, despair, loss, as well as the Good Stuff-so it is up to us to remember that and be gentle with ourselves and each other today. And send some love to whatever the hell you are feeling. Because ALL of your feelings are ok.  Don’t stuff them back down your throat. Release your emotions.  Give your heart permission to speak it’s truth. Or SING IT,if you prefer, my dear heart.


The Magic Flat (Not an Enid Blyton story) 

The Magic Flat

You sparkled from the beginning. You were Home.  You had been waiting for us for 4 months, empty, patient - Preparing for the arrival.  Knowing what was ahead. Even when we didn’t know ourselves. 

There were Other plans.  Amsterdam and I were over.  The voice had already told me to leave.  There was absolutely no uncertainty about that. My belly knew.   Every bone in my body said ‘It’s time to go home’.  Alone.  Back to my childhood room at my parents. A 39 year old teenager . Start again, from the very beginning..

But there were bigger plans.  Just before I left - dragging an empty suitcase across the tram tracks.  A car horn.  The face of My Great Love.  Shouting my name.  Again a flashback to that first serendipitous moment 8  years earlier where he saw me across the water, 24 hours after our first meeting.  Of all the 165 canals, I happened to cycle along his. It wasn’t chance.  I was guided by the same unknown force that had given us adjoining seats on the plane, the previous day when we had first met. 

Even now, ten years on I can still remember that flight and the confused look on his face as he tried to decipher my greeting as he sat down next to me;


I laughed as he tried to mimic me with his thick Dutch accent and requested a translation.

‘It means 'Hello' AND 'How are you?' at the same time, but doesn’t actually require an answer’.   

We laughed.  And I loved him immediately - knowing we had Work to do together. That Familiarity.  That Recognition.  Hinting at a future.  Like the Psychic had, when she told me I would be packing boxes and moving across water.  She got that part right.  I HAD crossed the water - 1 year after us meeting and started a life with him.  The cards were partly right.  But they had lied about the other things - The Wedding. The Baby.  The Happiness. I probably would have left sooner if they HAD told the truth.  But I needed to stay for as long as I did.  To get The Lesson.

And I DID leave - twice.  Tired of the tears, the drama, the pain.  And I made it - on my own, in that lonely land for the last 2 years. My own life without him. Although he was still everywhere. And The Hope was always there in the background.  The Maybe.  The Future Fantasy of when he would realise he couldn’t let me go.  The declaration: ‘I can’t live without you!’. 

And now it was happening.  I couldn't believe it. I had 4 days left in the country. My flight was booked.  I was packed. As soon as I saw him drive past, beeping, smiling animatedly, I rolled my eyes up to the heavens and said aloud ‘Are you fucking kidding me?’.  But I still got in, when his car pulled up. 

A few weeks earlier I had finally let him go.  Even the ‘Look what you could’ve won’ potential of the life we COULD have had.   He told me he had felt me ‘leave'.  He pinpointed the exact night.  The exact time.  He could always tune into me. So he knew when I knew.  That it was completely over .  I had finally given up the ghost.  Perhaps that gave him the final push.  The ‘If you love someone let them go’ cliché. 

Except now he WAS back.  Giving me The Big Speech.  Just like in the movies.  Just like I had imagined in my head for the past two years. The Big Hollywood Ending.

‘I’m ready’. I had rehearsed this moment a thousand times but the fact it was ACTUALLY happening was too big. I sat in silence. My heart was clamped shut. 

‘It’s too late.  I’m leaving’. 

‘I know’. The Grapevine had confirmed his intuition. He had been driving around trying to find me.  Fate had yet again shown him where I was. 

‘You could have just called!’.  I smiled, softening 

‘I want to come with you.  Amsterdam is dead for me too’.  This was really happening.

‘Well you can tell my fucking parents then’

 Fast forward one month.  Different country.  Different Hopes and Dreams.  Maybe this time?  The Happy Ending.

