Live Every Day

Live Every Day

Monday, 23 June 2014

What a Difference Four Years Makes

Allow me to set the scene my lovelies, because today I feel the need to reminisce and I would like you to all join me on my journey.

Four years ago England had a world cup game. It was nothing remarkable, although as I recall, they won this particular one. I know, hard to believe. But still, win they did. I was recovering from the most horrific experience of my life and was finally feeling like a human again. After weeks of being in a variety of phases of recovery, I finally felt as though I would like to go and socialise with my friends again and even risk my first drink in a very long time. I had been living back in my own place for a few days and it just felt like the time was right. And it was.

I put on my very pretty summer dress, the one that my Mum had taken me to buy the day I found out I still had three weeks before my surgery and that meant almost a month more of agony. I cried. My mum consoled me, then she took me to H&M and bought me pretty things. Along with the tramadol, this was a mild relief. So anyway, there I was, in my beautiful summer dress and some rather swish knock-off cowboy boots, also a sympathy purchase from my lovely parents.

I trundled on down to the pub to watch the game with my friends and to indulge in my very first alcoholic beverage in what felt like a lifetime. The game wasn't bad, the beer was refreshing and the company was divine. I can still remember how it felt to take that first sip of Corona. All the bad things of earlier weeks were suddenly muted and I was completely aware of my beautiful life being my own again.

As it turned out, that very first beer was not my only beer that day. As the afternoon progressed I felt as though another surely wouldn't hurt. It didn't. I laughed and celebrated with a whole pub full of wonderful people. My Hob crew. I decided to break out the eye liner and stick it out for the rest of the evening. I think I even had another one or two beers. After all the time without drinking, those three or four bottles saw me giggling like a school girl and loving every moment.

Eventually it was time to call it a night. Closing time, as Semisonic might say, or rather, sing. So I took my happy buzz and I began the walk up Sheep Street to my quirky Market Square home. As I left the pub that night, I had no idea that my life was about to be changed. Forever. Again. Only this time, for all good reasons.

I had walked most of the way up the street when I saw a good friend of mine heading towards me with another guy, someone I hadn't ever seen before. I stopped to say hi to the amazing Chubby and we were very pleased to see each other; he and I have a long history of being awesome together. He introduced me to his friend, who he had just taken out for pre-birthday drinks on the eve of his 24th birthday. That friend was Tom. Some casual looking Australian guy who I immediately thought was amazing. That could have been the beer, the accent, the fact that he threw his arms around me and picked me up, saying “I love tall chicks”, or maybe, just maybe, because he is, in fact, amazing.

Well, here we are, on the eve of another of Tom's birthdays, four years later. Only this time it's different. This time I am his girlfriend. A fact I really rather like, actually, if truth be known. And I also now live in Australia, where I have been since the last few days of 2012. I am happy and healthy and living my dream. My life is filled with incredible people who make my heart swell and my mind soar. I count myself to be among the luckiest of people. My life is bursting with love, hope and adventure and the people I surround myself with, both near and far, are well and truly my raison d'ĂȘtre.

So there we have it. Four years ago I met someone who has changed my life immeasurably and I also learnt the value of those already in my life, far more than I ever imagined. I would like to take this moment to thank you all, for everything you have done for me, and to also add a few special thank yous, especially from those dark days of being very poorly.

In no particular order, of course, I wish to acknowledge your greatness and beauty:

To my parents, without whom I would not be able to wake up each day. To you I owe my every success, my every smile, laugh, joyous moment, everything that is good about me comes from you two and I can never even come close to thanking you enough. Thank you for celebrating my successes and picking up the pieces of my failures. Thank you for holding me up when I couldn't stand alone and for letting me fly when I could, but never being out of catching distance. Falling back on you is an honour I wish to never be without. So from the deepest, most loving and most humble part of me, I thank you.

To my family, both blood and extended. You keep me sane, you care about me and you support me in everything that I do. Smiths, Pooles, Drinkwaters, Chards, Dysons, Johnsons, Szczepaniks, Nolans, Wallises (!?), Cormacks, Winstones, Burgesses, Nashes, Pochuns, and probably a few more that I have forgotten to mention. My apologies, but I assure you the gratitude is no less.

To Hannah. For being Hannah. For bringing a picnic to my conservatory floor when I couldn't face going out, for taking me on a drive to pick a flower when I could. For always making me laugh and being ridiculous with me. For stealing cardboard cut-outs of racing drivers with me and sharing pizza with them. For goats and for carnage. For onesies and nesting. For drunken nights and for sober adventures. For inclusion in another mad family. For the valleys. Love Actually IS all around. For Michael and the Man Drawer. For everything.

