Last week I was sitting on my sofa, watching tv and minding my own business, when my curiosity got the better of me and I found my gaze drawn to my sister’s laptop screen. She was wearing earphones, and all I could discern on the screen was a lot of snow and some tiny dots moving rapidly across what looked like a tiny town. In theory, it seemed very boring and I almost turned away. But then she built a house, traded 200 units of iron tools for 2 chickens and accepted 11 nomads into her community. Suffice to say, I was intrigued. The game she was playing is called Banished. At its most simple, it is essentially a medieval Sims. Only instead of controlling and looking after a particular person, you are managing an entire town. Now, I am already a fan of the Sims games, just as I am a fan of building things from scratch in such games as Zoo Tycoon and Rollercoaster Tycoon. Combine all of those elements, put it to a medieval setting and you have the foundation for Banished.
The object of the game is to help your small community survive and develop into a thriving town. You must collect raw materials like stone, iron and logs in order to build your houses, barns and cabins. You also need food. Warmth, shelter, medicine and good food are the four main things to keep your people alive. Hunting cabins, gatherer’s huts, farms and pastures will get you all the food you need along with other benefits. You may also build schools, hospitals, chapels and taverns. So long as you have the resources, you can build anything you need to help your little community expand.
Visually, Banished is stunning. The graphics are top-notch and this remains the same whether you are zoomed out to a wide overhead view, or looking close up at the brickwork and crop fields. The detail is phenomenal and, a factor I personally find very good about it, the camera movement is smooth. So far I have had no problems with jumping, freezing or bodged graphics. It has been a pleasing visual experience. The same can be said of the sound. Interestingly the music changes depending on which season you are in, meaning you don’t get bored of the same tune on repeat. Admittedly not a lot of the sound is important, and I have played it into the early hours on mute and not missed a thing, but it is good. You can hear your builders at work, hear the sheep across the field, and there is even a little ‘boop’ notification for any important messages.
There is a lot of fun to be had in this game. Chickens breed like rabbits. Or at least they breed so fast your town will certainly not be lacking in eggs or chicken wings for a while. And as a nice twist to fit the medieval theme, the characters’ names as chosen by the random name generator are rarely boring and, in some cases, truly hilarious. Yesterday I discovered a couple who had named their newborn baby girl Oral. Poor sod. But on top of being a lot of fun, it is also quite challenging. With three different difficulty settings it suits everyone’s tastes, but whether you are playing it on Easy or Hard it is safe to say you will never truly be bored. There is always something to be done and this is something I find is where it excels. You may have more families than houses, so you must build a house, but to build the house you must have the raw materials. If it is winter you must decide whether to build a new house or save what logs you have for firewood to stay warm. You may want to buy some new seeds from the trader to expand your options for crops, but you must first find 2500 units of your own to give him. You must decide if losing all of your coats and iron tools simply for a new crop type is worth it. There is never a dull moment in the game and it is fascinating.
I bought the game in the sale as a recommendation from my sister, but I can recommend it to everyone even at its original price of £15. If I could award gold stars, Banished would get five. I am yet to find fault in it except that it is so addictive I have ruined my sleep pattern. Even as an Xbox gamer I find myself captivated by this PC game. If you like your games with quality graphics and intellectual challenge then this is for you. So what are you waiting for? Go and buy it, you won’t regret it. And if my word is not enough just click the link and take a look at the website for yourself: http://www.shiningrocksoftware.com/game/ Happy gaming!
Having been single for 21 years and 3 months my brain percieved the world in a way that I had grown quite accustomed to. I saw things as a single person would, did things a single person would, but most notably I didn’t know how different those things would be were I in a relationship. That is something I am beginning to discover.