But it wasn’t just Amsterdam that was dead..  We tried to resuscitate the relationship but it was D.O.A.  We dragged out the inevitable for another 8 months. STILL Trying. For the sake of The Love. But WE were dead. Magic Flat carried us to the Final Ending.  The 48hour breakup.  It was beautiful. Everything was said.  Everything was grieved. Everything was forgiven.  And he left.  For the last time.  The Magic Flat folded me into its arms and rocked me as I cried for everything that could have been.  It whispered to me ‘You can still love him but not be with him’ And that felt ok.  The relief of that statement.  I could do that.  I know how to love. And then it was over.  The final tears.

And then suddenly The  Flat changed into something new.  The Magic sprinkled itself again. It became bigger than me.  It was no longer OUR flat, or even MY flat - It was EVERYONE’S flat.  It was the Community Centre.  Friendships grew there. Connection flowed there.  Magic happened there. It transformed itself from a Yoga Studio, to a Party Flat, to a Meditation Circle, to a Therapy Centre, to a Clothes Swapshop, to a Kitchen Disco to a Spiritual Workshop, to a Home and back again. The Chameleon Flat, morphing into whatever it needed to be.  In each moment.

But now I realise that Magic Flat was my greatest teacher and mirror - its highlighted to me that all of the connection ‘we’ facilitated here, is actually something I am still longing for.  ‘The Teacher teaches what they need to learn’.  For myself.  And not from strangers. Or groups. Or Party people.  From myself.

So it is over. The Flat feels like its dying.  I am not sad as I know it is Time. I’m tired and depleted.  I have been seeking connection from The Wrong People. Taking the crumbs and accepting the dregs.   I am needy and demanding.  My expectations of friends are through the roof.  I feel like I am constantly attention seeking.  After feeling lonely and disconnected for 7 years in Amsterdam as a ‘Buitenlander’ (translation ‘Outsider’ - as If I didn’t already feel like the odd one out anyway ?!!), I realise just how starved I was of love.  I’ve been giving everyone else the love that I want for myself.  It’s become unhealthy. Desperate.   

So I get it.  I need to bring the connection to myself.  Invite it in.  And not keep providing it for others.  So I need to go.  And just stop.  Quit. Leave. Let things crumble. Burn the land so that new things can grow. Part of me is terrified but my heart knows I am just making space for The New.  The Healing. The Focus on me.  Without the noise and the distractions.  And then when I am rested and topped up I can become a better version. 

I got the order of my Life Purpose wrong.  I thought it was to spread  Love and Connection wherever I went.  And it still is.  But I forgot to include myself in that first. Above everyone else.  Because it’s only when I am bringing that to myself that I can inspire others to do the same.  I am The Connector.  The Mother Hen.  The Nurturer.  The Love Bug. That is my role. But I have to be strong myself to complete my mission. And focus on being all of those things FOR me first. And I have no idea how to do that.  Yet. 

But I am so grateful for everything that happened here.  It really was filled with magic. People would always think it was ME ‘holding the space’, but it wasn’t - it was The Flat holding us all.  It held our laughter, our pain, our fears, our secrets, our shame, our Shadow, Our Light. It taught us to love all of it.  It whispered to us ‘Your tears are beautiful.  Your vulnerability is what brings intimacy and connection.  Your darkness is authentic.  Tell the truth. Speak what is real in your heart. And allow yourself to feel it all.  And love it’.  It shook our foundations and showed us everything we didn’t want to see.  It changed us.  It re-birthed us. It brought us acceptance. And now its work is done.  It healed us all. As a collective. It gave us strength to begin again. And regardless of where we are -that magic is within us. It is still working on us. Teaching us how to morph and re-invent ourselves. Carrying us forward.  To the next Beginning.

For all that was.  For all that NEVER was.  For all that will be.  For it all.  

Thank you.



