The Day in the life of Tony Cliffe

The blog that's full of discussion, advice, travel and ramblings!

Category: Advice

An honest look at why i’m single

A trip down honesty lane to discuss why I’m single and how I view the single life.

It’s no secret that I’ve been single for a while now and I’m mostly okay with that. There are a few aspects of relationships I do miss such as cute good morning kisses, being there for the little things, going and exploring new countries and places together but most of all knowing you have someone who loves you on another level and loves you for being you, including all of your flaws. Of course I have that support from close friends and family which I really do appreciate but it is different when it’s a relationship. Other than that I’m completely satisfied with single life despite the constant “I think you really need a girlfriend again Tony” remarks. So why have I been single for this long? Well after my last relationship it was no secret that I took that break up pretty hard and it was a long rebuild. So for quite a while I was emotionally unavailable and I threw myself into my academic career (which really has paid off so far!) and therefore I haven’t had time for one, nor been on the market per say. Other reasons? Well a distinct lack of interest from any woman on this earth has made that decision to stay single, not exactly a difficult one.

I’ve been accused lately by family, friends and even work colleagues that I’m “too picky” or I should just “go on dates” as if that’s the real reason I’m single. I can understand their concerns, to an extent. However to be picky implies I’m turning away women every day, however much I’d love that to be the case, It isn’t. I don’t know if people are being ironic or they genuinely believe I have an army of fan girls lining up behind me. Which is flattering if you do think so highly of me, it is a shame that is not the case! Being picky is something that I think all people who’ve been single for a long time do end up suffering with however. After a break up you think no one will compare with your ex, then over time you realise how many faults you turned a blind eye to and how many compromises you made. Once you’ve healed from the wounds you then search for something to fill the void, be that another person, a hobby or a career. Somewhere along that path of self-discovery (if you actually take the time to understand what went on and to learn from the positives and negatives and really move on that is) you become completely happy with who you are. You understand and accept your own flaws, you know your good and bad points, your limitations and most importantly you have an idea where you’re heading in life and how you want to get there. You arrive at the happy single stage, which I’m at and have been for quite a while. The problem with this however is, if you’re like me and you’re completely satisfied with your achievements both personal and professional, if you have a small but strong nucleus of people around you who support and love you (both family and friends) then it makes it incredibly difficult for a girl to come along and enhance your life more than it is already. Some say that relationships are about making you a better person, or making you feel complete. If you feel you’re as good as you can be right now or extremely satisfied with your progress in your life, that’s some tough act to beat.

I used to be blinded by love in the sense of I was a hopeless romantic and thought I always needed a girl to bring out the best version of me. Yet I’ve progressed so much in these three years being single, both personally and professionally, on my own, that it’s hard for someone like me who is now sceptical of love to see any real benefits of it when I’m doing better than I ever have alone. I’m also tentative to enter into a new relationships because I enjoy the freedom of the single life. I can do what I want and how I want it without checking if it’s okay with another person.

However behind the very proud persona of which I do have when I look back at all of my achievements being single, all of the above is a factor to being single but it is very much a smoke screen and an easy excuse for me to pull out. One of the main reasons which underpins why I’m single despite the lack of interest, despite a real sense of fulfilment being single, all of that stems from me being completely and utterly terrified of entering another relationship and that’s not easy to admit. For the first time in years a girl actually showed a hint of interest in me last summer. At first I thought it was a joke (which actually shows you how bad my love life has become when a girl is into you and you think its part of some elaborate joke) and then I got to know her and found her very interesting. Completely different to what I expected and I was surprised, intrigued and for the first time in a long time after many nights texting till 3 a.m, had my brain started to work out if we’d suit together.

I analyse everything in this life, seriously my brain runs a trillion calculations constantly to run various scenarios. I deal with data and look for patterns and outcomes as my day job so this analysis is ever more present than when it comes to relationships. I do that because I’ve been burnt too many times now that if I’m going to invest my love in a girl (to which I give my entire heart to those I chose to enter into a relationship with) I want to know it will pay off, or at least have the highest chance to. I want to make sure that it won’t be for nothing. Looking back at my last relationship despite making some mistakes I genuinely don’t think I could have been a better boyfriend if a tried and when you genuinely believe someone is the one and you give your all to one person, to have it end abruptly and out of the blue is almost like busting a gut in a marathon to find out after running 25 miles the race is cancelled. All that effort for what? I was cautious before that about investing in love but now I’m even more so.

After being single for so long I find it easier to hide behind someone not hitting all of the tick boxes in my head because I’m utterly terrified to get lost in love again and when it crashes and burns to feel the way I felt after my last breakup. Despite people thinking I’m picky because someone doesn’t compare to the perfect girl in my head is a completely false illusion. The biggest thing they fail against is my fear of sharing my life with someone on that level again to be fucked over. I analyse things in life because I like knowing outcomes, percentages, risk and reward. It took me a whole six months to run things in my head before I got with my ex, I want to make sure it was the right decision, the right girl. Yet the agonising beauty of love is making that unknown step, to jump and see if you fly or if you fall. It’s that last percentage missing, the final missing piece of the puzzle which is gut instinct and well, hope. So if I use the example of the girl in the summer for which I won’t name but she did exist! Although she didn’t tick all of the boxes she ticked quite a lot and it was more than enough for me to give it a go despite being different, despite it probably not working out I could have at least tried. Instead it was all too easy to say I don’t think this would work and approach it with a very compartmentalised manner. Why? Truth was I was terrified. I am terrified. So I killed it off before it ever could have got off the ground. I’m yet to meet someone I’m comfortable in making that leap of faith with, to reassure to the best of their knowledge that it would work.

So one of the main reasons I’m single is because i’m scared. It’s all too easy to push something promising away than give it a go. Other reasons well, I have a very strong personality, some people like it and my views and what I stand for, others think I’m a monumental cock. Either way, the persona I have is confidence, resilience and someone who is happy in their own skin, all of which is true. Yet behind all of that is still that young kid who believed in love and somehow got lost along the way. Despite being cynical about love I do still hold onto the notion of pure love. I have experienced it before and that was a long time ago, way before Stacey, way back when Freddo’s were 10p, summer days were actually summer days, dial-up and Panda pops existed.   Does it bother me being single? No, not really because of all of the achievements and close relationships I have with friends and family which are very rewarding. Does it bother me that I’m yet to have successful and lasting relationship? Yes. Some would say I’m a successful person. I’ve achieved many many things in this life and usually when I set myself a dream or a goal then I will get it through hard work and a bit of luck. Does it nag me that despite being relatively successful in many things that love isn’t one of them? Hell yes it does. It’s always that tiny little piece of the puzzle missing, seemingly always just out of reach. That begins to affect you in a confidence way too. I’m a naturally very self-confident guy, I have a big ego, a big personality that is very complex which some find attractive. I’m very easy going and approachable and I’m the loyalist guy you’d ever meet but I’m wise enough to know I’m not the most handsome guy in the world and looks are never going to be a strong thing for me. I have hair the texture of a sponge/rug, my nose resembles a gentlemen’s appendage, I’m certainly not beach ready body and well in all honesty, I’m quite a boring person. All you have to do is look through my Facebook feed to see how much enjoyment I get from moaning about merseyrail, updating the weather or cycling.  I’m too self-confident for that to bother me, I accept my looks and how I probably come across as boring because that’s me. I’d rather have the public persona very similar to the real me than one that isn’t. Too much effort to be false!

