Chivalry Never Died. I Just Settled For Less.

24 11 2016

About 6 months ago I met a wonderful man.

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We met at an unlikely place and at an unlikely time. As I had stated in my previous post(s), I had made peace with the fact that my future seemed relatively romantic-less. This was not a woe-is-me sentiment, but rather an understanding that what I had to offer was less than ideal.

Any single 20-30-something can rattle off the inst-clichés which we numbingly double-tap, half hoping that they’re true/false. Here are a few of my favourites:

Well, I am able to confirm that, for the most part, these are true. You only come to understand these statements when you’ve been disappointed by broken promises. You really come to understand them when you have seen words put into action. Little nuggets like “if he wants to see you, he’ll make time” are true! No matter how busy, tired, or far – when he’s in like with you, nothing will prevent him from making the effort and finding the energy to make time for you.

Enter RJ*

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RJ has been a breath of fresh air for me. He is kind, smart, funny, caring, sweet, attentive, considerate, responsible, hard-working, humble, determined and has a wonderfully weird knack for knowing unusual trivia and tid-bits of information.

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He’s a ferocious reader and a pretty talented writer (I’m trying to persuade him to let me post one of his many short stories on here). He’s easy going and I feel relaxed around him. He says what he means and means what he says. No game playing, no reading between the lines, no childish ploys. It’s not stressful and I haven’t spent hours agonizing, wondering how he feels or how I feel. It’s effortless, easy. Peaceful. It really is rather amazing.

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We are still very new and I’m being careful to keep my wits about me, but I am very much in love.

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I hesitated to write this piece in case it doesn’t last, but then I thought – all the more reason! If it doesn’t last, this post will serve as a reminder to me that good men exist and that they are out there. And if it does last, well – it’s a pleasure to share my happiness with you!

If mushy, isn’t your thing, then I’m betting you’re already reaching for a bucket – and I’m about to do you a solid by saying, you may want to stop reading here. It’s about to get names-in-hearts-all-over-my-notebook mushy.

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I thought I would share with you all (in no particular order) some big and small moments/things that made me fall in love with him:

– He has a good relationship with his parents and siblings.

– He is a cool, loving and fun uncle to his 3 nieces and nephew.

– He handled my skeleton closet with empathy and attentiveness (including my cancer stuff).

– He supports me at my follow up oncologist appointments and takes an interest in my health and wellbeing.

– He has a good group of friends who are committed to his success.

– He opens doors, offers his jacket to me when it’s chilly and he walks on the outside of the sidewalk in order to keep me safe.

– He suffers through my girly movies and listens to me lust after Michael Fassbender and Ryan Reynolds.

– He invites me to spend time with him and his family.

– He accommodates my keto-dieting ways (even though he doesn’t approve).

– He gets on really well with my friends and understands the importance of forging good relationships with them.

– He is well mannered and respectful to my family.

– He supports me in my pursuit of my career (even though he knows it means that for now, he is the main earner).

– He encourages and applauds my feminism.

– He is racially aware and sensitive, and has even applauded me for standing up for myself in situations where others may have told me to just be quiet.

– He is able to be confident in his own views without tearing others down.

– He listens to my outpourings of emotions or gripes – and somehow he seems to know when to just listen and offer a hug or a hand to hold or when to join me in a rant, or when to completely break the tension by mocking my unreasonable-ness.

– He gives the best hugs.

– Every time he looks at me, it’s like it’s the first time.

– He really sees me.

– He really hears me.

– He lets me know how he feels.

I could go on, but we’d be here all day and I want to keep some things for myself  🙂 – and if you’ve made it this far you’re probably getting nauseous now!

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On a final note I will say this: I am happier now than I have been for a long time and I can only hope and strive to bring as much joy to RJ’s life as he has brought into mine.

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Tara xoxo

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Reflections of 2015, Notes for 2016

3 01 2016

Happy New Year 2016 replace 2015 concept on the sea beach

Health:

It’s been a tough year and I have learnt more than ever not to take my body for granted. It might not look the way I want it to look but each day, each minute, each second it’s keeping me here. Doing what I need it to do. It’s a wonderful thing and I am intent on treating it better.

Friends:

Over the years I’ve felt sad about the quick entry and exit of “friends”. I went through various stages of sadness and anger at people who I deemed friends but who no longer held that position (by action or circumstance). I have finally learned that the title of friend is a sacred one and I am much more aware that such titles are to be given carefully and with thought and intent.

Having said that, know that it’s ok to lean away from certain social groups when you realise that a relationship with them has reached its peak or will not aid or may even stunt your emotional growth and depth as a person.