Holding out for a Hero

I was in a conversation on Saturday with two blokes discussing the order of attractiveness of men working in the Emergency Services.  (Deep - I know!!) Obviously Firemen came top (with Police second and Ambulance Men third) - I say ‘OBVIOUSLY’ because when the conversation inevitably turned to the reasons why, the conclusion was that age-old assumption that ‘All women want to be rescued’ (presumably by throwing us over your shoulder in a Fireman’s Lift rather than a Police Man Pulley or an Ambulance Man’s Arm Lock? Ahem..).  So as we were discussing this Fireman theory, I noticed some resistance to this idea of all of us girls still longing for this ‘Big Hero to SAVE us’ and was concerned that the Women’s Movement hadn’t erm...moved on in any way, if there was even an element of truth in this statement.  And I felt a confusion in myself that despite wanting to defend women’s independence and say that it was sexist bullshit, there was actually a part of me that agreed with it.  Because sometimes, Yeah - I DO want a big man to throw his arm around me and tell me ‘Everything is going to be alright’. Is that so wrong? Would I be deeply offending Women’s Lib by admitting that ?

Until I delved into the masculine/ feminine dynamic and read up about Polarity, I would have been in the ‘I don’t need a man’ camp - I prided myself on being an independent woman, travelling the world on my own, being constantly busy, organising everything and everyone - but I got so comfortable in that masculine GO, GO, GO energy that I forgot how to BE, BE, BE in my feminine flow. 

Unfortunately the problem only got worse when I met a man who was naturally comfortable in his ‘being’ and coupled with my love of being on the go and Miss Fix-it, this was a terrible combo in a relationship. Especially as I started secretly resenting the fact that I had to make all the decisions or change all the lightbulbs or unblock the sink.  I didn’t realise it at the time because I always got so much significance from doing these things (although my passive aggression was probably starting to highlight that I was unhappy - I just didn’t realise why).  It was only until I went on a retreat with Mastin Kipp where he talked about a woman he tried to help, who was struggling to put her luggage in an overhead locker on a plane once, who practically barked at him that she could do it herself, that I recognised how extreme my masculine role playing had got. I WAS that woman.  Never asking for help.  Feeling smug that I could lift heavy bags.  Never showing my vulnerability. Organising everything - My poor ex boyfriend didn’t really have a chance to show his masculine, since I was too busy in that role!  Too much hassle to try and ‘man-up’and ‘out man’ me - especially when  I wasn’t prepared to ‘man-down’! So he let me get on with it - anything for a quiet life. 

I ran the Manchester Marathon yesterday.  This is a massive achievement for me as I’m not a natural runner but I absolutely loved the whole experience.  The connection you receive from the crowd is out of this world.  I can’t think of any other situation where a random stranger sees that you’re struggling and shouts encouragement so much so that you manage to keep going. For 5 hours ! There were about 3 occasions where I got actual goosebumps when someone I had never met, saw my name on my vest and shouted ‘Go Kate- you’ve got this’ and gave me complete eye contact and presence and I just felt actual love.  My eyes are brimming with tears as I write this.  Like how MASSIVE is that in this world where allegedly everyone is ‘out for themselves’ and there’s fear and disconnection everywhere? Apparently not EVERYWHERE, it seems.  As I approached the Finish line - every single person was cheering.  The crowd didn’t include any of my family or friends - they were all complete strangers but they could see I was shattered and was hurting all over.  And some of them were shouting my name and and ALL of them were clapping in encouragement, so much so that I managed to sprint the last few metres (ok ‘sprint’ is a slight exaggeration since a normal person could have WALKED faster!!) but they had no idea who I was and yet they supported me and looked after me to help me finish. 

And then I crossed the line and promptly burst into tears.  But it wasn’t in a ‘WOW I DID it’ way! I actually achieved the thing at the top of my bucket list. I ran 26 miles. It wasn’t even all that cash that we’d raised for charity that touched me so much.   It was that deep, deep connection I’d felt.  The Community Spirit.  The Oneness.  The Belonging. The Support. The Love.  I just felt so moved by it all.

And then it was all over.  I got the tram home wrapped up in my turkey foil wearing my medal and came back to an empty house, feeling completely deflated and disconnected.  I was completely alone. 