To Nish for always being the Brownie to my Blondie. For long walks and for banter. For sharing so much and for being the best housemate I will ever have. For vodka, lemonade and lime. For beach times and for Brighton adventures. For making Bournemouth my home and for Swayze. In all the ways. For the Triangle of Love. For the loud and caring family. For I've had the time of my life, and I owe it all to you.

To Beav and Train Man Dan for so many happy times. For showing Clapham who's boss and making Sutton look classy. For stealing pot plants and crashing buses. For terrorising Morrisons. For bus lane pushing. For a home on your sofa, for monkey pyjamas and for poos and wine. Sometimes at the same time. For failed vegetarian snorty pigs. For being my family, mad as you are.

To Emily. When we needed each other, we had each other completely. I will never forget that, however little we may need each other now. For trashy magazines in my hospital bed and for so many drunken nights there should definitely be some kind of montage movie. At least it would help us remember. For our past that has enriched our future.

To Thorpedo and Snowsniff for crazy adventures and mad bants. For taking our disruption to all our various places of residence. For traumatising a new boyfriend (Cruik the Crip) and an entire cafe with our hungover cannibalism plans. For smacking our patties with pride. For Tonks.

To BESCHP for trips and drinks and hangovers and touristing and love and movies. For late nights and for buses and taxis and cocktails. For the kind of friendship I only thought existed on Sex and the City. For honesty and glamour and pyjamas and autumn picnics. For memories and thoughtful gifts and parties and long talks and never letting me down. For being my voices of reason and my clarity in all storms. For being wrong in all the right ways. For us. Forever.

To Sally and Milly for being beautiful. For being Pink Ladies and for high heels and lipstick and judging and dancing and gin. For knowing that we are the Queens of Everything. For photos and late nights and gossip. For dancing like no one is watching and nailing it. For being sexy and smart and being who the young'uns wanted to be.

To all of my Hob family, both past and present, those who have come and gone and those who have stuck it out. For being a place of refuge when I thought my world was falling apart and I had to start all over. For putting up with me day in and day out. For free soft drinks when I had no money, for free alcohol when I helped out, for the most expensive drinks in Bicester that I still wanted to pay for because there was nowhere else I'd rather be. For a card signed by so many, delivered by one special person who never let me down in my hour of need when even my own housemates didn't bother to contact me (yes Kaff, I mean you). For lock-ins and snow days and giant penises and quiz nights and mad dancing and dressing up, dressing down, glamming up and everything in between. For being the place to go when you never fitted in at school and for knowing you belong.

To Kathy, Xander, Ava, David, Grant, Amanda and the Upper Landsdowne community. For being my “Farm Family” and for teaching me more than you will ever know. For animals and love and adventures. For three and a half months I will treasure forever and a new extended family that I will never be without.

To the Farrows and all their offshoots. For taking me in and for sharing Tom. For the big brother I have always wanted. For BBQs and laughs. For a home away from home.

To Tom. For finally choosing to make me yours. For four years of friendship that I couldn't imagine my life having been without and for just under 10 months as an actual couple. For showing me that there is always hope and waiting is worth it. For all the new adventures you have introduced me to and for the now, where we are and where we will go. For being you and for wanting me. For the family that you have brought me into. For everything I always wanted.

To all my friends and family, without whom I couldn't ever be truly happy. Thank you for believing in me and being there for me. I am sorry if I have missed anyone out who should have a personal mention, but please know that I am eternally grateful and that without you, I would not be the person I am today. And let me tell you, I am very happy with who I am and I am proud of myself. But most of all I am proud of where I come from and the people I choose to fill my life with. Thank you.  

And here is that recovery beer for you all ~ 23/06/10. And to many more!

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

In the company of love.

I have just returned from a week in Mexico to celebrate the marriage of my best friend to the love of her life. That is the romanticised version of an opener that would normally be far more sarcastic of at least less “flowery” from someone such as myself. This blog is here largely to explain why. Sit tight, you could be in for an odd ride!

Now usually I’m as cynical as they come on the subject of love and marriage; I never cry at weddings and I’ve never said “I love you” in that way (the absence of a long term relationship in my 26 years speaks volumes here). However, I feel a change in me that I just did not see coming…and I like it! I know, I know, I can literally here the “who are you and what have you done with the real Hattie!?” cries from you all, and I truly am sorry for the shock, I assure you it was not intentional. Trust me, there are none so surprised as I by the uncharacteristic change of heart. But get used to it guys, it’s happened and it may well be here to stay.