Up until four months ago I ate alone, worked alone, played alone and slept alone. I did things when it was convenient for me and didn’t go anywhere I didn’t want to. I only had to make myself happy and, when something went wrong, I only had myself to blame. There is a cerain mindset you find yourself in when you are single, even if you don’t see it at the time. It took me finding a boyfriend to notice subtle changes in the way I saw the world, from the big things to the insignificantly small. And it has also helped me begin to discover things about myself. I would like to think I know myself well. I know my weaknesses, my flaws, the things that make me cry and the things that make me angry. I know my favourite smell. I know what kind of pain I like. I know how to keep myself calm at night when the wind picks up and my phobia of tornadoes makes it hard to sleep. And yet I was not aware of the many things I had yet to discover when I found a man I wanted to be in a relationship with. The day I stopped being single was the day my world opened. And what treasures I have found.
When I watch a film with a couple in it, so really any film on the planet, before I would notice the words, the meaning, the cheesiness of the cutesy couply moments. Now, when I see those scenes it is different. When I am with my boyfriend and watch a scene in which they hold each other tightly, I reach for him and hold him tighter still, smiling. When I am away from him and see a couple holding hands I miss him, just like the Owl City lyric: “The silence isn’t so bad till I look at my hands and feel sad ‘cos the spaces between my fingers are right where yours fit perfectly”.
Tonight I watched Titanic. Up until today whenever I watched it I cried in all the places it is socially acceptable to cry at: the heartbreaking violin track; the elderly couple; Rose’s death etc. Tonight, I saw one particular scene in a different way. It was not deliberate, more of a feeling that triggered a secondary image. This scene was this: Jack convinces Rose to get on to the lifeboat. He looks her intensely in the eye as his hold breaks from hers and the boat begins to lower toward the water. Then, as she looks up, she locks his gaze and starts to cry. She doesn’t want to leave him, and he doesn’t want to lose her. It is at this exact moment, looking through the camera into Jack’s anguished stare that I see it. It was now not Jack I was looking at, but my boyfriend. It was no longer their relationship being sacrificed for her safety, but mine. And suddenly, for the first time, I got why she jumped. I would have.
Perhaps I am alone in this, but I have always found it difficut to truly imagine the emotional bond with a partner. Having never experienced the simple joy of lying by my boyfriends side as I played with his fingers and he stroked my hair, or having felt the undeniable urge to smile when he gives me the look he uses only for me, the bodily feeling of a relationship was utterly lost on me. I had learned to live alone, glean comfort from the cuddles of a stuffed animal and I had taught myself how to be happy on my own. Take these two years at university. So I didn’t have any friends, didn’t leave my room and couldn’t see my family. That was okay. I enjoyed being alone. I could watch what I wanted, be as quiet as I liked without the awkwardness of people wanting me to make conversation I simply could not, and I could cry at whatever point it felt necessary. I could draw a blade across my ankle when I was emotionally empty and I could ‘Dad dance’ at 2am to Blondie having gotten a little tipsy drinking by myself. At that point I felt I could be completely myself. Little did I know then, that was only part of the real me, and quite frankly it was often only the darker side of myself.
It took getting a boyfriend to realise that, while I enjoy my time alone, I am still human enough to crave human contact every once in a while. I have learned that I am willing to go out of my way, even if it means going outside, to socialise, even if it is only with him. I have discovered that somebody saying my name during sex is surprisingly creepy. I have learned I like marshmellows in hot chocolate. I have realised it is okay to ask for help on the bad days, but more importantly that it is okay to have bad days.
I have gained a friend, a confidant, a mentor and a great kisser, and he is my boyfriend. Our four-month-iversary is in four days and, while I am not going to be celebrating by sending flowers and chocolate, it is a significant step in both my life and his. It marks a physical achievement in our relationship, and serves to remind me of what I have gained. It is also a reminder that, while I know myself better than maybe other people know themselves, there are still plenty of things I may have left to learn.
So it’s that time of year again: the weather is turning; uni is starting up; and yep, you guessed it, illness is in the air.