I truly believe people come into our lives for various reasons (and vice versa). Once you believe they have fulfilled their purpose, it’s ok to move on. Put them to one side and keep what you have gained (good and bad) for future endeavors.

Family:

They’re a complicated people but you only have one (not including those friends who get promoted to family, of course). They may not be what you want them to be or they may not always understand you, but they are yours. They won’t be around forever. Make time for them and log away good moments as memories to be cherished later. Some people are not so fortunate…

Love:

Last year was about loving myself. Physically. I didn’t have time to lament about my singledom and actually I think sometimes it would have been much tougher to love myself while trying to love another.

This year is about loving myself. Wholly. Mind, body, spirit. How can I expect someone else to love, what is still (in some aspects), unknown to me.

Love can wait… I come first.

Wealth:

Put simply, life is too damn short to do something that makes you unhappy (simply for money or stability).

However, it’s never too late to start saving. Going out to drink with your buddies 3 plus times a week may not seem a lot – but it is. Do you really need that extra bottle of rose, half an hour before the pub closes? (you’re already passed tipsy anyways). Think of how much you could save (money, hangover time, liver function, dignity).

Pursuit:

Whatever it may be…

To travel?

To learn a language?

To do something that scares you?

To re-train?

To start a new career path?

It’s never too early to follow your pursuits.

Be passionate and curious about the world around you.

Never stop learning.

Love yourself.

I hope you all had a great 2015 and my wish for you is that 2016 will be all that you allow it to be!

From my heart to yours ❤

Tara xoxo





Sixpence None The Richer – It Came Upon A Midnight Clear

24 12 2013

From me to you…

I hope you all have a very merry, safe and sparkly Christmas! xoxo





I have this friend…

11 12 2013

Daria & Friends Grown Up

In the last 5 years, 3 women that I went to high school with have gotten married and 2 of them have had children. We are all the same age, grew up in the same area and were raised with very similar values.

In my group of friends there are 5 of us who seem to have been in the same boat for the last 3 years.

We fluctuate between knowing exactly what we want and wanting it, to not wanting to give up what we have to get it

Of course, I’m talking about a relationship.

My best friends and I can, and have talked about this ad nauseam. We never seem to tire of it and each time, although the conversations pretty much go the same way, we seem to uncover a nugget of gold about ourselves, men or the whole process of dating/relationships each time.

We range from 26-34 years and we vary in racial and ethnic background, education, experiences and careers and yet we are at the same position when it comes to finding another. This has been problematic for Jelly-Bean and I as we try to make sense of why we struggle to find someone of value. You see, there being no common thread makes it impossible to figure out. We all look different from one another (in terms of size and physicality). We have all shapes and sizes in our group from overweight and short to athletic and tall. We have sexy and cute, curvy and slim, blonde and black, curly and straight, long and short, yet we all have the same experiences. Some of us go out to very high-brow events in and around London and are culturally diverse while some of us limit our outings to the local pub or church socials. Yet again, we come back with the same results.

Soul Mates

Guys and girls alike usually ask us, “what are you looking for in a partner?

The following list comprises of the things we all agree we are looking for – of course in varying degrees.

-Someone who can meet us emotionally.

-Someone who can meet us intellectually.

-Someone we can have fun with.

-Someone who can navigate family and various friendship groups (by this we mean, he needs to be able to throw down a few pints with the locals and our friends and make a concerted effort with our family).

-Varied interests (by this we mean, he needs to be able to appreciate a foreign film/theatre production as much as he would a gig).

-Someone who is content with himself (we don’t want someone who needs us, we want someone who wants us).

PERSONAL BONUS: Someone who can make me laugh! (funny, will get him far).

Now, that sounds like a lot – but that’s not to say he must do or love those things, just that he is able to appreciate them and pull them out when the occasion calls for it.

I used to know someone, who, whilst agonising about his own singledom, would say to me, “but if you really wanted a boyfriend you could have one… your standards are just too high”.

I tried to explain to him that it’s not about having someone, it’s about having the right someone. I mean, let’s face it. It’s a lot of effort to get involved. Time is no longer yours. You are required to put a lot of yourself in it. You are required to commit yourself (even on a dating level).

Of course he didn’t understand exactly what I meant and blew me off with a “well you obviously just don’t want it bad enough”.

But that’s like saying to an overweight person “you know, if you really want to be skinny you could just become anorexic… clearly you just don’t want it bad enough!

The problem my 4 friends and I face is not that we don’t meet men, but rather we don’t meet the right men. I could take that one step further and say that we don’t really meet men but we meet boys. When I say boys I’m not talking about age but maturity and value level in terms of a partnership.

