“And it feels like jealousy” ~ Will Young

Or, according to my dictionary

Jealousy (n): the feeling of being suspicious or fearful of being displaced by a rival


I used to get jealousy. I say it now like getting chicken pox or the flu but without a vaccination at your local surgery.

It’s the most bizarre and crippling emotion. You feel like something special is being taken away from you by somebody or something else, that you are diminished as a person by that existence. That you matter less. And thirty years of dragging that around with me was exhausting.

It took the flare up of another bout of jealousy for me to realise I had to seek a cure. And so cut to me in a very nice studio in Hackney balling tissues and pouring my heart out to a very kind man who looked like a short version of Giles from Buffy.


One word diagnosis in a sentence. Crippling insecurity of feeling I was not enough, that I didn’t matter. Paralysing fear of being forgotten or ignored or overlooked. That friends or lovers would eventually leave me because something better would come along. It is fair to say I wasn’t healthy and it took a lot of work and a few more sessions before we worked out how to make me well.

I took a lot of things from those counselling sessions and I came away a much better person. One of the things I took away was that I didn’t need to understand where it had come from to do something about it. I have my theories about my childhood, about my family life and what planted these seeds. But so what? The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there. I can’t go back and change my past, but I can invest in my present.

And so I did. It can be hard work investing in yourself, being honest about your wants and your hopes and your desires, and then actually doing something to achieve them. And I still now have moments of metaphorical “But what about meeee?” and clinging to a friends’ leg if they are doing stuff elsewhere with someone else. And then I laugh at myself, kindly but still laugh, and take myself off to do my things that make me happy.

And so the moral of this tale, if moral there is? Jealousy is idiotic. Insecurities can be really hard work. And the only person who can truly diminish who you are is actually yourself. But you are have it in you to be your own best friend, if you want to be.

Drop me a line on a comment box-shaped postcard and let me know how you get on.




“Got no imagination to clutter up my head” ~ Blondie

Or, as defined by my dictionary

Clutter (n): an untidy heap or mess of objects, a state of untidiness


There’s been a lot of things written about decluttering recently; only keeping things that bring you joy and folding your socks. Even my mother used to say “a tidy bedroom equals a tidy mind” when she wanted to get me to tidy my room. But I think life can be made too pristine, too sterile.

I own a lot of stuff. That band t-shirt that would be a barely legal crop top on me now may delight me and horrify me to a degree but it was the first one I ever bought and I don’t want to get rid of it. The mismatched mugs, the piles of books in no particular order except what pleases me, the postcards arranged haphazardly around the the laptop and cluttering most of the table. This is my life, this is a part of what defines me. Why should I tidy it all away?

And I’ve also got stuff in my head and in my heart.  Good stuff, bad stuff, brightly coloured amazing stuff. Just sometimes I don’t know where to put it all. No amount of neatly folded socks is going to change that.

If I were wrapped up as a present the bow would be shiny but coming untied, the contents bursting out from the paper, and when you’d studied the instructions you’d see you’d have to send off to the manufacturer for some missing parts.

This is me. I am not a clean surface. My life is not neatly folded. Nor do I ever want it to be. Don’t declutter me, don’t make me sterile, I’m fine as I am.


Hooked On A Feeling?

“Hooked on a feeling” ~ Blue Swede

Or, as defined by my dictionary

Feeling (n): an emotional reaction, emotional sensitivity


Have you felt something so strongly, so deeply and desperately that you can’t bear to let it go? What are you scared will happen if you do?

The thing is, the really important thing is, you have to. You have to let go. Otherwise how can you ever experience, ever feel, anything else, anything new? Lust, desire, love… all such strong emotions. Yet hate can be as strong as love. Malice, jealousy, the desire to quash someone…all as gripping, all as obsessive. Do you want to hold that, feel that, forever?  If you’re so desperate to hang on to something then it will just become stale in your hands and your heart, and you will never experience the joy something fresh.

So it’s ok to let go, to relinquish your grip. More than ok, it’s better. Because once you create that space, there is so much more to feel.