I’m usually the kind of person who rarely gets ill, but when I do, even the simplest illness can be hard to shake. I have had a cold (mild, I thought, until today) for 4 and a half days. This is probably average, but the fact most people will probably shake it in a week makes me nervous, as it’s nearing day 5 and it’s getting worse. It went from sore throat, to no sore throat but sniffly nose, to no sniffly nose but headache and temperature fluctuations, to no headache but a constantly changing temperature and pain when I breathe, to today. My temperature is all over the shop, my throat is hurting again, the nose won’t stop and my head hurts a bunch. The last time I felt like this I passed out. That was last December.
Don’t worry, I don’t plan on passing out today. Slow movements, lots of water and – if I can force myself into it – food. I’ve heard sugar is good in these situations. Maybe I’ll have a sugary tea in a bit, liquid sweetness. Lush.
Until then, I will be sitting here doing not much in particular. I have just this morning received an email about an induction for the International Book Festival happening in Plymouth in late October. I applied last week for a position as a Festival Steward. It’s a voluntary position and would look good on a CV. They just got back to me saying I’d passed the first stage and now have an induction session next week. Woohoo! I may feel like crap, but with a boyfriend who says he’d happily take care of me even if he got ill himself, and a position almost confirmed for the Book Festival, not all looks dire.
I mean, sure the online magazine I write for hasn’t published any of my articles in a month, and yeah so I haven’t gotten over my crippling inability to cook in front of my housemates, and yes I did just finish all 102 episodes of D.Gray Man and the post-series blues are kicking in. But at least I can walk around knowing I have a mini job and a very kind young man to look after me. It’s odd to me, looking at the positives in a negative situation, but I’ll take it. What’s the use of wallowing in my illness? It’s not like it’ll make it go away. Why get hung up over the lack of updates on the magazine? I can’t control it. Why get upset over no more D.Gray Man? I can always watch it again. And besides, there’s always the manga.
That’s right people, crack out the party poppers and punch bowls, because this little blogger just got herself a boyfriend.
I’m too excited to care about the details, but approximately two months ago I began speaking to a wonderful chap who went by the name of Bambi. Regulars at The Hell Butterfly should remember him. He was the one that challenged my writing skills, made me think harder about what I wrote and form opinions on things I’d never thought about before. He was the one that made me feel comfortable talking about so many things that I felt I couldn’t talk about with anyone else. He was the one that I may have actually passed unknowingly at London Film and Comic Con this year, the both of us having attended the Saturday convention.
He is the one who introduced me to The Voodoo Lounge bar and took me to see my first firework show in several years. He is the one I cuddled as we laughed at the small children and admired the rare red moon over The Hoe. He is the one I introduced to my Dad the evening that Plymouth won their game against Exeter. He was the one I had my first kiss with.
He is the one I just closed my Plenty of Fish account because of.
He is also the one who just helped me move into my new house. He is the one who just spent all weekend with me, rather than meeting his own friends. He is the one who just made the approval of my mum and younger sister. He is the one who stayed at my new house two nights in a row, and made me a cup of tea in the morning. He is the one who cooked us the best pasta bake I’ve ever tasted.
Bambi is the one I just became official with.
Bambi is my boyfriend. I am Bambi’s girlfriend.
It feels surreal saying it, but hell I’m going to keep saying it because it feels damn good to be able to do so without it being a lie. I am in a relationship. It took me a few years longer than some of my friends, longer than some of my family, but while I may already be 21, the reward of waiting for the right person to come along has paid off. Could I have seen myself allowing R, or T, or J, or M24 to sleep in the same bed as myself all weekend? Could I have seen myself waking up to see R, or T, or J, or M24 laying next to me as I woke up? Could I have seen myself being cooked for by R, or T, or J, or M24? Honestly, not really. I’m sitting here as I type this picturing those scenarios, and none of them fit right. Some feel awkward, some too fake, too stereotypical. Then I picture the weekend I just had with Bambi.
That fits. Bambi fits.
Now, I don’t want this to seem like I’m suddenly head over heels, and I’m going to try and control myself so as I don’t cause any problems by getting ahead of myself, but the fact I haven’t stopped smiling since my Facebook status first read “Bambi is now in a relationship with Megan” is proof enough that this is something I want. And more importantly, that it’s something I want to do right. No rushing, no assumptions, just honesty, trust and patience.
