Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Saying too much......A blog about Friends, life and reflecting..or maybe just a giant ramble

You make gangs, pacts, swap toys, secrets, clothes, even blood.  you tell each other stories.  You play dress up together.  You laugh together, sulk together, daydream together.  You make plans about your future together.  The men you will marry, starting off with a movie star, getting more realistic as time goes by.  You dream about your future pets, the children you will have, what you will call them, and you talk about how you too, like your favourite book characters will be best friends forever and you're children will grow up and marry each other.




There's not questions about what if you don't meet someone?  What if you can't have children?  What if you  move away?  Lose touch?

These things are not even an option, not even a thought.

With all the best will in the world, as we grow we will fall out with some good friends, fall into favour with some that aren't so good.  Not realise the importance of some friendships and over value some that really shouldn't be given a second thought.

In our 20's we can feel invincible.  Our values can be quite fickle.  We may have moved on from school friends as we make way for college........promises of staying in touch lying in tatters as life moves on.

Today social networking stops this happening so much.  It's so easy to stay in touch.  This is a good thing....and bad.

Blogs were not around in my youth, and I am not even 'that' old.

The world is so much more accessible.  The world really is at your fingertips.  Again this is good....and bad.


We can stay in touch with everyone and anyone.  Good influences and bad are right there, available to all.

You can live out a whole life online without even having to leave your bedroom.

People who can't be socially functional in the real world can be witty, popular and insightful online, because you can think before you speak.  You can hit delete as many times as you wish.  You can lie.  You can be anything you want.  This can be used for bad, alas.

We run the risk of living too much online though.  You can give so much of yourself online.  You'll say things you wouldn't necessarily say in person.  We can mistake some relationships for meaning more than they should.  It also means you can find some wonderful friends you maybe would never cross paths with if it wasn't for emails and social networking.  We can show videos online, publish books online, buy and sell pretty much anything online.  We can shop online, date online.  It's all so amazing.

'Internet sensations' have been found in the blog world.


But.......

We run the risk of having hangers on.  Not being able to escape our past.  Making mistakes publicly, forever stored online.  We can have our identity stolen and lose so much meaning, we end up doing things because it'll be great to post online.  We can miss the moment because we are busy reaching for our phone.  Miss the real beauty in front of us as we try to take a photo of it.  Never getting truly lost in the moment.

I've had friends say my holiday photos posted online don't contain enough pictures of me.  Well, 1. I know what I look like.  2. I keep some things private.  3. I don't like having my photo taken.
Blogs, social networking sites and our mobiles can really turn us into a vain bunch.

You can easily over share and the mystique of our lives can be lost.

We can very much forget the real meaning of friendship as we start counting friends.  Quality over quantity should always be the  main focus, but social networking has clouded this.

This is great for bands or selling a product but friendship should not be a commodity.  Times have changed.  So much has changed.  Even just from when I was a kid.  At college.  But one thing remains the same you can count your real friends on one hand.  Two if you are  lucky, and to be blunt, only a fool would think otherwise.

You do not have 600 friends.  People you have met maybe, but friends?



We're really diluting the meaning of the word.  Friendship is beautiful.  It is essential.  It can keep us going.  The word should be used with thought and consideration.

It should be seen as an honor to be someones friend.  Not another number on our facebook page. 
Going back to the start, we can lose our way sometimes.  Let some of the good ones go and hold on to the wrong ones.  But life has a funny way of working out.  Of showing you the way.  Of showing you the error of your ways and if you are lucky, you will be given a second chance.

Some days I feel blessed.

Some days I sit counting friends, feeling hopeless.

Truth is.......I am lucky. 




I never really fit in growing up after about the age of 9 or 10.  High school sucked.  But I guess it's meant to be.  Helps prepare you for life and gives you character.  I moved away from the usual path people in my town took, I had a shaky start but I suddenly found I had loads of 'friends'.  All these years on I'm in touch with just a handful of those friends, with only one or two being real, true friends.  If social networking had been about I guess that number would be very different.  I'd never have believed you if you'd told me at the time just who I would have lost touch with.  I only stayed in touch with 2 people from school.  Lately that's changed and a few more have come back into my life.  My younger brother is from a different generation and I think he's in touch with pretty much his whole year.  One of the real friends from school has known me since I was 2.  We go too long without seeing each other but when we do it's like no time has passed.  True, proper, beautiful friendship.