If I’m honest, I think it all started with an event a little while ago, but that is not for your eyes and ears, so I’ll endeavour to explain the acceleration of these feelings that occurred in sunny Riviera Maya.

I made a speech at Nena and Tom’s wedding and I really meant what I said, I felt every word. If you are reading this knowing their story, my feelings will be even more justified, but even if you don’t know them, what I’ll give you of their story will make sense. As a couple they have been through far more than their fair share of ups and downs but they’ve faced everything together and their strength as a family is truly inspiring. They make you feel so at ease and it’s wonderful.

As for Cancun, well what I witnessed there was true love without question:
A man who gave up social pursuits to save money, who flew thousands of miles away from his friends and most of his family to partake in a ceremony of both a faith and language not his own, who shared ideas and thoughts in an area he was not really interested in previously (wedding cake tasting, anyone!?), all to give his princess the wedding she so wanted and deserved.
A woman who experienced extreme levels of stress to remotely plan a wedding and organise 75 guests, who went without a family Christmas, sleep and a whole lot more for months in the build-up, who missed out on time in the gorgeous sunshine after a long English winter just to finalise everything and please everyone so she could marry her prince and share the special day with her family.

That, to me at least, is far more magical than any fairy tale, far more romantic than a Hollywood blockbuster love story and just generally more raw and real than anything you could ever read. That’s love, in its truest form. Sure, it’s not always beautiful and pure, but it has moments so perfect that you just know it’s meant to be. Seeing my best friend look like such a vision and seeing the joy in her wonderful husband’s eyes at that wedding made me cry. I cried in the loveliest way. I felt exhilarated.

So yes, I now do believe in love. I don’t know how many chances we get, but I do know that it’s up to us to take them. There’s no “fate” about it, if you have the opportunity to be in love, you fight for it. Grab it with both hands and bask in its weird and wonderful glory. If you belive too then keep looking, keep trying. I really do feel like love can happen to us all. You can’t regret trying, but you can regret not giving it a go.

So an enormous thank you to Nena and Tom and all the guests that made that week so incredible. Family and friends with lots of love to share.

Love x

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Bad to the bone

Bullies. I’m pretty sure we’ve all come across at least a couple in our lives. I’m also pretty sure that most of us have probably fallen victim to their bullying at some point or other. I’m sure statistics would tell us just what percentage of the population has been bullied. Except that the statistics would be wrong. I’d make book on that fact. There is a simple reason behind this thought; lots of people will never admit that they were bullied.

Every so often I sort of forget about bullying a little bit, just for a tiny while. I’m an adult and I don’t have any children yet, so why should it be on my mind? But of course that’s not how it is at all. In a world full of social media and constant bitchiness in the tabloids and gossip magazines creating an environment where being openly nasty to another human being is “ok”, bullying is not only commonplace amongst all generations, it now has more outlets, excuses and possibility for harm than ever before. Now it can be anonymous, and equally horribly if it isn’t anonymous, people don’t seem to care because “everyone’s doing it” and there is very much a “them against us” scenario.

Just recently I’ve suffered, albeit mildly, the effects of so-called “cyber bullying”. I have also suffered a lot of “hater” from both people I know and strangers on the street. All because I finally feel like I know who I am at 25 years old, and I’m not afraid to be it. I speak my mind and I don’t suffer fools. I am honest, kind, individual and loud (in both volume and sometimes dress-sense!). I understand not everyone will like me and I’m ok with it, just as I won’t like everyone I meet. That’s our prerogative. But there is no need to go spreading hate and nastiness. But there we go, some people are born bullies I guess. Bad to the bone. And not in the cool way.

I want people to know that there is no shame in being bullied; it’s not your fault. Jealousy or a lack of understanding can often be at the root of it. That just means that you are fabulous and they can’t handle it.

Most of my life I have been too utterly embarrassed to admit that I was ever bullied. But bullied I was. Severely. For a very long time. I thought it meant I was weak and disgusting. I thought if I told people then it would make them see what the bullies saw and turn them against me. I was bullied by other children from my very first day at primary school to my very last day at secondary school. Every single day I was at school. Every. Last. One. And then, for my first year of sixth form. By my form tutor. But by then, all my peers were incredible and there was no bullying amongst the students. And while that was one hell of a (welcome) shock to the system, it gave me the strength to deal with the situation and persevere until I got it sorted. I changed forms eventually, after many meetings and complaints.