It’s going to take hard work, but aren’t the best things in life worth working hard for?
Some of you may have noticed The Hell Butterfly has been dormant a while. Some of you may not, and that’s okay too. But in either case, here is a brief update of why.
I have, as you may recall, moved out of my old student house. Unfortunately, there is no rest for the homeless (or something like that). I have been unpacking, repacking, unboxing, reboxing, organising, moving around and generally preparing for the next big move at the end of this week. As it stands, on Friday I will get an early train to Plymouth, where I shall meet Bambi, then pick up my key and slob at mine until Bambi goes to work. The next three hours of my life will be spent filling out the inventory form, setting up the wifi and acclimatising to my new abode. Bambi will return after work to chill for the evening. So far I have discovered I shall be sharing my house with Richard, Adrian, Thomas and Waleed. It would appear I will be the only female in a house of men. What could go wrong? I just hope none of them are misogynists.
In other news, I have just submitted my third article to The Unknowledgeable. This one is one I was asked personally by my boss, the founder of the online magazine, to write. Now, this may sound impressive, and indeed it is to me, but before we get ahead of ourselves I should say I don’t believe there can be many more than 10 members of ‘staff’, myself included. Perhaps I just can’t see behind the proverbial curtain, but while the quality is good and I enjoy writing for them, I don’t think it’s a greatly known magazine. And I’m definitely not traffic-trawling by saying this or posting the link to my article on online safety or anything [I totally am, click the doobly-doo, go on, do it for me: ‘Catfish’ Lessons in Online Safety]. This request to write the article came straight after I created my sister website Stop The Silent Killer and shared the link on my Facebook page. My boss approached me in a very formal (lies, all lies) Facebook Chat message and basically asked me to write a monthly mental health feature for the magazine. Of course I readily accepted, and within a couple of days my introduction to mental health article should be up online. I had some struggles writing it, but I found sitting in my bed in the quiet I was finally comfortable enough to get into the mind frame and complete it. Hopefully soon I should be back on track with this blog too.
On the Bambi front, things are good. Talking to him is effortless. Well, mostly effortless. He has so many interesting things to say and so many good opinions I sometimes wonder what I’ve been doing all my life to be so .. uninteresting. So uncultured, so lacking of my own opinion on pretty much anything. But he’s fascinating to talk to, and I find I can talk to him about things in a way I haven’t ever been able to talk to people about them before. He just has a way of making me feel at ease. And he’s very sweet (duh, Statement of the Year, Captain Obvious). In a nutshell, he knows how to treat a person right, as a girl, a friend, and a human being. As you will remember from the beginning of this post, I will be meeting him on Friday straight from my 4 hour train journey and I don’t doubt my belongings will be thrown to the ground so I will be able to give him a big hug. Neither of us want to rush things, but I can’t help but be optimistic about what might develop if things keep up this way. Though I might blow my chances if I keep pretending that I can speak German.
My depression is attempting to make an appearance. I’m beginning to notice certain places where it shows itself in my everyday life, and while it’s not a good sign that they’re coming up, I can also say from experience things are far from terrible. Lately I am tired all the time. Whether I sleep for 2 or 12 hours, I am always exhausted. Perhaps lethargic is a better word. Essentially, I lack energy no matter how long I sleep for. I’m also noticing the time-mood correlation returning. The later it gets, the lower my mood sinks. During the day I am pretty much always okay, but as the evening draws on into night, so my mood follows suit and becomes darker. In this respect I must say Bambi has been amazing. When my mood dips he is willing to simply listen as I pour my crap out, and is great at having just the right thing to say in the end. I feel I should put this return of symptoms down to the building stress of moving house, and I suppose in general, to change. New house, new job, new man, maybe, new academic year. If it is stress related, I am afraid things may turn a little darker on The Hell Butterfly for a time, but I implore you please do not see it as a bad thing. If I post about the problems I am having, and the struggles in my life, it is because I trust you enough to tell you, and value your support.
