Wednesday, 28 September 2011

The interview…

Yesterday I did my first ‘real’, ‘proper’ interview for an online magazine.  It’s stage two of my “back to earning a bloody income after 10 years at home” strategy. 

Stage one was setting up my blog.  Demonstrating my ability to write and trying to get to grips with social media.  Not least of this was establishing what the hell Twitter is all about – and OMG am I addicted! 

The first slot I could get for my interviewee was yesterday.  I’ve been waiting for two weeks, because she’s a busy lady.  I can deal with that.  But when the eldest child came home from school the night before, complaining that he wasn’t well… I nearly had a melt down!  And as I’m sure most parents will understand, sometimes it’s hard to establish whether a child is actually ill, or just malingering!

Fortunately, he is a thoughtful and sensitive child.  He knew that the interview was important to me, so he went to school without a fight, dosed up with Calpol and Nurofen.

“ANY OTHER DAY and you could stay at home”, I yelled out of the car window.  “But not today.  I’m really, really sorry.”

I raced back home to walk the stinky smelly dogs, who surpassed themselves by finding something even more smelly than themselves to roll in. 

I made a vat of coffee and settled down to re-read the background information about my ‘interviewee’ – to refresh my memory.

Despite countless interruptions from Twitter (guys, you know I love you really), I managed to run through all the notes I made of questions I needed to ask.  For once, I felt really organized.  I felt prepared.  I felt like… a ‘grown up’!

I decided that my hot red jeans and a shirt would be suitable, only to be asked by a friend if I was going line dancing.  Not what I needed in my fragile state of mind.  (Friend – you know who you are…!)

And I was off, back to the London traffic, trying to find a parking space, tying to ensure I wasn’t late.

My interviewee and I met in the reception of their premises and we wandered down to the coffee shop next door.  It went well.  It went really well. She’s a fantastic, dynamic, highly successful and intelligent lady, who also happens to be really friendly and kind.

Half way through my interview, I had a complete panic attack.  I realized that I had forgotten to turn off the sensor in the car, which is triggered by the dogs.  But what’s worse, I’d forgotten to open any windows. 

An horrific vision flashed before me.  What if I was to return to the car to be greeted by a socially conscious ‘little old lady’, accompanied by the RSPCA, waiting to arrest me.  I managed to stay calm.  I managed to stay rational.  I managed to stay focused.  It’s OK – it’s probably just the hottest day in September since records began.  They’ll be fine!

And with a cracking answer to my final answer – one of those ‘sound bites’ a journalist dreams of, it was over.

The dogs had not expired in the car.  I was not arrested by the RSPCA or a Special Constable.

I collected my kids from school on time and today, I have been busy getting my notes together to write the article.

So stage two of my “divorcee needs to earns a living” strategy is underway.

It was tiring.  It was harder than I thought, to stay on track and ensure I asked all the questions I wanted in the time given. 

And for the first time in ages, I felt like a ‘real’ person.  Not just a Mum, a wife, a daughter or a friend. But someone in their own right, who has something to contribute. 

Job done.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Nobody loves me!!!!!

OK – I admit it.  My Dad loves me.  My kids love me.  Some of my friends (might) even love me.  But sometimes it’s not quite enough. 

That may sound selfish and self-absorbed, but I’m having one of those days.  I’m not like this every day, but I do get these feelings once in a while.  They are the days when even though I’m surrounded by people, I feel really alone.  They are the days when I miss having someone to share the minutiae of my life with, my innermost thoughts, my feelings about my kids and my feelings about myself.

I spent this afternoon with another divorcee, a mother from school, who also happens to be a psychotherapist.  She is a lovely, warm, kindly person and great company.  And of course, being women, we talked and talked! 

Needless to say, the subject came round to divorce.  We started talking about patterns of behaviour and the fact that so many of us do fall into a very destructive pattern of behaviour in our relationships.

It’s been on my mind all afternoon.  I know that I have historically fallen into a bad pattern.  But what’s even worse, is that my confidence was so damaged by discovering that the person I had married wasn’t who I thought he was. 

