Thursday, 29 April 2010

The look of love

I was watching one of those makeover programmes the other day. You know the type - Joe Bloggs or Jane Doe has a negative self image of themselves which ultimately limits their ability to see their true potential. The episode in question was about a woman that ran a slimming club, having in the past lost something like 80lbs in weight. In front of club members she carried herself well, being the embodiment of what you could achieve if you put your mind to it. And yet she still had deep-rooted body issues. She was regularly putting on a performance for club members when in reality she held herself in such low self esteem.

Suffice to say she managed to be suitably inspired during the programme to re-wire the way she saw the world and felt far more comfortable about who she really was. And it got me thinking. You occasionally hear stories about celebrities that seem to have everything that anyone could desire and yet they are desperately unhappy or lonely or lost. They experience the human condition as much as the next person and yet are elevated by others to be a bit more than the rest of us. But they are just like the rest of us. Yet it's amazing how much we project ourselves into the realms of other peoples' worlds wishing, hoping and all that to be just like them. If only we planted our own feet more firmly on the floor, took in the view, enjoyed the journey and kept ourselves with ourselves.

It really is easier said than done and, yes, it's a sweeping statement but as I've said before: comparison really is the mother of all misery.

Friday, 16 April 2010

Yesterday once more

Well, my little dalliance in ‘Facebook stalking’ (it’s not actually stalking but you know what I mean) opened a small can of worms and got me thinking about other girlfriends from the past. For some reason I started thinking about Rachel. She seemed to tick so many boxes – beauty, simply lovely deep down, very coincidentally went to school with my best female friend and loved some of the obscure left-field grooves that I was into at the time. And if that wasn’t enough she also taught at my old school (after I’d left, of course). We looked like a lovely twosome, if I do say so myself. Hot to trot. Talk about a match made in heaven. And yet it wasn’t quite.

At the time, it didn’t work for her and she pulled the plug. And in hindsight I’m glad she saw it in good time. We were kind of like your fake Louis Vuitton purse - it seemed great from a distance but up close and personal you could see it wasn’t real and only served a purpose. Life throws up one or two of those type of situations from time to time, in various guises. Like those: “would we really be friends if we weren’t homesick and thousands of miles away from home?” or “is this really me or am I just doing this because everyone else is or thinks I should be?” Sometimes it’s unclear but sometimes, deep down, you just know. You know what is really you. As for Rachel, she was a lovely girl. Shame she’s not on Facebook…

Monday, 12 April 2010


Used in the right way, Facebook is a brilliant innovation. For me, it’s a way of staying in contact with friends and family living on distant shores without the need of having to put pen to paper (though I must confess there's something special about receiving a handwritten letter, rare as they are now). It’s a great way of staying connected and having a window into friends' worlds and vice versa.

And then, of course, there’s the other side. I found myself indulging in something I didn’t really think I was about – Facebook stalking. Snooping is one thing but going a little deeper is something else. Okay, for some context: it was a boring Sunday night, there was nothing decent on TV so I clicked onto Facebook to skim through a few friends’ pages. While browsing through one friend’s profile, I fell upon a name from the past that had commented on his page. It wasn’t so much the name itself but the name I associated with the name. The comment was basically from a woman called Jo, a friend of an ex-girlfriend of mine. I hadn’t seen or heard from this ex since the heady days of the mid-90s. But having seen Jo's comment I thought “to hell with it” and started digging.

Before long I found myself scanning through some of Jo’s photos (she had kindly not limited access to her pictures which enabled random strangers like myself to view them). It did feel kind of creepy snooping in this way - I hadn’t been invited as a “friend”, Jo probably wouldn’t even remember me from Adam, I didn't even know whether they were friends and, heaven forbid, what would she think if she found out. But there I was looking through her photos, her family events and her memories in search of something vague on a distant ex of mine. And without having to dig through too many holiday pics and bithday parties photos, et voila - there she was. The first picture of the ex I discovered her new surname. The second, her new baby.

Yes, it was a little bizarre. But what surprised me most was my general reaction. Okay, the memories started streaming back about a female that I had fallen head over heels for during a fairly fleeting but intense few months. I had thought a number of times over the years about where she was now, what she was doing with her life and what I would say if we ever bumped into each other. And now 21st century technology had given me a window in. But looking at the pictures was an eye opener. She looked exactly the same now as she did back then. Still cute, still elfin, still with that cheeky glint in her eyes. But, strangely, I couldn’t actually recognise her. Or, more is the point, I couldn’t recognise myself. I couldn't recognise or connect with the feelings of the past. There was no skip of a heart beat, no long deep breaths, no pining. It was just a picture of a pretty girl that I once knew. And I wish her the best. I'm glad I found the pictures. Thanks Facebook...