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Enoughsenough

A dad's journey into health

Month

November 2018

A Door That Can’t Close

Last week I had a chance encounter that made me revisit my past.  I was happy in my own thoughts heading into a supermarket when out the corner of my eye I spied a girl from my teenage social group. 

Strap yourselves in this might be a big’n

My mind went straight back to the “Good old days” and how it all ended.  Let’s set the scene…. I was a thirteen year old ruffian, I liked video games and wrestling with little time for anything else, let alone girls (he truth being I felt safe in my role and the thought of putting myself out there and changing my friendship groups did not sit well with me, though I wanted to, and actually speaking to a girl would terrify me to the core).

However, there was a desire there to diversify socially.  I had already started making inroads with such a group as I sat with some lads on the bus, (one of which is still to this day one of my very best friends) they were much smarter than me and obviously more popular.  We became quite close friends and Just as a matter of course I started to get invited to more and more events and slowly but surely I became a part of the group.  Thing went on in this vein all through school, sixth form and then on weekends when we were all together.  Most of this group decided to become teachers as at that time you got paid to study on this profession (who could blame them,after all they were, almost to a man much smarter than me, or so I thought). 

Soon however things started to change, nights out became more erratic and people got into relationships, myself included.  Nights out became less frequent and for me,money was a real issue.  About this time,myself and partner moved in together away from sunny Blackpool.  This is when things became really tough and friendships began to unravel.  The more I said no to nights out, the less the phone rang and the easier it was to disengage.  Little did the group know I had next to no money and at that time I was running up credit card debts just pay for petrol to get to and from work.  When I was saying no to going out, I was really just too embarrassed and ashamed to tell them how hard things were, I guess this is where I should take a good share of the blame, as I didn’t try as hard as I could have.     

Things had gotten away from me and on the odd occasion I did go out, I struggled to keep up or get noticed. Some people tended to talk about things in the recent past, what they did in the last weeks or months.  I wasn’t there and couldn’t be part of the conversation. I came away feeling like no one wanted me there and after this it became all too easy to disengage altogether.  There was no real falling out and on the odd occasion I run into some of them now, I am still on reasonable terms with them. 

This type of ending had a real bitter taste to it, I’m not too sure what I did to deserve such and exit, it felt like I was just cut out,much like Tsukuru Tazaki.  Don’t get me wrong I have a good life and good friends, the closest of which predates this group.  However, there remains with me a sense of loss (grief almost) at the way it ended.  It’s probably the loss of my youth, a more existential crisis than anything else.  Although I do often wonder if I am thought about at all by them.  I can hear people close to me telling me that I am “better off out of it” and “they never kept in touch with you either” all true of course and I get where they are coming from but this doesn’t change or help the way I feel.  It’s one of those things that stay with us, not prominent or immediate but always there, lying unresolved, somewhere in the background.

I would like to see some of them again, I guess I just miss belonging to a group and talking with lots of different people, many of them still socialise together but I am not willing to put myself in such a vulnerable position again. 

The problem being that there was no definite ending, I have had no closure on it and this has only let me internalise everything instead of processing it properly and letting it go.

I am sure that it will happen one day, patience is the key,but always ready to act when the opportunity presents itself.  I don’t miss it all that much, I don’t think my life would be exponentially improved should I get that back, but I do feel that I need the chance to close that door.

Thanks for coming with me this has been a bit of a difficult one.

Friendship Negotiations

So, last night I was called into school as my 8yr old daughter and her friends are having a few “friendship” difficulties and school are worried that it could turn into a real issue if it’s not tackled now.

A parent’s nightmare.

Let me set the scene, the main issue is that there is a group of three girl’s that all hang round together.  But as so often is the case two people gang up on the other one and they are left feeling sad, names are called, yadda yadda yadda.  The one that’s left out changes from day to day, so they are all victims I guess and therefore all responsible at some point for causing this upset.

My main quandary is how best to tackle the situation.  The inner parent wants to just shout “stop hanging round with these people they are making you unhappy!!!!” but the sensible head is telling me “We can all play together and think of a way to get along”.  The truth of the matter is that no matter how angry or upset they get with each other they still like hanging out with them, they’re mates.   I want my daughter to expand her friendship groups (as opposed to banning her from playing with some people) and we keep encouraging her as best we can, but I am aware that to be too pushy will just make her push back stronger.

I had a grown-up chat with her and asked her what she felt the solution was and she said that ‘she want’s to play with everyone but the others just want to keep it as a three’.  I thought this was really mature of her and I suggested similar to the teacher (and headteacher no less), and this seems to be a possible way forward.  The teacher will encourage the whole class to play together more and have all friendship groups more open, so that the young people can go and play with others without it being a problem.  This seems great as not only does it solve the current issue but it makes it much more public and open, and this will hopefully combat any bullying or manipulative behaviours that may occur given time.

So, with a possible way forward we head into a new friendship era at school.  Fingers crossed.

It’s hard not to let your mind head into hyper-drive and think about life in high school and the future and how these types of relationships may affect her long term.  But I suppose that learning to cope with theses situations now and in a positive way will only help her be more resilient (hate that word, and that’s part of the reason I was made redundant, a totally other story) in times to come.  I guess the important thing is to belong and know you are loved.

So with a plan in place the meeting ends and we head out to pick up the twins (5yrs old) from reception:

TEACHER: Can I have a word

ME: Of course

TEACHER:  Your daughter, for the second time became really frustrated and grabbed another child round the neck….

ME: Doh

Dad-life never ends.

Hallo-Whine

What do I think about Halloween.  I am totally on the fence about this one, on the one hand I really don’t like the fact that us Brits have adopted this American tradition, of, let’s face it dressing our kids up to beg for free sweets from strangers, something I spend a lot of time telling my kids not to do.  This must confuse them.

On the other hand, I love it.  I’m a father of three small devils and they get so excited about dressing up, scarring people and being allowed out in the dark (supervised of course).  And let’s be honest, anyone with kids know it’s an easy win to wander round the streets for an hour and do very little with great results, what was it Gino said, “minimum effort, maximum results”.

However, there is one thing about Halloween in the UK that really upsets me, that’s right I said it, upsets (and I’m nearly a 40-year-old blokey).  It’s the fact that hundreds, possibly thousands of young people in each town or city across the country get dressed up and head out on candy adventures only to find 90% plus of all the houses in absolute darkness.  What, like Halloween is the only night that everyone either goes out or is in bed by 6pm, do me a favour.  What other event in the calendar actually gets young people out into the community like this and what’s the result……… Miserable buggers ignoring them, yea great message to send to the young n’s,  come on out into the community and nearly all of us will just pretend you’re not there.  It is a direct representation of our communities at the minute in the UK, ‘I’m alright Jack, so sod the rest of you’.  This needs to change, we need to change.  This is definitely one thing that the US gets spot on.  I didn’t realise it till I saw an Insta post from Everlast off of House of Pain (by the way you should really listen to his music it’s quality).  Loads of kids and parents mingling and experiencing things together as a community.  OK so it might not be a proper representation of all of America but you get the gist.

The UK seems so insular and down that we are too scared to care about each other anymore.  It makes me worried about the future especially when I see my kids skipping and singing past 25 dark houses to go and knock on the one house with their lights on.  They might be too young to notice but they must pick up on it subliminally.

Okay – rant well and truly over.

Next year why not just grab a bag of sweets from the supermarket and answer the door, what’s the worst that will happen?  There may be a few idiots out there but mostly you will make small people very happy in the short term, but in the long term you may help them (and yourself) become more caring about each other.

Peace and Love.

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