The rain is falling in the sort of way that sheer veil curtains float in the breeze. It’s perpetually damp out there & everything is sodden. It’s a far cry from the enchantingly warm day we had yesterday & the dreamy weekend we’ve enjoyed; exploring new parts of the country, catching sunsets on the castle causeway quite by accident and afternoons searching about sea caves & belly surfing a giant inflatable melon on the waves.
Well at this point last year, I was trying my best to recover from a nightmare summer filled with one misfortune after another & process what do to with a failing relationship. I was feeling pretty defeated and hopeless but my one of my best friends had just got married and the joy from that was an anchor in the storm; a rare pocket of sublime joy, sunshine, freedom & sweetness in the midst of a tempest. This September, I celebrated another of my best friends as they married their love, sealing another year and marking another new beginning and in some ways, it barely felt like twelve months had passed and in others it had felt like an entire lifetime. How my life has changed so incredibly in that time.
L E A R N E D
I’ve done a lot of learning this year & a lot of processing about who I am and how I work. After February when my old life ground to a halt, I was feeling pretty shocked by the weight of the changes I would be making in my life and deeply mourned my old world, no-longer friends & family. It was a strange process of healing because although I was over my old relationship (I had processed that before it had ended) I wasn’t over the things that had happened in that process; the hurt, the pain inflicted and the cruel words exchanged. It took me a solid six months, maybe more to let go and accept things that had happened but even now, I still occasionally suffer from nightmares associated with the trauma of that bitter chapter which seems to be something uncontrollable.
But what else I learned, in spite of things I had been told about the way I was and how the way I was was the wrong way to be, is that actually there is no right way to be at all. Of course there are such things as good manners, being a respectful and altruistic human being & looking after our neighbours but you can’t berate someone for being too extroverted, or introverted, or having a strange liking for fish-sticks or not wanting to take drugs or indeed any other thing that harmlessly makes them who they are. I made peace with aspects of my personality and learned how to work with it and for that, my life changed for the better. I need to be around people a lot because I require social contact to recharge my batteries and gain energy and inspiration, so I know I must always seek jobs that are social or have lots of hobbies. London was a great experience for that because I met so many wonderful people & it was a perfect restorative and beginning to a new chapter.
A D V E N T U R E D
It’s been a busy summer, despite living in London I spent a great amount of it travelling up and down the island and even flying over to Northern Ireland to photograph a wedding at a beautiful castle in County Fermanagh. I saw the highlands for the first time, I played in the fountains overlooking tower bridge, danced until the stupid hours with one of my best friend’s at a spectacularly 80’s themed club night which resulted in me being that sick person on the tube *much embarrassment*, went to the David Shrigley gallery at Sketch and spent the most money I’ll ever spend on a meal in my life plus a million and one other things that I can’t quite remember right now. It has been a summer packed with experience & memories & one joy after another. It’s probably been one of the best summers of my life & I won’t forget it in a hurry, I just wish I had taken more pictures… I’ve been too busy living in the moment but luckily I’ve been keeping a journal of this year to document the journey.
B R O K E N O A T H S
Ok… It’s probably about time I admit this because I’m sure those of you who are my friends on Facebook or instagram have been noticing a very curly, green eyed gentleman appearing repeatedly on my adventures with me. I promised myself this year that I didn’t want to fall for anybody, or even next year or the year after that for that matter. I was really happy being single, really happy. I was enjoying the independence, not feeling defined by my relationship status. I was content and feeling confident in myself and happy that I had some time to myself to focus on just living in the moment. There was no way I was going to meet somebody. No way at all. Cue Jonathan Rudd. Damnit boy.
When we first met, there was no ‘Oh my goodness, where have you been all my life?’ or even expectation or interest in dating. His friend had dragged him out to come hang out with me to ‘cheer me up’ and he was thinking (paraphrasing here) “Great… I’m meant to be hanging out with my friend today but going to instead spend my afternoon cheering up her sad friend instead. Not exactly how I fancied spending my Tuesday off.” To be honest, I thought he was pretty quiet so it wasn’t until a few hanging-out-with-friends-sessions later that I realised he had a voice. Haha, just kidding Jon 😉 I had my suspicions.
