Archive for July, 2008

This Makes Me Very Angry…

July 30, 2008

Grab yourself a bowl of happiness and a comfy chair – it’s blogging time!


Hello friends and hello all!


Before I begin my digressions for the day, I wish to share with you all the greatest news in the world. No, it is not that I finally own the one toy I have wanted for 28 years, (more n that later) but this:


The greatest cartoon character EVER, Marvin the Martian, is getting his own movie. With my new toy and this news, I am officially 8 years old for the day.


So what to recall about yesterday? Ah yes – reunion! I’d like to say that it goes without saying, but it doesn’t so, I’m going to say it – thank you all for coming. Like the process before it, it would not have been the same without you. And to Denise, Constance, John, David L, and Jackie – you were all missed, and thought of throughout.


It was somewhat fortuitous that I had checked my emails as I got to London, as it alerted me to the fact that my friend Lucy was attending that evening.


For those who don’t know, Lucy is pregnant. During the course, she was kind enough to lend me a t-shirt which had actually been a gift to her, for her baby, for something we needed to do as part of the process. In poor taste it may have been – the slogan on the front was ‘diaper loading in progress’ or something to that effect – but nonetheless, it was a touching gift to a person she barely knew at the time.


Me being me, I managed to spill coffee all over it within minutes, and ruined the shirt. Lucy maintained that it didn’t matter, but principals are principals, and when I learned that Lucy was coming, I dragged Mike off with me to Selfridges, (who met me early) to the baby section, where I finally got a chance to make amends with an absolutely darling dressing gown/towel sort of thing with matching boots/socks. People fawn over babies, but when I saw it, and especially when I saw Lucy’s reaction when I gave it to her, well, it was enough to make a person melt.


The evening itself was marvellous. I managed to get a chance to talk on stage, which I am sure you can all appreciate I totally hated, (note: heavy sarcasm) and it was great to see so many partners, curious onlookers, and past people all joined in something so wonderful. Perhaps most satisfactorily, the people who were thinking about/about to go on the course really got a sense of what can be achieved. I am sure, walking in, that it must have been a bit overwhelming.


Of course, the evening finally gave us a chance to present to our good friend Celia her farewell gift as she flew off to America. I cannot even begin to describe the feeling of sheer pride I felt as she was moved to tears by the efforts of myself, and the group as a whole. I may have co-ordinated and done some cutting and sticking, but without the efforts of everyone who contributed – be it through a quote or two, a picture, or scribbling something in at the last minute – it would not have been the fine and fitting gift that it was. I really hope, with every ounce of sincerity I can muster, that it has the desired effect.

And then, my dear, dear beardless friend Graeme did something for which touched my heart – coming out of Hoffman, we set ourselves a number of goals to achieve in the first month. Some were as simple as ‘go dancing’, or ‘singing lessons’, or ‘shout something at the top of your voice every day’. Amongst the many (many) I set myself was to buy a childhood toy I had always wanted – Rock ‘em Sock ‘em Robots. ( Unfortunately, after a quite extensive search (and this included another toy I had always wanted, a ‘Mr Freeze’) I was coming up desperately short – it seemed, in this world of computer games and stabbings, there just wasn’t room for two plastic robots hitting each other until a head popped up, and I was unable to find them anywhere.

I had been talking to Graeme about our first month aims by email, and mentioned this as a source of frustration for me. Well, old Graeme, what did he do? Well, first he sent me an eBay link – but I don’t use eBay. Well, instead, he just won the auction for me, bought them, and gave them to me – AND IT WAS THE GREATEST FUCKING PRESENT EVER!

Graeme, if you’re reading this – thank you so much. You made a childhood dream come true.

A short walk later, and we quite literally converged on Pizza Express in London’s Baker Street – wine was drunk, Rock ‘em Sock ‘em Robots were furiously played, and, unsurprisingly, Pizza was consumed. There were times when I would catch a glimpse of someone in conversation with another person, and it was so wonderful to see the ease and comfort of us all. Yes, we’re all in the real world now, away from the confined freedom (oxymoron alert) of Florence House, and yes, we all parted to our different lives come bedtime, but it is without doubt – these people are all family. All for one, and one for all indeed.