To make matters even worse, I’ve really pissed someone off tonight.  Someone I really don’t want to piss off, because their presence really lifts me. 

Tomorrow is another day.  Tomorrow I don’t have to make the mistakes I have made in the past.  Mistakes which, I have to admit, have often come about by ignoring those gut instincts we all have when something’s wrong.

Tomorrow, I will return to my usual “Happy Lara” state and hopefully, I will still be on speaking terms with the friend I pissed off!

Night night.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Team G-String are go!

Tonight it’s Pub Quiz night.

I’m not your average “Pub Quiz” type.  In fact, it’s not even that often that I go out to the pub. (Note to self:  You are clearly a sad looser who needs to get out more.)  I won’t be able to answer any questions about sport, but I am a mine of useless information, which always helps with those obscure questions. 

Now, first things first.  Every team needs a name.  And the best suggestion so far, (actually it’s the only suggestion so far) is team G-String.  Following a conversation about the perils of wearing a G-String which rides up above the waistband of your trousers, a friend of mine thought it would make a good name.  And as our team is constituted of two gay men and a divorcee, it seemed both comical and appropriate.

The only thing outstanding is how we intend to actually answer any of the questions.  Paul is a history buff, Julian is responsible for music, I can do general obscure questions.  But when it comes to sport… we have no choice.  We’re going to have to cheat!

Fortunately, Team G-String has a couple of ringers lined up on Twitter.  Not that I advocate cheating but, as Julian said earlier:  “Of course cheating’s OK. FFS It’s a pub quiz and there’s a cash prize.  And lets face it, you could do with a new handbag.”  I take great umbrage at his attitude towards what I regard as a very nice handbag…!

I can hear him now in the background:  “Give the handbag to the dog, and whilst you’re out buying a new one, you should get yourself something half decent to wear!”  Cheeky devil!

So we’re all set to go.  I have checked and double checked in an increasingly paranoid manner, that nothing is showing above the waistline of my jeans…  And once I’ve dropped the kids at their Dad’s house… We’re off!

I’ll let you know how we do later!

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Vibrators are not dinner party conversation….

Way back when I was married, I had a fairly ordinary social life.

There were activities that were organised at the weekends that involved the kids.  And then in the evenings, we’d occasionally go out for dinner ‘a deux’, or alternately have friends over or go out to friends.

All pretty normal stuff!

But being a divorcee, you just don’t get invited to dinner parties.  I don’t think anyone means to be unkind.  But I don’t think they know what to do with a ‘spare woman’!  Or do I mean ‘loose cannon’?! Hmmm!

Over the last six months, I have found myself hanging out with a slightly different group of people.  People that I would never have met if I hadn’t got divorced – and I have found that I am much more able to ‘be myself’ with them than I have for years.  I’m not sure whether it’s my age, or my life having been turned on its head through divorce, but, for the first time in my life, I have a totally ‘like me or leave me’ attitude. 

I didn’t even realise, until recently, how much pressure there was in my marriage to “conform” to the middle class social stereotype, or quite how much of an attitude I have!  For years, I kept my mouth shut if someone upset or ‘slighted’ me.   But if you piss me off now, you’ll get both barrels!  It’s liberating and it feels fantastic!

Maybe it’s exactly this attitude that has resulted in my hanging out with people like my gay friend Julian and ‘partner in crime’ Sarah.  It hasn’t just opened my eyes to life, it’s opened up a whole new world. 

For example, my latest social plans are to arrange an evening out with Sarah, Julian and his partner Paul.  And we’re planning a trip to a gay club – for a cabaret evening.  In my previous life as a middle class housewife, it just wouldn’t have happened.  And I’ve got to admit, the prospect of this evening out has put a smile on my face.  Whilst I would not wish to offend my married friends, I don’t ever remember being quite this enthusiastic about going to friends for dinner!

Don’t get me wrong.  I like my friends.  I often feel sad that I don’t get to see them as much as I’d like.  And I like having dinner with them and catching up on their news.  But my life has changed so much, that faced with the prospect of an evening discussing kitchen extensions and other such things, I worry that I would have nothing to contribute!  Or even worse, I’d tell them things that they wouldn’t quite know how to handle! 

