Turning a Negative a Positive

So recently I made the decision to take, what has generally been a rather negative year, and try and use all the pain I’m feeling and turn it into something positive. I’ve long been fascinated with space and science and have often been heard saying that had Sciences and Mathematics engaged me more at school I would have pursued a career in this and become an Astrophysicist (in hindsight it certainly would have stopped me having my heart broken by someone I met very serendipitous through work but I digress) however when I think back on my time at school the large majority of people who taught the subject were men and none of them had a particularly exciting or engaging way of teaching the modules.

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Now in contrast at home I would watch The Sky at Night and was taught the basics of the Solar System and the name of most of the constellations in the night sky by my dad. One of my earliest memories is standing in the garden of my parent’s house in Manchester, on a cold clear night and holding my dad’s hand as he pointed at the moon and talked about the Apollo mission and the first man to walk on the moon. I’ve always watched any science documentaries, especially to do with Astronomy and the make-up of the Universe and have read a few books on the subject (Stephen Hawking’s “A Brief History of Time” which made my mind melt and two books written by Professor Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw)

Space travel has always interested me and this love was once again sparked when Tim Peake became the first British Astronaut on board the ISS. Recently, to distract my mind from thinking about what’s happened I’ve been listening to podcasts and have pretty much binge listened (probably not a phrase) to nearly all of The Infinite Monkey Cage podcast with Professor Brian Cox and Robin Ince. And it’s this along with a recent BBC Two show called “Astronauts: Do You Have What it Takes?” that really gave me the proverbial kick up the backside I have needed. Watching the candidates on Astronauts, who are just ordinary people, doing something proactive to take a dream more viable, made me realise that I should do something to make me happy and that I have longed dreamed to do. And that’s pursuing a qualification in Physics. So a couple of weeks ago, I took the plunge and applied to study for an A Level in Physics in my spare time. Since doing so, I’ve been doing polls on Twitter and Facebook to ask certain questions about Science and Space and it’s the results of those polls I want to share with you now.

One of the first things I wanted to find out was how Physics compared to Biology and Chemistry, to other people who had studied it, or are currently studying it. I’ll be honest it was Biology I found most interesting at school but I think it’s because Miss Gowing (one of the only female science teachers) taught in a way that was engaging and practical. In my poll Biology came out on top with 58% people enjoying the subject, with Chemistry coming up in second place at 25% and Physics coming last with just 17% of people of preferring it over the others. This is something I plan to look into a bit more and I’m planning on collating a questionnaire to get more understanding of why this is.

Another area I wanted to look at is the visibility of women in Science and I thought a great place to start with this would be to find out what percentage of people would be able to answer, without googling it, who the first woman in space was, and then compare it with the number of how many people could name who the first man in space was. I’ll be honest I wasn’t surprised by the results, but it has greatly upset me and made me wonder why more people don’t know.

I found that that 70.2% of people wouldn’t be able to name the first woman in space but a staggering 76.7% of people would be able to name the first man in space. That means that only 38.6% of people know that it was Valentina Tereshkova who was the first woman in space and only 23.2% of people DON’T know that it was Yuri Gagarin who was the first man in space. And it’s really left me wondering why.

About a year ago I read a book called Promised the Moon by Stephanie Nolen which is all about women who were secretly recruited during the 1960’s to take part in Astronaut training, with the idea that they would have the opportunity to go into space. The book looks that how in a lot of areas the women excelled, and sometimes did better, than their male counterparts yet as more years passed their dreams of realising this seemed harder to reach.

So I’ve made the decision, in part to keep me motivated, and in part because it’s both interesting and important, to use the time I am studying for my Physics A Level to look more in depth at the relationship of Science in education, and in particular look at the visibility of women in science and the importance of engaging, not only young people, but young girls and women particularly, in careers within STEM.

Here’s to my journey into the world of Physics, may it be as exciting and fascinating as I hope.

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G.

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Raincloud

Something else I wrote in order to make sense of this cacophony of emotions inside me.