Yet that still doesn’t make you feel a little gutted when hardly any girl takes an interest in you. For example I spent an hour on tinder swiping right for fun, not one match. That’s so tragic, its funny.  Or when you look at some people in relationships and you think what the hell? What am I doing wrong?

So I’m in the place now where I’m incredibly comfortable with single life, yet I’m in that stable part of my life now and time is ticking on, especially when you notice going to another family party without a girlfriend again and pretty much everyone you know is in a relationship, getting married, having kids and you’re here dunking malted milk biscuits into Nutella, covered in crumbs wondering why you’re not a prized catch. It is time to look outwards and try to embrace the idea of being in a relationship, even if it is a tentative peak. Yet I’m held back by the terrifying thought of putting myself on the market again and certainly the terrifying thought of someone coming along who I really like, for me to decide to go for it, have a relationship, give it my all again for it to end…again.

So I kind of hope this year bring a relationship but I don’t want that over the current success I’m having in my career. I’ll take a career over a relationship right now unless someone changes that. I’m not picky, I’m just scared but if Tinder is anything to go by I’ll be waiting a long time before I need to be scared about a relationship!

Hope you enjoyed reading and if you’re a single and feel the same as me, don’t worry you’re not alone! Just remember the law of averages and chance means someone will come along eventually…I think 😉

Until next time!

Toe

My Facebook status’ of the year and what a story it tells of 2015

Every year I do a blog looking back at the previous twelve months and this year will be no exception. I have been very busy despite being off work over the Christmas holidays and so that big full review blog will come within the next few weeks. However, as a stop gap I’ve gone through my facebook to pull out some of the stories from the year. So here are some of my most liked Facebook status of the year and what a story it tells on my 2015!!

January

Falling on people

January started off in typical Tony fashion, by making a complete ass-hat out of myself. Those who follow me on social media will know how much I go on about Merseyrail, be it delays, cancellations or retelling a funny story of something that I’ve seen. Often in life I observe many stories around me however once in a while I become the main character and not by choice! I still have an immense sense of shame reliving this memory and the exchange when I saw this woman many months later was just as awkward as the first encounter! The day got even worse when I knocked coffee over another person. I should never have left the house that day!

A day of being an accidental Ass-hat

A day of being an accidental Ass-hat

A terrible commute home

I’ve been travelling on Merseyrail for many years and i’ve witnessed everything from fights between ex couples, a psychotic man in a Turkey hat mooing at people and i’ve even witnessed a fat woman running away from the ticket inspectors but getting stuck in the aisle between the seats. I’ve seen it all. One thing I never expected nor ever wished to witness was a suicide on the train. This was probably one of the lowest points of the year. If I was in the middle of the carriage it wouldn’t have been as bad, I would have felt disconnected from it all. Sadly I had my back right up to the drivers cab. The noise of her poor scream and the feel of body being obliterated by a train moving at 70mph still haunts me. The moment, the image, the feeling all flood back every time I travel through Capenhurst station. Everytime the train runs through there I physically tense up expecting to feel the ferocious thud. Having to then sit in the pitch black for two hours due to the power being cut and being trapped while you can see bits of body stuff on the windows was far from pleasant. I really appreciated everyones texts and messages trying to keep my mind occupied. It saddens me more that  it was a suicide and he was only 16 years of age. I also felt really sorry for the driver, she had no chance to avoid or brake in time. I really didn’t want to step foot back on a train and it took me two days to pluck up the courage to get back on one, but it life moves on.

Sad day on Merseyrail

Sad day on the train home

February

Feb not a great deal happened but I did enjoy my mum and her twin, my uncle Mikes 50th birthday meal. Which according to my Facebook I clearly enjoyed all the meat served at a brilliant Brazilian steak house. For Feb however I chose to highlight my first academic conference. By this point I’ was three months into my new job as a research assistant and I was still very much finding my feet. My boss couldn’t make it and sent me along as his research assistant to take notes for him. Like all good academics and certainly as a student I perfected the art of looking like I know what was going on. The following status summed up my very fish out of water conference. My mind was certainly challenged as although this came under my remit of community energy/sustainability research, some of the level of detail made me wish I didn’t have a masters in Sustainability and Business but a Masters in Electrical engineering!

Feb1

Fish out of water

A silverlining however was the day after on my way to work to pass over and debrief my Professor on the days events I witnessed a real highlight on 2015. It deserves to be on an endless repeating cycle!

Feb2

Have you had a slip, trip or fall at work?

March

By time I got to March I already thought i’d have enough stories to last a year. How wrong was I! This story still has me in tears laughing because I still cannot believe it happened to me! I mean who the hell gets run over by a mobility scooter!? That’s right me, I do. It was the look in her eye of complete disregard for anything but her Bingo! Her lack of remorse for her hit and run felt like I was in a weird GTA game. Crazy bitch! I was in my own little world too until that was shattered along with my right leg!

Mrch1

A OAP hit and run

March continued when I graduated with my MSc in Sustainability for Community and Business and it was great to spend the day with my fellow classmates, my family and Chloe. It was touch and go as to whether I could afford to do the masters but family chipped in, believed in me and their continued support throughout and from my friends, made finishing with a merit a real honour. As proud as I was of myself, I was more proud for them as their investment in me paid off and they never stopped believing in me,even when I didn’t believe in myself. After a night I went home to continue the celebrations in the most Tony way like possible.

Mrch2

Master of Science

April

April was quite a quiet month but for the 6th year running i’ve won the Grand National! Still amazed when I won at 100/1 a few years ago but I won again in 2015. My avgeek roots never let me down! All the more weird was seeing a horseshoe in the bottom of my cup an hour before the race!

April

Avgeek horse for the win

May

May was my Birthday, the three queens event, EUROVISION!!!! and sadly the general elections. Real shame the Tories didn’t get a Eurovision nill points. It was warm but not hot and my yearly rant about people with tops off came out again and a weird dream. Oh and a very very rare thing of me breaking a social norm but as I suspected the UK will go to shit with Tory rule (for which I was correct) I exercised my right to protest and commit anarchy in the most mundane Tony like way. THUG LIFE. Yes that is sarcasm. Yes I did feel guilty and found it hard to sleep that night…

May1

No more cheese before bedtime

May2

Suns out guns out

June

June was a really hot month for us in the UK and it felt uncomfortable for everyone. After a long hot sweaty day the last thing I needed was a two hour delay on my commute home. After holding back endless abusive tweets and status updates their announcements made me angry. When I get angry I get sarcastic, but seriously if brooms actually flew that’d be so much easier!