If I told them about the life I have now, the conversations I have with the people I’ve encountered writing this blog [all of which will of course remain confidential unless permission granted!] how would they react? 

I really wonder what they would say if, in the middle of a discussion on the virtues of Farrow & Ball paint, I piped up and said:

“Well, I can’t comment on the paint, but I do know a man who bought his wife a “make your own sex toy” kit.  They made it together and she took it on all her business trips.  They’re very easy to make and very life like.  They're divorced now, and he's not sure whether she's still got it and still using it...!”

And the problem is, the “new improved divorced Lara” probably would say it.

And I don’t think I’d get invited back!

Life has moved on…..

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Good old fashioned flirting.... by text...!

As you know this blog is about my “secret life” and so I am going to share something that has been going on behind the scenes, secretly, over the last few weeks.

During the summer holidays, I took my kids and a friend to walk the dog in the park.  It’s not a park we usually go to and whilst I was gossiping to a friend on the phone, I suddenly realised that the kids and their friend had completely disappeared.  I had told them to stay in a particular area, but they had run off and were nowhere to be seen. 

Just as I was beginning to get into a mild state of panic, calling their names in an increasingly hysterical manner, a dog walker appeared.  I rushed over to him and asked him whether he had seen three children and a couple of dogs, answering their description. 

The dog walker was very sympathetic.  He explained that he had kids too and knows exactly what they’re like.  After discussing where they might have disappeared to and where best to look first, he offered to give me a call on my mobile if he bumped into them.

I rushed off round the park, shrieking out the kids names, like a fish wife, until finally….

My phone rang.

It was the dog walker.  He’d found the kids!

With an enormous sigh of relief I asked where he was and made my way back. 

I gave the kids an appropriate “telling off” and told them to thank the ‘nice man’ who had found them for me.

As we went our separate ways, it crossed my mind that the dog walker was actually quite nice.  Nice smile, kindly disposition and a sense of humour.  Mmm!  And bound to be married!

Well, a couple of weeks later I was in the same park with just the dogs, buying myself a coffee to take on our ‘walkies’, when – yes, you’ve got it in one!  I bumped into him again.

He recognised me straight away and we got talking about the ‘lost children’ incident.  He was at the start of his walk too, so we ended up sauntering along together whilst the dogs charged around. 

Now, maybe it’s just me, but I think that people who are divorced pick up on the signs that someone else is.  So it came as no surprise to me when having asked if I was, he confessed that he was too.

The half hour walk flew by and I felt sad to be back at the car park and have to say goodbye.

As we parted, I joked that as he had my number already he could always text me if he ever wanted company on a walk.  How very forward of me!

But worth it…  Because that evening a message ‘pinged’ through on my phone.

“Lovely to see you again today.  I’m off on holiday for a couple of weeks.  Please keep in touch – it would be lovely to see you when I get back.” It read.

Well.  The truth is, we have been keeping in touch.  And our keeping in touch has developed into a texting frenzy.  Interspersed with the odd phone call.

And I mean texting.  Not sexting.  A lovely ‘getting to know you from afar’, very much like ‘old fashioned’ letters.

We have discussed what our ideal Sunday would be; our favourite movies; coffee shop; music; food; and all number of things.  What I think of as “early date” conversations.   There have been no graphic exchanges of an adult nature!  In fact, whilst I would be upset if anyone read these personal exchanges, there is nothing in them that would embarrass either one of us.

So when my phone ‘pings’ and I see that it’s ‘him’, I can’t help smiling.  I have no idea what’s going to develop.  But this weekend we have finally set a date to meet up.  And I can’t wait!

I’ll keep you posted…  

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Sexting – just how far should you go….?!

So there I was last night, having a quiet evening alone, when a text message pings through:

“Hi Hun, just me.  Silly question, but do you still have that photo of my painted toes, the champagne bottle and the rose?”

It was Sarah, my gorgeous, fit, forty something pulling partner.  And the photo in question was one I had taken for her in the early summer, when she was busy “Sexting” a hot 30 something sports fanatic.