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The clouds are black
And the rain pelts down on me so hard
Tipping over the edges of my eyelids
And falling down my cheeks
I can barely draw a breath

I am drowning and cold
It takes all of my strength to smile

It makes me want to fall into an endless sleep
A sleep that is safe
Where I can pretend that none of this is real
A place where I don’t have to face another day without you
The silence of your ignorance is so loud it’s deafening

It follows me around
My own little rain cloud
A perfect storm inside of me
Of what I feel since you left
But it’s hidden behind an artificial smile

G.
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Shattered

Just a little something I wrote when I was having a really bad time the other day…

You were my sun
And I could have been your rainbow
I could have painted your world in colour
And filled your heart with warmth
Given you the love you deserve

But you took a step back
Back into the grey
Into the arms of the one who acted mute with you
An indifference that she cast at you for almost a year

Maybe one day you will see
That the sudden change of heart
Came from a dislike of your happiness in the arms of another
And because you no longer held her at the centre of your world

How sad, that you shattered my heart into a million tiny pieces
For someone who gave up on you so easily
How sad, that you broke my mind and turned my world upside down
For someone who made you feel like you were nothing for so long

G.
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Love Hate Heartbreak

I hate this…I hate this feeling I carry around with me. A pain in my chest, a burning in my stomach that eats away at me from the inside…Love is beautiful, there’s no disputing that but heartbreak? That’s something else entirely. It’s own unique beast. Ironic how the one person who fills your body with warmth at just the thought of them, is also the same person who can make you feel so completely vulnerable that you feel you might shatter.

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I have no idea how I am still doing this, day in, day out. I have questions that sit in my mind without any answers. And this heavy pain inside that feels so overwhelming I fear that others can sense it too. I try to numb it, ease it with whatever I can think of…Family, friends, reading a book, alcohol and antidepressants. At the weekend I just go into town as if the act of being around people will stop me from falling to pieces. But no matter how hard I try or how good I think I’m pushing the pain away, it forces it’s way back to the surface. And I cry. I cry for him. For what we were, what we had.

I cry because I miss him. I cry because this hurts me so much and I can’t contain it all inside. I cry because I told him how he’s turned my life upside down and how his leaving has hurt me and I just got left on read and it hurts a whole lot more. And I still don’t get it…I don’t get how you do this? How I do this? I feel no better now than I did days ago, weeks ago. And all because I let my guard down and allowed myself to love…And thought I was being loved in return.

See, those who break us, who take our love and throw it to the side like it was nothing can move on with their lives and smile and be happy and see the beauty in the world. Whilst we are broken, catatonic shells of our former selves. Unsure of how to move forward in a world and a future we had hoped to share with them. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, what I feel is ineffable. And I miss him. And I love him. Even though I don’t cross his mind, even though I don’t exist to him.

I hate this so much….

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Vacant

I haven’t written anything in a while and that whole 30 day challenge thing was kind of repetitive and I lacked the motivation to be so positive when I really don’t feel that way.

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I’d like to say that I feel better or I’ve improved but the truth is, I really don’t. Every time I feel that he couldn’t possibly hurt me anymore, he’s found new ways to do it…First it was going from responding to messages to just ignoring them, then untagging all the photo’s of us together on Facebook and then just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse he blocks me completely. Like that cut me so deep because I’d made my profile so he couldn’t see what I posting anyway so I wasn’t clogging up his timeline and a week before we’d exchanged a couple of messages on Facebook. It really hurt in a way I didn’t think was possible and I felt angry because he’s hurt me so much and treated me so badly and yet he doesn’t seem at all phased. In fact he’s moved back to playing happy families and doesn’t seem to grasp how much he’s destroyed me.

So, I did what I often do when what I’m feeling becomes too much and I sent him a message. In it I told him how much he’s hurt me, how out of all the things that have happened over the past 8 years he’s the one that’s broken me. I explained how for the first time ever I’m on antidepressants, how I don’t eat or sleep well and how I get no joy from anything. It wasn’t sent to guilt trip him but I was tired of him not grasping what he’s done to me…And do you know what? It was pointless. I was left on read again. No response. Not even a glib response. Nothing. I can’t even explain how this makes me feel.

My mum said the other week that I seem so vacant. And I guess I am, I feel like a robot just kind of carrying out the basic things I need to do each day and my heart doesn’t feel like it should be inside me. Someone suggested this is my mind trying to detach itself from the emotions I’m feeling, which makes sense because I am so scared of this feeling inside of me. It’s bigger than anything I’ve felt before and it’s a million times worse because the person who caused it doesn’t care and yet ironically, is also the person that makes my heart swell when I think of them and makes me smile when I look back at photos of them.

