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First Kiss January 11, 2011

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Life, Chatter & Politics.
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Following reading Belgian Waffle’s wonderful First Kiss post, I ended up reminiscing about my first kisses, as they are apparently some of the most vivid memories that we have. I suspect all “First Kiss” articles will have this sort of effect, plunging the reader into a pool of sublime memories, embarrassing recollections, and romantic encounters that make you feel weak at the knees. I also suspect that I am not the only person that Guardian article has inspired to blog in a totally introverted way about their personal experiences!

My first, first kiss was, to be honest, a travesty. There I was, 16 and with a head full of boys, and kissing, and imagined passions with fellow students who had beautiful hands, the perfect hair, and a sense of humour I still remember fondly now. With such grandiose ideas the reality was bound to be a let down, and that it was; from the fake “falling asleep” on the shoulder of my new holiday boyfriend, to the awkward pecking, to the way his tongue attempted to touch mine. Horrible, of course, and mentally scarring to say the least.

The kiss I count as my first “real” kiss, however, was spectacular. He was older than me, an athlete, and my young and lifeguarding self had been eagerly eyeing up his wet t-shirt clad body for many a week. There was flirting, of the embarrassing-now-you-look-back-on-it level, and it all culminated in a stroll down by the river, and a passionate hair-tousling kiss that proved to me that maybe there was hope for the male of the species. It was one night of wild snogging, which stayed with me for years, and I have always been thankful to have the opportunity to discover that kissing is awesome.

Beyond my young school days, the next “first kiss” would have to be Ben, and a good one it was too. Amongst all the promiscuity and drunkness of first year uni, the night that I met a boy dressed as a flower-pot will always stand out in my mind. I remember dancing in the club, in my typical wild fashion, and eventually finding myself in the arms of that very same boy, pushed against a pillar and being kissed as if my life depended on it. Breath taking, and enough to have me in swoons of lust for weeks following, and in love for years.

Now I am back in the territory of first kisses again, and I have to say that I am glad. There is something timid, fabulous and utterly enjoyable about the first time you get close to someone like that, and it was always one of the things I missed when in a relationship. They are of course too recent to be reminisced over, but I hope that there will be plenty more kisses, and plenty more first kisses, to come.


Last night I woke up screaming October 21, 2010

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Dreams.
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Last night I woke up screaming. I pulled myself from deep down, swimming through murky water that clawed at me like toffee to finally plunge into the real world, with a scream tearing its way from my mouth as soon as I surfaced. Immediately after screaming, I lay back down, but I couldn’t get out of my head the feeling of utter terror. When my eyes tried to close, fluttering down against my will, I forced them open, staring around the room like a rabbit caught in the proverbial headlights.

What is strange is that I don’t know what was scary. I have apocalyptic dreams all of the time, and they entertain me from the moment my eyes close to the second my alarm wakes me in the morning. This dream, however, consisted of me flying around a huge, dark, and deserted department store, fighting as always against gravity and the ever encroaching darkness. At one point there was a slow wall of mud crawling through a town, and a mad rush to escape. All in all, it was pretty far from terrifying.

Yet still, there I was, wild eyed and pumped full of adrenaline, at three in the morning. Realising, of course, that for the first time since I have been single, I needed someone to hold me. I needed someone to stroke me, and tell me that it would all be alright, and shh me until I faded into sleep with their arms wrapped around me and their breath hot against my skin.

And there I was, alone.

How long can I hate myself for? August 16, 2010

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Depression.
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Please feel free not to read this. It isn’t fun, it isn’t exciting, it is just what is going on in my head that I need to get out.

When you are depressed, it often feels like you are the only one who has ever felt like this. You whine, and grump, all the time assuming that you are the only person who knows exactly what it feels like to be this low. When you peer over a high drop and catch yourself thinking about how much easier it would be if you jumped, you forget how many other people have felt like this. Are feeling like this. Still, selfish and self-obsessed as this may be, it is so hard to break yourself out of the routine. You find yourself blogging about it more and more, because only when you get it out of yourself do you feel like you can go on. You worry that if you stop paying attention to the depression, you will be nothing. You will fade gently out of existence, and no-one will notice you disappear.

I don’t know why I can’t get out of this negative groove. I don’t even really know what set it off, although I expect the fact that I am single and have been living a stressful life has something to do with it.