Anyway, this brings me to the current problem of one of my friends.

She met a guy. Let’s call him John.

A really great guy. A Man, who ticks every one of the attributes listed above and even presented a few more really wonderful qualities. He likes her back and has shown equal amount of interest. He came into her life just as she was ready to believe someone like him simply didn’t exist.

The down-side.

He just got out of a serious relationship (when I say just, I mean 2 months ago and when I say serious I mean, 3 years. He had introduced her to his family, he was getting ready to propose to her).

She broke up with him before he could propose, citing no other reason than “she needed to be single” – which begs the question, if she ever turned around and said “I’ve made a huge mistake, I love you and want you back” would he have any reason to say “no”?

Obviously there are two problems there – he’s probably still in love with his ex and he could be rebounding…

The other problem – he’s going away for 3 months to travel. He had expressed to my friend that he wished he had met her before and that the timing of this really sucks as he wants to get to know her better but I told her, maybe the timing is perfect and what he really needs is to get away and clear his mind of his ex and come back fresh and ready to possibly start something new.

But of course, the risks are:

  1. He’ll forget all about her.
  2. He’ll meet someone else (on his travels or otherwise).
  3. Or that he’ll come back, realise how much he can’t live without his ex and he’ll set about getting her back.

Not wanting to place all her eggs in one basket (that possibly still belonged to another) she met someone else.

That moment

Let’s call him Daniel.

Daniel is a nice guy. He kinda ticks some of the boxes and they have a few things in common. He has shown a lot more interest in her than she has in him and he seems respectful and caring but he’s not who she wants. He’s not who she imagines introducing to her friends and family. Now, obviously this is all a little pre-emptive. She doesn’t really know Daniel that well to shoo him off, but I have noticed that she talks about them very differently.

From my side of things, I can see a definite attraction. A chemistry between her and John, but with Daniel, it’s more like a quick spark. The girls and I have encouraged her to give Daniel a chance especially since the next three months will be without John, but when we say this to her she looks slightly deflated and we feel like we’re telling her that “it’s the taking part that matters, not the winning”. But, of course, she wants to be encouraged that she can win.

Personally I prefer John for her but I don’t want her to close herself off for three months especially when she doesn’t know if or what John will come back to.

If this were a Hollywood movie, in the end (through some sort of difficulty) we would all be routing for John and in fact he would pick my friend – perhaps he’d cut his trip short and appear on her door step. He’d probably say something like, “you’re all the adventure I need!” and they’d live happily ever after as the credits rolled. But it’s not a movie. And John is leaving and Daniel is staying.

Say Anything

Of course she can’t string Daniel along. Daniel is very sweet, kind and he’s quite smitten with her. His biggest draw back is that he’s not John. Poor guy, it’s not his fault. By all accounts he’s done everything right. I think if she had never met John she’d be thrilled with Daniel.

So this is the dilemma that is before her and the group.

I guess all that remains is the question – what does she want more? John or a relationship?

xoxo





My Manhattan From The Sky

25 11 2013

NY

I know I’ve been back from New York for some time and I have yet to tell you all about it – the truth is, I’ve been avoiding it. You see, there’s something very final about writing about my time in the City. It means it’s over. It means the time has passed and I am able to reflect on it. And I really don’t want to. I don’t want to admit it’s over. But by stopping myself from writing about and reflecting on it I feel like I’m still mentally living back then, in New York and I had noticed a drop in my appreciation for the here and the now.

It’s time to put a stop to that.

It is time to move on.

As you know I was in New York for a work opportunity. I was supposed to work for one month and I gave myself a personal bumper of two weeks either side of my work time to try and get some fun in. In the end, it didn’t really work out that way. I worked for my entire time there with the exception of 3 days, which I took off, and 2, which I was given off. I’m kind of glad it worked out that way since I needed the money, and the people I would have taken time off to see still had to work, so I would have found myself in the apartment watching Netflix and having to wait for the evenings to come to see them anyway.

I learned a lot about myself and New York from this trip. I’ve been to New York many times before but when you work and effectively live in a place you see the underlying problems that as a tourist you would otherwise miss.

Vibrant NY

The first three weeks were amazing.

The people I worked for were your typical Wall-Street , Upper West Side, doorman building, Hampton summering – family. But they were pretty chilled, giving me as much freedom as possible. They were interested in what I did with their daughter and encouraged her to treat me as an Aunt (they have another nanny who is older, and they encourage their daughter, Sara* to treat her as a Grandmother or Great Aunt). Respect means a lot to them and I always felt like ultimately they were on my side.