I feel like I’m covered in a fog that doesn’t lift, my pain is so deep. In my quietest times and when I’m alone it consumes me and my anxiety kicks in and makes me relive the things he said to me over and over again until it all becomes too much. I really don’t understand how human beings can completely destroy other people and sleep well at night, posing for fake happy family photo’s and acting as though everything is good in the world. I guess ignorance really is bliss.

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Honesty and Hindsight

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I write this from my sick bed…Full of a flu and just generally feeling shitty. I’m always going to be honest. Even though people don’t tend to be honest with me, it’s something I hold really important. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes honesty involves saying or discussing things that are difficult and could cause upset but there’s always a way to do it as nice as possible. Or at least I believe there is…But this?…I still cannot comprehend this.

I still cannot get my head around the coldness or the juvenility of the way he ended it with me. I thought I was worth more than glib text message at 1am…but apparently not. I still cannot get my head around a lot of things. I get that, perhaps, some family and friends are tired of hearing me still talking about it, to them it’s been a month and I should be fine now but the truth is I’m not. I’m not fine at all. He was like the sunshine in my life, and the first person I have met that I have a true honest to god connection with. I could make him laugh and smile and we have so much in common it’s ridiculous and I miss him. I miss him so much.

At risk of sounding like a broken record the thing I’ve struggled with the most is not being able to message him/talk to him. Before he told me I was the girl of his dreams, or that he hadn’t been able to stop thinking about me since meeting me or even before he asked me on a date we talked quite a bit and it was like two pieces of a jigsaw coming together. We just clicked. Just like the day we met. I find him so exhilarating, I could speak to him all day, every day and never get bored and essentially that’s what we did most days. Then he just ended it all and it stopped. My friend Maria offered up a couple of great analogies for this…She said it’s like he got you addicted to heroin, and every day for five months he gave you a hit and then he just cut you off and made you go cold turkey. But I think perhaps my favourite analogy is the storm. She said he came into your life like a storm but he moved on and has left me to clean up the debris of what he’s left behind. And that’s how it feels. Like he has found peace and left me pieces and now it’s up to me to pick up the debris and try and rebuild my life again.

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But how are you supposed to do this? How are you supposed to move on when you know the person you feel this connection with is with someone else? I’ve always known what to do in times of trouble, I’ve always had a set plan or known what to do next but I’m clueless here. How am I meant to function and act normal when some days the weight of his absence makes me forget how to breathe? As I have said in previous posts, I’ve been doing all I can to occupy my mind. Work is a big help because it’s busy at the moment and there’s a lot to be doing but the evenings are the worst. I miss him phoning me randomly when he’d finished work, or us planning to watch an episode of something at the same time. I read, write, watch TV shows and films and make plans with friends and family all in a bid to fill my time and keep my mind busy but the truth is, I can be surrounded by people and all I feel is empty and alone. I find it hard to find joy in anything, even things I had enjoyed previously. I may be smiling or laughing on the surface but it doesn’t reach me deep down where it should. And this is where I’m struggling. I don’t know what’s crueler…How he ended it with me or not knowing if there was any truth in the things he said to me during our relationship?! I HAVE to believe he meant some of what he said, because the idea that it was all lies just hurts in a way I cannot articulate.

The few times we have messaged since he keeps telling me I wasn’t just some girl, that he more than liked me and that he hates the thought of me being sad but his actions make me think differently. I have thoughts/theories and ideas constantly running through my mind and questions but I don’t know if there’s one person I can put them to without annoying them or causing offence or fearing they’re just tired of me talking about it. I honestly thought I would never hurt as much as I did when I lost my dad, but I was wrong. I guess it hurts because he knew how much my trust had been broken, how much I’d been lied prior to my marriage breaking down. He knew what had happened, knew my reluctance to let my guard down or date anyone. Yet still he pursued me, because he felt the connection we had, like seriously it’s the kind that people write poetry and songs about…There are two times that I often think about, one was when we were on our third date someone asked us how many years we’d been together because we seemed so close and another time when we went to Birmingham for the day someone thought we were married. We just got each other…We’d be thinking the same thing…We made sense…Make sense….And fuck, this hurts so fucking much.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing and perhaps I should have remained closed off and taken my time but he gave me no reason not to believe that he didn’t feel the same way, he asked me to trust him. But a little bit of honesty and all of this could have been prevented if he would have just said the words “I still have feelings for my wife.” I would have just been his friend you know…All this hurt could be non existent if he would have just been honest instead of pretending he didn’t still have feelings for someone and saying he loved me when he didn’t.  But it’s more than that…To paraphrase something I read somewhere once…It’s easy to take your clothes off and just have sex with someone, but opening up to someone and letting them in, telling them your fears, your low points, high points and dreams for the future, that’s being truly naked and intimate with someone…So when someone takes all that and treats you in a way they promised they never would it’s destructive and beyond heartbreaking.

