I asked my ex 10 questions about our relationship and it sent me spiralling

I’m the kind of girl that if we break up, you will never see or hear from me again. Most of my breakups have been relatively ugly and I have always cut my ex-lovers out of my life for good. Firstly, because it’s better for my mental health and secondly I just don’t have space for that kind of negativity in my life, there’s enough of it within myself that I need to deal with. Yet sometimes I still wondered what my ex’s would have to say about me, since I’m not on talking terms with any of them. Which is just good life advice in general, so you’re welcome.

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@Aaron Burden

So, after talking to some friends about it and long nights of tossing the idea around, I decided to do it, I decided to reach out and interview an ex of mine. I believed I was strong enough and could handle the answers whatever they might be. So, I wrote up 10 questions and reached out to two of my high school ‘sweethearts.’ In a few days, I received a reply from one of them. She only agreed to answer my questions if she’d be able to read the finished product. I agreed, but a few days later she asked me for another favour. She wanted me to answer the same questions but about her. My heart sank, this was not part of the plan and immediately sent me down the endless rabbit hole of anxiety.

It’s not that I still had feelings for her and was expecting something to happen from this interaction. She was also in, what it seemed like, a new happy relationship. And I had been with other people since our breakup. But her asking for me to answer 10 simple questions sent me spiralling. The project had taken an unexpected turn. I was caught off guard and felt like I’d lost control over the situation. And I didn’t like it. I didn’t understand why she would want these answers from me, after all she was in a happy relationship and shouldn’t need anything from me. But I agreed, because it sounded fair. She was doing something nice for me, so I owed her.

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@Aaron Burden

I just didn’t expect the tables to be turned on me, as I started answering my own probing questions, I felt physically ill. I was shaking and felt like I was going to throw up. The idea behind my ex answering my questions was for me to reflect on myself. How I’ve grown and what I could possibly learn from my past relationships and mistakes. Yet it left me feeling worse than ever. I was stuck answering questions about a person I hadn’t seen in five years. A person that was once my best friend, my girlfriend and then a nobody.

I was forced to imagine the person I was 5-6 years ago, which was scary. It’s not like I was a bad person in high school, but I was a completely different version of my current self. Possibly better in some ways, worse in others. Definitely with less mental issues. But here are the answers she gave me.

  1. What first attracted you to me? 

Could’ve been the fact that the first time I met you, I was holding you up in a garden because you’d drunk so much you were throwing up everywhere! But I’d have to say that your smile and your laugh is what really won me over; the shit jokes and attempts at sarcasm really helped though. 

  1. What’s your favourite/least favourite memory of me?

Geography camp. My first real memory of us being ‘us’. From holding your hand on the bus to our teacher growling us for ‘whispering too loud’ when really we were kissing and cuddling on those terrible mattresses. I have so many memories of you but that first one will always be my favourite. Least favourite, easy. The day you left. My heart broke into a million pieces.

  1. What did we have in common? If anything?

Music, photography and writing. I think those were the things we had the most in common. Aside from your hatred of country music, our music tastes were much the same and swapping songs was always one of my favourite pass-times with you. I think I mostly enjoyed photography and design at school because I got to sit next to you. Writing. English, Year 13. Writing in general and writing about you was as easy as breathing. 

  1. Why/how did we break up?

 I ended it. 

  1. If circumstances didn’t dictate otherwise, do you think we would still be together?

That’s a hard question. I can’t say I’ve ever thought about it to be very honest. If you’d never left, I think it all could’ve been different but I wouldn’t change the last three-four years for anything else. I’ve learnt a lot about myself in that time and I can’t be certain that I would’ve learnt those same things or made the memories I have if we’d stayed together. Maybe in an another world, but it’s hard to imagine you not having left, I have no idea. So my answer is no. 

  1. Did you ever actually have feelings for me or was I there to just fill the void your ex-girlfriend left?

You were never anything less than someone I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. I fell in love with you. Head over heels. I was all yours. I should’ve left her the day I met you, I tried ending things a few times but her saying she’d kill herself was too much for me to walk away from, which is the only reason I never fully did. She hated me and I knew it, but the mind games fucked with me way too much. She said to me one day “the only reason I’m with you and stayed with you is so you can’t be with Maria”. The next day I ended things properly. 

