Adult Visions

Prompt via The Daily Post (23rd July 2014)

As a kid, you must have imagined what it was like to be an adult. Now that you’re a grownup (or becoming one), how far off was your idea of adult life?little girl shoes

I always thought that when I finally became an adult, I would feel like one. That hasn’t happened yet.

Perhaps it’s because I don’t own my own house or have a ‘proper’ job. Perhaps it’s because I don’t have children or a car. I don’t know. All I know is that it hasn’t hit me yet.

When I was a kid I don’t know what I expected from life. I was a live in the moment girl (I think). I loved music and dressing up but I didn’t dream of white weddings and horses like many of my peers. I suppose I assumed it would just happen and I would do all the things people were ‘supposed’ to do when the time came.

I have done some of it but most of my decisions in life have not been very sensible. I guess I equate adulthood with being sensible then. Although, I’m casting my mind back and growing up the only adults I really spent time around were my Mum and her cousin, Aunty Sine.

Both these women were my ultimate heroes, even though Mum was terribly uncool at times (guys she’s my Mum, of course she was!). I think I looked to them as such because neither of them needed a man to get through. Their situations were very different but they seemed so Can Do and found strength in each other. I think maybe I found strength in their strength (plus apart from them, I was surrounded by smelly boys and Star Wars toys, so had little choice).

Later on, I did turn to men for the things I thought I needed – but give a girl a break, at least I learnt eventually that’s just a crock of sh*t. Ultimately, the only hero you need to save you, is you. *VOM!*

Despite these two ladies dragging us up by the scruffs of our necks, all by themselves, I wouldn’t describe them as particularly sensible. I remember the bottles of wine once we were in bed, guys… Maybe then, being grown up is about strength; about just getting on and doing life the best way you know how?

I’ve had some cray jobs (dating agency, adult material mail order, turkey plucking), went travelling instead of going to University, fell in love with stupid boys (who hasn’t?). I’ve lived alone (for a bit) in a strange foreign city, accepted a free tattoo from a man who lives in a hut in Thailand; all of these things make up the fabric of my rites of passage and the end result is: I’m still just a kid at heart. Sensible? No, not really, but strong? Better believe it!

The most grown up things about me, to date, are: 1) I always pay my bills on time 2) I’ve committed myself for life to another human being and 3) I’ve filed my own tax returns (in 2010 and 2011).

So, to recap: how far off was my idea of adulthood? Pretty far, I guess.

I though 30 was ancient and I assumed I would have kids because Mum did and so did Sine. I don’t think I actually pictured the man I would end up with (and I like to think that’s because then, I didn’t even want one).

I thought I’d have a better job, maybe something creative like fashion designer or an artist, like Dad (shame I can’t draw for fudge). Beyond that, I don’t think I had the normal expectations. I knew I’d see the world, make friends, be happy.

Guess really, I’m not such a bad non-adult adult after all, huh?

Brother

250065_10150617858235018_5939880_nToday’s Random Subject via Writing Exercises – What does having siblings mean to you?

Growing up it seemed to me that as soon as we were old enough to go our separate ways, I would never see my brother again. If you’d asked me at 12, 14, 17, 19 what having a sibling meant to me, I would have probably said “Not much, I hate him”. I would have stared off into the middle distant like a good baby Goth and I would have fantasised about being an only child.

We were not what you would call ‘close’ as we grew, although I look back and he was always there. We rowed like cat and dog but he was never not there. All my memories swirl around him, all of them, even the earliest ones. Sitting in the garden with this new fat baby in my lap (my memory or one I have borrowed from a photo album?), the evening Mum told us Dad was gone.

Our old house in Canada, playing with the neighbourhood kids. The day we moved to England to stay with our reluctant grandparents, playing with our cousins, the Christmases, the childhood injuries, the arguments; climbing trees. We weren’t friends but perhaps we were uneasy allies out there in the world because who else did we have?

I was not a cool teen. Most times all I wanted was to be alone. Now I realise I was suffering typical adolescent depression but then I just wanted to be in my room, feeling things. This did not translate well to my sociable, always popular brother though maybe only in my own head. He would pick on my insecurities to cut me down and I am quite sure I did the same right back.

Still, he woke me up one night to tell me he had lost his virginity. I think it was then I thought that one day we might be okay, that I still had a use to him, even if it was just my inexperienced ear.

It was several years later but I remember the evening vividly, he was at my house for my birthday. I was 26 when I realised we’d be fine. Mum was there and my best friend, too. I was in a relationship with my demon ex then, recently moved into a big Suburban home I had never wanted, unhappy but not yet without hope.