Honest to God (there’s that word honest again) I am trying so hard, and the thing is…I could block him on everything but it wouldn’t stop me from thinking about him or missing him…It won’t stop me loving him. As it is, I’ve archived our chats on WhatsApp so I don’t see his name anymore, I’ve hidden the letters he sent me and the birthday card and pretty much everything I post on Facebook can’t be seen by him…He’s clearly moved on so I don’t want him to see my name popping up, I don’t want him to see me feeling shitty because I imagine in some weird way that could be flattering to him. I was talking to a friend the other day who is going through the same thing right now, and we both agreed that what makes it more painful is how happy they are. How they have hurt another person so much yet continue to eat, drink and sleep normally. How their lives are normal, if not, better, whilst we are stuck, broken, confused, mere shadows of our former selves. Left with questions that will never be answered, no closure, no insight…Nothing. Just like we’re made to feel, like we’re nothing. Not even a footnote in their life.

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I recently started watching Black Mirror (I know I’m behind the times) but there’s an episode called ‘The Entire History of You’ and honestly I think it’s one of the few things I’ve seen that captures what it’s like to live with anxiety. The premise is that in the future people have a memory grain inserted in their body that allows them to relive everything they experience whenever they wish, every single moment is stored there, kind of like a cloud. It was a great episode, but it also made me feel weird because as someone who has anxiety that is what life is like. Memories may fade to other people, but anxiety sufferers tend to recall moments from their past in clear detail and relive it over and over again. I think that’s why all of this is so much harder, because my brain has looked back, dissected and analysed everything between me and him over and over again in minute detail. And there was NEVER any sign or indication that his heart belonged to someone else…So how else am I supposed to feel? If there’d been even the slightest thing, chances are I would have remembered or picked up on it at the time (my gut instinct is never wrong) and questioned it but there was nothing. So when he turned round and ended it with me after this conversation that happened so suddenly, it’s knocked everything out of me. And I don’t know how to fix myself.

I have to resign myself to the fact that he is happier without me.
That he doesn’t miss me or think about me.
That he never really cared and was just looking for someone to give him a confidence boost.
That my existence in his life meant so little that he doesn’t even notice the absence of me.

And all of these things hurt me in a way that’s too difficult to put into words…It’s been 35 days since he ended it and I feel so much worse…But I’ll have to keep on doing what I’m doing, getting help, making plans and then maybe one day it will hurt a little less. I just wish sometimes that he could feel what I feel for just a second…But I wouldn’t want him to hurt the way I do…And that makes me feel stupid because I know I should be angry or vengeful or whatever but I’m not that type of person…I just miss him so, so much. I just hope that all this is hurt is worth it because my gut is telling me different.

G.
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Late Night Questions

As you know I’m finding the process of writing about my recent break-up quite cathartic…Here’s something/some questions I jotted in my notepad last night when I couldn’t sleep….

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Do you still listen to our song?
Is it still OUR song or have you shared it with someone else?
It would be nice to know if that stayed special
A moment in our time together that stays sacred

That makes you think of how you couldn’t stop listening to it because you loved it
How it made you think of me…Of us…

I see so much that I know would make you laugh
And I reach for my phone to tell you or tag you and then I stop myself
Because I’m not sure if I should or could
And even if I did, would you leave me on read and not even respond?

But it’s more than that

Do you still want to talk to me?
Do you see things that make you think of me?

Do you long to hear from me?
Do  you still care that I’m hurting?
Do you really hate to think of me sad?
Or am I really that easy to forget?
Just some girl, thrown to one side by a text message at one in the morning
Nothing, I mean nothing…

G.
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