And I felt vulnerable.   My body felt so precious.  Especially this morning when I woke up and it took me every effort to get out of bed due to my stiff legs. I was hobbling around like a 90year old.  Luckily I work in a hairdressers which is literally beneath my flat so I didn’t have far to drag my aching body far to get to work, but in the afternoon when I got home and my legs seized up I had to ask one of the lads at work to go to the shop for me as I couldn’t face trying to get down the stairs. I knew I had got off lightly, as I had seen people with injuries at the side of the road getting treated by the ambulance service, who were clearly not going to finish.  And despite feeling extreme gratitude to my limbs for carrying me that distance, I felt so vulnerable in the flat and was torturing myself with thoughts of  ‘what the hell would I have done if I had seriously injured myself?’ My parents aren’t around, my friends are busy, I don’t have a man in my life.  And I felt sad.

I know this sounds overly dramatic and that people have to deal with situations a million times worse that than just a pair of wobbly achy thighs and an inability to get off the loo easily, completely on their own (and believe me, my ego tried to shame me out of feeling sorry for myself and branded me a ‘self-indulgent, cry baby and spoilt brat’ unquote) But I was aware of how on-my-own I was and I wanted someone to look after me. The Big Man to say “I’m proud of you, darling” and run me a bath.

Most of the time I like being on my own -As an Empath I need a lot of time alone to top myself up.  I spend most of my time by myself and I like my own company, but after experiencing such love and connection from the crowd, I already missed it. And I realised in the quiet flat that I have been craving it.  Wanting some love and connection for me from someone who wasn’t a complete stranger.  So I did the usual Needy Single Girl thing of sending a couple of attention-seeky texts to a few of the ‘Substitute Boyfriends’ in my life, knowing that even if they DID text back they couldn’t give me REAL love and connection anyway.  Because if they were capable of that, they would have already been waiting at The Finish Line with a big bouquet of flowers and maybe some helium balloons!! (Oi what do you mean - I have unrealistic expectations ? - this is MY fantasy ! Back off!!)

So I ran MYSELF a bath. And I lit candles.  And I put some nice tunes on and I let myself feel lonely and miss my ‘Imaginary Future Boyfriend’ who will hopefully do all those things FOR me some day. 

And when I pulled the plug out and the water started to drain away, I discovered the REAL reason that women prefer Firemen...It’s NOT actually to rescue you from a burning building at all- in reality it’s to winch you out of a hot bath after having got INTO it but having no way of getting OUT of it on your own.  Perhaps Bonnie Tyler had ALSO just run a marathon and was trapped in her bath when she wrote that song?  Although I'm not as fussy as her and it doesn’t need to be an actual Superman to sweep me off my blistered feet - Just an average bloke armed with some Deep Heat and Radox Bubble Bath!



"Is it that Time of The Month, love?"

When you think about the defining moments that change your life I can honestly say I never thought that one of them would be whilst washing someone’s hair in the salon where I work part-time !!!! A couple of months ago, one of my favourite Regulars was speaking to me about her hormones at the backwash (it is true about hair salons knowing more secrets than therapy rooms- I’m sure !) and talked about how down she gets with her PMT/PMS.  As she talked about her symptoms I felt like she was actually talking about me.

I have always been a bit in denial about my Cycle - I had no idea when, why and what was happening in my body each month and dismissed the concept of PMT by believing instead  what other people were telling me: That I was TOO emotional or TOO sensitive (Translation: THERE’S SOMETHING WRONG WITH YOU).  I was put on the pill at the age of 16; ironically not because I started having sex (Turns out Lanky, National Health Glasses, brace-wearing girls with frizzy afros aren’t exactly a turn-on for teenage boys...) but for the reason that my periods were so heavy and from then on I carried on taking it like clockwork for years.  Like actual decades. I tried to come off it once because I was due to go off travelling for a year, aged 23 but couldn’t stop crying during the Hormonal Cold Turkey and figured I didn’t really want a surprise period in the middle of a rainforest anyway so went back on it.  But that was my only break in over 20 years.... TWENTY FREAKING YEARS- Of chemicals and hormones pumping around my body and numbing me to actual feelings.  That meant I’d been on it for most of my life. I had no idea what I was MEANT to feel each month as a woman. To be feminine even.