  1. Do you still think about me sometimes?

Sometimes I wonder how you’re doing and that I hope things are going good with you, and that you’re happy. That’s all I ever wanted for you.

  1. What’s my worst quality?

Easy. Not believing in yourself enough. I’m not sure if that’s changed at all in the last 4 years, but I’m sure you’re still finding ways to cut yourself down without reason. 

  1. Was I a good girlfriend?

Yes. Even when we weren’t ‘together’ as such, you were amazing. 

  1. In your opinion, how could I do better in my future relationships?

Just be you. Change is inevitable, especially in relationships, but staying true to who you are as a person will always be more than enough. You are amazing. You are beautiful. You are enough. Believe in yourself, and everything else will work itself out. Plus, I know if I ever gave you advice you’d tell me to shut up and not listen to me anyway, haha.

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@Aaron Burden

Shockingly, reading her answers was a lot easier than writing my own answers. Would I do this again in the future? Maybe. But maybe when I’m in a more stable place mentally. Though some of the answers did say more about her than they did about me. But I did find out things that I never knew before and seeing myself through someone else’s eyes has always been incredibly fascinating to me, whether it be through the eyes of a stranger or a former lover.

I also feel like I got somewhat of a well deserved ego boost from reading her answers, maybe because I never viewed myself as good enough especially after her ending our relationship so abruptly. And I mean, who doesn’t like being called ‘amazing’ even if it does come from someone who is no longer in your life. Or maybe I should mention that two months after we broke up, I fell in love again, and spent two wonderful years with them, before being the one to end it this time. So maybe it’s not everyone around me, maybe it’s me…

PS: I also got published on Huffington Post, so that’s cool I guess – https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/i-asked-my-ex-10-questions-about-our-relationship-and_uk_5ad61474e4b075494bfb1a69

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There are things in life way more permanent than some ink on my mortal body

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Let’s talk tattoos. Because I got plenty. Well not really, I have five to be exact. Okay I take that back, I don’t have plenty and no matter how many I get it will probably never be enough for me. Possibly because of my serious case of ‘too much gene.’

So I got tattoos, I have tattoos that are well thought through and with meaning. I also have tattoos that have happened on impulse. And no, my mother does not approve. Neither is she on board with them, but she’s gotten used to them. Maybe I’ve just worn her down.

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Matching tattoos. What the fuck and why would you ever. That was my attitude for the longest time. Actually until February this year, when I got my first ever matching tattoo with one of my best friends. And it might be one of my new favourites.

Carly and I started texting and joking about matching tattoos over the Christmas break and once we got back to uni, we went and got them (sorry mum!) And it was fun and exciting! We call them our ‘Wine Wednesdays’ tattoos.

When we first became friends during our first year, we used to hang out at Carly’s flat and get trashed on cheap wine almost every Wednesday. We would mostly just talk shit and religiously binge watch RuPaul’s Drag Race.

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Sometimes also cry and talk about our mental issues, but it was mostly the above. We clearly built our friendship on some real solid ground. And solidified it with getting matching tattoos. Also if we ever stop being friends, which is highly unlikely but still… there’s always the possibility of a cover-up.

I never cared for what people thought of me. Well never is a strong word, I mean once upon a time I might’ve cared, but thank god that’s over. Anyway, I never cared what people thought of me or my tattoos.

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And one of my pet peeves is people asking what one or another tattoo means, like I don’t know? Maybe I got it as a representation of my dead grandmother, or maybe I’m trying to send aliens a message to abduct me? Or you know, maybe I just like the picture? Like let me live and have pretty pictures on my body if I want to.

All in all, let people get the tattoos they want to get and live the life they want to live. Basically, just don’t be a cunt. Also if you’re looking to get tattooed in Falmouth, go to Time & Tide, they’re super cool (and they have a Donkey Kong arcade machine!)