June

Alternative transport with a side order of truth

July

I spent most of July in work, at airshows, cycling and enjoying life. Even when my hands blew up to triple the size after clearing nettles by hand from a welsh river for eight hours (don’t ask, long story. Just another day in the life of a research assistant!). However I finally got my contract renewed for another year and what an exciting opportunity I was given! I tried not to squeal with delight while I got the final confirmation via email while having tea at a harvester. Love my job I really do! 😀

July

Over the moon!

So after relief of being kept on and having my contract renewed I was feeling pretty happy with life. Students had left for the summer and my research was well and truly underway. However like all moments in my life just when you think the world is on your side, it throws you a challenge…one I failed! Miserably.

July2

Mancard lost.

 

August

I was well into my research in work but it also gave me some down time to write up my own personal research on carbon offsetting of the aviation industry. Like all good researchers we access a lot of information from different sources but for the life of me could I find this one little thing. I turned to the power of social media and it came up with the goods! It turns out an old classmate from high school had written about them for one of her assignments during her masters course, such a life saver. The actual spinny thing is about two sentences in my journal article but it needed to be in there!

Aug

Researching at its best!

of course August carried on with more merseyrail rants. Every day this chav couple would get on the train and argue or just generally be a twat. I was so annoyed with them! So very british I facebooked it and tutted in a disapproval at them without uttering a word…

Aug2-1

MC-UNT

and it continued with what has to be the weirdest conversation i’ve ever heard on the train and trust me there has been a fair few!

Aug3

Errrm yeah…that happened

but I also spoke of the unspoken in August. I was glad to know I wasn’t the only one who did this.

Aug4-1

Henry sucks, it’s his job!

September

Here I am fully established in my job as a lead research assistant writing about research loafs. Goddammit! Loads damn you!

Sep-1

loafs

September marked the fact that I had now been single for three years (I know. With all these stories and poor writing skills you’d think i’d be a good catch right? I mean I am confused as to why i’m still single! Yes sarcasm) and people were reminding me by telling me I was picky. That day I had eight people tell me so I decided to set them straight. I mean seeeeriously you guys i’m not asking for much here 😉

Sep1-1

Perfect woman

Also I continue to mess up in life in both a professional and a social environment…

Sep3

Fake it till you make it

October

October continued where September left off. Making a complete twat of myself…AGAIN! Made it worse I tweeted a few Taylor Swift videos and my love for her…to all staff and students. Yep. Just another day in the life of Tony.

Screenshot_2015-12-31-00-53-44-1

Why always me!?

If I were a Jedi Yoda would say “Ineptitude is strong with this one”

Screenshot_2015-12-31-00-54-46-1

Kill me now.

but the best thing I have witnessed all year award goes to this! Seriously if there wasn’t hidden cameras i’ll be amazed because it was comedy sketch show gold! Unbelievable yet amazing! My drink nearly came out of my nose just thinking of It hahaha.

Screenshot_2015-12-31-00-56-10-2

My moment of 2015

November

The day my personal research came back to haunt me…well I thought it would it actually turned out to be a pleasant experience!

Screenshot_2015-12-31-00-57-30-1

Cliffe, Tony Cliffe, Licence to fuck up.

It seems this status obviously a lot agreed with!

Screenshot_2015-12-31-00-59-04-1

Unexpected Item in the bagging area

December

As always failing at life continued into the festive season. My knee is still sore and I still think my jeans are wet.

Screenshot_2016-01-02-23-48-36-1

Taking it like a man

but thanks for reading this blog looking back at some of my most liked statuses of the year. They certainly outline what a story 2015 was and now often I mess up in this life! I shall leave you with this, I hope you all had a great 2015 and have an even better 2016!
Screenshot_2016-01-02-23-48-51-1.png

Let me know what your favourite one from 2015 was in the comments!

 

So Tony, what motivates you to write?

Answering the question of why I blog – An honest delve into the emotions that motivate me to write.

Recently someone messaged me who wanted to get into blogging and asked me what motivates me to write. I sat back and tried to think of a short answer but in truth there really wasn’t one. I write for many reasons, topics vary wildly, tone and style do too, it all depends on the subject of the blog in question at the time. I blog things because it helps me relax and get a lot of emotion out and I think that helps with my writing. I find writing a very relaxing and empowering thing to do. It’s also a scary thing to do putting your work and your opinions out there for all to see. I have a big old creative brain and I’ve always had that ever since I was child, I listen to way too many movie themes and I dream up loads of scenarios in my head or replay things that have happened. I have a photographic memory so I can still taste, feel, smell and see in perfect detail all of my memories and feel all of the emotions. Example if you asked me about one of the many times I broke my leg a sharp pain makes me wince as it shoots up in shin bone. I can still taste the garlic of the anaesthetic and the feel of it running through my body when I had my operation to remove my tumour from my shin. Eugh shudders. I find the process of describing all that imagery and feelings onto paper so you can see and feel what I feel, a challenge. When you really enjoy it or you get many positive comments or views from a blog it feels very rewarding.

I very rarely go to people for advice, I often find a session on the bike to clear my head or a logical sit down with myself to thrash out all the scenario’s always solves most things. You know it works well because when you all come to me with your problems, you know how stoic and logical and rational I am when I offer you advice. I differ no differently with myself. The only difference is (not to blow my own trumpet) I offer you lot good, sound advice, but never any good advice to myself. It does actually make me laugh at how emotion informs my writing yet very rarely my decisions! (Note to self I am trying to be less of a robot!).

Luckily due to my stoic personality which is a big plus point for many things, one thing is that my emotions very rarely differ from the centre.I’m never too happy nor too sad. I like it that way because despite my exterior and Facebook status being mundane and enjoying the simple things in life, behind that persona is a very passionate person. Yes I know you have just spat your drink out at the sentence but it is true! I have a brilliant control over my emotions which I feel is one thing I am known for. However boring that sounds or comes across in real life, i find it good because I know myself inside and out. It’s a known quantity. I analyse everything like a super computer and that’s got me very far in life. Knowing your emotional state and having a firm grasp on your emotions is a skill set I’ve homed over the years. Emotions can cloud your judgement when logic and reason offer a much clearer view. Trust me it takes a lot of control when you loved your best friend for many years, to keep that hidden and offer objective relationship advice when she asked, despite it always being detrimental to myself. I had many years to compartmentalise things growing up!  However the only times I do differ from the centre is when I’m in love or so angry that when I killed you off in my latest novel, I really wish it was real…I’m just kidding…or am i? 😉

If you’ve ever been loved by me or you’ve been on the end of my quite fierce anger (I am a typical Taurus, it takes an awful lot to get me angry but  you really don’t want to wake the bull by pushing too far!), you’ll see how deep my emotions run. If you’re one of the lucky few that I’ve ever loved, you’ll see how that usual boring Tony is actually a little crazy and that I would do absolutely anything for you. I’m quite a selfish person, let’s be honest. I like doing a lot of things for myself yet when I love you, it’s all about you and only you. That passion is important for the bedroom too. I can’t lay claim to sleeping with many women but I never got any complaints. One thing many guys forget is it’s a two way street and the more you devote to your partner in the bedroom the more rewards you receive. Yes, yes I know that’s not a statistically viable sample size of one…

