93 Million Miles from the Sun

“Over the horizon, into the night..”

Four months ago I left my home in Ocean Beach, San Diego and headed out to Hawaii. The week prior to me leaving OB something changed me. Or rather, I suspect, someone.

I don’t make a habit of falling in love, albeit this blog may beg to differ, however I met a person in OB that I slowly, reluctantly allowed into my life and eventually my heart. His name, to all in OB, is Boston.

A lot happened in me at that first bonfire on the beach, but one thing started a chain of events I wasn’t wanting, or even willing, to happen.

I had seen Boston briefly back at our hostel a few hours before everyone headed to the beach. I noticed him above the other new faces because he struck an eerie resemblance to K, my club rep back in LA who had given me the confidence to live comfortably without makeup just three weeks before. I had remained in contact with K to the point where he had asked to join me in Hawaii and was planning when he would arrive and where he would stay; I had little faith he would actually fly out to see me but it was a sweet notion nonetheless.

When stealing glances at Boston I could tell their differences in appearance we obvious; Boston’s strong predominant jawline was nothing like K’s subtley defined one, and Boston’s long brown hair as opposed to K’s shaven head, but the striking similarities were there. I had seen photos of K with long hair pulled back into a ponytail with dark stuble framing his smile and it was this image of K that Boston was most alike to.

At the bonfire I found an opening in the group and sat by the fire. I was between my new friends I had met playing beer pong at the hostel on my first night in OB before we had moved on to a bar for games of pool and $6 pitchers of beer, to my right and Boston to my left. After a while watching the fire and our growing group of travellers and locals I began talking with Boston.

At first it was like drawing blood from a stone getting this creature to talk. Either he was quiet and mysterious by nature or he just wanted to appear that way; whichever it was his likeness to K intrigued me enough to keep trying.

I silently began attempting to size him up and figure him out as our conversation slowly developed from idle to amusing.

He was at the hostel but he wasn’t a traveller; something a lot of young people I had found throughout my journey did while looking for a house and job. He was also holding a lot back.

Having come from Miami, his home after Boston, he briefly mentioned that he had had to “get out of there” and I didn’t press it further. In my head I was imagining him with the wrong crowd and a bounty on his head but I didn’t ask for more details since he seemed pained to discuss it. Instead I asked about his decision to move to California. He didn’t seem the ‘beach’ type in my innocent eyes. He looked as though he would be more at home in new York based on his clothing and demeanour. His answer was effectively that he wanted to live by the beach; couldn’t argue with that, except he’d just moved from one. By this point in the conversation I felt like I was trying to levitate a rock and carve it into a small replica of a Mini Cooper complete with working engine using just my mind. It was painful but not awkward somehow. He was simply holding back but wanting to talk, so we carried on.

Eventually when he found a topic he was on fire. The topic we struck gold with was relationships (the one universal topic each individual has in common with any other – love dilemmas). He told me how every girl always wants a bad guy that treats her badly. I strongly begged to differ expressing the fact I could only speak for myself but my ‘type’ has only ever been nice guys. I can find anyone beautiful if they are a genuinely nice person. He told me I was lying to myself for saying this and I told him every one of my exes has nothing in common in appearance, hobbies, lifestyles or height, they are simply all genuinely nice guys and I dont have any bad words to say about them as individuals (as boyfriends some of them do lose brownie points, however as people every one of them is a good guy, and that’s why I was with them). This conversation had us each stood facing a brick wall refusing to give in for a while before we both decided each other was right; maybe some girls do like bad guys, and maybe a few exceptions to the rule do just like nice guys. Compromise to get the conversation out of the hole.

Suddenly my birthday was asked. I gave the date and he smiled to himself. Why was this amusing?!

He was born the day after me, five years later. We are Leo’s.

I don’t pay too much attention to starsigns. I find them fun to read when I come across one and I usually find truth in them but mostly because I’m seeking it.

He described us as being stubborn and passionate by nature. I was about to protest the stubborn comment until I replayed our previous conversation in my head and thought about how long we had actually been facing the wall both refusing to back down. I agreed with the passionate statement however my positive outlook and Boston’s negative one meant we interpretted this differently too. I said I was lead by my passion and that it is an incredibly positive thing; it had encouraged me to work two (at one point three) jobs and save as much as I possibly could so that I could fulfil my dream of travelling across America alone. It had brought me to this point in my life where I was sat next to him by a bonfire on the beach with the waves of the Pacific Ocean crashing loudly behind us as we talked. However Boston agreed we are lead by our passion but it is a negative part of our character. We do not see things clearly as we are too driven by our emotions. True; but not always a negative – I felt.

I met a person from the Netherlands while in OB that said to me in a rather defeatest tone “why do you do that?! Why do you always see everything in a positive way?!” to which I had no reply for him. The magority of time I had known him he had spent a lot of it discussing life, the future, and small details of the day under a dark cloud. I simply stood in front of this person and thought ‘I wouldn’t trade my outlook for the world’. When I thought about this remark later in the day I sat with a smile on my face as I thought of how far I had come without even realising it; the only negative remark I heard while travelling was by this person telling me that I am too positive in my life. How could I not smile at that.