When I think about it, I don’t know why I was so OK when Ben and I broke up. I think I plunged myself into a deep sense of denial, and I happily skipped through life trying my hardest to ignore just how much my life had changed. Despite the fact that in essence I had lost the best friend I had ever had, I tried to pretend I was fine. Then, against my friend’s advice, I ended up getting involved with someone. Despite the fact that I was probably far too vulnerable to be doing that to myself, I got wildly excited, and somewhat over-enthusiastic. When that ended, as everyone could have predicted it would, that was when my well-constructed barriers fell down and I tipped neatly over the edge. It wasn’t the situation itself, more that it functioned as a trigger, the one last thing that left me alone in my new house, sobbing, scared, and hating myself.

You see, that is the thing. I tipped over into full-blown self-hatred. Of course it wouldn’t have worked – I am a hyperactive idiot, ugly, over-reliant. I’m shallow, unintelligent. I am a bore to be around, none of my friends will ever want to see me, people feel like they are wasting their time by being around me. Why would a funny, good-looking man want anything to do with me? I have always been a drain on a relationship, Ben is probably better off out of it, I am stupid and foolish and far too loyal. I hated my attitude, my beliefs. I looked in the mirror and wished I didn’t have a reflection staring back at me. This degree of self-hate is the sort I only ever experience when zooming headlong into a full bout of depression, and I reiterate that this is almost definitely the backlash from the end of a long and lovely relationship.

The self-hate has slowed now. My inadequacies, many failings, and aesthetic let-downs (i.e. my face!) aren’t constantly running around my head at a million miles an hour. However, what has been left behind is a thoroughly battered shell of a mind. I am thinking about suicide far more often. I keep catching myself thinking about how easy it would be to be out of life. Sometimes I see the silliest things, and it makes me cry.

The question is, how long until I can respect myself again? How long until I am disappointed with every tiny little quality that makes me the individual I am? How long until I stop Facebook stalking people and believing I am the idiot they are discussing on their walls? How long until I stop feeling unworthy of anyone liking me, let alone loving me?

I was going to end this post with a few things about myself that I do actually like. A booster of sorts, designed to remind me of my good qualities. There must be something about me that I admire and respect, there must (theoretically) be something about myself that others like. I presume I am not an entirely repellent human being? I presume Ben, and Piers, and all the other men who have ever been interested in me must have seen something to encourage them to get involved at all? The problem is, I can’t think of anything. I am chubbier than I ever used to be, I am irritating, I am uninteresting. Perhaps people are better off not knowing me, silly and melodramatic as it sounds.

Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst July 21, 2010

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Depression, Life, Chatter & Politics, Uncategorized.
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I have a flawed personality. It is damaged goods on so many levels. I find things sad that others find happy. I can feel lonely when surrounded by thousands of people. I trust people too much. I harbor the permanently unfulfilled believe that in the end, no matter how much shit it throws at you, life will give you something nice in the end.

One of my main characteristics has always been that I don’t love easily. I have a select group of friends whom I adore, but I don’t let them know me very easily at all. I have historically avoided relationships like the plague,being convinced that as such a boring and idiotic person it is only opening myself up to hurt to give myself to someone completely and utterly.

Another characteristic is a complete lack of self-esteem. I like the person I am, and would never want to change my basic self, but I don’t believe I deserve good things. I don’t feel that anything nice is meant to happen to me, and if it does I spend most of my time waiting for it to end. I look in the mirror and nine times out of ten I am disappointed with what I find staring back at myself. I wish I was more entertaining, more reliable, more intelligent. I wish I was prettier, more confident.

I am, as you may have gathered, not very happy at the moment. I am so very alone, and so bitterly sad. Life, for a few weeks, has been starting to look up. All the problems of the past few months – Ben and I breaking up, my new flat falling through, being homeless, not being able to find a flat, or a flatmate, were starting to resolve themselves. I have a new house now, and a new housemate. I was at the beginning of a new relationship which foolishly I let myself get my hopes up about. Just when things were looking cheery, everything turned upside-down again and I have been floored somewhat. I hurt inside, and I can’t stop crying. I am, in short, pathetic and ridiculous and utterly utterly letting myself down in every way shape and form that I can.

I will, no doubt, be fine. I have been down in the dumps before, and I like to think that actually it is good that I can now feel emotions, both ups and downs, like a normal non-depressed person. Even so, however, it hurts ridiculously, and when all I need is a hug there isn’t anyone around to give it. In fact, the person I would pribably appreciate a hug from most is no doubt removed from my life for the forseeable future.