That’s one reason I’m actually scared to get into a new relationship because when I’m in love I can’t control that emotion. I literally love you with all of my heart and there is no controlling or keeping a lid on that. That’s why I take ages to make sure you’re the one before I commit because I want to know my effort and giving you my heart won’t be wasted. I am terrified to be hurt again and that sadly is the truth…

What I’m trying to say here is before I do go on a tangent about being single and before I go into too much detail about my antics in the bedroom, for which I actually have some very romantic, passionate stories if I were to recall them and well some quite frankly horrendous stories worthy of a comedy film not a porno too. I mean the night I lost my virginity is a blog in itself which will never see the light of day because I don’t think I can see passed the tears of laughter at how embarrassing it was. I can still see those eyes of disappointment from her. Emotions certainly ran high that night but passion was replaced by shear nerves ha-ha. Oh dear lord. Move on Tony!

What I’m trying to say is when I write, despite being in the centre of the feelings scale, I tap into those vibrant emotions that run deep and that helps in my writing and informs it. When I can’t go out on a ride blogs become that release valve. It’s no surprise that my most viewed blog posts have been about relationships or love or in the case of the Merseyrail blog post that has been viewed 34,000 times in 94 different countries, anger! Well sarcasm too! They’re some of my favourite blogs to reread because it really is all my emotion put into them. Often people say they read my blogs, those emotionally driven blogs anyway in my voice which I do find funny. Oddly they’re always my best written pieces too!

Although emotions help me to write I’m not always driven by the blogs of anger or most of the time love and emotions. I also blog when I feel information is worth reading about, such as my latest trip to Ireland. More so the plight of rural Ireland and my feelings of witnessing modern day life slowly creeping into part of the world it was yet to lay its greasy fingers on but also showing you the beauty and kindness of the people I met there. I always enjoy giving you glimpses into my life. Those blogs about friends and family are very personal to me so I love sharing them with you all. More often than not however it’s because something has happened in my life that needs to be shared and it’s often hilarious and at my expense! Those who follow me on Facebook and Twitter will see the absolutely crazy things that happen to me on my way to work or just in general life. I mean if I have to suffer all of that randomness I’m sure as hell gonna’ share it all! Ah I’m still laughing and cringing at the same time at some of the stuff that’s happened over the years.

I also blog as a way of a public diary. I often read back blogs to remember things but more so to look back and reflect on things and I can see exactly my thought processes and emotions at that time. It’s effectively a photograph of words, capturing a moment in time. I don’t know if you find it fascinating but I certainly do. I do hope you do enjoy the highs on lows of my life and what it’s like to be inside of my brain and see the world through my eyes! Someone the other day said “I know that bit in your blog was aimed at me” and they’re correct. Some people appreciate that, other throw a hissy fit and ask for it to be taken down. Truth hurts sadly sometimes! Some blogs within all the emotion and creative writing have a purpose. Subtle or in some cases not so subtle hints to people. They’ll either be hidden messages, unspoken apologies, and the ever so subtle as a sledge hammer fuck you bitch. Or just simply me playing things out in my head of what I wish would happen without ever alluding it to you in person due to many reasons. Blogs are complex and fun just like everyone’s life is. The beauty about those types of blogs are they may be directed at someone but they could really be anyone but if the shoe fits, lace that bitch up and wear it!

I make a lot of mistakes in life and I learn a lot of lessons from them. I certainly have been in many situations to blog about! When you’re so completely sure of yourself you don’t mind being 100% honest in your blogs. Sure I do take a risk to be so open with the things I do say on my blogs but that’s me. What you see is exactly what you get. So when I’m going through a terrible patch I don’t mind telling you all when I’m defeated, angry or depressed because when I’m at my best I like to share the good times too. Above all of that I know there are many people who have different personas in real life and social media. I’ve gotten to know many people over the years and broken down many walls and seen the real person behind all the walls that some people will never see of that person. They’re scared to let those walls down. What you read on my blogs is pretty much me in person.

So to answer the question why do I blog? One main reason is those mistakes I make, those things that I see happening, those things that need to be said, those lessons I’ve learnt. They’re all situations, lessons, feelings you may be facing and I’m just a normal guy trying to write down how I bumble through this life. If my advice or my situation aligns to yours and you can take something away from it, even If it’s just a laugh, good. If you went through a breakup and felt as bad as I did and feel lost. Brill, you’re not alone, you’ll get through it like I did. If you’re on a train while a psycho dressed a turkey eyes you up on the train, you’ll be fine because you’ve seen me deal with it! If you’ve been inspired to visit the places I’ve visited because you’ve read my blogs of that place, even better! If my blogs about family and friends has made you pause for a second to appreciate your own then awesome. If you’re a hopeless single 23 year old who has no clue after being single for a few years, while everyone you know is getting married, having kids, buying houses, have their life planned out and you’re just well me. I hope you don’t feel alone. I hope these blogs bring you comfort, education and most importantly I really do hope they make you laugh!

So to answer the question of why I blog. It’s because of you my readers and it’s also for my own sanity. Always blog from the heart! They say the best writers write about what they know. I know my own life and how utterly clueless I am in this big world! So always write from the heart because the heart never lies.

Until next time!

Toe.

Ireland Trip Part 2:Change of views, family and coastal walks

After a good night’s sleep in a bedroom that has barely changed in all the time I’ve been coming here, I felt refreshed and ready for the day ahead. Nan’s full Irish breakfast is always a good way to start the day. My Grandad often says I should come over more often as it’s the only time Nan will make his breakfast for him! There is something about Irish White pudding that just goes so incredibly well with bacon in a sandwich. Delicious!

However today was not about me revelling in the delights of Irish cooking (to which there are many delights I assure you!) today was about spending some quality time with my grandparents. Let’s not pull any punches here, they’re getting old. They’re into their 80’s now, not long had some major back surgery and the recovery hasn’t been as quick as they’d hoped. They’re both in pain and it’s showing and one of the reasons I make the effort to come over a couple of times a year is because I know I have much less visits left on the cards than I used to have. I want to make the most of my time with them while I can. Many people are very fortunate to pop down to their grandparents every week. I never got that luxury. Not when they live in another country. So your relationship consists of phone calls and then short visits. So I’m always mindful to maximise my time with them, share my life with them as much as they share theirs with me. I love all of their stories, they’ve visited over 40 countries, they’ve seen the world, and they offer great support and advice.

Even though I’ve heard some of the stories a billion times I still sit and listen as something new always comes up, another layer to the story that wasn’t there before. I’m still fascinated by my grandad’s stories of the war. Despite thinking that watching Spitfires dogfighting over Liverpool with German Me109’s with stray bullets flying around you while you watch is awesome in your head. They very much come across as quite terrifying and his stories of his service for the army in Jungle warfare are as exciting, scary and detailed as the best action thriller. The Gurkhas he is forever in debt for, for their protection in the jungle.