While at the bonfire with Boston we continued our discussions and I learnt that, much like our starsign, he sees himself to be like a lion of the kingdom. He passionately discussed the character of lions, which I felt was a bizarre twist in the conversation but at least the rock was starting to resemble a vehicle now. It was during this discussion that I became aware of Boston’s crude nature. I was baffled and repulsed. The conversation went from strange to obscene in almost no time and I felt, for the first time in his presence, uncomfortable.

I was known amoungst my friends at school to be quite prude; in fact it’s so embarrassing to remember that I wouldn’t comfortably say the word ‘condom’ until I was seventeen. I wouldn’t describe myself as prude now at all, and I don’t scare easily in the slightest, but this conversation brought me back to my sixteen year old self. He was so graffic I blushed. I had never met anyone like him.

As the bonfire was beginning to unwind we all headed back to the hostel. It was pitch black and everyone was tired. I felt that Boston was going to hit on me and so I created a distance between us as we walked back. He asked me if I would walk with him along the pier; oh come on! What part of that entire conversation made him think he’d ‘got’ me?!

I made my excuses and said no; far too tired, it’s cold, too dark, I have to pee, oh look shiny things..!

Over the next few days I would see Boston at the hostel and felt bad for him. His ego and crude approach wasn’t winning him any friends and so, raised by my Father to always stick up for the underdog, when I saw him I would talk to him. Always keeping a slight distance as I didn’t want him to think I was interested in him in that way I remained polite and jokey with this interesting character. A few people asked me why I was talking to him, something that made me want to talk to him more – why wasn’t anyone giving him a chance?! My response was always ‘he’s not a bad guy, he just puts on a front to protect himself. He’s actually really funny.’ I firmly believed this. He was funny, if a lot crude with it. He wasn’t a mean person, he’d obviously been hurt badly and was a walking ego so that no one saw him. He was protecting himself and there is never anything wrong with that, we all have our own survival techniques. But I could see he wasn’t a bad guy, as much as he liked the idea of labelling himself as one. (Trust me Boston, it doesn’t get the girls – at least not this one).

A few days later he left with some others from the hostel and headed to San Francisco. I didn’t think that I would see him again.

Then after a couple of days I was sat on the front porch of the hostel and someone said “hey there’s Boston”, I turned around and walking down the street towards the hostel was Boston. For some reason, I still have no real clue where it came from other than instinct, I happily screamed and gave him a huge hug as he got to the porch. I was happy to see him. In fact I was really happy to see him. Why!?

We got back into the routine of chatting when we saw each other around and then gradually it became more frequent. One day some girls I hadn’t seen before got to the porch and Boston suddenly jumped up, looked at me and said “we have to go, walk with me!” I was completely confused and he urgently repeated “will you just walk with me!?” I quickly got up and we started walking fast away from the hostel towards the beach. I was caught up in excitement and was thinking I was about to get some juicey gossip here, as it turned out he had just seized an opportunity to get me to go to the beach with him alone. Crafty.

We talked as we walked and while we were sat on the beach. We were laughing and talking about everything from relationships to the crazy-acting guy that tried to join us on the beach and had told us, ironically, to watch out for crazy people. Boston seemed disappointed when I suggested we go back to the hostel; he’d wanted to kiss me and I could tell. I didn’t feel romantic towards him. He was a friend.

I’m not sure how but over that week, as we were spending a little more time together, he started to tell me his feelings towards me. He wasn’t wearing his ego quite so much anymore. At first he only stripped off his ego when he was around me, jumping back into the routine when he felt others confront him or approach him, but soon enough he was slowly showing the world the Boston that I got to see alone. As this was happening he was becoming more social too. He could be found sat watching the world go by from the porch, deep in thought, on his own on almost every day but on one day I came down ready to hit the beach and found him playing chess with others on the porch; it was like a tornado hit me. I was so happy for him the more I saw him like this. I smiled at him and went to the beach.

With a few days before I would leave for Hawaii Boston began proposing to me and telling everyone, loudly, at the hostel that I was his future wife. Even writing this now makes me smile at the memory of it. He told strangers on the beach that we were talking to that he wanted to marry me. It was hilarious and sweet. When we were alone I was smiling; I couldn’t quite believe how fond I’d grown of this guy that just ten days ago was so arrogant and crude I could barely stand him.

One day he completely opened up to me. I’m not sure how it happened or what prompted it, but he let down every wall and talked. He talked about his feelings for me, his past, everything. He was nervous while talking and kept breaking off in the conversation through nervousness. It was a nice moment to be a part of.

The next day I gave him a piece of paper with the link to this blog. I hadn’t told many people about this blog and, given that my raw thoughts and feelings are all over the pages of it, felt my stomach in knots as I handed him the key to my feelings. “This is me.”

The next day he sat with me in the kitchen of our hostel. He told me he had read my blog. I was shaking; not only had I not told anyone about my blog but I hadn’t prepared myself for someone talking to me face to face about what I had written. He said it was like reading my diary “you’re very honest on it”. He told me it made him uncomfortable. I was devastated. I started shaking more but hid it, my stomach was in knots again and I thought I was going to pass out. I felt like I had gone white. I was about to be rejected for showing the real me; I had opened up and it was too much for someone – my biggest fear was coming to life and I wasn’t sure I could handle this.