I entered Baker Street station with my new toy underarm, and admiring (or confused) looks from everyone I passed. Finally getting on the Northern Line, and joined by Zein, who was going somewhere near me, and heading home, it was asked of us what exactly we were carrying. 5 minutes later, and the two late-twenty-something gentlemen next to us were 8 years old all over again too, happily pounding away at my Rock ‘em Sock ‘em Robots game, laughing and smiling. It was a real Hoffman moment, to be able to provide such childlike happiness to two complete strangers. I dare say both of them will be on the internet today, trying, like I was, to buy this wonderful toy.


I can’t tell you how much that made me smile.


After finally getting to sleep around 3am, this morning was a struggle. My plans to have breakfast in town were quickly reduced to having a long breakfast at home, and then finally, getting up at the last minute. Alarms came and went pretty quickly, but bed was just too darn comfy to get out of. Finally, I made it out, knowing I had to meet my mother in town for a coffee, and made it to Selfridges in London’s Oxford Street in the nick of time, stopping only to replace my sunglasses having given mine to that handsome bastard Dom the night previous. (They did look much better on him, in fairness)


My mother being my mother insisted on buying me a pair of jeans and two pairs of shoes – what’s a boy to do? – before we sat down, had a quick coffee, and then it was off to work to complete my half day. And that’s where you join me, tapping away on a keyboard with not a care in the world.


My Hoffman brothers and sisters, I say this without reservation – I love you all. The light comes as much from within as it does from shared experience, and I hope to continue to share these things with you, be it here in my blog, or in another Pizza Express in another part of the world.


Until tomorrow,

Closed Box



… But If I Did, They’d Have A Samurai

July 29, 2008

re·un·ion riˈyun yən/[ree-yoon-yuh n]


the act of uniting again.


the state of being united again.



a gathering of relatives, friends, or associates at regular intervals or after separation: a family reunion.

Gooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooood Morning Vietnam!


Greatest line from that movie?


You are in more dire need of a blowjob than any white man in history’


Too funny.




Blog readers, I am indeed feelin’ fine this morning. The air is breezy and cool, I have a half day, and later on this evening, be it physically or joined in spirit, our Hoffman menagerie will once again be joined in holy lunacy.


It seems that of all the sides of ourselves we find easiest to neglect, the spiritual comes streaks ahead. For many, and for me especially, the spiritual side was the one where I had no practices in my life to connect to it on any sort of continued basis. I am not a god believer – though these days, I firmly believe in the light inside, brainwash! Brainwash! – so there was no real instances of a church, etc. (Or, as ‘The Simpsons’ Mr Burns would put it, doing the fingers in the air inverted commas thing Syn-o-gogue) Sure, I do the check ins, and actually, I feel a very strong connection to my Spiritual Self still, much as I did in Florence House, but there is very little I can actually DO for it in this moment in time, aside from ensure, as I am actively doing, that the truce between my body, emotions and intellect remain in tact. For instance, yesterday, I once again met my friend Rachel for a walk around The National Gallery (intellect), and then, on the walk to the tube, had a 99 and then put ice cream on Rachel’s nose. (score one for my child)  


So tonight, we have an opportunity to reconnect our Spiritual selves to one another – to shared experience, and to shared emotion.


There will be those of us at different stages in our post-Hoffman recovery, much as we were in Florence House at point in the course, but together, we are a fortress of strength and unity.


I look forward to seeing you all.


Closed Box.


Abres Los Ojos

July 27, 2008

Good Morning Blog Fans

Well, actually, it’s 9.30pm Sunday.

I don’t really like to forward plan these blogs too much – I think it affects the flow of the writing – but this evening, as the sun sets on another weekend, I was ironing myself into a sweat, and, with quite an eventful couple of days behind me, I was inspired to sit here and externalise some of what was floating around in my head.

Or, I have a pattern of avoiding my ironing. One of the two.

There is a saying: that to truly love someone, you have to let them go.

And I guess that is what I did. Friends, Romans, and blog readers, I am afraid my relationship ended this weekend. Please lend me your ears while I digress.

I feel no regret, nor do I feel neither happiness nor relief. I feel not sad, nor do I feel like I am repeating an old pattern of rejecting before being rejected. I feel… as though I have done the right thing.

