2016 was the year that I fell in love.
Yeah…it’s THAT kind of post. Hold on to your vom, I’m about to get soppy af.
I met someone. I met someone amazing actually. On Valentine’s day of all days.
Picture the scene:
My friend F’s mum was getting married. On Valentine’s day. In the Hogwarts-esque school we attended as kids.
I, on the other hand, was dating a 36 year old man child living in a shiny bachelor pad who honestly thought that a co-worker telling him that they thought he’d probably end up marrying a 21-year-old stripper when he was 50 was a compliment of the highest order.
His main hobbies included not seeing me anywhere that didn’t include inside his flat, ignoring my texts unless he was drunk and over compensating for his bald spot by pretending he was Hank from Californication (sorry that was mean but…snigger).
I know I KNOW but hindsight is a wonderful thing.
So yeah anyway. The level of FML was real as I woke up on Sunday morning to both the realisation that I was still a bit drunk and looked like arse PLUS a text from Hank-wannabe reading ‘Happy V day. Change of plans for later. I’m busy. Sorry. Have a good one.’
I dealt with this news like a really mature adult. *
*Wailing to flatmate ‘isssssss so…hic…unfair…whys he so…hic…MEAN…I haven’t even said anything about the bald patch..because I’m…hic…NICE.’ whilst she gave me a thumbs up from her position crouched over the loo. We were nice humans.
It was then I realised I had approximately half an hour to get ready, my dress wasn’t ironed, I had what looked suspiciously like an old chip in my hair and I had agreed to meet F’s friend from America that i’d NEVER MET BEFORE at the station to guide them to the complicated wedding location (a train a tube 2 subsequent trains and a long walk in case you were wondering).
It’s important to know as well that in the panic and emotion of the morning I had also dolled myself up to look like an artist’s impression of Cruella Deville’s mad sweaty aunt.
Think fur coat, long dress, stupid heels, weird hairclip. Totally bonkers.
Panic increased exponentially on arriving at Liverpool Street station and realising that all tubes to Paddington are cancelled because god hates me and my life is just one hilarious joke.
Hey everyone. How do you make an entire station think you’re crazy in 2 seconds flat?
Shout ‘FUCCCCCCCCCK’ and then trip on your stupid dress and fall bottom first into the middle of a flower display that’s how. *
*fun side note – my bottom is by no means small and it actually wreaked so much havoc that the flower shop man said ‘bloody hell love, you trying to put me out of business?’
To cut a long story short though the journey was stressful I and F’s American friend made it to the wedding in one piece. And once I’d calmed down, cooled down and removed the fur coat to look marginally less mad I realised that the person I’d picked up at Paddington station was pretty bloody great.
We laughed a lot, hung out primarily near the booze and food table (amirite?!) and I felt 100% myself instantly. It was an instant connection and one that’s lasted throughout the entirety of shitty 2016 and continues to go from strength to strength. She’s the literal best.
*ps: this is not me coming out via blog post. Even I’m not that obnoxious.
So yeah, I’m talking about a friendship love rather than a romantic love but to be honest, I often feel like there’s hardly a difference. In fact, friendship love often seems incredibly superior to me. J, along with all my other friends, always makes me laugh and never makes me cry. She forgives me when I’m not at my best and will actively drop plans to be by my side when the going gets tough. Is it hard to see why this kind of love feels a hell of a lot more valuable?
The simple truth of the matter is that every single thing that I know about love I learnt from my friends. Partners have come and gone but my friends have remained steadfast and unwavering. They taught me that love is about being laughed at and laughing with. Forgiving and forgetting, not getting lost in petty arguments or gripes. That love is about building someone up and never breaking them down.* That it’s being honest but always being kind.
*apart from when very much needed. For example, when I once announced that I put blusher on my nose because…sigh…it made me look ‘cute’ and they quite rightly ripped the piss out of me. And continue to do so. Most days. 10 years later.
Recently, everything I thought I had sort of crumbled in front of my eyes and I found myself to be the most hurt I’ve been in a long time; scared, stressed and a bit broken hearted. It sucked. It continues to suck.
But the one thing I didn’t feel was unloved.
As I sobbed into J’s shoulder I admitted that I felt stupid because I thought the guy who hurt me was my teammate. She gently reminded me that I already had an entire team right in front of me. Team mates that had picked me based on exactly who I am, not the (slightly more) polished version of myself that I often present to people I date. Team mates that would never lie to me, belittle me or make me feel any less than brilliant. Team mates who never gripe when new, romantic love comes (or indeed goes) but instead applaud your happiness even if it means there’s a little less time for glugging wine that no one wants or needs until the wee hours of the morning. Team mates who never say I told you so, even when they really would be well within their rights to and instead roll up their sleeves and say ‘right, what do we do now then?’ in the most practical and comforting way.
So, here it is, the first real love letter I’ve ever written. An ineloquent ode to my pals old and new. The loves of my life. Thank you a million times over for being the funniest, kindest, best partners in crime of all time. Here’s to all of you, you delicious old mops. Just as you are.
PS: I’m back.