But then he told me he pushed himself to keep reading, and he couldn’t stop. He told me he is angry at me, because I can’t see how beautiful I am. He told me that from reading everything “it made me like you more..!” I’m not sure I can do justice in words the way I felt after he’d said this to me. All I know is this entire situation, the days before and this moment in the kitchen, made me like him more too.

Over the next few days Boston would smile at me differently, I liked it. Whenever I looked up from whatever I was doing I saw him looking at me with love.

One day we were sat on the porch with the others and he passed me his phone. I read the message he had typed out on it and smiled. I replied and passed it back to him. We were effectively like teenagers it was hilarious at the time and even in remembering it now. He wrote in one message “do you know how I can tell when you like someone?!”…”You bite your lip!” He also said to me that I’m different with him now. I asked how. “You look me in the eyes a lot more now.”

The day before I flew to Hawaii was the OB Farmers Market that happened right outside our hostel. While we were all sat on the porch talking to everyone and eating the food we’d bought at the market Boston looked at me and I smiled and instictively bit my lip. He jumped up, punched the air and whooped and cheered so loud I burst out laughing. Everyone was confused and asking us what was happening. He ran around the porch shouting “YES!!! I knew it!!” while I laughed and told him I needed lipbalm!

That night he told me he had something for me. Knowing him the way he is I made him promise it wasn’t rude!

We were sat in the corridor of the hostel when he asked me to wait there. He came back with a blue lumber-jack jacket rolled up in his arms.

He told me that his Mom had made it when he was younger, that it was incredibly important to him, and that he wanted me to have it.

I told him I couldn’t take this jacket from him. This was too much. He insisted and after a while I accepted the jacket. It was like out of a movie; but better. I couldn’t believe how much this guy cared about me. This was the first time I kissed him. The night before I left for Hawaii.

The next morning I waited for him to wake up but knowing I was leaving at noon and he usually woke up around then I went to his room and knocked on the door. He opened the door from his bed and lay there as he told me about his strange dream he had just had. I fought every instinctive urge I had in me to lay down next to him and just cuddle up to him. I told him I was leaving soon so did he want to go for a walk along the pier; “NOW you want to go to the pier!?!” I smiled and told him to get ready quick.

We walked along the pier and stopped at the end. Watching waves and looking out at the horizon we talked about home. I told him I’m not ready to go back home, I haven’t discovered what I want to do with my life yet. I still had a little over two months until my flight home but it seemed to be going quick now. Checking the time we realised I had to get back to the hostel to go to the airport for Hawaii. Walking with his arm around me we headed back. This was the first time anyone at the hostel had seen us so close. When my roommate brought her car around he helped me carry my things to the car. We hugged and he kissed me in front of the hostel. He stood looking at me and said “is this really happening?! You’re really going?” I got into the car and he leaned in through the window, kissed me, and then told my roommate that the plan was to get me drunk so that I wouldn’t notice as she pulled the car around and brought me back to the hostel.

Then I left.

When I was on the plane I looked out at the pier and started crying.

I haven’t seen him since. We have spoken on the phone, talked in text and on our social media page, but three days before I got back to San Diego from Hawaii he told me that he was going back to Miami. It was the hardest decision he had made because of me but he needed to go back.

When I was in New Orleans I was going to go back to San Diego for one last time before I flew to Australia. Boston flew to San Diego from Miami, but I had realised I couldn’t afford to do that in the end and was flying from New Orleans.

He is now in San Diego again. I am back in England.

I found out a few weeks ago that my Dad has cancer, so I flew home last week. I’m not sure how long I will be here. That depends on life.

I don’t fall in love easily.

While in Australia with LF, who I miss so much since leaving her, I was talking about My American and she said “was there any time you forgot about him?” I told her “the only time I didn’t think of him as much was when I was with Boston”.

Now that I am back I am back in contact with My American. I am also in contact with Boston. My feelings for both are completely different. Boston knows me, completely, and he adores me as the girl in front of him, on this page, and in his life. My American has yet to meet me, it’s still up in the air.

I am home now for my family.

What happens now will shape where I go in the future. San Diego, London, Australia..

Living and loving until every end.

xxHBxx

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Different me

“Hopeless Romantic has been unleashed, sick bucket recommended.”

A year ago I decided to simplify my life and remain single. I ended my relationship with C and began vigorously planning my trip around America.

I then met a man online accidentally who changed everything more than he’ll know.

I had planned to briefly leave my American adventure for him and go to him in England when I returned in January. One flippant comment made by me in Colorado changed the relationship that I hadn’t seen coming.

The person I was when I left England is a very different version to the one typing now. I have only been traveling for five months but can see, in photos and in my self, how different I have become. Five months ago I was only what I had seen and known, I still am only this but the change is I have seen and know more. Much more than I could’ve dreamt. Back in England I was narrow minded. I had limited knowledge of experience and had been so involved in overcoming my own obstacles that I was engulfed by that for too long.