I will wrap this up for tonight by saying that I may be absent again for a short while with moving and things, but hopefully the hiatus will be temporary. This next year is going to be very tough in more ways than I would like to list, but I’m going to try my hardest to make it count. Things need to change, and I think that with support, drive, and perseverance I might be able to come out the other side the better for it.
If you had told me two years ago to the day that I would be sitting here typing this to 130 readers while talking to an incredibly sweet guy I would have stared blankly at you and raised an eyebrow. That is because, almost exactly two years ago, I had plans – serious plans – to kill myself. But I am here, and my life is actually quite fantastic.
August 2012: The last two months have been spent convinced I had failed my A-Levels. There was no way I was going to get into university, I told myself. And of course if – I’m sorry, when – I didn’t get into university I wouldn’t get a good job and wouldn’t have a career and wouldn’t have even a slightly decent quality of life. It was all downhill from my final exam in June as far as I was concerned. I hadn’t felt a single emotion in months. Since the exams began in May I had been an empty shell, existing, drifting. Three months of this had gotten me to a point where I didn’t care about anything. I could no longer be happy, couldn’t even laugh at a joke. I could no longer get angry at anything. Not even mildly passionate about the subjects dearest to my heart. I hadn’t cried in months and simply, I just didn’t care. I couldn’t feel. It was scary. I was scared of myself, what I had become. But the scariest thing of all, was that no-one noticed.
I had decided. When results day came along and I didn’t get the grades or the university acceptance, I would get my things together. My family had all been on holiday in Croatia at the time, but I had elected to stay behind. I was home alone for the next week, but still had our German Shephard, Heidi, to look after. I would never abandon her while the family were away. I was emotionless, not heartless. So come results day I would organise: write a makeshift will; give my parents my bank details; arrange my funeral preferences and guest list; allocate my belongings; write letters to my friends and family; stock take (I would be crushing boxes of pills into a glass and washing it down with whatever alcohol I could stomach). It was all planned. Then, once I had everything together, I would sit tight until my family got home. I would see them one last time, say goodnight to them, to my dog, to my life. I was going to go downstairs that night, sit on the kitchen floor, and toast eternity.
Then I got in.
“Congratulations, you have achieved the necessary grades and have been accepted at Plymouth University beginning September 2012.”
I don’t know if that’s exactly what it said, but the point is I got in, and I was terrified. For every other final year college student finishing their exams they had been preparing for this moment for months. They had been packing, planning, anticipating. I had done none of that, and suddenly I would be moving across the country in 3 weeks. After the initial shock came the blinding panic. I text my best friend at the time to tell her I was in but I was freaking out, and she didn’t help. I had to deal with it by myself.
And somehow, I did.
I didn’t write my will. I didn’t write letters to my family. I didn’t hoard pills and booze. Somehow, and I don’t know quite how, I pulled my shit together and made it to university three weeks later.
Obviously I have had my ups and my downs – though, to amend the Robin Hood lyrics, “sometimes ups, outnumbered the downs, but not in Megan’s head” – throughout the last two years, including an ever-growing self harm habit, more tears than droplets in the Great Flood and a number of suicidal contemplations. But nothing has compared to the dull ache of emptiness I had during those three months.
Tonight, while discussing the success of my autistic cousin, my mood dipped to a significant low. In the last two years my cousin has joined respite care to learn independent living, done a money management course to better his knowledge of finances, joined a catering course to gain experience in the workplace and a qualification. What did I, an able-bodied 21 year old flake, have to show for the last two years?
The fact he keeps pushing forward is the best way to get the better of a bully. If you let a bully hold you back then they win. And from what I can see from the time we have known each other, you keep moving forward. You’re about to go into your 3rd year of uni, compared to where you were 3 years prior I would say that’s moving forward. You’re doing your best to step out and experience new things. You are doing well.