After a couple of weeks, we starting hanging out just the two of us because we had a whole bunch of free time and were both in the mood for getting out and enjoying the spring weather. We met up for long boarding in Penzance (more commonly known as men’s pants) and accidentally ended up on a date in at the Cornish Barn (Artist’s Residence) and a midnight historical tour of penzance beneath the stars.
But Nope. I wasn’t going to like anybody. Even if they sent me hilarious anecdotes every day of their daily life and great screen grabs of pork pie themed work projects. Not even if they brought me little bundles of spring flowers, shared my mutual enthusiasm for weird 80’s fantasy films & loved the ocean as much as I did.
Weeks went on like this. Has anybody ever seen the film ‘Practical Magic’ with Sandra Bullock? After her husband dies, she makes an impossible list of elaborately specific qualities that somebody must possess for her to possibly consider loving them and I remember making such a list so that I knew I wouldn’t settle for anyone. It was very specific. It kind of went something like this.
- Is Vegetarian (just to make it really specific)
- Has a strong sense of empathy
- Is well read & specifically likes surreal fantasy
- Loves the outdoors & nature a whole bunch
- Doesn’t think that Brexit was a great idea
- Doesn’t think Trump is ‘a funny bloke’
- Has a strong understanding of and empathy for mental health
- Isn’t homophobic or racist or think that any sexuality other than straight is invalid
- Isn’t a man-child (very very important)
- Is sensitive
- Isn’t a narcissist
- Has curly hair (again, making it real specific)
- Has a really magical eye colour
- Is musical
- Likes Game of Thrones (it’s really hard to date someone that doesn’t :P)
- Has the exact same weirdly specific sense of humour as me
- Loves plants
- Loves Cornwall as much as I do
- Is mature
- Likes Pokemon
- Has an appetite for whimsy
- Is willing to not only endure my midnight philosophy club but embrace it
- Can cope with the notion that girls fart & poop (because there are people out there who actually can’t face this ‘nasty truth’ :P)
- Loves photography
- Is obsessed with noodles as much as I am
There were a whole bunch more silly ones but that gives you a general idea.
But anyway, along came this tall curly vegetarian photographer from Penzance who ticked every damn box on that stupid list and I was like “Oh shit.”
But I still wasn’t going to fall in love. Nope. I was determined. But I did really need a second shooter to work with me on my photography business…
So a few months later of many many wonderful adventures all over the island and living for all intensive purposes as ‘Girlfriend & Boyfriend’, Sarah finally admitted to herself that Jon was probably her boyfriend or something 😛
I do our relationship a discredit & I’m probably putting a comical and casual spin on it because I’m just not serious enough a person to handle topics like romance. The last few months have been incredible. This is a new type of relationship that I’ve never experienced before, a very adult one where it’s equal & gentle & loving from both sides. I’ve never felt so secure and cared for & every day he inspires me to be kinder, gentler and more altruistic. I’ve never met such a sweet & kind soul, or indeed anybody like him. I’ve never been a part of a relationship that’s been so easy, so healthy & strong. One founded on mutual values, compassion & a mutual desire to make the other one endlessly happy. I’m not trying to flaunt anything at all. I think it’s just that sometimes I get very confused about how this all happened so suddenly, how my life turned upside down in a single year and I was thrown so many chances I never saw coming; a chance to live in an incredible place for a while, a chance to travel for the job I love and a chance to love that weirdly, enchantingly, unrealistically specific person on my silly list. Bah. 2017 you’re so strange and great 🙂
So I’m back living in Cornwall now and every day I’m so happy to wake up here and be here. To think that in the evenings, I can go eat my tea on the beach and watch the windsurfers or go for a swim on a September afternoon. Yesterday, we both had the day off and it was so warm so we trundled down to Kynance at low tide. We were the first on the island beach (having crossed the causeway while it was still partially flooded) and the sand was so smooth. We had it all to ourselves. We ran around like crazy people on our beach island, around the barnacled rocks & jutting cliffs & caves. We swam until our fingers were too numb (Although the water had been warming up all summer so it was a great temperature) and then we sat in the shallows and let the tide lick our toes. I was so full of happiness and contentment. It was exactly where I wanted to be on a September Tuesday afternoon.
It doesn’t matter that today it hasn’t stopped raining even for a moment. I feel so truly balanced & content, even when there’s hiccups and blustery days or I’m grumpy & weepy from lack of sleep and hunger sadness. If this was a television drama, I’d be worried that the writer was about to kill off my character 😛