Having been in a single relationship for the best part of the last twenty years, I marvel at how things have changed!  Twenty years ago I didn’t have a mobile phone and to communicate with my boyfriend, I wrote “letters”!  Remember those?  And if someone had used the word “sexting” I would probably have thought they were talking about a group of six musicians!

But it’s 2011, and sexting seems to be positively encouraged!

Right, getting back to Sarah, she’s a practical kinda girl, and she wanted to “recycle” the photo for her latest Sextexter!  Atta girl!

Alas, with two nosey children constantly snooping at my iPhone, I realised that I must have deleted it, to avoid unnecessary questions! 

I agreed to meet up and help her get a “sextfolio” together at a later date.  I didn’t dare ask which parts of her anatomy she wishes me to photograph!  Later, as I stumbled into bed, I started thinking on the whole subject of sexting. 

Is it OK?  Is it appropriate?  How far should you go?  Does this medium really give you a true insight into the other person’s personality?  Clearly, the anonymity allows you to say things you would never dream of saying face to face, which does skew things a bit.  But they are the thoughts that are going through your mind, so they must, in some way at least, represent part of your inner “self”.

Now I have to admit I’m a bit of a coward.  I can be all brave on Twitter, but if some of the direct messages I’ve exchanged were made face to face, I would blush to the roots of my hair and die of embarrassment!   Seriously!

So I have to ask myself, where do you draw the line?  And other than a bit of titillation, is there a point to it?  When does a conversation turn from highly amusing harmless smut, into something really blue and inappropriate?

I guess that can only be answered by the people involved, based on their own perceptions of acceptability. 

But what if, like Sarah, you are intending to meet these people at a later date… assuming the sexting goes well?!  Is it going to suggest that you’re “up for it”, when you might just be being “bold”?  And if the person you meet, following hard core sexting, turns out to be a disaster, is it going to be hard to extricate yourself?

Or maybe, like Sarah, who has met a couple of men that she has previously sexted, you will find them a big disappointment.  The men in question had been far more fun and interesting when they were at the other end of a mobile phone!

Well, as it stands at the moment, I’m enjoying the conversations I have and Sarah’s having a blast.  And I don’t feel inclined to “share”!  Sorry!  If you knew what was said, you’d understand! 

I don’t see any harm in them as long as both parties know where it’s going.  But I do see the need to regularly change the passcode on my phone, so the nosey kids don’t read them!

Last night, when I collected my son from school, he saw me quickly answer a message on Twitter.

“Mum!”  He said, with a stern “telling off” face.   “The teacher at school says that if you spend your life on Twitter and Facebook, you’ll just become sad and have no friends!”

Well – he’s got a point.  It can be addictive and take up too much time – but if he saw the message I received first thing this morning, he’d understand that sometimes, it leaves me feeling very far from “sad”!

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Face like a "smacked bum"? Maybe, but it's all mine!

There is a lovely lady whose blog I read, who recently posted about having Botox. It made me laugh.  Really laugh. And got me thinking.

I’m at that age, right?  You know.  I’ve had a couple of kids, a painful divorce, and I’m just not so young as I used to be..! 

I wouldn’t say I look quite like a crumpled paper bag, but there are definitely a few lines showing.  So, would I consider having a spot of Botox?  Injecting myself with toxins to paralyze my face and smooth them out?  Or perhaps go a step further? Surgery…?

As it happens, I find these questions very easy to answer.  It is something I have been clear about for virtually my whole adult life.

I do not relish the thought of getting old and wrinkly.  I caught sight of my reflection the other day, and admit I was a bit shocked at how old I looked.  In my mind’s eye, I’m still about 25 – so this old woman staring back at me seemed like a stranger.

So would I / wouldn’t I have cosmetic surgery..?

Well, as it happens, I definitely wouldn’t.  And no, I’m not talking about plastic surgery that is necessary for genuine medical reasons.  I’m talking purely about surgery for solely cosmetic reasons.

And this is why:

When I was in my late teens, my parents decided to go away for the weekend.  They had agreed that I could have a couple of friends over and as it was such a lovely weekend, I decided we’d have a barbecue. 