Upon speaking of my cousin and his success, this is what Bambi said to me. I don’t know if he realises yet, and I’m certain he didn’t at the time, how amazing it felt to hear him say that. Three years ago I lost all my friends as they left for uni and I was depressed, cutting, and failing everything. Two years ago I was nigh on friendless, emotionless, and perfectly ready to kill myself. Last year I was contemplating dropping out of university and shitting myself about moving into a house of strangers. This year I am mildly nervous about moving into a house of strangers. This year I am contemplating staying at university, and working out how to be successful at it. This year I am ready to feel, to live, to breathe. This year I have Bambi.
Ask me again if, two years ago, I thought that I would be sitting here now telling all of you that the simple kind words of an incredibly sweet guy had allowed me to see, for the first time in my life, that I have come a long way .. I would still be staring you blank in the face and raising an eyebrow. But I am. I am here. I am here.
Today was the first time I had ever been able to look back on that moment two years ago, almost to the day, where I was ready to die, and smile. Smile because I survived. Smile because it got better. Smile because I was my own bully, and I won. All this time I have said it was my acceptance into uni that stopped me from killing myself, but really it was me. I stopped myself. I made the conscious – or maybe subconscious – decision not to swallow a tumbler of pills and shnapps.
I saved myself.
And now, two years, almost to the day, later, I am here and I am alive.
And I am happy.
God it feels great to say that. It is so strange, as I don’t remember the last time I could legitimately say “I am happy with my life”. But for once I think it’s true. I am happy with my life. I’ve always known I had a good life, I had all the tools and all the potential to make something good out of it, but the one thing I lacked to make it work was motivation. It was too easy being depressed. It was too easy being in pain. I think to an extent I was in love with it. It was simple, familiar. Sitting, slumped, in a dark room staring at the wall while sombre music played out in minor key in my headphones. It was a safe zone. It had been my home for years. The place I returned to at the end of every night after a hard day.
But now ..
Now I think I finally have the motivation to make something happen. I have the support, the will, the drive. I’m scared, that’s not changed, but to quote a good friend of mine, I am “nervcited”. It’s terrifying but I am excited about the possibilities and the potential. I could make something good out of the pieces I have been given, and today is the first time I have ever seen the light in my word of black.
I am here.
It would have been around the two year anniversary of my death today.
I am happy.
I had forgotten what it was like to feel, but I broke down that wall and now I am free. Free to feel. Free to be human.
I can make it.
Today’s title is a little dramatic, but I don’t know what better one to use. This week was a triumph in every way.
1. Room packed down, cleaned. Keys handed back in. Moved successfully out of my second year student house.
2. Met Bambi, twice. Had a very nice time on both occasions, possibility of meeting again. Dad approves of him.
3. England wins Test Cricket 3 – 1 against India. Plymouth Argyle beat Exeter City 3 – 0. Swansea beat Manchester United 2 – 1. England wins 23 medals at the European Athletic Championships, breaking several records along the way.
It has been a good week.
Mum drives me to Plymouth. This journey was rocky for me. As I mentioned in a previous post this is the first time in over three years I was physically sick from traveling. Perhaps it was using my phone, perhaps the stress of the upcoming week, perhaps I was just unlucky. Regardless I made it to Plymouth, and the next hour was spent shuttling boxes from room, to landing, to stairs, to car: CD’s; books; Xbox; more books; printer. There were probably other things, but that’s what I remember. By 3pm, Mum was gone. From then, the next three and a half hours were spent showering, eating, getting ready and texting. At 6:45, I left the house.
7pm – I meet Bambi. I step out in front of the university library and see him, we shake hands, and head to the pub, The Voodoo Lounge. I don’t know if this is a chain, or a Plymouth specific pub, but I liked it. Well, more the interior. Perhaps it was the dull sky but it wasn’t quite to my taste on the outside, though I imagine it could be quite nice in a group. The interior was all wood panelling and red leather, pool table, subtle lighting. Nice. But it was hot, felt a little closed, so we sat outside. Two drinks and a smoke later we were off for part two: fireworks.
