I was in an incredibly bad mood last night, so I've woken up early to write this post as I didn't want to depress you - or come across like a bitter and raving old grump. That said, it is ridiculously early so if this makes no sense, you know why.
As Allison has already explained, this week we're tackling the thorny topic that is relationships. I'll be writing about this from the in-a-relationship side of the fence, but I have no wish to appear smug or patronising. This will be no tale of candle-lit dinners, romantic walks on the beach or chocolates on Valentine's Day. Far from it, in fact.
Relationships change you, or at least they've changed me. Sometimes the change is for the good, at others it's the opposite. The transformations I've been through so far have been wild and unpredictable, and that's what I'd like to talk about. I ask you prepare yourselves as I'm about to introduce you to a carnival of horrors, a procession of the nightmarish personalities known collectively as Tom In A Relationship.
Actually, before I unveil them, let me say this; I was 20 when I entered into the relationship I'm in now. What's more, it was supposed to be a one-night stand. Don't judge me - the expectation was the same on both sides, and I was about to move to Italy for a year. Ideal ground for sowing the seeds of a relationship it was not. Anyway, Tom, stop putting this off.
Tom the Hypocrite: as mentioned above, a month after meeting my significant other, I moved to Italy. It became a long-distance relationship before it had had the time to become a long-term one. This separation paved the way for the release of one of the most hideous elements of my character. Poor N would go for a night out with friends and be inundated with bitter, shitty little texts from yours trully. 'Where are you?' 'Who's there?' 'Bollocks! who is really there and where are you, really?' Oh the shame. But that's not the worst of it, despite the above, I would fly off the handle if I ever received anything similar. "Stop suffocating me. I'm trying to enjoy myself. I'm allowed out whenever I want. OH MY GOD GET OUT OF MY FACE!" Remembering this actually makes me feel awful. In this instance, I blame my age. Honestly, I was incredibly immature and completely unprepared for a relationship. I'd hope that I've improved somewhat since.
Tom the Green-eyed Monster: as the above suggests, the younger Tom was prone to regular bouts of insane jealousy. When Jealous Mode was activated, I had the power to remember passwords for email accounts, for facebook, passcodes for mobile phones, and would spend hours ferretting out information on misdeeds or inappropriate conversations. I was a detective, immersing myself in correspondence that was not meant for my eyes. Or an archaeologist, scraping away the present to reveal hidden secrets from the past. I was insatiable, and infuriating. This ridiculous behaviour ('scratching' as it came to be called) continued for a long time before I was stuck with an epiphany that didn't kill the evil green-eyed monster, but has succeeded in burying it underground. I've posted a legion of my best knights around the entrance to its subterranean hovel to ensure it remains as far from the light of day as possible.
Tom the Angry Drunk: When I was young, free and single, I was quite a happy drunk - either that or I'd drink so much I lost the ability to talk. The arrival of N, however, coincided with the arrival of a new drunken Tom, one that shouted and swore and, worst of all, regularly ran away. For three New Year's Eves in a row, I spent half the night outside on my own. Three years in a row, N had to come and get me. One time that I really don't want to elaborate on, my dad had to come and get me. Oh my God, thinking about it is filling me with woe. It became a running joke. People would place bets on how long it would be before I kicked off. N quite rightly stopped coming to look for me when I ran away, leaving me hiding behind camper vans in car parks in the cold, knowing that I'd come back eventually, my tail between my legs. In time, I realised how ridiculous I had become. The Angry Drunk was therefore defeated, it seems. He is a thing of the past, a legend, a story people tell to scare children.
As I've mentioned, these horrible traits were largely, I think, down to immaturity. I've successfully killed some off and hidden others which has led to a happier, less turbulent life. But relationships change you in other ways, too. You become a different person. I don't want to quote the Spice Girls but 'two become one' does come to mind. For example, before N came along, I hated rock music. Last Saturday I went to an Avenged Sevenfold gig. That's a stupid example but you get my point, through sharing time and experiences you lose some of yourself and replace it with elements of the person you're with. I often find myself wondering who I'd be if I hadn't met N - I have a sneaking suspicion I'd be a complete chav, so I owe him a favour, really. And actually, I feel a bit better having written this. I've never blogged about anything this personal, really, so it's new to me. If nothing else, remembering what a complete bastard I've been in the past has reassured me that nowadays I'm not all that bad! Well done TASG for restoring some of my self-confidence.
And now, over to the girl that rocks restaurants...Lauren, take it away.
An accurate depiction of how I once was. In fact, I'm pretty sure this a 'Tom the Hypocrite moment'.