Good god, life is shit. I hate it.

As the proverb goes, it is not a matter of absence making the heart grow fonder, but more that you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.

A Temporary Leave of Absence May 24, 2010

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Depression, Life, Chatter & Politics.
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Just to let you know guys, I am taking a bit of a leave of absence. My relationship with Ben ended on Friday night, on my instigation, and I just can’t face blogging or typing away at the moment. I also can’t face eating, thanks to the fact I am clenching my jaw all the time and thus have trouble opening my mouth. I was drunk when we ended, Dutch courage of sorts, but I am filled with all kinds of regret over the way it happened and can barely look at myself, let alone write about myself any more than this. I have apologised, and he has forgiven me, but I still feel bad.

Just for a while I need not to post. I will carry on writing shallow waffle at I Should Wear…? and suchlike, but for now I need a breather.

Thanks for understanding 🙂 You never know, I may well be back in a few days – but I don’t want to have to set myself a date.

Times are a’changin May 10, 2010

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Life, Chatter & Politics.
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Life is… well… interesting at the moment. What was a steady, stable and downright predictable way of living has, in the space of a week, been turned on its head. There hasn’t been any disaster (in fact, this was all deliberately self-inflicted), but it is quite a surreal set of events, and a set that leaves me excited and terrified at the same moment.

Let me elaborate, as I am aware that I am not making much sense.

Ben and I are not going to be living together any more. Once we have handed in our notice we will be moving out to separate flats, which is the process that I am going through today – searching for suitable flat shares and emailing to see if the rooms are still available at all. The process itself is quite exciting, it tinges the air with a scent of new beginnings, freedom and change.

However, in many other ways the decision and direction that we are going in is strange. We love each other. We really do. But for the past 6 months, maybe even a year, we have become disenchanted with one another. Where once we chatted and flirted, we have descended into a sad silence, an empty space filled with nothing more than disappointment. Living together was killing us, and it was killing our relationship. With this in mind, we have decided that we need change, and we need our own space – but the very act of embarking on this feels like it is as much a step backwards as it is a huge leap forwards.

However, without this my relationship would not have a chance to survive. We were young when we moved in together, fresh out of uni, and I realise now that perhaps we should have had an opportunity to be young, wild and free. To be boyfriend and girlfriend, rather than live in partners. The choice, therefore, is between breaking up, or staying together and moving out.

Because I love him, I think this relationship is worth fighting for, I think it is worth putting the effort in. If, after all this, we do break up, then so be it – but we will both know that we did everything humanly possible to give each other a second chance, to fight for something we really, truly believe in. Because isn’t it worth trying, if you really care?

So nearly the end February 25, 2010

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Family, Life, Chatter & Politics.
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Last night my relationship of three years nearly ended. We didn’t argue, we didn’t shout – but the bottom fell out on me and everything I know.

I had been out with the girls, and then I came back and wrote a blog post. We went to bed, but clearly something wasn’t right – and when Ben asked what was wrong I found myself admitting that I wasn’t sure if our relationship worked.

I don’t think me saying it was a huge surprise. Despite loving each other deeply and truly, we had been drifting apart for months, and nowadays it sometimes seems like we are two disconnected people who happen to live in the same house. We are best friends, but that isn’t just what being in a relationship is about. I tended to be quiet and deeply buried in the media each night as an escape, whilst Ben talked to anyone and everyone he could online just to keep himself occupied. It wasn’t good, it wasn’t healthy, and it was bad enough for both of us to wonder if it was a sensible idea to keep battling on – or whether it would be fairer to split and go our separate but affectionate ways for a while.

Having sobbed most of the night, this morning I went back to the flat (I spent the night elsewhere, I didn’t think it was fair on either of us to stay around). We talked, we hugged, we both cried. We love each other so much that the idea of not being together was horrifying, terrifying, impossible to understand. Our lives are so intertwined that I wouldn’t know where to begin to untangle us.

So, because we love each other, we have agreed a few things to try and make it work. Because we owe it to ourselves, if nothing else, to not just give up on this. We owe it to ourselves to give it one last ditch attempt, to really put the effort it – to try and make this work. If it doesn’t work, then so be it – but we will know in our hearts that we did our best and it just wasn’t meant to be. And I honestly believe that whichever way it ends up in the long run, we will remain true friends.