9.30 pm – we watch the show. One picnic blanket, several comments about the irritating children and one hour later than expected, the first display began. Until this point, conversation has been entertaining, serious, funny, cute and deep. It seems effortless, and there has never been an awkward pause. The moon this night is red, a rare occurrence, possibly in relation to the meteor shower. The fireworks happen right next to this, so we get a good view of both. We cannot help but laugh at the people who “ooh” and “ahh” and feebly applaud the display. We cuddle as the second display happens, and as the families leave, and as the final display is put on. In this one the melodramatic “ooh” from the other side of the water is heard even here. My vote goes to the first or second display, but not the last. We then went home, conversation still holding strong, and I am home by midnight. It was a very good night.
Cleaning day. This entire day is dedicated to packing down, boxing up, and cleaning. The rest of the day was spent on my computer, taking to Bambi, talking to my bestie, writing blog posts. I was also feeling very down. So was my bestie. I wrote ‘In Which the Blind Leads the Blind’ to express this. I was having a bad time of it, and I felt like a hypocrite trying to cheer him up. I hope he can get better, and I hope I can be there to help, but on this particular day, neither of us were having such a great day. Needless to say, after lots of heavy lifting and cleaning, coupled with a painfully low mood, I was ready for bed.
More cleaning. The morning and most of my afternoon was spent attempting to clean blue tack marks off my walls. I tried water. I tried water and washing up liquid. I tried plain washing up liquid. I tried a shop bought solution aptly labelled ‘Elbow Grease’. I tried a shop bought, but very strong, Sugar Soap. I moved out with my walls still sporting the scars of my rock band obsession. It must not have been a particularly interesting day, as aside from a shower, I cannot remember anything else I did that day. My Dad showed up late in the evening, we watched the last half hour of Million Pound Drop, then went to bed.
The morning is unremarkable. Honestly, it is. I cannot remember what I did. I think I probably slept in, ate half a breakfast bar and drank a cup of tea. What happened after that was much more entertaining and memorable. After this, we are off to Home Park. The FansFest to be precise. The FansFest is a fan run pre-match event offering pasties, beer, music and laughter. Rick O’Shay and Dave Banana perform a small stand-up comedy show, making fun of recent news, and whipping out the best general jokes they come up with that week. It truly is a special experience, being in a room packed with jolly football fans, full of comradery, and having a laugh without a smidge of negativity. Plymouth Argyle has one of the biggest fan bases in the League. I am proud to wear my green and whites.
Speaking of which, we spent out yet more money on the new uniform. My Dad’s shirt says “Chooch 13” and my own says “Moozle 7”. Not only is it my nickname and my favourite number, it is also the number of one of my favourite Argyle players, Lewis Alessandra. It’s an honour to wear his number on my back. Plus, it’s a child’s Small. Got to love that. The game was fantastic. We began by holding up our plastic sheets and hoisting our colours to the sky, and ended 3 – 0 up, beating our biggest rivals, Exeter City. Our defense was impeccable, our attack was on top form, and while I miss such players as Cole, Young and Berry, I must say Sheridan has done a great job on this season’s team. I foresee good things from them.
A small lunch is had and the evening’s plans are made. After the game we returned to mine, and watched television until we were ready to go out to the pub to celebrate the win. During this time, I was texting Bambi and discovered he had no plans, and invited him to join us. I had asked my Dad beforehand if this was okay, and he said yes. I hadn’t intended for it to be a movie cliche “I want you to meet my parents” scene, but I couldn’t help still wanting my Dad to approve of him. Bambi is the first person I’ve ever wanted my family to approve of. So me and my Dad went to the Caffeine Club, a particular favourite haunt of ours, and Bambi joined us shortly after. I must say, I think it went well. The two of them appeared to get on well, and as I later heard my Dad say, “[Bambi’s] a little rough around the edges but gets softer every time.” Knowing my Dad, this is a good sign. He also happened to notice a certain amount of affectionate behaviour (ie. hand-holding). I will admit at first I was unsure, but very quickly grew comfortable with it. Four hours later and we were walking back to mine. My Dad went inside and left us to our goodbyes. Bambi, if you’re reading this I hope you don’t mind my telling my readers, but I can’t help it, I like to say it. At quarter to one on Sunday morning I had my first kiss. I won’t talk much about it, but suffice to say, it was an awesome moment and I’ve been grinning like an idiot since.