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(The inspiration for writing this came from Nora Mclnerny Purmort who wrote this cool article – http://www.cosmopolitan.com/politics/a9078317/how-i-convinced-100-women-to-get-matching-tattoos/)

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Modern dating and why it fucking sucks

FullSizeRenderIn a world of tinder, ghosting, almost-relationships and harmless flirting. Genuine human decency is rare to come by. The majority of people I know, are in almost-relationships. AR is a relationship that is kind of like a relationship but not quite. It’s doing everything you would in a normal relationship without actually committing. It’s the on again, off again, it’s the hooking up every few weeks or months, it’s the innocent flirting. Or maybe you only hook up when you’re drunk, but sooner or later one of you will fall for the other, and it will stop being a harmless ‘game.’

Being in an AR is not being in a relationship but it’s not exactly being single either. It’s complicated, but apparently it’s the new normal. You’re sort of stuck in the grey area where all the lines are blurred, you talk, you flirt, sometimes hook up, but if someone asks, you’re just friends. And every ‘what are we’ question is answered with ‘I don’t know, let’s just hook up instead of talk about it.’ It can become a never-ending cycle and I believe some people can definitely get stuck in AR’s. Why? I don’t know, maybe it’s the lack of commitment, no one wants to commit anymore. We live in a world where we think everyone and everything is disposable. Get in a fight in your current AR? No problem, get on an app or Facebook and you got yourself a whole roll of options.

We fucking love playing mind games, little psychological games like the classic ‘intentionally taking hours or even days to reply’ or the ‘what are we’ game. No one wants to get hurt, so we all just walk around pretending we don’t care. We don’t even care wether or not we care. And we don’t want to seem too interested or too available. Because the person who cares less has all the power. And we would rather ghost or straight up cut someone out of our lives than confront them and actually talk instead of texting for once.

My friend Jay tells me about his recent experience of being ghosted. ‘I went out on a few dates with this girl and then she suddenly just stopped replying to my messages. And I found it so weird, because I thought it was going well and we were actually getting somewhere. My first thought was maybe I had said something, but then I was still confused, like why would you just ghost.’ I believe people who ghost are just insecure and don’t want to face someone and be real with them. They assume it’s easier to ignore the problem until it disappears, aka ghost the other person until they take the hint. Or maybe some people do it to be mean, or just because they can. Since they have so many other options already lined up.

Flirting has become sending half naked snapchats, tagging each other in mindless memes or just writing obscure passive aggressive tweets about the person. Hoping she’ll take the hint. Or in hindsight sending each other songs, using someone else’s words to get our own feelings across. Which is somewhat cute and all but still extremely confusing, unclear and messy.

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I recently (lol 6-moths ago or so) came out of a serious 2-year relationship and for the first time in my adult life I’m alone. No, I’m not bitter and no I’m not desperately trying to find another relationship to drown myself in. But I am lonely and meeting new people can be fun, so for the first time ever I downloaded Tinder and Bumble. And after carefully crafting my profile and writing a ‘witty’ bio I was ready to swipe. The first few weeks I only visited the apps in shame, as well as treated it as a game, I called it the swiping game. The yes or no, the attractive or not game. I did a lot of swiping, not a lot of talking.

Because obviously, I so badly want to be one of those people who meets someone organically and sparks fly and all that bullshit. I’ll imagine running into her in the library and spilling all my papers. We’ll both drop to the floor trying to scramble the evidence of our awkward encounter. Which will ideally result in one of us asking the other out for coffee. Or some other encounter as cheesy and gross as that. But that doesn’t happen anymore, we’re all too busy swiping and floating around in our own impenetrable bubbles. Drowning each other out via headphones and avoiding eye contact like fire or plague, or whatever illness is relevant today.

So, after a few weeks I finally tried my best to fire up some conversations. While also realising I don’t actually know how to flirt, I just know how to be a mean and sarcastic asshole, but I tried my best. From around 25 matches, I exchanged a few insignificant messages, there was a lot of dull “hey, how are you’s?” and “what are you up to’s?” Nothing incredibly exciting or stimulating. Each conversation fizzling out pretty quick. But maybe it’s just my lack of creativity in the dating department or general awkwardness around other humans.