So today, with them both not as active as they once were due to their backs, it was nice to be invited along to the “men’s shed” with my grandad. It’s a new initiative in the village, where retired men can get together to build things, have a place to chat and meet up. I think it’s a wonderful idea and to come along to such a place was very rewarding. The amount of knowledge and expertise in the room is amazing and despite all being later on in life, in their eyes they’re teenagers. I found it very funny too, as typical Irish some of the things they would come out with deserves a blog in its own right! It did feel like I was in an episode of Father Ted! Yes I was every five minutes asked would I like more tea…

One thing I took away from that visit to the men’s shed was a young man called Aaron. He was only a few years older than me, at a push, has learning difficulties, not much family around, some say he was in an accident as a child, others say he was born with it. The men’s shed invited him in as one of their own, to be a friend to him and give him a place to fit in. The men’s shed were given the task this winter of building the crib for the local church and on the day that I visited they were planning how to make it and what it would look like. Aaron was instantly, and I could see it in his face, pride beaming away, instantly took me through all of their plans. He took me on a tour of the facilities, took me on a tour around the Church, explaining in very accurate details how he pictured this crib would play out from his ideas in his head, to how they would look in real life. There was a real pride from him in the way he spoke about the project and the men’s shed. Almost akin to an artist pitching his ideas to prospective buyers. To me, when I arrived it was just a meeting place for older dudes to hang out and to build a crib for the church for Christmas. Nothing mind-blowing, at least not to me. Yet, this project and place was this guys home, he felt for once like he has responsibility, for once people here treated him as an equal. He has learning difficulties but it doesn’t make him any less of a human than anyone else. Why people think that is beyond me. He told me with such pride how he had finally been given a job “washing the big pans” in a local takeaway. His smile was a wide as the river Liffy. For me because I’m a dick wouldn’t even bother myself to do that, at a push I certainly wouldn’t be smiling about it. For him it was as if he had won the lottery.

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Me and Aaron. Very proud of the Men’s shed.

It amazed me, it humbled me and I went away that night lying awake in bed and had to re-evaluate my outlook on things. To not take things for granted and to be grateful for the little things. His passion he showed I can only describe as a child before Christmas or me when I talk about my research or cycling. That’s almost frowned upon in everyday life now. It’s a real shame, I think we can all go back to being enthused by the little things. With a very firm handshake and thank you from him to me for showing me around (despite me repeatedly telling him it is me who is thanking him for the tour! Again that struck a cord with me. He was so thankful for someone listening to him to give him the time of day. That to him should be the norm, not a rare gift) I left with my grandad after a few more hours with the guys there having spent a lovely day with my grandad and his friends. I may have left one mark on the project and that was my suggestion of using modelling artificial grass for the roof of the crib. Something they hadn’t thought of, so it is nice to know a little piece of Tony Cliffe’s idea is a part of the Men’s Shed 2015 Ashbourne church Christmas crib!

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The cribs outline and instructions

 

I was very touched by the day’s events and some very enlightening conversations and stories with my grandparents and before long it was 11pm and it was time for bed.

The next day I woke up with both my grandparents still asleep. The snores from both of them rattling through the wall of my bedroom as if a jackhammer was digging up the road outside. I elected to skip a shower that morning. A, as I didn’t want to wake them and B. climbing up a very large hill I was going to get pretty smelly anyway!

After Jam on toast I waiting for my Aunt Susan and Uncle Dave to come pick me up. I was really looking forward to today for a few reasons. Howth head, is a stunningly beautiful place in Ireland and the pictures throughout this blog will show that. I’m a Geographer, I love nature and the outdoors and walking in those environments is very recharging for the soul. Especially after a very stressful and busy few months in work it’s nice to cut yourself off from the busy world of deadlines and emails and just drink in nature’s beauty. More than that, I was really looking forward to spending a quality day with my Aunt and Uncle. Something I don’t think I’ve ever had a day on my own with them, I’m either with family or over with my dad, so to just spend a day with the two of them was really really nice!

 

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Stunning Howth head © Anthony Cliffe

 

Susan and Dave have the best sense of humour, extremely down to earth and are two people who work incredibly hard and have their heads screwed on. So despite the amazing scenery, it was really nice to spend a day getting closer to them both and laughing an awful lot! To have two locals as a tour guide on this walk was invaluable and I just about kept up with the pair!  Howth head is a stunning place and a brilliant walk if you ever get the chance. From sweeping Cliffs that drop into a deep emerald waters of the Irish Sea, to dense and colourful forests that suddenly give way to shimmering marbled outcrops that overlook the city of Dublin and the bay, to the popping greens of the fields. It’s amazing! A Geographer and a photographers dream.

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Amazing scenery © Anthony Cliffe

 

Even the typical Irish weather couldn’t dampen the spirits and made it feel even more like an adventure and blimey it was some walk! Close to 10 miles we walked and up some bloody steep climbs and some scary cliff walks! I loved it. I’ve been going to Ireland for many many years and I have to say that day was right up there with the best.

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©Anthony Cliffe

 

 

Just when I think the day couldn’t get any more awesome they took me to the quirkiest pub I have ever been to for tea and soup after the walk. It’s almost impossible to describe it. In fact I can’t! It’s called the Dog House and well you could be a traveller anywhere in the world when you were in there. Such a cool place!

I finished the day off with my nans famous Steak and Guinness pie. What more can you ask for!?

My final full day was spent driving through horrendous weather to head up to the boarder of Northern Ireland to see my great Aunt Essie. I always muse to myself at all of the glacial features there, so many drumlins! It’s only then that i realise how much being a Geography academic turns you into a nerd but ah well, I digress! She’s my Dad’s favourite Aunt and he would spend all of his summers on the farm with them all. In fact the Grays have been on that plot of land for hundreds of years. I love going “up country” because it really is like going back in time. SO remote and I mean remote! It was only a few years ago they stopped washing in the well because well (pardon the pun) modern civilisation just didn’t reach this part of the world. It still amazes me how basic it is there in a developed country. Crazy. It was the first time back since my great Uncle Tommy died. I wrote a blog about him when he did pass and it still felt like his presence was in the house, I certainly couldn’t sit in his chair where he always would sit.  As we backed out of the driveway after a few hours with her, I could picture in my mind Tommy backing us out, with that full head of hair and rosy cheeks, puffing away on his pipe or cigarette and waving like he always has done. My dad has recently come back from Ireland and it was nice to know he thought the same as he was backing out of the driveway too. The biggest thing about those who live there is they haven’t been corrupted by the modern world or celeb culture. They’re just real down to earth genuine people who cook THE BEST food around. Seriously if you want home, traditional cooking, where everything you eat has been grown within sight. That is the place to go. Still makes me laugh of the story when they said to my dad, “Fancy some chicken tonight?”
“Yeah sure”
“Okay, pick one”…You can’t get much fresher than that! Despite on that trip eating my own body weight in potatoes at every meal, Irish spuds are the best.