My narrow minded self had only experienced drugs, for example, in seedy University parties during my time at London where my friends were uncontrollably high on whichever drug of choice it was that night and I then spent the remainder of the night trying to make sure they didn’t OD, pass out or hurt themselves. Looking back now this was University. They did the same with me when my eighteen year old self drank too much tequila.

My flippant comment to My American (as he shall be known here) was regarding drugs. I was barely two months into my trip and had just arrived in the first place of my trip where marijuana is legal. Being a complete tourist I took photos of all the Medical Marijuana Stations and posted them on my social media site. My American sent me a jokey message asking if I was getting “baked” in Colorado, my response stated that I hate drugs and am the worst person to be in a “drugs are legal” State. Had I been asked that question now my response would still be no, but would contain less single-minded tones.

When I read my old messages back, as I have done a lot in this trip, I always think of how I would respond if given those messages now.

When I left Colorado I went straight to California. I started in San Francisco and worked my way down to San Diego. I changed the most in San Diego. Suddenly I was surrounded by drugs on a daily basis by every type of person you could imagine. My first encounter was at the weekly beach bonfire. Locals and travelers all huddled together by the fire, singing along to the guys on guitar and the one guy who made an impromptu drum set with trash cans, were sharing stories along with splifs, pipes, cigarettes, beer and blankets. I had never seen anything like it. I watched as everyone made friends with whoever was near them, some smoking some choosing to pass, all joining in the chorus we all knew then continuing with our stories. Up until that moment marijuana had been a seedy back alley, a hidden hideaway in a dark loud central London nightclub (back when smoking indoors was legal), it had been Amy Winehouse (who I had been stood behind in a North London club restroom when I was eighteen and was the highest I had ever seen anyone) – the celebrity version, not the talented musician version. I had only seen drugs with “wasters” and had only seen extremes. My friend telling me she thought she was dying as she turned white and began shaking after taking a pill she wanted me to take with her at a University party, another friend grinding his teeth so hard I could hear it as he sweat profusely and rolled his eyes back towards his head after a party, listening to a University drug-deal going bad outside my friend’s room as she told me to pretend we were asleep. My experiences of drugs had been this. So when My American asked me if I was getting stoned here I instantly jumped back to my only drug-related memories and went on the defensive; mostly because I never wanted him to think of me in the only way I had experienced drugs, not knowing any alternative.

In San Diego I became friends with one guy whose job is making glass bongs. I met him at that first beach bonfire and had initially not wanted to even speak to him. The more time I spent in San Diego the more I saw and the less I cared. That guy became a good friend to me and on my first day back in San Diego from my three week break in Hawaii, took me to my favourite burger place where we caught up on what I had missed over the three weeks and ate veggie burgers together (his with bacon) in the funky bus seat of the unique burger bar.

Having now experienced drugs in a more social manner I understand My American’s worry over my initial prejudice a few months ago.
I had never known them in the way that he does; the Californian way. To me they had only ever really been experienced with negative consequences.

I still do not smoke marijuana or take drugs, I doubt that will change, however my attitude towards them has. I also don’t drink vodka, but I don’t care if others do.

Five months ago I didn’t drink whiskey (I now love whiskey and cream soda – discovered at a college party in Baton Rouge, Louisiana), I didn’t drink red wine, I did drink soy milk and loved peanut butter (now hated), I couldn’t surf (…well this one’s debatable depending on the other’s prospective but when I’m telling the story yes I can surf), I had a deep fear of heights and insects, rarely smoked, and had predominantly male friends. These may not be strides and they may not be huge to some, but to me they all add up to the woman typing today. Five months and a lot of learning. Learning only I could do by seeing and experiencing everything that I have. It would be impossible to go back to England the girl I was when I left; she has lived too much to ever be her again.

I am now a day away from flying to Australia.

I flew to Hawaii initially to ‘get over’ My American rather than flying back to England to be with him; that didn’t work. I still think of him each day and am devastated that we can’t be what we might’ve been. However I am the embodiment of Hope. Hope that we are in each other’s futures, whenever the time is right. I’m not the woman for him yet, and he’s too much of the man he is for me right now. I have more to live until I will be quite ready. I just hope he can, and wants to, wait.

Perhaps five months from now I am writing that I flew to England to see him, or he flew to Australia and we met. Perhaps I am writing that he is engaged to another. And maybe I am writing that we are still in the same position, waiting for our time.

All I know is since meeting him everything with him felt right. I never had that pure feeling with anyone else. It could be just another lesson I will learn and look back on but I truly hope it’s not. Before him I had never even thought of creating a family, in fact I expressed strongly to my ex that I would not have children and never wanted to marry – a statement I had carried since my parent’s divorce when I was three years old.

I am now going to Australia for a year, initially, returning to America for Christmas next year. I will then potentially return to Australia for a further year, but we will see how I go.