I met Jenny on tinder, cute brunette with big brown eyes. My type I suppose, we also had some mutual friends, which gave us something to talk about. We exchanged some messages and after a few days she asked if she could add me on Facebook, we also swapped phone numbers. And started texting, almost daily until meeting up for late lunch one afternoon. We had pancakes, and picked a stupid board game from the windowsill at the café we were at. I let her win, no I didn’t. She won fair and square, I’m just a low key sore loser. We shared cups of tea, she told me about her two jobs and I ranted about being stressed over assignments.

After a few hours of pondering over pancakes, board games and tea, I paid the bill. Walked the empty high street side by side, hugged goodbye and promised to have another date soon, preferably over wine. It went well, I suppose. Maybe she talked too much about her ex-boyfriend and maybe I was a bit sickly, snotty and emotionally unavailable. But overall I think it was good, decent the least.

I don’t actually know what I expected, since the last date I had ended in a 2-year relationship. As well as us kissing down by the river and walking hand in hand. Maybe that’s what I expected? Or maybe kissing on the first date is not normal, I don’t know. After all, I spent most of my adolescent years in relationships or toying with drunk hook ups. So, I really haven’t had much schooling in the dating department. I guess I would love to be one of those people who indulges in one night stands, so I could go into some juicy details about how I met Lucy, made out over gin and tonics, and had mind-blowing sex in her car afterwards. But I just can’t. I’m not that kind a girl, no matter how badly I wish I was.

Or maybe everyone I’ve met is just so incredibly average. And not worth my time. One thing I learnt from this ‘experiment’ is – don’t settle! Never settle! And I think what I’ve decided, is that I need to be enough for myself first, before dragging someone else into the mess that I call my life. Even though I so desperately don’t want to need or depend on anyone. We as humans are social beings, and even misery loves company.

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*All the names are changed, in order to protect their true identities and stuff.*

 

13 Reasons Why

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I read the book when it first came out in 2007 and ever since that I’ve been eagerly waiting for a remake in form of a movie or series. I finally got my wish, but surprise, the book was better! As it usually tends to be and yes, I am one of those people. I feel extremely superior over people who haven’t read the book.

Though as the makers of the Netflix original “Thirteen Reasons Why” said, yes it’s a little different from the book, but the message stays the same. Which after all, is the most important. Especially when dealing with sensitive topics like bullying, depression and suicide.

If you don’t already know about “Thirteen Reasons Why” and live under a rock, then here’s a short rundown. Hannah Baker committed suicide, but before that she recorded 13 tapes with 13 reasons why she decided to take her own life. Each tape covering a different event/person who ultimately drove her to her suicide. Tapes are then handed from person to person, unfolding dark events and ruining peoples lives as they once ruined Hannah’s.

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I started off loving only the main characters and straight up hating everyone else. Because I already more or less knew what they had done. But to my surprise I started loving some of them even though their mistakes and flaws.

Talking about characters, I was very happy about the mixed cast. A mix of people with different ethnicities and race, as well as multiple gay characters sprinkled throughout the series. I’m also happy to report that they chose to break stereotypes, not just portraying a flamboyant gay boy and a butch lesbian. As well as including a character with same sex parents!

As much as I resented certain characters for their stupid mistakes or ways of dealing with things. I also somewhat related to them and could see the reasoning behind some of their actions (PS this does not go for all characters, because some actions are unforgivable!) Even though sometimes it was incredibly frustrating for me, but then I had to step back and remind myself that the characters are indeed only 17-years-old.

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Having personal experiences with some of the topics covered, this book has always been close to my heart. I’m glad the screen version didn’t let me down either. It’s dark, suspenseful and raw. A true emotional rollercoaster, as stupidly cliche as it sounds. But it really was, therefore this is no easy watching. I felt very involved and it took me days to process some events. Because even though Hannah Baker is a fictional character, bullying and suicide are very real.

There are hundreds, thousands and millions of Hannah Bakers out there and they all need a little hope.

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How to become a writer

Start fights, throw punches, get your heart broken, drink that bottle of wine, be the other woman, watch your grandmother die, smoke that blunt, snort that line of coke. Go home and write it all down. Pour it onto the paper. Let your emotions roam and vomit out all the words you could never say sober. Let the pen be the messenger. And the paper its lover.

