Writing Prompt Day #4: The Most Important Qualities In A Friend

Wow,  I’m not too good at this. Writing Prompt Day #4 on the 7th day of April? Hmm.. I can’t seem to do routine in my down time. At work, I’m routine to a tee, rigidly so. But out of work, I like to have a more relaxed outlook, which means I regularly avoid doing anything that feels routine-y. But I will continue with this, because at least it gets me writing.

I must admit, it is quite difficult for me to list the qualities I find important in a friend. I am a terrible friend. I don’t keep in touch, I forget birthdays and important dates. I hide myself away like a hermit and rarely tell people anything, ever. Unless they ask, that is, and they can only ask if they can pin me down. I’m elusive, and a loner.

That doesn’t mean I don’t have friends, but my closest friends are around because they have made an effort to keep in touch. If people make an effort with me, I am more than happy to meet them, halfway sometimes, and sometimes more of a desultory quarterway. It all depends what mood I’m in. And also on whether I trust them or not.

I do appreciate the friends I’ve got. I see them as special, because not everybody gets a place in my circle of trust. It’s funny, because I do remember in my younger years, desperately struggling to keep in touch with various people who quite obviously couldn’t be bothered. Maybe that is why I’ve changed. Most people just can’t be trusted, and I refuse to put myself out for anyone these days, unless they have earned it.

My best friend Michelle lives approximately 150 miles away, which suits me fine. We see each other about twice a year, when she comes to visit. It is much more convenient that way as she has no kids or pets, nothing to tie her to Newcastle. I should make the journey up there someday as it seems rude not to, but she doesn’t appear to mind. And I have more baggage. We have been friends for around 20 years and met through a mutual friend when she lived in my town. I get the feeling that she was a little lonely. I didn’t have any female friends, all male, but Michelle instantly stuck to me like glue. I guess this impressed me, as no other female had ever showed such an interest in befriending me before, and staying friends with me. When she moved back to Newcastle, I assumed that we would drift apart, but that has never been the case. Okay, so we don’t keep in touch regularly. But we always gravitate back towards each other. She makes more of an effort than me, I’m ashamed to say. Not because I don’t want her as a friend. But because I need more time alone than the average person. She doesn’t demand much of me. I’ve never been one for confiding in people, and over-the-top girly friendships. Michelle is the same. She suits me. She is also independent, not too sensitive, and despises the majority of the human race, same as me. We get together, get drunk, have a good catch up, bitch about people, and then drift apart for a few months. It’s all good.

I have a couple of other friends from my old job. Again, we keep in touch by text and get together every so often for drinks. They don’t impose on me too much, and I don’t bore them with my fluctuating moods. It’s a win-win, I feel. I can be too much, so I keep myself distant to save them from the irritating parts of me.

So, qualities I find important in a friend. Trustworthy, not likely to get upset when I do a disappearing act, not clingy, doesn’t ask me too many personal questions. While I may sound like an awful friend, I will always put myself out there for somebody if they need me. So, while I tend to shy away from human interaction, if someone comes to me with a problem, I will go out of my way to help them. Therefore, honesty is the biggest quality I find important. I am extremely socially awkward and at times stand-offish, but deep, deep down is a caring little soul who just wants to help people.

I hope that my friends know that about me. Because, even though I rarely show it, they mean the world to me.

Writing Prompt Day #3: What Am I Grateful For?

I haven’t had the easiest of lives up until now. There have been beginning and ends, uproots and changes, losses and heartbreak. I had an emotional breakdown at 21, which really didn’t bode well for my young adult years. Before that, my early teens were agonisingly horrific, and they paved the way for many years of struggling to fit in, struggling to be understood and accepted.

It has only been in recent years that I have fully grown into the person that I am. At 40, I am at a point in my life where I am content, and it is all thanks to my son.

From a very young age, I was always adamant that I would never have children. Being one of those people who prefer animals to the human race, I have always cooed and simpered when it came to a kitten or puppy, yet shied away when a squalling human baby was involved. I think my family were flabbergasted when I fell pregnant, as I was myself. It certainly wasn’t planned; however, it had been on my mind. At 29, I had nothing of importance to show for my life so far. I worked in a supermarket, I rented a shitty one-bedroomed flat, I was in a depressing relationship with an older guy who had more emotional problems than myself and was intent on making me as unhappy with life as he was! My brother, two years younger than me, had recently had a baby with his older girlfriend, and my baby sister was well on her way to populating the town with a string of brats. Maybe a baby was what I needed.

Now I know many of you are probably reading this and thinking WHAT?!! But it wasn’t like that. I didn’t see a child as an accessory. I just felt that maybe, just maybe, the stars were aligning themselves to show me the way forward..

So when I discovered I was pregnant after a mix up with my contraceptive pill, I was filled with a determination to become a parent. This was my next challenge in life, and I embraced it fully. My relationship was going nowhere and I gave him every option to get out, but he insisted on staying (temporarily, which is another story) and becoming a full-time father.

That dead-end relationship that I had clung to fell by the wayside as soon as I glimpsed my newborn son. I didn’t need to waste my time desperately seeking unconditional love anymore. For unconditional love was right there in my arms.

Of course, I have made the odd stupid mistake over the years. But motherhood has definitely changed my life, and certainly put things into perspective.

I am grateful to my son, my best creation, the most worthwhile thing I have ever done in my entire life, for giving me a reason to live, and for showing me that I am worthy of love.

Writing Prompt Day #2: What Place Do You Consider Your Home?

Hmm, so what place do I consider home…

In response to this, I suppose I should choose my current residence. After all, I call it home, and I can’t wait to get back to it each day when I finish work.

However, there have been places over the years that I have visited and left a piece of my heart in. I do still hanker after those places, and at times they suffuse my dreams.

When I was a kid, my dad’s grandparents owned a chalet in Abersoch, North Wales. It was an upmarket affair, four-bedrooms with an en-suite in my grandparents’ room and a jacuzzi bath in the main bathroom. It was situated on the beach front and I remember falling asleep to the sound of the tide kissing the shore just yards away.

I was entranced by the sea and spent hours just staring out into St. Tudwal’s bay, armed with the binoculars my Grandad kept by the door. I was fascinated by the islands in the bay, one which was home to a small building and a herd of red deer, and other with its lighthouse that blinked late at night. For a time, we had a speedboat and my dad would take us out to speed around the islands and visit the seals on Seal Rock. They were as fascinated with us and we often saw their little heads bobbing in the waves as they ventured closer.

We spent every school holiday there, my brother and I, and I remember days filled with beach walks, exploring headlands, rolling down sand dunes, and building sand castles. I taught myself to swim in the sea in Abersoch, and spent many an hour pony-trekking along the beach, cantering through the shallows and hacking along the winding lanes. My favourite riding school put on 2-hour hacks which ended up on the beach outside our chalet, a long stretch of clean sand leading from Abersoch village up to Llanbedrog headland. Here, my Nana would watch and wave from our patio, and I felt like my heart would burst with happiness. 

It was all so idyllic. We were privileged children there in Abersoch but took it all for granted, and I wish I could get those days back. Of course, they are long gone, but I still dream of Abersoch, and our beachfront chalet on The Warren.