The past year has been far from a box of fluffy ducks. It could be more accurately be described as a container of old, rusty, tetanus infested nails and tacks. Almost a year ago to the day I quit my job, sold my car and had to get rid of everything I owned that didn’t fit into a single suitcase, including my boyfriend. This was not the beginning of a spiritual cleanse or the start of a quest to travel the globe in the search of the worlds best hummus. It was something much more important and life changing than both of those incredibly important and life changing things. I moved back to my hometown after seven years away, to care for my dad who was dying of cancer.
I am not looking to be canonised here, which means made a saint, not stuffed into and shot out of a canon for those of you who didn’t go to Catholic school. I have a round face and could not pull off a habit quite like Mother Teresa, plus I have a fear I might spontaneously combust if stepped foot inside a church again. It was in fact the greatest gift I have ever been given, the six months I spent with my dad. But it has completely changed the course of my life. When you drop everything it can be incredibly difficult to put the pieces back together. My dad required round the clock care and every second of every day was dedicated to doing anything we could to make him feel better. It was the most important and meaningful thing I have ever done in my life. Then he was gone. Not only had I lost someone I loved more than anything on this earth, I also had no job, no hobbies, no social life. And I hadn’t been touched by another human in a very long time.
‘How long?’ I hear you ask. Too long. It’s been over six months now. Prior to that? Very infrequently. Well below double digits. I had just exited a two year relationship where I had sex on tap and moving made me locationally challenged, dating anyone I knew became too difficult to coordinate and meeting someone new was next to impossible when I was spending all my time with my family. Not to mention the way that caring for someone else changes you. Instantly my lifestyle that had been mostly about me had dissolved. Shout out to all the mums who manage to maintain some skerrick of their own identity while literally creating and raising entire human beings. All of you are absolutely KILLING it.
And now a weird thing has happened. The longer I go without, the less appealing it is to seek solace from anyone I am not that into, or who is just not that into me. My grandmother would have told me, “if you won’t eat an apple, you can’t be that hungry”, but I also feel like no one comes out of a year long fast craving a granny smith, nor would I have been discussing my sex life with grandma. I have never been into doing the wild thing with anyone I wasn’t a little bit obsessed with, but now attractive arrogant guys don’t spin my diff, even a weird night with an ex doesn’t tickle my fancy. Only wanting someone in your bed that is appropriate and genuinely nice to you? I know. Bizarre.
This was cemented one day in January as I drove the length of the country to visit a friend and work in a motel, during a recent period in my life I like to call Doing Things Because I’m Grieving And In Denial About It. I spent most of the drive outside of cell phone reception, with only two playlists downloaded to my phone, ‘New Years Eve Party Anthems’ and ‘I Love My 90’s R&B’, due to a lack of foresight and preparation that is fairly consistent across all aspects of my life. On my way through NYE Party Anthems for the 15th time I came across Faith by George Michael. Like most people, I had previously written the song off as just another religion tinged pop ditty, which I did think to be a little odd coming from George of the Men’s Public Restroom. I’m sorry, Rest In Peace. But on this day in January as I headed down State Highway One solo, with a more than slightly altered mental state after four large coffees and ten hours of driving, the lyrics seemed to be speaking to me.
I need someone to hold me, but I wait for something more.
At a time in my life where I could have done with physical comfort more than ever, there was none on the agenda. I did need someone told hold me, just as George proclaimed. Yet there was no part of me that wanted to jump on a dating app or get together with someone I just didn’t fit with for the sake of a few hours of feeling better. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with doing these things if that is what feels right for you. I fully support any and all of your hoe activities with complete and utter unbridled enthusiasm. But it didn’t feel right for me. I wasn’t after a band aid or a temporary fix. I was waiting for something more. Whatever that might be.
Experiencing the loss of my dad without someone by my side taught me not to rely on or make excuses for someone out of physical dependancy, or to let relationships last longer than they should as a coping mechanism for other aspects of my life. I have learnt to look down the barrel of grief, loss and uncertainty on my own. I have seen my friends and family that have supported me for how incredible they truly are. I know that I can look within myself to find everything I need to cope with whatever life throws at me. I have faith.
But Tom Hardy if you’re reading this, please call me.