So after finding myself single at the age of 38 and wanting to declare to ‘The Universe’ that I was ready to meet someone and become a mother, I came off it for good.  But during those Post-Chemical years,  I have found myself  flailing around at certain times of the month, trying to hide or numb the overwhelming emotions or pass them off as exhaustion or the fact that I’m a Sensitive (I refrained from using the word ‘OVER’ before saying that!!!) Empath.  So imagine my amazement when  I discovered  mid-shampoo that day, that this hormonal BONKERS-NESS (is  that  a word?!) was actually something OTHER WOMEN were experiencing too.... and when she asked me “Do you have that day when you just want to throw yourself under a bus too?” I WOULD have actually kissed her had I not been worried about freaking her out during her head massage.   I felt such relief that I WASN’T THE ONLY ONE and that I wasn’t going mad or was bi-polar (as one ‘friend’ had helpfully suggested).

A few weeks before this enlightening hairwash, I had experienced a Dark Night of The Soul.  You know, the one Liz Gilbert talks about in Eat, Pray, Love where she’s sobbing on the floor of the bathroom in the middle of the night, talking to God - asking ‘Him’ for help.  Except I was a bit more practical during mine and called a lovely lady called Pam at The Samaritans at 3am! I just needed to speak out everything that my nasty little ego was beating me up about.  That entire shame-fest and barrage of abuse that was simply too loud for me to just tell it to shut up and roll over and go back to sleep. 

The thoughts were on a loop, trapped in my head -I had to speak to SOMEONE.

So I googled the number for The Samaritans, who, as lovely Pam told me, are not just there for People who are suicidal, but are there for people who just want to talk.... in my case, about my own ‘I’m going to have to end it all’ thoughts, which I knew as soon as I spoke them out loud, WERE luckily just that- ‘All talk’. I knew I wouldn’t DO anything about it, but still, the thought itself was scary, sat alone in bed in the early hours.  After relieving my worry about clogging up the phone line for someone who genuinely WAS suicidal, Pam let me talk. 

I’ve done enough work and read enough books to know that when the ‘I wish it would all just stop /my life is so worthless/I don’t know how to live in my own Self’ Bus Thoughts started that night, it was JUST My Ego bringing out the Big Guns as he wanted the control back.  That’s it. That’s all it was about,  The control - in the moments of uncertainty (of which there were a few that day) and the ‘WHAT-THE-FUCK-AM-I-GONNA-DO’ panic  the only thing that Mr Fucking-Know-it-All can come up with (cos he’s freaking out about the inaction and wants to DO something) is  ‘Well you’ll have to top yourself then, won’t you?’.  Purely as a solution to Not Knowing and my feelings of being lost.

It is at this point that I need to be open about my fears in publishing this particular blog. I want to speak honestly but I certainly do not want to sound like I am dismissing mental health in any way.  I am certainly not fobbing it off as being ‘just hormonal’ for everyone who has ever had a similar thought.  I realise that what my brain was doing that night has absolutely nothing to do with those who have been in a situation where they have actually ended their own life.  I am not comparing myself in any way to people who live with those thoughts every single day.  I cannot fathom just how difficult it is for people who have lost loved ones through suicide.  I am totally out of my depth here and don’t wish to offend anyone.  Or make light of a really dark subject.  I can only talk about my experience and that of many other women (apparently) who find themselves a bit lost ONCE a month.  And I am so grateful it IS only once a month and that I don’t have to battle with any form of depression on a daily basis.  And that I have people to talk to. Some people never discuss their Dark feelings with anyone.

I once read an article about ‘Taboo Thoughts’ (where secretly a huge number of the population sometimes have a split-second/full-on fantasy or daydream of walking in front of the bus, lobbing themselves off a cliff, throwing themselves out of a window or variations of that - thoughts which usually never get carried out, but are frightening nonetheless - especially for someone who has never heard of taboo thinking and doesn’t realise that it’s quite common.

Which is why we need to talk about this stuff; as scary and honest and uncomfortable as it is. As Jung said 'Shame is a soul-eating emotion' which will destroy you if you don't speak it out .

And in the middle of THAT night I knew I could call ‘Pam’ or someone like her.  Because speaking it out was the only way through it.  For me.  So after I thanked her, hung up, dried my tears, I went straight back to sleep.   The next morning I woke up and All Dark Thoughts had Left the Building.  And I felt the opposite - just peace and calmness and relief that I had got through this long dark night and the world suddenly seemed brighter again.  How lucky was I ?