We were laughing and talking and Tim said I was funny. Publicly, in front of other people. From that day on, to me at least, he was no longer the lazy toad who wanted to make me cry, he was my brother and my friend – and he saw me as a person, finally.

I knew he must love me because he was nice to that horrible boyfriend, tried to see the best in him when the best wasn’t much. Later, I couldn’t believe he had kept it up, after everybody else’s façade had long since slipped. That’s love, I think.

He could have told me to leave, wondered what the hell I was playing at but he didn’t, he let me find out for myself.

We’ve been close ever since, although hardly ever geographically. I’ve been in Asia and then Canada, while he lived in both Hungary and Greece for extended periods. For six months he lived in Brighton and that was one of my favourite times, though we still didn’t hang out every week. We’re just not that kind of family.10374460_10154083560640018_306736340812671119_n

Even now, my brother is in some of my very happiest memories. He gave me away at my wedding because my Dad couldn’t; made everyone cry with his speech. He made a mix CD for the sit down dinner segment and it had my favourite song on it (You’re So Cool by Hans Zimmer).

Now we meet up every couple of months or so, since Tim and his fiancé, Maddy live in Kent. When we hang out it’s like no time has passed at all. I’m so proud of the man he has finally become and now I’m getting excited to see what kind of husband and father he’s going to be.

So, if you ask me now, what does having a sibling mean to me, I will tell you: it means everything.

Memoirs of a Pogonophile

My name is Mrs Bee and I’m a Beardoholic.tumblr_n3kimfU4xx1sqzgnao4_500

Yeah I know, right? Big wow. Every hipster and his mum is sporting glorious facial hair these days and there is no shortage of female attention buzzing around them as a result. The beard is having its moment and who knows where it will end, if indeed it ever does.

I hope it doesn’t because I get a case of the weak knees most days as I browse the fruit section in Morrisons and a rough and ready Ricki Hall-alike bumps into me whilst squawking into his phone. That chin mane has given him an edge that he probably doesn’t deserve but I can’t be mad at him. He’s seen his window and has the ability to grow a garden on his face, good luck to him I say.

So where did this sudden obsession come from? I know I have always had a weird childish theory that you can always trust a man with a beard.

Ghengis Khan, Charlie Manson and Rolf Harris (say it ain’t so!) have so far proven me wrong on that score, but my prepubescent self longed for a bearded father figure to come along and give me all the answers. Growing up without a Dad around has surely set a precedent for me, take that as you will.

I think all my life I have secretly been dealing with Daddy Issues and I don’t mean that in the sinister sense it suggests. I just mean, a few times I have made decisions (bad ones) because I have (wrongly) assumed that certain people will answer the call within. Basically, when I have needed to be looked after, or have a firm hand to guide me, I have looked to somebody older or (seemingly) wiser to help me with that – and it has turned out disastrously.

Boy, this post turned personal, didn’t it?

But that isn’t about beards really, I just wanted to illustrate that I’m a girl who wishes she had her father around but doesn’t and so I believe this is part of the reason I am attracted to men with beards.

My father had a glorious, Che Guevara-esque beard that made him look distinguished and beatnik and mysterious all at the same time. When I grew up, I was sure I wanted to be with someone as wonderful as my dad, who would be capable of making me as happy as he made my mother.

And I am. I really did luck out when Mr Bee came along because suddenly I was hit with the weirdest feeling of all, once the thunderbolt smoke had cleared: pure peacefulness. That’s the best way to describe real love if you ask me: it feels like peace.

Mr Bee is everything my dad was; gentle and interested in new things. Well read. A romantic. All the things I wanted in my life partner and more than enough to fill my heart with a long-term hope that our life will be a good one.

And full-bearded. He’s currently very full-bearded indeed!

I will say this though, in defense of men who choose not to have beards, or cannot grow them, all those “Real Men Have Beards” type memes that are flopping about the internet: so not cool. Where it’s unacceptable to disparage a thinner woman for not being ‘womanly’, this is the same thing surely? A man is a man is a man – as all women are real women.

What my childhood self didn’t understand is that the essence of man is not necessarily caught up in one aspect of his appearance. Beards are good and sexy and wild to me, but the actual man beneath doesn’t have to scream and grunt to prove his manliness. I may associate a beard with protection and love, but it’s the heart and soul beneath that will prove that.

What’s your ‘thing’?

 

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