A few months ago I was talking with My American about moving in with him when I return to England in January. Two months after we began cooling off our communication together I am moving further away. I do wonder if he knows the impact he has had on my choices, or if he just thinks I am a runaway or even if he thinks of me at all. Either way, had he told me that he still wanted me to move in with him when I was to originally return in January I would not have applied for my Australian Visa, bought my ticket from New Orleans to Melbourne, and found my house. I would’ve been with him in a heartbeat. Part of me still would.

Time is my best friend and worst enemy. But I’m using my time to experience, and that is never time wasted.

Hopeless Romantic unleashed and on the loose…last seen headed for Australia…

xxHBxx

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Dare to Dream

As I walked around Hollywood today one of my favourite poems couldn’t leave my thoughts.

The Invitation by Oriah Mountain Dreamer is the only poem since William Ernest Henley’s Invictus to take hold of me completely. I couldn’t shake the final line as I wandered alone down the intensely hot and busy Hollywood Blvd. “I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.”

When I tried to pinpoint what I had on my mind I went blank.

Other than trying to pass time until a free concert begins in a few hours I had nothing on my mind but that line.

I have been out in America for a little over two months. My time here, I had hoped, would clear my mind of the clutter it handled daily while in England; ‘what am I doing with my life/what makes me happy/where am I going/what do I want for my future/am I ok?’ It seems my mission is accomplished however I am still unsure of any answers to those questions I battled.

Yesterday I met a nineteen year old girl on a train back to LA from my weekend visiting a friend in San Luis Obispo. This nineteen year old had every answer possible for how she wanted her life to work out. I had thought initially that this girl was incredible. She had every scenario for what life could throw at her mapped out; three possible husbands if, god forbid, she wasn’t married by the time she was twenty-eight, two children including an adopted child planned, joining the Peace Corps for two years because her bad back meant her dream of becoming a firefighter was ended, retiring in Bali, and her next two tattoos designed. I listened to this girl talk constantly for two hours.

After a while of listening to her I stopped envying her apparent knowledge of self when I realised I was her at nineteen.

Had I told my nineteen year old self that I would find and eventually leave the happiest job I had ever experienced right when promotion was around the corner so that I could travel across a country I have loved my entire life in order to ‘find’ myself I would’ve cried.

By twenty-one I was to be a graduate of University, at twenty-four I was meant to be accepting my Oscar; a plan I had created ten years prior. By twenty-six I was meant to have found my true love – an age I am at now and, as this blog shows, is yet to be actualised (and yes I have just told you my age despite my initial plan to avoid that) and living surrounded by love.

Instead I left University at twenty when the cost of living in London ran higher than I could handle, at twenty-four I broke off a long-term relationship and developed an eating disorder, and at twenty-six I am in California with a clear mind and a smile on my face for the simple fact that although I have no answers to my own nagging questions of life, I am happy. And when I try to pin down why I am so happy when nothing has worked out the way I thought I wanted I can only come up with one truth; I am doing whatever makes me happy each day. Just me.

I don’t have the guy on my arm, telling me he loves me. I don’t have the Oscar in my hand telling me I am successful. And I don’t have the degree telling me I worked hard.

I have my own money in my bank, after limiting my spending and working two jobs for two years, telling me I worked hard. I have my demons I battled and overcame, and a smile on my face each day telling me I am successful. I have the friends I have made in the last two months sharing stories and experience with me and the friends I have known for years back home encouraging my independence and courage out here, telling me I am loved.

I have everything I ever wanted for my life.

The nineteen year old on the train made me think about everything I wanted and everything I have. It might not look as I thought, but I have it.

Do I enjoy the company I keep in the empty moments? As a test to myself I had to ask myself this. I have everything I ever truly wanted; do I like myself as the person that has this? Am I ok being alone?

Yes.

Ask my nineteen year old self if she likes herself. Ask my twenty-four year old self the same. The twenty-six year old me is the first version of myself that can silence her mind and smile because she is content with herself and her own company.

I don’t look the way I used to, in body or spirit, and when I looked at a photo of myself during my eating disorder – told in each photo I posted on my social media page how pretty I was – all I see now is a forced smile and the memory that the photo that got the most beautiful comments on it was a day I watched my sister eat a bagel as we waited to head to the park to take the photo for our Mother. I look at that photo and remember watching her eat, myself starving myself so much that my mouth was watering as she chatted and ate and I told her I had already eaten. I don’t remember the conversation we had. I remember the hunger. I remember the smell of the bagel, the saddened feeling of wanting it so badly but knowing exactly how many calories were in it, and wishing she would hurry up so we could leave and take the photo.

Twenty-six and ten pounds heavier.

Each photo now may not be as pretty, but my smile has never felt so beautiful.

Anyone struggling with an eating disorder (and it is a struggle, even when the immediate battle is won, you are adjusting to your new image and an entirely new way of thinking) please feel free to message me. If I can help in any way, through listening or anything that you need, I assure you I will do my best.

Happily.

xxHBxx

My own wrecking ball . . .

“I’m so scared for you. That you won’t let anyone love you.”

When I was nineteen years old I was in a relationship with my soulmate. My definition of soulmate is taken from the popular book Eat, Pray, Love;

“People think a soulmate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants. But a true soulmate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life.

A true soulmate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soulmate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soulmates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then leave.