Lucy, my now ex-girlfriend, was here in London for a year, and we met halfway through that time period. She, originally from Jersey, was sent over here by her law firm to work for an even bigger law firm, presumably to steal their secrets or something. We met at one of my best friend’s birthday parties – dated, and somewhere down the line, fell in love.

Lucy was a totally new experience for me – for one thing, I actually liked her, and I had an unerring urge to be faithful – not something I had a great history of.

In the past, my attitudes to all things has been ‘I’ll deal with it when it comes’. In paying my bills, though I (normally) had the money, it would take a phone call from the phone company to get me to pay, and this attitude would run through all aspects of my life. Coming out of Hoffman, I have been very aware that I needed to start claiming my own space; to deal with things not at the last minute, but to preempt and to plan.

And this is what happened with Lucy.

After some wrestling with the concept in her mind, Lucy has decided to return to Jersey in November. Though her desire was to remain in London, and possibly switch vocations, being not all that fond of the one she has now, she feels as though she has an obligation to do what she feels is right. More power to her, I say, and it shows a true moral fibre that she would do something she may not want to out of a sense of duty.

But, in my mind, this suddenly created a giant flashing neon sign in our future – a point when she would return to Jersey, and our relationship would suddenly come under immense strain.

With a failed long-distance relationship in my (fairly) recent past, and fearing the prospect of falling out with my best friend, I admit it – I jumped. Of course, that isn’t the be all and end all of the story, but that’s the crux of it. I looked into the future, saw something I felt/knew was a recipe for disaster, and took what I felt was the right decision. Hopefully, though we are no longer together, we can continue to work on our relationship as friends. And I sincerely mean that.

Lights, Camera, Actions!

July 25, 2008

Actions, they say, speak louder than words.


Dear blog readers,


Recently, I have been thinking about love.


Love, it really is quite a simple (and often, manipulative) thing to say – but something else entirely to actually show through actions.


If we take the example of our group of Hoffman graduates – these are 24 people who have been through a shared hell, and though they may not speak every day, there is an undeniable bond there – which some, myself included, would define as love. Though as I say, these people are not in constant contact, they are always present in the hearts and minds of those with whom they share this emotion, and, when the chips are down, they do not help out a feeling of duty – it is more a feeling of a collective status quo, and, should someone begin to lag, it is the collective love that will help restore the equilibrium.


I have just realised that actually, what I have described is the geese from Closure.


During Hoffman, we had many exercises revolving around love, all grounded in that same message – you can’t love/see someone/something until you love/see yourself.


And how many of us really know ourselves? Could we list our best qualities? Our worst? Could we point to individual actions of the conscious and unconscious mind? Could we identify when we are acting from our child or adult brains?


I remember one of the absolute worst definitions of love I ever heard. It was from a film – I forget which – and it was during a heated argument between a male character, and a female one. The female shouts at the man ‘real love only occurs when you’re willing to put that person’s well-being above your own.’ I used to think this was a great mantra by which to live, and for the longest time, I would roll this message around in my head, wondering why I couldn’t meet someone who I felt like that about. But the thing is, that statement, while it may be true in the loosest of senses, it is missing a vital part of the sentence – and that is that to truly love someone, you really need to love yourself first.


I keep thinking about that cartoon ‘Love is,’ a story of two naked 8 year olds who are married. (As Homer Simpson put it) When you think of it in that context, it’s almost worrying, but when you think about it as a metaphor – it is a cartoon of two naked, emotional selves, who are joined together by a great bond. I am sure some of my Hoffman readers can relate to that.


The problem is insecurity. Me – I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve told someone I’m in love with them. Most of the time, it was because I needed the validation of being told they loved me too. Fortunately (or, unfortunately) I have a long history of dating people who were equally as damaged as I was, and damaged relationships were the norm, but I suspect I am not the only person who has said something like this, or acted a certain way to either (a) hear it back, or (b) be rejected, so I can beat myself up about it.


