Sunday, 3 July 2011


Born on the fourth of July, that film is all about me. On Monday 4th of July 2011, I will officially be 34. What have I done with myself in this time? Nothing extraordinary, on paper. I've spent most of it locked in the comfortable security of my imagination.
When I was in high school, I longed to escape into an alternative lifestyle. My friend and I became obsessed with New Age Travellers (or work-shy scroungers as The Sun often referred to them). We spent French lessons dreaming up new names (me - Maisy) discussing how we'd kit out our home - a double decker bus  - and how we'd never wash our hair.
I soon realised life was all about getting a job, decided I'd like to be a social worker. I also decided revising for exams and listening during class made my brain hurt too much, so didn't bother.
Escaping still appealed to me, so I set my sights on all sorts; nannying in the U.S.A, working on a cruise ship...
I had my fortune 'told' a few times, as did my mum, and America was always mentioned. I escaped all the way to Slough, Berkshire.
After a year, my time living closely with another family ran it's course. I left with no drama, thankful that I'd been taught to make curry by a master (my employer's mum used to tip the curry over her head if it didn't taste right) and that I hadn't travelled all the way to America to realise how difficult it is to fit on with another family's routines.
I spent the next 2 years working 9 to 5 and getting drunk at the weekend. It was crap, I didn't ever look right, say the right things when I got chatted up, or master the art of drinking responsibly. There were some good times, but my default emotion seems to be embarrassment. In my mind I'm a waif, petite and vulnerable - this is in completely incongruous with the reality (maybe I can be vulnerable). I feel out of place, clumsy, a nuisance at times, other times however, I feel like I'm entertaining the crowd.
After a brief relationship, I found myself being all grown-up, with a house and baby. At 22 I'm discussing washing, grocery shopping and meal time-tables whilst still desperately trying to escape from myself. A dark 3 years pass, my daydreams keep me alive, treading water, sometimes falling under but always fighting back up, breathing. My best friend dies, I find out on my 23rd birthday.
Strength finds it's way to the surface, by-passing the sense of inadequacy and helplessness. I slowly build a new life, buy a house of my own and start to feel proud. I look at my shiny floor and waltz around MY bedroom. I am me, it's not so bad really.
Nights out resume, I'm still rubbish at drinking, flirting, dressing up and laughing out loud at 'jokes'.
I find a kindred spirit, not your typical middle-class guy, nor working class - but partial to brown rice, documentaries, owner of walking boots and shunner of soap operas, chart music and fizzy drinks. Settling-down commences;   babies; washing lines, routines again.
I don't know what I want to be, only what I don't. This is good. I do care what people think, sometimes that's all I care about. I don't get so embarrassed. I don't fear getting old, hearing friends panic about being 40 seems ridiculous. I think I'll suit being older. 
I'd like to learn how to drink properly, how to use commas, semi-colons, apostrophes and brackets more effectively. I'd like to learn how to say 'no thanks' with an air if finality to it. Other than that, life is good. I'll open some garish cards in the morning, pretend to be pleased, pretend I don't care about the dearth of cards and presents/dramatic displays of affection.
For 4 years running I've either been pregnant/breast-feeding/at a wedding/poorly on my birthday. Tomorrow, I will do nothing except drink tea and embrace my slowly-emerging acceptance of myself.


  1. Here's to knowing what we don't want!!

    Many Happy Returns!! Hope you have a wonderful birthday! :-)

    Jem xXx

  2. Happy birthday and happy contemplations x

  3. Happy birthday. I hope it's a day you can enjoy. Birthdays can be terribly disappointing. I've learnt to take charge of my birthday if I want it to be a great day. Left to others it's usually a low-key dull affair and I want it to be a celebration full of brilliant things that I love.

    Another very honest piece of writing from you. Not many bloggers who open up so much these days. When I started blogging 6 years ago everybody was writing like that. Nowadays, it's all about niche blogging. Crafting/music/fashion etc.. (which is OK - nothing wrong there.) Your blog is so refreshing though.

