December, I love you! We are not having a Christmas tree this year as there isn’t really anywhere to put it and because I sort of want it to be really special when we put our Christmas tree up next year, in our new extended house (which is due to start work next month!!). I am, however, still in full Christmas mode and intend to spend many weekends baking Christmas treats, making homemade gifts and at Christmas fairs. We went to Edinburgh Christmas market earlier this week and it was beautiful!
This month I wanted to talk about stag and hen-do’s.
And I don’t want a hen-do. No surprises by now, hey?! You probably have quite a good idea of what I’m like by now and the whole thing just seems too much fuss for little ol’ me.
Craig would like a stag do and I think he wants to go abroad for it. The last idea he had was Salut and having an activity holiday with his mates and the males in our families. It sounds like it would be really fun actually! I think when our wedding was going to be in August 2018, the World Cup was going to be on and so they would have been able to watch some of those matches too (have a listened to him correctly on that one?!). I think the most recent idea was Oktoberfest but I’m not too sure! He would like a stag do and that’s great.
However, a typical hen-do with a drunken night out to make the most of your last days being single, doesn’t appeal to me at all. I don’t think it appeals to most people I’ve spoken to actually! People have said that I could hire a cottage and we could go and spend a weekend somewhere but then my Dad, brother and Craig wouldn’t be there and I don’t like the thought of that! Or they’ve suggested a spa weekend. I don’t want to spend all day feeling self-conscious in my cozy, and I definitely don’t want people to spend that much money on me – I’d feel so terrible! An afternoon tea or a meal out is another idea that people have offered in their attempts at trying to make me do something. All ideas seem to begin “I know you don’t want a hen-do but…”. I think people are worried I am going to regret not having one. They are so so sweet for trying to plan things for me, and think of ideas, but I think those people don’t really know me. They don’t know my quirks and my desire to hide away from the limelight. That even sitting at a table surrounded by 10 people, to know that they were all there for me, would be a struggle. The tears I would have in panic beforehand. Even attending something like that for someone else would be difficult for me. I have the people in my life who are my safety nets and only with them can I relax and feel OK. I realise that to some I will sound like a completely ungrateful b***h and I don’t mean to come across that way at all. It is so lovely of people to think of me and it means a lot that they do. It’s so difficult because I can’t really explain what I feel within myself in those situations – it’s like how I explained not wanting a traditional wedding ceremony. I just feel uncomfortable.
We lived abroad growing up, we left England when I was in Year 4 and I came back to England in Year 10 so I didn’t have a real base of friends to begin with. I was at one school for my GCSEs (two years), a different school for Sixth Form (for a further two years) and then went off to University in Plymouth. I have remained close friends with really only one person from my GCSE years and she now lives in London. I still meet up with another two lovelies here and there. At my Sixth Form I was a “floater” and had a few different groups of friends and kind of bounced around them. I see a few of them very rarely. My best friend there found her future husband at Sixth Form and, since then, we have had less and less contact with each other as time has passed. At University, I made close friends but, as the years have gone by, we have drifted. I still speak to one who is now living in Australia and another who lives in Bournemouth…I live in Suffolk. Of course, there are friends I meet up with occasionally and we chat about life and have a catch up, and I cherish those friendships too (especially the ones that involve children and dogs!!).
It does make me sad to think about the friends I have lost. One in particular from University. I picked up a card in Waterstones just last week and walked it to the till with some books I was going to buy. I told Craig of my intentions with it. I was going to write to her, ask her to meet up and talk everything through and ask her to come to the wedding as I know she would be so happy for me. I cried to Craig as I said it, as I missed her so much, but he reminded me that I had made every effort already and that I kept getting myself upset about it and that maybe it was time to move on. I suppose he was right.
I went through a period a few years ago where I was very unhappy. Her being my best friend, I would write her a message to explain how I was feeling and would receive a message to say she was busy and would reply as soon as she could….to only get no reply back. I felt more and more alone each time. I knew she wanted to be my friend and I knew she cared about me but I couldn’t face feeling rejected at that point in my life. In the end, I sent a final message – on the day I was signed off work due to anxiety and depression – to say I was done. It still feels like a very raw breakup! I know she is an absolutely gorgeous human being and leaves a little bit of herself with everyone she meet. She is a whirlwind and embraces everything. Her interests are as wide as Disney to graphic novels and spending weekends at ComicCon, from High School Musical soundtracks to Bon Jovi, from finding the most gorgeous pair of high heels, to running marathons and spending weekends diving. I am a different person because of her. But, just as I haven’t been the friend I could have been to people, she just couldn’t be there for me in my hour of need.
I have learnt lessons from it. I try to make sure that if I know someone is having a hard time, even if it is someone I don’t particularly know, then I try to do all I can to let them know I am there and let them know I care. I will send a text to people just to ask how they are or to send them positive vibes for the week ahead. I like that about myself (Yes! Acknowledge the things you like about yourself and don’t feel l like people are going to glare at you for feeling proud about yourself! You should!) so, in a way, it is my final parting gift from that friendship.
I think when you get to this stage in your life, your late twenties, you have used those previous 10 years figuring out who you are. I am a vastly different person now to who I was when I was 18. I didn’t know who I was at 18. I was reckless and didn’t have my best interests at heart. The friends I made at that age have also been on their own journey these past 10 years and we’ve ended up becoming completely different people with different ideals, values, interests and personalities. Now, at 28, when we get together for a meal or meet up for coffee, those differences are highlighted and realised.
Those friends I do have are true friends. My friend in London is the most kind-hearted, beautiful lady in the world. She will listen and not judge and the information will go no further. She is caring, honest and so very funny. We talk about anything and everything and are not embarrassed to say quite frankly that I don’t understand a single thing about *blank* as, more often than not, the other one of us has no idea either. She is quirky, definitely one of a kind and I am so so lucky to have her in my life.
My friend in Bournemouth is the tough love. The one who will tell you when you are being an idiot. She will fight for you more than you will fight for yourself. She has your best interests at heart and wants you to only have the good things in your life. She will send a card for any occasion – I got a “Congratulations! You have a boyfriend!” card when I first started seeing Craig (I hid it in my drawer in pure fear that Craig was going to find it!). It made me laugh so much and made me love her even more. I haven’t seen her in so long but I know the next time we do, it will be exactly like those days when we lived together and spent hour upon hour with each other – we grow with each other and, when we do meet, it feels like home – like everything is just as it should be.
I definitely know that I look on Facebook and see so many photos and days out of “Me and my girls,” holding glasses of prosecco [cup of tea, please] or lounging on beaches [cuddled on the sofa] or all dressed up and ready for a night out [pyjamas all the way!]. I get a fear that I am the only person in the world who doesn’t have a Taylor Swift style squad of girlfriends behind me. In reality though, I know that that can’t be true. That it’s totally normal to only have a couple of best friends. That my boyfriend, my mum and dad, my brother and his girlfriend, are the people in my life that I consider to be my best friends (and Austin (our dog), who, let’s face it, tops the list!). They are my squad. Oh how I wish I could get a Taylor Swift style picture of us all in bikinis in the sea!
So yes, even though I have gone a very long way about it, I don’t want a typical hen-do. The only thing I could ever envision doing is going on a weekend away with my “squad” and using it to celebrate the fact that me and my best bud are getting married and going to spend our lives together. With Craig there, my brother there, my dad there and my gorgeous little boy (dog!) there. A happy little retreat with my safety net.
See you in the new year!