And what could be better for a barbecue than delicious home made barbecue sauce.  I dug out the recipe book.  Measured out the ingredients, including the “killer” ingredient – sugar.

When I say that sugar was the killer ingredient, I’m not talking about the impact it has on my hips and thighs.  I’m talking about the fact that it melts at 186˚ centigrade.  By comparison to water, which boils at 100˚ centigrade – that’s pretty hot.  And dangerous.  No shit Sherlock?!

So, having boiled up the barbecue sauce I need to liquidize it.  I half filled the liquidizer, switched it on, and then “bang”.  The liquidizer exploded.  One whole side of my face was covered with the boiling hot sauce.  It had splashed across part of the other side, down my neck, my arm and my chest.

Burning hot and sticking to me.  But that wasn’t the worst of it.  I will never know whether it was shock, the heat of the sauce, or the chilies – but, I couldn’t see.  I was hyperventilating with the shock and pain. 

I thought I’d blinded myself, and I was on fire.

I knew I had to get cold water on my face as soon as possible, so I crawled up to my parents bathroom on my hands and knees, feeling my way along the walls.

The first thing I did was to hold my eyes open whilst I splashed them with cold water. After what seemed like an eternity, still hyperventilating, to my utmost relief my eyesight returned.  My eyes were still on fire, but I could at least see.

After three failed attempts to phone our neighbours, I raced down into the garden, opened my mouth and screamed.

They told me some time later, that it was the most blood curdling scream they had ever heard.

An ambulance was called.  The ambulance team were absolutely amazing.  They got me to breath properly again, calmed me down, and before I knew it, I was sitting in a bed in A&E with a large washing up bowl on my lap. 

The nurse in A&E told me it was my lucky day. They were defrosting the freezer that afternoon!  I sat there for about five hours, shivering with cold as I swabbed my face with the ice cold water.

After a long discussion about whether I should be air-lifted to the nearest specialist burns unit, it was decided that I should be sent up to a ward.  They applied the most amazing cream, which almost “switched-off” the burning sensation.  I remember clearly that it lasted for about three hours, but could not be reapplied until four hours had passed.  So that meant an hour of burning before I got my next “fix”.

Finally, they mummified my whole head and told me my parents were on their way to see me.

Next morning, a nurse came to take off the bandages.  She sat on the edge of the bed and very kindly and gently told me that at some point, I had to go and look in a mirror.

It took me about two hours to summon the courage.  All I had asked the doctors and nurses that morning, all I wanted to know was:

“Will I be permanently scarred?”

And of course, it was one question they simply couldn’t answer... only time was going to tell.

Finally I faced the mirror.  I can’t describe what I saw.  One whole side of my usually pale face was the colour of strong coffee. The other side had dark brown splodges, where the sauce had splashed across my face.

On the side of my nose there was a blister.  It was desperately sore.  And my arm and chest were very painful.  They had received less cold water than my face, so the burns there were worse.

The following week was excruciating.  I had to go to the hospital every day to have my face checked and the burns cleaned and dressed.  A few of the burns on my arm and chest took a while to heal.  But my face…?  By the most extraordinary good fortune, I was left “perfect” – or at least, as “perfect” as I’ll ever be!

Two weeks later, I went back for a follow-up appointment at the hospital.  The doctor was quite astonished that my face was scar-less.  But he looked at my arm and in all seriousness, asked me whether I wanted to consider a skin graft.

I was speechless.  I had my face in tact.  Not a single scar, not even where it had blistered on my nose.  Why?  Why would I be worried about a little scar on my arm?  I laughed.  I thanked him for his kindness and concern, but said it would be a good reminder never to make barbecue sauce again.

And so, back to the subject of cosmetic surgery.

No one wants to feel that they look old, so I try and keep fit.  I use moisturizer, not a lot of makeup, and try and eat a healthy balanced diet…

I would never look down on someone who felt so unhappy with their appearance that felt the need to do it… but…

I have had a life with my face intact.  Not a burn scar in site.  Why would I tempt fate with the risk of post-operative infection, the risks associated with general anesthesia and the possibility of looking like I got trapped in a wind tunnel?

