The awkward turtle

Celebrating the failings of a successful person


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That moment you realise someone is checking out your boyfriend…

I saw you. Yeah you! You checked out my boyfriend whilst we were walking hand-in-hand. You even had the audacity to give the confused “are they really a couple look”? It’s not just in my head!

Not to seem big-headed but there has always been an unsaid mutual agreement that I was the hot one of the couple. Buoyed by this I had only ever previously been aware of when I was getting the once over by a guy, it had never occurred to me that meanwhile girls were checking out my man. That was until we got to Barcelona. I don’t know what it is about it here, maybe the fact that the more stereotypically desired tall, dark and handsome (maybe not so much of the tall) is on tap so my fair-headed boy stands out all the more? Or maybe its the glow of his sun-tanned skin than has blown new life into his complexion (a true phenomenon to me as I’ve only ever known him as pasty under London’s grey skies). Whatever it is I am now conscious to it, like the spotting of the one yellow car and suddenly realising ever other car you see is also yellow, I cannot undo the seeing of eyes lingering over him. Anytime I witness it I look at him in amazement. Who are you?

My suspicions that other women might actually find my beau desirable were finally confirmed at the beach one hot afternoon. After many rounds of volleyball we were all bathing in our sweat when a bubbly lady came over to our group and directly speaking to R opened with, “I just wanted to say I was watching your volley game and you were really good.” Embarrassed he replied thank you and the conversation continued. We learnt she was a Swede who also played volley and when we all finally exchanged names he gave her his. “Oh that’s my husband’s name too”.

The husband was nowhere to be seen!

New-girl-shows-how-women-check-out-men
Jess from New Girl shows how subtle women can be

 

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The Spotless Mind

Happiness is mind-boggling. Is there anyone that you know who does not strive to be happy? Entire industries have been born and flourished in the promise of providing happiness and yet I feel we are unhappier than ever. We are unhappy when we do not have everything we imagine we should.

Like many other things, Happiness has a sneaky way of stealing upon you when you are not pursuing it. I recognise these moments more and more nowadays, but here are a few that can transport me back to the point in time in which Happiness paid me a visit:

  1. Hurling myself down the jungle during a trek in Northern Thailand. We had climbed up one side of the jungle and now is was time to come down. The descent was steep and there was no path as such, just a smoother way to fall. I let the vertigo pass over me and soon realised my jungle-surfing, which was really m holding onto to one bamboo tree whilst I stretched my little legs as far as possible to the next, was not the best tactic so I was quickly forced to hash out a Plan B. Plan B was amazing; it involved me falling from the mountain height one tree at a time. It meant having to let go and trusting in gravity for splits of a second until I slammed into my next stable post. Each time I rested against the bamboo trunk I had to count myself down to let go again, a continuous battle of self-will and adrenalin. At some points we had to abseil down using bent tree branches, and there were times where I did slide down on my bum (on purpose of course).Whilst I had started the descent half-terrified by the treacherous route before me, the journey to the bottom was amazing. I was in a world of my own trusting in Nature and stretching my limits; I smiled the whole way down.
  2. Jumping from rock to rock on the quest to find a waterfall, I found my element surrounded by tributaries of water as I run against the current. I was the first one of the group to reach the top and when I arrived sweating from the trek to see a group of tourists just staring into the waterfall’s pool, I stripped and jumped in. Yes it was cold, freezing even, but as I lay back in Nature’s bathtub I was submerged into Happiness. Everything was still, even the cascade of water that came crashing down, and there was silence. I’m not sure how long it lasted as soon enough the rest of my group caught up with me and one by one they reluctantly plunged into the cold.
  3. Riding on the open road around the island of Koh Lanta. I had rented a scooter for the day encouraged by my new friend Lau. Just before we set out for the journey from our hostel I remember the concerned look on Welsh Joe’s face as I asked him how to remind me how to accelerate and break. I had ridden a scooter only once before 2 years earlier in Uruguay; it would have been a genuine Motorcycle Diaries moment had it not been for my Spanish companion holding on to me, so my riding skills were more than a little rusty. Nevertheless, after a tentative few hours during which I fluctuated between snail’s pace and speeding, I finally found my happy reward. I felt it in the warmth of the sun as I chased it up and down hill roads, I felt it in the breathlessness that stole upon me as the wind whipped around my body, and most worryingly I felt happiness in the moments when I jerked back to reality after realising my mind had drifted to where? Lau and I didn’t arrive back to the hostel until well after dark, we followed the sun all the way to its bed as we ate dinner at a restaurant on the cliff’s edge. We drunk drove, our bellies filled with laughter and Thai foods. The goddess Happiness was in full flow that day.
The open road

Lau and I stopping to fill our bikes as we embark on our amateur bike adventure

My motor skills improved vastly during that day, I may have had one tiny scrap with an offensive tree but by nightfall I was such a pro that an elderly, and possibly blind, Thai gentleman mistook me for a taxi-bike. After giving me the instructions (of which I obviously understood none of), he jumped on the back of my bike and not even his daughter could persuade him that I was in fact a tourist so she too jumped on. I decided I would play along being giddy on Happiness but I could barely start the bike with the new combined mass. He laughed hysterically when his daughter explained the mistake. I’m still laughing.