Our emotions don’t fill up. We don’t ever get full; we are not like a tape or a floppy disc or a memory stick. Our capacity to feel is infinite beyond the scope of the Cloud. We can always experience anew the scent of fresh flowers or feel warm rain on our skin. There is always someone new, something new, to love, no matter how hard our hearts have been shattered in the past.

So open your hands, open your heart. Stop holding on and see how many more amazing feelings come your way.





“I just can’t get enough” ~ Depeche Mode

Or, as defined by my dictionary

Enough (adj): as much or as many as necessary


Enough. What is enough for you? Are you easily satisfied or do you always want more?

Someone (Gary Oldman, I believe, but am happy to be corrected) once said in an interview he was so addicted to smoking that he wanted another cigarette whilst still smoking the one in his hand. Similarly I have been known to want another cup of tea or glass of wine whilst I am drinking the one in front me.

What happened to enjoying what we have, right here, right now?

That’s not to say it isn’t good to want more, want differently, but at the expense of enjoying, appreciating, what you already have? Is that really a good idea? What price all your amazing plans for life, for love, for anything, if you spend all the time planning the next one  instead of enjoying what you have achieved?

I think we all sometimes spend too much time thinking or worrying or planning or anticipating what we will do, have, make, next that we don’t stop and think ‘this, right here, this is enough’. Maybe it won’t be enough forever but then forever is made up of lots of moments. I think we should spend more time enjoying the moments we are in instead of mentally always seeking the next. Because, to be prosaic about it,  one day there won’t be another one. Don’t we owe to ourselves to enjoy our moments while we have them?

So next time you are organising seeing friends again, or imagining your next glass of wine or cigarette, next time you catch yourself planning your next moment instead of appreciating the one you are in… Just stop. Take a breath. Look around. And think “This, right here, this is enough.”

Interested in your thoughts, as always. Drop me a line on a comment box-shaped postcard.




The Small Things

“All the small things” ~ Blink 182

Or, as defined by my dictionary

Small (adj): not large in scale or amount, of little importance


I wrote a to-do list recently. This is not an uncommon event. I write many to-do lists. I’ve even been known to write ‘start a new to-do list’ at the bottom of a to-do list. But this one was a little different.

I’d had a great few days but, in the emotional equivalent of the laws of gravity, what mood goes up must come down. I was tired and mopish and unimpressed with the world. In my head I could draw up a list of what might make me feel better and so I did (this is not the to-do list):

  • win the lottery & quit my day job
  • write a wildly successful weekly column
  • publish a best-selling book of 100-word stories
  • go to New York on the next flight
  • lose 3 stone by next weekend

It’s not the most sensible or logical of lists. But it has a common theme in that the majority of those things are not under my control. Elements of them are but, ultimately, that’s a letter to Father Christmas list. Might as well pop that into a fire and let it smoke up the chimney. Because I can’t achieve those things on my own.

What my actual to-do list looked like was something like:

  • De-limescale the bathroom grouting
  • Put the books, boxes, and general ephemera accumulated on the floor of my flat away or get rid.
  • Tidy the top of the bookcases and chests of drawers and bedside cabinet
  • Renew my home insurance

Now that’s a damn bloody boring list. But it’s the stuff I can control, it’s the bits of my life that affect me every day, it’s my small things that grind me down and stop me, possibly, going on to book a flight to New York or write more stories.

My flat is tiny. It could be deep-cleaned in a day. Probably less than a day. But I treat it in such a piecemeal fashion that it all builds up until it is like a many tentacled sea monster beyond my control. Which it really isn’t. So if I tackle just one tentacle (room/issue/space) then I wrest it back to how I want things to be. And what makes me happy.

I may still want all of the first list but do they affect my day to day happiness? Not really.  Does looking after myself, my space, my life, affect my day to day happiness? Does this mean if I deal with the small things on a regular basis I have better scope and capacity for the big things? Why, yes. Yes, it does.

So, whilst I wrestle with my own personal sea monster, why not work out your lists, big and small. If you can decide what it is in your circumference of control I’d love to hear how you get on in a comment box-shaped postcard.