During the 11 years of compulsory education I was punched, spat at, scratched, stolen from, trapped in places, pushed down the stairs, sworn at, and generally treated like dirt and ostracised. By so many different people. You can see why I thought it was me. I honestly just assumed that I deserved it and accepted that it was my lot in life. I’d go home and cry or find sneaky ways to punish myself for being weak. A form of self-harm I suppose. It didn’t help.

Sure, I had friends. But all my closest friends were at a different school and I never felt fully connected to, safe or like myself around the friends I had at my own school. That is not their fault. I was just too terrified. If they got close and realised how pointless I was and how many people hated me then pretty soon they’d turn on me too. Of course I now know how ridiculous a notion that is, and looking back I really respect them for sticking around for the empty shell of a person I was back then. I feel guilty that I never gave them reason to stay friends with me, even if it was somewhat beyond my control. But that only shows their kindness and great judge of character. I hope I’m worthy of their friendship now. I think I am. I count myself as an amazing friend, so fingers crossed they’re glad they waited it out.

So there we go. That is a very big thing for me to have shared. I only hope it helps someone. To find the strength to somehow get the situation sorted. Or to just know that actually it’s not your fault and you don’t deserve it. It will get better.

A very lovely friend of mine has recently suffered at the hands of a bully at work. She is dealing with it all so bravely. I am very proud of her and I hope everyone can learn from her courage.

I am so thankful that social networking was not around when I was at school. Had the bullies been able to infiltrate my home-life too, I am honestly not sure I’d have been strong enough to cope. I have so much respect for all the poor children and teenagers now who have that to deal with in addition to everything else. I hope they can find it in them to cope.

I’d like to end by saying the most enormous thank you from the bottom of my heart to all the friends and family who were there for me even when they didn’t realise and even when I wasn’t there for myself. And to everyone who still fights my corner. I’ll always love you and be there for you too.

Haters need hobbies, but we are too wonderful to care.


The Box Under My Bed...

A small poem from June 2011.

Two little paper tickets,
so fragile in my hand.
Is this really all that's left?
Was it just a one night stand?
The tickets are pretty crumpled now,
a reflection of my heart.
Guess I've known this was coming
right from the start.
I thought that I could love you.
Was that just your charm?
Or the butterflies I felt
every time you touched my arm?
I know the signs.
I'm cynical to the bone.
Perhaps this time I was just to scared
by the thought of being alone. 
I liked to dream the dream
of one day being someone's wife,
but I guess that will never be.
So I'll shove the tickets in a box under my bed along with the rest of my life
and the dream that's not for me. 

That Moment in Time...

A little poem from June 2010.

To say I never loved you,
Would probably be a lie.
You made me feel amazing,
Before you made me cry. 
Perhaps if things were different
I never would have cared,
But I do have fond memories
Of ll the moments we shared.
But that's all it'll ever be;
Memories of long ago.
But I would do it all again the same
Even knowing what I know. 
I'll always feel a little bit broken,
A part of me not quite right.
When people try to get close,
I'll forever put up a fight.
But time is the greatest healer
And hopefully my heart will mend.
But I'll always remember that moment in time
That I prayed would have no end.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

The F Word

I’m here to talk about that most dirty of “f words”. That’s right, you’ve guessed it. Feminism. Oh, you didn’t guess it? Well that’s great news! Because it isn’t a dirty word. Misused, misjudged and misunderstood, yes. But dirty? Most certainly not.

I am incredibly fortunate to have a wonderful and inspirational best friend, who for some time has, rather unknowingly, taught me a lot about feminism. Through her I have slowly come to realise that feminism isn’t all bra burning, hairy under armed, in-your-face women. Quite the contrary. I myself am a feminist and I would never harm a bra and am rather fond of a smooth armpit. We’ll skip the part where I deny being in-your-face. Because I’m not certain that I can entirely deny that one. I have my moments. But I say it again, unashamedly: I am a feminist. And if you’re reading this and are a part of my life, then I truly hope you are too. Male or female. There’s a feminist in us all, even if we may not realise it.

If you already think men and women should be paid equally, be afforded the same rights and opportunities, be free to make their own decisions and live the life that suits them without being subject to harsh judgement, then you’re pretty well there. And that’s the bare bones of feminism right there. Equality. That’s all it is, at its core. A desire for equality.