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Writing always came easy to you, at least in a classroom full of 13-year-olds. But writing is a fine art. Writing is a love affair, between the pen and the paper. Writing is a solitary act. It’s being the only one awake at 4am, drinking or smoking or both, all to the soft hum of your laptop. In front of your laptop, from now on it’s the only place you’ll ever be. Everything in your life is now performed in front of that gleaming screen. Your only company being the made-up characters inside your head.

It’s reading Hemingway or Dickens and never feeling good enough. Never finding the right words and never measuring up to any writer. It’s rushing home from the store with a brilliant idea, only to have it vanish in front of your eyes when you grab for the pen. It’s eating noodles for five days straight, because that’s all you can afford. You chew on the end of your pen, trying to suck the ideas out of it. You go to pour yourself a drink, unconsciously deciding that you’d rather drink yourself to death than ever publish something mediocre.

Growing up, your mother always used to tell you how good your writing was. From essays to short stories to poems. Even the teachers loved them, rewarding you with many A’s. Yet growing up and becoming a writer was never an option. “It isn’t a real job honey” your mother would assure you. Or at least not as real as a doctor or a teacher or a lawyer. Those were the ‘real jobs’. So, growing up you wanted to be many things, first an actor, then a surgeon, a pilot, a lawyer, a designer, a plastic surgeon, a marine biologist and then… Suddenly you didn’t know anymore. You wanted to be everything and nothing at all, all at once. So, you became a writer.

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Who do I write for?

This is a question that’s been daunting me for the past 3 months, or at least whenever I thought about my slowly dying blog. And whenever I spoke to my few fellow blogger friends, if I dare to even call myself that. I kept asking them who do they write/blog for? As well as complaining about my blog and how a part of me wants to delete and throw this whole blog thing in the trash cause I probably don’t have anything adequate to say anyways.

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Like who even cares what I eat or wear or what makeup I smear on my face? Who cares what I read or write or think about? I mean other than my mum or my grandmother. I’m no Kim Kardashian or Taylor Swift, I don’t have a name that makes people click on an article in 0,2 seconds. I am…well, just myself.

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I started this blog for an assignment, therefore I wrote for my lecturers. I wrote to get a good grade. But who do I write for now? Friends, family, strangers? No, I write for myself. I write what I want to write about and what makes me happy. Or what drives me absolutely nuts and makes my blood boil. That’s what I should write about. I should write for myself first and foremost. And everything else will come.

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All the credit for the photos goes to my sweet Paula who you can find here – www.paulajohanna.com. She takes sick photos, generally of cars but sometimes of humans too. Thanks for making me look taller and skinnier!

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Post assignment blues

As of tomorrow morning, 12pm sharp I will be officially done with my first year of university, leaving me with only another 2 years to go until graduation. I gotta say this first year sure flew by and I guess it’s true, the older you get the faster the time goes by. Which by the way is fucking terrifying!

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I mean of course I couldn’t be happier and ecstatic with successfully finishing my first year at university. But it also feels slightly bittersweet, the fact that I only have 2 more stressful but short years left as a student and after those short years all there is left to do is dive into the “real world.” Which is horrifying. I’m only 20 something years old, yes I’m an adult but I’m definitely not a full-grown adult! Like what are taxes? How do I do them? Do I need insurance? What kind? How do I get an internship? Do I need one? I one hundred percent am not ready to be thrown into the real world.

Having finished all my assignments for the year I’m left with a slight feeling of under achievement. As if maybe I didn’t do enough or work hard enough, and maybe just maybe I could’ve done even better if I just tried harder. But then I try to remind myself of all the hours of work, the days and nights of thought and research that went into my work. As well as a little too much caffeine, the allnighters I pulled and the time I actually brought a blanket to the library and that little snooze at 4am. It wasn’t easy, but I pulled through and did it! And it is an achievement to be proud of. I guess as humans we are never satisfied and always looking ways to improve ourselves.

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So me and my sweet angel friend Carly decided to spend an evening laying amongst flowers (hence the photos). Reflecting on our first year at university. I guess I really do feel bittersweet about leaving university for the summer, but I can bet you that I will be complaining in the coming fall how the summer wasn’t long enough and how I truly do not want go back to uni. And start all this chaotic studying-stressing cycle again.

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