I may be old and I may be wrinkly, but I’m all “me”!

Monday, 12 September 2011

A day to write off as a bad experience.

And then it was Sunday…

Having had a bad night’s sleep on Saturday, with a little visitor (“Mum I’ve had a bad dream”) arriving at some unearthly hour… I woke to face the day.

It was dark, gloomy and raining.  A good analogy for my mood. 

No 2 child arrived and the fighting broke out.

“I want to cuddle the dog.”

“There’s no space.”

“He hit me.”

“For Beeps sake…  It’s SUNDAY MORNING.  GIVE ME A BREAK.”

“Can we have pancakes?”

“I don’t want pancakes.”


Right.  There was homework to be done.  No 1 comes in sobbing.  He thinks he’s left wallet and all £30 savings in the park.

I nearly let rip.  Why?  How would you do such a stupid thing?

“It was in my pocket, so I took it out because we were playing with the water bombs.  And I think I left it there.”   He sobbed.

OK.  Get your clothes on.  Go and check in the park.  Obviously, there is another delay in GETTING THE HOMEWORK DONE!

No 2, feeling a sense of solidarity, decides to go and help look in the park for the missing wallet and money.

After a fruitless search of the park, No 1 comes back to the house, having had a brain wave. 

“Mum, I think I know where I left it.” He says.

And yes.  There it was, somewhere obscure in the bedroom.

And then, everything starts to cheer up.

“Come back… I’ve found my wallet.” No 1 shouts to No2, who is still looking around the park.  “I’ll buy you some sweets.”  He continues.

I sigh with relief.  Glad to know that my child isn’t as daft as I had thought he was – and that his generous spirit had returned!

Having got dressed, I went downstairs.  I went into the kids playroom to see what was going on.  Well, it looked like a bad day in Beirut. 

The day before, they had had friends round.  The very friends they had been making water bombs with.  Only, as well as making water bombs, it transpired that the little ones had decided to make mud pies.  They had been ferrying water from the downstairs toilet to the garden.  Muddy footprints and water trashing the carpet along the way.

In addition, they must have taken every game and toy out of their boxes.

I hit the roof. 

“If you want pancakes today, you’d better get a grip and tidy up this mess.”  I shrieked.

All this, and I hadn’t even got as far as putting the kettle on.

“I don’t want pancakes anyway.”  Repeats No 1.

“I do.” Says No 2.

Well, I’d promised pancakes. And pancakes it was.

The kettle went on and as I steeled myself to crack a few eggs for the pancakes, the howling started again.

“Mum.  We’ve LOST THE DOG!  She’s broken the railings on the balcony and she’s disappeared.”

Two sobbing hysterical kids stood before me.

I endeavoured to stay calm and not just pack my bags and leave home!

I went up to the balcony to discover that not only had the two dogs poo’d absolutely everywhere on the balcony, but had destroyed the railings between ours and our neighbours house.  Shit and mess everywhere!  Literally.

I could feel myself beginning to crumple.  I just wanted the kids not to fight, not to trash the house, and not to loose the bloody dog.

I stopped myself.  Thought hard about where the dog could be hiding.

“Have you looked under your bed?”  I asked No 1? 

“YEEEESSSSSSSS.  And she’s not there.” He sobbed.

There is a lesson here for all parents.  Never trust a sobbing child!

After a further 15 minutes fruitless search, calling round the house and garden for the bloody animal, I found her… you guessed it… under the bed.

Tears of trauma turned into tears of relief. 

But by this stage, quite frankly, I’d had enough.

The kids playroom still looked like a war zone.  Their bedrooms were even worse.  And having been reunited with their precious dog, all they could do was fight over who was going to cuddle her!

That’s when I just went “pop”.

I really couldn’t take any more.  So I left them downstairs, with the words:

“Tidy up your mess and GET ON WITH YOUR HOMEWORK” ringing in their ears.

I slammed my bedroom door shut and lay on my bed sobbing.

Sometimes there really is only so much anyone can bear.