How long they have left there I don’t know? What will happen to the site that my family have been on for hundreds of years now there is no one really to take it on and up keep it? I don’t know and it’s a worry. The house that has been there for centuries is falling down, the forest was sold off, and farming in rural Ireland doesn’t support those who worked it for years anymore. I’m a proud family man and to see such heritage be lost is quite sobering. In the future i want to hopefully take a partner and our kids there one day and say, “Look part of your family grew up here, your granddad spent his summers here and so did I”. I want them to be apart of that and not look at a new estate or a pile of rubble. I genuinely fear i’ll never get to share that. Sadly modern day life has arrived and it has hit hard. Each time I come here I notice new builds of the rich city folk who’ve built mansions and large second homes on the surrounding land. Sure, the roads are still full of cattle and tractors who think they’re on a race track but there are more and more cars, more and higher end cars at that, appearing. It’s a real shame. That one place that was untouched by modern life is sadly dying away with each passing of those who live there.

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View from her garden © Anthony Cliffe

 

Despite that being quite a sobering thought it is one of positive, at least for me this trip was. It was a trip were I could switch off and spend some quality time with family. To reconnect with the simplistic beauty of nature and to remember a life outside of social media and my smartphone. Strengthening bonds between family members is important and above all cherishing those moments you have with them. Although I hope they all have many years left in them and I’m sure they will have, you do have that horrible thought in your head that as you step on the plane and you whisper goodbye to Ireland for a few months as you climb into the clouds back home. Is that the last time you’ll see them? Despite how sad that is, it makes those memories and the moments even more special and I hope I have many many more memories and moments to share with them. Especially my grandparents who have supported me through everything and without them I certainly wouldn’t be in the position I am in today.

I’m back over in a couple of months where I’ll start a brilliant solo adventure to Canada. To see family in Toronto and then to travel right across the country to see Robbie my cousin, one of my best friends growing up and when he moved out to Canada from Ireland a few years ago I’ve been dying to go see him, Nicky, Luke and now baby Oliver. Yes I am so jealous he lives there! I’ll get over there one time but for now a week and a bit will have to do!

So remember always cherish time with family and go visit Ireland! You won’t regret it! Please click on the thumbnails below for full size images of some of the shots I took on this trip! Please comment too if you want to 🙂

Until next time.

Toe

 

2014…a year of rebuilding and success!

As customary at the end of every year I always do a review blog of how I feel the year has gone. I promise I’ll do a really fun one before the end of the year, especially as I’ve compiled a list of all the funny and crazy things that have happened this year! From being chatted up by a 60 year old woman to being handed a wedding present as the groom to a wedding I wasn’t meant to be apart of. But for now here is an emotive blog looking back on this year which has been a year of vindication and achievement!
2012’s review was about a brilliant year and then an extremely sad ending, for the most part of 2013, it was a massive struggle and it wasn’t until the very few final months where things started to look up.
Last year on the whole was difficult for numerous reasons of which I’ve blogged to death at the time. It was my philosophy that in 2014 I was going back to basics. I’d seen so many doors shut in 2013, in quite brutal fashion at times that I had one door that opened for me and that was my masters. I knew that I had to do everything to pass it and pass it well, it was something to cling onto in a year which was pretty dire. I’d been knocked down in 2013 and I found it difficult to rebuild. I would get so far, for something else to happen to knock me back again. So I said to myself at the start of the year, lets cut everything back. I’d seen when I was in a difficult time the false friends disappear; some I thought would never leave my side but did. I was fine with that eventually because I found who the true friends where and I’m glad that they stuck through it because they now share in my success and it has been a very, very successful year.
I wanted to cut back on all the negativity and heartache of the year before, the false friends were gone, I had to get my head down and smash the masters. That was my number one goal. Pass my masters. No romance this year, I didn’t want any of that crap to happen again.
I’ve gone through dips in my life but never as bad as 2013 so to strip myself back to basics was really quite revolutionary for me. The end of 2013 things started to look up and I felt more positive. 2014 was a year of consolidation and a fresh start and it worked.
I type here now having got a distinction in my Masters thesis, a Merit overall, I’ve presented my undergraduate research to Parliament and was in the top 20 of all undergraduates in the UK. I’ve had my book published with brilliant sales. I’m getting my masters dissertation published next year in an academic journal. I came 28th out of 80 in my first ever timed cycled race and my Merseyrail blog went viral to 97 countries with over 36,000 views! I now have a brilliant job doing something I absolutely love and have always wanted to do, which was to be a lecturer and academic researcher. Above all I have an amazing small network of friends and family around me and I feel really grateful to come out of the otherside.
I look back on 2014 as a very important year in my life. It’s not about how hard you get hit, it’s about how you get back up and be better than before. A lot of that has to do with my masters and that is something that I am immensely proud of as this rebuild of myself was built around that. It was a tough goal to achieve but I did it, and I knew it would open up so many doors for me if I got it. Fundamentally I look back on that with a real sense of pride, not for just my own achievement but the vindication of people’s belief in me. I’ve always been one to project an outward confidence and self-belief in myself, to not have that in 2013 was something I think that really threw me. So when people club together to find money to put you through a masters course and believe in you to do well Is something inspiring. It’s especially inspiring when you jumped at the masters through desperation and had no idea how it would turn out or if you were good enough for it. It’s weird how things work out in life, all those little things, little decisions so insignificant at the time all come together for a reason.
There was that pressure all throughout the year of wanting to do well so I could go back to my family and friends, my investors in my future and say hey, thank you, your investment paid off, here I am. I’ve done it!
To complete a masters course is extremely difficult and I have a real sense of pride to have climbed that mountain. I have to say a huge thank you to my fellow masters gang! We were all in the same boat and it was really quite an interesting journey! I found myself a really good set of friends in them and I don’t think I’d have wanted to have shared that journey with anyone else. I’m really glad that we all passed and you should all be immensely proud of your achievements! Not only are you brilliant people, but you’re also brilliantly clever people too and I can’t wait to be reunited with everyone and celebrate next year at our graduation!
Selfishly I have to look back on the year and give myself a big pat on the back. Although friends and family and other people have been immensely helpful this year, for which I will mention later but end of the day it was me who wrote the essays, it was me who worked my absolute arse off this year to make things better. Opportunity knocks but only if you work hard to build the door. I take such pride from that this year, not in a smug way like I would have in the past but in a real, you know what Tony, Good on you mate!
I’m a people person and as much as I don’t like to show it I take criticism to heart, especially from those I love or look up to. When people leave your life it always comes across to me like they don’t believe in you anymore and some people said stuff to the tone of “You’re never going to be much”. So when people left my life in 2013 and jumped off this ride I would have, at the start of the year, done a big speech about well HA! Look at me know bitches! But it actually makes it much sweeter to let my success as a person do the talking. I see these people on Twitter/Facebook and look at their fake happy statuses and hear the backstabbing stories and inner turmoil through various people and wonder how lonely their life must be and how bitter it’s become. Most people take it at face value but after being so close to these people I can read between the lines.
Very recently one or two have come back, realising they made a mistake, their I’m sure actually quite sincere apologies but that ship sailed a long time ago and that makes me feel absolutely amazing. I didn’t jump into bed with another person or friendship to make myself feel better, I didn’t hit the bottle, push my real friends away and go off with fake friends to bury my head in the sand to not deal with my own problems. No, I put my head down, I was kind, polite and friendly to all those who were to me and I worked hard, I worked so god-dam hard this year, harder than I ever have in my life and now I reap the rewards of my success. It could have been very easy to turn into a right twat this year but it takes a lot to do it the hard way, to reassess yourself and rebuild yourself and be the best person you can be.
That’s where my pride comes from this year, it’s pride and thanks to absolutely everyone who believed in me and where I was going. You guys sit on my shoulders now as I move forward with my life, having achieved what I’ve achieved this year and that is down to you, true friends and family for your belief in me which I will always remember and repay. I’m not just talking about the big players either such as family and close friends (which I am and always will be grateful for your support) but those few kind words from people I haven’t talked to in years, or just on Facebook it all adds up.
I started 2014 with the feeling that I was not the person I wanted to be or could be, I felt like life had not panned out how I planned it. The vision and goals I always had and how I always wanted it to work out didn’t happen, the goal posts changed. I’d spent a year getting kicked to the kerb and having my face in the mud. I looked up from the ground at the mountain. I was down here and I needed to be there at the top of the mountain. New goals, new outlook on life.
That self belief that I will get there if I worked hard burned within me, you guys helped me along the way with a hand and a cheer and a whisper of encouragement. Slowly I plugged away, keeping my head down and working extremely hard and now I stand at the summit, in the sunlight and I look down on the path from the mountain. I take a deep breath of air and I look forward to the next mountain, the next goal.
Next year is another big year, a consolidation year continues. It’s time to continue this rebuild, to be better than I was yesterday but not better than tomorrow. I’m going to continue this with those who stuck by me. I feel as if I’ve done you proud this year and I feel proud personally to see where I was to where I am now.
I don’t know where next year will take me but I look forward to the adventure.
Hard work always pays off in the end.
I’ll always have haters in my life, I’ll always have people who leave and I’ll always have those who try to push me down to climb the ladder of their own agendas but for everyone of you there is a ten of them, the ones who burn brightly in the nights sky, the good ones.
So, 2015 I’m ready for you! Let’s make it a good one.
Happy New Year guys! I hope 2015 is a great year for you!
Until next time
Toe
x