But I was flummoxed, confused and intrigued how I could possibly go from one extreme to the other as soon as the sun came up.   Ok That Night was a one-off, thank god, but I realised that I usually experience a milder version of it each month and yet it didn’t even cross my mind that it could have been hormone related.  Until The Great Hairwash Conversation!

So I decided to embark in my own Hormonal Experiment. I watched a video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WOi2Bwvp6hw which actually explained my cycle in 2 minutes i.e what is happening in your body each day and I made notes.  I then created a spreadsheet where I recorded each month from the first day ‘The Painters came to town’ (Where, oh where did that charming expression come from ? surely a 14 year old boy?) EXACTLY how I was feeling and lo and behold there was a pattern, just like the nice lady in the video told me. 

Here are my Very Important Findings (My Science Teacher Dad will be so proud)  

Day 1-2 Period begins- dog-tired/vulnerable/quiet/shy

Day 3-5 Period ends - energy goes up and start to feel more upbeat

Day 6-9 testosterone surge - start to feel all Go Go Go, Do Do Do - Yeh Let’s get Shit Done, Baby!

Day 10-13 fertile days where I’m feeling attractive, confident, flirty and sociable OR fiery, wanting to wear black eyeliner, get drunk and have sex - But basically where the cavewoman in me is looking for a potential  caveman to club me over the head, drag me into his cave and get me up the Duff.

Day 14 Egg release and not a single available man’s sperm in sight - probably in Their Cave ! Story of my fricking life !! (See previous blog!! haha)

Day 15-18 hormones change - Can’t sleep. Bit wobbly and insecure. Can also manifest as angry/aggressive/restless/ shouts 'fuck you' a lot (usually only in my head)

Day 19-22 Oestrogen drops- Sad, Introvert, emotional, sensitive, my worst self, think that I’m shit at everything , that everyone hates me, that I’ll be living alone in a houseshare at the age of 50. Not even with cats cos I won’t be able to afford them. Despair.  (The No Hope Bus Day was Day 20 which I now mark off on my calendar in preparation and be extra gentle to myself on those days) The only saving grace during this time is I get to live on a diet of Creme Eggs and toast. Mmmmm

Day 23-25 Bloating I'm-so-fat-and-ugly-and-I-don't-know-what-to-wear so I’m gonna throw my clothes all over my bed and wear the first thing I picked anyway. ..Indecisive and flighty.

Day 26-28 Period starts and we do it all over again.... Oh Joy.

So there we have it.  Until the mentioning of ‘The Monthly Bus’, under which our hairdressing client wanted to throw herself, I genuinely had no idea that PMT could manifest in such a way- The Tampax Lady at School certainly never mentioned it!  I thought that ‘most’ women just got a bit teary watching Animal Hospital or started shouting at their husbands for leaving wet towels on the floor - I had certainly never met any other female who was willing to admit that she regularly feels like she CANNOT.GO.ON. For one day at least each month.

So for those readers who are women who don’t suffer as badly and just get away with reaching for the Dairy Milk each month OR if you are reading this as a Bewildered Eye-rolling Man -I apologise for this entire blog, as this may be shocking/disturbing/dramatic to read

However if there is ONE SINGLE HORMONAL SISTER that gets to read this and thinks ‘Shit, she’s talking about ME!’ and also starts to log her emotions (because pre-empting them and having a reason for them is easier than being consumed by the feelings and not knowing why) , then I’m happy.  Or ONE fantastic Boyfriend/Husband who is worried about the shell of a woman he sometimes wakes up next to, sees this and immediately runs over to Holland and Barratt to happily pay the extortionate price of 20quid for a small cocktail of B6, Magnesium and Saffron pills (which is my Godsend), then my work here is done.

And if My Future Boyfriend is also reading this (who hopefully WON’T brick it when he realises what he’s dealing with !!!)and wants to come back to mine so I can ‘Show him my spreadsheet’ (with colour coding and everything), preferably around Egg Release Day then I shall happily oblige....

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