I’m still pretty new to all this myself. A fledgling feminist just coming to terms with my new wings. But I am learning and evolving all the time. The fabulous aforementioned friend gave me a book for my 25th birthday by the incredibly talented Caitlin Moran. This has been an enormous catalyst in my writing this little piece. She talks about all the myths of feminism and dispels the more ridiculous notions. How to be a Woman truly is worth a read, and I urge you all to pick up a copy. It had me laughing and crying and more importantly, really thinking. There are lots of experiences she’s been through that most of us can relate to, and I found it to be a great introduction to feminism if you just aren’t quite sure what the heck it’s all about. Any woman who asks me to stand on a chair and shout “I am a feminist” and reclaim the word “cunt” is all together brilliant in my mind.

Feminism is slowly gaining momentum, and has been gradually building for some time. But there is still such a long way to go. I used to worry that my own goals in life were contradictory to feminism. However I am now aware that they aren’t. Far from it. My desire to live the life I want to live and have the freedom to enjoy myself and express my opinions is in fact well within the walls of feminism. I am not desperate for a career or anything like that and I genuinely do hope to one day be a mother, spending my days looking after my house and my children, cooking dinner for my family and spending time with the people I love. I am fortunate enough to live in a time where people are slowly starting to understand that I am not being old fashioned, or bowing down to the patriarchy. I genuinely don’t enjoy working, I believe I was born to be a mother. If I am lucky enough I will get to fulfil that dream and not feel judged for it.

So I guess that’s it on this one for now. I don’t want to ramble on. I would like you to have a little think though, about what feminism means to you. Don’t be scared, it could open up a whole world of inspiration to you. 

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Lest We Forget

I can’t help feeling entirely relieved now that this obscene football-poppy shambles has reached some form of resolution. I have to say it was becoming utterly ridiculous. I had feared it was fast morphing into yet another hideous row over race and politics.

Wear a poppy. Don’t wear a poppy. It is just so unbelievably unimportant. The 11th November is REMEMBRANCE day. A day when we REMEMBER. We remember the brave soldiers who fought and died in the First World War. We remember all the service men and women who were enlisted into World War Two. We remember every child without a parent, every mother and father without a child, husbands and wives without their soul mates. We remember those whose lives were lost during war, those who were injured fighting, and those who lost loved ones. We remember all the people affected by all the wars.

These days lots of people choose to use the day to honour the many men, women and children lost, injured, widowed and orphaned by the recent conflicts. I personally don’t, instead choosing to reflect on the earlier wars where soldiers had no choice but to fight for their country, but that’s my choice. And I expect that to be respected just as I respect the choices of others. With charities like Help for Heroes and much more general awareness these days I like to think that soldiers and their families have far more options open to them for support. They certainly deserve it. Regardless of this, the Royal British Legion does some amazing work for all kinds of people and relies upon the continued support of the public. Support that is greatly enhanced by the financial contribution gained from purchasing a poppy, and the awareness raised by wearing it.

If anyone ever loses sight of why we wear a poppy in November every year, there is a very simple idea I would put to them. There is a beautiful episode of Blackadder that I think really hits home. I think you will all know exactly the one I mean. It really strikes a chord with me. It reminds me that an enormous amount of people, just like me, marched blindly into a war they didn’t fully understand, prepared to lay down their lives for the basic human rights we all, rightly so, believe we are afforded. It makes a lot of sense to me because it brings to light the reality of war, and indeed life. Sometimes it is funny, because let’s face it, if we didn't look for the humour and joy in each and every little thing we do, none of us would even bother getting out of bed in the morning. But more importantly it shows us the pure spirit and human goodness within the hearts of all those brave men.

So on Friday, wear a poppy if you feel you can. I personally believe that everyone should but I understand and respect that not everyone will. But whether your choice is to both proudly and humbly display a poppy or to leave it for this year, please don’t forget. Don’t forget all the people regardless of race, background, age, political preference, religion, anything, who have been affected by this dreadful disease of war. Those who choose to wear poppies, I hope, will know that in the modern world in which we live, they commemorate everyone the world over, throughout history that has been lost or injured in war.

So let’s not get involved in petty bickering over who should wear what and why. Let’s just, for one day, for one moment, look around us and appreciate how lucky we are. Because not everyone is. And thanks to some people, we will continue to be lucky every day and we will get to kiss our loved ones goodnight every evening. I will never forget the fallen, I hope neither will any of you.