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BLOG 7: WHAT DOESN'T KILL YOU, MAKES YOU STRONGER

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what doesnt kill you makes you stronger pic   floral 7  This week, it’s just lil' ol me, baring my soul, knowing that I’ll probably...
...have an attack of the ‘scarlets’ tomorrow and delete...I had actually planned on posting a different blog, but somehow, when I started typing my phalanges had other ideas and a blog I read, by one of my twitter amigos, came to mind. What stood out for me, was the no holes barred honesty and so I thought I’d reciprocate. The blog I refer to, begins with a series of questions…

How did you used to get to school?

By foot. My mummy was yummy, but the concept hadn’t been invented yet and we couldn’t afford a four by four. In fact the only time, I remember getting to school on four wheels, was in a pram, the time it snowed, and rather than let us stay at home for the day : ( mum squashed myself and my sister into the pram. Luckily, we didn’t get far, but I will never forget the thrill of seeing, for the first time, the concrete jungle I grew up in, transformed, beyond recognition, into a winter, wonderland, the mundane landscape of my childhood, suddenly something magical.

Who was your first crush?

My first crush was a boy, called 'J', who lived at the end of my street. The first time I spoke with 'J', during drama class, he told me that my recital of a poem was ‘very good’ ('J' didn’t mince his compliments) and I replied ‘thanks’. Rather a short conversation granted, but enough to prompt a three year, unrequited crush. 'J' was older than me and had dyed blonde streaks (me now:barf; me then:swoon) I would pine our separation when away on holidays but once home, diligently avoid walking past him and his gang, terrified that he might actually speak to me again.

My second crush was a different story, with a guy who broke my heart into a million pieces. Violins please. The first time he told me that he loved me, was on my Debs night (prom in the US), a month after our first date (a walk in the park) and I played my cards spot on, responding, ‘don’t be silly’. An esctatic year of snogging followed, culminating in the night he fashioned me a ring, from a sweet paper wrapper and I finally cracked, gushing forth that I had found my Prince (how uncool was I!) to which he, ah, go on! guess! 

a)  Swept me up into his arms and told me that I was his Princess.

b)   Fell down on bended knee and proposed.

c)   Said, something vague, which I can’t quite recall, that prompted me to indignantly exclaim, ‘We need a break!’ to which he responded ‘OK.’

Yep! ‘OK!’ not, ‘no! no!’ in a bloke-ish variation of Bridget Jones, just ‘OK’. He tried to make it up to me a few weeks later, during which my hurt had festered and I had fallen into a huff which lasted, longer than the actual relationship had. I eventually forgave him, but by that time he was off fashioning sweet paper rings for someone else.  

What was your first car?

My first car had five wheels, that is four tyre clad and a fifth, the steering wheel, so that’ll tell you how much interest I had in cars back then. By my second, my interest had piqued, although my pocket couldn’t yet stretch to a BMW. I nevertheless, loved my humble little Diahatsu Sirion, which I drove too fast and never got serviced. It was my own private little world that took me from A to B, in comfort, if not style…and the best thing, it had a stereo!!!

When driving did you ever turn your stereo up and roll down the windows? On what type of occasion?

What kind of a question is that? On all and any occasion! Singing, next to writing and colour, is my favourite thing in the whole wide world, so to have a private space, in which to, warble away to my hearts content, was sheer and utter heaven to me. I no longer own a vehicle, since a surgery put paid to my driving days, but I compensate (when noone is around, shhhh!) by singing in the shower!

How did you feel when your crush got into the car?

Mmmm, considers evading the question or lying...OK GULP, I said I’d be honest at the start, didn’t I? The only crush to get into my car was Mr Texan *takes a swig of wine. You see, if I was a man I’d be bragging about this, but as a female and perhaps a slightly old fashioned one in ways, I feel somewhat scarlet (If you’re not from Dublin please see http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=scarlet&defid=3247383 ) in divulging that Mr Texan, was a good ten years younger than me. He had moved to Ireland to study, and didn't have a license to drive in Ireland, so I became his, sometimes, chaffeur. At first this made me feel like a strong, independent female, but after a while, sort of, ‘not looked after’ and I started resenting the arrangement. I realise that either makes me sexist or a schizophrenic, but I do sometimes, find myself caught in the dilemma, between wanting to play Superwoman or slipping into damsel in distress mode. Depends on the occasion I suppose…

Do you ever go back to the place you grew up ? What do you think about when you do? what does it remind you of?

No, I never go back, never! because I hate it! HATE IT! I blame (but in a nice way) my dad, who would bring us hiking at weekends. Glendalough and Three Rock Mountain favourite haunts and although, not too many miles from where I grew up, far removed from the Dublin suburbs. In fact, I'd say that one of my saddest childhood memories, was the day they cut down the Sycamore tree, in the back garden, so that it didn’t 'disturb' the foundations of the wall behind it. The tree we climbed in, the tree that shed those little winged seeds, that would spin around when dropped. The tree that spoke to me of the seasons and the only sight I saw, when I opened my bedroom curtains, that wasn't grey. STUPID WALL!

Do you wish you could go back in time to then?

Well, yes and no. I mean, physically, hell yes! Although back then, I bemoaned being, too skinny, too freckled, and that’s before I even get to that series of dodgy perms, which became the bane of my life. But apart from that, a resounding no. I love being older, and knowing exactly who I am and what I want in life and I love finally and I mean finally, getting to the point, where, although I would still love to meet someone, I know that there is so much more to life and I’ll survive if I don’t.