A soulmates purpose is to shake you up, tear apart your ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light can get in, make you so desperate and out of control that you have to transform your life…”

My soulmate was Paul.

Paul died three years ago. We were together during University. Myself in London and him in Wales. We would travel each weekend to see each other, in London or Wales or our collective home town where we originally met.

Paul showed me a side of myself I hadn’t known existed. He showed me my walls.

I remember exactly where we were, what was around us, the words he said and how I felt when he opened my eyes for the first time.

To think of it now breaks my heart. He showed me everything I built to protect myself that I hadn’t even realised I had created. He spoke those words to me seemingly out of the blue. “Im so scared for you. That you won’t let anyone love you. You won’t let them in. Not just for me, but for anyone in your future. You have so much love to give.”

Yesterday I sent a message to the guy I was allowing to get close to me. Last month I sent the hardest message I have written in the longest time to him, opening myself up, as uncomfortable as it made me at the time, I sent the message filled with my true feelings about us. Everything about us. A few days ago I revealed my eating disorder to him.

I don’t know if I revealed too much, for me or for him. And I don’t know if anything has changed with him because we haven’t really spoken since; which could be the reason I feel things have changed.

Yesterday’s message closed a door on us meeting before I return to the UK in January. I was planning to follow my heart and fly back to England to meet him for three weeks as neither of us could wait until my six months was ended.

After revealing my weight concern to him and the reasons behind it – only revealed after he expressed a separate concern of his for our meeting – I felt like I was lead out on a tightrope and left there. My message met with near-silence was too much to bear. For me to then ask whether he still wanted to meet after this revelation to be met with more silence I placed my bricks in the pile ready for the wall-building.

I spent today with no messages from him. No response to my last message, and I am anticipating no further response now.

The idea that I have lifted a weight from his shoulders in being the initiator of this has passed my mind a lot.

I was willing to leave my adventure for him. In all honesty I still am.

Paul scared me with his words; am I building walls around me because I let him in? Or does he really not care and I did the right thing?

All I know is I don’t give my heart easily. And I wanted to give it to him based on what I knew so far. As my older post referring to my note on C emphasises I am looking for a love that consumes me. A love that makes my heart skip and dance and sing when I get a message from him. I had this. I’m not saying I was in love with him, I don’t know him yet. But I had this feeling in me. And now I have closed myself off in protection. Protection of pride more than anything; my feminist-self refuses to wait around for a guy to tell me if he wants me. If someone wants to be with you they want to be with you. There really is no middle ground in that. I was willing to spend twenty-four hours round-trip in the air, crossing an Ocean and several timezones to be with him.

Am I strong or weak for my actions? I won’t know until time has passed. All I know is I didn’t want it to end, but I can’t dismiss my feelings – any feelings.

Instead of travelling back to the UK to be with him I am now planning to travel to Hawaii for a few weeks break. I don’t do things by halves during this trip.

Maybe things will happen in that time and maybe not. Maybe I will get to meet him before my return in January, or after January, or maybe he could be married to someone else by the time I get back. I have no idea.

I only hope that my head becomes clearer on matters like this, and that any walls I accidentally build are once again broken by the right person.

And that ‘right person’ could be me . . .

xxHBxx

Diary of a Disorder . . .

Firstly I’d like to state that this post will be in relation to an eating disorder I developed last year.

I wanted to forewarn anyone before reading, as this is not necessarily something that is classed as ‘easy’ or possibly ‘light reading’ for some and this way you can choose whether or not to continue reading; I wont be offended if you stop here and wait for the next post. In fact I would prefer that than to never read further posts as a result of this one.

Last year I went through an eating disorder.

I realised I had an eating disorder possibly four months into it.

I lost nine pounds in the immediate seven days following my break up. That in itself was fairly extreme but nothing new considering the pattern I develop after a break-up is loss of appetite as I ponder my thoughts and feelings. Eating slips my mind and the thought of continuing with regular meals when something so drastic has occurred in my life feels abnormal to me.

So after each break-up I usually lose a few pounds and gain them back naturally within a few weeks.

This break-up was different.

I lost nine pounds from an already small frame and liked the way I felt and looked.

I had gotten over the break-up in a few weeks; new for me entirely. The following weeks I began working on my happiness. I believed I was the happiest I had ever been – in fact I possibly was at the time. Looking back I was superficially happy. I loved how I looked – how many people, especially women, can say that in all honesty? I was lucky. I felt comfortable in new and old clothes, attractive in my body. I liked the way my face looked – sunken cheeks and raised cheekbones – however I would never be seen without makeup. I would rarely be seen showing my flesh. On the hottest day of Summer last year I have a photo of myself in A’s garden drinking wine wearing a long baggy black top, thick jeans, and chunky black boots. I was melting.

The day after my birthday in August of last year I can be seen in further photos with A wearing a long-sleeved top pulled up to my elbows, black jeggings, and long boots. I was my thinnest; I felt attractive in my body, and yet I hid it under layers entirely in spite of the rising temperatures.