Mistakes, Lessons learned and a new blog!

Well it’s been a while since I’ve wrote this kind of blog, probably back to my “Don’t be the ship heading for the rocks” one years ago. However while it’s fresh in my mind I thought I better write it. But before I go any further, I want to welcome you to my new blog site! It seems Blog.com my old host has been having a lot of trouble lately and has been down for over a week, I suspect its game over for them sadly! So bare with me until I get my head around this new site!

This week has been interesting to say the least and from it there have been a lot of things that have got me thinking. I’m always one that seeks out constant improvement in everything I do and after realising some of my own mistakes and watching a fair few being made by others this week, I think it’s only right that I discuss them in the hope that you may avoid them in the future!

So this week, I facilitated an argument between two best friends and a friend that lasted pretty much for about 7 hours. To say I felt like the UN Security Council is an understatement and I certainly wasn’t over the Bam Ki-Moon until it was sorted. Turns out everyone in that argument, including me, made some mistakes and personally I realised a mistake on my part for a tiff between me and my wife.

Now everyone makes mistakes and it’s impossible to make them all yourself, so it’s always good to learn from others.
1. Communication

So I thought I’d start with the first one and one that I harp on about all the time when people come to me for relationship advice or friendship advice. I always say communication is the key because it is.

If I had a pound for every time someone argued because they got the wrong end of the stick of something, jumped to conclusions in a heartbeat and got angry at someone because they didn’t know the full facts… well I’d be rich…but then I’m also guilty of that myself so I’d probably have to give it all back.

So all the arguments or tiffs this week could have been dampened in the first place, if everyone communicated. Case in point, this week’s trio argument. People jumping to conclusions to quickly and then failing to talk to said person about it. Instead they discuss it with their friends  without bothering to talk to the person(s) to get to the bottom of it (again I have been guilty of that in the past too and was guilty of the conclusion thing this week).  If everyone from the start was open and communicated about their feelings, their problems ,then the whole 7 hour argument would have just been a minor heated discussion. When everyone realised they all had the wrong end of a horribly timed coincidence, I’m pretty sure everyone felt a bit foolish of how it was all dealt with. However if we all communicated at the start then we wouldn’t have let it get so big!

Communication is also massive in relationships, both in love and in friendships. I like to think I’m close to 98% open at all times to all my close friends and when I have a girlfriend I like to think I’m usually up to that standard with them to. I’m sure you’ve guessed from my blogs I am a kind of heart on the sleeve guy and I usually put everything out there, until exceptions which I shall come onto.

However what I’m trying to say is, I think a few more people should be like me and be open, especially if you’re in a relationship or in a close friendship. If you’re in a relationship or have a tiff currently with a best friend, I guarantee you’ve ranted and expressed all your feelings to another person but haven’t confronted the actual person over it? Many hours I’ve sat on a phone or at a computer screen listening to friends go on about their boyfriend/girlfriend not doing this or doing something that makes them angry, but they never say to that person what it is. How do you expect to solve an issue if all parties don’t know what is wrong? Plus when everyone talks things through, it will make your relationship stronger because you can both work on your flaws.

Now I know, personalities and personal circumstances play a big part in this and I understand it’s not always black and white. Although I wear my heart on my sleeve most of the time, I hold an incredible amount of information back to myself. I help countless people and offer advice but I rarely seek it. I only open up if I really can’t deal with things on my own and that’s only when something truly bad has happened, usually I deal with everything else on my own. It’s not that I don’t value people’s advice or a lack of trust because it isn’t. The ‘bubble’ of close people around me I trust 100% and value their advice a lot to but, I know what people can handle and what they can’t. I have broad shoulders; I carry around a lot of my own baggage and a hell of a lot of other peoples because I can. I have the mental capacity and the personality that accommodates it. For others you’d probably find it difficult to deal with everyone else’s problems while dealing with your own, but I’m used to it over the years :P. Plus I feel guilty if I off load on someone who is dealing with their own problems (but like I said don’t hesitate to keep coming for advice, I do offer it free of charge… well maybe a coffee 😉 ).