52 Beaumont Road is left behind me. I’m not convinced I slept that night. One moment I was trying to convince myself it had happened, the next I was laughing to myself about it, the next I was stressing about the move, the next I was simply trying to clear my head to sleep but then I’d remember again and smile. I got out of bed at around 9am and finished packing up my room. Boxes were moved from room to car, surfaces were cleaned, the floor was hoovered and by eleven o’clock we were on the road. Before I continue, I should say that in the 48 hours prior to this journey I had consumed around 800 calories. I can’t lie, writing that number feels like a lot, but considering the time span I realise it is not. I had barely eaten on that Saturday, at first for time constraints, then later on because of my inability to eat in front of people. By the time we got home after our night at the pub it was almost 1am, I felt sick, and it was too late to eat. Fast forward to Sunday morning and, though I possibly should have, I couldn’t bring myself to eat anything. After my bout of travel sickness on the journey up, I would do nothing to risk it happening again. By the time I got home that afternoon I hadn’t eaten in 24 hours. So it is eleven o’clock, and we get to North Road. I hand my keys in, walk away, and that is it. My contact with Clever Student Lets has ceased. We were on the road to pit stop number two.
A visit to the grandparents and four hours driving. Twelve o’clock and we are at my grandparents. Not much can be said for this visit. It’s always nice seeing them, but this time was a flying visit, a quick catch up. I told them about my new position at the online magazine, we talked about my sister getting in to uni, my Dad fixed my uncle’s computer and taught my Granddad how to use Bluetooth, and we saw a picture of a man up a tree. Standard visit. I also got to see my cousin Billy again who I haven’t seen in some time. He got tall. I remember when he was just a diddy little thing, smaller than me, but despite being 4 years my junior, he is at least 7 inches taller than me now. It was nice to see he’s doing well in his football career, even if he is being a rebellious teen for his dad (my uncle). He gave me a friendly nod as he left, and ten minutes later we were gone too. The journey was pretty horrid. On the way up to Plymouth it was bad because I felt very sick. On the way back, my Dad’s driving made me feel sick. 30mph down narrow back roads, 90mph down the motorway, taking downhill bends at full throttle. I genuinely felt like we would topple over at one stage. It was horrible. Add in us getting lost near Southampton and getting stuck in traffic, I was beyond relieved to be back on solid ground. We were home, and I could sit still.
Since then, we have unpacked the car, I have helped my sister write a list for her own uni things, I have put in my second article and Bambi and I have talked almost constantly. I really do feel very lucky to have found someone like him. It already feels different to M24. With him, I was all girly and gushy over the smallest of things, but with Bambi, sure I’m girly and gushy but that’s only a small part of it. I smile every time I get a text from him. I look forward to waking up every day knowing I’ll have a text from him saying good morning. I’d happily stay up (and have done) until 4am talking to him about nonsense, or about us, or about, well, anything. I really think I’m on to something good with him. And if I can make him half as happy as he makes me I’ll be content.
So I have moved out, I have found a very sweet guy who I can’t wait to see again (and who has been kind enough to offer to help me move in to my new place next year), and it is a great time for sports. A triumph on all fronts. For once, I finally feel as though my life is going in the right direction, and I’m not completely terrified that I’ll mess it up. I actually feel like I can do this, I can make my life work, that just maybe, if I can hold it together, I have the makings of a great life. Now all I have to do is help my bestie through his rough patch, and things will be nigh on perfect.