There's a whole handful of friends from my fanzine days.  Honest friendships, not built on looks, salary or job titles, but honest interests.  Our geography keeps us apart more often than not these days but thank goodness for email....and letters.....remember them....and I admit it - social networking helps.  See, a walking contradiction!!!

I moved to London from a very small town.  I hit the middle of a scene.  I experimented with myself, found my feet and I loved it.  It consumed me.  At the time I thought I had found myself.  But now I wonder if that is when I started to lose myself.  Or maybe it's just what being young is all about.  I wouldn't have it any other way.  They were truly exciting times.  Bands I liked back home, I got to be 'friends' with.  I made glamorous new friends and had no end of fun.  Very little sleep.  Very little food.   But oodles of fun.

Life isn't quite so exciting these days but it's full of so much more substance.  So why do I find myself counting friends as often as I count my blessings?  Well.....sometimes I long for nights of dancing.

But in reality I've moved on from the club scene and some of the fickle things that go with it.  I never ever thought I'd say that though. 

These days I want to learn about my friends, actually hear what they have to say.  I want to connect properly and build foundations.

I want to be the best friends I can be and live a varied and challenging life.  If I focus on too many people I feel I am not giving any of them enough.   Not being a good enough friend. 


I don't want to be wild/crazy Ali who never sleeps and will always be up for going out anymore.  She needed to spread her wings.  She was really only going around in a figure of 8 and I think life is about more than that.

As much as I sometimes wish I had more 'going out' friends, I also realise things happen for a reason.  That I've grown up a bunch.  I've changed.  Hopefully for the better.  I've got a whole heap of life ahead of me so what I'm not happy with I can change.  And if I'm not changing it them maybe deep down I don't really want to.  I remember a friend from my first time in London criticising what another friend looked like, deeming her not fit for me, he knew nothing of the truly kind heart she has.  All these years on, she's a good friend....him, not so much!!!  A couple of friends from those days made outrageous homophobic remarks.  I've cut them both out of my life that day and have never had anything to do with either of them again.  There are 3 friends from that time that I thought would be in my life forever.  I don't see any of them really anymore but thankfully I think we all know that we're there for each other - just sometimes you take a different path - sometimes those paths join up again and sometimes they don't - that's the beauty of life - you never know what is in store.



I recently moved on from another friend who has been in my life for 16 years.  I don't know what our future holds but I do know the present was frustrating and draining so I invested in myself, something I never normally used to do, and I put distance between us, to save something before it got irreparably damaged.  I haven't forgotten her.  It just wasn't right for us in the here and now.  Many people come and go in life and it was liberating to finally realise that some come into your life for a short time for a reason, but are not meant to stay.  the same as I've done to others.  I know there are some friends from my past that wonder what happened to the girl that swept in, shook things up and floated away.  Maybe we'll meet again.  Maybe not.  We served a purpose for the moment we were in.  No hard feelings at all.

I got a bit lost in London the first time round.  Valued some of the wrong things.  I tried to escape in a very wrong way and wasted 3 years of my life with a rather damaged individual.  He was mean.  He tried to break me.  I look on those times not with sadness though but as a year where my brother and his girlfriend took me in and gave me shelter from so much.  A time where I met my best friend, found a loyal friend in her partner and became honorary big sister to her 2 great girls, where I reconnected with my other brother and had some great nights out seeing bands, having fun and making friends.  I made a handful of friends in the job I had at that time, all are still in my life today.  It could've been one of the worst times of my life but I choose to live with no regrets and see things as learning curves.  Never waste a moment to learn a lesson.

I moved back to London.

I felt my time here was not done.  Six years on and I am still here, in my 3rd home and a quite different girl.  But I jump ahead.