So bringing this back to this week, my beautiful wife lately has been going through a hell of a lot of crap from life. Once again I am in complete awe at how she keeps it all together, even if the seams are held together with selotape. You’re one brave girl ace moose! However, this lack of communication and well my personality trait caused a small tiff a few weeks ago which was only resolved the other day. I love helping people, more than ever when it comes to the people I love. I cannot bare to see the ones I care about upset, so I’ll try my best to help anyway I can and maybe it’s an ego thing, every guy wants to be the noble knight in shining armour. I see problems through to the end so I will keep going at it until that person is happy again. However, sometimes just like a true Taurus, I tackle it in a bullish way. I get annoyed at how some people hold back feelings and thoughts, especially with someone who shares a 100% mutual trust. Because I’m an open person I forget very easily why some people don’t open up and then when they don’t ,I get even more frustrated at myself because I’m sitting on my hands, watching someone I love being upset and I feel like I can’t do anything because the walls are up. When you want to knock down the walls and open up the door to see a smile, it can be quite frustrating. But this constant head on approach can be quite smothering and it’s most certainly one of my flaws.

However…if, like I should have done all those weeks ago been a little less selfish and a little less bullish, I don’t think we would have had our tiff (not an argument, because in 8 years we’ve never argued!). Sometimes it’s good to take a step back and think of why someone has done something in the way they have or recognise earlier that they need some space to sort things out and that when they’re ready they’ll come to you. I was guilty of that recently and she was guilty of taking things out on me when she didn’t mean to and not opening up about what was going on inside her head. So apologies all-round were given : ) . But see another communication lesson learned here, if she said this is what’s up but I need some space to work it out in my head first, then I wouldn’t have tried to be a knight on a charging bull, even if she knows my intentions are always for good 😛

 

2. Don’t dry your dirty laundry in public

This one is a mistake I learned from years ago, yet some people still make it and this isn’t an attack on said person because I’ve spoken to them about it and we both knew how when you’re angry you don’t exactly think straight! This mistake is when we put our angry thoughts to a Facebook status without either, A. Having the full facts and B. usually not even facing the person you’re angry at in person.

Like I said I was massively guilty of this in 6th form. After all I set up this blog in year 12 to vent my anger at numerous people in my form and the truly idiotic clickyness and damn right injustice thrown my way from people in that place. Even today I hold a strong distaste too many of them, I doubt they’ve ever changed, in fact I know that! Insert smug face here.

Getting your angry message out in the open can work for you sometimes and others it can slap you in the face. When I started those blogs in year 12 I was backed into a corner and I was under attack day after day in a vicious environment of rumours, back stabbing and not being able to trust anyone but myself. When you try and stand up for yourself in an environment like that it’s very hard to do it and survive. I knew if I got my message out there, got people on my side, I knew the tables would turn in my favour. People love to read gossip and hardship. With each new blog, the number of readers grew, the hatred from those people increased (which fuelled more blogs) but the support and comments after every blog for me grew and grew. People began to see what I was facing, supported me and ultimately won. I big part of me still thinks I was elected as head boy on the back of those blogs, there was no bigger advertisement of “I fight for what is right and stand up for what I believe in” than those blogs. But before you go looking, I’m pretty sure those old blogs are long since gone into cybernet landfill. That’s because although they were hilariously sarcastic and damn right truthful, let’s face it it’s not very clever hiding behind a keyboard but when you’re in a corner you do what you can.

So, sometimes it works, other times you just feel like a grade A tosser. Case in point a few months ago I was still raw over my break up, I see my ex all cosy with some guy on Facebook, she gets frapped and the status could be seen as something more than it was , I put two and two together (Okay I’m not 100% at fault here, I’m sure many would have at least thought the same as I did). I was angry and disappointed and took to Facebook to rant about it. At the time like the person did the other day when you’re angry you just want to shout it all over Facebook, look like the down trodden poor person who should be in the right. When the anger wears off you realise you just looked like a massive bell-end and someone who jumped to the wrong conclusions, you end up looking like a crazy person and you show absolutely no respect for that person and everything you went through. So when my ex handled it like an adult, something which I failed to do, when she came and had a quiet word with me in private, explained the situation (full respect to her, I mean most wouldn’t have done that. So thank you) and allowed me to apologise at how unbelievably stupid I had been over absolutely nothing. I went home after uni that day with my tail between my legs, licking my wounds of how I was a complete and utter floppy Phallus.

Back to this week, this person ranted and raved on Facebook, accusing people, left right and centre before confronting the people involved. It’s not big, it’s not clever and when no one responds, you just look like a crazy person ranting on Facebook about something nobody knows nothing about. But like I said I’m not having a go at this person because hell I’ve done it before and no matter how good our intentions or reasons are at the start for the rant, when the dust settles we just realise that a social media warfare, no-one wins and usually, if the people are anything like my ex, will win hands down with a dignified adult like response in private and you’ll just be left feeling like a tit. Plus a person who rants about you on Facebook also runs the risk of being publicly humiliated if you come up with a brilliant counter argument. So it’s not worth it! 😛

Final notes – We give a lot of leeway to those we love but how much is too much?

So all this week, especially facilitating that three way argument and realising my patience with the tiff with Sarah I realised that those that we love, we really let them get away with more than just a normal person would have. That’s part and parcel of love tho I guess, you do compremise, well you should! You are more inclined to give an extra inch and benefit of the doubt here and there, and when you have a close relationship built upon 8 years of marriage, trust and love, you’re always going to give more rope than someone you’ve just met. It’s good to be patient and to give where you can because it helps and especially when the two sides apologise, realise both are special to each other, you thank yourself for not walking away and for sticking it out. We are anyway. It’s what best friends do: P

But with this argument thing, I won’t go into too much detail because their love life has nothing to do with you guys but It certainly tests the ideas of how much leeway and time does one person get and to what point do you realise it’s time to walk away. Sometimes the hardest but the most right of things to do is to walk away from someone you love. Saying you give up sometimes is not a weakness, it can be one of the strongest and bravest things you can ever do. My ex broke up with ages ago because she wanted to concentrate on dissertation and some other things in the future and as we did love each other, I could see the hurt in her teary eyes as she told me. Not for one second do I think it was easy for her to break up with me and I hold a big respect for that. To let go of someone you love I bet wasn’t easy at all. Was it the right decision? Well I can’t answer that, I have my opinion, I’m sure now we’ve finished uni and got our dissertation marks she’ll have hers and I’m sure you have one too 😛

For these people in this argument, especially one of them has given so much time to wait for the other person. The other person is torn over feelings to so it was never going to be a day and night decision but it’s come to the point now where if they got together it could work and could be brilliant and as I’m a hopeless romantic I hope that happens! But it’s also come to the point where one of them could say enough is enough, we’re going round in circles, it’s time to love myself and find myself again.

I don’t know what the outcome will be. In the long run whatever happens it will be beneficial to both in whatever they decide! Good luck you two!

So I hope you’ve taken on-board some of the things I’ve said tonight, I learned a few lessons and I hope you have too tonight. I hope you’ve learned that communication is a key point and that if we were all more open to each other about our problems with people we’re angry with then there would be a lot less arguments and much more stronger relationships. Tonight I hope you’ve also learned that when you go to war on a status the only winner is the one you’re insulting and finally I hope you’ve learned that sometimes giving up is brave and sticking it out can be courageous and rewarding!

Until next time folks,

Tony      C
xxx