Learning To Be You Again

Leo Gauvain 

This blog is meant to be presented in quite a light-hearted manner but there are some serious issues that also need to be addressed and this is one of them.  I feel on my part it’s probably quite a selfish act and I do not wish to condone misery on anyone that reads this.  As a matter of fact it aims to hopefully support and connect with those going through similar periods whilst simultaneously being used as my own form of therapy. I am talking about being on the receiving end of a break-up.

It’s something that pretty much everyone will go through in their lives and, no matter how you put a spin on it, it’s one of the worst feelings you can have.  It may not get any easier but one thing is for sure and that is that you will be better equipped to deal with those feelings of loss.  Of course your friends will be there for support but they can only offer so much support before they start repeating themselves.  It’s something you have to tackle head on and just look at ways to ease the pain.  I personally found that the emotional investment and being so close to someone only for that to be sheared off is akin to someone suddenly pushing you into a freezing cold lake.   You’re  completely unprepared and are without that transition you need to adapt.  You have that security of someone who loves and cares about you, they become very special to you and you may become quite dependent on them.  It’s a mutual bond that when severed can really leave you in the lurch.

I perhaps over indulged the grieving phase and from time to time would say I still do from time to time but not as bad as originally, I digress.  In a relationship your personalities gel with your other half.  You unconsciously find yourself taking on some of their traits and following their interests. You become almost a hybrid of the person you once were.  When this is all over, you leave yourself with all those traits you have taken on that made you so happy previously instead only serving as painful associations.  It’s natural that in your daily routine you will probably reminisce when a particular object evokes that particular memory of you together but you can’t compare everything you now do to how it was before.  I was/am guilty of this, it is not helpful.

Of course no one wants to be sad, although the emotional release of a good cry now and then can be satisfying, happiness is usually the primary objective that every human being strives to achieve.  If you can make yourself happy without relying on anyone else you are in a very strong position in the greater scheme of life and independence.  Everyone is their own person with their own values and of course their own methods with coping against adversary.  I knew that rediscovering what made me happy would undoubtedly improve the situation and i would do this at any cost.

I’ve always loved music and playing the piano is something I love doing at home. I never really had the opportunity to play at University and it was that release that I was sorely missing.  I go to the piano when I’m stressed, when I’m upset, when I’m angry as well as for pleasure.  It’s a skill I am incredibly grateful for and one that the highs you gain from playing a particular piece are quite hard to explain.  The obvious decision, therefore, was to purchase my own piano for my uni room. I got my own headphones so as not to disturb my fellow house mates and play away until my heart’s content.  The headphones have the added benefit of blocking you off from the rest of the world, leaving you immersed in doing what you love.  As well as playing, I have started listening to a lot more music.  Those previous lonely journeys to the shops or to campus take on a completely different view when accompanied to good old R.E.M, that reassuring message that everybody hurts.  I’m personally a massive fan of the song, it’s not as negative as it sounds and offers reassurance when you feel at your lowest.

Friendships are those special relationships that can sometimes get neglected when your mind is elsewhere, yet when you’re in need you can always rely on those loyal people in your life.  You can often find yourself feeling very lonely after a break up but, if you reach out, your friends will be there with an outstretched hand to lift you out of that hole of self pity you find yourself in.  I sometimes I feel that I don’t have many friends but then realise that those I do have really do look out for me and knowing that I mean a lot to them is reaffirmation that I am happy to have them in my life.  I guess it is born out of insecurity but I have often felt that few people really care about me just because I’m not told.  I find I get very emotional when those that are close do try to show me that I am perceived and received in a positive manner.  Recently I went to visit my friend in Manchester.  We barely speak during term time but it was just so nice to spend time with him and enjoy his company.  It was confirmation of why we have stayed friends for so long; since the age of 6.  Back at Uni, I am extremely fortunate to have friends such as my co-blogger who stick with me through thick and thin and I’m not really sure what i’d do without them. Soppy I know.

Getting my brother to come and visit me in Southampton has also been a great decision.  I don’t get to see him often but after dining with him in London I was reminded of how important family are and how fortunate I am to have the family I do have.  Nothing tops a big hug from your bro or a heart to heart mother son talk to reassure you everything is going to be ok.

It’s coming up to Christmas now and, although I’m not fully upbeat, I definitely intend to enjoy the holidays and not let anything get in the way. Sometimes you have to put yourself first and convince yourself that you are a great individual with plenty of fulfillment in your life.  You need to learn to love yourself.  Relationships are great when you’re in them but the end of one, doesn’t have to be the huge negative it appears to be.  That age old cliche that time heals; well it will but only if you give it a little helping hand.



Cold War in the Kitchen


Cooking. It’s the one feature of uni life that students perhaps fear the most as they embark on their first tentative steps to semi-independence. A life skill that, if you were lucky enough, you never had to do yourself as a child. Personally, I find cooking quite enjoyable from time to time. However, this is mainly due to the fact that I am able to make use of the well stocked fridges and cupboards of home. Yet when Uni comes around, those premium ingredients that I took for granted for so many years were cruelly taken away from me in one foul swoop.

When you brave your first halls kitchen, the cooking game is a completely different kettle of fish. One hopes that if everyone pooled all their cooking knowledge together that you would be able to share the bountiful culinary delights that your combined teamwork would hopefully produce. While I am sure this may happen in rare cases, the reality, is that student cooks often have to fend for themselves. Constantly wary of each other, the game turns into more a game of espionage than Ready Steady Cook. you will very soon realise that student cooking intelligence agencies do exist, and that they will use any means necessary to increase their own cooking prowess at the expense of your own. This can be achieved through various means, the most popular is the poaching of your very own ingredients. This not only undermines your own natural resources but, moreover, causes a rift between you and a flat mate, who is rapidly emerging as Public enemy no. 1.

The severity of the situation is only fully realised when your meal of today becomes their meal of tomorrow. One can only assume that whilst you share a friendly conversation by the hob, that this is merely a distraction whilst the blue print of your steak with peppercorn sauce is being duly noted down and undoubtedly stored in the theoretical book of stolen student recipes that has now manifested itself in your head.

This really shouldn’t bother you as much as it does. After all, your adversary has every right to attempt your staple dishes, the ones you undoubtedly planned with your parents to make sure that you didn’t return home at Christmas resembling a deflated balloon that requires re-inflation. However it is the manner with which they have so obviously thieved your expertise that hurts the most. Without this vital know how, they would be forced into an existence of papa johns (budget permitting), instead of sponging off your well earned survival skills.  You may not be Bear Grylls, but a student learns to adapt and survive on the scarcest of resources.  Making those multiple cans of long life soup that fester in your cupboard last a year is an achievement in itself.  However, it is clear that with your new nemesis clawing for parity on the cooking front, you will have to step up a gear and what ensues is the beginnings of an arms race centered around food and one that will encompass cuisines from far and wide as well as combinations you didn’t think could exist. All in an attempt to gain that vital edge and maintain your superiority as top dog.

It is a relief when the ordeal is over, for this ongoing conflict only usually lasts the first year before dissipating.  When you have a house with people you have chosen to live with they are much more willing to trade secrets or, if you’re both on the same wavelength, go halves on a takeaway.