I feel that quite often, those the most actively looking for love are those who lack it the most – whether we fall in and out of heated relationships because we subconsciously enjoy the drama, or we accept bad relationships because we, on a level, crave the attention. I was once this way, needing the constant high of being wanted – choosing a job where I was always wanted by someone for something, or deliberately failing at ones where I was left in isolation, so I could be spoken to; or constantly consuming people – sexually, in friendships, or talking online in a never ending, frenzied defence of my absolute terror of being alone with someone I hated. Myself.


But today, I am lucky – lucky in that I know myself, and know what I want. This, I think, allows me to be more able to give true love – hopefully, unconditionally, and hopefully, with compassion – and puts me more in touch with what ‘love’ means; at least to me. I am not scared to say it, (though those that know me will hardly be surprised by this) but, I love myself. It is not vanity, nor is it arrogance the way those words may suggest. It is that I recognise my best qualities, and I think they are good ones. I recognise that in myself, I have an unwavering desire to help others, and it is this which gives me most pleasure. For the first time in my life, I see in myself a person of fundamental good, and someone who can be a positive influence on my immediate surroundings. If seeing those things, and being able to love myself makes me arrogant, then I guess I’m arrogant.


You know, I just highlighted this entire thing with the intention of deleting it. The old dark side was back on my shoulder, telling me I was full of shit, that people would read this and think I’m an ass, (or worse) or that someone would get to the bottom and think either I’m trying to deliver a subliminal message to them individually, or think ‘what the fuck was that about/is he on?’


But, the purpose of this blog is to externalise – externalise the actual internal, not some quasi-poetic sideshow of a blog, designed to make people think I’m Moulin Rouge when I’m actually Annie Hall. This is how I am feeling today, and though it is a little disjointed, and not in the diary style I have fallen into on these blogs, I have decided to keep it.


I hope that all of you out there love yourselves, truly and wholly.


Arrogant it is not. Liberation is your reward.


Until next time, I hope all of you have a most wonderful of weekends


Lots of love,

Closed Box

Bad Mood, Or Bad Pattern?

July 24, 2008

Today I feel a little like ‘Sex and the City’ character Carrie Bradshaw – living in my own little world, pounding away at a computer and asking the big life questions no one can possibly answer.


I can’t lie. I was in a bad mood. I think this may have been the case since last night, in fact. Last night, instead of leaving work and embarking on another ‘London adventure’, I headed straight home – the first time I have done this since leaving Florence House.


 I guess I was tired, but with my parents returning to the country today (Thursday) and wanting to discuss my University aspirations with them, I wanted to have as much done as possible in terms of my personal statement and accompanying paperwork.


But I was distracted, nay, looking for distraction. Instead of heading home, I went food shopping, and ended up repeating an old, and most detested of patterns – buying something, and then immediately regretting it. In this case, a Wii Fit. (Luckily, later that night, eBay came to my rescue, but that’s not the point)


Though my mood was totally buoyed by talking to someone on the phone for over an hour, I got home still ultimately feeling not all that wonderful. I quickly fixed myself a dinner of Sultana Bran – normally a sure sign of ‘zoning out’ – and tried out this Wii Fit thing, which was, frankly rubbish.


I played, and I pottered; I basically did anything that helped me not think, eventually going to bed in scorching heat at about 10pm feeling really rather shitty.


There’s something else that is frustrating me. I can’t really talk about it here – it’s not that I want to keep any secrets, it’s just not fair, because it involves someone else. Just in case you’re thinking this doesn’t really add up.


I wasn’t feeling much better when I woke up this morning. Having the bright idea to do a Quadrinity Check In and/or Light Journey, I found myself struggling to concentrate, frequently thinking about other things. The tube isn’t the best place to do it anyway, but I really got nothing out of it this time, despite starting the Check-In twice.


Eventually, as the train pulled into my first change of stations at Tottenham Court Road, I decided to walk from there to work, and when I eventually arrived, having picked up a breakfast of fresh melon and a Danish on the way, I felt a lot better. I was still worried, though – but this disappeared after talking to people here in the office.


Now, I’m just tired, I think. Tired, and, when things are busy in a job you don’t particularly like, as they are for me right now, there breeds a resentment. Nothing big, but it’s there.


Anyway blog fans, sorry for the short one today. I’m kind of all over the place with work.


Much love to you all,

Closed Box