    By the way, you might well always care what people think of you. Getting older doesn't necessarily change that. I think most people want to be approved of. There are some truly free spirits who dance to the tinkly music in their head, but they are the exception.

    What has changed for me is that although I do still care what people think, I no longer mind if they don't approve of or like me . What I mean is, I WANT to be well thought of but it's OK if I am not. I can shrug it off and not be terribly bothered. We're all different and there's space for all of us.

    Really wish you a good day. :)

  4. By the way, I meant to add, that you should practice saying 'No thanks.'

    In front of your mirror. Practice it. Practice the look on your face and the tone of your voice. Then, when you're in a situation where you want to say it, you will find it much easier.

    Sounds silly but it works.

  5. Happy Birthday, Lucy!
    I'm nodding in agreement at knowing what I don't want to be but not having a clue about the rest of it.
    I'm definitely over worrying about other's opinions about me. Of course I want to be liked but now I'm older I no longer feel the need to please people in order to win their affection.
    May your 34th birthday be the happiest yet. x

  6. A very honest appraisal. With each year we naturally find ourselves looking back more, revisiting earlier hopes, dreams and ambitions. It’s frighteningly easy to be disenchanted and wonder how much we have achieved, but your last sentence sums it up well; a growing acceptance of who we are - I like that! Have a good birthday!

  7. Penblwydd Hapus Lucy. You deserve a lovely day, I hope you get one. xxx

  8. Happy Birthday hun, hope you've had a lovely up of birthday tea and that the day has been perfect for you.

    I'm not one for a big birthday celebration, so for my 30th last novemeber I took hubby and baby with a couple of mates just for a lazy afternoon in a county pub garden - was perfect. Now all my "younger" friends are hitting 30 these last months and its all been about big parties and expensive gifts .... I really need to learn that 'no thanks' :o) Scarlett x

  9. i predict another ninety years of happiness

  10. Happy birthday Lucy. I don't think I'll ever get over desperately wanting people to like me and admire me and because of that I'll carry on trying just a bit TOO hard for the rest of my life I suppose. Kudos to you for your self-awareness.

    K xx

  11. ah.. hope you had a good birthday. enjoyed your post and related to lots of it.x

  12. I really appreciated this honest and touching post! A slightly belated happy birthday m'dear, here's to 34!Hope you had a lovely relaxing tea-soaked day xxx

  13. Fuck it, I missed this due to being at my in-laws. [They're not at all like that awful woman who emailed her prospective daughter in law a list of her faults, but I couldn't spend the whole time on their internet!]. Happy - now belated - birthday Luce. I'm very pleased to have met you - if only virtually - and I hope that those who matter to you made your birthday matter.

    It's possible that America still has a place in your future, if we knew everything that would happen life would be exceedingly dull. Or perhaps they just psychically cottoned on to your birthday being a huge holiday in the States. If you ever do spend it in the USA you can at least be assured of fireworks! I'm supposedly going to be successful in 'ladies business' - whatever that is - according to a night market fortune teller in Hong Kong. I must dig out what else I was told and see if any of it is relevant nearly 14 years on...


  14. Hope you had a lovely birthday. I really enjoyed reading this post not least because I identified with having an imagination and daydreaming. I definitely spent more time daydreaming at school than revising for exams which was not good really. Even now I can wonder off and think about what I could have done or what I could achieve in the future. It can be a great escape:) Oh and by the way I am rubbish at flirting, drinking and dressing up - have tried and failed and now given up but I am happy with being me.

  15. Happy birthday for yesterday! 4th July has a nice sound to it. I used to daydream too as a child about escaping my family and been brought up by another family( maybe that's why I Love living on the other side of the world from them now!) Oops did I really just say that! I learnt a great lesson a few years ago, too be contented with what I have, never to want what others have, to be grateful for the small things. Lovely birthday post. X

  16. Happy Birthday! You're a great writer and your blog is one of my favourites. I hope that this year brings you lots of good things.

  17. Happy Birthday for last year, love. You've had quite year. And even more fabulous than ever. Sarah xxx


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