What other memories do you have from just after you left school?

Leaving school was a bit of a rollercoaster ride for me. First there was the school play, and getting the lead and everyone asking me to sign their 'programme' (still have it to this day, sentimental git that I am!) and feeling all those lovely feelings of being good at something and belonging, ah! the crack we had practicing for that play! Following soon after was the Debs, with Mr Debs, ‘first comes love, then comes marriage’ right? and he had said that he loved me lol. Then there was the stark reality that out in the big bad world, I was a shy, sixteen year old, who found it easier to sing on stage than serve tables in a café, which was to be my fate that Summer and scared the living daylights out of me. Let’s just say I’ll spare you the full details about the time, I walked into the pillar in the centre of the cafe, with a trolley load of dirty dishes, while clearing tables. You get the drill...scarlet, scarlet, SCARLET!!! Yep, it was kind of a difficult transition for me.

Do you remember falling in love? 

The problem is not ‘remembering’ but trying to forget. I’m still not even sure if it was once or twice. I mean, the first time, with Mr Debs, there was no denying that I was in love, as well as in infatuation. The second time, with Mr Texan (cringe, blush, scarlet again! and I know the first rule of writing is not to repeat words, but, what can I say? 'scarlet' is kind of the overriding adjective, in my life to date) I thought at the time I was, but now, think it was sort of an attempt to recreate my first love and what I had lost. Of course, it took me a long time to actually realise this. Yes, hindsight is a wonderful thing! Well, said, David Beckham.

Did you try smoking?

Ok, I have to explain here, that I was a ‘square’ back then, or maybe, more of a circle that hadn’t come out of the closet. I was told not to smoke, so I didn’t.

In your late teens, what did you never imagine about your future that is now the case?

I could never have imagined loosing some of my closest childhood friends. But I learnt that adverse events in life, can alter friendships and people don’t always understood stuff they haven’t been through themselves. I also learnt that life goes on, new friends come around and that the right people do seem to appear in you life when you need them. I will always cherish my friendships, both past and present though. Neither could I have imagined myself as being, without children, at this stage, but Mr Right simply never showed up and sperm banks weren’t a thing back then.

What types of stuff from your late teens did you think could never end?

As above, looking like a teenager, which continued long into my twenties. My rude awakening, however, came the day, a doorman in Temple Bar, told me that he knew I was older because, ah lads, I’d spent ages getting ready, plucking and plastering and panda eyed with black eyeliner but he was having none of it, and told me that ‘the eyes gave it away’, prompting me to leg it to the loo and adjust my wonderbra, in a misguided attempt to compensate, before heading straight to the bar, to order a black russian. Really, if you have never tried a black russian cocktail, you have to before you die is all I’m saying! this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Russian

How has time taken over since then? What has changed? What can’t you fight?

Everything has changed. I have a somewhat banjaxed body and some very attractive laparotomy scars to show for it. But you know what they say, ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’!

How do you feel about making it this far?

Rather relieved to still be alive I guess. Glad to be alive, grateful to be alive but frustrated! no, not just in that way : ) frustrated because, I want to live more, in a way that I choose...although, dare I tempt fate, by saying watch this space...

So, that pretty much brings me to the end of the list of questions, except that I recall, religion being mentioned in the other blog, which struck a chord with me.

I was brought up to believe that I was a bad person, if I didn’t attend church and told that I must adher, unquestioningly to believes, whether or not I, er, believed in them or not. So, although I think the story of Christ, has to be one of the greatest stories ever told, I don’t identify as Roman Catholic anymore and have an intense dislike for any belief system or institution that tells me, personally, what I 'must' or 'should' believe. I am grateful to my parents, however, for sharing such a wonderful story with me and bringing me up to believe that the ultimate truth in life, is that hope springs eternal and love conquers all.

Oh yeah, there was one more question, wasn’t there, although a tad personal!!!  but sure, fuck it, I’m among friends : )

What reminds you of your first kiss? Tell us more…

My first kiss, at the end of my street, by the ‘field’ (like I said, fields were a rarity where I grew up), was with Mr Debs, and sorry to disappoint but I can conjure up, only one lame adjective for it, in a word, ‘wet’ and well, that’s it. Past that, I do recall attempting to reciprocate some tongue action, the best I could, having no idea exactly what was going on. I also recall, him looking  satisfied afterwards, with a job well done and myself, feeling giddy with excitement that the object of my affections, fancied me enough to actually do the deed. I didn’t show it of course, being still in irresistible ice queen mode. My second kiss with Mr Debs, in the laneway, at the side of my house, was nicer though and he even obliged, by feeling up my boobs for the first time. And as for the third kiss, sitting in my parents front room, ‘All out of Love’, by Air Supply playing in the background (how I detest that song now! but not because of the kiss) made me feel quite dizzy, and I can’t say, I have ever been kissed that way since...sigh. Violins again please. Ah, would you ever get over yourself, says you!

So, I’ll conclude, by thanking @cazzwebo for her wonderful blog, which moved me to share my own thoughts. Although as I said, come the mornin’ it’ll most likely, be a case of ohmigod! wha’d I say? damage control! delete! Would love to hear anyone elses answers for the above too! maybe we could even start a blog chain? as for me, a little dutch courage needed now!

*pours another glass of red, to pluck up the nerve to press post!

Til next week, byeeee : )

Sophie  X