I finally recovered my frayed nerves and went back downstairs to face the kids, make the pancakes and get them to do their homework.

As the chores were done I gradually calmed down.  And then, at tea time, two little kids appeared.  Each clutching a piece of artwork they had made for me.

“World’s Best Mum” read one.

The other was just a big heart, with glitter and tinsel around it.

It’s amazing but after the chaos of the morning, two little people had just made my day!

Saturday, 10 September 2011

A small act of kindness

A small act of kindness can have the greatest value…

Earlier this week, I went out to meet a friend for lunch.

We were supposed to go to an art gallery.  Have a look around. Have lunch, a chat, a catch-up…

But owing to the fact that in the life of Lara Lakin, hope mostly triumphs over experience…  I was late again!!

We drove round the corner to her local brasserie, caught up with all our summer holiday news and had a good old laugh. Realising that I was about to be late for the school run, we asked for the bill, at which point she insisted on paying.

Why?  There was absolutely no reason for her to buy me lunch other than just a simple gesture of kindness and friendship.  I was really touched.  It made me smile and put me in a really good mood for the rest of the day.

And of course, it got me thinking how small acts of kindness can have such an effect on us.

It reminded me of a number of incidents over the years, that have made me feel similarly cheered up to know that there are kind and generous spirited people out there.

I won’t bore you with all of them, but this one still makes me smile to myself.

Years ago, when I was about eight months pregnant, I was travelling to work on the tube.  As usual, there were no seats.  The people sitting were all avoiding eye contact, or hiding behind their newspapers.  As the train pulled out of the station, a voice rang out from the end of the carriage:

“Excuse me madam, would you like someone to give you their seat?”

I looked round to see a lovely tall dark handsome man (really, he was very attractive!) standing at the other end of the tube.  As soon as he had said it, there was a huge scuffling of newspapers and about 10 offers of a seat!  As I sat down I thanked him and he gave me a wink!  How I wished I wasn’t eight months pregnant and looking like a beached whale!!! (Oh dear God, calm down Lara!).

It put me in such a good mood that day.  I told everyone in the office about it and it made them smile too!

And as I sit here writing this… I have to wonder whether it’s made you smile too! 

Hope so…!

Lara Lakin…. sharing the love… and signing out!

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Alone, in a darkened room, with a fit young man….

I lay there in the dimly lit basement.  Alone with the slim young man.  His warm hands clasped my buttocks… gently at first… and then…

Oh my bloody god!  The P A I N!!!!

Oh, c’mon guys… I'm talking about the Chiropractor.  What were you thinking…?

This isn’t soft porn you know!

Well, it would seem that the fall I had earlier this summer whilst out running, has provoked an ongoing problem I have with my back.  I tried to be brave, but the pain in my backside was really too much to bear.

And so, having made another appointment for later in the week, I struggled off to get the kids from school.  Head thumping.  Neck on fire.  Every part of my back hurting.  I wondered whether I could cope with the kids fighting in the back seat.   Driving was a struggle.

My kind friends all enquired how I was feeling after the appointment.  Assuming that it would make me feel better.  Well hopefully, by tomorrow, it will start to feel better.  But like so many things in life, sometimes things have to get worse before they get better. 

Looking back at the last few years of my life, I know for sure that divorce most definitely symbolises the “getting worse before it gets better” principle.  And there are many other things it applies to.

I think all of us have the capacity to struggle on with situations that are gradually getting worse and worse.  As a problem worsens, we up the anti – and learn to cope better.  And we do this because we cannot bear the thought of the pain and anxiety it will cause us to confront our demons. 

We blank it.  Pretend it’s not happening.  And all the while, things just get worse and worse.

Taking steps to face our demons takes great strength and courage.  It takes us out of our comfort zone.   It goes against the grain and attracts attention from those close to us, in a way that we find uncomfortable.

I knew I was going to have to go down to the deep dark basement and face the pain.  I’m still suffering now.  But I’m dealing with the problem because I know that is the only way it’s going to get better.

Facing demons takes strength and courage.  But it’s worth it.

And I just hope that the slim young Chiropractor appreciated my muscle tone…!

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