Whoever came home first (the father or mother) would offer me a glass of wine or a beer (since they considered my hours to be over once they were home). A few times they invited me to stay for dinner and I did a few late night babysitting sessions (so they could have date-nights) to repay their laidback-ness which I really appreciated after having spoken with quite a few nannies and learning about the eccentricities of other parents on the Upper West Side. They even let me come in late on Friday’s and Saturday’s, stating that they expected I would be “painting the town”Believe me, I certainly did! On a few occasions they had to unexpectedly call me in early and I had no choice but to arrive clutching a coffee and wearing shades, trying my best to hide my hangover. I’m sure they knew. But as young, urbane professionals I think they understood. I even went out for drinks with them a couple times. Everything was going really well. I had seen my old friends and made some new ones.

But then things started to shift. The glow of New York started to dull. Dynamics of the group became filled with subtle hints of jealousy and politics. My roommate (a long time friend whom I love dearly) had a serious problem with a new friend I’d made. The problem for me, was, this new friend was wicked fun. Obviously, from a loyalty standpoint my roommate would always be on top – but I couldn’t have fun with her the same way my new friend and I had fun.

My roommate opted to stop coming out with me if she knew the new friend would be out and slowly a strain between us was developed. It wasn’t a huge problem, more like a sad, pink elephant that was always in the room with us that neither of us spoke of.

Breakfast At Tiffany's

I did my best to show my love in various ways. Organising movie nights, cooking for her, taking her a coffee or lunch during the day. I organised picnics, museum trips and got us tickets to an outdoor showing of Breakfast At Tiffney’s in Central Park (she looks like Audrey Hepburn and has a cat which she calls Cat – she only saw the movie last year… it’s spooky how similar she is to Holly Golightly). I could tell she was appreciative of these gestures but they seemed to pale in comparison to what she really wanted, which was for me to stop hanging out with Hellie* (the new friend). I understood what her issue was but I thought the  whole thing was quite childish…

Kiddie Holly GolightlyIn the end I started to see the cracks in my beautiful city. It didn’t make me love it any less but it allowed me to understand that ultimately New York is like anywhere else. It’s a tough city which hides it’s ugly human nature under a blanket of highrises, bright lights and vibrant culture.

I learned to like myself on this trip. I learnt that I am truly desirable. People value me and my friendship. I learnt that I’m no longer a girl, but I have transitioned into a woman – by that I don’t mean experiences but rather my level of maturity and what I am able to tolerate and what I expect from others. In short I have value – I know this, because I have standards. I know that seems like an odd thing to say, but I think it’s easy to forget.

When I returned one of my friends Sean, organised a small gathering to welcome me home. It was Jelly Bean, Sean, Li and myself. They were eager to hear about my trip and at one point Li and I were alone when he turned to me and said that I seemed really different compared to how I was before I went.

Some weeks later we all hung out again at a mutual friends birthday party and Li called me outside to talk. He asked me what was wrong. Unsure of what he was talking about I told him that I was fine. He was dubious so I asked him what would make him think something was wrong and he couldn’t pinpoint it, he just said “you seem to have reverted. Like the ‘New York’ has left you… You should bring it back. I really liked seeing you so happy and confident. You seemed more yourself when you just came back, but it seems to have faded.

I didn’t know how to respond. Luckily I didn’t have to. I got called away by some other friends although his comments had fixed itself at the forefront of my mind. I started to think about what I did differently when I was home or how I acted differently. I thought about it for a few weeks and realised he was right. I wasn’t as happy or confident and it had nothing to do with New York but rather how I saw myself in New York compared to how I see myself in London.

Be the best version of you

Since then I decided to lean in and aimed to be the best version of myself as I could be rather than a deflated shell. Honestly, I’ve noticed a difference. I’m not only contented but I’m comfortable with myself. People can sense my own ease with myself and quite frankly it makes me a much more attractive person to be around.

That’s the thing about self-confidence. You can’t fake it. You can try, but people will always sense when it’s genuine. Trying too hard can be as damaging as not trying at all. I think the key is to be your happiest. The right people will sense if it is truly there or not.

xoxo





Fatboy Slim, Riva Starr & Beardyman – Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat (Calvin Harris remix)

25 11 2013

I’ve established a steady routine of singledom – this, with the encouragement of Jelly Bean, has become our anthem… Probably not the best thing, but hey, we’re having fun – isn’t that all that matters?.. xoxo





Florida Georgia Line – Cruise

2 09 2013

Hi Everyone! I’ve been back in London for 2 weeks now, although I seem to have left my head and heart in New York City… I guess it’ll just take time to re-adjust.

This song has been a summer love to my friends and I – so now, I share it with you! Everyone needs a lil bit o’country now and then 😉 xoxo