So, here is what we are going to try and do.

  1. Computers are banned on the sofas. We aren’t banned from using them, but we have to be at the table, so it is clear we are writing or browsing – and so if we want to sit on the sofas we have to interact and talk and share.
  2. We have rearranged the room. Gone is the old cramped layout, and now everything is cleaner, friendly, more attuned to both our needs.
  3. I am to listen more – and at the same time be aware that Ben and I don’t have to do everything together. I can give him a break by going shopping with the girls – it doesn’t mean anything bad.
  4. Once a week we will try and have a “date night”. Not an expensive one, but just a night where we do something purely in each others company. Cook a posh meal, or see a film at the cinema. Go for a walk or attend a comedy night. We mustn’t take each other for granted any more.
  5. We are hopefully going to go away. Free from technology, we will spend a night or two just with each other, rediscovering what it is about each other that made us fall in love to start with.

Hopefully we can make it. Because my heart almost broke last night, and I can’t face that again any time soon.

Managing Relationships December 6, 2009

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Depression, Family, Life, Chatter & Politics.
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Sorry for the absence… I didn’t want to blog, so I didn’t. I haven’t even kept up on other people’s blogs, and have no doubt missed wonderful things. But I am feeling a little more blog-worthy… so here goes…

Being one half of a long-term relationship is not an easy thing. It is an enjoyable thing, a thing to be treasured – but not easy by any stretch of the imagination.

Many people who know me will be surprised to know that Ben and I are ever anything but happy. Sure we banter and snark at each other, but generally we are chirpy people who love each other. But sometimes, and particularly for the past few months, love isn’t enough on its own.

The past few months have been about compromise. I have been exhausted, changing jobs and generally knackered. Ben has been travelling the country, utterly drained and fed up of the open road. Between us we have argued, cried, collapsed exhausted and pretended nothing is wrong. After weeks of not tidying, of arguing, we finally talked, we sorted things out and are gingerly back on an even keel. At no point did we stop loving each other, but for a while, we needed something else. Thankfully, we had it, we fought long and hard for it, and we are OK.

This all got me thinking about the way that we take relationships for granted. And also the way in which people see “happy relationships” and never suspect any deeper troubles. Even the most wonderful couple isn’t happy all the time, needs a helping hand sometimes, cries at night or buries themselves in work.

I am thankful for what I have, and I will fight for it. But I will try my hardest not to take it for granted!

Body Issues May 22, 2009

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Depression, Life, Chatter & Politics.
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Today (and for the past few days) I have been having to deal with a massive wave of body self loathing. I’m not my biggest fan at the best of times, so periods like this are especially hard to deal with. It is particularly difficult when I am having to pack skimpy summer outfits and think about bikinis.

My own illogicality is starting to wind Ben up. He spends so much of his time trying to reassure me, as I cry and berate and beat myself up about the imaginary lumps bumps and horrible self I see before me. I wonder if he is close to giving up on me, as silly and self-destructive and miserable as I am. Since we first started going out I have been systematically trying to find reasons we shouldn’t be together, reasons why he shouldn’t like me, ways to push him away and banish him to the realms of good memories – things that didn’t last. Luckily for me he is a stunningly (annoyingly) resilient fellow, battered down by little and stubborn enough to beat even me. Now, however, my inability to see the good things – the holiday, the sun, the fact we are happy and both have good lives – seems to be digging away at him.

I would love to stop, and become the loving and enthusiastic girl that resides underneath this self-hating exterior. Unfortunately, currently, this girl is trapped. I don’t have the foggiest idea how to draw her out, and sense a metaphorical carrot (preferable dipped in chocolate) is needed. I need a healthy dose of unpoisoned reality, a harsh look in the mirror at what I have become.

The facts? I’m reasonable looking (more so once I finally get my hair cut, it’s currently at a kink outwards stage… I can see it marching along. Kink Out! Kink Out! DO NOT LET THE BRUSH DEFEAT YOU!), have a reasonable-to-good body, have friends (although I am very lonely at the moment), have a boyfriend who loves me and a work where I am interested most of the time. I just can’t see it!

Sorry everyone, a miserable post today. But I needed to vent, to put my feelings down on paper and have a whine about it. I just hope that over the weekend I manage to do something about the self-hate that is damaging me, before it gets beyond repair.