Out in America I have gained weight with a vengeance. My UK size six shorts cut into my thighs and pinch my stomach when I attempt to wear them. My size eight shorts (a size I envied just a few years ago) are now comfortable for me. When discovering my size eights were needed I almost burst into tears in disbelief; ‘Please! I can’t possibly be this big!!’.

I am not fat. I have fat on me, but I am not in any way fat.

I know this. Thankfully.

My thighs wobble in some instances, they are dimpled in certain lights from certain angles. My stomach does not go inwards, yet it doesn’t protrude outward too much. It wobbles when prompted and I often feel as though I am ‘leading with my stomach’ when I walk but it, again, isn’t fat. My arms no longer show the definition they did – oh my gosh I loved my arms. And yet I hid them.

In America I have had no choice but to wear shorts. The heat when I arrived in Boston, New York, and Washington DC was too much for my English-frame to handle in anything but shorts and vest-tops.

I have also had no reason to wear make-up in the day. The heat meant any make-up would show on my top more than my face, and so make-up has been scarce. I had thought this would mean my skin became flawless; quite the opposite. It seems the less make-up I wear the worse my skin becomes.

A few days ago I was walking through Hollywood with a friend I made in Santa Monica the week before. SL and I spent a total of twelve days together as roommates in both Santa Monica and Hollywood Blvd. She came to Hollywood because I was going to Hollywood and we enjoyed every minute together. During a stroll down Hollywood Blvd one day last week we turned onto Sunset Blvd. We had no idea what was on Sunset but considering so many songs have been written about this particular street we allowed our curiosity to lead us and went for a walk.

Five minutes into our walk I was complemented by a complete stranger walking past me by himself on my legs. He went out of my life as quickly as he entered. He chose the 20 seconds it took to walk past me to simply complement my legs and continue with his day.

Around an hour later SL and I found ourselves back on Hollywood Blvd. We were collared into signing up for a club-night by some of the people on the street.

Myself wearing no make-up and having not done my hair I paid little attention to the attractive guy taking our money and promising us an amazing night. With SL enjoying the sound of his voice enough for the both of us I simply handed over my money and took the ticket. He stared a little longer at me than SL which I passed off as looking at my bad skin. He was looking at my eyes though. I never saw his eyes see the cluster of blemishes on my chin. He continued to smile at my eyes. I believed he was well trained in seducing all kinds of ladies to the club-nights and continued on with our adventures in Hollywood.

The next day, the afternoon of the club-night, we passed him again looking just as glamorous as we had the day before. He hadn’t recognised us and tried to get us to sign up again. We faked insulted responses and laughed that we would see him tonight. SL commented a few moments later “He lights up when he see’s you!” to which I replied that he hadn’t even recognised us.

The club-night wound up being a huge let-down.

When we passed another representative for the company two days later he attempted to get us to sign up again for that night’s club-crawl. We laughed that the last one had been dreadful and we wouldn’t do it again. So he gave us free tickets…and we went again that night.

While SL won the drinking competition and I laughed from the sidelines and batted away the attention of a guy telling me he was a rap producer, K, our original sign-up rep, came to my rescue. Asking if I was ok because I looked miserable I replied that being hit on was fun a few years ago but doesn’t interest me now. I was simply happy to watch SL work the room like a PR genius.

After a while of talking K asked me the type of places I actually like to go to, as the clubbing scene he had gathered was not really my thing. I described my perfect night out to be a game of pool in a dive-bar laughing with friends and singing and dancing to good rock and alternative music on the jukebox while drinking beer. He then told me about a bar he wanted to take me to; a dive-bar lots of rockers go to where there’s a pool table, good music and an amazing atmosphere.

Still holding my invisible wall in front of me I took each word with a pinch of salt.

It wasn’t until I asked him about his story that I realised he may be being sincere. He instantly opened up, he didn’t have any walls; having watched guys at play for a few years now I can see the players from the nice guys – call me naive, a dreamer, delusional, whatever. I believed his sincerity.

When he was handed the company camera from another rep that needed to use the restroom he tried to take a photo of me; my instinct kicked in and I ducked from the camera and said “No I don’t like my face!” I hadn’t even realised I had said that until his reaction.

He repeated it back to me as a question wearing his stunned reaction without awareness. He then scrolled through the photos on the camera and came across the first photo of the night. One of myself with two other English girls I had met at the first bar. He zoomed into my face and showed me the photo. In a very cheesy and sweetly sincere move he then said “How can you hate this face?! You have beautiful eyes and look at that smile!!” – the two features about me I hear repeatedly to be my best. Now anyone can take from this conversation what they like. They can consider him to be a very good player. They can consider me to be a gullible child. In those moments, knowing that this guy had seen me makeup-less, having not done my hair, wearing shorts and a tank top over my growing frame, sweating in the LA heat, and was looking at me in the same way dressed-up as he had in that earlier state, it melted me.

Nothing happened. Well actually a lot happened. In me.

I was stood in front of an attractive guy telling me I was beautiful. I told him about my weight-gain and that I don’t usually go out in the day without any makeup whatsoever and he laughed then said that the lines from a Drake song were perfect for me; “Sweat pants, hair tied, chillin’ with no make-up on, That’s when you’re the prettiest, I hope that you don’t take it wrong”. He was good.