If I were to define Happiness for me, the recurring theme seems to be Freedom (from thought?). Happiness takes all forms for everyone, which underpins it as an elusive commodity. We are set to fail if we continue to attempt to purchase Happiness, it’s not for sale it just finds you.

Take a minute to think what makes you Happy, don’t be surprised if it is something as simple as your mum’s home cooking.
Share your Happiness below 🙂


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First kiss missed

Balancing at the edge of his bed I waited for the flash of his blonde hair in the doorway as he returned to the room bearing a glass of water. I had requested the refreshment moments before and he dashed out on the hunt before the words had finished escaping my mouth. His icy eyes took me in greedily as I gulped down the water. Drained, the lifeless glass lingered in my hand. He pried my last defence from my grip. I relented. I watched as the glass took refuge on the floor with only our feet for company. My eyes fixed upon the eyes of my accuser, I knew what was to come; I could feel the heat of his intensity concentrate on my mouth as if he were willing them to part voluntarily. Naturally, I tensed up.

The room dulled as his face gradually eclipsed the lights. I closed my eyes but after having waited the customary time for us to connect I reopened them to assess the room: his face was suspended in front of mine, I don’t know if it was because I had leaned away extending the initial lip-travelling distance by an awkward mile. The tension was mounting to a point of climax beyond my control as the scene which I had watched unfold was still short of ending. My limbs demanded a break out, I should have crossed my legs or flexed my fingers. I should not of laughed.

I laughed.

This was to be our first kiss, we had anticipated it for a year but the cumulation of frustration transformed into a humorous observation in my mind, akin to watching a male primate making moves on a female in captivity. He did not share my amusement. I only realised my mistake as his eyes could no longer meet mine. The damage was done. He didn’t speak to me for a year. Another year later we had our first and last kiss.

Love in earnest

 


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Why I should not approach guys…

In my last year of uni I had a crush on this guy I saw everyday for what seemed to be the longest period of my life spent in the library. I would see him in the mornings, afternoon, and even whilst pulling a late night . I had no idea who he was and he never associated with anybody remotely familiar. It seemed that not even the reliable Six degrees of separation theory was applicable here. The intrigue turned into one of our many library obsessions as I shared the victim amongst my friends. Anything to distract from the misery of our academic holes was a plus. I dubbed him Seth Rogen, not least because the poor guy was nameless, but also because he looked uncannily like the actor Seth Rogen. He was my guilty pleasure.

Sure enough our frequent breaks on the library sofas were spent having intellectual discussions over Sophocles’ stance on state versus divine authority in the Antigone, which were promptly interrupted by a Seth sighting. “Seth’s gone out for a smoke, shall we go?”, or “Seth Rogen’s walking up the stairs….Don’t look…He’s coming towards us…No! Don’t turn around…Yeah he’s looking over…Dammit I told you not to look!”. I saw him so often that although we were mere strangers, we became strangers that knew each other precisely because we so obviously were not acquainted. In short; he kept staring at me because I kept staring at him. Awkward.

Fast forward to the end of the year at our pre-graduation party at a club. Everyone made it out: all those people I saw but never knew in the library, all those people I knew but wished I never saw in the library. Seth Rogen. I didn’t think I would see him there, if I had I wouldn’t have been so brazen just hours earlier when I declared I would speak to him if I saw him. It was too late. I couldn’t unmake my promise even if I wanted to because within seconds of spotting Seth at the bar my best friend Nate practically pushed me through the crowd and positioned me right to the left of Seth. The air took on a new heat around me as I contemplated striking up a conversation with a guy I literally did not know. Of all the possible ways to start a conversation I started like this, “Oh sorry, I think I pushed in front of you”. He looked at me, uncomfortably I might add, and replied “No its okay, I’m with them anyway”, indicating to the guy and girl actaully being served. I was sweating, my hair frizzed and I just wanted to bolt but I wasn’t quite ready to admit defeat. I groped for some support and found Nate’s arm within good reach. I pinched her, I figured she deserved to share in the pain that was passing through me every time I opened my mouth to speak to Seth. Then I said something really incredible. Incredibly because for 0.1 second I thought it was witty, than I was prepared to settle with funny, but as my lips breathed the words to life I realised it was just god damn ridiculous: “Oh well” I began, “You know it’s a dog-eat-dog world when it comes to the bar”. Inside I died. And as if that wasn’t humiliating enough, Seth singalled he had missedthe punch line. I had a second chance to pretend I never said the lame dog-eat-dog line and say something actually witty this time around, but alas I flopped again. Perhaps the line was so excruciatingly cringe-worthy that he had actually heard it and wanted to give me the benefit of the doubt. Who cares. I surrendered to my failure and delivered the same line again looking on to see the realisation of what I had said settle onto his face. He managed a terse laugh “Uh hah hah…”, and then walked away. Luckily I was already at the bar and it was a no-brainer what I needed then and there. Shot please!

The only thing that made this episode bearable was sharing it. I was the source of much laughing and gasping for air with a stray finger pointed in my direction. My sisters said I must have been adopted because this was no family trait. And I at least learnt that feminism can prevail onwards, women can grow penises for all I care but I will not be hitting on a guy again. Let chivalry work its charm.

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Katherine Heigl & Seth Rogen in ‘Knocked Up’. It might be the Jew-fro, or the huggable body, but there is something about the Rogen