I moved into an area I didn't know, into a flat with people I didn't know, I had more in common with the girl whose room I was taking, someone that I am still in contact with today.  I spent my first weekend there unpacking boxes and hanging out with Shane McGowan of all people, I bumped into some old friends and signed up, under force to myspace.

Three of my best friends today came from chatting on that site and then meeting up. One of these friends I am pretty sure without myspace our paths would never have crossed, but who is to really know, all I know is it would be a big shame if we didn't as she is one of the few that are in my inner circle. The same site is where she met her husband to be. This is beautiful. Yet you can hear about how social networking has led to bullying, to stalking and all sorts of horribleness.


Yet today I don't even have a myspace page.  See how things change and move on? See how you should get what you need/want from something and not just what others are doing?



I found myself starting to feel weird, not at ease with myself.  My health was deteriorating.  I was practically living at the doctors, trying to get someone to take me seriously.  Trying to work out what was wrong, feeling alone and isolated.

I didn't tell anyone as I didn't know what was wrong.  I eventually confided in two people at work, (both still friends of mine today).  I was told to prepare myself for the worst.  The doctor told me he thought it could be cancer.  I tried to carry on.  Be the party girl.  Not let it ruin Christmas that was in just a matter of weeks.  I didn't tell anyone.  I was weak.  Ill.  Unable to go out.  Friends at the time, friends from my first time in London seemed to think I was making excuses, I wasn't out on the 'scene' anymore.  I was feeling socially anxious.  One by one a lot of that group slipped away.  I pulled my other friends closer.  And I've kept them there, adding a few more to the group on the way and a very understanding boyfriend.



I finally got my diagnosis and anyone that follows this blog will know about this but for those that don't, I was diagnosed with fibroid tumours.  A by line of all of this was how I was really at high risk of a heart attack, even today I still get painful heart tremors now and then.  I can't do the things I used to.  Some people judge me on that without bothering to understand why - so I don't really bother with them.  3 operations followed.  I have a problem with anaesthetic and almost died from it as a child, so yea, these operations took quite a lot out of me.  It has now been 2 years since my last operation, and about 3 months since I've finally not been anaemic.  Nothing like testing, confusing times to show you the true meaning of friendship.  To put life into perspective.  To show you what and who is important.  I know some people don't care what I've been through.  Many have had things far, far worse.  I know some don't fully understand what I went through.  Some feel bad for me.  But look at it this way....I was given time, so much time to reflect on my life.  I saw who was a good friends, and who wasn't, who to keep, who to let go and who to pull close and who to keep on the fringes.  Valuable lessons that many never get the time to learn.  I didn't want to spend my days in a haze, running around drunk, being seen to be scene.  I loved those days but I wanted, needed more.  I still get drunk.  I go out, it's more of an occasion now rather than every night.  I understand, and enjoy some solitude and alone time.  Something I used to hate.  I see friends, family, spend time with my boy, listen to music, dance around my room, go out for dinner, to the cinema, to the theatre, I go on holiday, I read, I write, I study, I make clothes, occasionally I bake, I take photos, I blog, I learn, I grow, I love, I laugh, I cry and I dream......and I hope I've become a good friend.  So even though I sometimes catch myself counting friends and having a bit of a wobble the truth is for all of life's ups and downs I am pretty lucky right?  I have found perspective and meaning.  I know who to value and who to focus on, who makes me happy, and who drains me, I've learnt to be me.  I still need to work on me but I am finally getting there.  I have learnt to open my eyes and really see what is around me, to notice all the little things in life.  To not be desperate to be cool and fit in.  Far more important is to be myself, to be true to me.  There person who seems so popular with so many friends can quite often be the one crying the loudest inside.  Running away faster than you'd think.

I dare you to stop.  Face everything and stop being so hard on yourself. 

To the friends from my past.....maybe we will meet again.  Maybe we won't, but I wish you well all the same.  To those that think they know me by just looking at me......you don't.  And if you are going to judge me like that then you never will know me either.

To the family and friends in my life, thank you.  I love you.

To the friends I have yet to meet, 'Hello!'

And to life......thank you for giving me a second chance.  I look forward to res of it, challenges and all.

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