Since meeting K I’ve felt a lot more comfortable. I still don’t like my weight-gain. But I am too happy to starve myself, so I won’t.

A workmate wrote on my social media photo album of LA “You look so happy and glowing in every pic”.

I can now say I am the happiest I have ever been.

Last year I really was the happiest I had ever been, and looking back that makes me smile and also saddens me. I have been through a lot in my years; you might get to know more about that as I discover further more about myself. I was truly growing in happiness then.

As Buffy Summers stated during an episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer “I’m cookie dough, I’m not done baking.”

I’m not done yet . . .

xxHBxx

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Finding Me

Travel.

This is the first experience of my life where I am fully accepted as the person that I am. Not as a ‘traveller’, simply as me.

I don’t have a past here. Or if I do it is irrelevant to the present. My new friends along the way have not asked about the person that I was, other than the basics of why I chose to travel in the first instance. They care about who I am now as that is the only person they are experiencing.

I am only judged based on the words I speak at present and the being that I am today.

For a person that has had to battle to stay afloat for a large portion of her life this notion is a new style of thinking that I am having to get my head around. The idea that my past is not defining me has only just occurred to me.

I have been in the States for seven weeks now and during a conversation last night with the family friends I am currently staying with (that I met for the first time when I arrived in their city two days ago) I found myself looking at the person I am out here in a new light.

They laughed lightly when I stated that I am discovering along this journey that I appear to be a “people person” to which my new friend JC sweetly giggled “you didn’t realise this before?!” followed by AC’s endearing comment following our discussion about possible job prospects once I return to the UK in the new year, where I mentioned that I had loved my previous workmates more than the work, “I think the person that you are you will make instant connections with whoever you work with wherever you choose to work…I think that they will become instant lifelong friends to you that would bond with you so well in no time at all that they will end up doing anything for you.” Hearing this after talking about the strong friendships I have made in no time at all (one friend I met at breakfast, spent the entire day and nighttime with in Boston, and he left the next morning; we are still speaking every few days since we met seven weeks ago and he is planning a visit from Australia to England to stay with me for a few weeks in the new year) made me smile inside in the most comforting way I can imagine.

Today, in Colorado Springs where I am currently staying with my Mum’s best friends’ brother and sister-in-law (and their beautiful four month old daughter), I rode a ‘Cog’ rail ride up their highest mountain ‘Pikes Peak’ 14,110 feet up which took a little over an hour on that Cog train to get to the top. In that hour, now that I think of it, I could have sat quietly watching the incredible scenery as our conductor made us laugh our way to the top telling us tales of the views we were experiencing. Instead I made friends with the people sat next to me; a Mother, a Son, and a Son-in-law. Once at the top for the half an hour we had up there I took and posed for photos along the mountains’ edge with my new friends while chatting away as if we had planned to take this trip up the mountain together for months. We then spent the next hour train ride down the mountain taking in the views as we continued our conversations and exchanged names, numbers and email addresses. Once at the bottom our goodbyes were said and I started on my walk down to the local town.

Five minutes into my walk a car drove past waving at me as I happily waved back not actually able to see who I was waving at, then stopped and out came DA (the Son I had met on the Cog) who asked if I would care to join them for lunch; he then jokingly acknowledged the fact we had only just met by stating “we won’t kidnap you I promise” as I was already crossing the street to their car.

An hour and half later we really did say our goodbyes after a laughter-filled lunch full of stories. I then continued as I was before to view the amazing little mountain town we were in as they went back to their lives also.

This tale of lunch with my new friends being no surprise to my Colorado hosts, JC and AC, after my two hour horse ride yesterday where I instantly made friends with the only two other riders in our group, along with the cowboy leading us, to the point where the couple took my details so that when I am in Los Angeles they can let their daughter who lives there know to perhaps show me around while I am out that way.

Before travelling I believed I was ok only really in my comfort zone in making friends. I had limited experiences of making friends outside of my comfort zone I believed however when looking back I am realising my comfort zone was in fact making new friends. I have never struggled to make new friends and often bond with others quickly which I thought had a lot to do with the fact I was comfortable in my surroundings. However while travelling I am in a new city and State every few days, a new hostel every few nights, and a new journey each day.

Without a care for the ten pounds I have gained since coming to America, the texture and random colour my hair has turned from the intense heat and sun, the blemishes that appear daily as my skin attempts to adjust to the new environment I am placing it in along with the new foods I am feeding it, or the accent I am picking up along the way; my new friends care little about anything other than the person and personality standing in front of them today. That form of acceptance, the fact that they choose to befriend me for the person they see before them, is heartwarming for me.

I thought perhaps the ‘like me or lump me’ girl was back and this was where my confidence in approaching new people had found itself, however I don’t think that she is. In her place currently stands a new form of that girl not fully established yet.

This girl doesn’t have time to change to suit the new friends she is making because the friendships are often created within hours. This girl is simply the girl she is, and the friendships are developing around that.

With four months to go I am excited for the developments to come.

Smiling contently.

xxHBxx

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